Chapter 71 – The System’s Penalty
The power he expended was controlled, just enough to cause a stalemate with Wu Wang. He even had time to look back and hastily say a few words to Luo Binghe: “Leave it to Master.” Wu Wang was about to continue mouthing some empty words, but he unexpectedly went straight to the point instead, scolding: “Shen Qingqiu, don’t be like Su Xiyan–losing her mind to the demon race in a moment of carelessness and regretting it for life. As a Peak Lord, you must at least have some sense of honor!”
Shen Qingqiu’s feet slipped, and he almost failed to prevent himself from losing his bearings. How could these matters be the same?!
He managed to rearrange the distorted expression on his face with much difficulty. Who knew that Luo Binghe facing off against Wu Wang was a slap to the face?
Shen Qingqiu poured spiritual energy into the tip of his fan, shaking off the attacker’s staff: “Didn’t I say to let me handle this?” Luo Binghe’s face was covered in gloom: “He can say things about me, but he’s not allowed to badmouth you!”
In the time it took him to say these words, the two of them had already been surrounded by the cultivators from various sects who were present at the Hall of Great Strength. As expected, the demonic aura easily aroused hostility once it was used. Wu Wang waved his staff: “Lord Yue, this devil continues to call Shen Qingqiu master. Shen Qingqiu also does not deny it. What do you think? Do you also still recognize Luo Binghe as a disciple of the Cang Qiong Mountain Sect?”
Yue Qingyuan did not answer. His face did not reveal any emotions, and his voice remained steady. He remained seated: “Shidi, come back.”
Shen Qingqiu subconsciously stepped toward him, thinking that it would be better to own up to his mistakes and let his senior put out the fire. If Yue Qingyuan could stand on his side, it would definitely be a strategic location. But before he could come over, Luo Binghe grabbed him and entreated: “Don’t go!”
He repeated himself: “Don’t go.” There was an imploring note to his words.
Just as Shen Qingqiu was about to speak, hundreds of streams of sword energy rushed to surround and attack the two men.
Liu Qingge’s eyes glared, and he drew Cheng Luan from its sheath in response. Suddenly, the whole of the Hall of Great Strength shook. A current of black and white electricity crisscrossed and expanded, and the encompassing light detonated.
After the tremors passed, the ground still heaved and lurched, and only a quarter of the people present were left standing. Luo Binghe’s eyes were so red that they glowed in the daylight, as if they could leak hot magma or dark red blood. His clothes were wrapped in an endlessly churning dark aura.
A member of the demon clan who had been pressed to the ground burst out laughing: “It seems it’s true that the cultivation world has no shame. When you dealt with Tianlang-Jun in the past, you used underhanded methods to surround and besiege him. You’re still using them today!”
“Go ahead and use them. You don’t seem to fear death. Huh!”
Luo Binghe held Shen Qingqiu against him with one arm and said: “I’m from the demon clan. You can attack me at will. But what did my shizun do to have you besiege him as well?
Shen Qingqiu was actually unharmed. The tremors earlier had been quite strong. He’d stumbled, only to have Luo Binghe draw him into his arms to protect him. Wu Wang wanted to continue intervening, so he said: “You call him shizun. He doesn’t deny it. Isn’t that enough?”
This stubborn ass! Shen Qingqiu flipped the fan in his hands until it flew up, and the swords that swept in to attack from all angles were continuously beaten back by the fan. He put on a fake smile and said: “Whether this Shen denies it or not, what does it have to do with you?”
The sounds of clashing weapons were endless. Shen Qingqiu turned around. Suddenly, he saw Yue Qingyuan place his hand on Xuan Su’s hilt. With an imposing air, he drew closer until they came face to face.
His hand went limp on the spot, and he almost hurled the fan away.
Fight with Yue Qingyuan? Nonsense!
Who would have expected that when Yue Qingyuan raised Xuan Su in his hand, it was not aimed at Shen Qingqiu at all? Instead, it was pointed several inches away. A loud noise rang in his ears, and Shen Qingqiu turned his head. Xuan Su’s hilt and Wu Wang’s staff blocked and circled each other head-to-head.
Wu Wang couldn’t beat Luo Binghe, so he changed tactics and tried to hit him from behind instead!
