Sunday, 13 May 2018

Chapter 232 - Loved Ones


Sleeping, but not knowing how long this deep sleep had been going, only that in the slumber, the surroundings were all familiar smells, and not knowing how long it had been without having this kind of secure feeling.

Therefore, while being immersed too deeply in the dreams, almost unwilling to be awoken, only deep within the dreams, there was a stabbing pain, which kept lingering and refused to disperse, frequently stabbing in the heart.

Heaving a long sign, Ghost Li slowly awakened. He looked at the room in front of him quietly, feeling like he was in a dream. Back when he was young he lived here and grew up here; the tables, chairs, bed, windows and doors - all were etched in his heart.

Looking at the wall above the bed, the huge ‘Tao’ character still hung there. Only the color and strokes looked faded but every stroke and brush looked the same as what he remembered in his youth; vigorous and forceful.

The wooden window frame made a light sound. A gap opened and Xiao Hui jumped in, saw Ghost Li was awake and half-sitting on the bed. Xiao Hui couldn’t help but feel happy, grinning non-stop. He jumped onto the bed in a few leaps.

Ghost Li’s heart moved. This scene was like many years ago; if it was not for his injuries and Xiao Hui’s spiritual eye, he might really think he was in a dream.

That, however, was impossible.

Xiao Hui faced Ghost Li, making a [zhi zhi zhi zhi] sound. Ghost Li looked down and saw Xiao Hui carrying a number of wild fruits in both his paws. Most likely he plucked them from outside and seemed to want to share them with him. Ghost Li shook his head, no. Xiao Hui did not force him; he turned and jumped onto the table, squatted down and then started to eat with huge mouthfuls.

Ghost Li quietly looked at everything in the room and finally at the window Xiao Hui came in from. Some sunlight shone in through the window, making it hard to see the scenery outside clearly. But Ghost Li didn’t need to look; he knew that outside that window was a small yard. There was also a pine tree, a green lawn and a small stone paved path. At the side of the yard there was also a semi-circle arched door. Every grass and tree here had long been etched deeply in his memory, unable to be erased.

The fresh air seemed to have a sweet fragrance. Even the small yard outside seemed to emit a grass fragrance.

In his trance, he seemed to have a feeling of having coming home, but the next moment, a sharp pain hit his heart, waking him up.

Outside the door, footsteps were heard.

Ghost Li’s gaze, turned towards the door. The footsteps soon reached the entrance but the person seemed to hesitate outside the door, and did not immediately push it open.

Ghost Li watched the door.

The next moment the door finally opened.

A tall and steady figure stood at the entrance, almost at the same time he also saw Ghost Li had awakened. Both of their eyes met but neither of them spoke. In their eyes, for a moment, there were too many emotions. Whether or not it was because of that, the thousand of words to be said had instead become silence.

Xiao Hui sat on the table, spit out a seed and then glanced at the door, called out [zhi zhi] and then continued to eat.

The man standing at the door sighed. A bitter smile seemed to emerge on his lips. He shook his head, walked in, and looked deeply at Ghost Li


“I haven’t seen you for so many years, should I call you lao qi, or little junior brother?”

Ghost Li’s lips moved. Finally, facing that man, he quietly called out,

“Big senior brother…”

Everything on Big Bamboo Valley was still as peaceful as he remembered; a tranquil scene. He didn’t know where the others were.

Song Daren looked in silence at this person. Not so long ago he was once his most favourite youngest disciple. He was also the most useless seventh disciple under his teacher Tian Buyi. Now things were different; people have changed.

In ten years this was their first meeting.

“These past years, how have you been?” Song Daren sat opposite Ghost Li as he asked.

Ghost Li did not reply, only kept quiet. Ten years had already passed by like flowing water. Without realising it it has already been so long. How could he just say “fine”?

Song Daren assessed him. That man who once was the young Zhang Xiaofan still looked like what he had at that time, but his face looked to have experience the vicissitudes of life and not knowing since when, he who had been much younger than himself was now already much more highly-skilled; his hair was also indistinctly greying.

