Faraway Wanderers Chapter 30
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Chapter 30. Rainy Night
Gu Xiang opened an umbrella and held another one close to her chest while wading through the rain. Her embroidered shoes stepped on the stones underneath, causing the water to splash on her pant legs. A gust of cold wind caused her to s.h.i.+ver; she felt like no one could be more of a dedicated and loyal individual than her right now.
When the girl looked up, she saw a man walking alone in the rain with his head down.
Wen Kexing was soaked to the bone, messy clothes sticking to his body. He paid no mind to his slightly tumultuous state.
Gu Xiang caught up to him and called out, "Master!"
Wen Kexing didn't turn to look back at her, but he evidently heard her voice as he stopped to wait. Gu Xiang ran up to him and gave him the other umbrella, internally feeling like suffering outdoors in this miserable weather was such a waste of her effort—seeing how her Master usually behaved, Gu Xiang was pretty sure that he had just been doing some indecent activities at some indecent places.
So she pursed her lips and asked somewhat disapprovingly. "Did you go fool around somewhere, Master?"
Wen Kexing opened the umbrella, taking a few steps before replying quietly, "Went fighting."
Gu Xiang asked, out of instinct, "In the bedroom?"
As Wen Kexing turned to stare at her, she was smart enough to slapp herself lightly, her tone serious, "Stupid, stupid mouth, what kind of trash are you spouting? You can't just say such things!"
"Ah-Xiang." Wen Kexing cut in, not humoring her.
Gu Xiang blinked. It only rained harder, the water creating a thick fog-like layer that prevented her from seeing Wen Kexing's expressions clearly. After the solemn silence, he looked down and said softly. "He said… He'd die soon."
Gu Xiang made a questioning noise, unable to react to that, "Who's going to die?"
There was a pause from Wen Kexing that might be either for him to compose himself or for Gu Xiang to take it in. As he continued walking forward, he molded his voice into the usual nonchalance it possessed, "He suffers from internal injuries, but from the way I see him go about, I a.s.sume that they are non-threatening. But today I learned that they were incurable, and he would only last two or three more years. The moment I heard that, I knew who he was… Hah! Had I known that from the beginning, I would have never followed him!"
Gu Xiang's eyes were wide open as she seemed to have difficulty processing the truth. After a good while, she asked cautiously. "Zhou Xu?"
"Yeah." Wen Kexing's voice was low. "At first I thought he couldn't be from Tian Chuang. There's no escaping that place, and the ones who try will have to suffer the Nails of Seven Apertures for Three Autumns, resulting in the loss of their martial art skills and all senses; they will be turned into invalids who can keep secrets better than the dead. At first, I thought that there was no way he was carrying the Nails on him, seeing how capable he was… But just now someone let me know that he had a particular method to slow down the damage, but nonetheless he wouldn't survive for more than three years."
This was the first time Gu Xiang ever heard about this; she barely breathed while listening to him. At that, she asked, "Master… how do you know all this?"
"Me?" Wen Kexing let out a strange laugh, "Do you think I can survive until now if I don't know more than I should?"
After a short silence, Gu Xiang continued. "Then… that Zhou Xu, he…"
"I met someone who escaped from Tian Chuang once." A pause. "There has never been someone who can evade the fate of turning catatonic, but he can. From it I can guess that his rank was Great Butler at the very least; he… he might have been the former leader even."
Gu Xiang was surprised. "If he was the leader, then why would he run…" Then she stopped, seemingly having realized something.
Wen Kexing was walking very quickly now, as if he wanted to leave something behind him as far as possible. With Gu Xiang's short legs, she had to jog lightly to catch up to him. Seeing that he only got quicker and quicker, Gu Xiang disrupted the silence between them. "Master, are you heartbroken?"
Wen Kexing asked gently without looking back. "What would I be heartbroken about?"
After mulling it over, Gu Xiang had to admit that she wasn't sure. She heard him laugh softly, his feet almost gliding over the ground rather than moving. "With his disguise, I can't even know for sure if he's a beauty or not… Besides, I prefer the soft type, so he won't be of my taste even if he is beautiful."
