"Xiang Shu has become so gentle now, he’s even become this concerned about me?"
vague references to that specific part
Xiang Shu finally said, “Thank you for saving me.”
Chen Xing was a little overwhelmed by this unexpected thanks. Xiang Shu wasn’t a feral dog after all, and in the beginning, his behavior was probably only because Chen Xing had used the wrong method to deal with him. He began to grow even more confident.
“I don’t know why,” Xiang Shu said, turning his head. “I keep feeling like I’ve seen you somewhere before, like in some kind of a dream.”
Chen Xing replied, “I’ve also dreamed of you before. Perhaps in our past life, we were already destined to meet in this one?”
Xiang Shu: “…”
Those words of Xiang Shu’s were his actual thoughts, but with Chen Xing’s response, the atmosphere suddenly became warm and gentle, especially when Chen Xing was hugging his waist as he rode behind Xiang Shu. The two of them suddenly felt a little awkward; Chen Xing scooted back a little. Xiang Shu felt it too, but he didn’t say anything.
“You…” Chen Xing and Xiang Shu spoke at the same time.
Xiang Shu didn’t know why, but whenever they were alone, he couldn’t resist wanting to speak with Chen Xing, as if his own emotions were not under his own control. He also wanted to turn his head back and look at him.
Xiang Shu asked, “Is your arrow wound better? Should we find some medicine?”
Chen Xing responded, “It’s alright, I’m originally a doctor as well. How about you? Is your body a little better?”
Chen Xing thought, proper respect between a married couple as if they are both guests is pretty good as well. Xiang Shu has become so gentle now, he’s even this concerned about me?
Xiang Shu had personally seen Chen Xing get hit by an arrow in order to save him, so naturally he felt a sense of responsibility.
Before, Chen Xing always had the protection of Iuppiter, and Xiang Shu also made sure he was safe at all times, so essentially, he had never been injured. However, now that he thought back, he didn’t know whether it was due to the good luck that Iuppiter brought him, or because he found Xiang Shu who kept him very well-protected, that he never got injured. As he thought about the past, every time, as long as he himself was in danger, Xiang Shu would always move in front of him to shield him, causing him to feel very moved.
“What medicine did you give me?” Xiang Shu asked. “Take one yourself.”
Chen Xing said honestly, “There’s no more. Back then, Shifu only gave me this one.”
Xiang Shu: “Where is your master’s residence located? Is it far?”
“Shifu is already dead,” Chen Xing replied. “That medicine was one that was passed down to me a long time ago.”
One medicinal pill that could instantly bring someone back from the brink of death; naturally Xiang Shu knew how valuable this medicine was, and he also understood the price that Chen Xing paid to save him.
Chen Xing said, “You were locked up in prison for too long, so you’re still a little weak. You should eat a little more in these next few days, look at how skinny you are now.”
Xiang Shu didn’t say any more.
In the gorge leading into Mt. Longzhong, the three of them stopped for a short rest. When Feng Qianjun returned from scouting out the road ahead of them, he saw that Xiang Shu had found who-knows-what herbs and had rubbed them into pieces in his hand. He then used his inner strength to cause the medicine to grow warm, applying it on Chen Xing’s arrow wound.
From the beginning to the end, he didn’t say a single word, and when he saw Feng Qianjun coming, he rose and went to the stream to wash his hands.
“Successful?” Feng Qianjun said.
Chen Xing nodded, a smile in his gaze.
Feng Qianjun said quietly, “Though he’s forgotten you, he hasn’t forgotten his attraction towards you. You see, when his thigh was being hugged by you, that thing was even…”
“Stop!” Chen Xing said. “Shut up for me.”
Feng Qianjun patted Chen Xing’s shoulder, turning his head back to look at Xiang Shu.
Xiang Shu washed off the medicine on his hands, but he didn’t come over. Instead, he sat silently by the side of the creek.
