Chapter 66 – Circle of Nobles, Wanton Disorder
He didn’t know if Luo Binghe understood, but he forged ahead, his face darkening.
This wilderness battlefield amidst the crowd of beasts immediately became a three-way brawl. Tianlang-Jun was fighting two, Liu Qingge was also fighting two, Luo Binghe was fighting one and ignoring one, while still bearing two people’s worth of attacks. Black energy and white light exploded across the scene, sword shrieks and beast hisses rushing into the sky.
Liu Qingge came to rescue Shen Qingqiu, but the ring encircling him grew thicker and thicker. Cheng Luan whirled like a miniature tornado, and the dozen blood beasts mixed in the crowd splattered into thousands of droplets of blood. Shen Qingqiu yelled, “Close your mouth! Don’t swallow them!”
Liu Qingge didn’t need to close his mouth at all━those droplets couldn’t even moisten his sleeves. Tianlang-Jun, however, smiled. “I seem to have forgotten that Peak Lord Shen is still here.”
He wished he had been forgotten… once Tianlang-Jun remembered he was here, life would get much more difficult for him. A griping pain crawled up thickly in his stomach. At first, Luo Binghe was the fiercest of the three fighters, each strike directed precisely at Tianlang-Jun, but now his offense suddenly slowed, his heart divided. Shen Qingqiu yelled, “Keep fighting. Don’t mind me!”
He didn’t shout or cry out, pretending he couldn’t feel anything at all. Returning to the tent, he dragged out Zhuzhi-Lang, his smile twisted into a sneer. “You won’t be able to throw yourself under my sword this time, right?”
Zhuzhi-Lang said helplessly, “I owe a heavy debt of kindness to both Peak Lord Shen and my lord. Why must you always make things difficult for me?”
A cold sweat broke out on Shen Qingqiu’s pained back. He idly threw back a response to distract himself. “You really keep a clear record of your gratitudes and grudges.”
The demon race’s officials were truly each as dedicated to their profession as Sha Hualing, preaching their grand mission at every possible opportunity. Zhuzhi-Lang, under the point of his sword, continued to admonish him. “That’s right. So, because the four great sects overpowered my lord with base tricks many years ago, one day, they will pay. Cang Qiong Mountain, Zhao Hua Temple, Huan Hua Palace, Tian Yi Overlook━my lord said not one will be left behind, so it’s certain that not one will be left behind.”
Hearing him bring up Huan Hua Palace, Shen Qingqiu’s heartstrings tightened.
After he had escaped from Huan Hua Palace’s water prison into Hua Yue City, he had heard that the disciples guarding the water prison had all been killed. Even Gongyi Xiao was not lucky enough to escape. This black pot had been thrown on his head at the time, and he had pressed it on Luo Binghe’s head in turn. But, while rushing about until today, he never had the chance to determine who had actually killed them.
Zhuzhi-Lang was good to him now because he had stopped Gongyi Xiao from killing him that time, becoming a benefactor in his eyes. Then, accordingly, Gongyi Xiao should be an enemy. Shen Qingqiu said, “Do you remember Gongyi Xiao?”
Zhuzhi-Lang thought for a while and said, “That disciple from Hua Hua Palace?”
Sure enough, he remembered.
“That time when I went to the water prison to meet Master Shen, at first I mistook him for Luo Binghe.”
Shen Qingqiu could understand. From the back, Gongyi Xiao really did resemble Luo Binghe. If someone only took a quick look, their features also had some subtle similarities. So for a time, he felt especially attached to Gongyi Xiao.
Zhuzhi-Lang continued, “Afterwards, I found out he was precisely that Huan Hua Palace senior disciple who entered the dew cave in Bai Lu Forest with Master Shen. So, I killed him in passing.”
Killed him in passing.
Zhuzhi-Lang really was a very simple demon. As his uncle said, he was “a little foolish.” Tianlang-Jun had supported him so he would follow him until death. Shen Qingqiu had inadvertently saved him, so he was paying him back in his own way all along.
For the same reason, every small grievance must be avenged1.
It’s just that Gongyi Xiao’s death was rather too unjust. He had only moved to kill, but he didn’t actually kill him!
Shen Qingqiu heard Gongyi Xiao’s parting words, “If we meet again, Elder Shen must fulfill his promise to take me to visit Qing Jing Peak. I’ll always be waiting…” as if he was speaking right beside Shen Qingqiu’s ear. Shen Qingqiu simply didn’t know what to say.
