Author: Slopaw (Page 3 of 10)

This is Slopaw.

The Witch Nichang- Chapter 69.2 Chase

The Witch Nichang– Chapter 69.2


As soon as she said that, the old man Tie’s face changed. He asked in a quavering voice, “What do you mean by that?” Red-eyed, the girl looked at the woman beside her and bit her lip before saying whisperingly, “It’s…it’s Aunt Ke who got it…”

In that instant, the face of the woman beside her turned ashen, the old man’s eyes shot red, and Lian’er guffawed. After laughing, she fell silent, her face turned cold, and she said seriously, “Old man Tie, I wasn’t wrong about you, was I?”

I walked to her silently and tugged at her before she became too unforgiving. Then I went to the old man and said calmly, “Sir, let’s find out what’s going on first before you decide on anything. Maybe there’s a reason or it’s just a coincidence.”

The old man’s face was frosty. He ignored what I said, his teeth clenched tight, and continued to shout at his daughter, “Then be honest with me! Don’t try to hide anything, not even a single word!”

“Two—two months ago, when I stopped to take a break in a small shop in Jixian town on my way home, I saw a Taoist with a blackening face sitting on the ground, unable to move…” The girl was sobbing, wiping her tears with her sleeve as she spoke softly, “The shopkeeper said that he had an emergency illness and was afraid that he would die in his shop, so he wanted to get him out. I—I pitied him. Out of curiosity, I went to take a look. The Taoist was good. He knew that I knew martial arts as soon as he saw me. He said, ‘Miss, do you have a sword with you?’ Then he wanted me to tear his clothes open, gouge out the rotting flesh an inch below his shoulder blade, and take the poison needle out for him…” 

I exchanged looks with Lian’er, thinking that it was certainly Taoist Zhenqian. Lian’er said that his blood was black when he died. It turned out he was actually poisoned. 

Old man Tie pressed her, “Did that Taoist know that you’re my daughter?” The girl answered, “He didn’t know at first, but I told him later. He told me, ‘I know your father was a righteous man. Please tell him that I have a sword manual. Someone entrusted me to bring it to Huo Tiandu. Now it was stolen. If I die, please ask him to try to send this message to Mount Heaven and ask Huo Tiandu to avenge my death!”

Old man Tie’s livid face brightened slightly when he heard that. He stroke his beard and said, “That Taoist is something.” He actually cared about other people’s praise of him even if he was no longer young. He would have almost smiled if the situation hadn’t been tense. 

Unfortunately, the girl didn’t see it. She kept on, her head down, “Later, he wrote a prescription and asked me to get the medicine. I went out with the prescription. Those pharmacies didn’t have all the herbs. There’s always something missing. I went to a few pharmacies and finally managed to get all the herbs. Suddenly—suddenly, I ran into Aunt Ke who came to look for me…”

The old man let out an “um” and said, “You’d been gone for a long time, so I asked her to look for you.” The girl said, sobbing, “I told Aunt Ke about it, and we went to see the old Taoist together, but the old Taoist was gone. Instead, I saw two men were looking for the old Taoist, an old man and a young man. They seemed to know Aunt Ke and even sent their regards to you, but Aunt Ke suddenly wanted to talk outside to one of them whose surname’s Jin…”

Old man Tie let out a snort and scolded the woman, “Look at what you and the others have done!” The woman cried, “I was just trying to force him to cough up what he’s stolen.” The old man didn’t care and said, “Alright, Shan Hu, you go on!” The girl wiped her tears and looked at the woman again before saying, “We went to a secluded area. Aunt Ke asked the old man to hand over the Taoist’s sword manual. At first, the old man said he didn’t have it, but he admitted later after we forced him…”

At this point, Lian’er couldn’t help but sneer. Her cold eyes darted between the three of them. She even ignored the look I gave her asking her to stop it. It made old man Tie turn around and say lividly, “Jade Rakshasa, what are you rushing for? The sword manual will be yours if it’s yours!” He continued to ask her daughter, “Did they hand over the sword manual later?”

“They didn’t want to at first. Aunt Ke said they either hand over the sword manual, she would read it and give it back to them or she would rat them out. The old man Jin agreed. He said that he will come and take it back in two months…” The girl replied, biting her lip. 

“Why didn’t you tell me!” The old man kept on, anger filled his face, but the girl stayed silent until the person next to her cut in coldly, “It’s me who asked her not to tell you.”

The woman’s voice was level, though her face remained pale. It seemed like she had given up. She said, her face vacant, “I was curious, so I asked for the sword manual and dragged Ah Hu along to try it out at a place where there’s no one. I found out that it was an amazing manual. The sword techniques on the manual were ingenious, something great that holds deep knowledge, so I asked Shan Hu to secretly learn it with me. Ah Hu only agrees because I convinced her.”

“Then what about the death of the Taoist!” Seeing that she confessed, Lian’er pressed on. The woman looked at her and said, “Later, the Taoist asked to meet with Sir at Mount Qingfeng through other means. I felt guilty about it, so I followed along. Then the city went into mayhem. Ah Hu was screaming for help by the hill, and Sir didn’t have time to look for the Taoist. I ran into him instead.”

The old man glared at her and said, “Not only did you take the sword manual, you really killed him?” The fear the woman had earlier was gone. She said without lifting her eyes, “When I saw him in the cave, the poison in him had kicked in. He’s dying, looking like he’s in great pain. He begged me to give him a quick death. I had an ulterior motive when I did that, but it’s not a murder.“

At this point, the truth was revealed. Everything she said fit. What she said was probably true. Looking at the two cowering ladies, I pitied them. The old man looked very disappointed. Suddenly, he trembled and said, “Okay, okay, give them back their sword manual first.”

The woman said calmly, “It was stolen that night at Mount Qingfeng or rather it was returned.”

When Lian’er heard that, her face changed. She blew up and said, “How dare you deny it! Are you looking for trouble!” The woman said nothing, but the girl chimed in, crying, “It’s true! Aunt Ke told me on the way back that night that there were two middle-aged men coming out of the city. Their clothes seemed to have been burned with black ash stains all over. They met up with Jin on the hill. When they saw Aunt Ke, they demanded the sword manual. Aunt Ke was too afraid to refuse!”

Lian’er didn’t believe it. I recalled that night’s conversation on the roof next to the burning town hall with Wang Zhaoxi and Zhuo Yihang. They also mentioned two middle-aged men. Both of their stories matched. I felt it was true, so I shook my head at Lian’er and said, “I can confirm that. There were these two people that day.”

Lian’er glared at me. Old man Tie on the other side said in a loud voice, “Jade Rakshasa, I’ll take care of your sword manual. I’ll get it back for you even if it means going to the ends of the earth!” Only then did Lian’er say, “Alright then, we’ll see,” as if she still didn’t believe it. 

The old man ignored her. He reached out to stroke her daughter’s hair, as loving as treating a child. The girl met his gaze, but she flinched. She called, “Dad, what’s the matter?”

I only watched until then before I walked up to Lian’er and said beside her ear, “I’ll go out of the woods for a while.” She was focused on what was happening. When she heard that, she didn’t ask any questions. She looked back wonderingly and told me, “What for? Don’t go too far no matter what you do.” Then she turned back, but her hand was still holding on to my clothes until I answered with a chuckle, “Okay, I’ll be right by the woods.” Only then did she let loose, but then she waved her hand like shooing a bug, as if she was annoyed. 

I smiled and left quietly. I took a small turn in the woods, avoiding the three without alarming them. They probably have no time to care about what others do. I went around to the outside of the woods. Shortly after, I heard someone in the woods shouting, “Dad, dad!” and there was an old man yelling, “You were eyeing the sword manual of another school and lied to your father! From now on, you’re no longer my daughter. Go! You’re not allowed to use my name out there!”

I sighed when I heard that. It went on for a little while longer, then the girl said woefully, “Dad, take care!” After that, I heard heavy footsteps stumbling this way.

“Miss Hu, hold on.” Waiting here, I called to stop her when I saw a figure was coming out. Even though I tried to be as gentle as possible when I spoke, it still startled her. The girl’s body shivered, her face covered in tears. The glow she had when she was picking flowers earlier and her arrogance when she stepped on people’s shoulders in the city were gone. When she saw me stop in front of her, she bit her lip, holding on to the last thread of pride, and said, “You…what else do you want? Do you want to keep humiliating me?”

I shook my head and answered calmly, “Miss Shan Hu, you’ve got me wrong. You reap what you sow. We’re just a trigger. Have you seen me doing anything inappropriate or throwing insults? What I’m looking for is just an answer.”

“Reap what I sow…” She laughed bitterly. After a while, she said, “Right, now I have suffered the consequences, so please get out of my way. What are you stopping me for?”

I pointed at the woods with my left finger and said, “Miss Shan Hu, you had made a split-second mistake. You’re also a victim and got involved to the point of expulsion from the family. Do you not want to know what punishment the person, the one who got you involved, will get? What consequence she will face?”

Dazed, she looked over in the direction I was pointing, and her eyes went wide open. After a moment, she shuddered. As if woken up from a dream, she muttered, “Aunt Ke…Aunt Ke…” A look of pain streaked across her face, and she said in a panic, “Dad, dad—dad will kill her, he’ll kill her!”

“You don’t want her to die? She’s the one who got you kicked out of the family.” I tilted my head and looked at the girl’s reaction. She kept shaking her head and said, as if talking to herself, “Aunt Ke…Aunt Ke meant well. She didn’t mean to hurt me. You don’t understand. She had a hard life, hard life…” As she spoke, she seemed to have come around. She tugged at my sleeve and said, “No, dad is very mad this time. He even disowns me. He would really kill her! My words mean nothing to him anymore. You go plead for mercy, quick, you can’t let her die!”

While she was pestering me, a hysterical laugh came from the woods. A woman’s voice was shrieking, “Old man, I’ve given up this life long ago. Kill me!” Then an old, commanding man’s voice sounded, “You stole someone’s sword manual and ruined my reputation. You deserve to die! What do you have to complain about!”

The girl was pulling at my sleeve. She flinched when she heard that and quieted down, looking at the woods, her lips trembling. Then I heard the woman’s voice go on. She laughed and said, “When my father died in a foreign land, I had no money to bury him, so I was forced to sell my body. After I was married to you, a young wife to an old man, gray hair and a young face, you claimed that you wanted to honor your ex-wife, so you treated me like a concubine. You always shout. I have to put on a smile in front of you. Do you really think I like you! I’m not afraid to tell you now. The reason I secretly learn the sword techniques is so that I can escape one day! It’s good to kill me now. I don’t want to live this life anymore!”

The woman’s voice was full of pain and sorrow. Every word bled agony. Even I was dumbfounded by what I heard, not to mention the girl. As if I felt the same, my heart welled up with sorrow. I was frozen for a moment before I snapped back. Just as I was about to rush in, I heard a roar from the woods, “Go! I never want to see you again!”

When the girl heard the roar, she faltered and sighed as if a weight was lifted off her chest, but tears kept trickling down her face. I was secretly relieved. My heart was pumping, beating a little faster than usual.

With all the things happening in this world, even if you are prepared for it and know what will happen, when you’re actually facing it, looking at those tears, listening to those cries, who dare say that they are heartless, that they can steel their heart and be as indifferent as the God in heaven. 

At least, I can’t. 

At least in the face of certain people and things.

The Witch Nichang- Chapter 69.1 Chase

The Witch Nichang– Chapter 69.1


Lian’er said that we were going after them, but when we went down the hill and continued for not more than half a mile, she suddenly stopped and wanted to take me back. 

I was worried, wondering if she had come around, thought that what the other people said was right and changed her mind since I actually acted out of emotion. It was more reasonable if she did as they said, act after planning. 

With my concern, I sounded her out. What followed was the girl’s snicker. Lian’er didn’t know what I was nervous about. She smiled and said, “Why would I change my mind? I just thought that we probably wouldn’t be able to catch up to them even if we go after them now, so we might as well go back to the inn, get our stuff, and head directly to that old thief’s lair tomorrow. Look at you. Your face is pale from all the running.”

I only found out that Lian’er had heard about that person before when she explained it again on the way. Even though it hadn’t been three years since she came into jianghu, she knew about both the orthodox and outlaw heroes. The old man, Tie from Longmen, was a famous eccentric around the north-west region, falling in between good and evil. He had done both good and bad things. If anyone offended him, no good would come of it for that person. 

“I thought although he was a weird character, he’s still prideful and decent. Who knows he’s different from what I’ve heard. He actually encouraged his daughter to steal our sword manual. He even killed someone!” Toward the end, Lian’er became angry and said, “When I saw that Taoist Zhenqian’s blood was black, I thought he’d died of poisoning, but when I looked closely, his jaw bone was fractured. It’s obvious that he’s hit and crushed with a palm. His throat was destroyed with a neigong technique. It looks exactly like the old man Tie’s doing. No mistake!”

I silently listened to her all the way, thinking to myself that with Tie Feilong’s level of martial skills, it seemed unnecessary for him to use poison if he wanted to steal the sword manual. Besides, after tonight’s fight, I knew that the old man’s hard style martial skills were already at its highest level. No matter how brilliant Master’s sword manual was, he couldn’t be learning it from the beginning again, right? But what Lian’er said made sense too. I had my doubts but I put those aside first, thinking that it wasn’t too late to confront him about it when we saw him. 

Putting my thoughts aside, we went back to the inn and rested until the next morning. Lian’er woke her subordinates and told them that they didn’t have to come along and asked them to meet with the others at Wang Zhaoxi’s place. Then she packed up and checked out. She didn’t forget to bring me to the clinic and do one more round of check-up. Only when the old doctor said that my bones were healing well did she leave Yan’an Mansion pleased.

