[Chapter 26 - Let's return to the capital together] This is the Bodhi Heart sutra
[Chapter 26 - Let's return to the capital together] This is the Bodhi Heart sutra
Cai Tian rushed over hastily and saw that the wooden house had already been burned to almost nothing; if Mu Chi Lao Ren didn’t escape, then unfortunately there won't even be any bones left .
Having hid him here after much calculation, they thought that their plans would go smoothly if he wasn’t found, and yet they didn't foresee that they would be met with such an unexpected situation . Cai Tian sighed repeatedly, wanting to return to Gui Lai Village to find Lan Ji, but a sudden chill rose on the back of her neck .
"Who are you trying to find by coming here?" Duan Bai Yue's voice was ice cold .
"Xi Nan King?" Cai Tian was extremely surprised; she wanted to turn back but feared the coldness of the blade, and so she said with a forced calm, "If Xi Nan King wants him, then just take him away, this servant girl won't dare to have half a complaint . "
"You seem to have not heard this king's question clearly . " Duan Bai Yue lost his patience, pressing the blade in his hand harder .
"Yes . "Cai Tian raised her head but didn't dare to move any further, " Mu Chi Lao Ren . "
"Why does Tian Sha sect want to capture him?" Duan Bai Yue continued asking .
Cai Tian said: " Because sect leader wants to create a concealed weapon named Qian Huai Huan, and Mu Chi Lao Ren is the best woodworker in the world . "
"Who else knows about this?" Duan Bai Yue asked .
Cai Tian answered: "Only people in the Tian Sha sect . "
Duan Bai Yue returned his sword back into his sheath; before Cai Tian could relax, however, she was grabbed by her neck; an unknown object was stuffed into her mouth, which immediately dissolved into something sweet .
Duan Bai Yue let go of his hand and threw her to one side .
Cai Tian, with a reddened face, coughed with all her might, wanting to vomit it out .
"It won't cost your life . " Duan Bai Yue said, "The last question, the last matter; after everything is completed, this king will give you the antidote . "
"What's the question?" Compared to the gu poison of Tian Sha sect, Xi Nan manor is by far superior; Cai Tian doesn't dare to take it lightly .
Duan Bai Yue asked: "Why does Lan Ji want to create Qian Hui Huan?"
Cai Tian replied: "Sect leader met a peculiar person who said that he holds a miracle drug which can return a woman's youthfulness; and if she wishes to get the prescription, then she must exchange Qian Hui Huan for it . Additionally, he said that of all the people in the world, there should only be Mu Chi Lao Ren who knows about Qian Hui Huan . "
Duan Bai Yue was quite surprised; initially he thought that the motive was the same as that of the Gui Mu Xia, to rake in money by selling it to Nanyang, and not just for a medicine prescription .
"That strange person gave sect leader half a year's time, saying that once she has the Qian Hui Huan, she can find him in the capital . " Cai Tian continued, "He has no name and wears a ghost mask; his left hand is tender like that of a youth but his right hand is extremely wrinkled, like that of an aged man . "
"A trickster . " Duan Bai Yue shook his head .
"Sect leader only wants the prescription, but doesn't know that King Duan also wants to find him . " Cai Tian continued saying, "If we have known about it earlier, Tian Sha sect would definitely not have overestimated ourselves to snatch him from under the eyes of Xi Nan manor . "
"Not have overestimated yourselves?" Duan Bai Yue couldn't help but laugh, "I sure didn't see this level of self awareness when Lan Ji was trying to kidnap Yao-er . "
Cai Tian couldn't respond .
"No matter how well you talk it's no use . " Duan Bai Yue said, "Bring Lan Ji here and I will let you live . "
Cai Tian's expression changed dramatically, to betray the sect?
