FRS: Chapter 9 – Unknown Murderer (9)

Translator: Momoe Pom

TLC: Puissansa

Editor:  Isabelle

Quality Check: Kai

First Published on Ainushi. 

 

 

 

 

The moment the surname was mentioned, Hua HuaiXiu knew perfectly who the visitor was.

Seeing him frown anxiously, Fan JiJing asked concernedly, “Your friend?”

“Not my friend. She’s Lin XiangQing’s friend.”

Fan JiJing was confused: “Who’s Lin XiangQing?”

“The darling daughter of the assistant minister of the Ministry of Rites.” Hua HuaiXiu pressed his lips together in his direction.

Fan JiJing took the hint right away: “Your fiancée?”

“How does it relate to me? It’s just my father’s wishful thinking.” Seeing Fan JiJing  perfectly composed with no trace of frustration on his face, Hua HuaiXiu couldn’t help but sulk: “Aren’t you unhappy about it?”

“Unhappy?” Fan JiJing looked puzzledly at him.

Hua HuaiXiu squinted his eyes: “So you’re very happy about it?”

“Very happy?” Fan JiJing became even more puzzled.

Hua HuaiXiu complained sourly, “Do you only know how to repeat like a parrot?”

Fan JiJing felt wronged: “I don’t know what you mean.”

Hua HuaiXiu pulled him by hand and started to walk out as he said, “…Forget it. Come. Let’s go see her together.”

“Together? Why?” Despite asking, Fan JiJing still followed his steps obediently.

Hua HuaiXiu replied, “To mediate.”

Fan JiJing laughed in spite of himself: “Lü Guniang is just a woman.”

“She’s the daughter of a general.”

Fan JiJing hesitated for a moment before he asked, “You won’t fight back, will you?”

Hua HuaiXiu glared at him over his shoulder. “Do you want to me stand there like an idiot so she can beat me up?”

“You can run away.”

“I need someone to block her so I can run.”

Fan JiJing stopped responding. He realized that no matter what he said, Hua HuaiXiu could always come up with something more reasonable. At least that was how it sounded to him.

 

Lü Guniang’s full name was Lü QingTeng. She and Lin XiangQing had been bosom friends for years.

Although the marriage arrangement between the Hua Family and the Lin Family had not been made public yet, it was not a secret among the few noble families which had relationships with them.

Therefore, even though Hua HuaiXiu managed to run away before the Hua Family could send the betrothal gift [1], the Lin Family still felt humiliated.

The reason for Lü QingTeng’s visit this time was to do her friend justice.

Even before Hua HuaiXiu and Fan JiJing had entered the room, they already sensed a strong killing intent seeping out from within.

Hua HuaiXiu whispered, “I’ve heard that she’s good at sword arts.”

Fan JiJing looked at him with a strange expression and asked, “Surely you are not going to cross swords with her?”

“I’m just reminding you.”

When Fan JiJing stepped into the door, he knew immediately why Hua HuaiXiu had reminded him.

Because a gleaming sword was storming straight at Hua HuaiXiu.

Fan JiJing pulled out his sword and blocked hers right away without even thinking about it.

All that was in Lü QingTeng’s mind when she drew her sword was how to execute the move fast, ruthlessly and accurately, without even clearly seeing the person who was coming in. After she finally saw Hua HuaiXiu’s face appear, she lost herself for a moment; however, this brief moment of daze was soon followed by even greater rage.

Ever since Xueyi Hou [2] Xue LingBi and Feng GuDao’s scandal stormed the entire Capital, she gained quite a distaste against fine looking men. Unfortunately, Hua HuaiXiu was not merely good-looking, but rather breathtaking. Therefore, after a short pause, her killing intent surged in a degree that was more than doubled.

“Guniang.” Fan JiJing frowned: “This is the Jiuhua Sect. Please put away your weapon.”

Lü QingTeng sneered, “What if I don’t?”

“Then please excuse me, Fan JiJing, of my rudeness.” As he said this, Fan JiJing turned his wrist, and his sword started to swirl like a hurricane. With a chink, the sword in Lü QingTeng’s hand was already twisted as it flew and nailed right into the beam of the house.