We didn’t hurry after we left Yan’an Mansion. We asked around as we traveled. A few days to the northeast, we arrived at Longmen County that the old man had mentioned. The road we took that day was flanked by rocky cliffs, and the muddy river was raging. It was perilous. Looking around, there was no one, only a few sails on the river in the distance. 

We had asked about the location in the inn earlier. After traveling for a little more and passing through a valley, a village came into view. We learned that it was Tie Family Manor after asking the old farmer at the village entrance. 

When we entered the village, Lian’er brought up the name, Tie Fenglong. Everyone in the village knew about him. They said we could find him at the courtyard house on the top of the hill. Some of them looked wary and asked us in a thick accent why we were looking for him. Lian’er was straightforward, so it was on me to gloss it over smilingly with some ambiguous answers. Villagers were simple, after all. Seeing that we were two young ladies, they didn’t ask much and let us in. 

As we went further in, the courtyard house the villagers talked about slowly came into view. A girl’s ringing laugh suddenly came from the woods beside the hill tracks. It sounded somewhat familiar. I suddenly remembered something, so I stopped. I grabbed Lian’er and made a silent gesture at her, then I bent down and went into the woods to investigate. 

Stealthily, I looked into the woods and saw two women walking in the woods, one behind another. It seemed like they were taking a walk. The older one who dressed like a young married woman was holding a scissor. Whenever she saw a nice flower on the branch, she snipped it and passed it to the young lady behind her. The young lady already had her hands full of flowers, but it seemed to her that it wasn’t enough. She still smiled every time she took the flower. 

When we saw their faces, Lian’er beside me couldn’t hold still, wanting to rush to them, but I stopped her in time. I shook my head and said softly next to her ear, “Listen to me first…” Somehow, she tensed for a second and scratched her ear awkwardly, but after that, she quieted down and stopped moving. 

As we hid in the bushes holding our breath, the two ladies in the woods were approaching this way. Their voices were becoming clearer. The young girl asked with the flowers in her hands, “Aunt Ke, we’ve been walking for a while. Do you want to rest for a while?” The young woman said with a smile, “Ah Hu, you’re getting mischievous. I’m serving your father, not having the same age as your father. It’s just a short walk. Are you going to treat me like I’m an old woman?”

She was acting bratty and capricious the last time we met, but she was well-behaved when she was with this woman. She said, “Aunt Ke, what’re you talking about? I’m worried about you. It’s only been a few days since dad took the needle out of your shoulder. Isn’t your wound still fresh?”

When the woman heard what she said, she replied, “Nah, it’s just a silver needle. How bad would it be?” But her hand subconsciously went to rub on her shoulder. The girl saw it. She said angrily, “Seriously, you were just trying to help him. He let you get hurt and let her get away with it, not to mention he didn’t even appreciate it. It’s too much. Should we make a vegetarian dinner for him?”

“Ah Hu, you’d better not bring this up in front of your father.” The woman looked flustered when she heard that. She turned around, stood still, and said to the girl with a serious expression, “It seems like the sword manual might actually belong to them. We’re in the wrong. It’s better to keep it low. We’ll be in trouble if the old man knows about it.”

“You two wretched thieves, shameless bitch!” Lian’er could no longer stay hidden when she heard them talking about the sword manual. With a shout, she sprang out of the bushes. As soon as she landed in front of them, she scolded, “It turned out you really do have our sword manual. What is your excuse now? Brace yourself!” She reached out as she said, wanting to grab them. 

Shaking my head, I got up and went out with her. I wasn’t worried. I brushed off the grass on me and watched them fight. Both of them were shocked at the turn of events. They saw Lian’er was coming at them. How could they let it happen without a fight? So they fought back immediately. One held the scissor, and the other drew out her flute. When I saw that Lian’er was going to draw her sword, afraid that it might hurt someone, I said, “Take them alive, so we can interrogate them right away. Then they can’t accuse us of bullying them for no reason.”

Lian’er rolled her eyes at me reluctantly, but she didn’t talk against me. She gave a laugh at the two and said, “Bold of you to pull this on me. Let’s see how I‘ll catch you!” With the sheath still on, she spun her sword a little with her left hand, blocking the woman out, and her right hand snapped out. In two moves, she snatched the girl’s jade flute. She flicked and prodded her with the flute, pushing her back. The girl let out a cry and fell on the ground. 

“Ah Hu!” When the woman saw the girl fall on the ground, she got worried. She strode in front of Lian’er, thrusted the scissor and slashed to the right. Before going all the way, the blade suddenly turned back. She was using the scissor like a sword, and the technique she used was a unique killing move from our sword techniques. Although she wasn’t skilled with the way she was using it, it was no doubt she had seen the sword manual before. 

Lian’er knew that too. She laughed when she saw that. With a drop of her sheath, she countered the move. Then she turned the sword and swung with the hilt, thrusted at her rib. Even though the woman had secretly learned the sword technique, she only learned it for a short time and had yet to get familiar with the move. How could she have blocked it? At that moment, the acupoints around her ribs were struck, and she flopped to the ground. 

It had only been a few moments since they started fighting, and the fight was already over. Lian’er pulled back. As she was about to bend down and grab her, a shout came from the direction of the hill. It was the old man, Tie, who heard the noise and came over. When he came close and saw what happened. He glanced at her and said in rage, “You’ve gone too far, Jade Rakshasa! You came to us, yet you ignored jianghu’s courtesy? What do they have against you that you have to do this!”

It had been a few days. It wasn’t surprising that he knew Lian’er’s nickname. If I let them continue, I feared that there would be an unnecessary fight. I was ready for it. When I saw he lifted his palm, I jumped in front of him, blocking him from Lian’er. I bowed and said, “Calm down, sir. There’s a reason for this. I can explain. Please listen to me before you do anything.”

“Hmph! Why do I have to listen to you cunning thieves?” Even though Lian’er couldn’t strike in time because she was busy grabbing the girl, she still said unrelentingly, “People from the Tie’s family just can’t keep their hands out of the till. He’s no better. Perhaps the one who killed Taoist Zhenqian is him!”

Before I could turn around, the old man Tie heard what she was implying. He glared at her and shouted at the top of his lungs, “Nonsense! What killing? You little brat, don’t you dare accuse me!” Lian’er grabbed the girl with one hand and replied, sneering, “Why are you still pretending? If you didn’t steal our sword manual, how come we came across Taoist Zhenqian’s body on the top of the hill that night? And how come your beloved family knows about our Master’s secret sword technique!”

The old man bawled when he heard that, jumped over my head, and landed in front of Lian’er, but he didn’t attack. He just shouted, “Wait! Let me ask them about it!” He helped the two up and said with a serious voice, “What’s going on here!” His voice wasn’t loud, but it was unusually stern. Both of their expressions broke. The girl looked down, looking fearful. The woman was trembling, biting down on her lip, and her eyes seemed to fill with endless fear. 

The old man Tie probably felt something wasn’t right when he saw that. His face turned livid. He snapped at the woman and asked, “Jiu Niang! Did you steal their sword manual?” The woman said, her face turning ashen, “No, no, no…” Then he turned around and asked the girl, “Shan Hu! Did you steal her sword manual?” The girl clenched her teeth and kept quiet. 

Lian’er showed disdain for the way he asked, but she said nothing, just sneering. Her sneer made the old man uncomfortable. He put on a straight face and said in a stern voice, “Jade Rakshasa, listen! I, Tie Feilong, will never cover for my own!” Then he turned around and scolded, “Shan Hu! If you’re still my daughter, speak the truth. I’ll ask you one last time. Did you steal her sword manual?”

He threatened her with their relationship. The girl’s eyes turned red with tears, and she said, sobbing, “I’ve got one sword manual, but it was never stolen.”

Slopaw’s note:
Hey all, I’ve just set up a patreon page for early chapters. Currently, there are only 3 early chapters available. I’m planning to do a regular release of 2 chapters per week if there’s enough support. Then I can dedicate more time for translating. At the moment, I can’t guarantee a regular release because I have other priorities (also why I was gone for a long time sometimes) even though I would like to translate more. There are also other interesting baihe novels that I would like translate but I don’t have enough time for them TT. Please check out my patreon if you’re interested in early chapters or my kofi page if you would just like to give me a small tip or you can just leave a comment. Any support is greatly appreciated!

The Witch Nichang- Chapter 68.2 Tumultuous Night

The Witch Nichang– Chapter 68.2

Tumultuous Night

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.

The Witch Nichang- Chapter 68.1 Tumultuous Night

The Witch Nichang– Chapter 68.1

Tumultuous Night

The city was in chaos. I jumped up the roof. When I looked down from above, the street was a mess. Every house had their doors and windows shut. A flame shot up in a far corner. The black spot was heading toward the flame. It was clear to me even though I was looking at her from a distance at night.

And that was enough. Even I wouldn’t lose her, let alone Lian’er whose qinggong was excellent. 

I could stay out of it and not care about jianghu’s affairs, but not this. The masked girl’s last move was the secret sword technique Master taught to us. It was vicious and tricky to do. There was no move similar to it in jianghu. Now that it was done by a stranger, how could it not worry me?

We were sprinting, and after chasing after her for a while, we were getting closer and closer. The girl got even flustered when she saw that she couldn’t outrun us. When she got close to where the blazing flame was, she leaped off the roof, plunging straight down onto the smoke-covered street. She wanted to use the thick smoke as a cover, but her trick was played on the wrong person. When Lian’er saw that, she barked out a laugh and jumped into the smoke without hesitation. Lian’er grew up in a unique situation, which had helped her develop her hunting skills. Even the white fog in the woods in which you couldn’t see beyond three steps wouldn’t stop her from trailing and chasing her prey, let alone smoke. 

I couldn’t do that, so I didn’t go down with her. I stayed on the roof to observe. I was in no hurry, waiting for Lian’er’s cue. 

As I stopped and observed, I realized that the place that was burning was the town hall. Smoke was billowing from the big building. The fire was raging and burning brightly. There were people moving around in the thick smoke. The sound of clanking went on and on. That reminded me of the people on the street shouting about the bandit attack. It seemed like it was happening, but why, I wondered. 

As I was lost in thought, a shout came from the thick smoke. Two people sprang out of the thick smoke and jumped up. As soon as they landed on the roof, they raised their swords and looked around hastily, as if they were looking for someone.

Irritation welled in me when I saw these two people. My first thought was to stay away from them, but they saw me before I could do anything. Both of them greeted me and came to me. One of them held his sword in front of him and said, “Miss Zhu, you’re here! That means Miss Lian is around too, right? We attacked the city tonight to save Brother Zhuo. I thought we couldn’t inform you. Who knows we would run into each other here. Heaven helps us!”

Since I didn’t manage to get away, I could only meet them. The one who was talking with his fist cupped was Wang Zhaoxi, the one who delivered the horse saddle. This place was his father’s, Wang Jiayin, turf. It wasn’t a surprise to see him here, but the one next to him who cupped his fist meekly was someone I didn’t expect to see and also someone I didn’t want to see, yet it seemed like everywhere I went, I just couldn’t avoid him.

“Brother Wang, Brother Zhuo, what a coincidence.” Since it had come to this, I had to return the courtesy. I returned the salute and said, “I just happened to be here. What’s with all the fuss here?”

It turned out that in September last year, after he delivered the gift and left Mount Dingjun, Wang Zhaoxi went to the capital city to attend to some business and ran into Zhuo Yihang who was in the capital city at that time. Both of them had been through fire and water together before. Wang Zhaoxi even told him about the incident where Jade Rakshasa had wounded a Wudang disciple. After that, Zhuo Yihang went back home from Mount Hua, got framed for no reason, and was arrested and sent into the jail in Yan’an Mansion. The outlaw alliance around here came to know about it later. There was no reason for Wang Zhaoxi not to rescue him. 

My mind was a moil after listening to what they said. They had no reason to lie to me, so what they said was the truth, but I had no memory of it at all. I felt like something was pulling the strings. Otherwise, the world was so vast. We had gone our separate ways, and I thought I could at least rest easy for now. Why did we meet again around the corner at a different place, so quickly that I couldn’t avoid him even if I wanted to, as if…the red thread[1] was linking them together.

“Oh, Miss Zhu, have you seen two middle-aged men come out of the fire? They were Manchurian traitors, ordered to assassinate an officer and blame it on Zhuo’s family. They got away in the middle of the fight with us. We’re desperately looking for him now!” Wang Zhaoxi was oblivious of what was going through the head of the people around him. He only focused on asking his question after he explained. The guy next to him wasn’t as pushy, but he was also looking at me with anxious eyes, as if he was waiting for an answer. 

I had no choice but to put my irritation aside. Just as I was going to answer him, a whistle rang out in the distance. I was glad. Without caring if I was being rude, I answered curtly, “I passed by here while chasing after a girl. I didn’t see any middle-aged man. I need to talk to the girl, so I can’t stay. I’ll have to say goodbye now. We’ll talk about the rest later when we meet again!” After that, I gave a brief salute and turned to leave as fast as I could. 

I never mentioned where Lian’er was. I had decided. If the red thread really existed, I would make it go around a few more times, giving Yue Lao[2] some trouble.

The whistle pierced the air in the distance and rang out at times. I navigated myself with it. When I caught up to the sound, I was at the foot of a small hill outside the city. From afar, I could see two figures in the moonlight. One was heading up the hill while calling for her dad, the other was following closely behind the former, moving back and forth like a ghost and following the girl like her shadow. 

