Chapter 72: The Person Named Shen Jiu
Luo Binghe said, “You’re not afraid of me anymore?”
Not of the one outside. But the one in here, yes!
Luo Binghe raised a hand towards him. “Come here.”
If this was the original Luo Binghe after being blackened, no matter how he beckoned him, Shen Qingqiu definitely would have been so afraid that he would’ve just obediently gone over. But Shen Qingqiu still had the courage to fight to the death. However, the moment he turned around, that black-robed figure appeared in front of him, blocking his path. Shen Qingqiu was only a scant few inches away from knocking into him.
Shen Qingqiu violently backpedaled and narrowly avoided tripping. Luo Binghe reached out two fingers, tugging on his sleeve and pulling him back. He said gently, “Why are you running?”
Facing this face, right now Shen Qingqiu couldn’t even hit him, nor could he be completely afraid of him. He still didn’t give up and continued to knock on the System. “This is really the original Luo Binghe, right? It’s not this world’s Luo Binghe? What should I do to get through the punishment? Do I have to beat him? This isn’t much different from you just sending me back to my original world, is it!”
The System: 【Hello, while the punishment program is running…】
Shen Qingqiu closed the dialogue box.
Luo Binghe stared at his face for a while before he frowned and said, “I keep feeling as if… it seems like there’s something different about you. You’re really Shen Qingqiu?”
Shen Qingqiu blinked, maintaining his vigilance. Luo Binghe gazed at his face, looking a little perplexed before he slowly reached out and held Shen Qingqiu’s right hand.
His palm was the same as always: dry yet ice-cold. Shen Qingqiu’s heart was slightly moved, and he was about to say something when his right shoulder suddenly went cold.
In that instant, Shen Qingqiu didn’t actually feel the sensation of his right arm leaving his shoulder. He only saw something fly away as half of his body grew light before he had time to react.
Up until a monstrous, enormous pain suddenly washed through his entire body and brain.
Luo Binghe just completely ripped off his right arm!
Upon receiving the heavy injury, Shen Qingqiu’s body backlashed with a wave of spiritual energy all on its own. Luo Binghe struck him, and the energy immediately broke and scattered.
There was no way to stop the blood gushing out. Shen Qingqiu’s vision blurred, and he might have heard someone screaming, but he also might not have. His ears were ringing too sharply, and he couldn’t understand. He only wanted to quickly escape from this person in front of him!
He stumbled backward. After just a few steps, he tripped over the remnants of some charred bamboo, and he toppled, face-up, onto the ground.
The pain from losing an arm was too terrible, to the point that it even overwhelmed the feeling of his head smashing onto the ground. Luo Binghe calmly followed him. This time, he lightly stroked one of Shen Qingqiu’s calves.
Right now, Luo Binghe was planning on making him into a human stick!
It hurt so much that it was hard to breathe. Shen Qingqiu used his remaining arm to grab onto Luo Binghe, shaking his head wildly as he gasped for air. “Don’t… don’t…”
Don’t use that face to do something like this.
Luo Binghe used one hand to firmly restrain Shen Qingqiu on the ground. His gaze could nearly be described as sincere and affectionate.
He said gently, “It’s not as if this is my first time doing something like this. How is Shizun still so unaccustomed to it? Then, let’s do it a few more times until you slowly get used to it. How about that?”
In a heartbeat, a gut-wrenching agony spread rapidly from the base of his left leg throughout his entire body.
Shen Qingqiu couldn’t bear it any longer, and he let out a bloodcurdling scream!
Suddenly, the System’s monotonous voice issued a notice: 【The punishment has finished.】
The pain abruptly vanished, and Shen Qingqiu violently turned over and stood up before immediately collapsing onto his knees again. He didn’t even have the energy to curse the System and slap it in the face as he half-knelt on the ground, watching his drops of cold sweat land in bursts, dazed.
A voice suddenly spoke from the side. “What happened to you?”
Only then did he notice that he wasn’t the only one here.
In addition, it seemed as if he hadn’t been pulled back to reality yet. This was still the dreamscape.
This cave also seemed a little familiar. It looked like the same cave that the Dream Demon hid in when he appeared as a black mist that first time Shen Qingqiu entered the dream all those years ago.