"To cooperate with this king, you may die only . " Duan Bai Yue said, "To not cooperate, then you will better off dead . "
Cai Tian's face was deathly pale: "Please don't force people to make these difficult choices, Xi Nan King . "
"That is funny . " Duan Bai Yue smirked, "The thing that Xi Na manor does the most is to force people to do something; the more unwilling the person is, the more meaningful it will be to force them . "
Cai Tian: " . . . . . . . "
"The set of morals and integrity of Jianghu, it's useless to talk about it anymore . " Duan Bai Yue said, "If I was you, not wanting to cooperate and not willing to suffer either, then I would simply jump down from this cliff, ending all troubles at once . No matter what, it would better than having the gu poison act up a few days later, as if countless arrows are piercing through the heart; at that time, it won't be that easy to find the cure yourself . "
Cai Tian's hands were trembling .
"Moreover, you are having an illicit relationship with Mister Jing Hui behind Lan Ji's back; if she knows about this, don't talk about a way out of this alive, I'm afraid it's hard to even leave behind a complete corpse . " Duan Bai Yue raised an eyebrow .
Cai Tian was hit in her sore spot, her chest heaving up and down: "I will lure sect leader here, I beg that Xi Nan King keeps his promise . "
Duan Bai Yue reminded her: "Before daybreak . "
Cai Tian turned and ran down the mountain .
In Gui Lai Village, Lan Ji was still meditating in her room, when she heard someone jump into the courtyard; initially she thought Qi Zui Meng was still unsatisfied and came to proposition her again, but saw Cai Tian instead when she opened the door .
"What happened?" Seeing her strange expression, Lan Ji frowned .
"Replying to sect leader, something has happened on the mountain . " Cai Tian is panting a little, "A big fire has erupted, and burned down the wooden house completely . "
"What?" Lan Ji is furious, "What about the disciples left to guard it?"
"I don't know if they were burned to death along with the wooden house or have already betrayed the sect and left with Mu Chi Lao Ren . " Cai Tian said, "And the ashes seem to have some anomalies, this subordinate doesn't dare to rush into it indiscriminately, does sect leader want to check it out personally?"
"How despicable!" Lan Ji didn't have any doubts; she cursed harshly and left Gui Hui Village with Cai Tian, heading to the mountain to find out what had just happened .
As they got nearer and nearer to the wooden house, cold sweat also started to form on Cai Tian's palms .
The thick smoke had not dispersed completely yet; seeing the charred black wooden beams, Lan Ji couldn’t help but hasten her steps; Cai Tian instead deliberately retreated two steps, widening the distance between them .
The sky was beginning to brighten; the ashes left by the ruins doesn't seem to have any peculiarities; just as Lan Ji turned around and wanted to get to the bottom of this matter, the sharp edge of a sword cut through the air in front of her face instead .
"Xi Nan King!" Lan Ji flew and dodged, stumbling a few steps, and almost fell pathetically .
Every move executed by Duan Bai Yue was brutal; he forced her all the way to the precipice .
When they met in the forest that day, his internal injury had yet to heal, and with Duan Yao by his side, he naturally didn’t dare to be careless and underestimate the enemy . But this time he was set on taking her life; although eliminating a demonic sect was the matter of the martial arts world, and was not appropriate for Xi Nan manor to interfere, this time, Tian Sha sect had provoked him, he won't let the matter drop either; moreover there was still twenty plus elders waiting to be rescued in Gui Lai Village .
The skills of the Tian Sha sect was very ruthless; after it passed into the hands of Lan Ji, it got even more malevolent . Initially, she believed that the two of them would fight to a tie at most, but she didn't expect that the moves of Duan Bai Yue would get more and more oppressive, a threatening cold air around his whole body, a strange mark floating on the middle of his forehead .
"You!" Grabbed by her throat and trapped by the cliffside, Lan Ji's eyes were full of anger and fear .
"This is the Bodhi Heart sutra you wanted . " Duan Bai Yue's eyes were scarlet, "Yao-er has never learned it before; you have been looking for the wrong person . "
It got harder for Lan Ji to breathe, and her eyes also gradually turned dull .
Duan Bai Yue hit her chest with his palm and threw her down the cliff .
