Qi Yin stuttered, “Can we still leave now?”
Fu Lan didn’t say anything, listening intently, looking puzzled.
“You can hear ‘them’ talking?” Qi Yin asked in a low voice.
Fu Lan nodded.
“What are ‘they’ saying?”
Fu Lan listened for a while and then said, “‘Senior brother, the moon is so round today. I really like you.'”
“…” Qi Yin slapped his forehead, immediately understanding who was inside.
This sect would be doomed sooner or later. Qi Yin pulled Fu Lan up the hill to the Repentance Cliff. It was open and unobstructed here, and there shouldn’t be anyone talking about spring love. Qi Yin loosened his waistband and stood at the edge of the cliff to relieve himself.
The night wind was cold, the forest was immersed in the hazy night, and the sound of the wind blowing through the trees was like waves, coming in one after another. Immersed in the sound of the heaven and earth, people were insignificant, like tiny insects.
Qi Yin spoke to Fu Lan while he was relieving himself, “Dai Ge, I can sew your clothes for you. Don’t give them away recklessly. There are no decent people in this mountain. You don’t want to lose your virginity for nothing.”
Fu Lan obediently nodded.
“Um,” Qi Yin thought for a moment and then said, “If you like a girl, tell me, and I’ll help you keep an eye on her.”
Fu Lan didn’t say anything this time. There was nothing to say. The silence was filled by the sound of the forest.
Just as Qi Yin finished relieving himself and was about to put on his pants, Fu Lan suddenly grabbed the back of his collar. This guy had immense strength, and Qi Yin was pulled into his arms. His pants slipped down his legs.
Qi Yin thought to himself that this scoundrel might take advantage of him while his pants were off. He hadn’t even figured out how to respond when flames suddenly rose up from below, surging up the cliff face in a pillar of fire, burning Qi Yin’s toes with its scorching heat. The place where Qi Yin had been standing was now nothing but ashes, sticking together in a black mess.
Qi Yin clung to Fu Lan, scared out of his wits. If Fu Lan had been a moment late, not only would Qi Yin’s descendants have been in danger, but he himself would have been reduced to ashes.
A thunderous roar came from the bottom of the cliff, “You little bunnies from Feng Huan Mountain! You dared to pee on my head, so I’ll burn your birds to teach you a lesson! Don’t think that the name of the Northern Wolf King is just for show!”
A senior brother ran over with a wooden plaque in his arms, shouting loudly, “Wolf King, calm down. The notice board was blown away by the wind. These newcomers don’t know the rules!” He put the wooden plaque on the ground, saw that Qi Yin and Fu Lan were okay, and then ran away in a hurry.
Qi Yin fixed his gaze on the plaque, which had a few large characters written in a flamboyant style: “Below is the Wolf King. No peeing is allowed here.”
Qi Yin was so mad he almost vomited blood. He almost died because of something so stupid!
“Get dressed,” said Fu Lan, taking a step forward. “He bullied you. I’ll go beat him up.”
“Wait!” Qi Yin had just picked up his pants when Fu Lan leaped forward. Qi Yin instinctively reached for his arm, but he was swept away by Fu Lan’s movement and fell straight off the cliff. Fu Lan hesitated for a moment before plunging after Qi Yin.
The sound of the wind whistled in Qi Yin’s ears as he was filled with fear, feeling as though his heart was about to jump out of his throat. Suddenly, someone grabbed his waist, hoisted him up, and clumsily pushed his hair out of his face.
Fu Lan held him horizontally as they slowly descended. When Qi Yin’s feet finally touched the ground, he let out a sigh of relief. As he leaned against the cliff, he saw a huge white wolf crouched on a large rock on the other side. The wolf was as tall as a three-story building, with golden eyes that burned like lanterns and snow-white fur that looked like surging clouds in the moonlight. Fu Lan and Qi Yin stood in front of it, looking like two clay dolls. Although they were several yards apart, Qi Yin could feel the wolf’s scorching breath, as though it were flames from hell.
“Brother, are you still going to hit him?” Qi Yin’s voice was trembling.
Fu Lan didn’t speak. He met the Wolf King’s sinister gaze. A chilling demonic aura emanated from Fu Lan like a tidal wave. If Qi Yin had cultivated his spiritual awareness, he would have been able to “see” the two waves of demonic energy from Fu Lan and the Wolf King violently colliding with each other, creating immense waves at the point of impact. Like two rocks in the center of the tide, they stood firm, while the world around them was swallowed by the tide.