The one next to him was precisely the Dream Demon.
Shen Qingqiu forcefully calmed himself down and asked in reply, “Why am I here at your place?”
The Dream Demon said, “You entered an extremely powerful dreamscape, and it seemed like your primordial spirit was in danger of ripping apart. I wanted to intervene the entire time, but I couldn’t. I tried many times before I suddenly succeeded just then, and along the way, I pulled you into the formation over here.”
Before, he had the impression that the Dream Demon didn’t really like him, but unexpectedly, when the Dream Demon saw that the situation wasn’t good, he ended up pulling Shen Qingqiu out “along the way.” Shen Qingqiu felt slightly surprised, and he said sincerely, “Many thanks, Elder… you’ve helped me greatly.”
The Dream Demon snorted. “No need to thank me. I’m just astonished that last time in the Holy Mausoleum, you actually managed to hang on until that brat woke up. You helped him quite a bit too. Helping him means helping this old man.”
That kind of agony from having an arm completely ripped off was already deeply embedded into Shen Qingqiu’s mind, and it was triggered any time that face floated up in his brain. Shen Qingqiu couldn’t help but grip his right shoulder with his left hand. He had to take in several breaths of air before he could say that name without his voice trembling. “Why don’t I see Luo Binghe?”
Usually, the one who tried the hardest and liked pulling him into dreams the most should be Luo Binghe. Basically every time Shen Qingqiu fell asleep, Luo Binghe would come over to disturb him. But this time, the Dream Demon actually beat Luo Binghe to it and pulled Shen Qingqiu into the formation first.
The Dream Demon grew depressed just thinking about it. “How would I know? Ever since the brat learned how to control my nightmare technique, I couldn’t enter his dreamscape ever again. In this world, only he dreams what he wishes to. I can’t do anything about it.”
If Shen Qingqiu couldn’t see the adorable Luo Binghe as fast as possible, he felt as if his limbs would continue to hurt the instant he recalled that name. Could the young man who was a pure and innocent little white flower quickly come out and feed him a tranquilizer?!
The Dream Demon shot a glance at him. When he saw that Shen Qingqiu’s expression was ashen, his lips pale, the Dream Demon’s face grew serious. “That brat will come to find you on his own Why are you worrying? Before, weren’t you doing your best to avoid him?”
Could this count as consolation?
As Shen Qingqiu looked at the Dream Demon, who was feigning disdain, he suddenly felt that this old man was a little cute.
He relaxed and sat on the ground. After a pause, Shen Qingqiu suddenly remembered something. “Elder Dream Demon, when I was in the Holy Mausoleum before, I carried Luo Binghe east. On the way there, I met two people. One of them was a woman. Did you…”
Back then, Qiu Haitang had lost consciousness for a little. When she woke, she went crazy for no reason at all and ran away. Shen Qingqiu suspected greatly that when she was unconscious, she encountered something in the dreamscape. At that time, Luo Binghe was also unconscious, his head burning like coal, so of course, he didn’t have time to invade Qiu Haitang’s dreamscape. In that case, the most likely possibility was that the Dream Demon did something.
As expected, the Dream Demon twirled his beard and said, “Just a little trick I did, that’s all.”
Even though he called it “a little trick” and pretend to be indifferent, he couldn’t conceal the arrogant tone to his voice. Shen Qingqiu couldn’t resist asking, “What exactly did you show her?”
Generally speaking, if the Dream Demon wanted to destroy somebody’s mind, he would show her her own darkest and most painful memories. Could it be that the Dream Demon pulled out her memories of the Qiu clan being wiped out?
No, that wasn’t right either. If that was the case, Qiu Haitang shouldn’t have reacted the way she had the moment she opened her eyes and saw Shen Qingqiu. She should’ve overflowed with hatred and struck out with her sword instead, trying to stab several hundred holes in him. Why would she cry and scream before turning and running?
The Dream Demon: “What I showed her wasn’t her memories. It was yours.”
Shen Qingqiu understood instantly. It was the bits and pieces of Shen Jiu’s memories that were still remaining in his body!
He had always cared a lot about what Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky mentioned before, concerning the portion of the original Shen Qingqiu that he hadn’t written down. Shen Qingqiu immediately said, “Could Elder please pull it out and show it to me?”