"Xi Nan King . " Seeing all of this with her own eyes, Cai Tian kneeled down on the ground with a "pu tong", trembling all over . Although she knew of the Bodhi Heart sutra, she thought that it was just an extremely mysterious secret skill, but seeing the crazed look on Duan Bai Yue just now, it unfortunately was not just any orthodox martial art, but instead, halfway into the demonic style .
Duan Bai Yue said calmly: "The events just now, you can just treat it as if you never saw it . "
"Many thanks, lord, many thanks, lord . " Cai Tian nodded again and again .
"The evil doings of a demonic sect are multifarious; you shouldn't have a way out of this alive . " Duan Bai Yue said, "It's just that you can be considered to have done a meritorious deed today; go bring those old people out, someone will bring you to Xi Nan manor to receive punishment . "
"Yes . " Cai Tian forced herself to stand up, and went down the mountain with him .
When the sky fully brightened up, activity in Gui Lai Village resumed; Qi Zui Meng washed up and went out, thinking of finding Lan Ji for a continuation of last night, but a servant instead reported that Cai Tian had already brought those elderly men out of the manor, and it was not known where Lan Ji went too; only that the rest of the sect's followers had not gotten up, and were still resting .
"Ba, let's not care about her . " Qi Zui Meng had already gotten something good from Tian Sha sect and couldn't be more bothered about it, drinking half a jar of wine before he shakily went to the wine cellar to brew wine . When the sky darkened, he still didn't see Lan Ji and Cai Tian return, so it was hard for him not to feel apprehensive; he did not know where they went either .
One or two days was still fine, after not seeing them after three, four, five, six days, Qi Zui Meng finally realized that something may be wrong . He quickly gathered the rest of Tian Sha sect and asked them, but each of them looked at one another, visibly at a loss .
But of course there wasn’t anyone who would go and explain the situation to him .
Duan Bai Yue returned to Da Yan city with twenty plus old men, and let them temporarily stay in the relay station .
Seeing that he had returned peacefully, Chu Yuan finally sighed in relief . Eunuch Si Xi also said quietly with a laugh, the emperor had mentioned him at least ten plus times, he was quite concerned about him .
Duan Bai Yue's mood was great; after bathing he changed his clothes then went to find Chu Yuan next door; however, he was told by Duan Nian that the emperor had already went to the magistrate, and should only be back after a while .
Duan Bai Yue: " . . . . . . . . "
Duan Nian also really wished to sigh on behalf of his own master; he had even changed into new clothes, and yet there was no one to appreciate it; it can be considered tyrannical .
And at the same the city was already abuzz, saying that the elderly in the charity didn't die, but were switched that night by a demonic sect from Xi Nan using corpses that were prepared in advance, and the people were secretly transported out of the city alive .
Xu Zhi Qiu naturally had also heard of this news, and was so anxious that he started to pace around in the study . He wasn't scared of being punished due to the confusing concluding of a case; after all, not even Lord Bao Qing Tian was able to avoid the miscarriage of justice; at most he will forfeit his salary for a year and be demoted a rank, but this group of elderly were kidnapped by Tian Sha sect previously, and now rescued by the emperor; what had happened in between, whether the transactions between himself and Lan Ji were still kept under wraps, no one could guarantee; and he didn’t know what the emperor knows either, so he was extremely uneasy .
Before he could find a good excuse however, the imperial guards had already broken down the door and burst in, shackling him in a few moves, and dragged him in front of Chu Yuan .
"Your, Your Majesty . " Xu Zhi Qiu was shaking, his face grey like ash .
"Official Xu . " Chu Yuan said coldly, "We want to confiscate the warehouse of gold in the hills outside the city; this official shouldn't have any opinions on this?"
Xu Zhi Qiu fell on the ground, visibly scared .
The shimmering mountain of gold was transported back to the city; the people all looked at it in shock; adding up the tables, chairs and stools created in this city all these years, the final earnings won't even be a tenth of it; just how did this official get this tainted money?
After Wu dealership was investigated, Boss Wu also kneeled on the ground and acknowledged his crime . He was originally a small merchant, and happened to meet with Xu Zhi Qiu afterwards; not being able to resist the magistrate's frequent offer, he started to daringly create Gui Mu Xia, then hid them in wardrobes to be sold to weapon merchants in Nanyang .