Feng Qianjun once again lowered his voice and said, “You’d better quickly speed up your progress and subdue him! As long as you get in bed with him, then you’ll be set. Whatever medicines you need, feel free to tell Feng-dage; will Hehuansan be useful? Should I go to Chang’an and find some for you?”
Chen Xing replied quietly, “Why don’t we discuss something else? Princess Qinghe and Gu Qing-jie, what are you planning to do about them after this? As soon as I think of them, I always feel despair.”
As expected, Feng Qianjun shut his mouth and rose and left.
After Feng Qianjun left, Xiang Shu rose and came back. He glanced over at Chen Xing, and Chen Xing said, “I’m fine, let’s go ba.”
Xiang Shu also could see that between these two, Feng Qianjun listened to Chen Xing’s words, and he was a little like a subordinate, but also like a friend. He glanced doubtfully at Feng Qianjun, but he didn’t ask further. Of his own accord, Chen Xing explained, “Feng-dage is also an exorcist, we’ve known each other since before.”
“Wu,” Xiang Shu replied.
The three of them led their horses along the intact plank road leading through Mt. Longzhong, coming to the place where Chen Xing and Feng Qianjun had made camp last time.
“Is it here?” Chen Xing observed their surroundings.
Feng Qianjun nodded, and after shooting a glance at the two of them, he pointed towards the high ground, indicating he himself was going to go scout again. Along the way, Chen Xing had told Xiang Shu about the general gist of things with Shi Hai, the existence of drought fiends, and the hidden peril looming over the Divine Land.
“Devil God’s blood.” Xiang Shu recalled that medicinal vial whose contents Kjera made his own father drink.
“That bit of blood can cause living people to grow strange, you…” Chen Xing almost slipped up there, but thankfully he had caught himself in time. He said, “What was the situation the last time you saw him?”
Xiang Shu was still lost in his own memories, so he didn’t respond to Chen Xing. Afterwards, he said, “Right now, what are we doing here?”
“Waiting,” Chen Xing said. “We’re waiting for the sun to set. After it’s night, we’ll head towards another spot to block his path, and at that time, he’ll be in this area.”
Xiang Shu asked suspiciously, “You know where he is?”
Chen Xing nodded and replied, “We cannot startle him, otherwise he can escape at any point. Please, no matter what, please listen to my commands. Afterwards, I’ll slowly explain it all to you.”
“You watch out for yourself.” Xiang Shu was clearly filled with suspicion when it came to Chen Xing, who had no skill in martial arts to speak of.
Chen Xing thought for a moment, before saying, “Though I don’t have any martial arts, I have other ways. In a bit, you’ll have to believe me.”
This time, Chen Xing was determined to catch that person wearing that mask, thus destroying the process of Sima Wei’s revivification. Otherwise, if the enemies escaped, then Wang Ziye would immediately know that exorcists had appeared.
“Got it,” Xiang Shu answered.
Chen Xing saw that though Xiang Shu still had questions, he chose to temporarily believe them. Less than a moment later, Feng Qianjun came over, carrying a body, and he tossed it on the ground. It was the body of that soldier that had been discovered by Xiang Shu last time.
“A Jin soldier,” Xiang Shu muttered to himself.
Feng Qianjun said, “We have to burn it, otherwise if it is returned to Mai City, then the plague caused by the drought fiends will spread.”
Chen Xing lit up the Heart Lamp in his palm as Xiang Shu watched. Right after, Chen Xing pressed his hand against that body’s forehead. This time was different from last; as soon as the Heart Lamp was lit, the resentment within that corpse slowly dissipated like snow melting under the strong sun, slowly seeping out from the Jin soldier’s corpse.
“Rest in peace ba,” Chen Xing said quietly.
Chen Xing’s entire body was enveloped in that warm light, as if the Heart Lamp had taken human form. His expression actually held the solemnity and compassion of a god. With the exorcism of the body’s resentment, shining points of light gathered together as they were sent up to the heavens. The hunpo were absorbed into the Divine Vein, re-entering the cycles of reincarnation.
