(translated by xia0xiao1mei)
(edited by anniaxx)
The ship sailed for half a month, and has finally arrived at the port nearest to Lin Yi. Here, Pang Wan was able to meet up with the sect’s people who received her message from the carrier pigeons, and orders them to send the unconscious Nan Yi back. Only then, does she move onto horse, heading down the main road with He Qing Lu.
At long last, Senior Brother needs not be forced into deep sleep, this has allowed for Pang Wan, who had been preoccupied with troubles along the way, to finally be relieved.
Just that, don’t know whether the Nan Yi who wakes up later, would still turn into that bloodthirsty beast with a full body of sudden exploding veins? Is he still capable of maintaining his sanity?
——the strange matter that has occurred on Nan Yi’s body, is yet another mystery to be solved.
Having grown rather worn out from their travels, they have finally arrived at Lin Yi, and the well-experienced Jin Di Luo leads them to the city’s largest and finest inn.
“Apologies to our four guests, but there is only one master room available.” The inn-keeper says the timelessly renowned lines that have been countlessly used in wuxia romance stories.
Everyone’s conditioned response was to shoot their gaze towards He Qing Lu.
“Add two more ordinary rooms.” Gentleman ponders a little, and then commands this.
“One is enough, us two can squeeze together.” Pang Wan thought the rooms were left for her and the mute maid, and hastily holds onto the mute maid’s hand to explain.
He Qing Lu stares at their two hands held together, his eyes undetectably turn somewhat stern.
“Add another two ordinary rooms.” He casts a glance at the inn-keeper, an air of coercion blowing against their faces.
Everyone were obediently rendered speechless all at once.
Pang Wan sits on the glamorous chaise lounge, looking dejected.
She really did not think, He Qing Lu would choose to have her “squeeze together” with him.
“You don’t want your face, but I still want my face (you have no shame, but I still have shame)……” She quietly mutters, secretly glancing at the slender figure currently washing his face in front.
“You want to clean your face as well?” He Qing Lu turns to look at her, amber eyes looking increasingly bright amongst the dense steam, just like the frosty stars.
Pang Wan with her anger reaching her head, glares at him and says nothing.
He Qing Lu thinks for moment, then once again wrings the cloth and hands it to her: “You should give it a clean, looking just like a tabby cat, so ugly.”
Pang Wan pushes away the cloth, complaining in a rage: “Gentleman! Do you truly not understand or are you pretending to not understand? The two of us are not officially married yet, we cannot share the same room, what is the meaning of you making things difficult for me like this?”
What is the meaning?
He Qing Lu blinks.
His thoughts are actually very simple, Pang Wan’s internal energy has been wiped clean right now, he cannot rest assured with her staying by herself, nor is he willing to have her “squeezing together” with another person, so he can only do himself wrong by having her “squeezing together” with him.
But he cannot tell Pang Wan, where his rejection towards the mute maid had come from, because even he, himself, is unable to understand this.
“Didn’t we speak about this before? When outside, you must listen to me regarding all matters, en?”
He takes on a commanding bearing to intimidate her.
The threat being thoroughly effective, Pang Wan bitterly purses her lips and speaks no more, just that her facial expression was looking very bad.
Seeing her look so unhappy, He Qing Lu suddenly feels his heart soften.
He lowers his head wanting to pinch her puffed up cheeks, but suddenly pauses halfway, all that can be seen, is him taking the cloth to carefully wipe her face, then printing his lips onto her.
Succeeding in stealing a peck, he is greatly satisfied, hugging Pang Wan as he softly says: “We will be husband and wife sooner or later, no one would gossip about this, so why should you be bothered?”
He says this very righteously, but is completely unaware how his tone is no different to that of a rapist who abducts kind and innocent young ladies.
But Pang Wan does not have the effort to bother with his unruly acts, right now, her entire attention has turned to the cloth in his hand.
In the corner of that snow white cotton towel, a familiar looking eagle head symbol is printed on it.