As for the blueprint of Gui Mu Xia, Xu Zhi Qiu reportedly bought it from an insane old man for a lot of money; as for who that old man is, he doesn't know .
"An insane old man, could it be Mu Chi?" Duan Bai Yue asked .
Chu Yuan nodded: "We were also thinking, other than him, there shouldn't be another person like this in the martial arts world . "
"Although the wooden house was burnt down, but I still feel that he may not have died . " Duan Bai Yue said, "After being fed with bone-softening powder, and with the followers of Tian Sha sect guarding him, a fire couldn't have started without reason; it's more likey that he was snatched away secretly, with the fire being set as a cover up .
Chu Yuan also thought the same: "Mn . "
"Since I had promised you that I will bring him back, I will naturally accomplish it . " Duan Bai Yue said, "Give me a bit more time, yes?"
Chu Yuan came back to the present: "Let's not discuss about Mu Chi Lao Ren for the time being; for the elderly of the charity hall to be able to return unharmed, it's all due to Xi Nan manor . "
"Is it Xi Nan manor, or me?" Duan Bai Yue asked .
Chu Yuan hesitated, then insisted: "Xi Nan manor . "
Duan Bai Yue shook his head: "If there's a royal missive next time, remember to give it to Xi Nan manor, and not Xi Nan King . " He wouldn’t take it even if it was offered to him .
Chu Yuan perked up: "Give it to Yao-er?"
"I'm afraid Yao-er would be scared to tears . " Duan Bai Yue laughed along with him, and reached out a hand wanting to pour a cup of tea, but a sharp pain shot up his chest .
"What's the matter now?" Chu Yuan thought he was still pretending, pushing him with a hand, "Seriously, who do you think would kidnap Mu Chi Lao Ren?"
"Everyone in Jianghu wants traps and concealed weapons . " Duan Bai Yue forced down the smell of blood in his mouth, "I can't say, moreover the martial art skill of the other party doesn't seem to be low . "
"Mn . " Chu Yuan continued to be lost in thought .
Cold sweat formed on Duan Bai Yue's back, so he stood up and said: "I will go take a look next door . "
Chu Yuan nodded, watching him leave all the way; before he could drink the tea that he had just poured, he heard Si Xi's exclamation from outside: "What's the matter with you my lord?"
Duan Bai Yue was kneeling under the pillar, face pale; fresh blood was spilling from the corner of his mouth, as if an ice knife had sliced through his heart .
Chu Yuan went forward and held onto him .
"It's nothing . " Duan Bai Yue forced himself to stand up, and pushed him away with a wave, stumbling into his room .
"Your Majesty . " Si Xi went to hold onto him quickly, "Be careful of the stairs behind you . "
Chu Yuan reached out and hit the door with all his strength: "Duan Bai Yue!"
"I'll be fine after some rest, it's just my zhen qi abruptly increased only . " Duan Bai Yue sat down against the door, big drops of sweat dripping down his forehead .
"Open the door . " Chu Yuan was extremely angry .
Duan Bai Yue raised his palm and pressed on his chest, wanting to suppress the zhen qi rebelling in him . The Bodhi Heart Sutra was not a pure martial art form, and he didn't learn it well either; because he forced it, this was the outcome; it was not that strange; it was just that he didn't think that the recoil would be so fast, and thought there would still be at least two, three months left instead .
Hearing that he stayed behind the door, not willing to leave, Chu Yuan smashed a window frame to pieces with his hand .
Eunuch Si Xi jumped in fright, why was the emperor so fierce .
Duan Bai Yue didn’t want the wood pieces to fly about everywhere, but was unable to do anything .
Seeing the faint mark on his forehead, Chu Yuan also didn't have time to ask what was happening; after getting him onto the bed, he fed him a pill .
Duan Bai Yue asked: "What was that?"