The Dream Demon looked at him, but he didn’t ask why Shen Qingqiu wanted someone else to pull out his own memories for him to see. He only asked, “You don’t remember them anymore?”
Shen Qingqiu prepared to toss out some excuse about how his memories were damaged when he had a qi deviation in order to avoid the question. He nodded. “Correct.”
It had to be said that the probability of having one’s memories damaged from qi deviation was still fairly low. But the Dream Demon didn’t actually pursue the topic. Instead, he said, “It’s better not to remember some things.”
Shen Qingqiu said, “I earnestly request Elder’s help.”
The Dream Demon: “You really want to see it?”
Shen Qingqiu nodded his head. The Dream Demon reached out a finger and pressed it against Shen Qingqiu’s forehead. “Close your eyes. Open them only when I let go.”
Shen Qingqiu obeyed and closed his eyes. The Dream Demon spoke again. “Your memories are badly damaged and are not complete. They skip over parts and aren’t continuous. You might also see people whose faces are blurry. This is caused by your own body. There’s no need to pay attention to it.”
What he meant to say was that if there was a BUG, it was a problem with your body’s source file, not my technique.
Shen Qingqiu counted to ten in his mind, and when the pressure against his forehead disappeared, he opened his eyes. A thin young man with disheveled hair was kneeling on the ground in front of him, his upper body bound by hemp rope.1
This young man’s face was pale, his chin sharp and his features pretty. But his face carried an irremovable sense of gloominess, and there were purple sections at the corners of his mouth and forehead. It was Shen Jiu when he was still young.
At Huayue City, when Shen Qingqiu escaped from Luo Binghe’s dreamscape formation, he inadvertently landed in the remnants of Shen Jiu’s memories. What he saw was precisely this scene. With a glance around, he discovered that, sure enough, what he saw during his hasty glimpse back then wasn’t wrong. This was a spacious room with a library and a bedroom linked together, separated only by a hardwood moon gate door. It was furnished lavishly, and exquisite calligraphy and paintings hung on the walls. It was impossible for a family that wasn’t rich to obtain these so this couldn’t be the lair of some human traffickers. 2
Shen Qingqiu crossed his arms and leaned against a nearby shelf that had many treasure slots on it, waiting quietly.
The wooden door carved with flowers and plants in front of him opened soundlessly.
Shen Jiu’s head remained rigid and he didn’t move, but his eyes swept upwards as the newcomer’s figure reflected in his irises.
A young man with luxurious clothing stepped over the threshold. When Shen Qingqiu saw that face of his, which looked 60% like Qiu Haitang’s, he knew that this had to be the eldest member from the Qiu clan extermination: Qiu Haitang’s older brother.
What he had suspected before was correct. No matter what, the days that Shen Jiu spent in the Qiu family wasn’t like what Qiu Haitang said, nor had he been “treated like family.”
The youth strolled leisurely over to Shen Jiu and circled half around him. Shen Jiu’s face was tightly drawn, his lips pressed together. Even though his expression was dark, his shoulders trembled slightly. He was clearly extremely afraid, but he was forcing himself to remain calm.
Suddenly, Young Master Qiu kicked him square in the back. Shen Jiu immediately sprawled onto the ground face-first.
Young Master Qiu chuckled coldly. “What, you don’t dare to hit back this time?”
Shen Jiu landed with a nose full of blood and dust. He said lowly, “Spare me, Young Master. I didn’t know that was you.”
Young Master Qiu said, “You didn’t know? You didn’t know, and you still dared to provoke me!”
He slapped Shen Jiu onto the ground with one hand, and Shen Jiu’s head made a muffled noise when it slammed against the floor as two streams of blood flowed down his chin. Young Master Qiu seemed to derive immense pleasure from doing this, and he took great joy in slapping him like playing with a ball.
Shen Qingqiu continued to watch from the side, maintaining his silence. This happened over a dozen times before Shen Jiu finally couldn’t bear it any longer and he shouted, “What exactly do you want to do?!”
Young Master Qiu laughed maliciously. “You belong to our family now. Naturally, I can do whatever I want.”
Suddenly, a gentle and beautiful voice belonging to a young woman sounded from outside the door. “Brother? Brother? Are you inside?”