When I came closer, I heard Lian’er’s giggle. Like a cat playing with a mouse, she kept teasing her prey. She poked the girl’s robe on the back with the tip of her blade at times, scaring the young girl. She leaped left and right, but she just couldn’t shake her off, so she shrieked. I could hear laughter and shrieks merged into one. It sounded merry. 

When I caught up to them, stopped, and exchanged a look with Lian’er, the girl suddenly lunged forward and shouted, “Dad, save me!” A peculiar whistle came from the hillside, and a gray shadow darted down the hill like a meteor!

When Lian’er saw that, she lowered her sword and jumped two steps to the side. I was far away, so I could see the person only when he came closer. It was a tall old man with an aquiline nose and a wide mouth surrounded by stubbles. He looked formidable and fierce. As soon as he landed, he shouted, “Who’s that who dares to bully my daughter?” The girl’s face was streaked with tears, and she hid behind the old man and said pettishly, “Dad, it’s the one holding a sword! Gouge out the hag’s eyes for me!”

How could Lian’er let anyone talk about her like this? She sneered and pointed at her with her sword, about to respond. I quickly took a few steps forward and stood in front of her. Lian’er was no good in a situation that required negotiation. Otherwise, nothing good would happen. 

After stopping Lian’er, I wanted to salute the old man with a cupped fist, but unfortunately, it was difficult for me to move my right hand, so I nodded briefly as a salute and said respectfully, “Sir, please don’t get us wrong. The reason we chased after your daughter is because there are some things that we don’t understand and would like to ask her about it. We’re all women. We hold no ill intention.”

The reason I said that was to placate the situation first since the old man looked like he was no ordinary man. We have no grudge against him, so why risk ourselves? Unfortunately, Lian’er had teased her daughter before, so my words sounded less convincing. All of them didn’t seem to buy it. Lian’er glared at me and said, “You’re so easy-going. Have you forgotten that she poked your injured arm with a weapon?” The girl cried, “Dad, these two hags bullied me. One made me lose my footing and fall, the other fooled me around with a sword at my back. Dad, you must gouge out their eyes for me!”

“Brat, you have a foul mouth!” Lian’er was fed up with her after she said the word “hag” a few times. Although she still had a smile on her face, she could no longer hold back her anger. Disregarding what I wanted to do, she jumped in the air and thrusted her sword at her with a roar!

It was too late to stop her. I watched her jump over. The old man took three steps back. He turned and pushed the girl away. “Go over to the rock there. Stay out of this. I saw everything that just happened!” He said. Lian’er’s sword missed, but she followed up with more, thrusting her sword lightning fast. The old man let out a bawl and straightened his body, thrusting with his left hand, his fingers closed like a halberd, and slashing from above with his right palm like a blade. One from above, one from below, powerful and fast, striking with the force that could crush wood. With that, both of them went into a fight!

The situation I wanted to avoid happened anyhow. I couldn’t do anything about it. The old man was a master as I had suspected earlier. Every palm he sent was so powerful that it could split a mountain open. As I watched, I could see that his strikes weren’t just pure force. There was a certain softness within the force, combining both hard and soft force. His neigong is above Lian’er! The good thing was Lian’er’s sword skills and qinggong were unparalleled, so she didn’t lose her ground. The fight was fierce and menacing! 

I could read the situation, but I couldn’t intervene, not to mention that I was in no shape to step in. I watched worriedly for a while before deciding to stop watching. When I looked away from the fight, I saw the girl was hiding behind the large rock at the hillside. She was also watching the fight. Then an idea hit me. I shouted, “Hey that girl, we just wanted to ask you a question. That’s why we came after you. If you give us an answer, we’ll leave immediately. It’s not a big deal. Why make such a fuss!”

She looked over at the sound of my voice. Maybe because we were each on one side of the field, she didn’t seem afraid at all. She scoffed, “I don’t want to waste my breath on you. My dad will take both of you down in a moment, and you’ll kowtow to me for forgiveness. It’s not too late to talk then.”

“There’s no bad blood between us. Why do you have to do this?” I didn’t say that just for her, so I didn’t care about her answer. I shouted what was on my mind, “You got into a fight with my sister earlier over a trivial matter. Your moves were straightforward with your own distinct style, except for the last move before you ran away. Unlike your earlier moves, it’s vicious and crafty. It looked so much like one of our moves. The reason we came after you is because we wanted to confirm something and ask you where you have learned that move? And who’s taught you? That’s all.”

This was said to her as well as to the old man in the field. He wasn’t deaf, so he could hear it clearly. When he heard that, he stole a look at her daughter while he was fighting. He was highly skilled in martial arts, so it was a dishonor to him if his daughter secretly learned martial arts from another school, not to mention it was a taboo in jianghu. 

The girl saw her father glaring at her. She probably panicked because she shouted from behind the rock, “What move! I don’t know what you’re talking about! Don’t you dare accuse me!”

Everyone heard what she said. I didn’t know what the old man thought. Lian’er was already annoyed, and now anger was flaring up in her. Without slowing down her attacks, she said, “Why are you still talking to her! Master’s dead. You and I are the only ones who know her secret sword techniques. This brat is either colluding with Yue or simply a thief who stole the sword manual! Either way, she‘s no good!”

‘You cocky little kid. Don’t you dare humiliate my daughter! Take this!“ The old man exploded when he heard that. He roared and rose up to fight Lian’er.

[1] The red thread originates from Chinese mythology. It’s an invisible red cord that wraps around the finger of those that are destined to meet one another as each other’s “true love.”
[2] Yue Lao is a god of marriage and love in Chinese mythology.

The Witch Nichang- Chapter 67 Yan’an Mansion

The Witch Nichang– Chapter 67

Yan’an Mansion

Southern Shaanxi and Northern Shaanxi were just one word different, but between them, the hills stretched for thousands of miles. It was a long way, and the valley path was difficult to travel.

As a member of jianghu, Lian’er was bound to be busy. After about half a month of recovering at the foot of Mount Hua, someone came to her. It was the lady troops from Mount Dingjun. Almost twenty of them were here this time. It was obvious they were not here simply to send word to her. 

I only found out later that Mount Dingjun had made a covenant with Wang Zhaoxi’s father, Wang Jiayin, before sending the gift in a horse saddle. Lian’er should have gone to Northern Shaanxi to meet up with him long ago. Who knew their chief would go to Mount Hua with me and stay there for a few months. Fortunately, there was the duel with Ying Xiuyang, so she could still explain herself. Her people in the stronghold had gotten impatient now that everything was settled but Lian’er was still not back, so the chief steward, Dong Sun, came with a group of people and requested Lian’er to return to Mount Dingjun to get ready.

But Lian’er remained non-committal at first when they met. I listened to their conversations twice in the room. I knew why Lian’er was acting this way. She probably wanted to go back too. Her only concern was my injuries that had yet to heal.

If so, I could hit the road with her. Even though I didn’t want her to climb too high, I would never drag her down either. 

“Looking out the window again? It’s the same scenery all over the woods. I don’t know why you haven’t had enough of it already.” The girl bent down, lifted the curtain, and came in as I was spacing out. When she saw me leaning against the window and looking out, she grumbled casually and handed the leather water bag to me. “Drink your medicine.”

I couldn’t tell her that I was looking for familiar sights, so I just smiled and drank half of the medicine as she said. This time we traveled during the daytime and settled for the night. I thought I would be spared the suffering of drinking the medicine, but I didn’t know which lady troop’s idea it was. They actually prepared the medicine during their spare time while staying in the inn and brought it along. As a result, the bitter concoction never ran out for the whole journey.

Lian’er sat down on the seat next to me and watched me until I finished the medicine, then she nodded approvingly, tightening the lid and putting it away. She said, “Let me know if you’re not feeling well. You’re the one who will suffer if you keep it to yourself like a closed bottle. That’ll make me worried too. That won’t do.”

I couldn’t help but smile when I heard that. “The cushion of the carriage is warm. I’ve been sitting or lying down for the whole day, and we didn’t travel a lot in a day. Do you really think I’m a porcelain doll or clay doll?” I replied with a chuckle. I moved my hand to show her. Even though it still hurt, I could already move it a little. We had been traveling in a hired horse carriage for more than a month and a half from Hanzhong to Northern Shaanxi. When we stopped to rest, I often heard the lady troops who followed us expressing their amazement. They were surprised that their chief had the patience. They had never seen her like this, except when she was messing around with her opponents.

Even I didn’t seem to have the memory of her being like this, let alone them. 

“Move again. If you move your bone, you’ll have to get it repositioned again. Scared?” When Lian’er saw me move my hand, she puckered her nose and snorted, smiling mockingly. It looked like the look of me having pain during the treatment had left a strong impression on her. I smiled with resignation, trying to explain it away, “I should be glad that we’re in the wild. Where can you get a doctor around here? So it’s fine.”

“Don’t get happy just yet. Judging by the distance, we’ll be on the main road tomorrow and will probably reach Ya’an Mansion before sundown.” Lian’er said lightheartedly, “I’ve told them to look for a doctor to look at your hand first thing after entering the city. There’s no escape from that.”

“Eh?” Jokes aside, I didn’t expect she would actually say that. I couldn’t help but ask, “Aren’t you in a hurry to go to the outlaw alliance meeting. It’s been pushed off for so long because of the journey. Isn’t it a bad idea to enter the city when you’re almost at the destination? I’m fine. You can go do whatever you want.”

“I want to enter the city, what’re you going to do about it?” She gave me a sidelong glance. She had a long face but still with a faint smile. She said arrogantly, “The building won’t run away. It doesn’t matter whether I’m early or late for a few days. I’m already showing them respect by coming all the way here. Who dares to have anything to say about me?”

The chief always stood firm on her words. I didn’t know if her people who came with her had any objections, but I supposed it would do nothing even if they had. The next day before the sunset, the horse carriage traveled all the way into the bustling town. 

Since we tried not to draw too much attention, most of the lady troops didn’t enter the town but rode straight to the destination to camp down and send out the message. Only two ladies who looked rather macho changed into a man’s outfit and followed us, so they could drive the carriage and get rooms, handling tasks that required to show face. 

Without the trouble of dealing with menial tasks, Lian’er was very relaxed. After we settled down in the inn, washed up, and had a meal, she insisted on calling a doctor.

The night had fallen by that time, and all the lights were lit. Her two ladies were exhausted after traveling all the way here. Now that they could finally sleep in a warm bed, both of them went to bed after dinner when they thought there was nothing more to do. It was a little heartless to wake them up now, but I didn’t want to turn down Lian’er’s kindness. Looking at the lit streets outside the inn and the bustling nightlife, an idea hit me. I asked the innkeeper about the location of a nearby clinic, intending to visit the clinic in person to save the doctor the trouble of traveling back and forth. 

Lian’er was usually not much into noisy and bustling places, but perhaps because it was the first time she visited the place and was unfamiliar with the local culture and the big difference in the local folkways between Southern Shaanxi and Northern Shaanxi sparked her curiosity, she didn’t oppose my suggestion, took her sword, and went out with me in excitement. 

We were on the main street as soon as we came out of the inn. It was a major city in the prefecture, after all. I didn’t know if we came upon some kind of special day. The town was still buzzing with noises at night, and lights were everywhere. Street traders and officers were traversing the town. Stores and vendors flanked the streets with lanterns hanging from their stalls. Businesses were booming, and people were bustling around. 

Lian’er and I blended in and moved forward with the crowd. We were sauntering side by side, looking around as we walked. We were not in a rush to do anything. Everything was new to her, but it wasn’t all that unfamiliar to me. The world changed, but there were still things that were familiar to me on this continent. Date paste, fruit fillings, dumplings, buckwheat noodles, Wantuo, and lamb soup. When I saw something familiar, I couldn’t help but get her to stop by and try it. We were having fun and threw the thing about getting my injury checked out of the window.

“Look at that mountain. Can you see the pagoda on top?” At the moment of excitement, I pulled Lian’er over to look in the southeast direction and pointed at the small hill in the distance in the moonlight. I said with a smile, “The pagoda’s very famous. If I’m not mistaken, there should be a stone tablet and a hundred-meter-tall cliff carving. It’s impressive.”

“…you’re familiar with this place.” The young lady turned around and said, grinning, “Have you been here by yourself?” Although she was smiling, her face looked a little vague in the light.

I was slightly startled, then I was snapped out of my own world and realized that I went a little overboard just now. “…Heh, why do you ask that? I’ve seen it in a book, so I remember a thing or two about it.” I awkwardly made an excuse, trying to hide my uneasiness. 

“You really haven’t been here?” Although she was simple and straightforward, she was by no means easy to fool. She still looked unconvinced after listening to my explanation and kept on asking.

“If I must say, maybe I’ve been here once or twice in my dream,” I answered with a bitter smile. What I said was true this time. That was a dream of a backpacker. 

I didn’t know if I was lucky. Just as she was about to say something, she was interrupted by a clamor. 

“The bandits are attacking the city! The bandits are attacking the city! The city gate has been breached! They’ve made it to the town hall! Quick, everybody hide!”

I didn’t know where the shout first came from. It came rumbling over like thunder. In an instant, shouts were everywhere on the streets. The crowd fell into disarray and scattered away. It was a mess. You could hear shouting and crying everywhere!

“Bandits?” I repeated in confusion and exchanged a look with Lian’er. No matter how chaotic this period was and how rampant the bandits were, there were only a handful of bandits who dared to attack the prefecture’s major city, and it happened over here. It was hard not to think of the outlaw alliances. 