Song Daren made a long sigh and asked, “How are you feeling now?”

Ghost Li looked at his wounds. He saw that the torn bandages had been replaced with clean and fresh bandages. Clearly it was his Big Bamboo Valley senior brothers who had done that. His chest was still hurting but comparing to the time before he fell unconscious it was already much better. After a moment of silence, he said,


“I am alright. Thank you, senior brother, for your concern.”

He suddenly seemed to think of something, looked at Song Daren and said, “I...have already turned against Qing Yun. Do you all still accept me as your junior brother?”

Song Daren laughed but his laughter had some bitterness.


“Shiniang already told us... when he was still alive teacher said…”


Speaking until here, Song Daren’s eyes turned red, his voice obviously choked. Ghost Li heard it and his body also shook.

Song Daren composed himself and continued on:


“When he was still alive Teacher told Shiniang many times that he had never said to chase you out of Big Bamboo Valley and he had never thought you had committed any wrong ten years ago. Therefore Shiniang instructed us recently, as long as you are still willing, you are still our Qing Yun Hill Big Bamboo Valley lao qi...little junior brother…”

Ghost Li slowly lowered his head, his body trembling. His left hand tightly curled into a ball as he grasped the bedding, his right hand covered his face as he quietly wiped the tears from his eyes.

In the room, for the moment it became quiet. After a long time, after seeing Ghost Li slowly became composed, Song Daren’s deep voice again spoke,

“If you are feeling fine then follow me to Observed Silence Hall. Shiniang is there keeping...vigil for teacher. She wants to see you.”

“...yes.”

Walking out of the arched door, what he saw was that familiar circular winding corridor. Song Daren walked ahead without a word, his broad shoulder and back looking like a small mountain.

Ghost Li quietly followed behind. He couldn’t help but recall how when he first came to Big Bamboo Valley he also followed Song Daren and slowly entered into the world of Big Bamboo Valley.

Thinking back to the past, it was like a dream.

His gaze slowly came to Song Daren’s waist, then realized there was an additional white cloth. Obviously it was for his mentor Tian Buyi’s passing; a mourning garb.

His face turned solemn and he closed his eyes.

Walking out of the corridor, he could see Observed Silence Hall from afar. What was different from the usual tranquility was incense smoke rising from it. At the same time sobbing and crying sounds were heard.

Song Daren quietly walked toward Observed Silence Hall. After two steps he suddenly sensed something and turned back. Ghost Li was still standing where he was in a daze, looking at Observed Silence Hall.

“What is it?”

For some reason, when he looked at the Observed Silence Hall Ghost Li looked extremely pale. With its incense smoke and sobbing cries, he felt fear, like a child who had committed a mistake and did not dare to face his parents who would be heartbroken.

Song Daren seeming to be able to sense something, sighed and said, “Let’s go.”


He patted his shoulder while speaking. Ghost Li’s body moved, glanced at Song Daren, and then he quietly nodded as he strided up.

As they neared the hall, the incense smoke became thicker, and the sobbing cries clearer, but although there were familiar voices but there was no female cries, neither Suru nor his senior sister Tian Linger who was already married.

Finally, led by Song Daren, he once again stood at the entrance to Observed Silence Hall.

Eight pairs of eyes immediately turned over and stopped on him. Ghost Li’s body trembled as he looked over each and every one.

Wu Dayi, Zheng Dali, He Dazhi, Lu Daxin, Du Bishu!

These familiar faces were now all before Ghost Li. Many years ago they were once the ones he loved most and also his most trusted senior brothers.

Their waists, like Song Daren, were tied with the white mourning cloth garb. Their faces all had sorrow. Some already had puffy red eyes. Inside the hall, there was a big iron pot. In it fire was burning and the senior brothers who were standing beside slowly placed paper money into it.