He watched Zhuzhi-Lang’s gaze grow more and more complicated, but his former effortless ease was already long gone. Just as the latter noticed this change, Shen Qingqiu stood up, walking forwards.
Zhuzhi-Lang started. “Where are you going?”
Shen Qingqiu said, “Anywhere is fine, as long as it’s far away.”
These Heavenly Demons were all mental cases. Going with one mental case would at least be better than going with two. At worst, that one would still listen to him!
Zhuzhi-Lang looked like he had been stung. In a flash, he said, “I only wanted to be good to the people who helped me. Is there anything wrong with that?”
Shen Qingqiu said, “The problem is, you think the things you do are good for me, but I don’t feel the same.”
With every step, he felt his veins twist, like thousands of worms were squirming and chewing his insides. Luo Binghe repeatedly turned his head to look at him, many times narrowly avoiding an attack.
Zhuzhi-Lang couldn’t understand. “Even if Master Shen couldn’t achieve a peaceful end, why are you determined on staying with him all the way?”
Shen Qingqiu didn’t answer, continuing to walk forward.
Zhuzhi-Lang said in a low voice, “I understand.”
Before his words had fallen, the stagnant pain in Shen Qingqiu’s body completely disappeared. Tianlang-Jun’s voice entered the scene, with a tone of slight indignation. “What are you doing?”
Of the people on the scene, only those of the Heavenly Demon lineage knew what was happening. At first, there were three sets of blood parasites in Shen Qingqiu’s body. Luo Binghe fought one on two, so he was at a slight disadvantage. But, just now, Zhuzhi-Lang stopped urging his blood parasites against Luo Binghe but turned sides to join with Luo Binghe in suppressing Tianlang-Jun’s blood.
Without the pain, what was there to fear? Shen Qingqiu drew Xiu Ya, vaulting onto the sword. “Liu Shidi, let’s go!”
Seeing him fly over on his sword, Liu Qingge also flipped onto Cheng Luan. Tianlang-Jun finally stopped playing with his blood, a palm full of demonic energy sweeping over to attack, but was blocked by Luo Binghe. Shen Qingqiu passed by, reaching down as Luo Binghe raised his arm. Their movements strung together like seamless heavenly clothes, two hands joining right on target. With a pull, he took Luo Binghe along on Xiu Ya. The two sword glares disappeared into the sky in a flash.
The sky above the wilderness filled with howls. Tianlang-Jun snapped his fingers, and the remaining dozen blood beasts lost their vigor, fur and fangs rapidly melting. Before long, they transformed into a spatter of blood droplets, quickly dissolving into the ground.
He looked at Zhuzhi-Lang. “You’re letting them go just like that?”
Zhuzhi-Lang didn’t say a word in reply, going down on one knee.
Tianlang-Jun had excellent self-restraint. His anger would only persist for a moment, and he had long gone over to say, “Ah you, think it through carefully. He doesn’t appreciate your kindness at all, he’s just wholeheartedly rushing down the road to disaster. Zhuzhi-Lang, you’re already this old. How do you not know your head’s turned around a bend?”
He gestured for Zhuzhi-Lang to get up and said off-handedly, “But you don’t need to be so sad. Peak Lord Shen will understand you’re acting for his own good one day. It’s not far off.”
Zhuzhi-Lang knew in his heart that that would be the day the four great sects were extinguished.
Tianlang-Jun sent another glance to the sky, muttering, “But, I truly never would have thought. Peak Lord Shen likes there to be more people. Does there have to be at least three people every time?”
The changing fields of Zhuzhi-Lang’s mind grew barren in a flash, as if a sudden gale had blown through2.
His lord had probably been reading those strange illustrated pamphlets spread from the human realm again.
The three had flown several kilometers on their swords, heading straight for the borderlands.
Liu Qingge didn’t think Shen Qingqiu would bring Luo Binghe with them. “What are you dragging him along for? Why are you together with him?!”
Liu Qingge and Luo Binghe held a deeply ingrained resentment towards each other, and Shen Qingqiu couldn’t explain on the spot. He said vaguely, “This, I have a reason for…”
Hearing that he didn’t refute the word “together,” Luo Binghe’s eyes curved, the corner of his mouth also curling up. Liu Qingge, seeing him break out into a full smile for no reason, formed a seal in his hand, spiritual energy sizzling between his fingers. He warned, “Shen Qingqiu, you come over here.”