“You go and hide in the inn first. I’ll go have a look!” Lian’er obviously had thought of the same thing. She was about to go after pulling me to her and telling me that. My first reaction was to refuse, but then it occurred to me that I wasn’t as strong as usual. I was injured at the moment, and the situation over there was unclear. If I insisted on going with her, I might weigh her down, so I could only nod and say with a frown, “Okay. Please be careful!”

She smiled nonchalantly and turned away. It wasn’t a place to stay long among the tumultuous crowd, so I turned around, about to head back to the inn, but I spotted a person jumped up in the chaotic crowd at the other end of the street. The person was slender and petite, dressed in a yellow shirt and a red dress. It was clearly a woman, but she was holding a long sword, a black veil covering her nose and mouth. There was something odd about her.

Before I could look at her again, she had closed the distance in a blink of an eye. I figured she was in a hurry. She kept lifting herself as she jumped and moved across the crowd, stepping on people’s heads and shoulders. In a few jumps, she was here and shouted, “Lend me your shoulder!” Then she jumped and was going for my right shoulder. It was the injured arm. How could I lend her? But it was too late to tell her, so I could only dodge aside.

“Eh? Ah! Oy!” The woman didn’t expect she would lose her footing. She wasn’t prepared for it, so she fell and landed on her bump. She closed her eyes and frowned, yelping in pain, looking ruffled. 

I felt amused and at the same time bad for her. When I was going to help her up, she had gotten up, standing there rubbing on the part that hurt while pointing at me and said angrily, “Hey! How could you be so mean? It’s fine if you don’t let me step on you, but you had to dodge without saying anything and made me fall!”

It was a little unfair to say that. Seemingly still angry after spitting those words, she reached to her waist without preamble when I was about to speak, and with a swoosh, a white shadow came striking toward an acupoint on my right arm! My heart jolted, and I quickly titled my body. As I was dodging, I saw what she was using to strike my acupoint was a jade flute. 

“Great, so you’re a martial artist! Then I’m not bullying you. I won’t be holding back!” She realized that when she missed all three of her strikes and saw that I could dodge her attacks with ease. Then she put away her jade flute and drew her bronze sword. With a flick of her sword, she thrusted at me!

I hadn’t seen a lot of women in jianghu so far in this life, but each one I met was more unreasonable than the last one. I didn’t know how to react. Lian’er had her sword with her when we came out tonight, so I didn’t bring anything with me. The two injuries I had didn’t allow me to drag the fight. After a few dodges, I felt that I could manage it, so I wanted to go for it and grab the sword, taking away her weapon first. 

As I was getting ready to strike, a long whistle came from behind, then a voice rapped out, “Where has this brat come from? Do you have a death wish? Scram!” The sound of a blade hissing through the air came from behind me. A clink, it caught the sharp blade in front of me. Two forces clashed into each other. You could almost see sparks flying off!

“Lian’er.” I didn’t have to see who landed. I knew who it was by the voice. She landed in front of me, turned around before I could say anything and said, shooting me a glare, “How long have I been away? Why do you always attract bees and butterflies[1] when I’m not around!?” She didn’t wait for an answer after saying that and stared at the masked woman with an angry smile, then she said, “Great skills. Let’s see how long you can last!” With that, she charged at her. 

I was stunned because of the words she used. In a stupor, it occurred to me that Lian’er didn’t learn a lot of words, and her word choice wasn’t the most accurate, so it was usual that her words came out wrong sometimes. Only then was I relieved. I collected myself and turned my focus to the fight. 

Lian’er saying the woman’s martial skills were great was just to belittle her opponent. She was someone I could handle, so I could imagine she was no match for Lian’er once she got serious. 

I was in the position of an onlooker. Their swords were crossing at the moment. It had been only three moves, and the masked woman already had to give her all to thwart her moves. After taking these three moves, she probably figured out that her opponent’s sword skills were far superior than hers, so she feigned an attack and was about to run away, but the one she had messed with was someone she shouldn’t have messed with. How would Lian’er let her off? With a few attacks, she got her opponent trapped in a circle.

The masked woman was driven up the wall. She shouted, “I can’t beat you. I admit defeat. Why do you have to back me into a corner?” Lian’er responded with a sneer, “I don’t accept your defeat!” The masked woman shouted, “See my dad if you have the guts!” It elicited a long laugh from Lian’er, and she said, “I’ll see you first!” She swung her sword and thrusted at her face. A woman’s face was very important. The masked woman shrieked out of shock. The sword blade brushed past her, but it only picked away the black veil covering her face. 

The black veil fell to the ground and revealed her face. She was an average young girl. Her facial features were beautiful, but judging from her look, she was probably younger than us. I didn’t know what was on Lian’er’s mind. She said with a smile after she saw her face, “Okay, I won’t kill you. I’ll just leave a mark on you!” She pointed with her sword and went for her face. This time, it did seem like she wanted to leave a mark on her. 

The girl responded in fright before I could say anything. She flicked her bronze sword, the tip bounced up and crossed with Lian’er’s sword. Then her sword slid, clearly to the left, but halfway through, it swerved to the right, thrusting toward an acupoint on the left chest!

Lian’er and I, one within the fight and another without, were startled when we saw the move, but it wasn’t because the move was dangerous. While we were in shock, the girl leaped up to the roof and ran away. In a moment, all we could see was a black spot in the distance. 

The young lady in the battleground wasn’t in a hurry. She looked at the roof before turning back and asked with a frown, “Did you see that? That move is our sword technique, right?”

I nodded, my eyes fixing on the faint black spot in the distance. I held my breath and out came the words, “Go after her!”

[1] It’s a negative idiom which is often used to criticize people who behave in a way to attract others’ attention. 

The Witch Nichang- Chapter 66 Yin and Yang

The Witch Nichang– Chapter 66

Yin and Yang

I thought we were heading back to Yellow Dragon Cave. Who knew she would bring me straight down the mountain. If Lian’er was imitating what Master did that year, she was thorough with her imitation, even the place we were staying was the same. It was the same inn and the same quiet room around the corner. 

I only found out later that it was the usual place her people stayed every time they came to her. It was sort of a meeting point. Although the two innkeepers who were also the bellboys had quit being a bandit long ago, their outlaw sentiments still remained. Their admiration for Lian’er had grown deeper now and were closer to her than me. 

Coming back to an old place, the place was still the same place, but everything else changed. It was supposed to feel different, but my injuries had washed away any kind of nostalgia I had. The broken bone was killing me. In retrospect, the internal injury I had that year wasn’t too bad. I had had this kind of injury before, so I thought it would be like a familiar old friend. It was while I was getting treated that I realized how different it was without painkillers, especially when the old doctor was repositioning my right arm. I felt how the wolf pup had felt that year. I could only comfort myself by mocking myself that it was karma and brave through it.

Once my arm was repositioned and fixed with splints, the torment of swelling and blood stasis began. Lian’er only let the old doctor attend to my bone injury but not the injury on my chest. She insisted that common people couldn’t treat internal injuries and wanted to do it herself. I was thinking it would be quite awkward to get the injury examined considering where it was, so I was more than happy that she thought of that. Anyway, she could do anything she wanted, and I would just drink up every concoction she served me. Sometimes, I downed seven or eight bowls of it. Even the plain porridge tasted bitter after that, so I just pretended what I was having was a medicated meal.

Three days went by like this, and it was calm and peaceful, but on the fourth day, an unexpected guest came. 

“It’s been a few days. Are you feeling better?” Looking at the smiling man the bellboy brought in, Lian’er and I were startled. It didn’t bother me so much, but next to me, Lian’er’s face turned dark. She said angrily, “Yue! How did you find your way here?” She looked askance at the bellboy. The bellboy’s once smiling face turned gloomy after getting a look from her, and he said, “It’s because he could describe how you ladies look in great detail, and he sounded like he knows you, so I thought…What? Did I get it wrong?”

Looking at Lian’er getting worked up, I waved my hand with resignation and replied to the bellboy apologetically, “It’s fine. We do know each other. You can say we share similar interests. Can you please leave us alone? And close the door when you leave and don’t let anyone come close.”

The bellboy was relieved to hear that. He left with a nod. Lian’er threw me a glare but said nothing. She just put her hand behind her back and kept her eyes on the man.

But as if he didn’t notice it, Yue Mingke pulled out a stool, unperturbed, and sat down with his sword in front of him, then he said with a smile, “Miss, you’re so calm. From your look, why do I feel like you already know that I’m coming?” Then he thought of something as he said that and continued, “Right, I haven’t had the chance to ask for your name last night. I wonder…”

“Let’s get straight to the point. My name is Zhu Xian. Zhu of qingzhu (bamboo) and Xian of xianxi (slender).” I waved my hand and said, staring at him, “This name, like the name Nichang, was given to me by our master, your master’s wife.”

Maybe because of my injuries, I felt a little weary these days, so I didn’t feel like beating around the bush. When I made that clear, I received two pairs of eyes that were filled with surprise and questions in return. The surprise in both of their eyes was the same, but the question in Lian’er’s eyes was doubt, and Yue Mingke was obviously wondering how did I know about that and was so sure of it. 

Sure enough, the next thing he said after the initial surprise was, “Miss Zhu Xian, I didn’t remember showing my martial skills. May I ask how do you know who’s my master?”

“Master had a 20-year-promise with her husband. It’s going to be due this year, and there’s a young lady who made a name for herself in jianghu with her unparalleled sword skills and a mysterious background. It’s pretty obvious that Master’s husband would try to find out for himself or send his disciple to find it out when he heard about it.” I took a sip of tea and said, looking down, “As for why I’m so sure it’s because…you can take it as a dream from Master.”

This explanation was the same as no explanation, so surely, the man wasn’t happy about it. He frowned and was about to say something, but his face changed when he heard the last few words, and he said with a heavy look, “A dream…from your master? What does that mean?!”

I ignored him and turned to look at the girl next to me. Lian’er was putting on an angry front and not saying anything, but she didn’t look like she was against me carrying on, so I turned back around and resumed seriously, “I’m afraid that the 20-year-promise has to be void. Our master, your master’s wife, was…gone three years ago.”

The deceased goes. It all depends on how the other person understands it.

Obviously, this man understood it differently than I did. Yue Mingke slammed his hand on the table as he sprang to his feet when he heard that and exclaimed, “What? Who has killed her!?” The cup on the table jumped. If the pearwood table wasn’t sturdy enough, he would have broken it.

“Hmph, she went into Qi Deviation herself and passed away. It has nothing to do with anyone.” I didn’t say anything. It was Lian’er who answered him with a grunt. Even though she answered him, she still looked angry. 

Yue Mingke clenched his fists a few times. After a while, he sighed and sat down. He said as he shook his head, “Who would have thought…even for a master like her…” Then he looked up again and said, “Then where’s her body and the sword manual?” I was about to answer, but Lian’er suddenly curled the corners of her lips and scooped up her sword from the small table. She slammed her sword together with its sheath on the table. The frost on her face seemed to clear, and she said with a smile, “If you want to know about what’s next, you’d have to prove yourself first.”

The man looked at the sheath calmly, then traced his gaze along the sword and up to the young lady. He smiled and said, “What, are you doubting my identity? Does that mean you don’t believe what your martial sister said?”

For some reason, this person kept finding fault with Lian’er and provoked her with words. If I didn’t trust his integrity, I almost thought he was driving a wedge between us on purpose. I frowned and was about to speak, but Lian’er took a quick glance at me before turning back and said angrily, “I believe whatever she says! I just don’t like you. How about that? Anyway, you won’t get to know what’s next if you don’t get past me first!”

Although her words were commanding, it was also tinged with anxiousness, unlike her usual self. I guessed what she said was meant for me rather than him. Lian’er usually wouldn’t bother explaining; she wasn’t good at it either. It was rare for her to be so eager to explain. How would I not know her? At that moment, my brows smoothed out. I didn’t argue with that guy and gave her a silent smile, telling her that I understood.

Just as I thought, the anxiousness in her eyes dissipated at my response. I looked away with a proud smile on my face and waited for the answer from the other person. 

Yue Mingke probably recognized her resolve, so he didn’t say much. He just flicked his sword and said with a smile, “But I reckon you didn’t get enough rest these days, right?” Lian’er said, sneering, “I can easily fight with you for three to five days!” The guy stood up and laughed. “Alright! I wouldn’t have come to Mount Hua if I hadn’t wanted to have a taste of your martial arts! I can’t help but want to try my skills when I meet a worthy opponent. Our masters can never have a duel anymore. It’ll do too if their disciples fight it out on behalf of them!” He said.

As soon as he said that, the girl pushed open the window to the side and jumped out. The room was facing the inn’s backyard. It was a place for storing things. Almost no one would be around there during the day. I helped myself up while carefully cradling my right arm, leaned against the wall, and looked out. I saw Lian’er standing in the middle with her sword drawn and lifted to her chest. She looked over here and said, “After you!”

Yue Mingke had come to the window side by that time, but he wasn’t in a rush to jump out. Instead, he lowered his voice and said softly, “Don’t worry. Think of it as watching a game of chess.” I was startled for a moment before I realized he was talking to me. Before I could respond, he took a breath and jumped out, landing on the backyard’s ground. 

In the small open ground, the two of them were facing each other and focusing on each other. No one moved for a long time. Suddenly, Yue Mingke’s sword shivered, and he shouted, “Watch out!” Emanating a cold glow, the tip of the sword was thrusted toward the girl’s shoulder!

