(translated by anniaxx)
(edited by xia0xiao1mei)
Mantis Capturing Cicada
“What? Bai Xiao Sheng is one of Bai Yue Sect’s people?”
Pang Wan just couldn’t believe her ears, tightly holding onto Nan Yi’s arm, so shocked that her hands are even shaking.
“That’s right, Sect Leader placed Bai Xiao Sheng next to Gu Xi Ju’s side ten years ago, he has always been one of the Bai Yue Sect’s people.”
Nan Yi takes off the black scarf on his face, smiling with great confidence.
“Throughout all these years, he has been accumulating credit step by step, finally becoming Gu Xi Ju’s trusted one. Gu Xi Ju thinks that no one can compare to his own intelligence, yet how could he ever predict when a mantis is capturing a cicada, a yellow oriole is actually waiting behind them?”
He sounds a scoff from the bottom of his nose, “Sect Leader has issued the final command to Bai Xiao Sheng, afraid that Gu Xi Ju is probably not going to live past today.”
A chill runs through Pang Wan’s spine.
She suddenly recalls the incident of Nan Yi disguising himself to heal Bai Xiao Sheng after he was injured by the Blood Tyrant, didn’t think there was also this relation concealed within the situation……“If we had such an excellent chess piece like Bai Xiao Sheng, then why didn’t we use him earlier?” She gazes at Nan Yi perplexedly.
Nan Yi sighs: “That Gu Xi Ju has always acted really intimate with him, even handing the Jade Dragon Token to him, Bai Xiao Sheng was almost going to completely betray us despite the parasite poison in his body, fortunately you stole that Jade Dragon Token, only then did he realize that Gu Xi Ju has never believed him from the beginning, so he became willing to follow Sect Leader’s command.”
Pang Wan couldn’t resist letting out an “ah” sound.
The goal of making Gu Xi Ju lose the world’s trust due to her stealing the Jade Dragon Token was not achieved, but unexpectedly, it caused him to lose his life, could this be counted as hitting the target without even trying?
“We shall wait in the inn first, by the latest tomorrow, the news should be spread.” Nan Yi pats her cheek, “Sect Leader is more anxious than you.”
Pang Wan suddenly noticed, what he has been saying is “Sect Leader”, not “Father”.
“You and Sect Leader……” She lifts up her little face and looks at him nervously.
“Matters between adults, you needn’t know.” Nan Yi pauses, but then immediately gently caresses her hair, “You just need to know, no matter what happens, I will always be your Senior Brother.”
Upon hearing this, Pang Wan’s tears start to fall down in turbulent streams.
These two Senior Brother and Junior Sister sat together and talked a lot, including where Nan Yi had gone to after leaving Bai Yue Sect, what has he been doing, naturally, Pang Wan also tells the complete story of her and He Qing Lu, only leaving out the part of him being the Young Palace Master of Solitary Palace.
Nan Yi was silent for a long time after hearing the story.
“This Gentleman He, is he truly a trustable person you can entrust yourself to?” His ink-black pupils gazes at Pang Wan, not moving at all.
Pang Wan thinks of He Qing Lu’s actions throughout the whole journey, and could not help but to nod: “He treats me with a sincere heart.”
It’s not like they experienced any enormous events that would shake the heavens and the earth, it’s just that in the days that has flowed away like a stream, she has taken notice of his clumsy use of words, his lack of expression of concern, feel his firm and unhesitant love, He Qing Lu may be a noble gentleman with a cold and arrogant appearance, but inside, he has an honest heart that cannot be any more pure.
“Do you like him?” Nan Yi pauses for a moment then suddenly asks her, his words as straightforward as the look in his eyes.
Pang Wan freezes, then somewhat bashfully lowers her head —— she is indeed attached to He Qing Lu, cannot bear to see him in any kind of sadness or sorrow, maybe, this is a kind of like?
Nan Yi sees her looking like a shy little girl, then somewhat knows the answer in his heart.
He remains silent for a moment, then reaches out his hand to comb the strand of hair by her cheek to the back of her ear: “You’re really planning to leave with him?”
Just when Pang Wan lifts up her head to answer him, the words on the tip of her tongue are then swallowed back to her stomach, her pair of round almond eyes stares behind Nan Yi.
He Qing Lu is standing by the door with his face stiff, his slender fingers holding on to the bronze knocking ring, obviously he has just pushed the door to come in.
“Gentleman……” She unconsciously swallows a gulp.
He Qing Lu’s eyebrows furrow, without making a move, he indifferently calls out: “Are you going to come over or not?” Both his tone and expression impatient to the extreme.
Pang Wan instantly stands up obediently.
Yet someone suddenly holds onto her arm.
“I am speaking to my Junior Sister, when did you have the right to interrupt?” Nan Yi snatches the first step to block her path, his face ice cold.
He Qing Lu’s forehead furrows even deeper, he chooses to ignore Nan Yi, tilting his head and commanding in a light voice to the person behind Nan Yi: “Come here.”
Pang Wan hears this chilling voice, and knows in her heart that he has already reached the brink of exploding, hence quickly sticking her head out from behind Nan Yi.
“Coming, coming” She pushes away Nan Yi’s hand, running toward the door in brisk steps.
Nan Yi slightly freezes for a second.
“Gentleman, this is my Senior Brother, you two have met before.” Pang Wan clings onto He Qing Lu’s arm and drags him forward whilst giggling, “Come, come, come, let us all be acquainted with each other.”
He Qing Lu is unwillingly dragged by her to Nan Yi, these two charming and exceptional young men just stand in the room, awkwardly staring at each other.
