FRS: Chapter 16 – Unknown Truth (7)

Translator: Momoe Pom

TLC: Puissansa

Editor:  Isabelle

Quality Check: Kai

First Published on Ainushi. 

 

 

 

 

The next morning.

Right as Fan JiJing stepped out from his room, he saw Hua HuaiXiu carrying a bundle, standing right there in his yard. He had his back towards him with his hands clasped behind his back.

“Cousin.” Spotting the bundle on his shoulder, Fan JiJing let out a sigh of relief. But at the same time, he was also a bit disappointed inevitably.

Hua HuaiXiu turned around. His fair and elegant countenance was now cold like frost. He pointed a finger towards him, then hooked it a few times. “Come.”

Fan JiJing’s eyes narrowed in doubt.

Hua HuaiXiu followed after and squinted his eyes as well, though instead of an attempt to size him up, it was a threat.

Fan JiJing sighed, walking over obediently.

Hua HuaiXiu did not wait for the other to arrive in front of him before he suddenly swung his hand for a surprise slap.

This action was quite fast for Hua HuaiXiu; however, in Fan JiJing’s eyes, it was not any different from swinging after arranging it over a discussion. He effortlessly raised his hand and stopped the palm that was about to greet his face.

Hua HuaiXiu glared at him.

Fan JiJing looked back and, with a slightly pleading tone, said, “Cousin.”

Hua HuaiXiu raised his eyebrows, but his gaze refused to budge even an inch.

Fan JiJing sighed, then let go of his hand.

Slap.

A crisp slap.

Hua HuaiXiu put down the slightly aching palm and said coldly, “From now on, you look after your own matters and leave me to my own affairs. We shall have nothing to do with each other anymore. The Great Zhangmen Fan!

Fan JiJing lowered his eyes, staring at his own shadow on ground.

The ice and frost in Hua HuaiXiu’s eyes disappeared, leaving only the despair from an unsuppressable heartache.

While he was lying on bed last night, he definitely decided that after giving him a slap, he would storm him with rain of curses. If the curses could turn him back into that blank, silly, and honest Fan JiJing, that would be even better. But when he actually stood in front of him, he knew at once that no matter how much he cursed, it would be to no avail. That blank, silly, and honest Fan JiJing had never existed — or rather, only existed within an enormous lie.

Despite it being a lie forced by necessity.

Hua HuaiXiu turned around resolutely.

He would rather spend ten years, twenty years, or even one lifetime to forget this painful history than stay here for even one more second.

Because this one second was indeed way too painful.

Fan JiJing raised his head, watching the distance between them get farther and farther… His expression was incessantly caught between struggle and endurance, turning back and forth like waves, until the other person completely disappeared from his line of sight.

He closed his eyes. When they opened again, no fluctuation of emotions could be seen in them anymore.

 

Song BoLin was filled with fury as he tramped through the Leyi Residence’s front gate.

He originally thought that letting Fan JiJing succeed the position of zhangmen would make things easier in the Jiuhua Sect. However, now he realized that what should have been simpler was not becoming any simpler — it was even more complicated now.

He strode to the doors of Fan JiJing’s room and, without even knocking, directly pushed them open.

Fan JiJing was wiping the table with a rag.

“JiJing!” Song BoLin almost could not believe his eyes. “What are you doing?”

Fan JiJing turned his head and looked at him innocently: “Wiping the table.”

“Wiping…” Song BoLin walked to the table, then suddenly gave it a heavy slap. “As the grand zhangmen of the Jiuhua Sect, how can you do these trivial chores yourself?”

“But I wiped them myself before.”

“Before is before. Since you have become zhangmen, naturally it would be different now.” Song BoLin sincerely wished he had slapped Fan JiJing’s head instead of the table.

Fan JiJing asked, “Is zhangmen very different?”

“Of course it’s different. Zhangmen is the leader of the Jiuhua Sect, a position that deserves respect. How can you do these type of menial things?”

“But when Song Shishu pushed open the door and came in just now, you didn’t seem to be thinking that the position of zhangmen deserves respect.” Fan JiJing blinked his eyes. His expression was still as serious and innocent as before.

All of the fury inside Song BoLin’s chest turned into shattered ice as if it had fallen into an icehouse.

He stared at Fan JiJing blankly, as if he wanted to make out something from his stare.

Fan JiJing lowered his head as if nothing had happened. He lifted Song BoLin’s hand, which was on the table from the slap, and asked as he cleaned the table, “Did Shishu come because something’s up?”

Barely holding back the strange feeling that was rippling in his heart, Song BoLin restrained his temper and replied, “The Mount Tai Sect and the Longxu Sect are waiting in the front hall right now.”

“Just let fifth shishu handle it,” said Fan JiJing.

In fact, Wu ChangBo had already gone. Song BoLin merely came to report it as a routine. Or perhaps, it should be said that he originally planned to inform Fan JiJing about it as a routine, but now he suddenly humbled himself consciously.

“And regarding the arrangements of the burial of the former zhangmen,” Song BoLin said, “I heard that zhangmen plans to bury him at the foot of Mount Jiuhua?”

Fan JiJing nodded: “Master’s martial arts was unrivaled and he himself was illustrious in the pugilistic world as well — a glory of the Jiuhua Sect. On one hand, burying him at the foot of Mount Jiuhua can protect our sect, while on the other hand, he can also be admired by the passersby that come and go. It’s truly the best of both sides.”

Knitting his brows, Song BoLin refuted, “But the fengshui [1] down the mountain is…”

“The talk of fengshui is sheer nonsense. If Master has his spirit up in the Heavens, he too would not mind,” responded Fan JiJing.