The fire burned, smoke lingered.

Ghost Li stared in a daze. Behind the smoke Tian Buyi quietly lay on a bier. His dirty clothes had already been changed into clean ones, dressed tidily on his body. His face also looked more peaceful. Shiniang Suru right now sat beside Tian Buyi, her hand holding his tightly.

Her face looked to be in anguish but there was no tears. In her hair a small white flower was inserted. It was a wild flower which still had morning dew on it; simple, elegant and beautiful, conveying a few degrees of grief. She only held her husband’s hand tightly, watching Tian Buyi’s face. And his daughter, Tian Ling’er, was not in the hall.

Right now Da Huang, who had been raised since he was young by Tian Buyi, quietly lay beside the bier, his head listlessly on the ground, its usual bouncy spirit totally gone.

After coming to Tian Buyi, Ghost Li’s gaze did not move away again. His footsteps heavy, he walked over slowly, step by step. Song Daren quietly walked beside, took a hemp rope and passed to Ghost Li. Ghost Li looked at him, a grateful expression in his eyes. He nodded and took the rope, quietly saying, “Many thanks.”   

Song Daren glanced over at Suru and said, “You go over to Shiniang.”


After saying this he quietly walked back to the disciples, faced Tian Buyi’s corpse and knelt, kowtowed three times. When he looked up his eyes were again red. He turned over and took a pile of paper money from Wu Dayi who was beside him and started to slowly burn them.

Ghost Li looked at the hemp rope in his hands for a long time and then tied it around his waist. The grey-white rope twined around his waist, conveying a few degrees of grief, yet also seemed to cause his heart to once again tie it here.

He quietly walked forward, to the bier and knelt down, kowtowed three times and then turned to Suru.

“Disciple…” his voice suddenly paused. After a long time, using a deep voice, he again spoke, “Disciple Zhang...Xiaofan, pays respect to Shiniang.”

Behind him, Song Daren and the five Big Bamboo Valley disciples looked over, their expressions complicated, but what was most clear in their expressions was a blood-thicker-than-water kind of joy and intimacy.

A faint look of gratification even revealed itself on Suru’s face. Looking at Ghost Li she nodded and then sorrow brushed past her face as she looked at Tian Buyi and quietly said, “Buyi, did you hear that? This is lao qi. He has returned to kowtow to you.”

Ghost Li knelt at Suru’s feet, unable to speak.

Behind, sobbing sounds were heard.

The incense smoke lingered, drifting. The hall looked somehow surreal. Maybe because its owner was no longer around, this hall looked empty and did not feel crowded even with the number of people around.

After a long time, Song Daren wiped his tears, walked forward, came to Suru and quietly said, “Shiniang, please instruct us concerning teacher’s funeral affairs. When should we notify all of the branches’ elders and seniors? I also intend to rush to Longshou Valley to inform Linger junior sister, and let her…”

“This is not urgent!” Suru suddenly cut off Song Daren’s words, speaking indifferently.

Song Daren was shocked, the group of disciples behind him, including Ghost Li, were also stunned. There was only silence in the hall for a moment, not a single sound.

After a while, Song Daren then gathered his courage again and carefully said, “Shiniang, teacher’s demise, disciples all know Shiniang is grieving, it’s just that these affairs...cannot be delayed.”

Suru’s expression did not change. Not only that, she did not even glance at Song Daren. In her eyes, other than glancing at that lao qi who had just came back, there was only Tian Buyi.

Song Daren looked embarrassed, for a moment did not know what to do, turned and looked back at the other disciples kneeling and burning the joss papers but everyone looked at each other, not knowing what to do. And at this time, Suru suddenly spoke,

“Daren.”

Song Daren hurriedly replied, “Yes, shiniang, do you have any instructions?”

Suru said, “You and the rest leave the hall for now, without my approval, you are not allowed to come in.”

