FRS: Chapter 3 – Unknown Murderer (3)
Translator: Momoe Pom
First Published on Ainushi.
Right after Fan JiJing and the others had been attacked, Hua HuaiXiu came to visit. It was such a coincidence that Song BoLin could not help but suspect a connection between them.
He pondered for a moment, then sent out a trusted disciple to lead Hua HuaiXiu to the hall while randomly bringing Fan JiJing and the others into a guest room.
Since his mind was loaded with thoughts, he failed to notice the others’ expressions when he pushed open the door until the powder fragrance caught his attention. His embarrassment burst out in the form of anger as he raised his head and was struck by the sight of two dudou  hanging over the screen. “Whose room is this?!”
ShangGuan DingNing was utterly embarrassed that she almost cried. However, she had to hold it back and force herself to reply: “Shishu, it’s my room.”
“Your room, your room…” Song BoLin wanted to scold her, but after a few deep breaths he could not think of an excuse, so he only said angrily, “Why don’t you close the door?”
ShangGuan DingNing answered, “It was closed,” feeling wronged.
“Then how come it…” Song BoLin lowered his head and looked at the latch on ground that he had forcefully broke. “Why is the latch so weak?”
Everyone stared at the ground.
Song BoLin also found himself acting unreasonably, so he ferociously said to ShangGuan DingNing, “Next time, don’t choose a room that can be found this easily!”
“Yes, shishu.” ShangGuan DingNing responded through her clenched teeth.
Song BoLin angrily turned around and asked Zhu LiaoDa: “Where is your room?”
Of course there was no dudou in Zhu LiaoDa’s room, but there were socks and shoes. Very stinky socks and shoes.
As Song BoLin entered the room, he immediately felt that it was hard to breathe, as if someone had covered his mouth and nose.
“This…” He opened his mouth, which only caused him to suck in more of the stink. Seeing Song BoLin was about to roll his eyes and faint, Fan JiJing and Guan Xing instantly opened windows and doors to let the smell dissipate.
“Shishu.” Zhu LiaoDa was already prepared for rebukes, seeing how livid Song BoLin was.
Song BoLin glared at him bitterly, then spoke despite the stuffiness in his chest: “The fact that Zhangmen was killed on Mount Jiuhua is a shame to the entire Jiuhua Sect. Until the murderer is caught, no one is allowed to leak a word to anyone! If someone asks about it, just tell them Zhangmen is in seclusion .”
Fan JiJing looked reluctant.
Song BoLin’s words were originally addressed to him, so he further supplemented: “Cousins  included.”
Fan JiJing said, “Then I’ll enter seclusion too.”
“…” Song BoLin was so angry his clenched teeth creaked. “Entering seclusion right after you come back to Jiuhua, aren’t you simply telling others that unspeakable things have happened in the Jiuhua Sect?”
Fan JiJing replied, “Of all things I’ve done in life, there is nothing that is inconceivable.”
“But you didn’t kill Zhangmen shixiong! How does it even concern you? Why do you need to inform others about it?”
“‘Truth is the beginning and end of existence. Without truth there is no existence. It is for this reason that the moral man values truth.  ’ ” Fan JiJing responded, “Cousin has always treated me like his sibling, how could I have the heart to lie to him?”
Song BoLin wanted to crack open his head with a hammer to see if it was filled with wood. “You…”
Nonetheless, Fan JiJing gazed back with even bigger and wider eyes than him.
Fortunately, most of the smells inside the room had dissipated, allowing him to regain a bit of his better mood. “Forget it. Hua HuaiXiu might not even ask about Zhangmen.”
The sound of rapid footsteps came from outside, followed by a disciple’s voice coming from outside the door: “Master.”
“What’s the matter?” asked Song BoLin.
“Third Hua Gongzi would like to meet with Zhangmen.”
“…” Song BoLin looked towards Fan JiJing.
