Both sides of the confrontation remained motionless.
The wind and rain blowing in through the window extinguished the candle flame burning on the table, but Shuo Feng could still clearly see a purplish-black wound appear on the girl’s right shoulder. However, there was no flesh or bone visible in the wound. The purple-black mist flowed slowly along the edge of the wound like a living creature, finally mustering up the courage to escape into the outside world through the window.
As it fled, the mist accidentally knocked over the candlestick on the bedside table, plunging the once-bright room into darkness. A crack in the window revealed a thin beam of moonlight, illuminating the young man’s somber expression.
The unknown “woman” left behind thought-provoking words, her tone full of anticipation. “Shuo Feng, we will meet again. I can hardly wait for that day to come.”
However, the wound on Zhou Yue’s shoulder did not heal, but this time there was no purple-black mist surging out of it. Instead, there was a moist, clean white light.
The tension in the boy’s neck relaxed.
When Zhou Yue’s regained her vision, she sensed her hand was resting on the young man’s neck, her palm slightly rolling against his Adam’s apple. Even in the darkness, she could guess that something unpleasant had happened earlier.
She released her grip, relaxing her hand and said in a muffled tone, “I’m sorry, it’s my fault. An evil spirit possessed me and must have hurt you.”
Under the moonlight, she could see the dark fingerprints on Shuo Feng’s clear skin.
Unexpectedly, the young man quietly turned his back and put away his wrist sword. He hugged the little girl who was hiding her head in the quilt. His shoulders trembled a little, perhaps out of fear of something. “Zhou Yue, you saved my life. Even if someone uses your hand to kill me, it doesn’t matter.”
“I’m just afraid… afraid that you’ll never come back again.” Shuo Feng cautiously raised his head, his eyes were red, and his clear eyes were filled with water. “Will you always stay with me?”
He was like a small animal that was insecure and always leaned on his master, snuggling into Zhou Yue’s arms.
Zhou Yue thought for a moment, touched the young man’s furry head and said lightly, “As long as I can promise, forever.”
Forever before she completely disappeared.
But Shuo Feng didn’t know.
The young man’s face suddenly brightened, revealing a big smile. “I knew it, you are my sword.”
He remembered something happy and couldn’t wait to show it off to Zhou Yue. “I’ve already learned the breathing technique and shrinking technique you taught me before. Do you want to see it?”
Shuo Feng’s eyes shone brightly, thinking to himself, “Quick, praise me for being awesome.”
In the darkness, the girl in front of him suddenly frowned with a hint of worry and asked, “Shuo Feng, did you kill someone again?”
Zhou Yue lowered her eyes and saw the boy’s right hand tucked into his sleeve. Although it was a faint, almost imperceptible scent of blood, she could still hear the slight hum of the Ji Hua sword after killing someone.
Shuo Feng was momentarily stunned, but instead of feeling embarrassed or angry at being found out, he sincerely praised her, “As expected of our Zhou Yue, so smart.”
The boy’s gaze was clear and clean, and killing was no different from playing for him.
Zhou Yue sighed in her heart and slowly opened the right fist hidden in Shuo Feng’s sleeve and spread it out from the palm to the fingers. She stared at the boy’s reddened calluses and tiny cuts, solemnly saying, “Shuo Feng, don’t kill indiscriminately. The heavier the sin, the more your path of cultivation will wear you down. Once a cultivator has a mental block, his heart will be shattered, and there will be a risk of falling into demonic cultivation.”
She was afraid he would become a demon, so would she still punish him and kill him if he continued to commit evil?
Shuo Feng covered his curled eyelashes and blocked the myriad of thoughts surging in his black eyes, allowing Zhou Yue to use her healing magic to cure the wounds in his palm. Under the purification of the green spiritual power, the scars slowly healed. He suddenly said, “What if I really become a demon? What then?”