Song Daren was stunned and stepped back a few steps. The other disciples also glanced over. Song Daren frowned but did not speak. He Dazhi, who was beside him and was the most quick-witted, looked at him and shook his head slightly, anxiety on his face. Song Daren saw it and frowned even tighter.

He had spent countless years with these juniors. Naturally he clearly understood what He Dazhi was worrying about. Compared to the other disciples, he had spent the longest time with Tian Buyi and Suru. No one knew better than him, the deep affection between his teacher and shiniang. If they were not around and Shiniang took things too hard, could it be…

Song Daren turned pale at that thought. No matter what, he could not take another step. And at this moment, Suru glared at them, with a bit of anger said, “What are all of you doing? Could it be that now your teacher is dead, all of you are disregarding me, your shiniang’s words?”

[Pu tong! Pu tong!]

Sounds in succession, other than Ghost Li who was kneeling before Suru, Song Daren and the rest of the disciples all knelt down and prostrated, Song Daren hurriedly said, “Disciple does not dare, disciple does not dare!”

Suru sighed, deep exhaustion appeared on her face, as if she did not even have the strength to reprimand, she only waved her hand slightly and said, “All of you leave.”

Song Daren and the rest did not dare to defy her words again. Everyone retreated with a bitter face but their hearts were still heavy, not knowing what should be done. Ghost Li kowtowed to Suru and also slowly retreated, however Suru suddenly said,

“Lao qi, you stay. I have something to ask you.”

Ghost Li was surprised, stopped, but those behind him were relieved instead. No matter what, as long as someone was with her, it was less likely there would be any incidents. After the sound of a few footsteps, the rest had already left the hall.

In the hall, it turned silent. Only the fire which was devouring the joss paper made crackling sounds.

Ghost Li quietly stood where he was, looked down and did not speak. After some time, Suru was heard sighing and said, “Your teacher has always been sharp tongued but soft hearted. Ten years ago after that unforseen event, he always brooded on it. Although he did not say it but I could tell, he actually felt he had let you down.”

Ghost Li’s eyes turned red, shook his head with force, hurriedly said, his voice choked, “It’s not like that, it is disciple who is unfilial, it’s disciple who has let teacher down…”

Suru’s lips quivered, hearing Ghost Li’s choked voice, it seemed to evoke the anguish in the bottom of her heart, but although her eyes showed her grief she still forced herself to hold on and did not cry. She quietly looked at Tian Buyi, faintly said, “In your teacher’s heart, he never thought of you as a disciple who was thrown out of the door, do you understand?”

Ghost Li dropped his head down and quietly said, “Yes.”

Suru continued, “And since you have also acknowledged him back as your teacher today, later you go over and burn some joss paper for him, for the time being treat it as if you have also fulfilled your filial duty. I guess Buyi would also be happy…”

Ghost Li clenched his teeth tightly, knelt before Tian Buyi’s body, kowtowed three times, tears in his eyes, then he stood up and walked over to the big pot and knelt down. The fire in the pot had burned down much, most likely because after the rest left nobody had fed it. Ghost Li looked to the side and saw a few thick piles of joss paper nearby, all unopened.

Those on Big Bamboo Valley were all cultivated people, most probably joss papers were not even used once in a few hundred years, these must have been prepared at the last minute by Song Daren, bought from the foot of the mountain. Thinking of this, Ghost Li felt anguish again, quietly took out a pile, opened it and started to burn them one by one.

Suru sat beside Tian Buyi, quietly watching those flickering, twisting flames, the fire reflected in Ghost Li’s face refracted between sudden light and darkness.

She suddenly asked, “When your teacher passed away, were you beside him?”   

Ghost Li’s body trembled and then turned over, still kneeling beside the pot, at the same time facing Suru, he said, “Yes.”

Suru looked deeply at Ghost Li and said, “Yesterday after you were unconscious, I cleaned your wounds and applied medicine. I discovered your chest, where your most severe injury was, in your body there was Scarlet Fire sword energy which was unique to your teacher. The greatest damage to your meridians was also because of that. What had happened?”

