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As soon as he saw Gu Xiang, Feng Xiaofeng went nuts, screeching and throwing himself forward. “Rotten girl! I’ll slaughter you!”
Gu Xiang went ouch, patting her chest with a fake smile. “You’ll scare me to death, Feng. No one’s teamed up with you today. To bully me, a lady — you have absolutely no lenience!”
“Brother Feng, calm down a bit!” Zhao Jing quickly shouted at Feng Xiaofeng. “So many of us are watching. If she really is a bad person, would she still be able to escape?”
Hearing their scrupulousness, Cao Weining knew that they were going to put on a show about her. With a strength he wasn’t sure where came from, he falteringly got up, then put out an arm to block Gu Xiang’s front, ignoring his dull chest pain and coughing. “Everyone, Ah-Xiang has always been naive, never able to hide the words of her mind, but she is still a junior. Even if she has misspoken in any way, I request that you seniors acknowledge that she’s still young and ignorant, and not stoop to her level.”
He turned to Feng Xiaofeng once more, enunciating his words. “As for you, Hero Feng, this Cao has something to say. That day, Hero Shen met with misfortune, the Lapis Armor was stolen, and the hearts of those in Dongting were panicked. Zhang Chengling had indeed been with us, but the one that brought him away was Brother Zhou, and he did so in Hero Zhao’s presence, who didn’t obstruct it at all. We had to take care of it for him. This Feng fellow cannot distinguish between right and wrong, as he had joined forces with a group of Poisonous Scorpions to hunt us down. Were we wrong to defend ourselves?”
Gu Xiang nimbly stuck out her head from behind him, pointing at Feng Xiaofeng. “It’s true! See how he conducts himself? He looks exactly like everyone else owes him eight hundred strings of coins, wanting to fight when nothing’s even been said! Who knows if he’s with that bunch of black-clothed villains?”
Feng Xiaofeng was extraordinarily furious, but when it came to loquaciousness, he couldn’t contend with her; right as the word ‘you’ had bounced out of his mouth, a pile of words had bounced out of hers like jumping beans. The girl put both hands on her hips, her face full of slyness, and then pointed at him. “What about me? My Master gave me that brat to look after, and bringing him along was way too much trouble! He was thinking that everyone else is just like you lot, with your shamelessness being something the whole world knows about! You and that… surname ‘Yu’ for fish or ‘Gui’ for turtle or whatever, who knows what temple you two came out of? People don’t have signs on their faces for whether they’re good or bad, but looking at you, you don’t seem like anything good! What are you trying to find Zhang Chengling so badly for? You’re the same kind of trash as Yu! Hmph!”
She rolled her eyes, the spitting image of a child throwing a temper. In just a few words, she had also dragged Yu Qiufeng into this; the man had currently turned into an old rat crossing the street that everyone was shouting and kicking at, so, regardless of whether something was true or false or a frame or a set up, there would be no issue with pushing it onto his head.
Feng Xiaofeng was taken aback, anger dizzying his head. He hadn’t expected this to go here.
As expected, as soon as she said that, many people started giving him poor looks. Ye Baiyi huffed coldly. “Your type is born not being the stuff for physical arts. You couldn’t even grasp six-harmony spiritual cultivation, so what fight could you put up?”
How could anything nice to hear ever come out of Ye Baiyi’s mouth? Someone laughed at this scene. Gao Shannu roared, then smashed a rock onto the ground, but he was blind — what use would a bit of brute strength have? Looking at the master-servant pair, Cao Weining thought them to be pitiful.
Perhaps due to his injury, he felt especially fatigued, looking at each individual before him not like they were people, but base-growing plants listening to the rain on the wind, praising those above and stomping on those below… because, no matter what, their own heads weren’t getting stomped, so they were happy to watch the excitement.
He tugged at Gu Xiang. “Ah-Xiang, let’s go. I’ll take over.”
