Chapter 54 – Unhappy Reunion
Shen Qingqiu was grabbed so hard that his bones were almost broken. Now only his legs could move but he didn’t want to publicly knee Luo Binghe in the groin. Thinking back on everything that had happened, he felt a faint flame of anger rising.
Shen Qingqiu said: “You did this on purpose.”
Luo Binghe asked, “What does Shizun mean?”
Shen Qingqiu said: “You didn’t immediately slaughter everyone in the sect. Instead, you delayed matters for a long time just to draw me out.
Luo Binghe smiled bitterly: “It seems that Shizun can occasionally guess his disciple’s thoughts correctly. This disciple is truly wild with joy. I wish I could beat my chest and stamp my feet to engrave this moment in my memory forever.”
Liu Qingge withdrew his sword. He swayed and seemed to be somewhat dizzy. Pointing at Luo Binghe, he said, “You, let him go.”
Luo Binghe dragged Shen Qingqiu into his arms and said impatiently, “What did you say?”
His attitude as he did this was unyielding, causing Shen Qingqiu’s depression, which he had been suppressing, to shoot three feet high.
Shen Qingqiu silently took a deep breath and said: “When did you realize that it was me in your dreams?”
If Luo Binghe hadn’t discovered that Shen Qingqiu hadn’t died, would Luo Binghe have waited at Cang Qiong Mountain sect like a hunter trying to flush out his prey?1
Luo Binghe said, “Shizun looks down on me too much. Even if I didn’t notice the first time, I would be really stupid if I didn’t notice it the second time.”
Shen Qingqiu suddenly felt a pain in his knee. Silently, he thought: You’re not stupid; I’m the one who’s stupid.
It was only Shen Qingqiu who knew how Luo Binghe cultivated and manipulated his dream abilities to superb effect but Shen Qingqiu thought he was really out of his mind and wouldn’t be able to differentiate between hallucinations and people who invaded his dreamland.
Shen Qingqiu asked, “Why didn’t you end the dream when you discovered an anomaly?” Is it fun to act out a “teacher’s devoted and obedient disciple” play?
Luo Binghe looked at him. Unexpectedly, he said: “Why would I want to do that? Was Shizun not happy to be coaxed by me?”
At that time Shen Qingqiu wasn’t happy at all because he was worried about Luo Binghe’s psychological state. However, the facts have proved that everything, including his worries, was under Luo Binghe’s control. After all, this was Luo Binghe, the protagonist. How could he have made such a big mistake,2 thinking that Luo Binghe had turned over a new leaf and mended his ways, becoming just a lovely, pitiful little white flower?
Shen Qingqiu was the type of person who was amenable to coaxing but not to coercion. 3 However, now he felt as though his face had been slapped twice when he realized that Luo Binghe had only been pretending.4
Qi Qingqi involuntarily cried out: “Slow down, what’s going on?” She pointed inside the
Qiong Ding’s palace hall: “The one lying inside… Isn’t that Shen Qingqiu? Why is there another one?”
Luo Binghe seemed to be in a good mood as he said: “Why don’t you ask the former An Ding Peak Lord?”
Shen Qingqiu: …****! He knew that the only thing Shang Qinghua could be given credit for was having no backbone or moral integrity.
Shang Qinghua chuckled but immediately stepped forward when Mobei Jun gave him a sidelong look. Head high, chest puffed out, he gathered his wits,5 and said clearly: “A few years ago senior apprentice brother Shen accidentally found a place that held a treasure, the Sun and Moon Dew Flower Seed. This spirit plant can be molded into the shape of a body. It was with the help of this treasure that senior apprentice brother Shen was able to shed his mortal body at Huayue City. The corpse inside is his but it’s only an empty shell. The one here outside is him, too. Both are him!”
This was a succinct summary, very concise and understandable. Several pairs of eyes suddenly turned towards Shen Qingqiu. Liu Qingge immediately pointed Cheng Luan at Shen Qingqiu. The murderous look on Liu Qingge’s face was worse than when he was looking at Luo Binghe earlier.
Yue Qingyuan whispered, “In that case, why has there been absolutely no news of you for the past five years? Why did you sever all connections with the Twelve Peaks? Is it because, in your heart, your fellow sect members are unworthy of your trust?”
Shen Qingqiu felt guilty at his lack of confidence: “That, senior apprentice brother, listen to me…”
Qi Qingqi sighed: “Shen Qingqiu, you… you’re actually that kind of person! Do you know how badly they were hurt by you, senior apprentice brother? Do you know how much your disciples cried? All day long Qing Jing Peak was filled with the sound of weeping! For one entire year, no one wanted to visit the Peak because it was shrouded in gloom, with everyone wearing mourning clothes! The position of Peak Lord was left vacant while you were happily playing outside, free and unfettered!”
