Saturday, 16 January 2016

Chapter 77 - At a loss


Dubaku=ChangJian
Lady Jingling=Lady JinLing
Lupin Bell=He Huan Bell
Uncle Bozo=Wang ErShu

Shadows of bamboos danced, shards of sunlight shone down, landed upon the clearing in the bamboo forest.

Zhang Xiao Fan gazed far into the bamboo forest, quietly said, "Actually, sometimes I find myself so silly, my Senior Sister clearly liked QiHao Senior Brother, instead I still...but, at that time, when I saw her standing in front of Kui Niu,  I didn't know what I was thinking, and just dashed up."

BiYao leaned on his side, suddenly said, "If I encountered danger too, will you save me like that?"

Zhang Xiao Fan awkwardly laughed, scratched his head, after a while replied, "I, I also don't know, " but after pausing for a while and thinking carefully again, said, "Should be ba!"

BiYao smiled, gave him an annoyed stare, withdrew her stare, and looked afar, quietly said, "If instead, you were the one who had met with danger, even if I had to exchange my life for you, I would also gladly do it!"

Zhang Xiao Fan was shocked, turned and looked at her! BiYao looked solemn and did not seemed to be joking, he stammered and said, "What did you say?"

BiYao smiled, and looked as if something suddenly came to her mind, said to Zhang Xiao Fan, "Xiao Fan, come with me ba!"

Zhang Xiao Fan frowned and said, "To where?"

BiYao said, "Anywhere, the world is so big, it doesn't matter where we go. You do not wish to enter into our Holy Sect and be an enemy to your sect, then we shall not enter, and travel together to the ends of the world. If not, should you continue to stay in QingYun sect and judging from those old antiques' temperaments, I only fear the worst for you."

Zhang Xiao Fan turned silent, BiYao worriedly looked at him, waiting.

Finally, Zhang Xiao Fan turned to look at her, BiYao was about to say something but saw Zhang Xiao Fan instead was slowly shaking his head.

"Can't, I will not leave QingYun, BiYao."

BiYao's expression immediately turned somber, and said, "Don't tell me you want to stay here and wait for death?"

Zhang Xiao Fan, after remaining silent for a while, said, "BiYao, you don't understand, QingYun is my home, I am raised up by my teacher, teacher's wife, I cannot abandon them."

BiYao angrily said, "That teacher of yours scold and punish you every time, you still say they are good?"

Zhang Xiao Fan stood up straight, smiled lightly and said, "BiYao, I may looked somehow stupid to other people, but on these matters, I can still tell. Although my teacher has always been strict but he treats me really well, I know it, he treats me sincerely." He spoke quietly, "The recent incidents, actually it is all my fault. I was the one who lied to him, therefore whatever punishment that I receive, I deserve it, but I should never betray my sect."

BiYao was stunned for a moment, suddenly sighed and said, "Which part of you is stupid? You are very clever! No wonder my dad always told me, although you look simple and slow but you are actually very intelligent!"

Zhang Xiao Fan was surprised and his face turned red, said, "He, your dad he spoke of me like that?"

BiYao laughed and did not reply, walked up to him and said, "I know your character, and will not force you to leave, but now that you are holding our sect rare treasure, and are also involved with TianYin Temple, it is really very dangerous. Have you decided what to do?"

Zhang Xiao Fan gave a bitter laugh and said, "I will leave it to Heaven!"

BiYao stared at him, softly said, "You better be alright!"

Zhang Xiao Fan laughed, looked up to the sky, said, "You have been here for quite a long time, you better hurry back! Just in case should any incidents happen. We, we if we are fated in the future...then we shall meet again!" BiYao's body shook, Zhang Xiao Fan somehow also felt agonized in his heart. The journey to TongTian Peak tomorrow, he really did not have any confidence on what would be the outcome eventually.

He turned, and slowly walked towards the boundary of the bamboo forest.

Just when he had walked several zhangs away, he suddenly heard BiYao's voice from the back, "Xiao Fan, I ask you one thing."

Zhang Xiao Fan turned around and asked in surprise, "What?"

BiYao also seemed a bit hesitant, but eventually still continued, "In that forest outside the lake town, you had once looked upon a well on a full moon night, I will like to know, what did you see inside the well?"