Although Yue Qingyuan had entered the melee, he did not attack the two targets who were at the heart of the battle. Instead, he idly assisted She Qingqiu and shielded him from attacks. Launching himself into the fray, Liu Qingge also followed into battle. The two men struck indiscriminately, almost of the same mind. Hit anyone, as long as it wasn’t Shen Qingqiu. It was pure chaos. What was even worse was that the people wreaking havoc were two masters, and their attacks were both precise and ruthless. Wu Wang had finally reached the end of his patience, and he called angrily: “Peak Lord Liu!”
With his sword, Liu Qingge whittled all the horsetail whisks of the Tianyi Monastery’s Taoists into bald stumps. “My hand slipped,” he said with a poker face.
Wu Wang was angered until his beard curled: “Master Yue!”
After Yue Qingyuan had deflected the staff that was aiming for Shen Qingqiu three times, Master Yue also said serenely: “My eyes are bad.”
Everyone inside the hall silently agreed: The rumors about Cang Qiong Mountain Sect protecting its own–it’s definitely a well-deserved reputation!”
One hand making a mistake could be explained, but how could both hands slip? One instance of mistaken identity is understandable. But acting willfully blind ever since you joined the battle, can this still be called a fair fight? Which side are you supposed to be standing on?! (╯‵□′)╯︵┻━┻
You two are showing us with your actions: “Fighting is allowed. Fighting against the Qing Jing Peak’s Peak Lord is not!”
Shen Qingqiu pushed Luo Binghe back: “Want to die? Go ahead!”
Luo Binghe couldn’t be pushed aside. He caught him by the wrist instead, saying: “Shizun, let’s go. Follow me!”
Shen Qingqiu didn’t turn around to look at his expression. First of all, he didn’t have the time for it. Second of all, he didn’t have enough patience to do so. He waved his hand, urging: “Still not moving! I’m telling you to go, so go! Listen to me1!”
He didn’t know how long he could hold back the men surrounding them, so it was even more unlikely for him to abandon such a chaotic situation and run off with Luo Binghe first. Yue Qingyuan and Liu Qingge’s method of distraction was too obvious. Wu Wang was already enraged. Either him or Luo Binghe–one of them should remain here, otherwise, a feud would arise between the Zhao Hua Temple and the Cang Qiong Mountain Sect.
After a moment of silence, Luo Binghe whispered: “…Very well.”
“Since it’s Shizun who says so.”
The next moment, he landed on the square outside the Hall of Great Strength.
His speed was so fast that it was terrifying. At that moment, people actually forgot to retrieve their swords and chase after them. Wu Wang screamed: “Now2!”
Several monks rushed to the square. Shen Qingqiu swiftly drew Xiu Ya in one smooth motion. He snapped a finger, and the sword ran amok, ruining their formation and messing up their steps. He shouted out: “Your master will return to Cang Qiong Mountain first. I’ll find you later.” Luo Binghe had the ability to enter the dreamscape. Any time he wanted to meet, there wouldn’t be any issues at all. Just nod your head and fall asleep, and when the time came, Shen Qingqiu can comfort his hurt feelings. But once these words were spoken out in public, Shen Qingqiu inevitably felt a bit guilty. He couldn’t resist sneaking a peek at the two men from the Cang Qiong Mountain Sect.
When he noticed this, the corners of Luo Binghe’s mouth lifted, revealing a strange smile.
Quite a few people saw his smile and shivered, their hearts swallowed by irrational fear.
Luo Binghe said slowly: “I will come back and get you.”
Before his voice had even died away, he had already disappeared from the hall.
Wu Wang let out a chagrined huff when he realized that he had gone missing. Shen Qingqiu breathed a sigh of relief and immediately summoned Xiu Ya back into its sheath.
He unclasped his sword and held it horizontally, both hands extended in front of Yue Qingyuan in entreaty: “It was an emergency just now. Qingqiu had no choice but to act. I have offended you all. Please, allow my master and my martial brothers to pronounce their punishment on me.”
Yue Qingyuan said “hmmm” and put away his sword: “Since you’ve already returned, let’s just discuss the matter of your punishment after we return to Cang Qiong Mountain.”
Shen Qingqiu peeked at his face. Although Yue Qingyuan looked very serious, from his actions during the battle earlier… It should only be a front that he put on for outsiders.
According to his past experiences, Yue Qingyuan’s “let’s just discuss after we return to Cang Qiong Mountain” was basically equivalent to “let’s just forget about this matter and go back home for dinner instead.”