Qi Yin suddenly felt as though the wind was picking up, and the sand and stones were swirling around him so strongly that he couldn’t keep his eyes open. Fu Lan reached out and grabbed him with one hand. He clung to Fu Lan like a dead leaf in the tide, and only by clinging to the rock could he avoid being swept away by the waves.
The wind gradually died down, and Qi Yin saw the Wolf King crouch down. Little did he know that the Wolf King had just suppressed the urge to taste fresh blood.
“Name,” said the Wolf King in a low voice.
“I’ve heard of you,” said the Wolf King, standing up from the rock and looking down at Fu Lan and Qi Yin. “You are a great demon from the southern wilderness. I heard you led thirty thousand demon soldiers into battle against the demons in Jiu Gai. Twenty-eight leaders died, and all the demon soldiers were wiped out. Only you managed to fight your way up to Yuan Mountain, kill that old man, Wei Sheng Yuan, and refined his bones into a sword.”
“Yeah, that was me,” said Fu Lan.
The Wolf King suddenly chuckled. “But your aura doesn’t seem like a demon or a monster at all. I’ve lived for eight hundred years, and it’s the first time I’ve smelled such a unique scent. It really makes me sick.”
Qi Yin whispered behind Fu Lan, “Dai Ge, how long has it been since you last bathed?”
Fu Lan: “…”
“But.” The Wolf King laughed heartily. “The younger generation is formidable. I concede defeat. You two can go.”
Qi Yin breathed a sigh of relief. He didn’t expect the reputation of the pig demon in the southern territory to be so useful. Before he even had to use any tricks, just revealing their identity was enough to scare the cowardly wolf away. He quickly pulled Fu Lan and tried to climb up the cliff. Suddenly, the timid wolf sniffed and asked, “Hey, you, the small one behind. Come over and let me have a look.”
Qi Yin immediately froze. He bathed every day. Did this wolf want him as its food?
Fu Lan pulled him behind and said, “He’s with me. I don’t allow you to look at him.”
“Tsk.” The Wolf King sneered disdainfully. “Do you really think I’m interested? I just smell something familiar from this brat. It’s like…like…that person surnamed Qi from Wu Fang Mountain. Kid, are you related to that Daoist?”
The wolf looked fierce, but didn’t seem difficult to get along with. Qi Yin hesitated for a moment, then gave it a bow and said, “I am Qi Yin. The Daoist that the Wolf King mentioned is probably my father. However, he abandoned his wife and child long ago and ignored me, so he can’t really be considered my father.”
The Wolf King let out a long sigh. “That bastard did indeed have a face of ungratefulness and lack of righteousness. I admired him at first and wanted to befriend him. But after I ate a few mortals, this brat turned against me and had me locked up here with the leader of your Feng Huan Mountain. I’ve been locked up for twenty years without him even bothering to visit me once. My once shiny and smooth fur is now all twisted up.” The Wolf King snorted and said, “How has he been doing? He has excellent swordsmanship and qualifications. He should be the elder of Wu Fang Mountain by now.”
Qi Yin fell silent for a while before saying, “He’s dead. I heard he was killed recently when he went to Ying River to rid it of water ghosts.”
The Wolf King suddenly fell silent, and his eyes, which were as shiny as molten gold, dimmed slightly. The cold moonlight shone on his face, and every strand of his snow-white fur shimmered with a jade-colored light. Somehow, Qi Yin could sense a hint of sadness from his face.
“You two little brats, come take a walk with me.” The Wolf King suddenly got off the stone and walked into the woods.
The night wind flowed quietly, and the forest flickered with brilliant fireflies. In front of them was a small stream, and the sound of flowing water echoed in the distance. A faint singing voice drifted from far away, as if crossing mountains and waters, and was carried to their ears by the wind. The Wolf King said it was from the mermaids who lived downstream. They sang the same song all day long, and he had been listening for twenty years.
“They’re quite pretty, and they wear very little. If you don’t mind that they have fish tails, you might consider them,” the Wolf King said.
Qi Yin laughed dryly and said, “Thank you for your kind offer, Wolf King, but we’d better focus on our cultivation.”
