At that time, Hongjun didn't know that there were many troubles and hardships in the world, such as 'an unrecognized talent' and 'untimely life'. However, after these words, he gradually began to understand him.
Li Jinglong and Hongjun sat opposite each other in the hall. Hongjun heaved a sigh as if a heavy weight had been lifted from his mind and said, "It's in your heart. That's great, I finally found it."
These past few days, Hongjun hardly thought about food and tea, thinking about the whereabouts of the Heart Lamp over and over every day. He now at least reduced his worries.
"How do I get it back to you?" Li Jinglong asked.
Hongjun helplessly spread out his hands and said, "I'll leave it with you for the time being."
Li Jinglong wanted to say something but then hesitantly nodded.
Hongjun decided to write a letter to Yaojin Palace for help, but how can he send it? Send Zhao Zilong back to deliver the letter? However, this carp yao was firstly lazy and secondly, didn't like to walk for fear of foot pain. Moreover, it was a far-flung journey and was dangerous to travel alone. He's afraid that Qing Xiong was also not in Yaojin Palace. If Chong Ming were to receive the letter, his answer would certainly be, "It's none of my business if you've caused a mistake."
It's really difficult... Hongjun thought. Looking up at Li Jinglong, he felt as if the latter wanted to say something again.
"The Heart Lamp has dwelled in me," Li Jinglong mused. "Will anything change for me?"
"There won't be any trouble." Hongjun hurriedly explained, "In the five viscera, the heart belongs to fire thus the Heart Lamp will protect your heart pulse. Moreover, this lamp's power is pure and unadulterated. Its light is full of vital energy. It will never do any harm."
Li Jinglong nodded, yet still seemed to be having some impassioned struggle inside. Hongjun didn't know why as he observed his expression. Finally, Li Jinglong once again asked, "Will I have mana as a result for this?"
"Ah?" Hongjun replied, skeptical. "It is... unlikely... There's no mana in your meridians. If you were given a rare magical weapon, you may not be able to unleash it."
Li Jinglong muttered, "I understand. I'm just an ordinary human."
There seemed to be a hint of disappointment in his voice. Hongjun immediately understood his disappointment and asked, "You don't want to be just an ordinary human, do you?"
Li Jinglong lifted his eyes to Hongjun and asked in turn, "You, Mo Rigen, Hammurabi, and Qiu Yongsi all have mana in your meridians, right?"
Hongjun seldom thought about this issue. Although the other three hadn't done anything yet, the fact that A-Tai conveniently ignited a fire that day, it must also be a mana's skill.
"That's right," Hongjun honestly replied.
"Where does this mana come from?" Li Jinglong asked again.
Hongjun never thought that Li Jinglong would inquire about it.
"It's innate." The carp yao who was lying outside the hall to bask in the sun turned over, faced them and stated, "Don't even think about it. How else would you call it ‘family'?"
Li Jinglong finally gave an "en" sound and replied, "For now, don't inform the others about the Heart Lamp's matter."
"Although you are an ordinary human," Hongjun consoled, "you still have a sword. You've got a great sword that could break through my Pentacolored Sacred Light. Even my father's spurted flames..."
"Hey!" The carp yao stopped Hongjun's consoling, lest he exposed himself more of his family's resources.
When Li Jinglong heard this, he suddenly came back to his senses, got up and grabbed his sword. "This is Lord Di's former sword."
Hongjun can finally take a good look at it. Li Jinglong felt emotional as he got lost in thought. "When I was young, I admired Lord Di and read the book he propagated. In the book, there were grotesque and variegated bestial aos; immortals and humans living in seclusion in the Divine Land; unruly qis that assembled together; and mos that had been reincarnated for hundreds of years."
Hongjun stroked the sword and thought out loud, "So don't you want to be an exorcist like any other ordinary humans?"
Li Jinglong watched Hongjun's fingers stroking the blade and slowly said, "That is not so; but perhaps it is natural to yearn for it."
"I still remember a paragraph after the book, which was in Lord Di's words — in nearly one hundred years, the Divine Land is about to face a catastrophe that would ravage everything. However, he was born in an untimely life as he was already an octogenarian. There will be no successor to guard the Great Tang. I am afraid that after the soul returns to the loess, the Divine Land will soon be in chaos. — Lord Di then handed down a book and a sword, for whoever inherits it must guard the entire Divine Land."
As Hongjun heard these spoken words, he was suddenly touched by Li Jinglong's solemnity. The Divine Land's chaos was unlikely to happen. However, according to the task entrusted to him by Chong Ming and Qing Xiong, many yaoguais were lurking around the world, thus Chang'an's chaos should be inevitable.
"Where's the book?" After seeing the sword, Hongjun recalled the "Mara" that was mentioned by his father Chong Ming and Qing Xiong, and suddenly grew inquisitive.
"It was burned by my father," Li Jinglong said, his gaze fixed on the blade in Hongjun's hand. "They never believed it. They just regarded it as Lord Di's unfounded ravings in his old age."