Even with her qinggong Gu Xiang was unable to catch up, and she blurted out, "But didn't you say once that you liked the tall ones with tiny waist and pretty b.u.t.terfly bones…"
"You remember it wrong," he interrupted. Then he added, justifying to no one in particular. "I just felt like… I'd finally found someone I can relate to—Gu Xiang, stop following me."
"Huh?" In a blink, Wen Kexing was already meters away from her. Gu Xiang called out sulkily, "Why, Master? Did I anger you again?"
Wen Kexing had already disappeared in the rain with only his distant voice reaching her ears. "You talk too much."
Gu Xiang, left all alone, stomped petulantly and cursed him under her breath, "I was nice to you and this is what I get!"
Then she raised her head to stare after the direction Wen Kexing had vanished to, suddenly being reminded of the image of his soaked back, his broad shoulders, his unwavering steps under the rain that didn't wait for her one bit. There was no one beside him but he never looked sideways, like he had been travelling alone for a while now.
She pitied him a little.
Finding someone you could connect with or whatever was fine… But that person was a flickering lamp that would die out in a few years, so what was the point?
Under the cold wind and rain, one thought they could have attained something but couldn't. Who in this world could really live how they wanted to?
No one knew where Wen Kexing went that night.
In the early morning, someone consistently banged hard on Zhou Zishu's door. When he opened the door, Cao Weining almost crashed into him, but then the younger dragged him outside, telling him while running, "How can you be so calm in your room, your disciple is about to lose his life!"
"Who?" After that chaotic night, Zhou Zishu's thoughts had yet to untangle themselves. It took him a few seconds to react, and he frowned. "You mean Zhang Chengling? What happened now, why is it always him?"
Cao Weining sighed. "Feels like this year is his unlucky year, I have no idea how he keeps getting into these kind of situations—yesterday someone tried to a.s.sa.s.sinate him, but fortunately Sir Zhao next door was alerted and they managed to capture the person responsible. Unfortunately though, that man was on a suicide mission and he poisoned himself the moment he was caught. Say—"
Cao Weining paused, suspicions creeping in. He thought back to what his Senior Uncle Mo Huaikong told him earlier this morning: Among all of the big names that gathered here in Dong Ting, who was so determined to mess up the life of a kid who was not all that bright? Rather than to try to finish the job, it would be more likely that the motive was to cover up something.
Even with his simple minds, Cao Weining could sense that something was amiss. There was something wrong in the atmosphere—it was repressed by Gao Chong's side for the time being, but doubts and theories spread like a plague.
What exactly was the Lapis Armor?
By the time Zhou Zishu arrived, Zhang Chengling and Zhao Jing's rooms were already surrounded by a huge crowd. Zhao Jing was naked from the waist up, shoulders seemingly bleeding, currently sitting on a long bench with someone bandaging his wounds. He wore an unpleasant expression, a sword carried on his back with blood still on it.
There were two corpses on the ground, face all purple; it looked like they had been poisoned. Zhou Zishu saw a hook beside one body and instantly knew that it was from the Scorpions.
There were actually several factions amongst the Scorpions, depending on the hiring price. For instance, those who were with the Delighted Mourning Ghost and helped him lure out Zhang Chengling were not those who would lay down their lives; to acquire those, one would need to pay a higher price.
It was more troublesome with these lot. There's no telling how many they were; once a group failed another group would advance, and they were all the fearless type. If they succeeded, they got paid handsomely; if they didn't, they would have to leave their own body right there.
That's why it was not at all cheap.
Who would spend this much to kill Zhang Chengling? Did they feel like the snot-nosed brat possessed some kind of intelligence that would create troubles in the future?
A strange idea popped up inside Zhou Zishu's head. He thought, I've made plenty enemies back in my day, but not this excessive.
His gaze thrown at Zhang Chengling carried some indescribable feelings.