Several unknown small monsters crawled out of a pile of fallen leaves and were scared off by the Wolf King. They pretended to be dead and crawled back in. The fireflies on the stream slowly gathered and formed the silhouette of a beautiful young woman, floating in the water. Qi Yin asked what it was, and Fu Lan said, “Firefly demon, man-eater.”
The singing continued, ethereal like smoke. They walked a little farther and stopped by the stream. The Wolf King lay on the bank of the stream and looked at the moon in the water, saying, “Little brat, don’t blame your old man for being heartless. Men are bound to make such mistakes. I also have many illegitimate children. Who knows where they’re frolicking now. I’ve eaten tens of thousands of mortals. Your dad was a real man, although he had a thin face. He blushed when he saw women bathing. Study hard, don’t disgrace your father.”
Qi Yin didn’t say anything more, as if he had taken in the Wolf King’s words but also as if he hadn’t. When he didn’t smile, his face was pale, as if he was distant from everyone.
The two of them, one human and one wolf, looked at the moon and its reflection in the water, with ripples spreading and fireflies dancing. The world was as quiet as a dream.
When the moon was in the middle of the sky, Fu Lan carried Qi Yin back to the Repentance Cliff. The mermaids’ song could no longer be heard, and the surroundings were silent, with a faint moonlight, as if the world was trapped in a thin layer of water. Qi Yin didn’t want to go back to sleep and sat on the cliff to enjoy the breeze. Fu Lan sat with him, the two of them under the night sky, as small and thin as shadows.
“You’re sad,” Fu Lan said.
Qi Yin tugged at the corner of his mouth and joked dryly, “What gave it away, Dai Ge?”
Fu Lan patted his own shoulder and said, “If you’re feeling sad, you can lean on my shoulder.”
Qi Yin felt warmed in his heart and smiled, saying, “Thanks. Actually, I’m not that sad, just a bit bored. It’s just that I don’t have a father, but neither do you, nor our senior brothers and sisters. I’ve gotten used to it. I just can’t stand people constantly mentioning him in my ear, as if I had a father. He’s a great hero, I know, slaying demons and monsters, showing great courage and righteousness. I also know that he had aspirations to pursue the path of the great Dao, so it’s understandable that he didn’t come back to find my mother.”
Fu Lan quietly watched him.
“But what does that matter? He’s someone else’s hero, not mine.” Qi Yin lowered his head, his disheveled hair covering his eyes. He looked dejected, like a roadside weed. “After all, I don’t even know his name…”
“Qi Shen Wei,” Fu Lan suddenly said.
Qi Yin was stunned and looked up at him.
“A Fu told me. It’s not his title, it’s his real name,” Fu Lan said. “Do you really want a father?”
Qi Yin scratched his head and said, “It’s a lie to say I don’t want one. When I was a kid, my cousin dragged me into fights with other kids, and I would get beaten up badly. I would lie on the ground and secretly wish that my father would come down from the sky and beat up those people until they begged for mercy. But it was always my uncle who came to my rescue. He would only take my cousin away, and I could only rub my knees and follow from behind.”
“I helped you win today,” Fu Lan said.
“…” That was because you scared the Wolf King away by using a pig demon’s name that was the same as yours. Qi Yin was a bit speechless. He didn’t expect Fu Lan to be so thick-skinned.
The two of them were silent for a while, and then Qi Yin asked, “Dai Ge, just now the Wolf King said that your aura doesn’t seem like a demon or a monster. What does that mean?”
Fu Lan looked towards the distant mountains and said, “The cat said that I’m a cat demon because I follow it. Later, A Fu said I’m her child, so I’m human.” He lowered his eyes and whispered, “Xiao Yin, I don’t even know what I am.”
Not a demon, not a monster; isn’t that just a human? Qi Yin scratched his head, turned Fu Lan’s face to him, and said, “You have a nose and eyes, and our male treasure sword. You’re human, Dai Ge. Don’t listen to your cat’s nonsense. Look at how you’ve learned to speak like it.”
Fu Lan remained silent.
“Dai Ge.” Qi Yin looked at the moon in the sky and said, “Why don’t you tell me about my mother? I was too young when I was with her, so I don’t have much of an impression. My mother…what kind of person was she? She must have been really good if my cold-hearted father chose her.”
“Well.” Fu Lan thought of the bright woman and said, “She was very beautiful, even more beautiful than Nüwa. Her voice was light, like a gust of wind, flying into the vast night.