Hongjun thought for a moment. Although he didn't know the origin of the sword, he knew it wasn't just an ordinary weapon. He asked, "Where did you find this sword?"
Li Jinglong replied, "In the hands of a merchant from the Western Regions. Decades after Lord Di's death, I inadvertently found it in an auction in Jubao Village. In order to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Hu people, I sold a lot of things before I bought it back... I don't know why I have this hearty talk with a mere acquaintance... It's just..."
Li Jinglong sighed and said, "Perhaps only you would believe me."
"Mo Rigen... They will also believe in you," Hongjun consoled. He didn't know the origin of the sword but he felt as if he had seen it somewhere.
Li Jinglong replied, "I don't want to get wordy with them."
At that time, Hongjun didn't know that there were many troubles and hardships in the world, such as ‘an unrecognized talent' and ‘untimely life'. However, after these words, he gradually began to understand him.
"That's right." Hongjun had an idea and said, "Even though ordinary humans don't have mana, perhaps they can still practice? I remember..."
"Hongjun!" The carp yao turned over like a fried fish as he faced them again and cried out, "Don't cause trouble to him again!"
Hongjun thought that with his own constitutional troubles, it might lead Li Jinglong to be stuck in a quandary, thus he had to give it up for the time being.
Throughout these days, Li Jinglong thought that Hongjun was a sloppy young master who only liked to idle around. After becoming familiar with him, he found that he really was not as stubborn and mischievous as he first thought. Thereupon, that changed his point of view. He was about to make insinuations and ask about his life when Mo Rigen, A-Tai, and Qiu Yongsi returned.
"Found it—" Qiu Yongsi was so worn out that he kept panting while constantly wiping his sweat. He then placed the box on the table. Just as Li Jinglong was about to open it, Hongjun promptly pressed it down and said, "You have to pinch your nose and find a time when there is no wind. Otherwise, once you sneeze from the pollen when it flies out, everything will be forgotten."
"We've been looking for it for hours." Mo Rigen didn't know whether to laugh or cry. "You two were drinking tea here?"
Li Jinglong coughed. The dignified Zhangshi still needed to do such a thing.
A-Tai followed and said, "Zhangshi, what about the money?"
Li Jinglong took out the moneybag. A-Tai gasped before he stated, "That's three thousand two hundred taels of silver."
Li Jinglong, "......"
"Three thousand two hundred taels of silver?!" Li Jinglong roared. "How could that be?!"
"Yes ah." A-Tai, Mo Rigen and Qiu Yongsi looked at Li Jinglong in bewilderment. A-Tai added, "Four taels for lihun pollens. One tael is equal to eight hundred silver. Four times eight is thirty-two so that makes three thousand two hundred in total. Did I miscalculate?"
Li Jinglong was speechless. For a moment, he saw the four of them staring at one another as if they were accustomed to it.
"Everything used by exorcists is so expensive?" Li Jinglong frowned.
"Either I will pay for it first." Mo Rigen suggested, giving Li Jinglong a way out. After all, Li Jinglong also spent a lot of money in renovating the entire Exorcism Department.
"I can give eight hundred taels." Qiu Yongsi smiled.
"Come on. I got it." A-Tai replied.
Mo Rigen said, "Let's make this clear. All the advanced money by A-Tai will be given to him."
Li Jinglong got up and said, "This can't..."
"Zhangshi, sit down, sit down." Qiu Yongsi smiled. "How can we let Zhangshi pay for it? Ai! Zhangshi even disregarded our bygone enmity and didn't blame us for indiscriminately hitting people... Hongjun?"
Hongjun immediately understood even without the need to explain and began to fish out his pearls. "Right, right, right! Don't punish us again for what happened that day. I'll make up a share of money..."
"Hongjun!" Everyone exclaimed in unison, mingled with sorrow and indignation.
They originally had a general idea: Qiu Yongsi, A-Tai and Mo Rigen had been waiting outside presumably for a long time, preparing to use the lihun pollen to make a concession against Li Jinglong. Unfortunately, Hongjun's words says it all. Their faces immediately turned pale and blue.
Hongjun puzzledly asked, "Did I say something wrong?"
Li Jinglong didn't want to continue this topic. He raised his hand to stop them and said, "The money is counted as the public purse. I will ask the court for funds when the time comes. Put the box aside first and let's share it some other day. That's all." He got up and placed the box full of Lihun Pollen on top of the shelf in the hall.
"What's this?" Mo Rigen found the official correspondence on the table.
"A sinking case sent by Judiciary Department." Li Jinglong stated. "Something to be done this afternoon."
"No way—" The three lamented. "We're going out again?"
Hongjun asked, "Was it difficult to find the Lihun Pollen? So tiring?"
"It wasn't in the west market." Qiu Yongsi said. "A-Tai took us to the underground black market in Jubao Village. That big-eating merchant insisted the three of us to disguise as women to accompany him to dance Huxuan. And we've been dancing for an hour!"