Lü QingTeng was a martial artist herself, and she knew how large the gap was between their level of skills right after Fan JiJing moved; there was no point in continuing the fight. She stomped her foot in indignation. “What on earth do you want?”

Fan JiJing was confused as he asked, “Lü Guniang, you came all the way from the Capital to the Jiuhua Sect only to ask us what we want?”

Lü QingTeng refuted, “If I didn’t come, should I be expecting him to come to the Capital to explain everything in person?”

The “him” in her words was obviously referring to Hua HuaiXiu.

Hua HuaiXiu replied, “I’ve never been to the Capital and have never met anyone from the Capital. What do I need to explain? To whom do you want me to explain?”

Hearing how he wrote off his guilt within the first second of opening his mouth, Lü QingTeng could not help but remember Xue LingBi; even though the tones they used were different, their intentions could not be more similar! The depression and sorrow in her heart gushed out like a tide, and she was unable to hold back. “Hua HuaiXiu! You had left without leaving a thing behind, but has it ever occurred to you that a girl would be soaking her face in tears everyday and lose her will to live due to pain just because of you?”

Hua HuaiXiu replied, “It would still be better than me soaking my face in tears everyday and lose my will to live due to pain after our marriage.”

“You…” If it wasn’t for her sword still dangling from the beam, she would’ve pulled it out and split him in half right here.

Hua HuaiXiu seemed to feel that his words a little too harsh as well, so he took a deep breath and said, “After Lü Guniang returns to the Capital, please thank Lin Guniang on my behalf for her goodwill. There is already someone in my heart whom I wish to spend the rest of my life with.”

“Someone in your heart?” Lü QingTeng suddenly glanced at Fan JiJing, who was standing next to him.

No one could blame her for thinking this way. Ever since the incident with Xue LingBi and Feng GuDao, she learned that love rivals had nothing to do with genders.

Her bitter stares started to give Fan JiJing goosebumps all over his body. He immediately shook his hands in denial: “I’m not…”

Hua HuaiXiu suddenly raised his arm and pulled Fan JiJing over into a half embrace and half leaning position, then said, “Since I’ve decided to be together with you, I won’t be concerned about worldly people’s judgements anymore.”

As if he became dumb from the shock, Fan JiJing was speechless for a long time.

“You two…” It was one thing to guess about it, but another to witness it with her own eyes. Lü QingTeng glared at them with wide eyes, or rather, maybe she was glaring through them at two other people thousands of miles away.

Hua HuaiXiu slowly turned his head. Unfathomably, there was deep love in his eyes as he looked towards Fan JiJing.

Fan JiJing’s heart lurched. As he was about to run away unconsciously, he heard Hua HuaiXiu’s voice, “JiJing. In this life and in this world, let us never turn against each other.”

Fan JiJing opened his mouth, attempting to say something.

A glimmer flashed cross Hua HuaiXiu’s eyes. As he pretended to throw himself at Fan JiJing, the latter immediately shut his mouth tight out of fright.

“That’s enough you two!”

Lü QingTeng clearly witnessed their little tricks. She roared, “Acting like no one else is present, this is too much!”

“How long does Lü Guniang plan to stay?” Fan JiJing was afraid to look at Hua HuaiXiu, so he could only try to start a topic with Lü QingTeng.

However, in Lü QingTeng’s ears, the sentence sounded more like a request for her to leave. Her expression changed as she threatened: “Aren’t you afraid of zhangmen finding out about you two?” Since Hua HuaiXiu decided to leave his family, he was certainly determined. As for Fan JiJing… He seemed like a dull and honest man and therefore might not be the type to rebel against orthodoxy. If she needed to drive a wedge between them, Fan JiJing would definitely be the breaking point.

Surprisingly, after hearing her words, not only did Fan JiJing show no sign of fear, he even sighed slightly: “It would be great if he could know about it.”

What he meant was, if only zhangmen was still alive, it wouldn’t matter even if he was to find out. Meanwhile, Lü QingTeng took it as if he didn’t care whether zhangmen would find out or not since they had nothing to be afraid of, but just didn’t have the chance to say it.