Ghost Li’s heart pounded, his palms started to sweat, after a moment, he quietly said, “Disciple’s injury this time was indeed caused by teacher’s harsh attack, but…”

Speaking till here, he was suddenly felt lost and did not know where to start. The night’s unfortunate events happened so abruptly. Even though he was already experienced with the fights and tussles of the world he was still left in shock. Moreover since his most beloved teacher lost his life in it it was even harder to describe.

Suru humpfed, her eyes stern, coldly said, “Tell me the whole truth.”     

Ghost Li did not dare to look at Suru, bowed and then started to speak, from the time where he returned to Grassvillage Temple and encountered the mysterious figure, pursued him and came to the abandoned morgue outside HeYang City, until Tian Buyi’s demise.

Suru’s face turned more and more pale as she listened. Especially at the end, where Tian Buyi lost his life, her face turned white, a pair of hands clutched Tian Buyi’s hand tightly, as if afraid that her husband might leave her again.

At the end, Ghost Li quietly said, “These were the events. Disciple does not dare to deceive shiniang.”

Suru looked away to Tian Buyi, looking deeply at this familiar yet peaceful face. Maybe, in her husband’s heart, he did not have much regret; in his heart all of this was something he should have done!

She breathed in deeply, straightening her body. Although she really wished to continue lying like this, together with her husband, never to care about anything again, but she knew it was not the time yet.

“You have really see clearly…?” Suru’s voice sounded uncertain.

Ghost Li for a moment did not understand, said, “Shiniang, you mean...?

Suru’s face pale, quietly said, “That mysterious person really is sect head Reverend...Daoxuan senior brother?”

Ghost Li inhaled deeply, determinedly said, “Disciple saw it with his own eyes, even if that person turned into ash, disciple will not be mistaken.”

Suru quietly nodded, then again asked slowly, “From what you have said, when Buyi was mentally confused and attacked you, it was Small Bamboo Valley Lu Xueqi who killed him?”

Ghost Li’s body shook greatly, cold sweat immediately dripped down from his forehead but in the end, he clenched his teeth and said, “Yes!”

Suru did not speak, only stared in a daze at Ghost Li, as if in a trance. Then under her stare, Ghost Li’s face expression changed greatly, as if in suffering. After a long time he then quietly said, “That...Lu Xueqi she, she actually did it to save me, no, its disciple…” suddenly, his face turned solemn, prostrated and quietly said, “Shiniang, no matter what mistakes there are, it is all disciple’s fault, that Lu Xueqi she…”

Suru sighed, said, “I remember that among Qing Yun sect disciples over these past years, aren’t you the closest with her? Even when you joined the Evil Sect I heard that she is still thinking about you, even defying Shuiyue senior sister a few times because of you, and even rejected Fenxiang Valley Yun Yilan valley master’s marriage proposal, isn’t that right?

Ghost Li lying on the floor, his heart in chaos, he had thousands of words to say but unable to speak even one word. That night, although he clearly knew Lu Xueqi had to make the move in order to save him but because Tian Buyi was, after all, his mentor who raised him up, and moreover one of the most respected and beloved people in his life, and before his eyes, that Tianya sword had pierced through his mentor’s chest...after which, he subconsciously, at his most anguish moment, had pushed Lu Xueqi thousands of miles away.

After the southern border chaos there was once a brief hug, yet in this sleight of fate the chasm was even deeper and broader between them, he could not understand why the heavens must be so cruel!

And before Suru, although Ghost Li had such conflicting thoughts before, but he could not sit by and let Suru misunderstand Lu Xueqi. Although he clearly understood, shiniang had deep affections for his teacher, more than himself, concerning this fact that he himself found hard to accept, how could he expect shiniang to be magnanimous?

Ghost Li was lost for words.

The truth was like a sharp and heartless sword; almost everyone who came near it would be hurt by it!