Xiang Shu was filled with shock as he looked at Chen Xing. The light receded, and Chen Xing recovered his original look.
“To prevent any unexpected occurrences,” Feng Qianjun said, lighting a torch, “we still have to burn it. There’s still a few shichen until the sky gets fully dark, so you two rest a while, and we’ll move out together in a bit.”
Chen Xing yawned. Since the night before last, he had already been awake for more than two days straight, and he said wearily, “I need to sleep for a bit.”
“You’ll be alright ba?” For some unknown reason, Xiang Shu began to grow worried. He asked, “That was magic? It causes you to grow sleepy?”
Chen Xing waved his hand, saying, “I’m truly sleepy.”
With that, he curled up by Xiang Shu’s side, in an area where the sunlight wouldn’t reach. That little dog also came over, nuzzling into Chen Xing’s embrace. Xiang Shu thought silently for a moment, before he too lay down by Chen Xing’s side, turning his head to glance at his soundly sleeping, childlike face.
At twilight, Feng Qianjun brought out the food, and he even added some wine on top. Chen Xing yawned and rose. Feng Qianjun said, “Come, let’s celebrate Xiang-xiongdi’s successful escape, and everyone… gaining a second chance at life!”
Chen Xing was afraid that Feng Qianjun would say something wrong and cause Xiang Shu to become suspicious again, but Xiang Shu stared at the cup in his hand, nodded, and drank the wine. When the sun sank below the horizon, Feng Qianjun handed a sword to Xiang Shu, and the three of them entered the forest, walking along the small path towards the road where the masked person had revived Sima Wei.
This was the last day to revive Sima Wei, and last time, it wasn’t until near the time when the cocks crowed that Chen Xing had an inkling of what was going on. Tonight, he had enough of a grasp on the situation that they could take him by surprise.
“That bird is being raised by you?” Xiang Shu suddenly asked.
“What?” Chen Xing asked oddly, before he realized that Xiang Shu was referring to Chong Ming. In his heart, he thought, he’s even found out about this! He himself hadn’t even noticed that this whole way, Chong Ming had still been following them.
“Yes…” Chen Xing said. “Life is bitter and short… and it’s a long story. When we have time, I’ll explain it to you. It’s a yao, but in the short term, it won’t do anything.”
They stopped outside of the village. As the sun slowly sank below the horizon, their surroundings were dead silent, and nothing out of the ordinary could be seen.
Xiang Shu: !!!”
Xiang Shu saw that outside of the village, living corpses had begun to wander. Feng Qianjun had already become used to it, and without a sound, he went forth to set up an ambush. Xiang Shu lifted his sword to leave, but Chen Xing caught his wrist.
“Shh!” Chen Xing said. “We’ll take care of those in a little bit, wait here for a little while first.”
In the center of the graveyard was still that sacrificial altar. The light was dim, and Chen Xing and Xiang Shu hid at one side while Feng Qianjun hid himself at the other. They didn’t dare to burn the corpses in the graveyard first, otherwise the other side would definitely be alerted of their presence beforehand.
“In a bit,” Chen Xing’s hand grabbed Xiang Shu’s wrist, his eyes earnestly observing him, “I’ll give you the power of the Heart Lamp, and you’re in charge of defeating the leader of the enemies…”
Xiang Shu and Chen Xing’s gazes met, and in between the two of them suddenly shone a wave of warm light.
Chen Xing: “...”
The Heart Lamp was still in Xiang Shu’s body, that was great! Chen Xing barely had to use any energy to awaken that point of light in his heart meridian, as if some strange resonance was happening between the two of them. Xiang Shu lowered his head, looking at his own wrist. Chen Xing’s left hand was turned as it pressed against his wrist, and light shone from his right hand, traveling in a spiral up the back of his hand. The instant their skin touched, Xiang Shu’s breathing quickened.