It was true that his own sect’s master was easygoing, but there was no way that Wu Wang would be so easily sent off. Luo Binghe had been allowed to escape in full view of everyone. Although the blame could mostly be laid on the three peak lords who stirred up the waters, any way you looked at it, Zhao Hua Temple had also suffered a bit of embarrassment. He clapped his hands and said: “I’m afraid we can’t let it go just like this. Peak Lord Shen must at least give an accounting. Otherwise, Cang Qiong Mountain Sect must explain in his stead!”
Someone shrieked from a corner: “Just now he said that Su Xiyan was being silly. It seems that a brother’s kindness cannot compare to one man’s flowery words. This Shen Qingqiu is even more silly. There’s no need to speak flowery words to Luo Binghe. He has no sense of what’s important at all.”
Shen Qingqiu pretended not to have heard anything. Yue Qingyuan politely said: “I can discipline someone from the Cang Qiong Mountain Sect myself. Trust that I will give you all a proper accounting.”
Abbot Wu Chen said agreeably: “Amitabha, that would be for the best. I believe that Master Yue and Peak Lord Shen will most definitely handle this matter both fairly and properly.”
Wu Wang humped and continued his accusations: “That’s not necessarily true. Have you all forgotten how Peak Lord Shen promised to give an explanation about the sowers at Jinlan City? But actually, he hasn’t said anything about it to this day. He escaped not long after being imprisoned inside Huan Hua Palace’s water prison. Then he faked his own death and hid himself away at Hua Yue City for five years. Cang Qiong Mountain Sect hasn’t even given a detailed statement about this matter yet. If this is Peak Lord Shen’s “confession” to your sects, then this old monk really doesn’t dare compliment anyone.”
He brought up old news again. But Shen Qingqiu’s mind had already wandered off, and he wasn’t listening at all.
The system kept sending out red alerts━who still had the heart to listen to an old monk stir-frying cold rice and turning over old scores!
System: [“Zhao Hua Monastery” branching plotline cut off. Mission Stats: Reputation Value -200. Mission Accomplishment Status: Total Failure!]
He finally hit 200, but it wasn’t +200, it was -200!
This would be the first time he’s failed a task in all the time he’s been dealing with the system.
His brain was suddenly assailed with sensations of sharp pain and severe vertigo. System: [Mission failed! May host please get ready. You will be sent back to your original world within 60 seconds.]
Any value below zero meant being sent back to one’s original world!
Shen Qingqiu roared: “Quit f**king with me! This means being directly sent back to my original world?! Don’t you know that my original account has already been canceled?! It’s only one failure. My coolness value is so high, can’t I use that to offset a bit? How about B Points? My B Points are also very high! Such high values should be of some use, right?!”
His mind was spinning, and the color on his face kept changing–from blue to white to red to green. He looked like he was about to vomit or faint at any time. Liu Qingge noticed that something was off with his expression and asked: “What’s wrong with you?”
System: [Do you want to use all your coolness points to buy a different penalty?]
Shen Qingqiu answered: “Buy, buy, buy! No matter how much it costs!”
Ding! System: [Purchase successful. Coolness points zeroed out. Please note your balance. Penalty is loading.]
The pink coolness points bar really turned into zero. This was his second time zeroing out. “Adios, wave bye-bye” The second time!
Shen Qingqiu’s head no longer hurt, but he still felt dizzy. Yue Qingyuan also noticed that something was wrong with him: “Were you hit earlier?”
Liu Qingge supported Shen Qingqiu with one hand and until he had steadied himself. Looking up, Liu Qingge asked: “Who did it?”
Bai Zhan Peak’s Peak Lord asked a question, and everyone hurriedly shook their heads in succession.
Was he joking?! Who could manage to land a blow on Shen Qingqiu?! Considering the scenario earlier, even if someone had managed to hit Shen Qingqiu, it probably wouldn’t have landed cleanly anyway. Who was it that the three masters had been secretly protecting earlier?! Yet he still had the nerve to sling accusations when it was obviously only him who had the opportunity to beat up others!
The sounds of arguments coming from outside were getting louder and louder. Shen Qingqiu was woozy, and his eyes were going dark. He was wedged between Yue Qingyuan and Liu Qingge when a loud boom sounded.
Looks like he made the wrong decision.
When he opened his eyes again, he was no longer at Zhao Hua Temple. Shen Qingqiu looked in all directions, but there wasn’t a single soul to be found.
