The First Arc: Blood Rain Reaching Towards a Flower
Chapter 19: Within Pu Qi Monastery, Strange Tales of Ban Yue Pass
“What’s wrong?” Xie Lian asked.
Sitting, San Lang spread his hands out and also asked, “What’s wrong?”
Fu Yao frowned. “Who are you?”
Xie Lian replied, “This is a friend of mine. Do you guys know him?”
With a face full of innocence, San Lang said, “Gege, who are these two people?”
Hearing him call Xie Lian ‘gege’ made the corner of Nan Feng’s mouth spasm as Fu Yao’s eyebrows twitched. Xie Lian waved a hand at San Lang. “It’s nothing. Don’t worry.”
Only to have Nan Feng interrupt him with a yell, “Don’t talk to him!”
“What, do you guys know him?” Xie Lian said.
Fu Yao coldly replied, “No we don’t.”
“If you don’t know him, then why are the two of you being so…..” Xie Lian hadn’t finished his sentence when he suddenly felt something glow from both sides. When he looked back, he found that the two of them were simultaneously amassing spheres of white light in their right hands. Xie Lian felt a foreboding premonition well up and hastily intervened. “Stop, stop! Don’t be so rash!”
The two spheres of white light that had risen from thin air sparked and looked incredibly dangerous. It was definitely not something normal people could make. San Lang clapped, as if out of courtesy. “Amazing, amazing.” These words of praise completely lacked sincerity.
With great difficulty, Xie Lian finally restrained both of their arms. Nan Feng turned around and angrily asked him, “Where did you meet this person? What is his surname1? Where does his family live? Where did he come from? Why is he with you?”
Xie Lian answered, “We met on the road, his name is San Lang, and I don’t know the rest. Because he had nowhere to go, I had him come with me. Let’s not be so reckless now, alright?”
“You……” Nan Feng held his breath and looked as if he wanted to scold him, but then he forcibly suppressed himself. He asked, “You don’t know a thing about him and yet you let him in?! What if he had any ill intentions?!”
Xie Lian wondered why Nan Feng’s tone sounded as if he were his dad. If he had been swapped with a different Heavenly Official, or even a different person, hearing someone younger than you speaking to you in this way would have already caused them unhappiness. But Xie Lian had already reached a point where he had long became completely disaffected by any berating and ridicule thrown his way. He also knew that the two of them had good intentions, so he paid it no mind. Just at this moment, San Lang asked, “Gege, are these your servants?”
Xie Lian warmly said, “The term ‘servant’ is wrong. To be more accurate, it would be helpers.”
San Lang laughed and said, “Really?”
He stood up. Conveniently grabbing something, he tossed it to Fu Yao. “Then, why don’t you help out a bit?”
Fu Yao caught it without even looking. Holding it in his hands, he tilted his head down to look when suddenly, a dark aura erupted from him.
That youngster had actually thrown him a broom!!!
His expression looked as if he was ready to smash both the teen and the broom itself to dust right then and there. Xie Lian rushed forward and swiftly took the broom away. “Be calm, be calm. I only have this one broom.” Who knew, just as he said this, Fu Yao released the white sphere of light in his palm. He hollered, “Immediately reveal your true form!”
San Lang didn’t make any effort to dodge. He remained in his sitting position with his arms crossed, and only slightly leaned to the side. That dazzling white light hit one of the legs of the offerings table. When the table tilted, the tableware slid off and crashed to the floor. Xie Lian placed a hand on his forehead, feeling that this could not continue. With a wave of his hand, Ruoye abruptly flew out and tied up Nan Feng and Fu Yao’s arms. The two struggled to get free but were unsuccessful. Nan Feng raged, “What are you doing!”
Xie Lian made the time-out gesture and said, “Let’s talk outside. Talk outside.”
With another wave of his hand, Ruoye started dragging the two outside. Xie Lian turned around his head to tell San Lang, “I’ll be right back.”
He closed the door behind him, and stood in front of the monastery. He then released Ruoye, grabbed the sign in front of the door, before placing it in front of the two. “Please read this and tell me what it says.”