Lian’er extended her sword, striking slightly to the left, but it swerved midway and slashed to the right instead. At the same time, she lowered her body, defending while attacking, sending out a move as she deflected a move. Yue Mingke changed his move right away and warded off the incoming attack. Attacking and defending all happened within millimeter change of movement. They were moving as fast as lightning. The exchange of swords were smooth like the flowing water, deft and fluid. A few dozens of moves had been sent out in a second. They were going neck and neck!

I was watching upstairs, holding my arm and leaning against the window. After a while, I felt the swords were dazzling, and everything was a blur. I felt like my eyes couldn’t keep up. They both had a complex variation of sword style. I was familiar with Lian’er’s sword style, but Yue Mingke’s sword style looked familiar to me too. It was a good thing that I had read Master’s blood-written note before and knew that our sword style was derived from the same sword manual. It was just a different variation, one yin and one yang. That was why I wasn’t too surprised. I was just worried that Lian’er would get too excited, and it sparked her competitiveness. 

With that worry, I stared at the fight below, my eyes fixed on them. I saw two figures going faster and faster. The Seven Master’s formation was a child’s play compared to this. The girl’s sword moves were sharp and peculiar, light and fast. The man’s sword style was graceful and calm. The gleams of swords were crossing each other and changing. They were already three hundred moves in. Even though the fight was intense, neither was giving way.

As I was getting restless and thinking whether I should pull them apart, I suddenly heard the man shout, “Away!” The girl jumped a few feet away from the battleground. She turned around between the trees, as if wanting to fight again, but the man had sheathed his sword and shouted, “We’re at the same level. It won’t do us any good if we continue fighting. Now can you tell me where your master was buried and where the sword manual is? I’m in a hurry to get back to my master!”

Lian’er sheathed her sword and replied, “The sword manual is in the stone chamber at the further end of the cave. Just move the two stone covers. I carried out Master’s last wish and informed her death to Taoist Zhenqian at Luoyan Peak three years after her death. I was going to ask Taoist Zhenqian to inform your master. Since you’re here, you go find it yourself. As for her body, I don’t know. You ask whoever knows it!” After that, she jumped in through the window without looking back and came to the table to pour herself some tea, not looking back at the backyard at all.

Besides finding it funny, it was a relief to see her drink in a huff. I turned around and said calmly to the person outside the window, “Everything she said just now is true. Sorry that we couldn’t tell you where Master’s body is. Please tell that to your master, everything in the past died in the past. Why cling on to a dead body? Besides, she wouldn’t have wanted anyone to see her body given her prideful nature. Just keep how each other looked when they were young in memory.”

The man in the backyard pondered for a while. He seemed to agree and said, cupping his fist, “In that case, please lead the way.”  Lian’er sneered beside the table when she heard that and replied loudly, “Equal rivals can’t stay together! Or do you have the nerve to ask a wounded lady to lead the way for you?”

I looked at her again and shook my head as I smiled, then I spoke towards the backyard, “You heard that. Sorry, I can’t help you. I think Taoist Zhenqian at Luoyan Peak and Zhuo Yihang should know about it. If you haven’t parted ways with him, he should remember the way. As for us, we’ll part here. Until next time.”

After I finished, I reached over, ignoring whether he still wanted to say something, and closed both window shutters and slipped the pin in, shutting all the noises out.

The room was quiet. It had returned to its peaceful state earlier—maybe it was a little too peaceful. Lian’er didn’t care about what I did. She kept pouring herself tea at the table, as if she was very thirsty, but when I took a closer look, she was sipping the tea idly, dragging the time out. 

I chuckled with my lips pressed and strolled over step by step while holding my arm. I didn’t speak when I came behind her. When I saw that her cup was half-empty, I reached over to take the teapot, wanting to fill her cup for her, but this act seemed to alarm her. She wheeled around and looked at me with her brows frowned, then she said, “Go and lie down on the bed! Why are you standing here?” 

“I’ve been in bed for a few days. It’s good for me to get up for a bit.” I replied with a smile. Holding the teapot, I was about to fill her cup, but the next moment, my hand was empty and the teapot was in the girl’s hand. Lian’er snatched the teapot and laid it down on the table. She said angrily, “Who has asked you to do that? No matter how insensitive I’m, I know not to let a wounded person serve me!”

Her anger came all of a sudden. At first, I thought it was because of the sword fight, but on second thought, she rarely took it out on others even though she had a bad temper. Then when I thought about what she said, what she was trying to say slowly dawned on me. I couldn’t tell her that directly, so I nodded, playing along with her, and said with a smile, “Mm, I’ll go lie down. Don’t be angry.”

I turned around but didn’t manage to move. I felt something was pulling at a corner of my shirt. When I turned back again, my shirt was clutched in her hand.

Lian’er tugged at my hem. When she saw me looking at her with a confused look, she blinked uneasily and looked away to the side. She cleared her throat and said, “…I…just now…I wasn’t angry at you just now…”

I couldn’t help but titter. I knew she might get angry, so I said before she could, “I know it’s tiring to look after me for a few days straight and you just had an intense fight. You’re tired, right? Besides, there’s no hard feelings between us. Don’t worry about it.”

Lian’er had been sulky for a few days since the night I got hurt. I could tell although she pretended to be indifferent. I had an idea what the reasons were, but I couldn’t be sure. Besides, she was stubborn and prideful ever since she was little. Since she tried to hide it, it wasn’t a good idea to bring that out in the open, so I could only let her know in both a direct and an indirect way, hoping that she would listen.

“I…” But she didn’t let go after hearing what I said. Her eyes wavered, and she was pondering, looking as if she had something to say.

This was not like the Lian’er I knew. Sure enough, she hesitated for a while and got frustrated before I even said anything. Her head shot up. As if she had made up her mind, she said proudly, “If anything happens again in the future, I’ll never forget. I’ll definitely put you first. Don’t worry!”

Her eyes were sparkling when she spoke. After locking with the burning eyes for a while, I dropped my eyes, nodded, and said with a smile, “Alright, I’ll remember that.”

The Witch Nichang- Chapter 65 Oriole

The Witch Nichang– Chapter 65


It was actually a fortunate thing to lose consciousness because I couldn’t feel anything while floating in the abyss, which spared me from pain.

So when the pain returned, I knew I was waking up. There was an unfamiliar voice next to me becoming clearer and clearer. It was saying “miss” in a soft voice—it was a man’s voice. 

I finally opened my heavy eyelids. What came into my view was still the dark sky and Yunu Peak. I hadn’t been moved since. It might have just been a while. Nothing would change in a short time, but there was a small paper pack on the ground in front of me that came out of nowhere.

“Miss, you’ve taken a hit on your chest. It’s quite bad. If you put it off for any longer, I’m afraid it’ll become difficult to cure later. Take the pill in the pack if you trust me. It’s good for you.”

The voice stayed next to me. There was no one around me. Even though I couldn’t see anyone, I could hear the voice. It was a little hazy, making it difficult to locate its direction. I took a look at the fight over there. It was obvious that no one heard it except for me. 

I helped myself up with my left hand. Just this one simple movement had me breaking out in a cold sweat on my forehead. I took two breaths to ease my breathing. Pressing my lips together, I picked up the paper pack and opened it. There were two pills inside. They weren’t big; they were dark and dull in the moonlight, giving off a faint scent of medicinal herbs.

“…who’re you?” Holding the medicine pack, I didn’t take it right away but didn’t throw it away either. I just looked ahead and asked calmly. My voice wasn’t loud, you could even say it was soft because it hurt to speak louder.

He heard it even though I spoke in such a soft voice. I heard a chuckle, followed by an answer. “I’m nobody. A passerby who lent a helping hand.” I chuckled at his words, but I couldn’t laugh out loud, so I lifted the corners of my lips and said with a smile, “So you’re the third oriole tonight?”

“Oriole?” He asked, confused. 

“As the saying goes, the mantis stalks the cicada, unaware of the oriole behind[1]. There have been three orioles lurking around and watching tonight. Ying Xiuyang’s the first, I’m the second.” Since I had said this much, I didn’t have to keep beating around the bush, so I made it clear, “As for you, the third oriole should be the stranger who sneered in the woods when they got together yesterday, right? I remember your laugh.”

Actually, I didn’t remember it so clearly. I just felt like it should be the case, so I tried to trick him.

“Haha, good memory, miss. I’m impressed.” I didn’t expect that it would go so well. He was straightforward. He admitted it frankly after bursting into laughter. He didn’t even try to deny it. “If that’s the case, then Miss should know I’m not with them. I have my reason to hide here, but it’s out of my sympathy that I gave the medicine to you. Don’t worry.”

Although he claimed that and I found no fault with what he said, it obviously wasn’t enough to clear my doubts. I opened my mouth and was going to ask more questions but I was cut off by a squeal. 

The squeal came from the battleground. Although it was a man’s voice, it still made my heart skip!

I wheeled around, and in the pale moonlight, I saw a cold flash and then a person rolled out of the battleground, stumbling away while screaming. There were injuries all over his body. Four fingers had been cut off his indestructible iron palm, and it turned into a bloody hand!

He was trying to run for his life, but someone wasn’t letting him away. The girl in white leaped into the air, swinging an arch midair with her sword to ward off several weapons coming from the back, and she grabbed with her left hand like a goshawk swooping down on a rabbit and caught the belt of the man who lost his fingers. She sneered and said, “Your iron hand can’t match mine!” After that, she flung him outward and literally threw his body down the peak of Mount Hua. I could hear only a faint squeal amidst the raging wind getting further and further away until I could no longer hear it. 

Earlier when I woke up from my blackout, my attention was drawn to this mysterious man, so I didn’t pay much attention to the fight. I knew that Zhuo Yihang had switched sides, the Seven Master’s formation had been cracked, and Lian’er was no longer in danger, but I never thought things would change so quickly. Maybe the time I was out wasn’t as short as I imagined. 

Now that there was one less person, they would probably beat them like a hot knife through butter. I wasn’t worried about anything but I was afraid that Lian’er wouldn’t spare anyone when she was on a killing spree. I couldn’t talk to him anymore. I raised my voice and shouted to the other side, “The righteous ones, listen. Now you have a witness. It’s clear who’s right and who’s wrong. Why are you still holding out? Get back quickly. We hold no grudge against those who don’t know the truth. Mount Dingjun promised that we’ll be even after tonight!”

They were in the middle of a dogfight. The Taoist-looking man and another swordsman looked at each other. They got even more hesitant but were afraid to stop and they replied, “Who are you? Can you make decisions on behalf of Jade Rakshasa?”

“Her words are my words!” After getting rid of the Iron Hand, Lian’er seemed to have loosened up a bit. She was finally in the mood to speak, then she shouted, “I’m ready for the kill. Taoist Qingsong, Swordsman Songyang, you both are from an orthodox sect. If you don’t back off now, I’ll drag you to hell with me!”

Perhaps her words were what they were waiting for. As soon as she finished, the two of them had put away their weapons and leaped out of the battleground. After saying their thanks, they left in a hurry without looking back. The three remaining men knew that it was over, and their faces turned ashen. As the person responsible, the scrawny old man Ying was even more anxious. He suddenly jumped back and sent five daggers with a flick of his hand toward Lian’er at lightning speed.

The girl smiled, “What are these scraps for?” As she spinned her sword, the five daggers were broken and sent back to him. Who would have thought this seemingly attack turned out to be a cover. As soon as the daggers were released, the old man wrapped himself with his clothes and rolled down the peak of Mount Hua! Unlike being thrown off the peak, there might be a chance of survival even though it was dangerous to roll down close to the cliff wall. It was much better than staying here like a fish on a chopping board.

He fled so suddenly and without any hesitation. The two remaining men were dumbfounded for a moment before it occurred to them to follow him, but it wasn’t that easy anymore. The girl and the man split up, each chasing after one man. Lian’er was chasing after the frivolous young man. I guessed it was because she held it against him for trifling with her earlier.

That person’s martial skills weren’t the best, but his qinggong was good. Unfortunately, the one coming after him wasn’t anyone else. Before he could go far, the girl had caught up to him in a few jumps. With a wave of her hand, she planted three silver needles in his vital parts. The person screamed and staggered. Lian’er went up and thrusted her sword once more in his chest, kicking his body off the peak.

It went well on her side, but it wasn’t the case with the other side. Zhuo Yihang panicked and called, “Miss Lian, it’s more important to catch Zheng. He’s old crook Ying’s right-hand man!” But it was too late. The man they were going to catch imitated what the old man did and rolled down the hillside. Lian’er gritted her teeth and lifted her sword. She said, “Go after him!” Suddenly, there was someone answering from the hillside, “Hold your horses! I’ve caught him for you.”

The voice wasn’t loud. It sounded like having a casual conversation with someone at the hillside, but every word was clearly articulated. The two who were at the edge of the cliff were startled. I heard it from afar but wasn’t as surprised as them because I was talking to the voice a moment ago.

In the next moment, a person came as fast as a meteor and showed up at the same time as his voice. It was a young man not older than thirty with a dignified air. His facial features weren’t that striking, but they made him look radiant and gave off a sense of righteousness. He was holding a person under his arm. As soon as he landed on the peak, he let go of the person. I looked to the ground, it was Zheng who got away just now. 

This person had shown his impressive martial skills the moment he made his appearance. I saw from afar that Lian’er was wary of him. It didn’t bother him, and he looked at Lian’er and asked, “Are you Jade Rakshasa?” Then he pointed at Zhuo Yihang and said, “And who’s this?”