“Being a demon cultivator or a demonic beast cultivator is not good. After death, the soul has nowhere to go and cannot enter the cycle of reincarnation,” she explained.
The girl held the boy’s lowered head earnestly, looking directly at the darkness in his eyes and heart. The two red moles on her eyebrows were also vivid and bright. She said in a clear voice, “Shuo Feng, even if you were to become a demon, even if I have to go to hell, I will drag you back to the right path from the Nine Layers of Hell.”
In an instant, the ice in his heart seemed to melt away as the girl’s warm hands held his. The lake in his heart rippled with waves despite the absence of wind.
Shuo Feng laughed cleanly, his mouth curling upwards in genuine joy. “Zhou Yue, I won’t let you go to hell with me. Neither of us will go.”
He looked like a proud child as he patted the Ji Hua sword at his side and said, “I didn’t kill indiscriminately. The people I killed were all bad guys who had taken many lives. They have been sentenced to death and are waiting to be executed in the autumn.”
“I’m just carrying out justice!” The young man patted the Ji Hua sword hanging from his waist like a wandering hero, “Since you saved my life, I promise to cultivate properly and eradicate evil.”
“This is the promise we made together.”
Shuo Feng’s demeanor reminded Zhou Yue of the night they had fought together to stop the ambush outside the city of Lanzhou.
After the storm had calmed, she leaned on the young man’s back and listened to his serious voice, “Zhou Yue, whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it. Whether it’s cultivation or saving you, I promise.”
He was really fulfilling his promise in his own way, but he was such a stubborn child.
Zhou Yue took the Ji Hua sword from the young man’s waist and traced the inscriptions on the sword with her fingers, sighing, “Everything has its own laws and principles. Even when fighting evil, one cannot violate the laws.”
Her fingertips lightly touched the young man’s fingertips, creating an electric sensation. A drop of Shuo Feng’s blood fell on the sword, and the golden light on the runes shone brightly.
“Boom, boom, like millions of believers whispering at the same time, dizzying.”
Shuo Feng remembered that Zhou Yue had also recited this incantation on that moonlit night. She said it was a reincarnation spell that could send vengeful spirits on their way to rebirth.
The sound of the spell gradually disappeared, and the Ji Hua sword fell silent again in the dark night.
At this moment, the hole on the girl’s shoulder had disappeared, and her weakened form had become more solid.
She said, “Shuo Feng, a contract has been formed between us. If you want me to stay, all you need is this small drop of blood.” The girl’s eyes slid over his eyebrows again with pity, “Shuo Feng, don’t let yourself get hurt all the time.”
“But I am an assassin. Assassins always have to kill. When you don’t kill, you get hurt.” Shuo Feng was still very stubborn and refused to look at Zhou Yue’s face.
She must be very disappointed in herself.
Shuo Feng laughed bitterly in his heart.
Zhou Yue almost didn’t use any force and easily turned Shuo Feng’s face towards her. The young man looked a bit dull, and she pursed her lips and said, “I won’t let you get hurt anymore. I teach you swordsmanship not only to save people but also to save yourself.”
Can an assassin’s sword be used to save people?
Shuo Feng was confused, but Zhou Yue’s words echoed in his mind again and again, gradually stirring up a storm. He felt like a small boat, drifting with the waves, gradually sinking into the deep sea.
He didn’t want to see himself so fragile, so he casually interrupted, “Why do you always recite that reincarnation spell, even on the Ji Hua?”
The reincarnation spell.
Zhou Yue’s thoughts drifted far away, to a few hundred years ago in the immortal’s world in Lianhua Mountain, where a young man was earnestly carving runes onto her newly crafted Ji Hua Sword. He said, “Zhou Yue, this is the reincarnation spell that I personally engraved. This way, when you use the sword to kill, you are also using it to save people.”