The moment Young Master Qiu heard his little sister calling for him, his expression changed, and he unbound Shen Jiu before he threatened him softly, “Wipe your face! If you dare to say anything wrong, I’ll kill you!”
Shen Jiu was both afraid and resentful. A fierce glint flashed through his eyes, but he didn’t dare to say anything despite his rage. He viciously wiped his face, rubbing away the dust and the blood from his nose, but the more he wiped, the dirtier it became. When Young Master Qiu saw this, he picked up a flower vase from the window and splashed the water inside onto Shen Jiu’s face. Young Master Qiu changed his expression before opening the door, beaming. “Why did Tang-er come over?”
Shen Qingqiu finally knew how the original Shen Qingqiu’s ‘fawning on the surface but spiteful behind people’s backs’ character developed. It was most likely acquired and influenced by Young Master Qiu…
Qiu Haitang wore an embroidered lilac robe and a pair of small white satin boots. The tips were embellished with jewels, and she was truly a delicate young mistress born from a flower bud. It was a different kind of beauty compared to her later allure, which was tempered through hardship. She stepped in through the door and giggled. “I heard that brother bought somebody, and I came over to take a look.”
She saw a teenager shrunk in the corner, his head hanging low. But his face was quite delicate and pretty, and her eyes lit up. She walked over before she said, all smiles, “You’re Xiao Jiu3, then?”
Shen Jiu’s face was already wiped clean, but he still looked quite unhappy, and he didn’t answer her. Young Master Qiu stood behind his sister, his eyes threatening. He laughed and said, “He doesn’t really like to speak. His personality is quite strange.”
Qiu Haitang took Shen Jiu’s hand and said, “Why don’t you like to speak? Talk to me a little, please?”
Her voice was soft and coaxing, her tone intimate, her attitude innocent and pure. Nobody could have the heart to embarrass her. Shen Qingqiu thought, When Qiu Haitang was a young woman, she was truly a bit similar to Ning Yingying. It turned out that the original Shen Qingqiu had always liked this type.
At first, Shen Jiu’s face was stiff, but he still couldn’t hold out against a young maiden’s gentle cajoling. His expression was one of silent enduring, and he turned his head, his ears slightly red. When Qiu Haitang saw this, she clapped and said, “Brother, he’s so much fun. No wonder you bought him even though you never liked to bring in people from outside. I kind of like him.”
Young Master Qiu smiled fakely. “I also quite like him.”
When Shen Jiu heard the word “like,” he couldn’t help but shudder.
At this point in the memories, the entire scene suddenly darkened.
The people present all swiftly vanished. Shen Qingqiu started before he immediately understood that the Dream Demon’s so-called ‘rupture’ had occurred. Since the memories that the original Shen Qingqiu left in his body weren’t complete, the ruptures would happen extremely frequently. The previous memory had already ended, and now another one began.
The scene was still set in that room. This time, Shen Jiu wasn’t bound, and he was lying on the ground with a swollen face as he picked viciously at the woolen rug on the floor to the point that his fingers were bloodstained.
Abruptly, two light knocks came from the door. A young man’s lowered voice came from outside. “Xiao Jiu, Xiao Jiu?”
The moment Shen Jiu heard this voice, he suddenly moved and threw himself against the door. He pressed his face against the lock and said, “Qi Ge4!”
The young man outside said, “Quiet down, I snuck inside.”
At first, Shen Qingqiu couldn’t tell who the person outside was. When he thought about it again, he realized that the reason Shen Jiu had the character for “nine” in his name was because he was ranked ninth in the hands of the human traffickers. Naturally, there would be a ‘one through eight’ as well.
However, Shen Qingqiu was truly a little astonished that Shen Jiu actually had a good friend with his kind of personality.
Rattling noises came from the door as if the person outside was shaking it. Shen Jiu said, “It’s useless. There are five or six locks on the inside and outside. The window is also locked.”
The youth said worriedly, “They didn’t do anything much to you this time when the escape didn’t succeed, did they?”
Shen Jiu’s temper suddenly surged up, and he cursed, “They didn’t do anything much to me? Are you stupid? They’ve locked me in here for two days already and broke both my legs. What do you think?!”