His attitude was casual. It suited his demeanor, but it was definitely something Lian’er wasn’t fond of, so she sneered and answered, “So what if I am?” The man beside her cupped his fist reverently and said, “I’m a pupil of Wudang’s grandmaster, Taoist Ziyang. My surname is Zhuo, first name Yihang. May I ask what’s your name and where are you from?”

That person returned the salute and said, “My name’s Yue Mingke. Let’s talk about the important matter first and talk about where we are from later. What do you want to do with this traitor?” The girl’s face turned cold and said, “Since you’re the one who caught him, you decide.” With that, she flung her sleeve and turned around, walking straight over to me with a displeased look on her face. 

I was still observing the situation. When I saw her walking over, I didn’t know what to do for a moment and forgot to put away the paper pack in my hand. Then Lian’er came in front of me and crouched down. She asked me with a worried look on his face, “How’re you doing?” Then she saw the thing in my left hand. Her brows creased right away, and she asked, “What’s this? That’s not ours.”

It wasn’t a good idea to hide it from her at this point. It wouldn’t be necessary either. I looked at my hand following her gaze and said honestly, “Something that person gave it to me. He sneaked over and gave it to me while you were still fighting just now. He said it’s good for me.” What I said made Lian’er’s face fall. She snatched the paper pack, got up, and questioned the man, “Yue, what are you up to giving my partner this kind of dubious thing!?”

The man was talking to Zhuo Yihang. He glanced over when he heard that and arched his brows with a smile and said, “It’s you who was so preoccupied with the fight and left her alone. I saw her passing out at the side and no one came to her. I was worried that her injury would get worse, so I got out of hiding and gave her the medicine. You would know if there’s anything wrong with the pill once you test it. Why are you so quick to accuse me?”

“When did I leave her alone? Don’t you spew nonsense!” Lian’er was provoked by these words and almost got angry. She was half-smiling which meant she was on the verge of blowing up. 

“I’m just being honest. When have I spewed nonsense?” The man should have seen Lian’er anger, but he wasn’t afraid. He still had his head high and replied frankly, “It’s considerate of you to draw away your opponents earlier, but later when you got help and got the upper hand, you could have beat them within a hundred moves, yet you tormented your opponents as you pleased and totally forgot about your wounded partner. I guess you only know about her passing out now that you heard it?”

“Alright!” I couldn’t stand it anymore. Ignoring the pain, I cut them off with a loud voice.

I couldn’t let him continue. This person might do it out of kindness, but his words insinuate blame to Lian’er. Listening to it made me uncomfortable. I shouted, took a breath, and said, “Young Hero Yue, thank you for your concern and your medicine, but you probably don’t know much about my Lian’er, so why judge and jump to conclusions?”

After I was done, I had no time to observe his reaction. I reached out my left hand and tugged at the sleeve of the girl next to me. Looking up at her, I said softly, “Lian’er, don’t be angry…”

My biggest concern now was that she couldn’t hold in her anger and start a fight. I had a faint memory of this name, Yue Mingke, so I knew Lian Nichang shouldn’t become his enemy, and it wasn’t good to become his enemy either. I couldn’t let her ruin her life because of me, otherwise, my existence was just a trouble.

With that thought, I was ready to persuade Lian’er until she gave in since no one knew better than me how irritable this girl was, but I didn’t expect that she would crouch down again with just a few words and a light tug. 

Lian’er’s face was a little surly, but I couldn’t see how she was feeling from her face. Only the moving of her cheeks showed that she was gritting her teeth. She opened the paper pack without a word and took out the pill. First, she took a closer look and sniffed it, even crushing up a little and putting it into her mouth, then she looked up and met my eyes. She said as she passed it to me, “I have better medicine in the stronghold. It slipped my mind to bring it this time. This will do for now, take it. Take the pain off a little.”

“Lian’er…” She didn’t blow up. I was surprised. I could tell she wasn’t happy about it, so I didn’t feel like taking the pill and said, “I should be fine. It’s just a broken hand. This medicine won’t heal my bones anyway. It doesn’t matter if I take it or not.”

Who knew I received a glare as soon as I finished. Lian’er said vexingly, “Does it look like a simple broken hand? It’s true that I don’t know much about sickness, but I know about injuries. I know better than you how bad it is. Stop fooling me!” After that, she reached over and stuffed the pill into my mouth like candy, then carefully wrapped the remaining one and put it away in her clothes. She got up and turned to shout at the other person, “Yue, I owe you a favor, and I’ll keep your words in mind. I, Lian Nichang, am someone who knows gratitude from grudges. I’ll repay you ten-fold in the future if I get the chance!”

She said she knew gratitude from grudges. I wondered if she held gratitude or grudges against him, maybe both.

I wasn’t sure if Yue Mingke got it. He made nothing of it and said with a smile, “I’ll wait for it if there’s a chance.” Then he changed the topic and said, “Jade Rakshasa, Brother Zhuo and I are thinking about interrogating this Zheng Hongtai guy to find out the details about their liaison activities with Manchuria and their accomplices. Since you’re the one who came after them, why not come and listen in?”

My mouth was all bitter with the pill in my mouth. I couldn’t help but frown. I thought Lian’er would definitely walk over to them, but who knew she lowered her head and glanced at me before looking up and grunted. She smiled coldly but didn’t move. Instead, she bent down. It caught me off guard as I was still confused. After a moment of dizziness, I realized she had picked me up in her arms. Perhaps she was simply following what Master did back then, but embarrassment kicked in after the initial shock. Just as I was about to say something, a wiggle sent a bout of pain, almost knocking me out. 

“Don’t move. It’ll hurt if you move and make it harder for me to carry you!” She didn’t know why I did that. When she saw me moving, she frowned and scolded me. The next moment, we were in the air. The wind suddenly kicked up, and my vision swayed. I heard the girl leave a word, supposedly for the two men on Yunu Peak.

“I’ve been watching the old crook Ying for a long time. If you got anything out of him tonight, I have ways to know about it. No need to waste time listening in!” Lian’er said loudly, “She’s heavily wounded. It’s more important to get her to the doctor. I’ll leave the rest to you guys!”

[1] A Chinese idiom. The figurative meaning is to pursue immediate gain while neglecting the greater danger behind. Danger being the oriole.

Slopaw’s note:
Sorry I’ve been away for a while. I’ve been busy lately. Now I’m trying to get the chapters back on track again. If you’re interested in early chapters, you can check out my Kofi page. Any support would mean a lot. („• ֊ •„)

The Witch Nichang- Chapter 64 Change

The Witch Nichang– Chapter 64


This was a troubled time where life and death happened every moment. I knew that long ago. I had seen death and corpses. Even the only one person who I cared about was called The Witch by members of jianghu. She could kill as she was chatting, for which I could, for most of the time, face it with serenity and would at most stop her from going overboard sometimes.

Even so, my hands were still clean. Although I had fought with others before, I hadn’t gotten anyone’s blood on me yet, let alone taking someone’s life. 

Maybe my hands were clean but my heart wasn’t. Otherwise, why would such a cruel thought come to me out of nowhere in that second?

It was probably how the saying, evil arose in rage, felt like.

I was very calm when the evil thought arose. It seemed that it had nothing to do with feelings. I slid exactly the right amount of distance to the side to dodge the claw-hand, then came a sword attack. They were working well together, but the sword attack was intentionally made slow, so it was sluggish. I easily deflected it with a turn of my short sword and a knock to his sword. I tilted my body and brushed past him, moving to the opponent’s back and using him to block the attacks of the other person. 

When I lifted my sword and turned back, he hadn’t been able to step away, and what I saw before me was a broad back. It was so close.

If I’m going to do it, it was right in front of me!

The person in front of me was someone who would hurt Lian Nichang in the future. He was the one who would destroy Lian Nichang. If I couldn’t stop Lian’er from falling for him, all the things that would happen might be unstoppable and destined. Maybe I couldn’t do anything at all, maybe I would have to watch the bad karma unfold without realizing it, just like what happened to Master!

If so, why don’t I just get to the root cause and remove it? Nip the bud before it all starts!

Maybe I had this thought long ago, and it lurked in the dark corners of my heart for a long time and popped up at the right moment. It didn’t feel wrong at all. It was simply that the brain gave a command and the body executed it right away. Almost without thinking, I thrusted my sword; it was a series of killing moves!

He was so close. Like a meteor running after the moon, it would hit if I strike. He would die if it hit.

But in a trance, there was a voice saying, Lie.

You’re lying.

You have thousands of excuses, hundreds of disguises. Which of them is really for Lian Nichang? Not only is it not for her, but it is hurting her.

If this person dies, the only thing it resolves is your pain, but poor Lian’er’s red thread of fate would be severed. If she can’t accept you in this life, does that mean she has to end up alone, living a stagnant life without any ripples? Someone even swore before that she would give her all to protect her if she loses the bet. How come she’s become an unreasonable person in the blink of an eye and wants to flip the gambling table and void the bet?

Are you really going to get rid of the problem for your own sake without caring about everything else and end up hurting her?!

The thought changed and changed again; it all happened in a split second, but they were as loud as a thunder. My heart was racing. I felt like I had just woken up from a dream, covered in sweat, but the sword in my hand was like an arrow off the string. It was too fast. It was too late to even swerve it, let alone take it back. Seeing that the sword was about to pierce him, I could only let go of my sword at the last minute and let my weapon clang to the ground. 

Even so, there was still some remnant force in my bare hand and it landed on the man’s back, but he had a solid base. He staggered, but with a sway, he gained back his balance. 

Obviously, he didn’t expect this turn of events. After he steadied himself, he turned to look at me with surprise. I couldn’t help but turn to look at him. As our eyes met, I saw the split change in his eyes, as if he had something to say. 

Without having to think much, I understood in the next second why the change occurred.

My empty right hand stayed in the pushing motion. Before I could take back my hand, it was clamped by a huge force. It actually felt like a clamp, as if a metal vice had clamped your arm. Once it caught my hand and pulled, I was forced to stagger forward. Two steps forward, I felt another huge force slammed into my chest, at the same time, my trapped arm got turned and twisted. I felt as if I heard a kind of cracking sound.

I bit down on my lips, desperately trying to swallow the cry of pain. It wouldn’t ease my pain even if I cried out. Instead, it would distract Lian’er. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to hold it in even when I bit through my lip. The force surging to my throat was too strong. Along with my voice came a spray of crimson too.

I tasted the salty sweet tang in my mouth, but I couldn’t help wanting to laugh. How ludicrous. I brought all these on myself. Zhuo Yihang was blocking between you and this guy. If I hadn’t had that evil thought and changed my mind midway, why would I have pushed him away and sent myself unarmed in front of the master who was good with his claws and ended up in such a situation?

I was probably laughing when the iron hand clamped on my throat. Otherwise, why would this master in front of you look surprised and confused like he had seen a ghost? 

When my life was on the line, I heard a man’s voice say hesitantly, “Brother Fan, wait…” But there was something faster than his voice—it was a gust of chilly wind, carrying a menacing voice, “Iron Hand Fan Zhu! I’ll kill you!”

The otherwise familiar voice sounded foreign to me. It was brimmed with malice and frost. I saw a silver arch coming from the corner of my eye. A strong gust of wind came before the sword did. The hard style martial artist knew the gravity of the situation. He let go of his hand before he could use me as a hostage and rolled away to dodge her attack. Only after he rolled out quite some distance was he able to get out of the sphere of the sword sweep. 

The pressure on my throat was lifted, but I lost the support too. My legs felt weak, and my right arm and the area below my collarbone were hurting so bad that I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I opened my mouth and gasped for air, then I immediately shut it because a person had jumped in front of me. 

I didn’t know how bad I was hurt. I didn’t want her to know either, at least not now. 

Fortunately, Lian’er had no time to check either. This sudden change of events wasn’t favorable for us, which meant it was very favorable for our opponents, especially for those who were fighting against Lian’er. It looked like all of them had different levels of injuries. Now that the table had turned, they rose up to strike back and kept coming after her. Lian’er landed and held me with one arm, helping me down. She could only do a quick scan with her eyes. She clenched her teeth and said, her eyes chilly, “Wait here!” Then she turned around and swung her sword, deflecting the incoming attacks. She was drawing them away and holding them off while chasing after one of them. 

Thanks to her, it was safe here. I couldn’t just sit around, so I did a quick check of my body. I couldn’t tell how serious the injury below my collarbone was, so I just left it aside first. Fortunately, I could see how my right arm was. It wasn’t as bad as I expected. Of course, it was broken, but it didn’t break all the way. I could still move my hand when I bore the pain and tried to move it. It was probably a partial fracture. I had had this kind of bone injury once or twice when I hiked as a backpacker. I was quite familiar with it. I could take it. Unfortunately, there was nothing around that I could use for emergency treatment. I could only bear the pain and went to retrieve my sword.

After I was done, I was drenched in sweat, cold sweat trickling down my forehead. The pain was dizzying. I wished I could just pass out, but looking at the fight over there, I couldn’t let myself pass out even if I wanted to.

The pain was just physical pain. The anxiousness was the true suffering. I hated myself for being blinded and causing this situation. Now Lian’er was caught in the same predicament as before. It might even be more dangerous than before because now she couldn’t face her opponents with a cool head. She was just putting up with the others. As she moved and jumped, her sword was revolving around the bare knuckle master every time she got the chance, and every move was vicious. She looked like she would never give up until she gouged his flesh and sliced his bones.