It looked like he was inside a dream. But if that was the case, and he was dreaming right now, then the location should be Qing Jing Peak. Because his dreamscape and Luo Binghe’s were connected, and the latter’s favorite dreaming location was Qing Jing Peak.
Shen Qingqiu walked around aimlessly for a while. After careful observation, he eventually confirmed that this place was indeed Qing Jing Peak.
However, it was Qing Jing Peak after it burned down.
The bamboo grove and bamboo house had been burned to the ground. Only blackened ruins and withered roots remained. Everything had collapsed helter-skelter, as wisps of white smoke carrying a burnt smell drifted away.
The more Shen Qingqiu saw this desolate and miserable scene, the more uncertain he became.
The burning was done too thoroughly. Such terrible vengeance!
Shen Qingqiu alerted the system: “Can you report our location?”
System: [Greetings. While the penalty is in progress, the system’s other functions cannot be accessed. Hoping for your understanding and wishing you the best of luck.]
So the penalty had already begun. Shen Qingqiu thumped on a nonexistent wall. Suddenly, the sound of footsteps on gravel reached his ears.
The steps sounded out–walk a pace, stop a pace, slow but not sluggish. They gave off a feeling of strength and readiness.
A figure appeared in the middle of the expanse of scorched earth and rubble.
The man’s black robes and wide sleeves fluttered gently as the cold wind swept by. His face and his collar were the same flawless and snowy white. His arms were crossed as he slowly walked closer. There was a supercilious expression on his face, and from time to time he would kick away the charred gravel at his feet with a disinterested look.
Shen Qingqiu unconsciously cried out: “Luo Binghe!”
Luo Binghe blinked. Head turned at a slight angle, he shot a frosty, piercing gaze in his direction.
For Shen Qingqiu, being speared by such a gaze was like being nailed in place by two knives. His heart jumped. All of a sudden, he felt that the wind was too strong, and his clothes were too thin. Otherwise, why would his brow and his spine both feel a chill?
Luo Binghe raised a brow. He flicked some nonexistent ash off his sleeve and breathed a slightly doubtful “hmmm” through his nose.
Shen Qingqiu stopped in his tracks.
This feeling, it’s wrong.
Luo Binghe cocked his head: “Shen Qingqiu?”
Even more wrong.
That tone, that expression, that temperament. They were not like Luo Binghe, but they were indeed also like Luo Binghe.
What needed to be clarified was that the one who stood in front of Shen Qingqiu… seemed to be the “Luo Binghe” from the original novel.
Shen Qingqiu froze in place. When “Luo Binghe” saw that he didn’t answer, he took a step towards his side.
Shen Qingqiu subconsciously sought to wield a sword in defense, but both his waistband and his hands were empty.
He knocked at the system: “System, what the hell kind of joke is this penalty supposed to be? Where did you even drag this out from? Are you asking me to fight the BOSS with my bare hands?!”
System: [Greetings. While the penalty is in progress, the system’s other functions cannot be accessed, including consultation. Hoping for your understanding and wishing you the best of luck.]
F*** f*** f***! He had no idea what to do in this kind of situation!
Luo Binghe tucked his hands inside his sleeves and smiled as he remarked: “Shen Qingqiu, why are you here? I don’t seem to remember letting you in?”
Shen Qingqiu was 10,000% certain that the man in front of him was definitely not this world’s Luo Binghe.
Luo Binghe treated his shizun as the beginning and end of his world, always addressing him in the sweetest and most affectionate manner. He would never dare to call him by name so directly, let alone use such a provocative tone of voice with him.
Anyway, this was just part of the penalty procedure. He probably wouldn’t die. Thinking like this, Shen Qingqiu relaxed a little and calmly mentioned: “This is Qing Jing Peak.”
Luo Binghe looked around: “If you hadn’t said so, I never would have thought it.”
How could he not remember? If this really was the original Luo Binghe, then wasn’t it him who set fire to Qing Jing Peak?
- This chapter is by Fionvarre.
- It seems that Yue Qingyuan was just putting on his “stern sect master” face but had no real intention of disciplining Shen Qingqiu.
- OMG, it’s original Luo Binghe from the novel! What do you think the penalty will be?
- (╯‵□′)╯︵┻━┻ The tableflip was in the original. 🙂
- Please let me know if there are any errors. Thanks for reading.