Song BoLin insisted, “That said, there are many people that pass by the foot of the mountain, thus creating many inconveniences…”

“Shishu.” Fan JiJing interrupted him again.

Song BoLin stopped himself, staring straight at him.

Fan JiJing slowly raised the corner of his mouth as he said, one word at a time: “I’ve decided already.”

All of a sudden, Song BoLin realized that he seemed to have underestimated one person since the very beginning, and the consequence of this underestimation was way too serious that it was even hard to imagine! The shattered ice inside his chest rushed all the way up to his face, his countenance cold: “You have changed.”

“Shishu, you’re being oversensitive.” There was not even a trace of panic on Fan JiJing’s face.

An absurd idea flashed across Song BoLin’s mind.

He still remembered that when he was discussing with Wu ChangBo back then about the murderer who killed Bu LouLian, the other once said, “Perhaps, what the murderer hopes is for us to stir the water more, making it even muddier, because muddied water is what makes it easy to catch the fish, and only then is the fisherman able to profit.”

And his reply was, “Humph! I’m afraid it’s not going to be that easy. Since he wants to fish in muddied water, I’ll just find someone on the shore and let them have the profit.”

He thought Fan JiJing was a person on the shore, but it was very likely that there never was a shore. Everyone was in the pond.

Fan JiJing was just the one hiding the deepest inside the pond.

Fan JiJing softly called out, “Shishu?”

Song BoLin suddenly said, “Bu LouLian was killed by you.” In fact, he had no evidence. He was simply giving it try to see if he would be able to draw Fan JiJing out so that he could more or less find some clue on his face —  like panic, astonishment, or surprise — in order to determine what kind of role he was playing in this event.

But there had to be an expression at least.

Fan JiJing did not have one.

He didn’t even blink his eyes as he said, “The dead man cannot be restored to life. Shishu, please don’t over grieve yourself.”

Song BoLin said, “That’s right. He’s already dead, and dead men tell no tales. In addition to you assuming the position of zhangmen, there surely is nothing for you to fear.” At this moment, countless thoughts were surging through his mind. If Fan JiJing really was Bu LouLian’s murderer, then his martial arts must have already reached an unfathomable level. At least he himself surely would not be a match for Fan JiJing if they were to fight alone. In fact, he might not even be able to escape. Furthermore, the other person had the heart to kill even the respected master who had been teaching him, not to speak of himself, who was only the shidi of the respected master.

As if he had seen through Song BoLin’s state of alertness, Fan JiJing suddenly said, “My parents were killed by Master.”

Song BoLin’s train of thought broke off as he stared at Fan JiJing in a daze.

Fan JiJing further explained, “I saw it with my own eyes.” Was it not for Bian Feng secretly hitting his vital point, perhaps there would be a family of three lying in the pool of blood back then instead of a pair.

Only after a brief moment did Song BoLin ask, “Why didn’t you say it?”

“Would you seek justice for me if I had said it?” There was a trace of ridicule in Fan JiJing’s eyes as he looked at Song BoLin.

Song BoLin’s lips trembled, but he wasn’t able to speak.

Fan JiJing continued, “The pugilistic world has always been that — the strong preys on the weak. In the Jiuhua Sect, who was Bu LouLian’s match? And who would dare to fight against Bu LouLian?” Not even Bian Feng who had seen it with his own eyes dared to, let alone Song BoLin.

“Your level of martial arts has already surpassed that of Bu LouLian’s.” Song BoLin said these words with the intention of sounding him out.

Fan JiJing did not deny it.

After trying it two times, Song BoLin had pretty much confirmed that Fan JiJing was precisely the murderer who killed Bu LouLian. At this time, not denying anything was exactly the equivalence of acquiescence!

But he himself didn’t have a favorable impression of Bu LouLian either. Besides, Bu LouLian was also the murderer who killed the Fans, therefore his heart inevitably favoured Fan JiJing. Even though what Fan JiJing did would strike terror in others, after a second thought, he found it also pardonable. “Why didn’t you expose him?”

Fan JiJing sneered, “Expose the fact that the zhangmen of the Jiuhua Sect is such a deranged murderer that he even killed his shidi and his shidi’s wife? In that case, how would the other martial artists look at our sect?” Since he was prepared to become the zhangmen of the Jiuhua Sect, he definitely would not allow any news that was unfavorable to the Jiuhua Sect to come up.

Song BoLin was speechless. Till this moment, he had to admit that he was far behind Fan JiJing in terms of schemes. “So you were waiting for a chance all along? Waiting for a chance to kill him secretly then shift the blame to every one of us, letting us suspect each other while harvesting all the profits yourself?”

Fan JiJing gave a simpering smile. “Shishu, you’re over-concerned.”

Song BoLin swore that he was definitely not over-concerned this time! “What’s your next step? Who else is still a thorn in your flesh?”

The smile on Fan JiJing’s face disappeared. He coldly gazed at Song BoLin.

Song BoLin felt a burst of chill in his heart.

Fan JiJing slowly said, “Shishu, all I want is to carry the Jiuhua Sect forward, so that I can comfort the spirits of Master and my father.”

Looking at his devoted expression, Song BoLin only felt soaked by the chill from head to toe — so cold that he was nearly unable to speak.

Fan JiJing put down the rag and bowed respectfully. “Therefore, Shishu, please guide and assist me in this.”

Song BoLin pulled the corner of his mouth, but he could not come up with a laugh: “Do you even need other people’s guidance and assistance?”

“After all, the Jiuhua Sect is a sect of the living. Shishu, don’t you think so?” Fan JiJing smiled.

 

Translator’s Notes:

[1] Fengshui: A Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment that is widely used to orient buildings — often spiritually significant structures such as tombs. [back]

Table of Contents

Liked it? Take a second to support Momoe Pom on Patreon!