Chapter 4: The Interrogation
Luo MingChuan was sizing up the person in front of him like this when he suddenly saw the boy’s thin lips open. The youth called his name in a low tone, “Senior-apprentice brother Luo.”
Yin BiYue’s voice was cold, detached and indifferent.
Luo MingChuan finally snapped out of his daze. Once upon a time, in the Lan Yuan Academy, this person called him ‘senior-apprentice brother’ as well. However, it had been many years since he heard Yin BiYue address him like that. It was as if many things had changed after they both entered Cang Ya Mountain. For one, their previous friendship as schoolmates had suddenly disappeared.
In the blink of an eye, his train of thought became completely messed up. When Luo MingChuan once again returned his gaze to the person in front of him, all the questions he had prepared beforehand unexpectedly disappeared. He was at a loss for words, and began unconsciously talking in a gentler tone as he murmured, “Junior-apprentice brother Yin……”
However, instead of waiting for him to continue talking, the other boy spoke first. “Senior-apprentice brother came to ask me about what happened in the Violet Heaven Secret Realm?”
Thus, Luo MingChuan had no other choice but to nod. “That’s right.”
He didn’t know what was wrong with himself. Clearly, all the evidence he had against Yin BiYue was already unquestionable. So, why was he still faintly hoping from the bottom of his heart that this boy was innocent? Why was his subconscious unwilling to believe that this youth had wanted to harm him?
He was truly crazy. Luo MingChuan cleared his head, once again raising his guard.
However, the person in front of him stopped talking. The youth only stared at him, his gaze containing neither sorrow nor delight.
There were no excuses. There was no explanation.
The stifling silence reverberated through the prison cell.
In reality, Yin BiYue was already so anxious and frustrated, he wanted to smash his head against the wall and die.
He had been rehearsing his lines for this kind of script: the protagonist approached him and, with a severe tone, immediately began to interrogate him. It would be best if the protagonist denounced and accused him. Then, Yin BiYue could take advantage of this opportunity and suffer his accusations in silence. He would stay unwilling to explain his actions. In the end, Yin BiYue would be ‘forced’ by the protagonist to say that he had met demonic cultivators in the Violet Heaven Secret Realm and was coerced by them to set up the killing array. This would be because he had no other choice, so he had been planning to first put on an act, before dying and taking down all of the demonic cultivators with him to his grave.
That would have been such a good script! There would have been drama, there would have been conflicts, and even his actions would have completely in-character too!
Sure, that script had so many loopholes, even paste wouldn’t be able to cover them all. However, with his exquisite acting skills sharpened by countless years of practice and the protagonist’s upright, Holy Mother type of personality, Yin BiYue was at least seventy-percent sure he would be able to deceive him.
Then, if the protagonist himself could help him testify before pleading for leniency at his public trial, his fate would completely take a turn for the better.
But now?! Protagonist, why weren’t you following the script?!
Yin BiYue hadn’t even finished organizing his thoughts when he saw the person in front of him knit his eyebrows. The protagonist seemed as if he was dissatisfied with his silence……
Alright then! He could just follow the protagonist’s script and improvise! Fight-o!
Yin BiYue was just about to start talking when he raised his head. Suddenly, a pair of eyes locked onto his, one that made him feel as if he was staring into the abyss.
Those eyes were as black as ink, and deep like an endless whirlpool. It felt as if those eyes wanted to absorb a person’s soul.
Yin BiYue was suddenly alarmed! Jia Lan Spiritual Pupil Arts!
Luo MingChuan actually knew Spiritual Pupil Arts!
The hell! What happened to that Holy Mother personality?! Protagonist, why were you already pulling out the big guns?!
After a person transmigrated many times, their experience would become plentiful and enriched. Thus, Yin BiYue knew what Luo MingChuan was doing. This kind of spiritual art allowed a cultivator to influence a person’s heart and soul. It was similar to the demonic cultivators’ Soul Assimilation Technique. When one cultivated the technique to its maximum level, it would become possible for them to completely control their target’s thoughts.
However, the technique Luo MingChuan used was a spiritual art from the upright faction. It didn’t really cause much mental damage to the person it was used on. The only drawback to this technique was that it was so difficult to learn, only a genius with extremely high talent would be able to do so.