I knew she wanted to avenge me, but now wasn’t the time to be glad. The way Lian’er was slaying them might catch them off guard and might be tricky to deal with at first, but once they got used to it, the situation might not be in her favor. Putting aside other tactics, they just had to use that person as bait and exhaust Lian’er’s energy. By that time, everything would be over.

I couldn’t help her at the moment. I figured talking to Lian’er would have little effect, and it might alert the opponents instead. Even so, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. 

In fact, this approach might be the best approach. I should have used it earlier. It was me who wanted to fight against the enemy with her that my judgment got clouded by all the distracting thoughts.

It wasn’t the time to reflect and regret. I put aside my thoughts and cleared my throat. The vibration in my chest caused another bout of pain, but I couldn’t care much about it. I held my breath and powered through it. After taking a deep breath, I focused and shouted to the other end. 

“Everyone over there, I’m not a member of jianghu, so I don’t know where all of you come from. Please forgive me if I’ve offended you.” Forcing myself to take a breath and ignoring the pain in my chest that arose from speaking, I said loudly, “My sister, the one who you call The Witch, is a little arrogant and eccentric, and maybe she’s done something that upset you, but there are different degrees of mistakes and crimes. No matter how arrogant and eccentric she was, what she is doing today is to remove a vermin for the country! Which is more severe, the feud in jianghu or the enemy of the nation? I believe anyone with a bit of integrity and conscience should know!”

Yes, when Lian’er pointed it out earlier, there were three people including Zhuo Yihang who looked surprised. I remembered that clearly. Even though I couldn’t move now, as long as I could convince them from here, even persuade them to walk away, it was way better than me jumping over to help. 

That was why when I said this, my eyes were locked at the three people. As expected, they were distracted with a few words. Although they didn’t stop their attacks, they were starting to hesitate.

I was secretly delighted. As the saying goes, strike while the iron is hot. I held on to my lapel, bearing the discomfort, then I took in a deep breath and said, “Maybe you have doubts and you don’t know who to trust, but the death of the Great Hero Luo, Luo Jinfeng is a fact. You can find it out yourself. There must be one party here who is lying now. Everyone please ask yourself, what is more unacceptable, letting off a witch by mistake or helping a traitor by mistake?”

“Watch out!” Before I could finish, a shout came, and the intense pain fogged my eyes. I couldn’t see anything that was too small or fast. I could only hear a crisp clink. Something had fallen on the ground, then a person was standing before me. It wasn’t Lian’er, but it wasn’t someone unfamiliar either. 

“Old Zheng, she’s already wounded. Sneak attacks aren’t something a man of honor would do, no?” Zhuo Yihang stood with his sword lifted, his voice low, sounding a little displeased but still rather mild. However, the one who answered him wasn’t the one who made the move but the scrawny old man who was the instigator. He shouted as he struck, “Don’t be fooled by her! She’s an accomplice of the hag. She was fighting against us just now, and now she still hasn’t given up even when she’s wounded, spreading rumors and trying to drive a wedge between us. We can’t let her live!”

“Old crook Ying! Ying Xiuyang! You’re the one who’s spreading rumors! I won’t stop until I claim your head!” It was Lian’er’s hateful shout that came from the group. She was too focused on killing them just now that she didn’t notice the sneak attack in time, so when she came around later, she got angrier. 

However, no one had expected that those words would have an unexpected effect on a person. 

I saw the man standing before me shiver and repeated the name under his breath once before he said loudly, “Ying Xiuyang? Old Ying, so your full name is Ying Xiuyang!” Even though he was loud, his tone was modest as always. The scrawny old man didn’t suspect a thing as he was occupied and answered him loudly. When he wanted to say something more, Zhuo Yihang jumped over, lifted his sword with a swoosh, and thrusted at him.

The scrawny old man was surprised. His body shrinked and yelled, “Are you crazy?” But the man’s sword swung like a wind. He shouted, “I’ll kill you first, you Manchurian traitor!”

No one here had expected that from him. What he said shocked everyone, and Lian’er followed up shrilly, “So you really are a Manchurian traitor!” Her moves became faster. The other six all reacted differently. Maybe to save their own life, they didn’t stop, but all of them were undoubtedly flustered.

The situation took on yet another drastic change. It turned into a situation where Lian’er and Zhuo Yihang worked together fighting against Ying Xiuyang and the others. I gave two muffled coughs and looked one last time at the two people who stood side by side and came together to fight against the enemy before I couldn’t take it anymore and collapsed to the ground, sinking into the endless dark.

The Witch Nichang- Chapter 63 Yunu Peak

The Witch Nichang– Chapter 63

Yunu Peak

The night was quiet in Mount Hua. Everywhere you went, there were tall hills and deep streams, wisteria covering the paths, grass as tall as your waist. Hiking up the mountain at night was way more difficult than during the day, but if you lived here for more than ten years, anyone could climb up trees, speed through the mountain, and go around it like it was flat ground. 

We weren’t going fast; it was close to the speed of a stroll. Even so, the moon was still nowhere to be seen in the sky by the time we almost reached our destination, so I dragged Lian’er to a small peak on another side. From there, we could see across the mountain to the other side, which was Yunu Peak.

There were already four people waiting at that small flat ground. The moon tonight was brighter than last night. We could even see the expressions on their faces from afar. Most of them were nervous. After a while, two more people came. This time we could clearly see it; it was Zhuo Yihang, and I supposed the person next to him was the one who headed the formation last night. 

They didn’t talk much when they gathered together. Most of the time, they were staring at the moon. After staying silent for a while, a Taoist-looking person finally spoke, “Why is there still no sign of Jade Rakshasa?” Another person said, “Jade Rakshasa is a woman of her word. I’m worried that Brother Ying can’t make it on time.” Then the leader said, “Don’t worry, Brother Ying won’t break his word!”

We could hear their conversation. Lian’er sneered softly and said, “These cowards are getting restless. You stay here, don’t move. I’ll go and meet them. Scare them a bit.” After that, she was going to head out. This time I had no reason to stop her, so I said softly, “I’ll be waiting here. Be careful. Try to talk it out before you make a move.”

Of course it would be best if I could fight with her, but Lian’er wouldn’t have let me if not absolutely necessary, not to mention it was only the six of them now. The cunning main boss hadn’t shown up yet, and I didn’t know what the one who sneered in the woods last night would do either. After going through the options and weighing the pros and cons, I thought it would be best for me to hide in the dark first.

I didn’t know if Lian’er understood what I was thinking. She gave me a confident smile before she went, and with a whistle, she had gone away with the wind, dashing across the air from one peak to Yunu peak.

She didn’t try to hide the laugh-like whistle. It was meant to alarm her opponent. In that instant, the six idle men sprang to their feet in unison and went into guard. When she landed, no one dared to come too close to her. They kept some distance between them, surrounding her in a somewhat fan shape, standing ready in a battle array.

Among all the gazing eyes, I focused on one person almost unconsciously. From afar, the young man seemed to be frozen, his face dazed as if he was dreaming. It was a normal reaction. Anyone else would have been surprised to see each other again in such circumstances. But that expression to me could be interpreted in many ways. It bugged me.

In contrast to his surprise, the girl was much more composed. With last night as a prelude, Lian’er was certainly not surprised. She just lowered her head and smiled, light glowing in her eyes. It was a look that was familiar to me, but there was a different kind of coyness to her in the moonlight. My frown deepened as I looked from afar. The six of them looked astonished, some of them frivolous. They probably hadn’t gotten a taste of her strength, so they couldn’t stop themselves from trifling with her and said, “I didn’t expect that the legendary witch was such a beauty. Jade Rakshasa, your time is up. If you just surrender, we’ll let you off. Maybe it could bring about a good match.”

The girl’s face changed at his words, then she laughed and said, “Thank you for your kindness.” Her voice was flat, as if it was nothing, but everyone who knew her would know it was a bad sign. The leader knew what was going on, so he shouted hurriedly, “Jade Rakshasa, you can’t disregard the jianghu’s rules. It’s not time yet. Not everyone is here yet. Don’t you dare make a move!”

Before he could finish, the person who trifled with her just now jumped up ten feet, as if he was eagerly dodging something. I didn’t know if he managed to dodge it, but I saw his body stopped mid-air and crashed onto the ground, unable to get up. He was screaming while holding his leg, tears streaming down his face like a fountain. That Taoist-looking guy hurried over and took off his shoes and socks. Only after the Taoist-looking guy forced out a piece of silver object from his sole and kneaded it a few times did he seem better. 

I was too far away, so I couldn’t see what Lian’er was using, but I had an idea what she used. To put it in a nice way, it was her special concealed weapon, but it was actually the most common needle you could find in the town down the mountain. It was something she thought of using for hunting on a whim when she was a kid. Because it was handy for her, she even gave it a majestic name called Nine Star Fixation Needle. When she told me about it with pride, it took me a lot of effort to hold in my laugh. I was glad she didn’t string the needles up with a thread. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to help myself. I never thought that after all these years, she had gotten better with it. It was unpredictable and precise on hitting acupoints. You could intimidate your opponent with just a flick of your fingers. 

The girl didn’t keep attacking when he was down. She just put her hands behind her back and said with a sneer, “I thought he’s a tough man who doesn’t shed tears. Who’d have known he’s such a weakling.” The one who got hit was embarrassed. He didn’t dare to speak, but the venom in his eyes was growing. Lian’er probably saw it, but she didn’t take it seriously and said anyway, “You know what? I’m here to mourn for you. I just feel bad for my new-found friend that he’s seeking his own death too today.”

I heard that crystal clear. I knew who she was talking about. My mood that had slightly brightened because of our childhood memories went dark again.The young man in the group probably knew who she was talking about. The expression on his face was conflicting, looking as if he wanted to say something while having mixed feelings. Other people were puzzled and confused about what she meant by that, but they didn’t ask and were slowly shifting instead, forming a circle, wanting to surround their opponent.

With last night’s observation in mind, Lian’er knew what they wanted to do. 

When she saw that they had formed the formation, she gave a long laugh, her gleaming sword already drawn, and she called out, “Alright, it’s midnight now. I’m not going to wait any longer!” Her body shifted slightly. Moving as fast as lightning, she thrusted her sword at the leader.

With such a sudden move, she intended to stop her opponents from forming the formation. I, too, hoped that she could break the formation before the seventh person arrived, but at the same time, I was annoyed that she didn’t listen to what I had told her earlier. She didn’t talk it out before she made a move. After all, the seventh person was the main boss. If he actually committed so many evildoings, these people who came to help might not all know the truth. At least I knew Zhuo Yihang wasn’t someone who would help the evil, even though I wanted to avoid him so badly since the main reason that the ill-fated relationship would develop was because he was too upright and rigid.

But when I saw Lian’er made a move and he was fighting against her, I had to admit that it was a little…relieving.

No matter what I thought, it was bound to be a tough fight as the formation came into action. The six men didn’t stop. They were like a revolving lantern, one of them wielding two weapons, another wielding a monk’s sword; the one who took a needle but could still move was wielding a judge’s brush, Zhuo Yihang and the other was wielding a sword, and the last one was bareknuckle. They all had different moves, complementing each other. They worked better together compared to the last time I saw them. They must have each put in the effort after they went back.

But they were not the only ones who had put in the effort. If not for last night, it would be a bit of a problem, but now the situation was different. Lian’er was in the middle of the formation. She was calm, her sword gleaming, her moves elegant. They couldn’t do anything to her no matter how well they worked together and helped each other. 

They were busy fighting over there, meanwhile, I was observing and studying them over here. As the proverb goes, onlookers see most of the game. I saw how the formation worked. Among the six opponents, everyone fought with their all, eager to get rid of her, except for one. His attacks were sandwiched between others’ attacks, seemingly without the will to kill. He didn’t wield his sword in full force, and Lian’er also avoided his vitals when she attacked him. She just brushed over him every time. I hadn’t seen her use any tricky moves on him.

This was bad, very bad. I was getting a little anxious. It was because my personal feelings were stirring uncontrollably and also because of my analysis and judgment about the battle. Lian’er could deal with the formation now without any danger, but it would be difficult for her to break the formation fast if she intended to go easy on them, and that also meant she would be held back and tired out. By the time the seventh person came in and completed the formation, it was hard to say how it would turn out.

I wanted to fly straight over to help her, but my rationality told me it wasn’t the time. I could only hang tight and kept my eyes fixed on that place. I wished I had some kind of voice transmission skill, so I could let the girl hear my thoughts.

Fortunately, Lian’er had her own judgment even though she couldn’t hear me. She must have thought of what I had thought of. The six of them were moving back and forth like a tide, and their attacks were getting more frequent. It went on like that for a few rounds. Maybe because things didn’t turn out as she expected, she was becoming impatient. Her sword style changed abruptly. Her attacks became vicious and aggressive, and she was no longer holding back!

Before I could let out a sigh of relief after seeing that, a strange whistle came from a mountain peak. A scrawny old man leaped off the rock and shouted, “Jade Rakshasa, how could you disregard the jianghu’s rules?”

When the six of them saw him arrive, the leader made a hand gesture. They retreated like an ebb and got back in position. Lian’er sheathed her sword and jumped out of the circle. She shouted, “How am I disregarding the rules? It’s you who are late.” What she said was true. The moon was already in the sky now. The old man looked up, but he laughed instead and said, “I’ve been waiting for you here long before. You couldn’t even break through my brothers’ circle. What would happen if there’s one more person?”

I had thought before that he didn’t look like someone who had just arrived. I understood it right after he said that. Probably like me, he had been watching from afar. Then he showed up at the right time when things were looking good for him. He was cunning.