However Suru’s face was as resolute as Ghost Li expected. On the contrary, after the initial grief, her expression slowly turned to contemplation. After a moment, she spoke to Ghost Li, “I remember just now you said, before Buyi passed away his mind briefly came back and recognized you, is that right?”

Ghost Li nodded and said, “Yes.”

Suru said, “Then did he say anything to you?”

Ghost Li thought hard for a moment, quietly said, “After teacher became conscious, he said two sentences to me.”

Suru asked, “What did he say?”

Ghost Li said, “The first sentence that teacher said was rather strange. He only repetitively said three words, ‘Don’t blame her, don’t blame her.’ The second sentence was to instruct disciple to, after teacher passed away, bring his body back to Big Bamboo Valley and hand it over to shiniang, and to tell shiniang…”

Suru’s countenance changed, said, “What did he want you to tell me?”

Ghost Li’s quietly said, “Teacher’s final words were for disciple to tell shiniang, shiniang please don’t take it too hard, don’t...don’t do silly things.”

Suru was stunned for words. The tears in her eyes shimmered. Her body wavered, looking like she had lost all strength and was about to collapse. Ghost Li felt anguish and was worried but did not dare to approach, only knelt and kowtowed, “Shiniang please don’t take it too hard!”

After a long time, Suru’s slightly calm voice was heard, “I am fine, you can get up.”

Ghost Li then stood up, looked, and saw her face was much calmer, although the pain in her eyes was still evident.

In the hall there was silence again. Ghost Li quietly put a few more joss papers into the fire. At this moment, Suru suddenly said, “Are you full of hatred and dissatisfaction towards Lu Xueqi for killing your teacher?”

Ghost Li was surprised, not knowing what shiniang meant by that, he was unable to answer. But Suru was an intelligent person, in addition she had already looked past the mortal affairs, looking at Ghost Li’s expression, she already roughly knew.

She faintly said, “Do you know, when Buyi, before he left, said the three words to you, ‘Don’t blame her’, do you know what he meant?”

Ghost Li was stunned, said, “What?”

Suru slightly smiled bitterly, and said, “If it’s what I assume, most probably Buyi was willing to be killed by Miss Lu Xueqi.”

Ghost Li was shocked, said, “Shiniang, your words…”

Suru let out a long sigh and said, “Forget it. Should not look back at the past but in the end it can’t be dismissed. Our past generation’s secret should not involve you all the junior generations.” She quietly looked back at Tian Buyi, looked at his peaceful face, as if he was sleeping, and quietly said, “Buyi, you must also want me to tell him this secret, right…?”  

Edited by metal.carratt 

12 comments:

  1. Sorry, only the first draft, lots of mistakes, will edit again when I can.

    And that eight pair of eyes, don't ask me why, I can't tally the numbers too haha

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  2. Thank you so much. So curious now with the cliffhanger at the end of this chapter.

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  3. I choked at Buyi's last wish:v

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  4. Thanks a lot!
    How come Zhang Xiao Fan couldnt understand Buyi's message? (That is to forgive Xue Qi) . Sigh..he's really dense. He's really lucky to have teacher and Shinniang that really care for him, like their own son

    *still feeling bad for the death of Buyi :(( .

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    Replies
    1. it was chaotic situation that make him confused, (meet his teacher again, also meet dao xuan and ZXF deep hatred toward that man, ) saw his teacher get injured then killed by his umm friend, shock and guility. All of that can be take as consideration.

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    2. Yes, he didn’t know buyi was almost like a corpse because he only came at the end. So he thought there was still a chance to save buyi even though he was possessed. I guessed he assumed buyi told him the three words were just because buyi was being benevolent but he himself couldn’t understand.

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  5. Thanks for the great translation :) - I‘m really looking forward to her explanation :) :)

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  6. I’ll post tmr sry had to work yest and it slipped my mind 😅😅😅

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  7. Thanks a lot. I've been refreshing this page every day *LOL*

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