She didn’t say much, obediently getting towed away by him. He turned to Mo Huaiyang. “Shifu, this disciple is unfilial, and cannot obey you. In my lifetime, I have no sort of great prospects. Working myself hard won’t get me fame. so I’m simply taking advantage of my youth to change course. Maybe I’ll be an old farmer, relying on some hard swings of tools to grow a lot of little somethings, more than others could. When the time comes, I’ll be sure to have you taste that freshness firsthand every year.”
Mo Huaiyang looked somewhat less stormy, but he still frowned as he looked at Gu Xiang, feeling that despite the girl’s looks being good, there was constantly an unspeakable evil about her. She didn’t look like a woman from a decent family. Yet, when he went to talk, Mo Huaikong started making loud noises out of his windpipe. “Hahaha, I knew you were a hopeless brat! When you have a fat son with your little wife, I’ll be his grand-shishu! You’ll have to treat me to wine on his one-month!”
Cao Weining laughed dryly a few times, thinking, Shishu, your imagination is really getting too far ahead. Gu Xiang’s face was a bit heated, but she let out a sigh of relief, knowing that this blockade of theirs was over with.
Right as they made to leave, someone out of the crowd began to speak — it was the man that had always been at Zhao Jing’s side, who had flashed his weapon when the Poisonous Scorpion struck. There was a blade scar on his face that slanted down diagonally, dragging down dangerously to his neck.
“Please stay a minute, young lady,” he said. “This humble one has a question.”
Gu Xiang turned her head, listening to him slowly continue on. “Didn’t you all notice that the spot she just came out of is somewhere on Fengya Mountain? She trespassed on Ghost Valley, so why haven’t the Ghosts done anything yet?”
The blood left her face in an instant. “I’m thinking that there’s two possibilities,” he kept going. “One is that she has… an interesting status. Two is that when she went in, no one discovered her, but why would a lone girl going in such a place not be found?”
His words could not be any clearer. Even Cao Weining understood them. He looked over in astonishment, staring at her in a daze and unable to speak.
She released his hand, then took a step back. And another.
Zhao Jing narrowed his eyes, purposefully clapping the scarred man on the shoulder. “Hey, what are you saying?” he said, loud. “She’s only so old. What kind of person could she possibly be?”
The man smiled. “Knowing a form and face isn’t knowing the heart.”
Zhao Jing pat his head, thinking. “Well, isn’t this convenient? People of the Valley have a prominent mark on their lower backs. Were there nothing but us menfolk around, nothing could be done, but heroines of Emei happen to be present. You women won’t need to observe propriety, so you can go to a place where no one else is to check. We’ll be able to trust the heroines’ statement.”
Hearing this, the nearby Sect Leader of Emei nodded, giving no refute.
Cao Weining heard nothing, only staring at her. Once he saw her expression, he understood everything. In his impression, she had forever been a careless, happy-go-lucky young lady that knew no schemes; never before had he seen such a wan, dismal, dark look on her face.
Her smile was gone. Her big, limpid eyes looked to be missing the vigor within them, having only a cold maliciousness. She looked not at him, but at the scarred man, genuinely resembling a ghost.
He recalled what Wen Kexing had once said to him that night: Even if she might not be like what you’re imagining, even if… you will find out that you don’t actually recognize her?
How had he answered? In that instant, he was a bit distracted. He had… vowed to Wen Kexing, “Don’t worry. I know her, of course.”
Then, she moved. Her figure was extremely agile, and with but a wink, she overcame Cao Weining to come before the crowd, the scarred man bearing the brunt of it. No one had thought that she would have the guts to attack right in front of everyone.
The man saw that the arrival had no good intentions, subconsciously drawing back. She laughed coldly, abruptly raising her hand — two iron chains shot straight out of her sleeves, going for his face. He bent backwards to dodge, but the chains seemed to have souls, directly winding around his neck. “Hell has no entrance for you to charge into,” she called, sinister. “If you want to blame me, go ahead…”
Following that, she yanked the chains backwards with force, attempting to take off his head at once.