Luo Binghe changed faces faster than flipping the pages of a book. He was warm and tender one moment but full of mockery the next, holding onto Shen Qingqiu’s waist tighter. He was already holding on tight, and with this extra force Shen Qingqiu nearly couldn’t breathe. Slapping his hand away, he said, “Liu Shidi, this explanation is a bit complicated. Let’s escape first, then I can tell you slowly later. Just trust me for now.”
Liu Qingge said, “I trust you. But I don’t trust him.”
Shen Qingqiu said without thinking, “I trust him.”
Liu Qingge’s expression hardened. He said solemnly, “You trusted him before, and what was the result?”
Luo Binghe’s smile was like a needle concealed in silk floss. His tone was neither hostile nor friendly as he said, “Shizun already said he trusts me. Why are you still wasting your words?”
Are you not done fighting yet?!
Shen Qingqiu said, “How are you speaking to your Shishu?”
Liu Qingge was already so short-spoken, so where were these wasted words? Indeed, he didn’t have any more to say and threw out a ball of explosive power.
We’re traveling at high altitudes━is it that fun to fight while riding swords?! Be careful, safety is number one!
Shen Qingqiu tilted his course for a bit. He should have dodged the attack, but he heard a smothered groan from Luo Binghe behind him.
Shen Qingqiu turned his head to ask, “What is it?”
Was he really hit?
Luo Binghe shook his head and said, “It’s nothing. It doesn’t hurt.”
Usually, even if he was hit, he’s fine, right? Shen Qingqiu looked him over carefully and saw a wisp of dark energy between his eyebrows. He muttered, “Your face doesn’t look very good.”
Luo Binghe’s voice softened, saying warmly, “When I was fighting that old demon, my head was a bit dizzy. Just now, it was dizzier. But it’s nothing, just an explosive attack, that’s all.”
Each of Liu Qingge’s bloody battles with him was more violent than the last. How many times had they fought? Now he’s dizzy from one explosive attack?
He said, “Shen Qingqiu, you get out of the way.”
Shen Qingqiu hurriedly gave an apologetic smile. “Liu Shidi, he was injured before and just recovered. By all means, don’t lower yourself to his level. He isn’t sensible; if he offended you, I’ll apologize in his place.”
Liu Qingge’s expression didn’t improve, but Shen Qingqiu continued. “He has made many mistakes before, but he won’t from now on. I’ll definitely discipline him well…”
Liu Qingge’s face finally cleared. “You really trust him?”
Shen Qingqiu wasn’t as confident as he sounded. Luo Binghe was still holding his waist, with that look of anxious anticipation on his face again, like he was waiting for his reply. To speak the truth, he had never truly trusted Luo Binghe before, and he was unintentionally hurting him all along. Things having reached this stage…
Shen Qingqiu forced a smile. “It’s better to believe than not.3”
In a home, if the kids weren’t sensible, the adults don’t have it easy. Shen Qingqiu finished his apology and gave some kind words. “It’s been some time since we’ve seen each other, and Liu Shidi’s cultivation has advanced even more.”
Liu Qingge raised his chin. “I just exited seclusion.”
When Luo Binghe surrounded Cang Qiong Mountain, Liu Qingge said to “Wait!” Turns out he really did enter seclusion to cultivate. He had come to save him right after exiting seclusion; Shen Qingqiu felt that a simple word of thanks wouldn’t be enough. He rubbed his nose and said off-handedly, “How did you know to look for me in the Southern border?”
After Liu Qingge first exited seclusion, he had rushed to Luo Binghe’s territory in the Northern border at top speed, storming his way in and almost upturning the whole area. But, in the end, Shen Qingqiu wasn’t there. Luo Binghe wasn’t there either and had reportedly retreated like he was running back for a confession. He first captured that demon woman Sha whatever to interrogate her. However, Bai Zhan Peak’s preferred interrogation method was beating up the suspect. At best, it was beating up the suspect to different levels of severity. Liu-juju4 certainly couldn’t beat up a woman, and since Sha Hualing was especially hard to deal with, he didn’t get anything out of her.
Luckily, he had run into that eating-his-fill-all-day, wandering-idly-with-nothing-to-do Shang Qinghua.
Liu Qingge couldn’t tolerate these goods in the least. But, just as he had raised his fist, Shang Qinghua started confessing everything in an unceasing torrent of chatter, including how Shen Qingqiu’s meals were in the demon realm, his daily activities to amuse himself and pass the time, as well as the important news about how he had been taken away to the Southern border.