Shuo Feng saw the rare expression of emotion on the young girl’s face, and she spoke with infinite sorrow, “It was taught to me by a Buddhist monk in the immortal world, and he also carved the spell on the Ji Hua sword.” Zhou Yue smiled, “The monk said that the reincarnation spell can wash away the grievances of vengeful spirits, so they suffer less in the underworld while waiting for reincarnation.”
A Buddhist in the immortal world? It was the first time he heard her mention someone from the immortal world.
The young man felt his movements stiffen for a moment, and he pretended to pick up a wooden stick from under the window, allowing the night rain to hit his face and clear his mind. He seemed to mention this name inadvertently, “The monk? Are you two close?”
Zhou Yuessmiled and nodded, “He is my dear friend.”
The young man’s mask cracked slightly.
A dear friend, huh? She even called him a dear friend. She hasn’t even said that they are dear friends yet. What does she think of him? Oh, she did say she wanted to take him on as a disciple, but he of course refused.
Shuo Feng turned his back and hastily walked outside, his steps slightly staggered, even forgetting to take the Ji Hua sword. His tone was a bit muffled, “I have something to do, I need to go out.”
Raindrops pattered against the window frame, and the moonlight was dim. Zhou Yue picked up the candlestick from the ground and flicked her finger, causing the light to bloom with a “pu” sound. The room became warm and bright again.
Looking at the swaying flame, she couldn’t quite figure out the young man. She asked, puzzled, “It’s still dark outside, and it’s raining. What is he doing out?”
Drenched in the spring rain, Shuo Feng did indeed want to calm himself down.
The young man only stepped outside the courtyard and leaned against the brick wall at the corner of the alley. Chills rose up from the soles of his feet, extinguishing the agitation and panic in his heart.
Shuo Feng took a long breath.
The next moment, his back straightened.
He stared at the man approaching in the night rain without turning his gaze, his right hand holding a sword poised to strike.
The middle-aged man was dressed in black and wore a bronze demon mask, like the Lord of the Underworld.
He was in his forties or fifties, and his voice was hoarse as if from an old wind box when he spoke, “Xiao Jiu (1), are you going to Qiongzhou?”
The man was the Sixth son of the Luo Sha Men.
So, it was an old acquaintance. They hadn’t met outside the city of Lanzhou before, but he didn’t expect to encounter him here.
Shuo Feng raised an eyebrow, the white tip of his sword twirling in the rain, creating a bright flash of light as it hit the water. In the blink of an eye, he leapt onto the roof of the alley, sword pointed directly at the man’s eyes visible through the mask.
With every move ruthless and desperate, he attempted to strike a fatal blow.
The Sixth was also skilled and didn’t fall behind. He immediately drew two swords from his waist and engaged in a close fight with the young man.
Despite the fight, the man continued speaking calmly, “Xiao Jiu, if you go to Qiongzhou, you won’t be able to turn back.”
Having said this, the man unexpectedly stopped fighting.
Shuo Feng was momentarily surprised, but also stopped his attacks and leaned against the wall, taunting, “Sixth Uncle, what? Are you trying to persuade me to turn back?”
Upon hearing the familiar address of “Sixth Uncle,” the man sheathed his swords, the sound of the blades clanging together. He stroked the cloth-wrapped hilt of his sword and spoke heavily, “The Purple Garment Brigade is coming. Whether you go or stay is up to you.”
The sound of footsteps disappeared into the night rain as the man’s figure vanished from sight.
Was it someone else’s intention to give this warning, or was it the Sixth’s intention?
As he thought, he heard the faint sound of rhythmic hoofbeats in the wind. The small courtyard where he stood was not in the center of Xiaochun City, but he could still see a column of the Purple Garment Brigade riding black horses and searching every house on the narrow streets.
The young man crept along the wall, lightly leaping onto the roof. Despite being in the hazy night rain, his senses were particularly acute due to his recent entry into the Qi-training period. Shuo Feng could clearly see that the Purple Garment Brigade had stopped to search each house along the narrow streets of Xiaochun City, riding black horses.