Zhao Jing bellowed angrily, unsheathing his sword to stab her. She couldn’t dodge, posturing like her life depended on it, waiting for the wide-open opportunity of his thrust to throw out a hidden weapon.
“Ah-Xiang!” Cao Weining shouted.
Caring for nothing, he flew out in front, obstructing Zhao Jing’s sword with a clang. He grabbed her hand that was tugging the chains. “Let go! Let’s go back home! Ah-Xiang, let go of him, now!”
She startled, involuntarily loosening her hand. The chains fell to the ground. Unawares, she was bodily hauled several paces away by him, after which she mumbled, “Back home?”
He sucked in a deep breath. “Back home.”
Zhao Jing sneered. “Very good! Since you’re a little Valley demoness, there’s no need to quibble! We’re not letting you come and go as you please!”
Before he was quite finished, a strong gale attacked him from behind. He dodged, flustered, and turned to look. It was Ye Baiyi — he was holding Dragon’s Back, which wasn’t unsheathed, yet had still forced him back from that swing.
The man didn’t look at him, only speaking to Cao Weining. “The friend you just talked about is a brat with the surname Zhou, right? Take me to find him, and I’ll send you both elsewhere.”
Everyone was shocked by his act, watching blanking as he was about to bring Gu Xiang and Cao Weining away without ever getting off his horse.
“You dare to leave, Cao Weining?” Mo Huaiyang finally spoke up.
Cao Weining’s back stiffened. He stood, turned, and opened his mouth. “Shifu…”
“You go with them,” the other said coldly, “and from now on, you will not be a part of my Qingfeng Sword Sect. Fall into the way of evil, and in the future… I will send myself down the same path of principle that all martial artists do, and we will be irreconcilable!”
Cao Weining’s form seemed to way, and Gu Xiang quickly reached out to support him.
“Think this over well,” Mo Huaiyang said. “Don’t allow one mistake to lead to infinite sorrow.”
Cao Weining stood there, blank, for a very, very long time. Gu Xiang felt him grasp her hand for a split second, release it, then hold it even tighter. “Shifu, I pledged to a friend that for my entire life, from that moment until my death, counting every single second, there would never be any time when I would let Ah-Xiang down… you’ve taught me since childhood to do what I say I will, and do it to completion. I can’t eat my words in regards to her family.”
Mo Huaiyang looked ashen. He clenched his jaw for a long while, then coldly laughed, giving off three successive ‘good’s. He abruptly turned, as if he didn’t want to look at him anymore.
Cao Weining knelt; Gu Xiang frowned, hesitating a bit, then knelt alongside him. The former kowtowed three times in Mo Huaiyang’s direction, and there was an audible sound every time his forehead landed on the ground, blood promptly showing up on it. “This disciple is unfilial!” he cried out, eyes shot red.
After that, he turned to Mo Huaikong and kowtowed thrice again, gritting his teeth, yet unable to say a word. Mo Huaikong peered at him, antsy and wanting to say something, but also feeling like everything he could say would be wrong. All he could do was curse furiously. “Shit! What is this?!”
Gu Xiang then helped him up, Ye Baiyi in wait at the side. Mo Huaiyang turned back around, eyes flashing. “Weining,” he called, voice softened, seeming somewhat fragile.
Cao Weining’s heart skipped a beat. “Shifu…”
The other took a deep breath. He hesitated for a while, then beckoned for him. “Come over here. I have a few things to say to you.”
Ye Baiyi creased his brow, disdaining this bothersome master-disciple pair. He watched as Cao Weining was already going over, then turned his head away; this eternal parting had nothing to do with him, really.
Cao Weining took a few steps forwards, then knelt, using his knees to crawl up before him. Mo Huaiyang looked at him with complicated emotions, shut his eyes, then put his hand on his head with a sigh, as if he was still a little child. “In your generation… I’ve cherished you the most.”