"But why are there some grasses behind the three of you?" The carp yao said behind them. "You enjoyed riding horses outside the city, right?"
Heaven and Earth were indeed defending Hongjun and the carp yao as they constantly act jointly to undermine somebody's plans. The three burst into loud laughter and immediately diverted the topic. A-Tai spoke, "Aiya! Here it is! We can get to solve the case and render meritorious contributions!"
Qiu Yongsi, "Yes, yes. We need to contribute to the country, yes."
Mo Rigen rubbed his hands and said, "Let me see... What's the enormous case? Brothers, this case will rout you!"
Li Jinglong glanced at the three. He took a deep breath and no longer investigated them and stated, "As long as it is not a case involving such an important matter as human life then you are all allowed to do it tomorrow. Let me see..." He lowered his head, undo the case file and spread it out as he read, "On the fifth day of the ninth month, Lady Qinguo of Daning mansion lost a white curly-haired chausie of Da Yuezhi, nearly one foot and six inches long, with blue and gold yin yang eyes..."
Twenty-third day of the ninth month, twelve year of Tianbao
Exorcism Department's First Case: Finding a cat
Degree of Difficulty: Herringbone Level
Area: The entire city of Chang'an
Involved in the Case: The Right Prime Minister Yang Guozhong's younger sister, Lady Qinguo
Detailed Case: On the fifth night of the ninth month, Lady Qinguo who's actually a cat lover lost "Qing'er." According to the maid's statement, the cat was frightened and left the mansion late at night and its whereabouts are still unknown. Meanwhile, Yulin Army, Shenwu Army, Longwu Army, Xuanjia Army, and other six armies had been searching all over Chang'an for ten days, but failed. This case has been transferred to the Exorcism Department of the Great Tang
Remuneration: The Imperial Consort and Lady Qinguo will certainly gave a heavy reward
Li Jinglong's complexion couldn't look any worse. Qiu Yongsi hastily said, "Quick, pour some water for Zhangshi! This look... is no good!"
"Why don't you give Zhangshi some of the lihun pollen that were just bought?" Hongjun suggested.
"Stop that now!" They hurriedly interrupted Hongjun.
Mo Rigen poured water and A-Tai delivered the cup as Hongjun sympathetically patted Li Jinglong on his back. After a long time, Li Jinglong finally inhaled. The Exorcism Department has just been reestablished and the first case they received was to find a pet for Yang Yuhuan's eighth older sister? This is simply a great insult!
"That's too difficult." Hongjun said. "Chang'an is so vast, how can we find it?"
"Don't take it!" Li Jinglong slammed down the file and angrily said, "Retreat! This is simply insulting!"
They were helpless, as if they had already expected such a result.
Early morning the next day. The four men respectively yawned and followed Li Jinglong along the main street of Chang'an with a tedious look on their faces. The shops along the street were still closed.
"Zhangshi, we've thought about it all night." A-Tai said. "There's really no mana's skill that might possibly find a cat."
Li Jinglong brushed away his sleeve and said, "Look for it. You all have nothing to do anyway."
Hence, the four men split up and each went towards the four corners of Chang'an: East, West, North, and South, and began to inquire around the whereabouts of the chausie. Arguably, the six armies had already conducted a thorough investigation and should have interrogated a lot of Chang'an people. However, it was hard to say whether there were any new news these days.
Hongjun was assigned to the Southern part and solely had to walk for an hour. According to the description on the detailed case, he was very skeptical that the cat might have already run out of the city.
As Hongjun just left the long street, he saw Mo Rigen waving to him and beckoning him over. A-Tai and Qiu Yongsi were also there.
"Brothers will take you to play. Let's go." Mo Rigen stated.
"No more work?" Hongjun asked.
"You're not really planning to find the cat for him, are you?" A-Tai looked flabbergasted.
Hongjun said, "I'll look for it ah! I think he's a good man."
The four exorcists gathered together in the alley. After yesterday's event, Hongjun's impression of Li Jinglong more or less had changed, thus he told the three men a little explanation. Of course, he skipped those that shouldn't be said and merely mentioned that the Exorcism Department, Li Jinglong, really wanted to do something for the Great Tang.
How? He was an ordinary human and was even subjected indifferently by the court. A lot of things would be involuntary and wouldn't help himself.
All three listened with indescribably strange expressions. As he spoke, Hongjun suddenly understood — because of Zhangshi's origin, they regarded themselves as the same kind but not counting Li Jinglong as one of their own.
"The most painful thing in the world is to make extravagant demands that don't belong to you." A-Tai stated and shrugged.
"Is that so?" Mo Rigen mused. "Why don't you say it clearly?"
Perhaps he has some kind of persistence and self-respect. Hongjun thought about it and said, "I'll go and help him look for it. I can't find anything else to say..."
The other three looked at each other and nodded. Mo Rigen stated, "Since that's the case, then..."
Mo Rigen spread out his hands. For Hongjun's sake, he'll help him find this one time. The four of them agreed upon to meet at the East Market for lunch and went their separate ways.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Caro and opal.