Pulling Together A Villain Reformation Strategy Chapter 31

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I'm currently in the middle of my finals, so I'm sorry about the temporary hiatus! Hopefully I should be able to get a few extra chapters out when spring break comes around.

Please let me know where my translations can be improved!

Chapter 31 – Researchers

The two of them were working themselves to death over here, all because they were getting completely dragged down by this idiot. On the contrary, Jiang Xunyi was just standing on the side and blabbering away without a care—have some shame, will you!

Nie Yan couldn't hold himself back any longer, and his anger and agitation burst out: “I'm facing him straight-on, how could I attack his back? If you're so capable, you do it!”

Jiang Xunyi had not expected to see the “you can you up“1 phrase here—it seemed that sarcastic commentary wasn't any different between ancient and modern times. Jiang Xunyi gave a jeering laugh: “Then watch closely!”

He hadn't finished speaking and how he lifted his legs couldn't even be seen, when his entire person had already flickered in front of Wei Xiuqi and Nie Yan with the lightness of the morning mist. With a casual raise of his hand, the edge of his palm a.s.sumed the shape of a knife to slice into the corpse's back. He smiled: "Just like this, victory.”

He withdrew his hand, and that corpse which had just now been moving with incomparable toughness and violence… now toppled head-first onto the ground.

This fierce corpse with which they had been entangled in a long battle and had believed to be the most dangerous and sinister thing they had seen… was actually disposed of with a single laughing gesture. Wei Xiuqi and Nie Yan both had the same sensation that this was a dream, as they felt their self-esteem and worldview being thoroughly overturned.

“……Senior.” In the end, Wei Xiuqi was a little older than Nie Yan, plus his mind was more careful and meticulous. He was therefore the first to react, slowly sheathing his sword: “Many thanks for Senior's directions and pointers. Xiuqi2 and my s.h.i.+di are both infinitely grateful. But… but… if I may take the liberty to ask, the 'Famed Flower Toppling Kingdoms'3 trick you just used is clearly a Hidden Spirit Sect move. How did Senior come to know it?”

“……” Jiang Xunyi didn't even think before his finger had already habitually pointed towards his long-standing scapegoat hero, Yun Xie: "Oh, he taught it."

Yun Xie: "………."

As a quiet member of the peanut gallery4, he probably would never have expected to suffer this trouble not of his own making. But at the same time, Jiang Xunyi unintentionally "looking at him in a favorable light"5 made his heart feel a sliver of sweetness. He therefore happily took this blame6, reacting with extreme quickness to take a step forward and re-introduce himself: "Yun Xie from the Solar Envy Sect. I did not clarify my ident.i.ty just now, may the two of you please refrain from blaming me.”

Given Yun Xie's status, he was already being quite modest by speaking to these two juniors in such a tone. Moreover, although he was the Solar Envy Sect Master, everyone knew that Yun Xie's s.h.i.+fu Chengwu-Daozhang and the previous Hidden Spirit Sect Leader Immortal Master Ti Ming had been bosom friends7. By a.s.sociation, the head disciples of their sects, Yun Xie and Jiang Xunyi, had mingled together from an early age. It was therefore a matter of course that Yun Xie could have learned moves from the Hidden Spirit Sect.

However, after Wei Xiuqi and Nie Yan heard this, they looked at each other and actually showed alertness and vigilance. They stepped back together, and Wei Xiuqi reluctantly said: “It turned out to be Sect Master Yun.” However, neither bowed.

Nie Yan's hostility was more intense than his fellow disciple's. He straightforwardly said: "Our master once said that my s.h.i.+bo Jiang Xunyi died under Sect Master Yun's sword. As long as one man from our sect remains, we refuse to live under the same sky8 with you. Forgive this humble one for being unable to salute Sect Master Yun.”

In front of Jiang Xunyi, Yun Xie acted eternally humble and servile, and never shrank from showing his regret and guilt. But this was because his heart held affection towards Jiang Xunyi; it did not mean that he would also a.s.sume a lowly posture in front of two little disciples. He just could not help but become alarmed at them raising this topic in front of Jiang Xunyi. In the s.p.a.ce of a brief moment, he was already racking his brains for a method to grab Jiang Molou over and give him a sound berating. However, thanks to immense self-restraint, his face smiled: "The two of you are not disciples of my Solar Envy Sect in the first place, so whether you salute or not is entirely up to you. It's just that I am still your elder, so if I may put on airs and speak a few extra words: Sometimes, an onlooker not personally involved in the situation may not be able to see everything clearly. Those who cultivate should still be cautious in word and deed when it comes to the phrase 'truth'."