Thus, Luo MingChuan’s current ability was only capable of making a person feel dazed. Then, that person would begin unconsciously speaking the truth.
Unfortunately, the original Yin BiYue’s cultivation level wasn’t enough to resist a mind invasion technique of this degree. If Liu QiShuang had been caught off guard, even she might not be able to resolve it.
On one hand, Yin BiYue was mentally exclaiming in admiration. The protagonist was really an existence than defied the natural order of the universe! He could even pick up this kind of extremely difficult spiritual art! On the other hand, Yin BiYue really wished he could slap his thigh and laugh uncontrollably.
This old grandpa had already transmigrated that many times. Even if he didn’t have any other abilities, his soul was already more condensed than 24K titanium alloy! If he came across an opponent, he wasn’t afraid of fighting it out!
……Unfortunately, the show had to go on.
Yin BiYue had merely stared at those eyes for a short moment. However, the youth’s cold eyes immediately became empty and blank. It was as if the mountain breeze had blown over a cloud of dense mist.
Faced with a pair of eyes like this, innocent and pure ones that looked like a naive child’s, Luo MingChuan almost couldn’t say anything. In his heart, a trace of guilt began floating upward……
“Junior-apprentice brother, you……why do you want to kill me?”
Yin BiYue really itched to rush forward and give the other a huge slap!
Dear boy, ah! How were you so completely unaware of a villain’s heart?!
A villain was someone who had extremely high qualifications but was repeatedly robbed of the limelight! Thus, the extreme jealousy made them blacken! This was the standard setting of a villain, ah!
The original Yin BiYue was that year’s top student from the Academy. However, after entering the Sect he was repeatedly beaten by Luo MingChuan. In addition, every day he would hear twenty variations of ‘although senior-apprentice brother Luo’s natural talent isn’t as good as senior-apprentice brother Yin’s, he’s really such a good person’. After a while, those words became, ‘how did that Yin something manage to enter Cang Ya Mountain? In my opinion, senior-apprentice brother Luo is a hundred times better than him’.
The original Yin BiYue was just an arrogant and proud teen who didn’t like paying attention to other people. However, after entering the Sect for two years, his personality had long twisted, ah! He began madly rushing toward a gloomy and unstable mindset with no hopes of returning!
None of that was important right now though. Suddenly, Yin BiYue smiled lightly.
Like a rock falling into a calm lake, the smile in his eyes began rippling out, layer by layer. It was like his cold appearance, one made out of snow and ice, began to thaw. The spring breeze began waking up the peach blossoms on the mountain in an unrestrained manner. It was like he was a deity from heaven who finally returned to mortal realm, all because of this one smile.
“Senior-apprentice brother, you came to see me ah,” the youth’s smile exposed his young, juvenile nature. Like a child, he cocked his head to the side. “This is truly great.”
“The fact that I can see you one more time, it’s really too great.”
Luo MingChuan froze, stumped for words. Why was junior-apprentice brother……saying it like that?
To him, this kind of Yin BiYue was really too unfamiliar.
It was as if the youth had unarmed himself of all his defenses, before thawing that icy aura he had always used to repel people a hundred miles away from him.
This was the real Yin BiYue……and the fragile Yin BiYue.
Luo MingChuan didn’t understand. Why would an always arrogant and indifferent person be fragile? In addition, why would he himself feel as if his heart was hurting?
Yin BiYue only saw Luo MingChuan’s pupils turn deep and profound in colour, like he was pondering something. It was hard to distinguish either joy or sorrow in that gaze. Suddenly, however, the young man became alert, as if someone had dumped a bucket of cold water over his head.
Could it be……was Luo MingChuan suspecting something?
Wait! The question Luo MingChuan had asked Yin BiYue was, ‘why do you want to kill me?’! How could someone affected by the Spiritual Pupil Art give an irrelevant answer?!
Too big of a mistake, he was too careless! Should the other realize that there was something different about Yin BiYue’s soul……
He must immediately say something to divert Luo MingChuan’s attention, something that would make the other forget this loophole!
Although Yin BiYue still looked rather dazed on the surface, his brain was operating at the speed of light.
The biggest problem was, how was he supposed to save this?! With that pause in speech, no matter how Holy Mother-like Luo MingChuan was, he would have already realized something was wrong!