The girl thought of something when she saw him. She suddenly sneered and called out, “Old crook Ying, you’ve killed Great Hero Luo, Luo Jinfeng! Do you think no one knows?! Do these few punks become your goons by choice or were they deceived by your words?”

It wasn’t too late for her to say that. As soon as she said that, I could see that at least three of them were surprised and looked at each other. When the scrawny old man saw that things were going south, he immediately chided, “Don’t listen to this bitch! She’s bullied the outlaws in the Sichuan-Shaanxi region for long enough, and she’s hurt the Songyang chief escort and Wudang disciples! She’s an enemy of Wulin. If we don’t get rid of her now, she’ll be a problem in the future!” With that, he lifted his fly-whisk, then the head of the six quickly formed the formation and surrounded the girl in the middle again. 

All seven people of the formation were here. It looked different from what I had seen just now. The scrawny old man was at the center as the support. He was wielding a fly-whisk. It could be wielded like a sword or something to strike the acupoints. It was already powerful by itself; it was brilliant now that it combined the strength of six people. Lian’er couldn’t talk anymore while dealing with her opponents. The few who got suspicious had to fight since they were already on the tiger’s back and were worried about getting killed. They fought as hard as before without holding back.

The formation patterns were unpredictable. Seven masters, each had their own martial style. Its power was not as simple as adding up. Lian’er had wasted her energy earlier. Although she managed to injure a few, their injuries weren’t severe. It didn’t weaken their strength. The situation was getting harder. It seemed to be getting more dangerous as the fight went on. 

Since the situation had come to this, I could no longer care about the mysterious person who showed up in the woods last night. I drew my sword and dashed down the mountain and into the battle. Without saying anything, I deflected the two weapons attacking from behind Lian’er and stood side by side with her.

“Who’re you?!” The scrawny old man shouted when he saw that someone came to her help. I wasn’t facing him and didn’t want to turn my head either, so I just said a word, “Backup.” The old man got irritated and shouted, “Jade Rakshasa! Didn’t you say you came alone?!”

Lian’er was unhappy when she saw me barge in, but after hearing the scrawny old man’s question, she sneered and said, “Funny. You could ask six people to help you. Why do I have to fight by myself? Two against seven. It’s still in your favor. Cut the crap!”

She didn’t stop and made a sweep, striking five people, only leaving the two behind her for me.

I knew from last night’s observation that it was a 3-3 tactic, three attacking, three defending. This move of Lian’er limited the main and most aggressive attacks and also one other support, leaving the two who were relatively less threatening. How would I not know what she was thinking? I smiled and turned to lift my sword but found that one of the two I fought against was someone I knew.

“Mi…Miss…” Zhuo Yihang was the one who hesitated the most when he was attacking earlier. Now that he saw me, his moves turned even more chaotic, his sword slow and his feet tardy, but the one next to him who was fighting bare-knuckle didn’t care much. His hand charged toward me like an eagle claw. I had no time for pleasantries, so I lifted my sword and faced his attack.

I knew the gravity of the situation the moment I fought. I wasn’t as strong as Lian’er. That was why I only fought against two, one of them didn’t even go full-out. Even so it wasn’t easy. Fortunately, we had observed the formation before, so we still had the situation under control. I only had to hold off Zhuo Yihang. He wouldn’t push on. The martial art of the bare-knuckle person was a hard style martial art. The odds would most likely not be on my side if I was grabbed, but with the advantage of a weapon and my agility, it wasn’t too difficult to keep him under control.

With me holding two people off, the formation couldn’t be as flexible, and its power was weakened. Even if I had no time to turn around, I knew how excited Lian’er was destroying them behind me.

Things were looking good. It was just a matter of time before we beat them. 

If it weren’t for that split-second thought. 

Kindness happens in a split second, so as evil. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. While I was surrounded by swords and focused on defending against them, a cruel thought hit me as I was facing someone who showed mercy.

I should get rid of my biggest worry.

The Witch Nichang- Chapter 62 Uncover

The Witch Nichang– Chapter 62


“Brother Zhuo, we’ll fight the witch at the peak of Mount Hua tomorrow night. Let’s practice the killing formation first tonight.”

I had to admit I regretted my decision when I heard what he said. I led Lian’er myself to the one person I wanted her to avoid the most. It was an unfortunate coincidence, but it was exactly a fated coincidence like this that made me feel despondent.

But this feeling of despondency didn’t last long before it dissipated.

Since the answer was obvious if I were to choose between Lian’er’s safety and letting them meet. 

At the base of the hillside, the moonlight was faint and casted a pale white glow on the ground, reflecting the shadows of those people. I could just about make them out. It was just that the wind was erratic, sometimes to the east and sometimes to the west, interfering with the direction of voices, but even so, I could hear pieces of the conversation if I focused.

I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t listened closely to it. It wasn’t difficult to tell that the Brother Ying this group of people were talking about was the so-called old crook Ying Lian’er had mentioned, also the person she was going to fight tomorrow, so the witch they kept bringing up could, of course, not be someone else.

That said, they were planning to join forces against Lian’er. I frowned upon hearing it, I lowered my voice and asked the person next to me as I listened in, “Didn’t you challenge only one person to a duel? What’s going on now?” I heard Lian’er snort and say, “Why should I be afraid if he’s going to get help?” Then her eyes stared straight down the hillside again.

I took a glance at her. Other than disdain, I couldn’t see anything else from her face. I didn’t have time to think about it either, so I shifted my attention back to that place. 

Those people started to get down to business after exchanging a few words. One after another, they formed a circle. A person in the circle shouted, “Even though all seven of us are master martial artists, Jade Rakshasa is fast. If we don’t have this mastered, it won’t be a problem to beat her with the seven of us, but we won’t necessarily be able to kill her. So Brother Ying has come up with this formation called the Seven Masters’ Demon Slayer Formation. One person will be the commander, four will be the support, and the other two will be the spearhead and the defense. We’ll exchange our role, keeping the formation unpredictable. We’ll attack in three at a time, one group attacks and the other retreats. With this rotation and someone in the middle as support, this will surely keep our opponent’s hand full. She won’t be able to get away even if she has superhuman powers. Now that Brother Ying is not here, we don’t have a commander. Let’s practice our attack coordination first with just the six of us!”

After saying that, he began to explain the positioning of the formation. I was a little frustrated because I couldn’t hear him clearly, but fortunately, they started to train after that. Although I didn’t hear everything they said, I could see their moves in the moonlight. These six people were divided into two groups. As soon as one group attacked, the other followed up immediately. The formation was sometimes a circle and sometimes a square. They sometimes surrounded the opponent and sometimes attacked from both sides, but their steps stayed coordinated, initiating bouts of attacks like a wave. They were determined not to give their opponent any chance to catch their breath.

“What Seven Masters’ Demon Slayer Formation. How nice. It’s nothing but a tag-team attack.” Next to me, Lian’er complained in a soft voice. Even though her tone was contemptuous, her expression got serious. She was skilled in martial arts. She should have recognized the strength of that formation. It was just that she didn’t want to admit it out loud. 

“It’s a strategic tag-team.” I followed up. I knew her temper, so I didn’t say anything more, lest it affected her learning the formation. 

No matter what happened and who we bumped into tonight, it was all worth it to be able to come upon this and ensure her safety tomorrow.

After some time, the one who was leading them probably thought they had mastered the formation. He shouted, closing the formation. Everyone of them withdrew from the formation. Then that person smiled and said, “Brother Zhuo, your Wudang Serial Sword and Brother Zhao’s Songyang Wind Slasher really add to the formation. I didn’t know what to do at first when we were one man short. Fortunately, you came to help. Heaven helps us.” After that, he mentioned a few so-called wrongdoings of Jade Rakshasa, then a man replied, “Since that witch is so vicious and has crossed us Wudang before, we cannot let her off. It’s better to get rid of her.”

How could Lian’er stomach it hearing them talk about her like this? If not for me holding on to her, she would have sprung to her feet. I didn’t know why I held her off. It was just that I didn’t want her to jump out and meet those people. It was actually dumb of me. They would meet tomorrow night if not tonight, but I was thinking every bit of time mattered. Besides, she needed time to think about a counter attack after learning the formation, all the more reason to hold her off. 

But I knew Lian’er‘s temper. How could she stand people slandering her behind her back? Especially after what Zhuo Yihang said—I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it—she became even angrier. Usually, the angrier she got, the bigger her smile was when she was in front of others. She wouldn’t act like this in front of me. Now she just stopped talking and silently channeled her qi, fighting to stand up. 

When I was about to lose her, a sneer came from the woods not far away, scaring off a flock of birds. 

Everyone was startled. Lian’er and I stopped fighting and turned to the sound, astounded. The reaction of the people at the base of the hillside was even stronger. The leader shouted, and six of them rushed to where the sneer came from.

They rushed into the woods. Cold wind was blowing, and sparks were flickering. A few figures were weaving their way between the trees, causing the birds to take flight, but they couldn’t find anything. After that, they gathered again. Alarmed, they speculated, and someone said, “Could it be that Jade Rakshasa is here to mess with us?!” Another answered, “It didn’t sound like a woman’s voice.” Then another said, “Could it be a ghost? But ghosts aren’t that fast.” Someone guessed, “Could we have heard wrong?”

Finally, the leader said, boosting his courage, “Regardless of whether he is an enemy or foe, they won’t get out unharmed once they get into our formation. What are there to be afraid of?” He sounded unsure after saying that. Then he asked everyone to split up and left with Zhuo Yihang, heading towards the trail down the hill and gradually disappearing into the dark.

When I was sure that everyone was gone and the night fell silent again, we got up from behind the old tree on the cliff.

I glanced sideways at the person next to me. In the moonlight, her face looked serious, her brows slightly creased, and I knew things weren’t looking good. Even though this kid was full of pride, she could make her own judgment. The group earlier found nothing. Even I, with the high ground the cliff provided, could only see that there was a black shadow in the woods. It was as fast as a frightened swan and disappeared in a flash. The speed was not much slower than Lian’er at top speed. I was even sure that I was right when I saw the look on her face. 

It wasn’t too bad if it was just the formation, but Zhuo Yihang had to come into this. That made me worried, and now there was this person. I had no idea if they were an enemy or a foe, or it was just a coincidence. Once a simple duel had become more complicated. As I was worrying about this problem, a soft warmth wrapped around my right hand. I raised my head and saw Lian’er take my hand, looked over, and said, “What are you thinking? Think about it when we’re back. Since it has come to this, I don’t think we still have to go to Yunu Peak anymore, right?”

A moment ago, she was still thinking with her brows furrowed, but after a while, she was back to her usual proud and composed self, looking even prouder. My breath was taken away for a second. Then I thought of something. I smiled and took her hand, holding it gently. “Alright, let’s get back first,” I said. 

Right. In the eyes of the fearless Lian’er, it was just a matter of facing the problem as it came no matter how big the problem was. How many people and things are there that can make her worried and cower in this world?

Of course we no longer had to go to Yunu Peak. What we got on our way by chance was more than we had expected. When we were back to Yellow Dragon Cave, Lian’er was thinking on her own. I left her alone. I only told her to wash up and get her to bed when it was time. I was worried at first that she overthought and couldn’t sleep well, but it turned out it didn’t affect her. She fell fast asleep shortly after she lay down, looking carefree in her sleep as always. On the other hand, thoughts were racing through my head all night, and I had a few fragmented dreams. It was a restless night.

Everything went on as usual the next day. We never brought up what happened last night, except I didn’t ask Lian’er to help me on houseworks to give her more free time. Instead, she became bored and played with the pink flower I gave her yesterday. She had been playing with it for the whole day, but shortly after dinner, she came to me looking unhappy and said, “Look at the thing you gave me. Look. It’s only been one day, and it’s already shriveled.”

I had just finished with the dishes, and my hands were still wet when I saw that saggy little thing in her hand. Before she went to bed last night, she had made a point of remembering to put away the flower, and today, she had played with it carefully for a long time. I was glad to see that. Now that I heard what she said, I couldn’t help but laugh and said, “You silly, is there a flower that doesn’t wither after being taken off the tree? Even if it stays on the tree forever, there’s no flower that blooms forever in this world.”

“Anyway, the next time you give me something, remember to give me something that stays, at least not something that lasted such a short time.” She didn’t argue back. It seemed that she just came over to complain. After that, she left those words and went back inside. When I returned to the cave after drying my hands, I saw her standing at the corner where the books and papers were stored and placing the shriveled flower between the pages. 

If I saw that right, it was the old book with a blue cover which she used to store Master’s will. 

After doing that, Lian’er got up, straightened her clothes, picked up her long sword by the bedside, walked to me, and said with a smile, “I’m going out.”

Before I knew it, I turned to look outside the cave. I couldn’t actually see out from here, but I had been looking out the whole time, so I knew the time even without looking. I responded, “So early? Isn’t it at midnight? Now the day is just getting dark. Isn’t it too early?”

“Better early than late. Isn’t that what you taught me?” She nodded with seeming seriousness.

“Alright then.” I didn’t want to argue with her. I got up, took out the short sword that had been with me since young from under the pillow, and attached it to my waist. “Let’s go. I’ll go with you,” I said. 

She frowned as soon as I said that. Lian’er shook her head. “It’s me who’s going to fight. What are you going to do there? No, I don’t want you there. You wait here. I’ll be back soon after midnight.”

I fell silent for a moment, staring into her eyes. I didn’t respond and didn’t say anything either but calmly repeated something I had said before, “Never to leave you, in weal and woe…Lian’er, you agreed to it at that time.”

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