“What’s this?” She points to that blue symbol.
“This is a clan emblem.” He Qing Lu follows her finger, “This inn is a property of a certain huge clan, everything provided by them will be branded, in order to avoid loss or confusion with outsider products.”
Having said that, he then adds: “All the cloths here are new, they are thrown away when the guests leaves, it’s clear that the owner is definitely a rich and powerful individual.”
Pang Wan is occupied with thoughts as she nods.
In a blink of an eye, it is already night.
The so called master room of the inn, is exclusively used for the wealthy class with servants, with two compartments, both inside and outside, each with their own respective bed. So when evening came, Pang Wan would of course stay in the outer room, the most luxurious room inside is thus left for the Great Young Master He to enjoy.
Fortunately, even though He Qing Lu comes from an influential background, presumably due to his habit of conducting research alone, he does not have maids helping him with dressing, face washing, hair combing, such acts of prideful extravagance. Before sleeping, all he does is hold a candle and comes checking on Pang Wan, once he sees all is well with her, he would return to his own room.
Pang Wan hid under the covers for a good moment, only once she had confirmed there is no longer any signs of movements in the room, does she secretly take out a black jade piece from within the pillow case.
Carved on it is a gloriously imposing eagle head, impressively, it perfectly matches with the symbol printed on the corner of the cloth she saw this morning.
She looks at it and touches it, deep down she solemnly makes a decision.
Moving onto the next day, He Qing Lu takes Jin Di Luo to the Ninth Prince’s alternative residence, but did not find any traces of Sang Chan, instead, they received unexpected news, causing their faces to instantly turn gloomy.
“Young Master, should this awful happening be reported to Lady Wan Wan?” Jin Di Luo is somewhat unsure about this.
He Qing Lu starts playing with the blood-red coral beads in hand, his long lashes lowered, covering all his inner thoughts.
“If you were her, what would you do if you heard this news?” He suddenly asks.
Jin Di Luo is stunned, then lowers his head to respectfully say: “If I, your subordinate, am in her shoes, naturally I would rush back regardless of anything else, but……” He pauses, expression looking slightly shy, “But Lady Wan Wan is a woman, and now she also has Young Master, such a good companion to end up with, thus would not necessarily be willing take the risk.”
“Oh?” He Qing Lu sounds an almost undetectable harrumph.
“Young Master, I, your subordinate, apologise for speaking too much, but no matter what position we hold, we cannot stick our hands into public matters of the Jiang Hu, may Young Master think everything over three times before progressing.” Jin Di Luo respectfully wraps his fist in reminder.
He Qing Lu declines to comment, hooking up a smile.
Master and servant sit in the inn for half a day, until the sun was setting, and only then did they finally see a young lady in red appear from the door curtains.
Straws hanging from her head, skirt covered in leaves, hair loosely strayed to the side, looking in quite the sorry state.
“What did you two do?”
With a blink of an eye, she sees the two people sitting inside the room, and cannot help getting a shock.
“Where did you go? How did you get into such a filthy state?”
He Qing Lu’s forehead was tightly creased, the eyes gazing at her looking exceptionally stern.
Pang Wan rubs her nose, and sounds two dry laughs: “Hei-hei, today Longfu Temple held a temple fair nearby, I and Ah Zhuo went to join the fun.” Ah Zhuo is the obedient and intelligent mute maid.
“Where’s Ah Zhuo? Why did she not come back with you?” He Qing Lu’s forehead did not loosen up in the slightest bit.
“There were too many people at the temple fair, we got separated along the way, in the end, I managed to find her back with great difficulty.” Pang Wan shrugs her shoulders, “Leaving me in a full head of sweat from searching, so once she got back, she went to prepare a bath for me.”
Her explanation makes sense and is reasonable, only now does He Qing Lu nod, the doubts in his eyes instantly disappears.
This attitude, as though he is the head of the family, sat high up and proud.
