The First Arc: Bloody Rain Reaching Towards a Flower
Chapter 5: Discussion Between Three Fools In The Ju Yang Temple At Night
Sensing their gaze, Xie Lian smiled faintly before turning around. He asked, “Is it your first time seeing a genuine cursed collar?”
The cursed collar, as its name implied, was a curse that took the shape of a shackle.
The Heavenly Officials that were demoted and banished from Heaven would receive an imprint of their sins on their body, something that could be considered as the accumulation of Heaven’s wrath. This imprint took the form of a shackle, one that blocked the Heavenly Official’s spiritual power. It was something one could never break themselves from or lose. It was the same as stamping a tattoo on their face or binding their hands and feet with chains. It was a type of punishment and also a type of warning, one that made the person in question feel both fear and shame.
As the laughingstock of the three realms and one who had been banished from the Heavens twice, Xie Lian naturally had this kind of cursed collar imprinted on his body. It was impossible for these two small martial gods to not have heard of this fact. However, there was still a difference between hearing someone say it in passing and seeing it personally with their own eyes. Thus, Xie Lian could understand why the two martial gods would have that kind of expression on their faces.
He guessed that this cursed collar of his probably made them feel a bit afraid and uneasy. After all, this wasn’t the sign of a good thing.
Using the excuse that he needed a new top, Xie Lian originally wanted to slip outside and walk around. However, that didn’t happen because Fu Yao rolled his eyes and said, “It would be utterly obscene of you, should you go outside to stroll on the main street with your current appearance.” In the end, it was Nan Feng who casually grabbed some clothes from the temple for Xie Lian, stopping him from proceeding with his ‘obscene’ plan. But after Xie Lian tidied up and sat down again, he felt that after the previous events, the atmosphere had become somewhat awkward.
Therefore, Xie Lian took out the scroll Ling Wen Palace Hall had prepared for him before asking, “Do you guys want to take another look at this?”
Nan Feng lifted his head to give him a look before replying, “I’ve already seen it. I think he is the one who needs a better look.”
Fu Yao retorted, “What do you mean I should be the one to take a better look? That scroll didn’t even have any details—utterly worthless. Does it even deserve someone to keep reading it over?”
When he heard how Fu Yao said the scroll was utterly worthless, Xie Lian couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for the literary gods of Ling Wen Palace Hall. Those gods wrote so many scrolls, their faces even turned ashen in colour. Then, Xie Lian heard Fu Yao continue to say, “Ah, where did we leave off at? Oh yes, the reason behind why Nan Yang has so many female worshipers, right?”
Okay then. Xie Lian put away the scroll before rubbing that pulsing spot in-between his eyes. In his mind, he knew that they wouldn’t be able to read anything tonight.
If no proper work could be done, then at least this situation could get cleared up. It turned out that apart from His Royal Highness the Crown Prince who spent hundreds of years collecting rubbish in the human realm, nowadays all the other gods were aware of the reason. Nan Yang ZhenJun Feng Xin, had once been called the Ju Yang (Tremendous Masculinity) ZhenJun for some years. The person himself had abhorred this name. Toward what Feng Xin had experienced, other people could only sum up their feelings with the words: “What injustice!”
This was because, the original and correct way to spell his name was Ju Yang (Altogether Bright), but with a different Chinese character for ‘Ju’. The reason his name had been misinterpreted had been because of a small mishap.
Many years ago, a monarch wanted to renovate his temples. To show his sincerity, he personally wrote the words on a plaque for every temple hall. However, when he wrote the inscription on the plaque for Ju Yang Palace Hall, he somehow misspelled the first word.
This time, the official responsible for the temple renovation matters almost worried himself to death. He couldn’t make sense of it. In the end, was His Majesty deliberately changing the name? Or had he not been careful and made a mistake? If it was deliberate, why hadn’t he made a decree and state he wanted to change it to this? But if it wasn’t on purpose, how could he make this kind of low-level mistake? It wasn’t like he could go and say, “Your Majesty, you’re wrong”. Who knew if His Majesty would think he was mocking his carelessness? Maybe His Majesty would even think that he was suggesting his knowledge was superficial and his heart wasn’t sincere! In addition, this was made with his Majesty’s ink treasure. Was it going to become void?
The hardest thing to guess in this world was an Emperor’s intentions. That official was extremely conflicted. However, after thinking things over, he decided that it was better to cause Ju Yang ZhenJun some grief rather than making His Majesty feel wronged.
One had to admit that the official made the right decision. When His Majesty discovered that Ju Yang (Altogether Bright) had changed into Ju Yang (Tremendous Masculinity), he didn’t say anything. Instead, he invited a whole flock of scholars, before vigorously thumbing through ancient books. After finding countless minor details to justify the reason for the change, they wrote many articles, doing their utmost best to prove that the original spelling was Ju Yang (Tremendous Masculinity) and that Ju Yang (Altogether Bright) had been the wrong way to write it. In short, one night after this event, the whole nation’s Ju Yang (Altogether Bright) temples turned into Ju Yang (Tremendous Masculinity) temples.
