The First Arc: Blood Rain Reaching Towards a Flower
Chapter 10: The Mountain’s Locked Ancient Temple, The Forest of Hanging Corpses
The two of them rushed back to the Ming Guang Temple. However, the main hall was now completely empty. The only thing that remained in the place of the brides from before was a hideous mess of red veils.
Upon seeing this, Xie Lian thought in his heart, “This is bad, so bad. They’re gonna die, totally die!”
He began rapidly picking up the veils on the ground. The moment he finished, he heard a wave of alarmed cries from outside the temple. Nan Feng and Xie Lian took a look outside the window, only to see a dozen or so women dressed in scarlet wedding clothes encircling the villagers. Right now, they were slowly approaching them.
Each of these women’s faces were deathly pale and were decorated with a smile. Their hands were stretched out in front of them, perpendicularly to their bodies1. These were precisely the corpses of those brides in the temple!
None of the villagers could remain calm as they helplessly watched the brides close in on them. Nobody had time to deal with that bandaged teenager anymore and immediately broke into a run. Little Ying promptly went over to support the teenager as Xie Lian helplessly said, “Don’t run!”
Who knew how many times he had already said that phrase tonight. Every time something happened, Xie Lian would have to say it at least thirty to forty times. However, there would always be people who turned a deaf ear to his warnings. He felt truly quite helpless.
Xie Lian waved his hand and the silk Ruoye began flying out toward the sky. After casually making a hand sign, the silk Ruoye began whirling around in the air by itself. It looked as if it was a heavenly woman randomly dancing about, a sight that was extremely eye-catching.
And when that group of brides saw that there was something lively spinning around in a cheerful manner, something whose tail would whip at them from time to time, many of those brides were lured over to the silk Ruoye.
However, there were seven more brides that were attracted to the heavy scent of blood within the depths of the forest. They were currently slowly hopping over there. Xie Lian immediately said, “Nan Feng, catch up to them. Don’t let them go down the mountain!”
There was no need to say anymore, because Nan Feng had already begun chasing after them. On the other hand, two brides began attacking Xie Lian. Their ten fingers were scarlet red and their fingernails were extremely sharp as they reached over.
In response, Xie Lian took out two veils he had just picked up from the ground before he suddenly threw them. The veils flew out as they spun in the air before neatly covering the heads of the two brides. Immediately, their actions became sluggish.
Sure enough, the moment they were covered with the veils, their noses and eyes were blocked by a thick layer of cloth. The brides became no longer able to see the shadows of people or smell the scent of the living. And because their bodies were stiff corpses, it was impossible for them to bend their arms and take off those veils by themselves. They could only stretch out their hands and randomly claw frantically in all directions, as if they were playing a game of hide and seek.
This scene was truly frightening yet comical at the same time. Xie Lian stood in front of the two brides and waved his hands in front of their covered faces in a probing manner. When he saw how they were completely unaware of his presence and instead began stretching their hands out in the opposite direction, Xie Lian began to think. After a moment, he finally couldn’t hold back and said, “Excuse me for this.”
Xie Lian grabbed a hand from each bride before placing them on each other’s necks. The two brides suddenly touched something and were very surprised. Since they couldn’t see anything, they began to fiercely destroy each other. Xie Lian quickly ran away before he raised another hand. The silk Ruoye followed him in a flash of faint rainbow light before it silently fell onto the ground, creating a huge, white loop. Xie Lian yelled at the villagers who were still running about in all directions, “Everyone, go into the ring!”
The group of people hesitated as they ran everywhere, but Little Ying quickly supported that bandaged teenager and stood inside the circle. After thinking for a moment, Little Ying ran out again and dragged inside the little youngster who had fainted and was currently lying on the ground.
At this moment, another bride had jumped over to the edge of the white loop. She stretched out her hands to claw at them, but it was like she was separated from the inside of the loop by an invisible wall. Little Ying realized that the brides couldn’t hop into the loop no matter what they did and hastily cried, “Everyone, quickly come in! They can’t enter the white loop!”
Upon seeing this, all the villagers promptly began rushing over like a swarm of bees. It was fortunate Xie Lian made the silk Ruoye become a few times longer than its original length so that the loop would be sufficiently large. Otherwise, he would have to worry over whether or not people would be squeezed out.
The brides couldn’t jump into the loop and knew they wouldn’t be able to touch anything inside. Simultaneously turning around, they smiled sharply at Xie Lian and began rushing over to him.