That sword in his hand, with the resonance of the Heart Lamp, began to shine with a white light.
And with that, Xiang Shu’s entire body seemed to undergo a change. Faintly, the shining gold and white robes of the Protector Martial God appeared on his form, and a golden light shone from between his brows.
“And then?” Xiang Shu had yet to realize his own change; he only felt that Chen Xing’s magic was very profound.
Chen Xing stared dumbfoundedly at Xiang Shu, before he began to smile, a little abashedly. The light disappeared, and the space between the two of them returned to darkness.
“Nothing,” Chen Xing said. “This light can defeat it. It’s all up to you, I’ll support you.”
With that, Xiang Shu nodded once.
Chen Xing turned around and sat down in front of a tombstone as he restrained the violent beating of his heart, but he couldn’t resist turning his head to look at Xiang Shu again. In the darkness, he couldn’t see Xiang Shu’s reaction, but the hand that was holding onto his didn’t loosen, and his heart couldn’t help but grow agitated at that.
In the darkness, Xiang Shu maintained his silence as he thought, until deep into the night, when Chen Xing yawned again and fell asleep, leaning against Xiang Shu’s body.
Feng Qianjun, hunched over, fumbled over in the dark, asking, “Why isn’t there any movement?”
Chen Xing was also not very certain anymore, perhaps it was at the zi hour instead?
Xiang Shu said, “He will come.”
Feng Qianjun asked, “And how do you know?”
In the darkness, Xiang Shu said, “I don’t know why, but I feel that tonight’s events seems to have happened before in a dream.”
Feng Qianjun left. Chen Xing yawned again, leaning a little closer to Xiang Shu’s side. He reached out his hand to feel, and he touched the back of Xiang Shu’s hand. But Xiang Shu thought he was afraid, so he squeezed Chen Xing’s hand once to indicate that he had always been here.
With this, Chen Xing’s heart blossomed even more with glee, thinking, we’re so intimate ahhh! Why wasn’t it like this last time? All we did was purposefully make each other angry!
At the zi hour, a strange change happened to the graveyard. Black qi rose, and the three of them turned at the same time, anxiously watching that scene from behind the tombstones.
Feng Qianjun waved his hand, and Chen Xing peeked over for a moment, but Xiang Shu was extremely tense, his brow furrowed deeply as he tightly clutched his long sword.
A silhouette wearing a black robe came to the front of the sacrificial altar, and with a twitch of his hands, the altar was covered with black fog that coiled around and gathered up, revealing a body clad in armor. The black shadow’s hands began to release black qi, which flowed without end into Sima Wei’s corpse.
Chen Xing used his hand to signal: three, two, one.
The three of them showed themselves at the same time, and Feng Qianjun said, “You group of people that go around everywhere digging up ancestral graves…”
Chen Xing: “Go die ba!”
Xiang Shu saw that this wasn’t Kjera, but he still wasn’t willing to let him go. With a single step, he stepped onto a tombstone and leapt towards the altar. He let out an angry shout, his long sword whirling in a circle, turning into an arc of light!
That masked man was greatly shocked. He flew into the sky, saying coldly, “Who’s there?!”
“We won’t tell you.” With quick steps, Chen Xing walked onto the altar. The masked man spread his arms, releasing thick, roiling resentment to continue controlling Sima Wei, but Chen Xing lifted the Heart Lamp in his hand, sending it towards him with a push.
The Heart Lamp instantly broke the control that the masked man had over Sima Wei, and seeing this opportunity, Chen Xing pressed one hand on the chest of Sima Wei, who had yet to be revived, as he began to exorcise the black qi.
That masked man was called Zhou Yi. He was Wang Ziye’s trusted subordinate, and seeing that resentment that he had spent a whole 49 days accumulating with great difficulty being exorcised by Chen Xing just like this, he immediately flew into a great rage, plummeting downwards at him to attack, his claws outstretched as they swiped at Chen Xing’s head!