The determination on Fan JiJing’s face did not change.
“Let him wait there for now.” He let out a breath, as if he had made a very important decision. “If this is what you insist, then I’m afraid that I have to…”
“Shishu, please have mercy on him.” Shi JiZhong frowned.
Guan Xing subtly took half a step forward.
Zhu LiaoDa hesitated for a moment, then followed him.
ShangGuan DingNing’s face had been pale for a while, and now she was on the verge of screaming.
“Have mercy?” Song BoLin stared at them coldly: “What do you think I was going to do?”
Fan JiJing stepped out from behind Guan Xing, looked at him sincerely and said, “It is I who disobeyed shishu’s order. Even if shishu decides to punish me, I will have no word against it.”
“Then you better atone for what you did.” Song BoLin said, “I’ll give you half a month to find out who the murderer is. Otherwise, it won’t be as simple a wrong as disobeying my orders.”
Fan JiJing responded solemnly, “Even if shishu doesn’t ask me, I would never have allowed the murderer to go unpunished.”
“Also,” So BoLin continued, “within this half month, your cousin is not allowed to leave Mount Jiuhua even half a step, nor is he allowed to use mailing pigeons or write letters. Basically, don’t let the news leave here.”
Fan JiJing opened his mouth.
Song BoLin cut him off immediately. “If you still take me as your shishu, then do it as I said.”
“But cousin and the Hua Family…” Fan JiJing knew how many rules the Hua Family had, so he was reluctant to give his cousin a hard time.
“Do you think that just because you don’t lie, no one else in this world lies? ” Song BoLin let out a sigh. “Nevermind, I’ll go talk to him.”
Fan JiJing felt relieved.
If Song BoLin had really asked him to say it, he would not know how to even start.
Song BoLin glanced at the others and said, “Since you all kept saying that it was some other person who killed your master, you should have clear consciences then. Assist him with all you have to solve the case as soon as possible.”
Zhu LiaoDa considered the matter quickly as he said, “But that person is so skilled in martial arts…”
Song BoLin said, “Why not just say that you are unskilled?”
Zhu LiaoDa did not dare to say anything else.
“I’ll go meet Hua HuaiXiu.” Song BoLin swung his sleeve and left.
Everyone else was left inside the room, each occupied with their own thoughts.
Zhu LiaoDa could not resist and spoke first: “Where is third shidi going to start from?”
Fan JiJing answered, “I want to ask shishu for permission to see Master’s remains.”
His words stunned everyone in the room.
Not only were Zhu LiaoDa and ShangGuan DingNing moved, but Shi JiZhong and Guan Xing also showed surprise on their faces.
Zhu LiaoDa was the first to snap out of it. He then clapped and said, “Indeed!”
ShangGuan DingNing said softly, “But shishu may not agree.”
Zhu LiaoDa gave Fan JiJing’s shoulder a slap with a laugh:, “Now it’s Song Shishu asking third shidi to investigate the case. Since he asked him to investigate, then how could he refuse to let him examine the remains?”
“Shidi.” Guan Xing’s words were normally scant, but every sentence he spoke carried weight.
At the moment, Zhu LiaoDa did not dare to say anymore.
Guan Xing looked at Fan JiJing and said, “This case is covered with layers of fogs, if you want to investigate it thoroughly, I’m afraid you’ll encounter quite a few obstacles.”
Fan JiJing saluted  and said, “I understand.”
Guan Xing only nodded. “That’s good.”
Zhu LiaoDa swept his eyes over them and said, “People say that ‘If brothers are of the same mind, their sharpness can cut through metal.’ Although we are not biological brothers but mere shixiongdi, as long as we unite our minds and efforts, there is nothing that we can’t do!”
Shi JiZhong said frigidly, “The only person appointed for the investigation is third shixiong.”
Zhu LiaoDa said, “So what? Shouldn’t we, as shixiongdi, help each other? Are you saying we should leave third shixiong to face the deadline alone a half month later?”