Fu Yao, facing the sign, read, “This monastery is dilapidated. Sincerely seeking benevolent people to donate in order to renovate it. Accumulate merits and virtue.” He raised his head, “A dilapidated house seeking donations? You wrote this?? No matter what, you are still an ascended Heavenly Official. How can you write this kind of thing? Where is your dignity?”
Xie Lian nodded his head. “That’s right. I wrote it. If you guys continued fighting in there, I would be pleading for reconstruction instead of renovation. Then, I would really have no dignity left.”
Nan Feng pointed at the Pu Qi Monastery and said, “You don’t think that young man is odd??”
Xie Lian replied, “Of course I do.”
“If you clearly know he’s dangerous, why do you still dare to keep him by your side?”
Xie Lian saw that they had no intention of donating funds, so he went to put the sign back down and said, “Nan Feng, your words just now aren’t right. In the world, a person’s dispositions and strange encounters are countless. ‘Odd’ doesn’t necessarily equate to ‘dangerous’. One would know, to another’s eyes, I must seem odd as well. But, do either of you feel that I’m dangerous?”
This actually could not be refuted. This person clearly had fine bone structure and the refreshing appearance of an immortal, yet, on the contrary, collected trash all day. It was definitely weird!
Fu Yao said, “You aren’t afraid he’s scheming against you?”
Xie Lian asked, “Do you think I have anything worth scheming for?”
As soon as he said that, Nan Feng and Fu Yao were both rendered speechless.
This question was actually very reasonable. If a person was being targeted in a scheme, it was usually because of their wealth. But what was sad was that, if one really thought about it, there wasn’t anything valuable worth scheming for that the current Xie Lian would own. If one wanted money, he had no money. If one wanted treasures, he had no treasure. Unless someone resorted to coveting the scraps he collected every day?
Xie Lian added, “Besides, it’s not like I haven’t inspected him already.”
The two focused their attention on him.
“How did you inspect him?”
“What was the outcome?”
Xie Lian relayed the few times he had inspected him to the two and said, “There were no results. I’ve already examined him to this extent. If he isn’t an ordinary human, then there can only be one possibility.”
A Calamity class!
Fu Yao sneered “What if he really is a Calamity?”
Xie Lian said, “Do you really think a bigshot ghost like a Calamity would be as idle as we are? Coming to a village to collect rubbish with me.”
“We’re not idle at all!”
“Yes, yes, yes…….”
Up on the small hill outside the Pu Qi Monastery, the three of them could hear the sound of that young man’s leisurely footsteps as he walked around the building. They sounded as though he was content and without a care in the world. Nan Feng dropped his tone and said, “This won’t do. We still have to think of a way to test whether or not he really is a Calamity.”
Xie Lian kneaded the space between his eyebrows, saying, “Then go test him. Just don’t go over the top. What if he really is only a spoiled kid who has run away from home? I get along pretty well with this kid. Be nice, don’t bully him.”
Hearing the phrase ‘don’t bully him’, Nan Feng’s expression became hard to explain with just a few words, while Fu Yao’s eyes almost rolled to the back of his head. Xie Lian warned them again, before he reopened the door. San Lang’s head was lowered, like he was inspecting the leg of the offerings table. Xie Lian softly called, “You’re not hurt, are you?”
San Lang laughed and said, “I’m fine. Just checking to see if this table is fixable or not.”
Xie Lian warmly said, “What happened earlier was only a misunderstanding, please don’t take offense.”
San Lang laughed and said. “Since you’ve already said so, how can I take offense? Perhaps they thought I looked familiar.”
Fu Yao said in a freezing tone, “Precisely. A bit familiar. So previously, I was probably mistaken.”
San Lang smiled brightly before replying, “Oh. What a coincidence. I also thought you two looked a bit familiar.”
Although the two of them were still vigilant, they did not make any more drastic actions. Nan Feng muttered, “Clear a space for me to draw the ‘Shrink a Thousand Miles’ array.”
