Chapter 29 Dew—Part Two
The waiter, “Take it easy. I was just about to mention that. Everyone did die. Although I said that he survived, it was only for a short while. After a few years, the clan’s head, Chang Ping, died as well. This time, the death was even more horrifying. He was killed by lingchi with a sword! I don’t need to tell you what lingchi is, do I? It’s when the flesh on someone’s body is piece by piece sliced off with a saber or a sword for three thousand and six hundred times, until all of the flesh is gone and there’s only a skeleton left…”
Of course, it was impossible for Wei WuXian not to know what lingchi was. If somebody wanted a book called A Thousand Ways to Die Agonizing Deaths, he’d have been the person who was most qualified to write it. He raised a hand, “I understand. Then, do you know why the Chang Clan was wiped out?”
The waiter, “I heard that it was planned by another cultivational sect. That’s for sure, right? Or else, why did a bunch of people who could cultivate fail to escape? They were definitely trapped inside by something or someone.”
In case the conversation wasn’t going well, the owner of the shop even brought over two side dishes of peanuts and sunflower seeds. Wei WuXian nodded in acknowledgement, and continued while eating sunflower seeds, “Did anyone find out what exactly the something or someone was?”
The waiter laughed, “Young Master, now you’re just joking. How could we ordinary people who are just trying to get through life know anything about those who fly around in the skies? Logically, you guys should know more than me since you all cultivate. I’ve only heard some vague talk of of how they offended someone whom they shouldn’t have! Anyways, after that, nobody was left in charge of the evil beings around Yueyang.”
Wei WuXian pondered, “Somebody whom they shouldn’t have offended?”
“That’s right.” The waiter ate two peanuts, “These sects or whatever indeed hold grudges against the others. I’m thinking that the Chang Clan must have been targeted by the other cultivators. Isn’t killing people for the sake of treasures common or something? Those books all said so. Tales and legends as well. Although I don’t know who exactly did it, it was apparently related to a very famous villain.”
Wei WuXian smiled as he lifted the liquor bowl to his lips, glancing sideways at him, “Let me guess. You’re gonna say that you don’t know who the villain was?”
The waiter cracked up, “Guess again. I definitely know this one. He was called something along the lines of ‘peculiar’… Right, ‘patriarch’. The YiLing Patriarch!”
Wei WuXian choked, letting out a series of bubbles into the liquor bowl with a splash, “What?”
The waiter confirmed, “Yep, that’s right! His surname was Wei. He’s called Wei WuQian, I think. People sound both hateful and scared when they mention him.”
Wei WuXian thought over it and determined two things—One: He had never been to Yueyang before, and two: Among all of the people he had killed, none of them died by lingchi. He felt that this was a bit absurd and looked over at Lan WangJi, as if he wanted an explanation. Lan WangJi had been waiting for this look since quite a while ago. He replied, “We are leaving.”
Wei WuXian immediately understood. Lan WangJi had something to say to him and it couldn’t be said in the liquor shop, under everyone’s noses. He stood up, “Then let’s leave. How much… Right, it’s been paid already. I’m leaving the liquor here for now. I’ll continue drinking after we finish.” He added, half-jokingly, “Make sure it’s still here when I get back.”
Having already finished more than half of the plate of peanuts, the waiter responded, “Of course! Our shop is honest to everyone, from the old to the young. Leave ‘em here and don’t worry. We’ll wait until you come back to close our shop. Hey, Young Masters, are you going to the Chang Residence right now? Whoa, now that’s pretty cool—I’m from the area and I haven’t even been there! I’ve only dared to sneak a few looks at it from far away. Are you two going inside? What are you going to do?”
Wei WuXian, “We’re also just gonna sneak a few looks, from far away.”
The young waiter had an outgoing personality, getting friendly with strangers a bit too quickly. Although they only chatted for a short while, he was already treating Wei WuXian as if they were friends. He came over to put his arm around Wei WuXian’s shoulder, “Is the work that you two do hard? Do you earn lots of money? Probably a ton, right? What a respectable job. Let me ask you something—is it difficult to get started? I…”
As he babbled, he suddenly shut his mouth, nervously looking to the side. He whispered, “Young Master, why is the one beside you… staring at me?”