Chu Yuan gritted his teeth: "He Ding Hong . "
Duan Bai Yue closed his eyes upon hearing it; pretending that he had already passed away, and even stuck out his tongue .
Chu Yuan was angered into wanting to laugh; he held Duan Bai Yue's hand and tested his pulse, then let him rest in his arms, placing his palm on his chest .
Wisps of zhen qi infused into his bones, with some warmth to it, although it couldn’t completely banish the bone-deep cold, but it could still reduce the pain by a lot .
After half an hour, then did Chu Yuan take back his hand: "How are you?"
Duan Bai Yue nodded: "Many thanks . "
"Just what did elder Nan teach you . " Chu Yuan pulled his hand over and took a look, ensuring that those strange marks had already disappeared, before sighing in relief, "Why are your internal injuries so severe?"
Duan Bai Yue said sincerely: "There's no choice, my father didn't find a good teacher . " A bad choice lasts a lifetime .
"It's not really an illness, I'm afraid even a skilled physician will be useless . " Duan Bai Yue supported himself and sat up, "Why don’t I just drink some warm water . "
Chu Yuan: " . . . . . . . . . "
"It's true . " Duan Bai Yue smiled, "I'm thirsty . "
Chu Yuan could only call Si Xi to bring in tea .
Duan Bai Yue drank half a pot in one gulp, before blood returned to his face .
Chu Yuan took a handkerchief from nearby, helping him to wipe away the sweat on his forehead: "Need a bath?"
Duan Bai Yue nodded .
A moment later, a big tub of water was sent in, and Chu Yuan returned next door for the time being .
"Your Majesty, is the lord alright?" Eunuch Si Xi asked anxiously .
"There shouldn't be anything, he'll be fine after some rest . " Chu Yuan thought for a bit, "We will write a letter, you get someone to quickly send it to Riyue sect in Jiang Nan to Shen Qian Feng, it must not be delayed . "
Si Xi consented, and quickly helped him to grind ink .
Duan Bai Yue was in the bathtub; it was a long while before he recovered .
Duan Nian took away two roof tiles and jumped down from above .
"This subordinate is sending the lord medicine . " Duan Nian said .
Duan Bai Yue was puzzled: "What medicine?"
"This subordinate also doesn't know . " Duan Nian opened a cloth bag, "Master Nan just sent someone to send this over, saying to add it in the water while bathing, it's good!"
Duan Bai Yue: " . . . . . . . . "
What is "it's good!", it may be a little too vague . . .
Duan Nian had already removed the cork .
"Hold up!" Duan Bai Yue grabbed his hand .
Duan NIan insisted: "Master Nan had said that it must be added now . "
Duan Bai Yue got closer and smelled it .
Duan Nian continued: "Master Nan also said, if the lord doesn't want to add it in the water, then it's the same if you eat it . "
Duan Bai Yue sealed the bottle firmly .
Duan Nian was met with difficulty: "Master Nan will slaughter this subordinate . "
Duan Bai Yue looked askance at him: "Can't this king slaughter you too?"
Duan Nian's face instantly turned bitter .
"Retreat . " Duan Bai Yue said .
Duan Nian turned around when he reached the window, saying: "And one more thing . "
"Another sentence and this bottle of medicine will be fed to you . " Duan Bai Yue waved the porcelain bottle in his hands .
Duan Nian said: "If the lord was willing to act as if you had no strength just now, then maybe the emperor would have stayed . "
Duan Bai Yue: " . . . . . . . " Duan Bai Yue returned to lying in the bathtub, wondering if he did recover a little bit too fast just now .
Duan Nian squeezed out from the window, covering his head .
There was an idiom after all; there will be many concerned people before a sickbed .
But thoughts were just thoughts; after bathing, Duan Bai Yue still went next door, dressed tidily .
Chu Yuan frowned: "Why are you not resting?"
Duan Bai Yue's tone was casual: "As a martial artist, not being able to suppress zhen qi a couple of times is normal, there's no need to worry . "
Chu Yuan said: "That's still falling sick . " Even a cold will take two days of rest .