Zhang Xiao Fan was taken aback, curiously asked, "Why do you want to know this too?"

BiYao suddenly felt nervous, became annoyed and said, "Just say!"

Zhang Xiao Fan frowned and said, "Just what strange properties did the well have that all of you will be so interested?"

BiYao smiled and did not reply.

Zhang Xiao Fan opened his mouth to speak, but without knowing what he had recalled, his face turned red again, and eventually did not say it. After a while he then said, "I, I until the next time we meet again, I will surely tell you."

BiYao looked surprised, and smiled, after all she had heard Zhang Xiao Fan's intention, that he was not that willing to be manipulated by his teachers, immediately smiled and said, "Alright! You must remember oh!"

Zhang Xiao Fan [He he] laughed, after talking his heart out together with BiYao, his mood had for the moment, brightened up a lot, and he felt much lighter. He stretched out his hand and waved to BiYao, turned and walked out of the bamboo forest.

After a short distance, the monkey Xiao Hui, without knowing which big bamboo top it had jumped down from, landed on Zhang Xiao Fan's shoulder, and even turned back to look at BiYao.

In the depth of the bamboo forest, BiYao, without moving, stared blankly after that gradually disappearing figure.

The next day, Morning.

When the humid air in between the mountains were still drifting in the big Bamboo Valley, the big Bamboo Valley people were all already up and ready.

Tian BuYi was all prepared, walking slowly towards the empty ground in front of Observed Silence Hall with SuRu. Everyone was already waiting over there, Zhang XiaoFan stood last in in the crowd.

Tian BuYi indifferently said, “Daren, you will bring lao qi, the rest of them do not need to go.”

Song Daren nodded his head and acknowledged, disappointments were seen on the rest of the disciples’ faces, only Tian LingEr stood up and said to Tian BuYi, “Dad, I want to go too.”

Tian BuYi frowned and said, “Why do you want to go, you will only add to the mess!”

Tian LingEr clenched her teeth and looked at SuRu with pleading eyes, called out, “Mum.”

SuRu sighed, and said to Tian BuYi, “Never mind, let her go ba!”

Tian BuYi frowned, eventually unwillingly nodded his head and looked away, took a look at Zhang XiaoFan who was standing afar, and said, “Let’s go!”

Speaking which, he flung his sleeve, steered his celestial sword, and led the flight. SuRu soon followed behind.

On the ground, the disciples crowded around, He DaZhi gave a cough and spoke to Zhang XiaoFan, “Em, little Junior brother, you, you be careful.”

Zhang XiaoFan, in these few days, this was the first time he saw that his senior brothers had concern on their faces, he was touched and replied quietly, “Yes.”

Song Daren sighed and said, “Little Junior brother, lets go!”

Zhang XiaoFan acknowledged, walked to Song Daren and couldn’t help but looked towards Tian LingEr, who was beside. But instead, she was also looking at him at the same time. Although her eyes were full of concern but she never spoke a word.

[Sha, sha] two sounds were heard, Zhang XiaoFan, once again stood behind Song Daren, soared up and straight into the clear sky.

Looking at the sky which was turning more blue, it seemed like everything was back to the start of the Seven Peaks Tournament, but, the feeling of excitement then was missing.

Passing the peaks, reaching into the clouds, towering and majestic, still as with celestial air swirling around, still as untainted of any mortal touch, it seemed to open its arms, welcoming their arrival.

Song Daren, bringing Zhang XiaoFan, with Tian LingEr together landed at the Cloud Sea. Up upon the summit, the Crystal Hall, the distant bell chimes were still being heard.

The figures of Tian BuYi and SuRu had already disappeared, most likely they had went up first to Crystal Hall. Instead at Cloud Sea, large number of sect heads and their disciples had gathered, and at this moment, saw that Song Daren and the rest had arrived. Immediately, there was a wave of commotion, many of their stares, turned to the one standing behind, Zhang XiaoFan.

Numerous whispers and talks, on Cloud Sea, just like those floating clouds, drifted here and there.

Song Daren and Tian LingEr’s faces were tightly drawn, they acted as they did not notice the stares. After a while, one person from among the crowd, walked towards the three of them.