Seeing how Lü QingTeng’s face started to alternate between a pale and a blue complexion, Hua HuaiXiu knew she must have misunderstood what Fan JiJing meant. He immediately led her further astray, “It doesn’t matter. We’ll go and tell your master in a little while.”

Fan JiJing was stupefied: “What?”

Hua HuaiXiu gave him a wink, then pointed at Lü QingTeng with a quick glance.

Fan JiJing thus remembered how they had to keep the assassination of Bu LouLian a secret, so he seconded Hua HuaiXiu immediately. “Alright.”

“Are you really not afraid at all?” Lü QingTeng looked at them and had a hard time believing what she saw. Why had every single man she ever met been so rebellious against orthodoxy? And yet the focus of these men was never her or other women — it was always another man.

As if his brain had just caught up with everyone else’s, Fan JiJing finally realized what Lü QingTeng meant. But since misunderstandings were already formed and further explanations would just be a waste of efforts at this point, the only option left for Fan JiJing was to comfort her: “Life is merely a short span of a few decades. Living it earnestly is one way, yet living it casually is just another. Why do you have to fuss over minor matters?”

“I fuss over minor matters?” Lü QingTeng gave a laugh at herself. “All I want is to pursue my own happiness.”

Hua HuaiXiu was puzzled: “How does your happiness relate to me?”

Lü QingTeng looked at him sadly, then slowly shook her head. “It doesn’t. I just said something off the top of my head.”

Seeing how exhausted she looked, as if she would fall any moment, Fan JiJing made an offer: “Lü Guniang, if no urgent business is awaiting you right now, why don’t you spend a few days on Mount Jiuhua? So that I can do the honours.”

Hua HuaiXiu gave him a hard look in secret, then immediately followed: “It might be inconvenient for a single lady like Lü Guniang to stay in the Jiuhua Sect.”

“Eh?” Fan JiJing looked perplexedly at him. The Jiuhua Sect was not like Wudang and Shaolin. ShangGuan DingNing was also a woman, yet she had been living here for many years, hadn’t she?

Hua HuaiXiu moved his lips in a way that was almost unnoticed and spoke with a voice as low as that of a mosquito: “Shut up.”

It would be impossible for Lü QingTeng to not realize his intention to drive her out, but she happened to lose interest in staying here as well and thus said indifferently, “It would be a stain to my reputation if I stay at a place like this.”

Fan JiJing wanted to say something, but since Hua HuaiXiu thrusted his mouth at him again, he tightly pressed his lips together and watched Lü QingTeng pass in front of him and walk down the mountain in desolation.

Right as she disappeared from their sights, Fan JiJing pushed Hua HuaiXiu aside at once. “Cousin, please don’t make this kind of joke again.”

Hua HuaiXiu desperately tried to hold back the displeasure from being pushed away as he raised his eyebrows and looked at him: “How do you know that was a joke?”

Fan JiJing stood there as silent as a piece of wood.

“For whom do you think I offered to go all the way to Wudang myself to congratulate longevity?” Since the topic was brought up, Hua HuaiXiu went forward in revealing all the secrets. He already had enough of Fan JiJing’s dullness or avoidance to brush him off. Since he had to say it out loud sooner or later, then the sooner was better: at least he could get a quick answer this way!

Fan JiJing mumbled, “Isn’t it for LingYun Daozhang?”

“LingYun Daozhang has Ci’en Fangzhang to worry for him. How does it relate to me?”

“Bu-but…”

Hua HuaiXiu approached him more aggressively: “For whom do you think I left home? For whom do you think I argued with my father?”

Fan JiJing was slightly stunned: “Isn’t it for yourself?”

“Of course it’s for myself.” Hua HuaiXiu admitted frankly. “For the me that fell for an obtuse piece of wood many years ago!”

Fan JiJing really stiffened into a piece of wood.

 

Translator’s Notes:

  1. Betrothal gift: gift that the bridegroom’s family sends to the bride’s family as a formal agreement of the marriage. [back]
  2. Hou: Marquis. It literally means Marquis Snow-Cloth. [back]

 

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