"One issue; after finishing I will go and rest . " Duan Bai Yue said, "Regarding the Qian Hui Huan, it seems to be an outstanding weapon, and is superior to Gui Mu Xia . "
"So?" Chu Yuan shook his head, "It's not known whether Mu Chi Lao Ren is alive or dead now, I'm afraid that before he appears, this Qian Hui Huan will forever be a secret . "
Duan Bai Yue smiled instead: "There's still a person, although he doesn't know how to make it, he must know its workings . "
Chu Yuan thought about it, saying: "The buyer that asked Tian Sha sect?"
"That's right . " Duan Bai Yue said: "Since he's willing to buy it, then it means he must at least know what this item is used for . According to Tian Sha sect, he should be in the capital currently . "
Chu Yuan said: "Oh . "
The room fell silent .
After a moment, Duan Bai Yue continued asking: "For Xi Nan King to go to the capital, which official should I report to in advance?"
Chu Yuan pursed his lips and laughed: "Did we allow you to go into the capital?"
"If allowed then I will openly go in, if not allowed then I will sneak in . " Duan Bai Yue cupped his cheeks, his tone lazy, "It's not like I didn't disobey the imperial decree before . "
"And you still dare to talk about it . " Chu Yuan knocked on his head, "Of course you can go to the capital, but is it really alright with your injury? It's not too late if you return to Xi Nan manor and have Master Nan treat you first . "
"Trust me . " Duan Bai Yue took his hand, "It may be faster for it to heal on its own . "
Chu Yuan first flinched, then his ears reddened; he snatched back his hand .
Duan Bai Yue looked outside the window calmly: "Going to call Si Xi again?"
The words were hanging by Chu Yuan's mouth; he could only swallow them back .
Chu Yuan's embarrassment turned to anger; he swept his sleeves and left .
Three days later, the imperial guard force began their journey back all the way to the north .
And after some days, Xi Nan manor also received a letter . After Duan Yao read it, he hugged Auntie Jin and refused to let go; why must he go to the capital again, I don't want to, I want to stay in the manor and raise insects!
Nan Mo Ye was extremely excited instead, happily packing up; he knocked out his young disciple who was making a scene with one hand, and left to go to the capital with him .
Auntie Jin was anxious watching at the back; would Master Nan be alright, he didn't even want a carriage and left just carrying him .
When the imperial guards reached the capital, it was already scorching summer . Duan Bai Yue stayed at an inn near the imperial palace; the golden throne room could be seen from its rooftop .
The reports in the imperial study have already piled up to a man's height; although there's the Tai Fu leading the officials in discussions, but some matters could only be decided when the emperor returns . Luckily, Chu Yuan was used to working diligently; he didn't even rest a day upon returning before he started handling the matters that had piled up; every day he only returned to his sleeping quarters late in the night .
Tao Ren De saw this, and the worry in his heart subsided a little . The emperor was good with everything; it was just that he runs out a little too often . The previous few times can be ignored, but this trip to Da Yan city was truly unjustifiable; even if he knew the issue of Xu Zhi Qiu being corrupted and having a mountain of gold, it was good enough if he sent over an imperial envoy; how could the matter be enough for him to make a trip personally .
Lord Liu was delighted instead; since the emperor had returned, then it meant there will be less miscellaneous things for him to handle; it was just right for him to do some more match making .
"Old Liu . " Tao Tai Fu got a headache the moment he saw him, "General Shen had already said that he is unwilling, why can't your niece be married to someone else?"
"This time it's not because of General Shen . " Liu Da Jiong said, "I wonder if Lord Tai Tu has heard of Sai Pan An?"
Tao Tai Fu said with disdain: "What kind of rotten name is this?"
"The name does sound rather rotten, but his appearance is reportedly impressive . " Liu Da Jiong said expressively, "Today he was setting up a stage in the city, is Lord Tai Fu willing to accompany this humble one to take a look?"
(1) Lord Bao Qing Tian: 包青天 - fictional nickname of Bao Zheng, an official who was renowned for his honesty and uprightness . The author wrote 包青天 but is probably referring to him .