However, Xie Lian had long been waiting for them. Taking out a whole lot of veils from inside his sleeves, four or five pieces of red cloth began spinning around in his palms. His feet moved unceasingly and his hands didn’t rest. The moment a bride charged at him, he would accurately cover her with a veil. After a bride’s head was covered, she would begin groping around in a blind and sluggish manner. Those veils that spun around in the sky really dazzled people’s eyes. Xie Lian tossed and flung the red cloths in a skillful and easy manner, with those veils flying out in the air like red shadows.
The people in the white loop actually couldn’t stop themselves from loudly cheering and applauding at this scene.
“Amazing, amazing, truly too amazing!”
“This skill had been practiced before, right?!”
When Xie Lian heard this, he habitually blurted out, “Not bad, not bad. Those who have money, please tip me, those who don’t, please watch and support me with your enthusiasm……ah???”
Only after he said those words did he realize something was wrong. The words he used to say to his audience after a performance actually slipped out of his mouth. Thus, Xie Lian’s words quickly came to a halt.
While he had been speaking, a few more brides began hopping up. Every jump of theirs were at least seven chi2 tall and carried them three zhang3 far. In a flash, they arrived in front of Xie Lian with a puff of rotten stink.
Xie Lian bounced off his feet and also propelled himself into the sky. In the air, he quickly mouthed the password to the spirit communication array three times before saying, “Ling Wen, Ling Wen, the all-knowing! I have a question. Do you know if the martial god of the North, General Ming Guang, has a close female friend?”
Ling Wen’s voice echoed beside his ear. “Your Highness, what are you asking this for?”
Xie Lian replied, “Right now my situation is a bit critical. To tell the truth, there’s currently around ten or so dead people chasing after me.”
Ling Wen: “Ah? That terrible???”
Xie Lian: “It’s not that bad. In any case, does he have any? I know this question is fairly personal and hard to answer, so I didn’t ask within the spirit communication array. However, it’s required for my mission, and I definitely wouldn’t divulge the information.”
Ling Wen replied, “Your Highness, you’ve misunderstood. It isn’t that this question is hard to answer. No, it’s because Old Pei4 has too many female confidantes. When you asked me that question so suddenly, for a while I didn’t know which one you were asking about.”
When he heard that, Xie Lian nearly twisted his ankle. “Alright. Then, within General Pei’s close female friends, is there someone that is highly possessive, extremely prone to jealousy, and have a disability somewhere on her body?”
Ling Wen said, “When you say it like that, I actually thought of someone.”
Xie Lian once again sent out two red veils, attracting another wave of cheers. Turning around, he cupped his hands in a salute before he said, “Please explain!”
Ling Wen replied, “Before Old Pei ascended, he had been a general. On the battlefield, he met a female general from an enemy country. She was extremely beautiful and alluring, and her temperament was heroic and fierce. Her name was Xuan Ji.”
Xie Lian echoed, “Ah, Xuan Ji?”
Ling Wen continued speaking, “General Pei, this person……whenever he meets a beautiful woman, even if she is holding a knife to his throat, he would still seek her company. This woman led troops and crossed swords with him, but in the end, she was defeated.”
Xuan Ji became a captive and was sent to an enemy camp. Taking advantage of how her escorts were unprepared, she planned to commit suicide on the spot. However, her suicidal attempt hadn’t been successful. A general had chopped her long sword in half with a single strike of his own sword, saving her. And the elegant and graceful enemy General Pei, later ascended and became General Ming Guang.
This General Pei, on one hand, was someone who always had tender, protective feelings for the fairer sex. And secondly, the outcome of the war had already been determined. Even if the two countries continued to squabble back and forth, it was impossible for the enemy country to make a comeback. Thus, he released Xuan Ji. Well, over a period of time, a certain situation would gradually emerge. And what happened afterwards was extremely easy to imagine.
At this time, a bride grabbed Xie Lian’s right leg. Her five fingers tightened until they nearly dug into his skin. Xie Lian was just about to kick her when he suddenly realized that at this angle, he would have no other choice but to kick her face. In his heart, Xie Lian thought that it wasn’t good to hit a girl’s face. Thus, he changed his position and kicked her shoulder before throwing out another veil. Then he replied, “That sounds like a beautiful and admirable story.”
Ling Wen said, “It originally was a beautiful story. However, what went wrong was that Xuan Ji became adamant in becoming General Pei’s only lover for the rest of their lives.”
In two steps, Xie Lian leapt and climbed onto the roof. As he looked down upon the five or six brides that continued approaching him, he wiped away some sweat and said, “In the first place, it isn’t wrong for a woman to wish her lover would only love her for the rest of their lives.”