The Feng Xin who had suddenly gotten a Godly title change didn’t find out about this matter until ten years passed. He had never carefully looked at the signs of his own temples before. One day, he just suddenly felt very gloomy. Why were there so many women who came to worship him in his temples? In addition, why was every one of them so shy, as they prayed with thoroughly red faces? What kind of things were they beseeching for when they lit the incense?
After he found out what happened, Feng Xin rushed into the summit of the firmament, faced the scorching sun and vast sky, before swearing a round of curses.
Unsurprisingly, he shocked all the Heavenly Officials there.
After he finished cursing, there wasn’t anything he could do. If they wanted to worship him, then he could only let them worship. It wasn’t like he could make life difficult for these pious and praying women. Thus, he braced himself before listening to their prayers for numerous years. This continued until an honourable monarch felt that this title Ju Yang (Tremendous Masculinity) was simply scandalous, and thus, he changed it to Nan Yang. However, people had not forgotten that other than being a martial god, Nan Yang was also a god who could offer blessings and protection. Just, everyone tacitly understood to never use those two words to address Nan Yang. At the same time, the other gods mutually knew how to assess Nan Yang ZhenJun. You only needed a few words: he was good!
As long as you didn’t make him curse people out, everything was well!
On that side, Nan Feng’s face had blackened so much, it could be compared to an old pot. But over here, Fu Yao was very excited as he spoke in a cultured manner, “A lady’s friend, the most effective when praying for a son. The secret booster for the virality of men, Nan Yang, deliverer of children. Ah ha ha, ah ha ha, ah ha ha ha ha ha……”
Xie Lian benevolently resisted the urge to smile, an attempt to leave some honour to the Godly statue of Nan Yang in front of them. Suddenly, Nan Feng spoke up in an angry tone, “Stop being so weird here. If you feel too idle, don’t panic, you can go sweep the floor.”
The moment he said those words, Fu Yao’s face also turned as black as a pot. If one said that the thing Nan Yang Palace Hall couldn’t tolerate hearing was their previous title, then the thing Xuan Zhen Palace Hall couldn’t bear hearing was sweeping the floor, that kind of thing. This was because, when Mu Qing had been doing the odd jobs at Huang Ji Temple, what he did all day was deliver tea to His Highness the Crown Prince Xie Lian, give him water, sweep the floor or make his bed. One day, Xie Lian saw how he would recite cultivation chants while sweeping the floor and became vigorously moved at how Mu Qing would take such pains and fight against adversity to study. This was what made him ask the Taoist Ministers for a favour, to receive Mu Qing as their disciple.
This matter…how does one phrase it? It was something that could be considered as important, or it could be considered as something insignificant. It could be shameful to the person in question, or it might not matter to him. However, for what that person thought, they evidently believed that this matter was the most humiliating thing they experienced in their whole life. This was because, both Mu Qing and all the martial gods in his Palace Hall would have a falling out with someone should they bring up that time. Sure enough, Fu Yao paused a bit before he stared at the very innocent Xie Lian, who was waving his hands and standing to the side. Fu Yao smiled sarcastically before saying, “Saying something like that, people who didn’t know would have thought that you gods at the Nan Yang Palace Hall would have aided His Highness the Crown Prince.”
Nan Feng also smiled sarcastically. “Your General is indeed someone who would kick their benefactor in their teeth, what more can you say?”
“Uh…” Xie Lian had just wanted to interfere in their argument, when Fu Yao started speaking with a chuckle, “Ah ha ha, your General is only a pot that calls the kettle black. What qualifications do you have to say these words?”
“…” Xie Lian couldn’t take it anymore as he watched the two of them use him as a big stick that hammered both of their General’s backs. He cut in, “Wait, wait! Stop it, stop it.”
Naturally, no one paid attention to him. In addition, they actually started fighting. Xie Lian didn’t know who attacked the other first; but in any case, the table for the sacrificial offerings cracked into two halves. The bowl with the fruits fell, and those fruits rolled everywhere on the floor. Seeing this, Xie Lian figured that it was probably impossible to hold them back from fighting. Thus, he sat down in a corner before sighing, “Ah, how unlucky”. He picked up the small steamed bun that had rolled to his side. Then, he rubbed and removed the skin before preparing to eat it.
However, when Nan Feng glimpsed this out of the corner of his eye, he immediately swept out his palm to hit that bun away. “Don’t eat it!”
Fu Yao also stopped, before he spoke in a shocked and a disdaining manner, “It even fell into the ashes. You can still stomach that?”