“Watch out!” Right then, Feng Qianjun was leaping up on to a stone pillar to ambush him, only to see that bastard leaping towards Chen Xing. He couldn’t reach him in time, but just then, Xiang Shu had already rushed over from the side, pulling out his sword!
The body of the sword shone with a strong light, and Zhou Yi let out a pained cry as his arm was lopped off by Xiang Shu, and he flew back into the sky.
Xiang Shu stood protectively in front of Chen Xing as he spun his long sword in a circle, saying coldly, “Where is Kjera?”
Zhou Yi was both astonished and enraged, and with his body in midair, he said darkly, “You guys actually…”
Chen Xing shouted, “Drag him down!”
Feng Qianjun readied his Senluo blade, but from underneath Zhou Yi’s robes, resentment flooded out like the tide, suddenly exploding outwards. At the great battle of Xiangyang, all of the resentment of the citizens that had died in the Jingzhou area had been collected and gathered in this place -- the coffins in the graveyard all opened, and hundreds of drought fiends revealed themselves.
Feng Qianjun said, “I’ll go take care of them, I’m leaving this place to you guys!”
Saying this, Feng Qianjun flipped and landed back in the graveyard. With one hand, he spun the Senluo blade in a circle, and as if in a frenzy, countless thorny vines and plants grew out of the surrounding ground. The surrounding forest also trembled as tree roots rose out of the ground, rushing towards the center of the graveyard.
Xiang Shu: “!!!”
Chen Xing: “Don’t pay it any attention, that’s his magic. We have to defeat this guy!”
With one hand pressed down on Sima Wei’s chest, Chen Xing sent the Heart Lamp into that corpse as he began to exorcise the resentment. He felt, near Sima Wei’s heart meridian, a drop of Devil God’s blood currently resisting his invasion.
Zhou Yi said coldly, “Exorcists?”
And after saying this, the resentment once again exploded, forming into a black fog. Zhou Yi, dagger in hand, appeared suddenly out of the fog, stabbing several times down at Chen Xing, but Xiang Shu’s movements were even faster than his, and every time his sword was there to block him. Several consecutive ding ding dings rang out as he blocked Zhou Yi. Zhou Yi snapped out, “Good moves!”
At the last stab, the weapon in Xiang Shu’s hand was in the end not the same quality as the Acala Blade, and with a clean metallic sound, it was broken by Zhou Yi. Chen Xing said, “Hang in there for a little longer!”
“I can’t see!” Feng Qianjun was currently directing the Senluo blade, using the plants to trap that horde of drought fiends, but the black fog obscured his line of sight, and he shouted, “It’s too dark! Can you give me some light?”
Xiang Shu shouted, “Don’t speak!”
Zhou Yi blended into the black fog, saying darkly, “Even today, there are still exorcists…”
Right after, from within the black fog came the sound of a sharp arrow being nocked to a bow. Chen Xing sensed that he was in danger because someone had locked onto his position, but Xiang Shu, broken sword in hand, blocked in front of him, and that sense of danger immediately vanished without a trace.
Chen Xing was afraid that Zhou Yi would fire his arrow from within the black fog, leaving Xiang Shu with no way to block him, so he could only temporarily remove the Heart Lamp that was working within Sima Wei’s body, pulling it back into his palm. He lifted his right hand, which glowed with a white light, to exorcise the resentment.
Right after, the white light flashed once in his palm, exploding outwards to blanket the sky and the earth, shining like the bright day across the entirety of Mt. Longzhong.
Feng Qianjun, Zhou Yi, and even Chen Xing himself, let out loud yelps at the same time.
Feng Qianjun shouted wildly, “It’s too bright! I’m going blind!”
The chickens across the entire mountain thought that day had come, and they all let out rooster crows that rose and fell one after another. Chen Xing’s vision was covered with white shadows; he had forgotten to close his eyes, and he had made himself dizzy with his own flash, but luckily Xiang Shu had his back to him. His left wrist straightened out, his right hand held the broken sword, and both his hands clutched the hilt as he arched his body.