“Ding——in order for the respected customer to better understand the product’s usage, a complementary Customer Self-Experience Service may be used three times. This will help you effortlessly solve difficult life problems. Do you wish to activate it now?”
Customer Self-Experience Service?! What the heck was that??!!
By now, the Luo MingChuan standing in front of him had already scrunched up his eyebrows……
Activate activate activate!!! Solve my difficult life problems!!
“Ding——Little Halo Assistant is here to serve you!”
Suddenly, Yin BiYue felt something in his mind stiffen. It was as if thousands of invisible ropes had covered his body, pulling him like a puppet and making him change his expression and actions.
The youth’s smile vanished.
“You thought I wanted to kill you?”
It looked like he was just talking to himself. However, it also looked as if he was asking the person in front of him. When the youth got to the end of his question, his voice began subtly trembling, as if he was trying to suppress something.
“Kill you? ……How could I possibly kill you?! Senior-apprentice brother Luo……do you know……”
A resplendent brilliance suddenly exploded from those cold eyes. The youth only stared at the person in front of him, his beautiful and angry eyes burning like they were going to crack into pieces.
“Even if I died that day, I wouldn’t have let anything happen to you!”
Luo MingChuan was completely shocked!
Madness, obsession, unwillingness, resentment, and……emotions he did not understand. All kinds of sincere emotions ingrained bone-deep, began to solidify in those pupils. Even the winding rim of the corner of the youth’s beautiful eyes began faintly turning a scarlet-red.
Luo MingChuan murmured, “Junior-apprentice brother……”
“I only wanted to leave Cang Ya Mountain together with you, but why did that transportation array turn into a killing array?! Why didn’t it only focus on you?! Why did it become like that……I couldn’t control it anymore……I clearly followed that person’s instructions perfectly ah……”
The youth staggered before throwing himself forward as his iron chains jangled unpleasantly. Ten deathly-white fingers tightly gripped the black iron bars.
Luo MingChuan stared at the heavy shackles binding those delicate wrists.
Leave Cang Ya Mountain……together?
“Who told you to do those things, and where did you want to bring me?”
“In the Secret Realm, I met a cultivator at the Pure Water Lake. He said, there was a way for me to obtain what I desired……” When Yin BiYue said that, he suddenly became even more emotionally stirred up. Even his seemingly thin and weak shoulders began to faintly tremble.
“You asked me where I wanted to take you?! We clearly already agreed! The Academy Director said, ‘once a gentleman promises, he can’t go back on it’! Senior-apprentice brother, did you truly forget everything?”
Pure Water Lake? Right, the Pure Water Lake! Junior-apprentice brother must have met a demonic cultivator by the lake and unknowingly became part of their scheme!
However, the youth didn’t wait for him to carefully think through things and ask more questions. Instead, he continued the conversation himself. “I wanted to bring you to Qiongzhou, ah! ……I knew you wouldn’t want to leave with me, so I thought of this plan.”
The boy smiled once more as he eyes sparkled brightly. His expression seemed to say, ‘aren’t I so smart? Quickly praise me!’
Qiongzhou?! Luo MingChuan’s eyes widened in disbelief before he asked, “How did you learn about this?”
Suddenly, Luo MingChuan reacted. This was bad! If he used the the Spiritual Pupil Art on someone as they underwent turbulent emotions like exultation to deep grief, it would be extremely easy to harm their mind!
In addition, his intuition told him that he could not ask any more questions. If he did, the youth in front of him would tell him a strange secret!
Thus, Luo MingChuan lightly yelled, “God arrives to give the soul, break!”
Unfortunately, with his current cultivation level, it was impossible for his spell to break the moment he spoke those words.
It was already too late.
The youth slowly opened his mouth. “Three years ago……under the full moon and during the Mid-Autumn Festival, when we graduated from the Lan Yuan Academy and when everyone drank their fill of the Pear Blossom Wine……this wasn’t what you said……”
Something exploded in Luo MingChuan’s head.
In his memories, an absurd night like that had long became fuzzy and vague.
With the heavens above, what had he done?!