His words were spoken with profound meaning and unfathomable enigma, pretending to be cool with perfect success. In the end, these two disciples were still young and tender, so Yun Xie's words left them speechless. The most qualified one to speak, Jiang Xunyi, did not follow them to accuse Yun Xie. He only casually changed the topic, turning to Wei Xiuqi as if this matter had nothing to do with himself: “I haven't seen him for a long time—is Jiang Molou doing well?”

Wei Xiuqi originally should have felt angry at how he directly called Jiang Molou by his name9. But looking at the newly appeared seriousness in this person's expression and dignified manner, Wei Xiuqi had the feeling Jiang Xunyi's entire person had been swapped out, and he involuntarily answered: “Our master is still in good shape physically, but the sect's general affairs are many and complicated, and his mood is somewhat depressed. Many thanks for Senior's concern.”

Jiang Xunyi hummed in acknowledgment: “That's good.” He looked back at the corpse on the ground and said: “You two are calm upon encountering an enemy as well as quick and nimble to react, so you did not lose face for him. Unfortunately, your actions are too rigid and inflexible. When encountering these kinds of things, the first priority in your thinking should not be which taboos to obediently avoid, but instead what methods should be used to suppress it when it does erupt. In the same way, when you encounter a strong enemy, should you think about how to face this adversity, or how to plead for leniency and avoid enraging the opponent? These taboos are only boundaries and limits set for the weak."

He looked so young and elegant, but his words carried deep judgment and insight more penetrating than some sect elders. His tone was also permeated by an aura of domineering arrogance that considered everyone and everything beneath his notice. Wei Xiuqi and Nie Yan looked at Jiang Xunyi differently. Together, they turned their sword hilts and bowed ceremoniously, expressing their grat.i.tude for receiving instruction.

Jiang Xunyi lowered his gaze and smiled, unperturbed as he accepted their salute. His eyes then turned towards the dead body on the ground, and his expression became solemn: “However, I have never seen such a strange corpse before. Thirteen air apertures? What is this, could it be a deformity?”

Yun Xie also walked over. With great calm and composure, he ignored the vigilant eyes of Wei Xiuqi and Nie Yan: “I don't think so.”

Jiang Xunyi tilted his head to look at him, and Yun Xie went on to say: “Have you ever imagined the possibility that air apertures could be artificially opened by someone?”

Jiang Xunyi really had never imagined such a possibility. Yun Xie's words seemed to open a new line of logic for him, and Jiang Xunyi murmured to himself for a moment. Suddenly, his sharp eyebrows arched. He pulled out his sword and swung it down at the corpse in front of him: “If that is the case, there should be trauma left behind on the body…”

Without finis.h.i.+ng speaking, his sword aura had already sliced open the clothes of the deceased without leaving even a single mark on the body. However, upon seeing the resulting scene, not only did Jiang Xunyi choke on his words, even Yun Xie, Wei Xiuqi, and Nie Yan all could not help but widen their eyes at the same time——

The corpse was completely covered in st.i.tches of various colors; it was actually composed of countless pieces sewn together while still alive!

Jiang Xunyi had trouble believing his own eyes. Without caring for any of his usual fastidiousness or obsession with cleanliness, he crouched down and exploratively touched the thickest seams at the corpse's left chest.

Yun Xie's expression stiffened. But this corpse probably wanted to maintain its chast.i.ty even in death—before Jiang Xunyi could make contact, it suddenly sat straight up. Akin to a dying flash of activity10, it actually opened its mouth to bite the corner of Jiang Xunyi's robes.

Jiang Xunyi was thoroughly caught off guard and startled. He agilely jumped away, only to hear a ripping tear: his originally tattered robe was thus transformed into a cardigan.

Jiang Xunyi originally wanted to stand firm, but his right foot tingled numbly and he almost fell backwards. Yun Xie supported him with an arm around his waist, and sourly said: “Be more careful, what are you so excited to touch its lower chest for?”

Jiang Xunyi: “……” He would die before admitting that was actually a muscle cramp just now. This body's physical fitness is truly too lacking, he needs supplemental calcium.

Upon slapping away Yun Xie's hand and looking forward again, the corpse had already been beaten back down by Nie Yan's sharp eye and deft hand, and no longer got up to cause trouble.