Seeing him act so pretentious, Pang Wan suddenly gets a huge boost of courage, daring to do whatever bad things come to mind, she leaps in front of him and prettily says: “Gentleman, do you not believe that I smell? Come, you give it a sniff, a little sniff and you will know.” Having said that, she deliberately moves her head towards his nose, the tip of a straw had almost dug into his nostril.
“Nonsense!” He Qing Lu is angered, extending his hand to grab her shoulders and push her backwards.
Pang Wan cries out in pain, her foot staggers and she almost fell to the ground.
But in the end, her body is protectively guarded by someone, He Qing Lu’s arm is tightly wrapped around her, causing her to lose the opportunity to come in intimate contact with the earth.
“You are indeed too smelly, how could you be so smelly?” He frowns at her, eyes filled with disgust, “Your body has the smell of sweat, malt sugar, dried persimmon, yellow dog, camphor wood……wait, why is there even the smell of chicken poop?!”
Pang Wan’s face instantly reveals an expression of worship: “Gentleman! You are so amazing! How did you know I bought malt sugar candy and dried persimmon to eat today? Also because of being chased by a wild dog, I accidentally knocked over someone’s chicken cage?” This person’s nose simply works better than that of a huge yellow dog!
He Qing Lu glares at her.
In fact, he feels proud at heart, but definitely cannot show this, at least, he cannot let this bratty girl know.
He also did not notice at all, Pang Wan had only left out the explanation of where the smell of “camphor wood” came from.
“If you had enough of this craze then quickly go take a bath and sleep early.” He lets go of Pang Wan, deliberately hardening his face, “Since Lin Yi is so lively, you go have a look around with Ah Zhuo the next few days, since we wouldn’t be staying for long anyway.”
Pang Wan is stunned: “You two didn’t manage to find Ninth Prince’s alternative residence?”
He Qing Lu frowns, after thinking for a moment, he says: “Found it, but Sang Chan had already left in advance.”
Pang Wan sounds an “ah”, face filled with extreme disappointment: “Does anyone know where she is heading?”
Jin Di Luo quickly sweeps a glance towards his master.
However, He Qing Lu had already made up his mind.
“She responded to an invitation and left for the Capital three days ago, to meet the Supreme Chief of Wu Lin, in need of discussing important matters.” His face remains calm.
“What important matters?” Pang Wan blankly looks at him, deep down, she suddenly gets an uneasy sense of foreboding.
“On the eighth of next month, the famed sects and righteous cults will officially join forces to attack Bai Yue Sect.” He holds Pang Wan’s hands, voice weighing down like a heavy rock, “After the new year, I’m afraid, Bai Yue Sect will no longer exist in the world.”
Pang Wan stares at him, blinking her eyes.
Snap after snap, countless thoughts sweeps past her mind.
“How do you know?” She raises the corners of her lips at him, complexion practically looking transparent, “How do you know Bai Yue Sect will definitely lose?”
He Qing Lu feels the soft hand in his unable to control itself from trembling, as though it had already been thrown in chaos.
“The young master heavily injured and lies in coma, Sheng Gu had disappeared, amongst the twelve masters, one is no different to disabled, the Bai Yue Sect today is already an arrow at the end of its flight. That Supreme Chief of Wu Lin is matchless in martial arts at such a young age, now that he is carrying the Jade Dragon Token to call upon the heroes of the world, gathering together the most masters in the history of Jiang Hu, it can be seen that this time round, if he does not thoroughly eradicate the Bai Yue forces, he will definitely not back down. Say, does Bai Yue Sect actually have a chance of winning?”
He tries his best to analyse the weighing out of powers in a gentle tone.
“Correct, what you say is all very correct, only one thing is wrong.”
Pang Wan smiles, slowly taking out her hand from his.
“Bai Yue Sect’s Sheng Gu did not disappear, she is currently standing in front of you, completely intact.”
She raises her head, looking at him with sparkling eyes.
Only she knows, how much unyielding firmness and courage those water-like eyes contain.
