The Witch Nichang– Chapter 68.2
What Lian’er just said pulled me into thought before I could lament Lian’er’s unintentional interruption.
I always had hope about Master’s death. That was why when I saw the girl do the move earlier, the thought that someone had taught that to her immediately came to my mind, and there was no one in this world who could do that other than the one we had been searching for for the past few months. This thought filled my mind. I didn’t consider any other possibilities at all.
Now that Lian’er reminded me, I remembered that while I was recovering from my injuries in the inn after Yue Mingke’s visit, Lian’er had gone back to Yellow Dragon Cave to close off the cave entrance. She was angry when she came back and told me that Master’s parchment in the stone chamber was gone. Not only that, the sword techniques that were carved into the wall were smoothed out, leaving only a sentence carved by Yue Mingke to the effect that he had taken the parchment to his master, and the sword moves on the wall were too messy and vicious, and there was no cultivation method to go with it, so he was afraid that outsiders would learn it and go astray. That was why he erased all of it.
Lian’er deeply regretted it at that time. She was angry for a long time and swore that she would retrieve the sword manual. I wasn’t happy that Yue Mingke had overstepped his boundary and destroyed the stone wall, but the parchment wasn’t just a sword manual. There were a few passages about her feelings written in blood that were meant for her husband. It was understandable that he took it, so I didn’t think much about it. Now that Lian’er had brought this up again, I suddenly realized that what she said could be true.
After the initial surprise, a strange feeling welled up in me, as if it had triggered some memories in me. It was vaguely familiar…
Could it be that things were destined to happen this way? Were Lian’er and I still on the destined path? I felt a tightness in my chest at the thought of it and panicked inwardly.
A hundred moves had passed between them while I was distracted. A man’s scream coming from behind the hill snapped me out of my distracted mind. I felt a chill for no reason. The voice sounded familiar…it sounded like Zhuo Yihang!
I didn’t know if the scream interrupted those two in a fight. The fierce old man’s palm was about to touch her clothes and suddenly, he leaped two steps back and turned around, shouting, “Stay away!”
At the sound, I looked up and found that a beautiful woman had shown up on the rock next to the girl. I supposed the old man’s words were meant for the woman. At that moment, I was angry about myself getting distracted again by my own thoughts and was unaware of her coming.
The old man gave a shout, turned around, and charged again. He shouted and said, “Let’s continue!” But Lian’er said, furious, “Do you think I’d be afraid? You have such great martial skills, yet your daughter is a petty thief. I won’t let you go if you don’t return the sword manual to me today!” Swoosh, she thrusted two successive attacks. The old man flew into a rage and met the attacks with his palm. Both of them went into a fight again.
Both were relentless. On the rock, the girl was whispering to the woman who arrived later. I was too far away from them to hear what they were saying. I could only see that the two of them looked intimate. It seemed like they were close. They were leaning against each other with their hands covering their mouths when they talked. They were talking to each other, but their eyes kept turning to the fight at times. After a while, they stopped glancing at the fight but at me instead. Suddenly, the woman flicked her right hand in the air, and something was coming this way!
I had kept an eye out for them. I saw three dots of cold light emerge in the dark, striking toward me in a vertical line! The move wasn’t that subtle. It would be nothing to me on other days, but now my right hand was stiff. After barely catching the first one with my left hand and striking down the second one, it was difficult for me to respond to the third one in such a short time, so I just covered my vitals and my eyes, ready to take it.
Then I heard Lian’er say furiously, “Shameless woman! How dare you attack behind her back!” Although she was agitated, it was impossible for her to make it over in time with the distance and the old man blocking between us. I just hoped that she didn’t get hurt because she got distracted. But suddenly, it went dark in front of me. A huge palm like a cattail leaf fan blocked in front of me, and I heard a soft “poof.” The last concealed weapon pinned into the palm!
I leaped back a couple meters before I saw it was the hand of the fierce old man. He had a few grazes on his arms and blood on his palm, but he seemed to not realize it. He looked at me with a flushed face, as if he was embarrassed. Without saying anything, he dashed up the hill and chided, pointing at the woman, “Who told you to use concealed weapons? Didn’t I ask you to stay away!” His voice resounded across the hilltop.
The woman looked like she had been wronged and replied, “You didn’t, Sir. They bullied Ah Hu. Why do we have to be polite? I just want to catch her partner, so we can stop the fight…” The answer was carried down the hill by the wind. Lian’er was hurrying to my side to check on me. When she heard that, she flared up, leaped to her feet, and flew over like a white crane, shouting, “So you’re the crone who cast the concealed weapon!” A swing with her right hand in the air, she struck back with three silver needles!