Hundreds of miles away in the Yudu Capital, many Purple Guards were entering and exiting a mansion. Their robes were noticeably more sophisticated and luxurious, as they held official positions as Baihu (2) and Qianhu (3). The mansion occupied almost half of the main street of Jiyu Avenue, in Yudu, and had once been a private residence of a prince in the previous dynasty. However, it had been bestowed by the current emperor to the Purple Garment Brigade commander as his residence.
Despite the late hour, the commander’s mansion was still brightly lit with many lanterns, as if it were daytime. Servants and attendants scurried about nervously in the night, passing through long corridors and halls, until they reached the innermost courtyard where everyone waited anxiously outside.
The former commander, Lu Ze, fell ill while trying to save the emperor and was resting at home under the emperor’s decree. His son, Lu Qingchuan, succeeded him as commander and surpassed his father’s achievements, earning even more favor from the emperor.
At night, after handling official business and returning home, the commander went to visit his ailing father, displaying a scene of filial piety rarely seen in the present day. The servants all sighed in their hearts, and no one dared to disturb them by entering the room.
Although it was already May and summer were approaching, the bedroom was still heated by a warm stove.
In the bedroom, a young man sat by the bed of the old man with a large knife and was using a delicate gemstone knife to peel an apple. He was very focused, not even blinking his eyes, and the apple skin fell off in complete circles like snowflakes.
The young man was Lu Qingchuan, the successor to the commander of the Purple Garment Brigade and the only son of Lu Ze.
The peeled apple was not for the old man who was seriously ill.
Lu Qingchuan took a bite of the crisp fruit and slowly chewed the taste, revealing his shiny white teeth.
The sound of the old man’s heavy coughing rang out.
The young man’s expression was full of concern as he lifted the blue canopy on the bed, picked up the phlegm bowl (4) from the ground, and helped the old man sit up in bed.
Lying against the soft pillow, Lu Ze stared at his son, who had been away from home for a long time and spat out a phlegm with blood streaks into the bowl.
The warm stove had steamed up a warm atmosphere, and the flickering candlelight and the young man’s tall figure were reflected on the cool golden bricks.
Lu Qingchuan was very handsome, but his eyebrows and eyes were always sharp and gloomy. His pupils were deep and he was now looking quietly at the old man.
In a perplexed and doubtful tone, he asked, “Father, why haven’t you died yet?”
Lu Ze looked up at his son, who looked so much like him, and instead of getting angry at the outrageous question, he smiled and explained, “I’m waiting for an old friend.”
(To say that it was an old friend was not entirely accurate; as the text reads that it should have been the child of an old friend)
The old man was seriously ill and rarely had any clear moments. His eyes were dim, but he still found the sword rack with precision.
He gazed at the sword, took a deep breath, and refused to die with his body in tatters. Lu Ze slowly said, “Wait for him to come and kill me.”
Using the sword that had killed the child’s countless loved ones, he would let the child kill him.
In this chapter, we have the kind and filial son, Lu Qingchuan, in a heartwarming scene with his sick father
Zhou Yue (happy): My relationship with the monk is really good.
Shuo Feng (grinding his teeth): Is there a good relationship between us?
- Xiao Jiu literally means “little nine” and is a term of endearment for Shuo Feng as he is the ninth son of the Luo Sha Men Sect.
- Baihu, which literally means “commander of 100 soldiers” in Chinese, is a military rank that was historically used in China. In ancient times, the baihu was a subordinate officer responsible for commanding a unit of 100 soldiers within a larger army. In later periods, the term baihu was used as an honorary title for high-ranking military officers.
- Qianhu is a Chinese term that refers to a leader or commander of 1,000 soldiers. It is a military rank used in ancient China.
- A phlegm bowl is a bowl or container used for collecting and disposing of phlegm, typically used by individuals who are suffering from respiratory illnesses or conditions. It is also sometimes called a sputum bowl or spittoon.