In this world, Lan Yuan Academy was extremely famous. Every year, there wouldn’t be more than thirty accepted applicants, and the ones who actually managed to graduate smoothly were as rare as phoenix feathers. The Academy didn’t have a limit to graduating students, and as long as one could pass their exams, they would be able to graduate. The ones who couldn’t stand to stay there could voluntarily leave as well. However, they would no longer be able to re-enter the Academy for the rest of their life and they would no longer be able to call themselves a child of the Academy. But despite that, just being a ex-student was enough to give them a bright future.
And for those who graduated from the Academy…….whether they followed a sword’s path or a spiritual path, or whether they decided to strive for authority or power, none of those graduates would be mediocre. It could be said that they would become the new heroes of the world.
Although Luo MingChuan was four years older than Yin BiYue, the two of them entered the Academy in the same year. After being schoolmates for three years, they both passed the final exam together and graduated at the same time.
Yin BiYue had seized the top marks for that year. He became the youngest student who had ever obtained a graduating class’ top marks in the Academy’s long history. Every influential family, royal family, sect, and other big powers fell over themselves trying to coax him to join them. For a long while, his reputation had been illustrious.
The night they graduated, the twenty of them met up at the Lotus Water Pavilion before raising their wine cups and breaking out in songs. This group of talented youths were already disdainfully looking at the world finally open to them. The grand feeling of leaving the life they knew to find success engulfed all of them, however, they also felt at a loss for where they would be the next day, and what they should seek.
After they departed, this group of youths would be separated by high mountains and bodies of water. They may never meet each other again. Or, some of them may become enemies. Some may even die and nobody would know. But……perhaps some of them would become even more lively and beautiful, living a life full of joy. Perhaps some of them would become more eloquent, and receive honour and riches and a blazing future. Perhaps some of them would reach the summit of a mountain, or some may cultivate bitterly in solitude with only the vast clouds as their company.
The road in front of them was boundless and obscure. The affairs of life were difficult to anticipate. They only knew that after that night, their lives would change forever.
Thus, as all sorts of emotions welled up in their hearts, those feelings became the wine in their cups.
That year, Yin BiYue was simply just a tsundere1, a young and proud teenager.
That year, Luo MingChuan was still a careless youngster, one capable of becoming a roaring drunk.
Lotus Water Pavilion. Cups and dishes were thrown in a disarray, chopsticks broke as merry songs were sung, and fireworks exploded under the thick scent of fine wine. The aftermath of such a scene welcomed the next morning.
Something slowly brushed away the shadows and dust covering his memories, revealing their vivid, true colours.
“I don’t want to enter that Cang Ya Mountain. What’s so good about cultivating? It would be better to return to my home, Qiongzhou, find a wife and have a child.”
“Ha ha ha, how about you come with me? Let’s return home……”
Luo MingChuan was stunned by the memories that flashed in his mind. He was completely dumbstruck, and could only stare ahead in a stupefied daze.
Whose hand had he been pulling that night? That was an answer he had long forgotten. However……could it be that it hadn’t been the junior-apprentice sister who had slapped him the next morning……
And was instead……junior-apprentice brother Yin?!
And then? What happened after that? Did he say anything even worse? Did he do something? Did something else happen……?
How old was junior-apprentice brother that year?! Had he even turned fourteen years old?!
Luo MingChuan bitterly wished he could fly back to that night, lift up his intoxicated past self and then give him two hard slaps to wake him up! He was worse than a beast, ah!
By the time he snapped out of his daze and wanted to say something, Luo MingChuan saw the mist in Yin BiYue’s eyes slowly dissipate. Those thick eyelashes closed shut. When the youth opened his eyes again, the pupils were comparable to a lofty star in the sky.
The young boy frowned slightly. A trace of confusion flashed through his eyes, as if he didn’t understand what had just happened.
The Spiritual Pupil Art was resolved.
After falling silent, the youth didn’t ask anything. Instead, he merely retreated two steps, before turning around and walking back into the darkness. An apathetic voice floated out.
“If nothing’s the matter, then please return, senior-apprentice brother Luo.”
In response, Luo MingChuan practically fled.
1. Ao Jiao, or basically the Chinese translation of tsundere. I had been debating whether or not to put the pinyin instead of tsundere and then footnoting it, but I figured more readers would know what tsundere was, and that it’ll hopefully be less jarring than the pinyin despite it kind of ruining the immersion.↩