The resentment was exorcised by the light of the Heart Lamp, and in that moment, the blinding light that blanketed the earth and sky was sucked into Xiang Shu’s body.
In his blurry vision, Chen Xing saw that under the power of the Heart Lamp, Xiang Shu had taken on the demeanor of the Protector Martial God. He wore snow white battle robes, armor that covered half his body, Cloud-Treading Boots, golden vambraces with coiling dragons, small wings of light appeared along his sideburns, and the broken sword in his hand lengthened and became a longsword shining with the brilliance of a thousand golden rays. Behind his back appeared drooping wings that shook themselves out, which then turned into a golden shadow-like lightning, arcing across the sky. With a shua, he brushed past Zhou Yi still in midair!
Immediately, Zhou Yi knew that this group of people was not one that he could afford to offend, and leaving even Sima Wei behind, he turned into black fire and flew towards the north.
“Don’t let him escape!” Chen Xing shouted loudly.
But Xiang Shu’s speed was even faster than his, and in the blink of an eye, he arrived behind Zhou Yi, flicking his sword at him. The black robe was sundered, and the body made up of gathered resentment was split into two. Zhou Yi let out a pitiful cry as he was instantly burned to nothingness by that fiery glow!
“Why is it that again, by this light, I’m…” Zhou Yi cried pitifully.
“What you should be curious about,” Chen Xing tilted his head up to watch the resentment dissipating in the air, “is why you have to say ‘again’.”
Xiang Shu turned in midair and landed. His brows furrowed deeply as he looked at Chen Xing; his entire body bathed in shining brilliance as he walked towards him.
Chen Xing watched him dumbly, as if he was watching a staunch yet gentle martial god walk out of the light and wind of creation.
As soon as the Heart Lamp was stowed away, Xiang Shu regained his original form.
“Why do I feel like these events have happened before?” Xiang Shu asked doubtfully.
Chen Xing was out of it for several seconds. Their surroundings plunged once again into darkness, and the entire graveyard was filled with drought fiends entangled by vines. Feng Qianjun stood to one side, saying, “What should we do with Sima Wei? Hurry up! Attack and resolve this issue! Don’t stand there in a daze!”
Chen Xing remembered what he was going to do, and he indicated that he would speak to Xiang Shu later as he began to focus his attention on exorcising the resentment in Sima Wei’s body.
Under the power of the Heart Lamp, the resentment first surged away, before it was dissipated. Roosters crowed one after the other, and Chen Xing said in surprise, “Just like this, the sky’s growing bright?”
Xiang Shu walked to the front of the altar, lowering his head to look at the body of Sima Wei lying on the platform, and he said, “This is that drought fiend that Kjera wants to revive?”
Chen Xing said, “Well… this person seems to be the Jin king…”
“Sima Wei, Xiang Shu said coldly.
“You remembered…” Chen Xing startled, before asking, “How did you know?”
Xiang Shu gestured that Chen Xing take a look, wasn’t it written as such on the tombstone?
Alright, Chen Xing thought, before he said, “We need to bury him back and burn the rest of the drought fiends here before we can leave.”
Suddenly, Sima Wei’s corpse twitched.
Xiang Shu immediately grabbed Chen Xing’s shoulder, pushing him behind himself so that Xiang Shu could protect him. Feng Qianjun jumped at that and looked towards Chen Xing. Chen Xing hadn’t expected this either, Sima Wei was actually still moving! What was going on?! Hadn’t he already interrupted the entire process?
Sima Wei struggled for a moment, and just as Xiang Shu was about to pull out his sword, Chen Xing said, “Wait, let’s see his condition first.”
Sima Wei slowly rose into a sitting position, taking off his helmet, revealing his clouded eyes and grey-white complexion.
“Where… is this place?” Sima Wei said slowly. “And who… am I?
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), moon.