“Treat her well.” After a moment, Nan Yi finally speaks up to break the silence, he walks forward and pats He Qing Lu’s shoulder. “Should you cause her to the slightest bit of sadness, even if I have to chase yo to the end of the earth, I would still go break your bones and scatter your ashes.”
After saying those words, Nan Yi directly marches off, with his lonesome figure appearing extremely elegant.
“Wah, I did not even know my Senior Brother would actually treasure me this much!” Pang Wan exclaims whilst gazing at Nan Yi’s distant figure. She then giggles and presses herself close to the person next to her, “Gentleman, did you hear that, Senior Brother has got my back!”
He Qing Lu is angry and ruffled, giving a pat to her forehead: “I dare you to try sticking that close to him again next time, watch out I’d be the first to chop off his hand!”
Pang Wan touches her head and gives him a silly smile.
——right now, gentleman is so good, trusting her, protecting her, he would not hurt her because of any random jealousy. At that time, he was furious when he found out the entanglement between her and Gu Xi Ju, locking himself up in the room for three days and three nights without even coming out once, but in the end, he still followed her revenge plan, let her go, prepared all the necessary tools for her, also rescuing her out during the most pressing moment.
“As long as you will be coming back alive and well, and be willing to leave with me.” This was the only remuneration he asked.
Pang Wan holds on to He Qing Lu’s arm, ramblingly describing every detail of the Heaven Worship Ceremony, then indignantly says: “Don’t know what happened to those old sect leaders, each one of them said Gu Xi Ju’s Jade Dragon Token was real, no matter the shape or the color, it was just clearly not right, could it be that they all became blind unanimously?”
He Qing Lu stayed silent for a moment, then nonchalantly answers: “No, it’s not that they became blind unanimously, but rather they chose to stand on the same side unanimously.”
Pang Wan is astonished, lifts her head and looks into his eyes.
“It seems that Gu Xi Ju has truly paid a great cost this time, bribed a bunch of Wu Lin sect leaders with coercion and incentive, with these people supporting him, even if he takes out a stone and says it is the Jade Dragon Token, probably no one would protest anything.” He Qing Lu smiles at her, showing that he has already expected it all, “Be it right or wrong, righteous or unorthodox, everyone has a balance in his heart, this balance is his own benefit, all the people will choose the answer that is most beneficial to them, not the answer that most aligns with the truth.”
After listening to him, Pang Wan was silent for a long time, she thought of the rashomon effect.
“You now know why the Solitary Palace never gets involved in the war between the righteous and the unorthodox?” He Qing Lu sighs, “Because there is really no method to simply categorize what is righteous and what is unorthodox, my Second Uncle just happens to also be a lazy man indulged in freedom.”
Pang Wan thinks of what she has seen and heard since stepping into Jiang Hu, and couldn’t help but to feel solitude emerging in her heart.
She used to be jealous of the ladies of prestigious families of the famous and righteous sects, because they are born to the white lotus flowers that have clean backgrounds and no suffering against discrimination, yet looking at it now, nothing can be said to the extreme in this world.
But coming back to the topic, if Bai Xiao Sheng really killed Gu Xi Ju, how would the Jiang Hu turn out? The position of Supreme Chief falls into He Shan Nai’s hands? That old man is not someone good either, the fight between Bai Yue Sect and the righteous sects will continue endlessly.
She feels the Jade Dragon Token in her sleeve, not saying anything for a long time.
“Did your head hurt today? Do you feel unwell anywhere?” He Qing Lu embraces her shoulders and asks her conditions carefully like usual.
Pang Wan shakes her head, gently buries herself in his arms.
——wait till tomorrow, wait till tomorrow when the news of Bai Xiao Sheng’s success comes, then she can rest assured and give the Jade Dragon Token to Nan Yi, then leave this complicated world with He Qing Lu, and go to that place filled with mystery.
But on the second day, she was unable to hear any news regarding whether Gu Xi Ju has died or not.
At the hour of the early morning, Ah Zhuo carried the decoction medicine to Pang Wan’s bedside like usual, planning to wake her up.
However, Pang Wan did not open up her eyes like she did every day before, her eyes were tightly closed from the beginning to the end, not making the slightest sign of reaction.
Ah Zhuo’s face blanched, she immediately tries to feel her breath, touch her pulse.
After a moment, a sound of “pia” cracks the silence, the decoction bowl in Ah Zhuo’s hands has dropped to the ground, the dark black decoction liquid meandering along the floor, quietly flowing to a place unknown.
 Parasite Posion/蛊毒/gǔ dú: Remember in footnote  of Chapter 7, we talked about a kind of special parasite that is injected to control one’s body and puts his or her life in the hands of the parasite owner.
Rashomon Effect/罗生门/luō shēng mén: Rashomon is a Japanese term that is used in Chinese as well, describing the circumstance that different people interpret the same event differently based on their benefits and viewpoints. Rashomon (meaning the Gate of Rasho) is originally a gate on the Suzaku Street in Kyoto. A poor and cowardly man wanted to be a robber, so he came to the Gate of Rasho, where many corpses were laid, to rob money from the dead people. He saw an old lady pulling out the hair of a dead female and became furious at her action. The old lady said she just wants to survive by making a wig to sell and told him that this female was also a bad person when she was alive, selling snake meat as eels to others. The man realized there is nothing that can’t be done for survival, so he robbed the cloth of the old lady. This story gave Rashomon the meaning it has today.
Translator’s Note: Don’t cry, don’t cry!!!