He Qing Lu’s eyes quickly narrows.
“So you are the Bai Yue Sheng Gu?” He pensively looks at Pang Wan.
“A very long time ago I have already told you this, unfortunately, you were unwilling to believe me at the time.” Pang Wan frankly says.
“Why did you not tell me the truth after you came to Solitary Palace?” A sharp menacing light flashes past He Qing Lu’s orbs.
Pang Wan shakes her head: “Because at that time, I indeed was not the Sheng Gu —— I did something wrong, and was removed from the title by Sect Leader.
He Qing Lu sinks into silence, not saying anything.
Instead, Jin Di Luo sounds a sigh at the side, face revealing a look of relieving himself from a burden.
“However, they may not want me being the Sheng Gu, yet right now, I insist on upholding this title.”
Pang Wan silently looks at the two people in front of her, her pale face revealing two dimples, voice clear and sweet like a yellow oriole.
“He who teaches me for one day, is thus my father for life, since Sect Leader brought me up with silk clothing and luxury food, when those in Bai Yue Sect are in trouble, I will naturally take on some of the responsibility.”
In that moment, no one speaks up after her, everyone sinking into silence, the atmosphere in the room is thoroughly sensitive.
Jin Di Luo sounds a cough to break the silence, clearing his throat to say: “Lady Wan Wan, in fact, our Young Master……”
“No need to speak.” Pang Wan smiles as she cuts him off, “I know what you want to say.”
She turns to look at He Qing Lu, looking calm and tranquil.
“I will not request for Solitary Palace to interfere with this matter, I know, you guys have a pledge to never intervene with the struggles between good and evil.”
She sounds a self-mocking laugh: “Rest assured, I am not Daji, I don’t have the charm to overturn all beings.” (Daji – consort of King Zhou, also a typical example of how a beauty had ruined a country. For more information: http://www.chinaknowledge.de/History/Myth/personsdaji.html)
Moreover, this is not the land of Mary Sue either, there will be no operations whereby everything is centred around the female lead, no miracles whereby she can change the rules of the games at any given time.
Jin Di Luo is greatly surprised, all of a sudden, he did not know what to say, and could only look towards his master in hesitation.
He Qing Lu gazes at Pang Wan, not saying a word from start to finish, seeming to have given silent acknowledgement.
“Gentleman, regarding the previous betrothment issue, I have the right to see it as a joke, although I don’t know why you would suddenly show such interest, how can we treat an important life event like child’s play?” Pang Wan sweetly smiles, cheeks like white jade emitting light, “Should you still wish to wed me to be your wife after the new year, there is no harm in picking out nice betrothal gifts and head to the sect to propose marriage.”
These words are like three birds one stone, both saving herself face, also giving He Qing Lu a route of retreat, the most important point being, she has clearly expressed her determination to coexist in life and death with Bai Yue Sect.
From start to finish, He Qing Lu’s face remains expressionless, up until he hears her mentioning their betrothment issue, which causes him to furrow his brows.
“You intend on returning to the south?” He finally speaks up.
Pang Wan nods, respectfully bowing with a wrapped fist gesture: “I will be setting off tomorrow morning, I appreciate the troubles you all went through for me during this time.”
A draft blows by, whisking up her soft hair, that pair of dark eyes shines bright like the stars. She is still in the state she was in before, red clothing stained with leaves, straws sticking out from her hair, a dirty mess.
Yet Jin Di Luo just feels that, something about her is different now.
 To steal a peck or to steal a kiss is actually 偷香 / tōu xiāng in Chinese – 偷/tōu meaning to steal and 香/xiāng meaning fragrance – fragrance obviously refers to a beautiful lady, whilst the term itself more accurately refers to taking advantage of lady.
 The Chinese term for rapist here is 采花贼 / cǎi huā zéi which literally translates to the flower plucking thief, meaning a man that deflowers women, thus stealing their virginity.
As always, all the sweet and pleasant times are but only the calm before the storm……