Shi JiZhong said, “You too are one of the suspects.”
“You,” Zhu LiaoDa almost lost his temper. However, as he glanced at Guan Xing who was standing next to him, he made some effort to suppress the anger and said, “Weren’t you the same?”
ShangGuan DingNing, seeing that Fan JiJing had been silently staring out of the window for a moment, came to his side and said softly, “What is third shixiong looking at?”
Fan JiJing replied, “I’m wondering what shishu will say to cousin.”
Although Hua HuaiXiu had finished his talk with Song BoLin quickly and settled into the room right next to Fan JiJing, he still didn’t know what Song BoLin said to him.
Sitting on the side, Hua HuaiXiu was slowly brewing tea as he ordered disciples from the Jiuhua Sect to change the beddings into the ones he had brought.
Fan JiJing couldn’t stop himself from asking, “Cousin, why did you come to Jiuhua?”
Hua HuaiXiu answered without raising his eyelids: “I felt like coming, so I came.”
“But hasn’t Hua Family been urging you to go home?”
Hua HuaiXiu said, “I have been back already.”
“This fast?” Fan JiJing was slightly shocked. According to what he knew, the Hua Family had exceptionally strict rules, and their clansmen are required to spend several months with their parents each year. Unless something important happened, it would be impossible for them to allow Hua HuaiXiu to leave right after he had gone back.
Hua HuaiXiu turned his head and looked at the Jiuhua disciples who were sweating from making the beds. He slightly raised his eyebrows, then stood up and said, “Thank you everyone, I can take care of the rest myself.”
As if they had been given an amnesty, the Jiuhua disciples saluted one by one and then hastened to take their leave.
After they closed the door, Hua HuaiXiu sat back down and said, “I ran away from home.”
Fan JiJing was stunned. “Why?”
“To escape from marrying.”
“Was she the Song Guniang  that we met in Ankang City last time? I think she is very graceful and will make a good spouse.”
Hua HuaiXiu’s hand, which was holding the teapot, paused for a moment before he steadily filled Fan JiJing’s cup and asked, “Oh? So you like.”
Fan JiJing shook his hand immediately and denied it. “Of course not.”
“Not her.” Hua HuaiXiu pointed to the cup in front of him with his eyes. “Have some tea.”
Fan JiJing picked up the cup without any suspicion and took a sip. His face crinkled at once. “Tastes so bitter.”
Hua HuaiXiu laughed proudly. “This is corptis . Of course it would be bitter.”
Fan JiJing said, “Why did you brew corptis?”
“It’s for you,” replied Hua HuaiXiu with a smile, “it’s good for your body.”
Fan JiJing stared at the liquid inside his cup with a face more bitter than the corptis.
Rankings of Last Generation:
1) Bu LouLian
2) Song BoLin
3) Bian Feng (Hasn’t shown up yet)
4) Fan Ying (Fan JiJing’s father)
5) Wu ChangBo
Rankings of Current Generation:
1) Guan Xing
2) Zhu LiaoDa
3) Fan JiJing
4) ShangGuan DingNing
5) Shi JiZhong
- Dudou: Female underwear for ancient Chinese [back]
- Seclusion: The original term is Biguan (闭关). Martial artists may choose to enter seclusion, which means they lock themselves inside a closed space to prevent distractions from the outside world in order to focus on training their skills or mentality. [back]
- Cousin: The original word biaoge (表哥) refers to elder cousin (male) from the mother’s side. For the sake of length it will be referred to as ‘cousin’ in this story. [back]
- The passage was taken from Zhongyong or The Doctrine of the Mean. [back]
- Referring to fist salutation (抱拳礼) which is often used by people who practice martial arts. [back]
- Guniang: polite suffix for young girls, like Miss. [back]
- Coptis Chinensis: herb that is used in Chinese medicine known for its bitterness. [back]