Zhang XiaoFan looked at him, and recognized the person. It was the main sect disciple, ChangJian, whom he had met when he came to TongTian Valley the previous time. He was also the one who had fought with Song Daren at Seven Peaks Tournament.

Song Daren too, recognized the person. When he saw that the person had walked over, he made a greeting gesture and said, “Chang Senior brother, how have you been?”

ChangJian quickly returned the gestures, but at the corner of his eyes, he still looked over Zhang XiaoFan a few times, and said, “Song Senior brother, Tian BuYi Teacher Uncle had already arrived here just now, and had specially instructed Junior brother, once you all have arrived, to let me lead all of you directly to Crystal Hall.”

Song Daren nodded his head and said, “Then we shall trouble Chang Senior brother.”

ChangJian smiled coolly, moved sideways and said, “Then will the few of you please follow me!”

Speaking which, he took the lead, Song Daren, Tian LingEr and Zhang XiaoFan followed behind him, walked through the Cloud Sea, walked pass numerous Qing Yun disciples’ stares, arrived at the Rainbow Bridge and walked up.

At this time, the first ray of light finally shot out towards the mortal world, gently shone upon TongTian Valley, the clear water ripples on both sides of the bridge, and also in the layer upon layers of rippling waves, a beautiful rainbow emerged.

Zhang XiaoFan breathed deeply and looked far away. That infinite Heaven and Earth, the unfathomable enormous painting, and himself, in the end, he was only a tiny embellishment inside it.

They walked on, until after the Rainbow Bridge, arrived upon the sea green pond, and saw that wide flight of stairs leading straight to Crystal Hall. Just that they did not see the Qing Yun Hill Sect Peak’s Venerated Spirit Water Unicorn, guessing that it still should be inside the sea green pond!

[Clang!....]

The Crystal Hall at the peak, again sounded a clear chime.

ChangJian looked at them and smiled, said, “We are almost there, let’s go!”

Song Daren acknowledged, but still couldn’t help and looked at Zhang XiaoFan. However, little Junior brother was staring blankly at the mountain top, expressionless.

Here was much quieter than Cloud Sea, on their way up, they almost didn't see any of the Qing Yun disciples. Only a few young disciples were doing their cleaning chores, whom greeted and made a vertical palm gesture when they saw ChangJian.

One step, one flight of stairs.

Zhang XiaoFan slowly walked up, the more he climbed, the higher he was. But without knowing why, he felt his heart became heavier and heavier. That place in front of him, with celestial-air swirling around, the nearer he went, it instead made his heart pounded even faster.

The anxiety from nowhere wrapped around him tightly. And what would be, waiting for him?

In TongTian Valley Crystal Hall, another distant bell chimed, the chime lingered within the mountain valleys….

At the foot of Qing Yun Hill, in a deserted place, there were four people standing side by side, three men and a lady, quietly looking at Qing Yun Hill.

After a long while, the one who was the oldest, God of Poison, suddenly laughed, said, “I cannot believe that while I am still alive, I can actually come back here.”

Ghost King, who was standing beside him, smiled coolly and said, “With Senior you taking charge, we can do far more than just returning here, in a while, even if we reach the top of TongTian Valley, it is also not surprising.”

God of Poison immediately shook his head, smiled and said, “Ghost King old brother, haven’t we discussed already? This time this big matter, Chang Shen Hall YuYang Zi fellow brother will lead, we are just the footwork soldiers only.”

Speaking, he turned his head, and spoke to the man standing on the other side, “That is right right! YuYang Zi old brother, he he.”

Part of the Evil Faction four big branches, Chang Shen Hall Head YuYang Zi, with both eyebrows reaching into his temples, his face was extremely handsome, he looked to be in his early thirties, but in fact he was an Evil Faction scholar who had already practiced for several hundred years.

Within the Evil Faction, Chang Shen Hall was a special branch. Because all along, it had always been this group who was responsible for defending the Evil Faction’s most holy place in the Wildlands, the Holy Temple. And this branch’s main purpose, just like it’s name, was to achieve immortality. Just that they were ranked among the four main branches of the Evil Faction, whenever they performed their tasks, their methods were usually unscrupulous, completely different from Good Faction’s practice of achieving immortality. For that, we would talk about it later.