Ling Wen responded, “It indeed isn’t wrong. However, the two countries were in a state of war. On the battlefield, everybody was ruthless. Originally, Xuan Ji and General Pei came to an agreement of having a short-lived relationship. They were completely willing to only have the present with no following morning, where they would talk romance and not chat about war. Moreover, for Old Pei, if I speak frankly……if he doesn’t lead you on with another woman, it’s already not too bad.”
“However, that Xuan Ji was a noble woman from a general family. Her personality was extremely fierce. For the things she wanted, she wouldn’t let go even if she had to kill them.”
“Wait a moment, wait a moment!” Xie Lian quickly cut Ling Wen off. “Tell me first, is Xuan Ji disabled or not? Where is her disability?”
“It’s her……” When Ling Wen said those words, her voice suddenly came to an abrupt halt.
It was truly too annoying. Every time Xie Lian was about to hear the crucial points, the little spiritual energy he had borrowed got completely used up. Next time, it seemed that he had to ask his informant to say the main points first.
In the middle of a leap, Xie Lian quickly tidied up his thoughts once again. If the bandaged teenager was not the ghost bridegroom, and if every villager had already confirmed with each other that the ghost bridegroom hadn’t mixed into their group, then the only remaining place it could hide in was within the pile of brides!
When he had hid in the group of brides himself, the ghost bridegroom hadn’t managed to notice something wrong. In return, when the ghost bridegroom had mixed itself into the corpses, he didn’t manage to tell at first glance that there was an extra body.
If he carefully thought things over, after the silk Ruoye injured the ghost bridegroom, he only saw a cloud of black mist roll into the woods. There was no guarantee that someone had been hiding within that cloud of black mist. In fact, Xie Lian was afraid that when he had rushed out toward the forest, the ghost bridegroom stayed within the dark mist and brushed past him before returning to the temple. By hiding within the forest’s leaves, it sneaked itself into the group of corpses.
In that case, the ‘ghost bridegroom’ wasn’t a bridegroom and was instead just a ‘bride’——in fact, she was a woman wearing a bride’s wedding dress!
Since she was a woman, a lot of mysteries could be explained. For example, why the Mount Yu Jun region didn’t have any other Ming Guang Temples. It wasn’t because the people didn’t want to build one. No, it was because they couldn’t build one. Little Ying had said, “Whenever they made the decisions to build a Ming Guang Temple, the temple would always catch on fire for no reason before it was completed.”
That didn’t sound very coincidental, so the only explanation for it was that someone had deliberately set those temples on fire. And why would someone set fire to the unfinished temples? Under normal circumstances, it would be because of hate.
However, within Mount Yu Jun, there was a Ming Guang Temple blocked from the outside world by a befuddling array. No one could enter it, yet the workmanship of the Godly statue inside was very superb. In addition, the preservation of the statue was very good as well. Why was that so?
The ghost bridegroom wore a wedding dress herself, but she couldn’t bear to see smiling brides within the Mount Yu Jun region. Again, why was that the case?
After connecting all these clues, other than the desire to monopolize someone and extreme jealousy, Xie Lian couldn’t think of any other answers.
And for that weird noise that sounded like something heavy was being dragged across the floor with a wooden stick wrapped in thick cloth, if they were truly the sound of footsteps……Xie Lian could only think of one possibility!
He had already covered all the brides chasing after him with a veil. Thus, Xie Lian was finally able to fall back onto the ground as he lightly released a breath. Then, concentrating his attention, Xie Lian got up to count those brides.
One, two, three, four……ten.
Seven brides had hopped into the forest, with Nan Feng chasing after them. Ten brides had their heads covered by veils again because of him, and they were all here. In that case, there was still one more bride who still hadn’t appeared.
Right at that moment, from behind him, Xie Lian heard the familiar and strange thumping noises again.
Slowly turning around, Xie Lian saw a very short and small figure appear within his sight.
He lightly sucked in a breath and thought in his heart, “Sure enough, it’s like this.”
The short and small woman in front of him was dressed all in red. There wasn’t a happy atmosphere surrounding her, and instead she only looked mournful.
However, the reason she was short and small wasn’t because she had a petite figure. No, it was because she was kneeling on the ground.
Both her legs were broken, but her lower legs hadn’t been broken off. Instead, she had been walking this entire time using her knees.
In fact, the weird thumping noises Xie Lian had heard were precisely caused by this bride’s broken legs as she hopped around and moved.
- I believe this is most likely referring to jiangshi, which are the Chinese equivalent of a love child between the western vampire and zombie. They’re an undead creature that ‘hops’ around with their arms stretched out in front of them, and because their bodies are stiff, they cannot bend their limbs.
- The Chinese foot, approximately a third of a meter.
- Equal to ten chi, approximately 3.3 meters.
- General Ming Guang is the title for General Pei, in case anyone has forgotten!