‘Shrink a Thousand Miles’ was a teleportation array. As its name suggested, it could turn the distance of a thousand miles, of mountains and rivers, into that of a single step. Aside from the fact that every use would expend a great deal of spiritual energy, nothing could be more useful. Xie Lian retrieved the bamboo mat from off the floor and said, “Draw it here.”
Earlier, when Fu Yao had entered, he hadn’t gotten to examine the interior furnishings. Now, after standing in this crooked, shabby house for quite a while, he was able to see it all. As if his entire body, from head to toe, was uncomfortable, he asked, “You live in a place like this?”
Xie Lian handed him a chair and said, “I’ve always lived in these kinds of places.”
Hearing this, Nan Feng’s movements faltered for a split second before he resumed his drawing of the array. Fu Yao did not sit, his expression also turning rigid for a second. It was hard to tell what the look on his face was. It seemed nine parts blank shock and one part schadenfreude.
But he quickly hid this unfathomable expression and said, “The bed?”
Xie Lian hugged the mat and said, “This is it.”
Nan Feng raised his head, took a look at that mat, before lowering his head again. Fu Yao glanced at San Lang on the side and said, “You slept together with him?”
Xie Lian asked, “Is there a problem?”
For a long time, neither of them spoke another word, so Xie Lian assumed there weren’t any more issues. Xie Lian then turned his head towards San Lang and inquired, “San Lang-ah. You were half way into explaining it before you got cut off earlier. What happened to that Ban Yue demonic cultivator? Please continue?”
San Lang had been staring at them with a look of pensive contemplation, his gaze dark. Having heard Xie Lian call out to him, he snapped out of his daze and lightly smiled. “Alright.”
After arranging his thoughts, he said, “The Ban Yue demonic cultivator is actually one of the ancient Ban Yue Kingdom’s Grand Tutors. Namely, one of the Two Demonic Cultivators.”
”If there are Two Demonic Cultivators, then it obviously involves two people. Who’s the other one?”
San Lang had an answer for every question. “Unrelated to the Ban Yue Kingdom. A demonic master from the Central Plains, called Grand Tutor Fang Xin.
Xie Lian’s eyes slowly widened a fraction before he continued on listening.
As it turned out, Ban Yue’s people were extraordinarily strong and partial to violence and war, and they wielded great influence. They captured an important checkpoint in the Western Regions of the Central Plains, causing the two nations to frequently intrude on each other’s borders, unceasing in conflicts. Battles big and small erupted frequently. Their Grand Tutor was skilled with sorcery, and the troops had the utmost faith towards them, willing to follow them even unto death.
However, two hundred years ago, the king of the Central Plains finally organized an army to attack, utterly flattening the Ban Yue Kingdom.
Although the Ban Yue Kingdom was extinguished, the Grand Tutor and troops’ hatred and resentment did not disperse. They remained to haunt the place. Ban Yue Kingdom used to be a state full of greenery, but after it turned into Ban Yue Pass, it seemed as if the evil energy had corroded the once lush scenery and it was slowly consumed by the surrounding Gobi Desert. It was said that at night, people could still see the lofty silhouettes of the Ban Yue soldiers, grasping a wolf tooth club, as they roamed the Gobi in search of prey from afar.
Originally, this place had tens of thousands of inhabitants. However, all of them gradually became unable to survive, so they migrated away and left. At the same time, the legend, ‘every time someone crosses this Pass, over fifty percent would go missing’ began spreading out. As long as they were people from the Central Plains passing this place, they all had to leave behind half as their illegal ‘toll’——human lives!
Fu Yao put on a fake smile. “This young master sure knows a lot.”
San Lang smilingly said, “Not at all, not at all. It’s only that what you know is too little.”
Xie Lian was unable to hold back a smile, thinking that this kiddo sure had a sharp tongue. He then heard San Lang lazily add on, “Though, this is merely unofficial history and some ancient tales and rumours. Who knows if there really is such a Grand Tutor? Or if Ban Yue Kingdom actually exists?”