This time the Evil Faction secretly came to Qing Yun Hill to mount a large-scale offensive, when YuYang Zi arrived, after a few secretive discussions, he was voted as the leader for this Evil Faction’s major operation. Inevitably, he felt somehow conceited, immediately laughed and said, “Qing Yun Hill these few hundred years have always bully and oppress our Holy Sect, today we must demand justice from them.”

Ghost King laughed and said, “Well said.”

After speaking, he turned his head and spoke to the lady who was standing beside, who was also the only female Sect Head among the four big branches, He Huan Branch SanMiao Fairy (Translator’s note: Which also mean Three wonderful/special skills), smiled and said, “Later on, we will also want to see Fairy your magical ingenious skills.”

SanMiao Fairy came from the most disordered Evil Faction He Huan Branch, her appearance was extremely beautiful, but looking at her, there was not a hint of lascivious air, her face was plain, without any makeup but instead there was an icy frost beauty, much similar to Qing Yun Hill that Little Bamboo Valley Lu XueQi.

After hearing Ghost King’s words, SanMiao Fairy smiled indifferently, said, “Three fellow brothers are all important figures who had seen the world, far exceeding me this small small girl. Just that we all swore an oath in front of Wisdom Queen and Wisdom King, that we must work together in this mission, to wipe away the humiliation suffered by Holy Temple at that time. I still hope that three fellow brothers will put away the past grievances together and not to let down the promise made earlier.”

Three of them including Ghost King looked at each other, said together, “Fairy please do not worry, we do not have other ulterior motives.”

SanMiao Fairy smiled, and turned to speak to Ghost King, “Ghost King fellow brother, I have been here for several days, why didn’t I get to see brother’s daughter?”

Ghost King was stunned for a while, said, “You mean BiYao that girl, children love to play, I also do not know where she went, I wonder why Fairy is looking for her?”

SanMiao Fairy said indifferently, “Not particularly anything, just that I recently heard, your precious daughter (Translator’s note: honorific terms for person’s daughter) gained a treasure, a rare He Huan Bell left by Lady JinLing, is there such matter?”

God of Poison and YuYang Zi both changed countenance slightly. Evidently the name, Lady JinLing, even to them, both who were such heavyweights in Evil Faction, they also could not treat it lightly.

Ghost King’s face countenance changed, a subtle gleam of light shone in his eyes, said, “I wonder from where did Fairy get this news?”

SanMiao Fairy stretched out her jade-like hand, lightly arranged her hair, expressionlessly replied, “Naturally I heard it. Ghost King fellow brother, eight hundred years ago Lady JinLing was our He Huan Branch’s elder founder. The He Huan Bell that she left behind, is even more of our He Huan Branch’s main treasure, this, I guess you should know also right?”

Ghost King did not speak anymore but his hands were clasped behind his back, his bearing upright, absolutely showing no sign of him avoiding the topic. The harmonious atmosphere just now, seemed to become hostile in a flash.

YuYang Zi coughed once, glanced at God of Poison, unexpectedly God of Poison turned his head away and looked instead at the distant Qing Yun Hill peak, obviously refusing to meddle in this. YuYang Zi cursed in his heart, if this had happened in the past, he himself would also wish that these two rivals would fight till their deaths, but now that he was the leader of this operation, he could only walk up and said, “Both, why did you all turn angry while chatting? Both of you are also highly skilled masters, and right now we have an important matter, why not we leave this issue first, after we concluded our business, both of you could continue to settle it privately, how is it?”

SanMiao Fairy looked at him, nodded slightly and shifted her gaze away: Ghost King was expressionless but in his heart, he was sneering: this YuYang Zi was indeed not a decent person, in view of his own position he had to step in but subtly instigated both branches to fight after this event.

But that He Huan Bell was not any treasure, it had always been classified with Ghost King Sect’s ‘Hidden Dragon Cauldron’, Blood Forger Hall’s ‘Sinister Orb’ and WanDu Sect’s ‘Thousand Poison Return to Clan Bag’ as Evil Faction’s four great rare treasures, what’s more, a rumor had always been heard in the Evil Faction, that the many strange magical spells in He Huan Sect, required this He Huan Bell as an intermediary for them to realize their full magical potential.