The other choked up. “Shifu, I…”
He couldn’t speak further, as this scene of tender emotions suddenly changed its tune. No one had expected that after Mo Huaiyang finished saying that sentence, his hand that was caressing the top of Cao Weining’s head would suddenly exert its strength without warning, pressing down upon his crown with the force of ten thousand catties.
Cao Weining immediately spurted blood from all seven orifices. Gu Xiang screamed, and blood splashed onto Mo Huaikong. The latter couldn’t react, staring wide-eyed at the one that was still kneeling… and after Mo Huaiyang let go, Cao Weining collapsed to the side without a sound.
Mo Huaiyang hooded his eyes. “My Qingfeng Sword Sect, ever since its initiation by its founding master, has always assumed the duty of rectifying righteousness, and upholding the four virtues. Never before has a traitorous disciple come out of it. This Mo is ashamed that my instruction had not been to standard, to have produced such an unorthodox, unfilial one. I had no choice but to… tidy up the sect. In order to apologize to the world, I ask you all…”
Mo Huaikong looked at him incredulously. “I’ll fuck you up!” he roared in rage.
The other paused for a short moment, then finished the rest of his words, no change in expression. “…to mock me.”
Gu Xiang abruptly threw herself at him, looking to have gone insane. In that moment, her mind was a blank expanse, and she had only one thought left — kill.
“I’ll kill you all!” she shrieked. “I’ll kill every single one of you!”
Quick to react, Ye Baiyi darted over, then hand-chopped her gently on the back of her neck. Her body fell limply, and he caught her. Coldly sweeping his eyes across everyone in front of him, he ultimately settled onto Mo Huaiyang. “You all heard what she said.”
No one responded to him.
He nodded on his own, holding her atop the horse. “This humble one has gained insight,” he threw out, then left, kicking up no dust.
Gu Xiang was unconscious, but a tear still fell from the corner of her eye.
As it was… with the way this world worked, the righteous and the demonic could not coexist, nor have a nice chat. He was righteous, while she was demonic — they were destined to never be together. Those were the rules. Rules were set by majorities of the world’s people, and those who complied, yet wanted to rebel, had to have patience, throw caution to the wind, and bravely go against that overwhelming majority.
Succeed, and one could jump out. Fail, and…
Lao Meng had no idea that the things he had gotten ready were no longer needed. Surprisingly, he genuinely had prepped the ‘dowry’ Wen Kexing had asked for, filling up the ground of a courtyard with it in a way that had something of a ‘ten li worth of red adornments’ feel. Precious braziers for posterity, twin bowl sets for posterity, mahogany trunks, wardrobes, plus all sorts of makeup cases and jewelry boxes, implements of gold and silver in full gamut, and even a few sets of phoenix crowns and red dresses were all there.
Wen Kexing had gotten to his age without ever witnessing any sort of wedding, nor ever drinking a drop of wedding wine. He was learning for the first time that new brides were really so painstakingly cared for, browsing over it all with a lot of enthusiasm. He also purposefully held the ‘dowry art’ aloft, standing there and carefully studying it for a time, after which he came to a conclusion. “This artist is good, but not as good as the unique style of a friend of mine.”
Lao Meng was following ingratiatingly behind him. “Do you mean to have it switched out, Valley Master?” he quickly questioned.
Wen Kexing inclined his head to look at him, smiling falsely as he put the ‘art’ back, then randomly sat down upon a mahogany trunk nearby. “Do you know what phrase I just remembered?”
The other’s heart jumped, feeling that it wasn’t going to be a good one.
However, he heard Wen Kexing say: “Taking off your pants to let out a fart is doing too much.”
Lao Meng raised his head, gaze crossing with Wen Kexing’s. A short moment later, he lowered it again. “This subordinate… does not understand what you mean, Valley Master.”
 It’s… erotica. You use it on the wedding night because virgins don’t know things… god fucking dammit priest, why did you make me talk about porn on this chapter??