Xie Lian took the chance to wave his hands again. He said, “Stop, stop, stop. I have something to say.”
After separating the two martial gods, Xie Lian began in an amicable manner, “First, that Crown Prince you’re referring to is precisely me. This prince hadn’t even said anything, so don’t use me as your weapon to attack each other.” He paused for a moment before adding another sentence. “I believe that both of your Generals would never do something like this. For you to lack propriety like this, how would their prestige survive?”
The moment he said those words, the expressions of the two martial gods turned a bit strange. Xie Lian continued and said, “Second, you’re here to help me, right? Then, are you guys supposed to listen to me, or am I supposed to listen to you?”
After quite a while, the two of them finally said, “We’re supposed to listen to you.”
Although they said that, their faces looked as if they were saying, ‘dream on, for us to listen to you’. However, Xie Lian was already very satisfied with that response. Thus, he clapped his hands and said, “Alright. Lastly, the third and most important point—if it is necessary to abandon something, then please, just throw me away. Don’t ever throw away food.”
Meanwhile, Nan Feng finally dug out the steamed bun Xie Lian had picked up again and held in his grasp—the one Xie Lian planned to eat later when he found an opportunity. At the end of his patience, Nan Feng yelled, “If it fell on the ground, don’t eat it anymore!”
The next day, at the Chance Encounter Little Store.
The tea sommelier was once again sitting at the door, crossing his legs as he relaxed. From far away, he saw three figures slowly approaching. The Taoist who wore simple, white garments and carried a bamboo hat walked in front, while two tall teenagers who wore black clothes followed behind him.
That Taoist arrived idly with his arms crossed before he idly spoke, looking even more like an idle person than the tea sommelier himself. The Taoist said, “Mister, sorry for the inconvenience but may I get three cups of tea?”
The tea sommelier replied with a smile, “Coming!”
However, in his heart, the tea sommelier thought: these three foolish big brothers are here again! What a pity. Each one of them looked more respectable than the other, however, each of their brains are sicker as well! Always talking about this god or that immortal, this ghost or that heaven. These people are all mentally ill. No matter how dignified they looked, what was the use when they were like this?
Once again, Xie Lian picked a table beside the window. After they all sat down, Nan Feng spoke up, “Why do you want to come here to speak about this? Can you ensure others won’t hear us?”
Xie Lian replied in a warm tone, “It doesn’t matter. Even if others hear us, they wouldn’t do anything. They would only think we’re mentally ill.”
Xie Lian continued to speak, “In order to prevent the three of us from squandering our time like before, let’s get straight to the point. After having calmed down, did you guys think of any plans?”
Fu Yao’s eyes lit up as he responded in a cold tone, “Let’s kill it!”
Nan Feng snorted. “No sh*t!”
Xie Lian said, “Nan Feng, you don’t have to be this fierce. Fu Yao didn’t say anything wrong. The fundamental way to solve this problem is precisely to kill it. The problem is, where do we kill it? Who should we kill? How do we kill it? I suggest…”
At this moment, the sound of drums and fanfare once again drifted over from the street. Thus, the three of them looked out of the window.
Once again, it was that group of relatives who delivered the bride. The procession of both people and horses drummed their instruments as they yelled. Even their shouting had hints of a roar in it, as if they were afraid others could not hear them. Seeing this scene, Nan Feng frowned before asking, “Wasn’t it said that the native people living in and around the Mount Jun region never dared to make a ruckus or throw a big celebration when they married?”
In the ranks of this procession, the people were all strong and sturdy tanned men. Their expressions and their muscles were all stretched tautly as their foreheads were covered in cold sweat. It was as if the thing they were carrying wasn’t a big marriage sedan filled with joy but was instead a guillotine that would seize their souls and cut off their heads, forcing them to death. Xie Lian wondered what kind of person was sitting in that marriage sedan.
Pondering for a bit, Xie Lian was about to go out to take a look when a puff of cold wind blasted over. The curtain on one side of the sedan followed the airflow and fluttered upward.
The person behind the curtain was using a very strange posture to lie crookedly in the sedan. Her head was also crooked, and what was revealed under her veil was a mouth painted with scarlet red. However, the corners of her smile were overly-exaggerated. The sedan jolted and that veil slid down, exposing a pair of round eyes. Eyes that were staring firmly in their direction.
This clearly looked like a woman who had broken her neck and was currently laughing soundlessly at them.
Xie Lian didn’t know if it was because the hands of the people carrying the sedan were shaking too much, for that sedan wasn’t very stable. That woman’s head also followed the sedan’s movements and swayed. It swayed and swayed…until THUD! A head fell down and rolled onto the street.
And that headless body also fell forward. With a loud bang, the whole person fell out the sedan door.