In reality, Shen Qingqiu could see clearly that though Shen Jiu had suffered a beating and he couldn’t walk, both of his legs were still fine. They were hardly broken. But the young man couldn’t see the circumstances on the other side of the door, and he seemed to believe Shen Jiu. He said with guilt, “It’s all my fault.”
Shen Jiu said angrily, “Of course it’s all your fault! I blame you. We weren’t close with those newcomers, so what if we were stepped on a little? Why did you have to play hero! Are you afraid that people like us with such lowly lives can’t bear it?! If you hadn’t played hero, why would I have helped you? If I hadn’t helped you, how would I have provoked him, and how would that Qiu guy have ended up buying me?! If he hadn’t bought me, how would I have become like this?! Every two days I get beat up a little bit and every three days I get beat up a lot━he plays me like I’m a dog!”
The young man repeated, “I’m sorry, it’s all my fault.”
Sure enough, with Shen Jiu’s personality, if he had friends, they definitely had to have incredibly good tempers. After several continuous apologies, Shen Jiu finally forcefully dispelled his anger and said, “Whatever! I’ve never valued that damn thing called loyalty. I’ll give all my loyalty for this life to you.”
The young man said gratefully, “I know.”
Shen Jiu said viciously, “What the hell do you know.”
The youth said, “I really know. Seventh Bro will remember your loyalty. I will definitely repay it to you in the future.”
Shen Jiu spat, “What future! For people like you who are in the possession of human traffickers for your entire life, in the future, your fate will also be to become a human trafficker. No, you’re a good person, so you can’t be a human trafficker. At the most, you’ll just continue to beg for food.”
The youth said, “Xiao Jiu, I came to talk to you about that. I’m going to leave. I came today to say goodbye to you.”
Shen Jiu was startled, and he immediately sat up. “Leave? Where are you going?”
The young man called Seventh Bro said, “I can’t stay here anymore. The Qiu family has a lot of influence and wealth in the city. We can’t possibly beat them, nor can we escape from them. There are so many cultivating sects in this world. I’m going to join one and learn how to cultivate so I can come back and rescue you.”
Shen Jiu’s eyes suddenly lit up with a brilliant radiance. “Seventh Bro, I heard there’s an immortal mountain to the east that recruits disciples who are exceptionally talented each year. Are you going there?”
The youth answered, “I don’t know… but I’ll go give them all a try. There has to be one sect that will take me?”
Shen Jiu murmured, “If I weren’t locked in here, I could also go with you…” He couldn’t help but show the envy on his face as he pushed against the door, looking as if he was about to put some sinister plot in motion. Shen Qingqiu couldn’t resist worrying slightly for the person outside.
After a while, Shen Jiu sighed again and said, “Seventh Bro, from now on, you must not be so impulsive anymore. It ruins things every time. This time, I just got unlucky, but if you’re still like this later when you join the cultivators’ sect, what will you do then? Be calmer!”
Shen Qingqiu inexplicably found it a little comical that Shen Jiu was so young, yet he was still lecturing someone older than him. But the young man wasn’t the least bit unhappy. Instead, he said, ashamed, “I’ll bear it in mind.”
Because he had hope now, Shen Jiu’s voice grew passionate. “Hey, you have to remember what you said before. You must come back and save me!”
Seventh Bro seemed to be earnestly nodding his head, and he said heavily, “Okay. Wait a little, until I learn it all. I’ll definitely come back and take you away!”
The two of them stayed silent for a while, separated by a door. Shen Jiu asked, “Did you leave?”
The youth hastily replied, “Not yet. I was waiting for you to speak.”
Shen Jiu said, “Seventh Bro, come closer. Let me take a look at you through the crack in the door. I don’t know whether you will… how many years will pass before I can see you again.”
The young man laughed and said, “You wanted to say you don’t know whether I’ll die outside, right? Okay.”
Shen Jiu spat and said, “You said that yourself! Don’t blame me for saying something cruel.”
He shifted closer to the door with difficulty and moved his face close to the crack in the door.
Shen Qingqiu was extremely curious as well, and he also moved closer. He passed through the extremely tiny crack in the door and looked outside.
- This chapter is by Yan.
- Please let me know if there are any errors. I will be at the hospital most of the day but I should still be able to fix any errors later.
- Thanks for reading.