Jiang Xunyi said: “His thirteenth air aperture is located on the left chest, and is indeed man-made. But just opening an air aperture absolutely does not require such a large-scale…. undertaking. What kind of person wants to torment a corpse thus? And what is their goal in doing so?”

Yun Xie walked in front of Jiang Xunyi and crouched down. His hand investigatively pressed down on each inch of this rough and gnarled body: “No, it's not that someone wants to torment the corpse. Look, the color of this thread has faded with the pa.s.sing of time, and these st.i.tches are embedded deep into the flesh. This was already in place many years ago…”

Upon speaking to here, he had trouble continuing. Jiang Xunyi said: "You realized it too, right? So much needlework, and all connected to vital areas. This is clearly the result of having been chopped up into pieces and then put together afterwards—How could such a person still be alive! But against all reason, this person only just died; the body has not even completely cooled yet. What exactly is going on here?”

He and Yun Xie had already completely entered a working state of mind. On the side, Wei Xiuqi and Nie Yan tried to exercise their brains at full speed but still ended up stupefied, deeply experiencing the feeling of their IQ being rolled over and crushed.

At this time, there came a commotion outside the door. Since Nie Yan's brain was currently deficient in oxygen, he naturally looked to the entrance, only to see a group of Fang family members walking inside. They wore white mourning garments and their faces were covered in tear tracks, so they were probably here to observe the ancestral rites for the deceased.

But those people had just stepped inside when they immediately stopped in their tracks. Horror and dismay was written all over their faces, as dumbstruck as wooden chickens.

Nie Yan subconsciously followed their gaze to look at the four of them gathered around the corpse. He instantly became a wooden chicken too——

In the dimly lit spiritual hall, four people surrounded a corpse that had been stripped completely naked. Among them, one person was not properly dressed and his expression showed ardent eagerness. Another person had leaned over the corpse and was currently touching all over the body…..

Even if his own role was just a minor onlooking character in the background, Nie Yan's face still flushed red.

Yun Xie's hand was about to touch the corpse's b.u.t.tocks area when he involuntarily paused—He had obviously sensed the awkward atmosphere around him. Upon looking up, he saw the relatives of the deceased in a crowd at the door. In a daze, he turned his head away, only to then see Jiang Xunyi, Wei Xiuqi, and Nie Yan standing away from himself in a "This has nothing to do with me" manner, all watching him with eyes full of condemnation and bitter grief.

Yun Xie: "……………."

Footnotes:

1. "You can you up" is a popular Chinese phrase on the Internet. It's written out in English but is the direct literal translation of "你行你上". It basically translates to "If you're so capable of doing it, go ahead!"

2. Wei Xiuqi refers to himself by his first name, which is another informal/humble way of self-address.

3. 名花倾国: 名 = "fame, reputation", 花 = "flower". 倾国 is a shortened version of the Chinese phrase 倾国倾城 lit. "toppling states and cities", which refers to a stunningly devastating and calamitous beauty (think Helen of Troy :P)

4. 吃瓜群众 literally translates to something like "the crowd eating melons". It refers to bystanders who are just watching an event for the entertainment, who don't have any actual attachment to what's going on. I translated it to peanut gallery here, but another English equivalent would be a spectator happily munching popcorn.

5. 另眼相看 usually translates to "viewing someone in a new light / treating someone favorably"

6. 背了这个黑锅 literally translates to something like "Carrying this black pot on your back." Of note, "carrying a pot on your back" is a Chinese idiom for "taking the blame for something."

7. 莫逆之交 means very close friends, "bosom buddies", someone you can confide everything in. (In short, Chengwu-Daozhang and Immortal Master Ti Ming were BFFs :P)

8. 不共戴天 refers to enemies who are so irreconcilable that they "cannot live under the same sky."

9. Calling Jiang Molou by his name instead of his t.i.tle ("Sect Head Jiang") is usually an impolite act unless you are actually very close to him.

10. 回光返照 lit. "final radiance of the setting sun" refers to the last spurt of activity or lucidity before death

Translator's Comments: I only recently discovered that Jiang Xunyi has a brief cameo in one of this author's other novels, and that cameo gives a few more details on his backstory/previous life. I highly doubt that other novel will ever get translated into English, and the cameo itself is near the end of the book too. Any thoughts or preferences on whether/how I should “spoil” the extra information from that cameo?

Pulling Together A Villain Reformation Strategy Chapter 31

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Pulling Together A Villain Reformation Strategy Chapter 31 summary

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