Wei WuXian followed his gaze just to see Lan WangJi turn around, stand up, and walk outside the liquor shop, “Oh, him. This friend of mine was brought up strictly. He absolutely hates it when other people are being too comfortable with each other in front of him. Isn’t that strange?”
The waiter awkwardly took away his arm, replying in a hushed voice, “Strange indeed. The way he looked over, you’d think that I was putting my arm around his wife…”
With Lan WangJi’s hearing ability, it was impossible for him to not catch something just because it was with a lowered voice. Imagining how he’d feel right now, Wei WuXian tried so hard not to laugh that his stomach hurted. He quickly said to the waiter, “I finished a jar.”
The waiter, “I’m sorry?”
Wei WuXian pointed at himself, “I’m standing.”
Finally recalling the “if you can still stand after you finish this, I’ll adopt your surname” that he said earlier, he blurted out, “Oh… Ohhh! Uhm… Wow! I’m not kidding, but this is my first time seeing someone who can still stand and speak properly after downing a jar. Young Master, what’s your surname?”
Wei WuXian, “My surname…” Suddenly remembering the “Wei WuQian” that the waiter mentioned, the corners of his lips twitched. He smoothly transitioned, “Is Lan.”
The waiter was also someone with a thick face, announcing without any change of expression, “Yes. From today on, my surname will be Lan!”
Under the bright-red banners of the liquor shop, it seemed as if, for one second, Lan WangJi’s figure stumbled ever so slightly. With a mischievous smile on his face, Wei WuXian walked over with his hands behind his back and patted his shoulder, “HanGuang-Jun, to thank you for paying the bill, I made him adopt your surname.”
After they left the city, the two walked in the direction of where the waiter pointed at. The number of people gradually decreased, while the number of trees increased. Wei WuXian asked, “Back then, why did you not let me continue asking him?”
Lan WangJi, “I suddenly remembered hearing about what happened in Yueyang. There was no need to continue asking.”
Wei WuXian, “Before you tell me, let me ask you something. Confirm for me that the, uh, wiping out of the Chang Clan wasn’t done by me, was it?”
Other than how he died ten years ago and his soul had been fairly stable, it was impossible that he killed an entire clan and didn’t remember anything!
Lan WangJi, “No.”
Wei WuXian, “Oh.”
It was as if he returned to those days, before he died, of being even worse than a sewer rat, despised by everyone. He played a role in everything; he was to be blamed for everything. Even if one’s neighbor’s grandson didn’t eat properly and lost five pounds, it was because the child was frightened by stories of the YiLing Patriarch commanding the Ghost General to murder people.
However, Lan WangJi spoke again, “The killing was not done by you, but it was related to you.”
Wei WuXian, “What’s the relationship?”
Lan WangJi, “There are two relationships. First, one of the people who were connected to it shared a past with your mother.”
Wei WuXian stopped in his tracks.
He didn’t know what he was feeling at the moment or how his face looked. Pausing for a moment, he spoke, “… My mother?”
Wei WuXian was the son of Wei ChangZe, a servant of the YunmengJiang Sect, and ZangSe SanRen, a rogue cultivator. Both Jiang FengMian and his wife, Yu ZiYuan, were quite familiar with Wei WuXian’s parents. Despite this, Jiang FengMian never reminisced about his old friend in front of Wei WuXian and, moreover, Yu ZiYuan never spoke properly to Wei WuXian at all. It was lucky for him if she didn’t give him a few whips and send him to kneel in the ancestral hall so that he’d keep his distance from Jiang Cheng. Other people told him most of the things he knew about his parents. He really didn’t know much more than what everyone else knew.
Lan WangJi also halted, turning around to look at him, “Have you heard of the name ‘Xiao XingChen’?”
Wei WuXian searched through his memories, “No.”
Lan WangJi, “‘No’ is correct. He was well-known when he left the mountain twelve years ago. Now, nobody mentions him.”
Twelve years ago just happened to be one year after the siege at YiLing’s LuanZang Hill, which meant that he only just missed it. Wei WuXian asked, “What’s the mountain? Who taught him?”