It was out of rage that she struck back with silver needles, so her throw wasn’t that precise. It wasn’t supposed to kill, but the old man swept with his sleeve, flicking off two of the needles, and the third one stabbed into the woman’s shoulder. The pain made her eyes red, and she was crying out in pain.
The old man seemed as if he didn’t hear it and shouted at Lian’er. “You’ve seen it just now. I have nothing to do with her casting the concealed weapon. You’re very rude. You bullied my daughter and hurt my beloved mistress. I’ll never let you get away with this! Let’s fight, just the two of us. No one is allowed to ask for help. Do you dare?”
Suddenly, Lian’er gave a peculiar smile. She didn’t press on but turned around and jumped to my side instead, saying beside my ear with a smile, “That old man intentionally missed one of my needles as a punishment. Letting his people get hurt. That’s a weird person. Hehe…” Now I knew why she was smiling. At a loss for words, I rolled my eyes at her with resignation.
Lian’er seemed to lighten up. She didn’t get annoyed by my eye roll. Then she turned around and said to the top of the hill, “You stole our sword techniques. I’ll never let you get away with that, but we’re both exhausted today. It won’t come to anything even if we keep fighting. Where do you stay? What’s your name? If you’d be so kind as to let me know, I’ll definitely come to you!”
The old man didn’t get angry. When he heard the questions, he said after thinking about it for a while, “Well, I’ll wait for you in Tie Family Manor in Longmen for a month!” With that, he held the two next to him, one in each hand. The three of them darted down the hill and were gone in a blink of an eye.
It felt familiar when I heard the words ‘Tie Family Manor.’ Just as I was going to ponder over it, I heard someone yelling on the top of the hill. When I listened closely, I could hear Wang Zhaoxi shouting, “Miss Lian! You’re here, Miss Lian. Quick, come and have a look!”
Lian’er didn’t have much of a response. She was just slightly startled when she heard the greetings. His shout reminded me that there was a man screaming earlier. It sounded like Zhuo’s voice. They were together before. I was probably right. My mood turned sour immediately. I forgot about what I was thinking earlier. My only thought was I didn’t want Lian’er to meet them, but I didn’t have any reason to stop her, so I could only follow her gloomily.
After turning around the corner of the hill, we came to a rocky slope. At the place where the torches were in the distance, I could see Wang Zhaoxi and Zhuo Yihang were half-crouching, cramming in a cave. Lian’er said curiously, “Hey, it’s you guys. What are you doing here?” Then they answered from afar, “Taoist Zhenqian was murdered!”
We were both shocked when we heard that. We went forward to look and saw that there was a Taoist sitting cross-legged in the cave, blood coming out from his nose, eyes, and ears, looking like he was in pain. I didn’t know this Taoist, but Lian’er should have seen him before. When she saw him, she reached out and touched him. His skin still retained its elasticity. Zhuo Yihang said sorrowfully, “Someone must have coveted the sword manual he had with him. That’s why he was killed!”
Lian’er leaped to her feet right away and asked hurriedly, “Which sword manual are you talking about!” Zhuo Yihang answered, “The one written by your master. Brother Yue Mingke had something else to do at that time, so he asked Taoist Zhenqian to give it to the old man, Tiandu. I never thought he would die here, and the sword manual is gone too!”
What he said confirmed what Lian’er had blurted out earlier. I stood outside of the cave, frozen, unable to think until a white shadow appeared in front of me. In the fire light, I saw the girl’s face was as still as the water. She said indifferently, “Let’s go!”
I knew what she was thinking, but the two men didn’t. Wang Zhaoxi said, surprised, “Miss Lian, what’re you doing?” Lian’er replied without looking back, “I know a person. His daughter was using our sword techniques! Screw the one-month promise. I’m going after them now!”
The two of them got up in surprise. Wang Zhaoxi and Zhuo Yihang exchanged a look and said pensively, “A person who dares to do that must not be an ordinary person. Killing Taoist Zhenqian makes the person a public enemy of Wulin. Miss Lian, let’s not rush. Right now, I’ve gathered heroes from all walks of path. It’s time to work together. Let’s go back to the city first. It’s not too late to take action after a thorough investigation. Besides, you must be exhausted by now from being on the run.”
The man next to him nodded in agreement as he said that. Zhuo Yihang looked at Lian’er and said sincerely, “Let’s plan. It’s best to know our enemy first. Ladies, please come with us.”
I had to admit. What they said was sensible, but I couldn’t suppress the noise in my heart. I looked at the man then at Lian’er. I couldn’t help but open my mouth and say under my breath, “We would lose them if we don’t go after them now…”
The girl who had already turned back wheeled around and took my hand. She said, “Let’s go after them!”
I held back and replied, “Okay.”
If Yue Lao and the red thread really exist, I will make it go round and round, the further away it goes the better.