The thing Shen Qingqiu was most afraid of was the shrewish Qi Qingqi pointing a finger at him and giving him a scolding. Shen Qingqiu hurriedly said: “I really didn’t mean to do that. I wasn’t happily playing freely outside at all. I’ve been buried in the soil for five years. I just woke up a few days ago. That person who was running around outside free and unfettered, it was all his doing!”
When Shang Qinghua saw that the spearhead was pointing at him again, he felt even more wronged: “Why blame me again? Didn’t you say you wanted it to mature as soon as possible?”
Liu Qingge pressed his fingers against his temple: “Shut up!”
Shang Qinghua shut up. They were a noisy group. In fact, if you looked at this scene a certain way, it probably looked quite funny but Shen Qingqiu thought that the entertainment factor was lost because of the timing.
Fires had sprung up all over Qiong Ding Peak and its buildings were scorched black. After two days of fighting and siege, it no longer had its usual majestic and dignified look. Inside and outside the palace hall, there were people with bloodstained faces holding on to another disciple’s hand to stand. The disciples of the younger generation around him seemed panic-stricken. They were exhausted, like an arrow at the end of its flight. On the other hand, the black-armored demon generals and fighters that had half-surrounded the Cang Qiong Mountain sect disciples looked like newly sharpened swords. The demons’ bright eyes were staring at the disciples like tigers watching their prey.
Shen Qingqiu turned around to look at the person behind him and said, “Luo Binghe, you said you came to Cang Qiong Mountain Sect to catch me.”
Luo Binghe said: “Correct.”
Shen Qingqiu said, “You’ve caught me.” Your goal has been achieved. It’s time to withdraw.
Luo Binghe looked at him and said, “You won’t run away?”
“…” Shen Qingqiu nodded slowly: “I won’t run away.”
The corners of Luo Binghe’s mouth turned up in a humorless6 smile. For the first time, his face showed an expression that was devoid of mockery. He whispered: “So many times, I’ve believed in Shizun so much.”
Liu Qingge suddenly said, “Shen Qingqiu, what do you mean?”
He looked at Shen Qingqiu as though Shen Qingqiu’s words had just subjected him to extraordinary shame and humiliation: “Bai Zhan Peak’s Lord is here. You’re right in front of me but you intend to sacrifice yourself by surrendering your body to him?”
Junior apprentice brother, I can understand that as Bai Zhan Peak’s Lord, you feel that your dignity has been violated, but could you change the words you use? What the devil do you mean by “surrendering your body”? Please change this way of referring to it, thank you!
Liu Qingge said: “You’re afraid of being a burden on Cang Qiong Mountain sect but Cang Qiong Mountain sect isn’t necessarily afraid of this burden.”
Luo Binghe sneered: “How many unbroken ribs do you have left?”
When Yue Qingyuan’s hand grasped Xuan Su’s hilt, Mu Qingfang, who was beside him, said nervously: “Senior apprentice brother sect leader, you forcefully pulled out of closed-door cultivation and sustained grievous injuries at the hands of the enemy. Now you’re barely able to draw your sword. I’m afraid that it will really harm your body…”
A burst of black qi suddenly rose to Yue Qingyuan’s face but was forced down again. His voice was strained when he said: “No, impossible. Junior apprentice brother already died once. We weren’t able to protect him then. Do I really have to watch him die again?”
Shen Qingqiu’s mind was in turmoil when he heard those words. If one were to list all of the people Shen Qingqiu admired and respected most in the world, Yue Qingyuan would rank first. Not only did he have a powerful, sincere, and earnest desire to protect, but he always did his utmost for the sect as a whole. Shen Qingqiu found it too embarrassing to ask the Cang Qiong Mountain’s sect master to clear up Shen Qingqiu’s mess7 and pay the bill for him. The one who had courted death was him alone, therefore he should take on this burden alone. Shen Qingqiu said: “I alone can take responsibility for the disciple that I taught. Senior apprentice brother, as the sect master, the well-being of all the disciples of the sect rests on your shoulders. You should know what choice to make.”
The hall was silent. Yue Qingyuan’s face was stiff and his knuckles were white. Shen Qingqiu was reminding him that, as the leader of a sect that was in a very perilous situation, the proper choice was easy to see.
As every Peak Lord was considering this, Ning Yingying rushed forward, grabbed Shen Qingqiu’s arm, and shouted: “I disagree!”