This kind of important treasure, even how stupid Ghost King would be, he would not be willing to give it up. After BiYao found this treasure from Blooddrop Cave in Black Stone Cave, he even specially instructed not to announce it but instead, he did not expect SanMiao Fairy to be that resourceful, that she could actually get hold of this news.

In this short while, Ghost King thought through all of the people around him but his expression still carried a slight smile, said, “What YuYang Zi fellow brother said was true, there is no harm to talk about this after the matter.”

YuYang Zi saw that these two people, who had always been arrogant and obstinate, actually listened to him, he could not help but felt complacent.

At this moment, God of Poison suddenly cried out, “Ah! The sun is out.”

All of them heard what was said and looked towards Qing Yun Hill together, and true enough, the first sun rays shone brilliantly, slowly rising from the distant Qing Yun Hill peak, spilling sunlight into the world.

That pleasantly warm sunlight, also at the same time, shone upon these four people, pulling long long shadows behind them.

After completing the last flight of stairs, Zhang Xiao Fan finally arrived outside Crystal Hall again. This huge solemn palace building, towering in front of him, grand and imposing, when humans stood in front of it, they seemed like ants in comparison.

ChangJian said, “Let’s go in ba!”

Song Daren and Tian LingEr both nodded their heads, Zhang Xiao Fan was about to take a step out, suddenly his body shook, his eyes looked to the side, at the other corner of the stairs, someone was leaning against the railing and sitting on the ground. His clothes was considered clean but because he was sitting carelessly on the ground, the clothes hem were stained with dust, a pair of eyes looking at Zhang Xiao Fan dazedly, what was his mouth mumbling?

He was the Wang ErShu who had been crazy for many years.

Zhang Xiao Fan’s heart ached and was about to walk over but was held back by Song Daren, in a low voice he said, “Little Junior brother, we better go in first! Don’t let the various teachers wait too long. As for Wang ErShu, wait till you...wait till you come out and visit him again, it will still not be too late.”

Zhang Xiao Fan stopped his steps, his heart felt terrible, but in the end he knew that Song Daren’s words were true, he himself right now was a criminal, immediately he nodded, forced a smile to Song Daren. ChangJian, who was standing beside, saw it all, spoke in a low voice, “Both, if there is nothing else, let’s go in to greet the various seniors and teachers!”

Song Daren acknowledged and walked forward with Zhang Xiao Fan, Tian LingEr instead frowned and said, “Senior and teachers? Chang Senior brother, don’t tell me other sects’ seniors also came?”

ChangJian hesitated for a while and replied, “Yes, a few of the holy monks from TianYin Temple have come, also FenXiang Valley seniors, all have come to us to enquire about Zhang...Zhang Junior brother’s situation.”

Tian LingEr lost color, her face turned white, Song Daren’s brows wrinkled tightly.

Zhang Xiao Fan silently walked up, said, “Chang Senior brother, let’s go in ba!”

Chang Jian took a look at him, nodded and said, “Alright, all of you follow me.”

After which, he walked in taking the lead, Zhang Xiao Fan took a deep breath, moved his somehow heavy feet and followed in. Behind him, Song Daren and Tian LingEr looked at each other, saw the anxiety and worry in each other’s eyes, but at the same time too, helplessness. They could only followed in.

Just when they had just entered into the Crystal Hall, Wang ErShu, who had been sitting at the corner all along, his eyes kept following Zhang Xiao Fan’s figure. When he saw Zhang Xiao Fan disappeared into Crystal Hall, without knowing why, he stood up unsteadily, he scratched his head like a child who was confused, and actually followed into the Crystal Hall.

These few years, Wang ErShu had been taken care of by Qing Yun Sect, he had also never gotten well from his madness, he roamed around TiongTian Peak the whole day, and even the Crystal Hall which was sacred to the general Qing Yun disciples, he went in regularly too.

But he had never caused any big trouble, over time, nobody bothered him too.

This time, he too, went in successfully, and disappeared into the Crystal Hall.

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