After getting the information out of him, Liu Qingge planned to execute this traitor on the spot, but Shang Qinghua started to hug his thighs and wail to wake the dead, promising over and over that he didn’t want to do it and he would turn over a new leaf.5 His howls had drawn out Mobei-Jun. The two fought, toppling much of Luo Binghe’s underground palace, which had delayed him for some time.
These rhythmical ups and downs, this thing full of scenes of violence, was precisely the story of Liu-juju’s journey these last few days.
Troubling his heart and strength like this… Liu Qingge is truly a man more reliable than a blood brother6!
After reservedly expressing his tears of gratitude, he changed the topic and said firmly, “Liu Shidi, I have official business I need to tell you.”
Liu Qingge said, “Go on.”
Shen Qingqiu said, “Do you know of Tianlang-Jun?”
Of the famous figures in the cultivation world, this name could be described as legendary.
Many years ago, in the battle where Tianlang-Jun had been suppressed under Bai Lu Mountain, the four great sects had turned out in full strength.7 Though Cang Qiong Mountain was the main force, those that had fought in the war were all the former generation of Peak Lords. Of the current Peak Lords of Cang Qiong Mountain, only Yue Qingyuan had gone to war as Qiong Ding Peak’s head disciple. Furthermore, he had shown his brilliance using Xuan Su and took on a crucial role. Liu Qingge naturally wouldn’t be unaware of these things. “The demon race’s last demon saint? His corporeal body has been destroyed for some years.”
Shen Qingqiu said, “The destruction of a corporeal body doesn’t necessarily mean death. He might have shed his shell.”
Liu Qingge raised one eyebrow. “Like you?”
Shen Qingqiu sighed in shame. “Exactly.”
Liu Qingge didn’t chase that line of conversation. “He escaped, then what?”
Shen Qingqiu said, “Tianlang-Jun has plans of merging the demon realm and the human realm.”
“Does that mean he plans to attack the human realm?”
Shen Qingqiu knew it would be very easy for a normal person to confuse these two concepts. This “merging” he spoke of, many people would take it as just “unification.” In fact, it was not so. What Tianlang-Jun planned to do with the Heart Devil sword was indeed a “merging” in the literal sense.
- This chapter is by Lily of BC Novels.
- Since we have many translators, it can be difficult to reconcile differences. I’ve decided to just keep some of the Shidi, Shixiong, etc. for those who like that. It should be fine since this is already chapter 66 which means that readers already know the relationships between all the major characters.
- Shidi = junior martial brother; Shixiong = senior martial brother
- Shishu = martial uncle (lit. “teacher father’s elder brother” / “teacher father’s younger brother” source). Liu Qingge is Shen Qingqiu’s Shidi so Luo Binghe is not of the same generation and should address Liu Qingge as Shishu.
- Tianlang-Jun: So Shen Qingqiu’s really into 3P? Or maybe even more than 3 at a time? <— hahahahahaha!
- Please let me know if there are any errors. Thanks for reading!
- 睚眦必报, lit. every angry stare must be recompensed.
- Original line: 竹枝郎原本沧桑的心境瞬间犹如狂风过境寸草不生。This was translated somewhat non-literally because there are two different chengyu (idioms) and a metaphor playing off each other here. 沧桑 is used to describe Zhuzhi-Lang’s mind/mental state, which is a shortened version of 沧海桑田, literally meaning “blue sea turned into mulberry fields”. The full idiom refers to great transformations of the world, and the shortened version can mean “great changes”. Riffing off the first idiom, next there is a metaphor “as if violent winds passed through” [his mind, which at this point is described as a mulberry field re: the first idiom, and his mind is left 寸草不生, lit. “not an inch of grass grows” or fig. barren. Basically, this means that his mind was already in turmoil and this new line from TLJ added fuel to the fire (or wind to the storm, as it were) and he’s sorta blanking in shock.
- 宁可信其有，不可信其无, a literary quote from the Yuan dynasty play 盆儿鬼 (Pen Er Gui). Translated literally.
- The “juju” seems to be Shen Qingqiu’s way of calling him. It’s like the –sama in Japanese
- 鬼哭狼嚎, lit. “to wail like ghosts and howl like wolves”, felt a bit awkward translated literally in English.
- There is a pun on 清歌 (Qīnggē) / 亲哥 (Qīn gē, blood brother) here.
- 倾巢而出, lit. “the full nest came out”.