Lan WangJi, “I do not know which mountain it was. His was taught by a cultivator. Xiao XingChen was a pupil of BaoShan SanRen.”
Wei WuXian finally understood why Lan WangJi said that this person shared a past with his mother, “So, that mean’s Xiao XingChen is my shishu.”
ZangSe SanRen was also a pupil of BaoShan SanRen.
BaoShan SanRen was a cultivator who lived secluded from the rest of the world, rumored to be of the same generation as Wen Mao and Lan An. Most of the heroes from that generation had already returned to dust, yet BaoShan SanRen was said to have still remained unfallen. If it really was so, then she must be hundreds of years old and have quite a high level of cultivation. Back then, with the lead of Wen Mao, the cultivation world focused on the rise of clans instead of sects, and cultivational forces connected by blood ties rose as if they were bamboo shoots after a spring rain. Without exception, every cultivator who was slightly famous chose to found a sect. Yet, this cultivator decided to retire into solitude, living in a mountain under the cultivational name of BaoShanSanRen. Nobody knows, though, which mountain she was embracing. Speaking of it, it was only called retiring into solitude because nobody knew. If after one retired into solitude, they could still be found easily, it wouldn’t be called retiring into solitude anymore.
She lived in an unknown celestial mountain and would often secretly take abandoned children up the mountain to be her pupils. However, all of the pupils had to vow that they would devote their whole lives to cultivation, never leaving the mountain or entering human society. Or else, no matter what the reason was, they were never to go back again. They’d need to depend on themselves to survive in the mortal world, cutting all ties with their teacher.
Everyone spoke highly of BaoShan SanRen for her foresight in setting this rule. This was because, during the few hundreds of years, only three of her pupils left the mountain—YanLing DaoRen, ZangSe SanRen, and Xiao XingChen. Of these three pupils, none died a peaceful death.
Wei WuXian knew about the fates of the first and second pupils ever since he was young, so no further explanations were needed. Thus, Lan WangJi told him the stories of the last pupil, his shishu.
When Xiao XingChen left the mountain, he was only seventeen. Lan WangJi had never met him in person, but he had heard about Xiao XingChen’s talent from others.
At that time, the Sunshot Campaign only finished a few years ago and the siege at Yiling’s Luanzang Hill had just ended. All of the prominent sects were recruiting qualified cultivators from all around to be part of them. Xiao XingChen left the mountain in hopes of saving the world. With his excellent talent and capable teacher, during his first night-hunt, he held a horsetail whisk in one hand and a long sword in the other, entering the mountain alone and claiming first place—he became famous overnight.
As the sects saw such a bright, gifted cultivator at such a young age, they all invited him to their sects. Yet, Xiao XingChen turned down all of the offers. He said that he didn’t want to depend on any sects, but he wanted to build a new sect with a close friend that didn’t value a bloodline.
He had a soft personality but a solid heart, gentle on the outside but determined on the inside. Whenever someone had a difficult matter at hand, the first thing they thought of was to find him for help. As a person of moral integrity, he never refused either, which was why people often spoke of him with appraisal.
That was around when the wiping out of the Yueyang Clan happened.
Wei WuQian: WuXian means “no envies”, while WuQian means “no money”.
Rogue cultivator: A rogue cultivator is a cultivator who doesn’t belong to any sects and cultivates alone.
SanRen: This pretty much means “rogue cultivator”, but it has been kept as pinyin to maintain the flow of the story.
Shishu: Similar to shidi and shijie, shishu is used by someone to refer to their “disciple uncle”, their mother’s shidi.
Cultivational name: This is just another type of name. It’s not important at all, so don’t panic because of how “oh my god they already have three to four names and here comes another”.
BaoShan: This literally translates as “to embrace a mountain”.
Celestial mountain: This refers to a mountain, but more celestial/spiritual there, allowing cultivators to absorb more of the energy there and reach higher levels faster.
DaoRen: Similar to SanRen, this just means “cultivator”.
Horsetail whisk: A horsetail whisk is often used by cultivators or Daoists in general. It has a variety of meanings and those meanings will not be important. Just understanding that it’s probably white in color and makes Xiao XingChen look like a white lotus should be enough.