Shen Qingqiu said: “Ming Fan, take care of your junior apprentice sister.”8
Ning Yingying said: “I’m not a child anymore! I don’t need someone to take care of me. During the altercation at Jinlan City and Huan Hua Palace, Shizun, you came forward to solve the problem. Why does it have to be you again this time? Why does it have to be Shizun who suffers each time?”
Because I’m the one courting disaster. But at least he managed to raise a normal and filial girl. Shen Qingqiu had been very worried but now he felt somewhat relieved: “It’s not seemly for an adult to weep endlessly like this. Your teacher isn’t going to die.” In his heart, he added the word: Probably…
The next moment, Ming Fan, with a face full of grief and indignation, said: “Shizun, wouldn’t death be better than giving yourself to this devil9 for Cang Qiong Mountain sect’s sake? Who has ever heard of a gentleman who gives his own life to feed a devil?”
What are you saying? Ming Fan, you little brat, can you speak human?!
This long delay made Luo Binghe impatient. He grabbed Shen Qingqiu’s hand, put his other hand on the Heart Devil’s hilt, and said: “I’ll be taking Shizun’s immortal body, too.”
Another Peak Lord said indignantly: “That’s going too far! Isn’t it enough for you to take one person away? What are you going to do with a corpse?”
Luo Binghe didn’t answer. Instead, he gestured to Mobei Jun then gave him instructions. Seeing this, with great reluctance, Shen Qingqiu decided to compromise. One wrong word and another dispute could arise. To prevent this, Shen Qingqiu wanted to pull on Luo Binghe’s arm but felt too embarrassed to do that. Instead, he pulled on Luo Binghe’s sleeve. He hesitated for a while then summoned up all his courage and said: “I’m going to accompany you so why do you have to do this?”
When he said that, Shen Qingqiu felt extremely humiliated.
He was a man but in front of so many other people, he had to whisper “accompany you” in a conciliatory tone.10 The fact that this person was once his disciple made him feel even more resentful. This situation was disgraceful.
However, showing one’s weak side had a certain effect on men. The expression on Luo Binghe’s face visibly became sunny and cloudless. Not only did his grip on Shen Qingqiu loosen, but even his tone of voice also softened. Nonetheless, even though his tone was soft, his words were still as harsh as before: “Shizun’s original body is still very important. After all, if Shizun’s soul leaves his current body again like a cicada casting off its skin, this disciple wouldn’t know what to do.”
As soon as Luo Binghe turned his head away from Shen Qingqiu, his voice became cold: “Take it away.”
Before Mobei Jun could move, Qi Qingqi, who had been listening to Liu Mingyan quietly whispering to her in the upper hall, first looked surprised then became calm and said: “Stop arguing!”
She raised her head and said: “Luo Binghe, there’s no need to argue over this now. Even if we were to allow you to take it away, your wish can’t be fulfilled.”
Shen Qingqiu knew she was hot-tempered and didn’t know if she might say something extremely infuriating to provoke Luo Binghe. Shen Qingqiu had a bad feeling about this but, unexpectedly, she motioned Liu Mingyan to forward: “Mingyan, tell them.”
Liu Mingyan: “Shen Shishu’s11 immortal body is missing.”
She stepped aside after she finished speaking and from behind her a few disciples were carried out. These were the disciples who had been at the ceremonial12 platform guarding the corpse. The disciples were all unconscious and their bodies from their faces to their fingertips were a strange bluish black color.
There was an uproar in the hall. Yue Qingyuan’s facial expression changed and Luo Binghe raised his eyebrows. Qi Qingqi said calmly, “Luo Binghe, you needn’t give me that look. I really wanted to hide it but, unfortunately, I had just told Mingyan to go to the hall, only to find that the platform was empty. The corpse that we placed on it and preserved, as was appropriate, has disappeared.”
She seemed delighted and spoke cheerfully. Unexpectedly, she would rather the corpse sprout wings and fly away than be carried off by Luo Binghe. Mu Qingfang examined the disciples and said: “They are unconscious but their lives are not in danger. It’s poison.”
Yue Qingyuan said: “Which poison is it?”
Mu Qingfang said: “I can’t tell right now. They have no wounds. Let me take a sample of their blood to test.”
Qi Qingqi said: “If this was poison from the human world, junior apprentice brother Mu would be able to identify it with a glance. Since he is unable to, is this something you did?”
Luo Binghe said indifferently: “I don’t like to use poison.”
It’s true, Luo Binghe rarely uses poison to kill people. Moreover, he had no need to lie since he was currently in an overwhelmingly superior position.