Zhou Zishu, however, didn't expect the young boy currently standing at a corner to be unsurprised and unafraid. He only lowered his head as if looking at the two bodies, showing the top of his head. Silence fell over him completely; whenever people asked him something he would only nod or shake his head.
Gao Chong bent down a little and asked Zhang Chengling with a kind face. "Chengling, do you know these people?"
Zhang Chengling glanced at him, then shook his lowered head.
Gao Chong, in turns, spoke even more gently, hand reaching out to pat his head. "Don't be afraid, my child, we will avenge you. Tell me, what did these two vile individuals say to you last night?"
Zhang Chengling didn't look him in the eye and shook his head again. Gao Chong was starting to become perplexed when someone cut in enigmatically, "What good would come out of asking that question, Sir Gao? We elders all know that these two are Scorpion martyrs; they are merely blades and blades don't talk, do they? What a joke! You should ask the boy if he knows something we don't instead."
That was Feng Xiaofeng, currently standing on the ground instead of perching on Gao Shannu's shoulder. Because of his height, he had to crane his neck with his nose facing the sky; completed with his mocking tone, he made it hard for people to not want to beat him up.
Gao Shannu stood behind him quietly. With his scary face, he was like a demon in folk tales.
Gao Chong frowned at that. Zhao Jing, on the other hand, discarded all manners as he stood up, pointed at Feng Xiaofeng and shouted, "You despicable dwarf, how can your conscience let you say those words?"
Feng Xiaofeng scoffed, "Sir Zhao, why is it that ever since you took in the Zhang orphan, you didn't let him leave your side for one second? You and I know the reason all too well, don't think I'm an idiot!"
With s.h.i.+ning eyes, he looked at Zhang Chengling, his voice sharp as knife, "Tell us the truth, boy, do you know where your family's Lapis Armor piece went? Is it still with you? Or is it stolen by this Zhao- no, Sir Zhao?"
Zhao Jing was enraged. "You dwarf, curse your family all to h.e.l.l!"
Gao Shannu suddenly looked up to pin Zhao Jing down with his stare. Feng Xiaofeng stopped him with a wave of an arm, and Gao Shannu obediently stepped back to his place behind him. Feng Xiaofeng continued. "Did I hit a nerve, Sir Zhao? Don't be so discourteous."
Zhao Jing wanted nothing more than to charge forward and teach him a lesson.
Gao Chong quickly stepped in, his voice serious, "Brother Feng, unfounded accusations should not be thrown around to disturb our solidarity—someone come take these bodies away first, then we will discuss something long-term…"
But then someone spoke up, "Sir Gao, why are you being so secretive? Shouldn't you ask the boy now that everyone is present? This is for his own good at the end of the day."
Zhang Chengling looked up at that, his face pale, eyes unfocused. He felt like everyone was staring at him, gossiping about him, forcing him to give them an explanation, but he truly knew nothing.
Zhou Zishu, who was used to blending in with the crowd without anyone noticing, felt a surge of anger when he saw Zhang Chengling's empty expressions.
He wanted to push at everyone, then dragged the young boy far away from all this filth. But that was not something Zhou Zishu would do, wasn't it? To think carefully before he acted, to keep himself hidden away from the scene: These had always been his principles.
Back then, even His Majesty would praise him for being increasingly calculating and cautious as the years went on… but old man Ye Baiyi had told him that he would show his tail eventually.
Translator's Notes. I have absolutely no excuses for my tardiness ? But in other news, if you didn't know yet, the adaptation of one of Priest's BG novels called Bandits/The Legend of Fei has announced the main cast recently and filming is likely to start soon! I haven't read this novel but I have faith in Priest's writing, so hopefully the adaptation script won't disappoint!
Fingers crossed that FW's adaptation is in the work too since there were some news a while back, but I honestly don't have much hope ; – ; And while we're on this topic, who would be your dream cast for FW's drama adaptation?
Faraway Wanderers Chapter 30
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Faraway Wanderers Chapter 30 summary
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