This meant that while the two sides were gathered in the hall, bickering with each other, some unknown person or persons had secretly sneaked inside past all of their defenses, and stolen Shen Qingqi’s corpse right from under the noses of the leaders of the human cultivators and demons. What a scary thought!
Shen Qingqiu wondered: What’s up with people trying to steal his corpse? How come when he was alive no one wanted him but when he was dead he was in high demand?13
Luo Binghe saw that it would do no good to stay here and talk about it. Frowning, he said: “Never mind, no matter who took it, I will always be able to find it.”
Black qi rose up in the air when Luo Binghe drew the Heart Devil sword. A slash of his sword cleaved space and a portal opened. Shen Qingqiu reminded him: “Remove the encirclement14.”
Luo Binghe looked at him then said brusquely: “As Shizun wishes.”
The tip of Liu Qingge’s sword Cheng Luan was pointed down. Liu Qingge looked up and his hand clenched so tightly on the sword’s hilt that his palm15 was cut and blood dripped down the blade.
He stood there frozen for a long time but could only spit out a single phrase: “Just wait!”
This word was thrown out like an icy dart yet full of fury and an overpowering desire to fight.
Luo Binghe sheathed the Heart Devil sword and smiled grimly: “Go ahead!”
- This chapter is by Reika (me).
- To be honest, the dialogue is quite funny but I like that Shen Qingqiu makes the point that it’s actually very unfunny given the state that the sect is in.
- Please let me know if there are any errors.
You don’t really need to read this stuff but if you’re interested, here are some notes about the translation:
- The dialogue throughout this chapter is actually full of innuendo that’s super hard to translate but I did my best to make it sound full of double meanings in English. 🙂
- “…he didn’t want to publicly knee Luo Binghe in the groin.” – Because it would ruin his “cold and elegant” image.
- “This disciple is truly wild with joy.” – Pfft, Luo Binghe seems to be pretending this is sarcastic but I’m pretty sure he truly is ecstatic that his Shizun is alive.
- “…you intend to sacrifice yourself by surrendering your body to him.” – Everyone seems to think that Peak Lord Shen is going to have to let the Demon Lord burst his chrysanthemum. Shen Qingqiu complains about Liu Qingge’s word choice because this phrase “surrendering your body” is 委身 wěi shēn which means “give oneself wholly to” or “give one’s body to; marry.” I think it’s just a thinly veiled phrase for “doing it.” Some people seem to think that Shen Qingqiu is sacrificing his chastity for the sect.
- “A burst of black qi…” – I think is 100% literal. I imagine black energy rising up. This should be the sign of a backlash if you are a righteous cultivator, right? But for demons, black qi should be normal.
- “Remove the encirclement” – I’m told this should be “lift the siege.” Yes, I am aware it means both “siege” and “encirclement.” Encirclement is a military term for the situation when a force or target is isolated and surrounded by enemy forces. I think a general would be more likely to say “remove the encirclement” rather than “lift the siege.” It’s simply a stylistic choice.
Let me know if you have any suggestions or if there are any errors. Thanks for reading!
- 守株待兔 (shǒu zhū dài tù) lit. “to guard a tree-stump, waiting for rabbits”
- 乌龙 – “own goal” i.e. a player accidentally hitting the ball into his own team’s goal but in context means either an accident or a mistake.
- 吃软不吃硬 (chī ruǎn bù chī yìng) literally “eats soft food, but refuses hard food”
- A literal translation of this would be “Shen Qingqiu was truly the type of person who eats soft food but refuses hard food but you can’t slap him the face after eating and say: pretend.” I changed it quite a bit to try to make it more understandable.
- 气沉丹田 – literally “qi sinks into dantian.”
- 无力 (wú lì) powerless or lacking strength
- 擦屁股 (cā pì gu) “wipe his (Shen Qingqiu’s) bottom
- 师妹 (shī mèi) junior female student or apprentice; daughter (younger than oneself) of one’s teacher
- Both times he uses 魔头 mó tóu – monster; devil
- 跟 gēn – means to follow behind, go with, or marry someone. It’s hard to translate but I think Shen Qingqiu deliberately used a more submissive phrase than normal to try to coax Luo Binghe to back off and leave.
- 师叔 shī shū – this is what disciples call their master’s fellow disciples
- 坐化 zuò huà – literally a “to die in a seated posture.” This is a phrase used to say that a Buddhist monk has died.
- 香饽饽xiāng bō bo – literally “delicious cakes” meaning a popular person or something that is in high demand
- Encirclement is a military term for the situation when a force or target is isolated and surrounded by enemy forces
- 虎口 hǔ kǒu – the place between the thumb and forefinger. Metaphorically – the tiger’s den; a dangerous place