FRS: Chapter 17 – Unknown Truth (8)
Translator: Momoe Pom
Quality Check: Kai
First Published on Ainushi.
After Wu ChangBo finished settling the disciples of the Mount Tai Sect and the Longxu Sect down, he saw Song BoLin spacing out as he sat by the table as soon as he returned to his room.
“How did you come in?” He remembered that he had definitely closed the doors when he had left.
Song BoLin said, “I want to ask you about something.”
“I just asked you something as well,” Wu ChangBo said irritably.
Song BoLin ignored him and continued by himself. “If, I’m saying if, I found out that the murderer who killed Bu LouLian was Fan JiJing, what should we do?”
Wu ChangBo was stunned and after quite a while, he asked, “Bu LouLian’s murderer is Fan JiJing?”
“I’m saying — if.” Song BoLin shouted, trying to sound strong although he was in fact weak.
Wu ChangBo closed the doors behind him and sat face-to-face with Song BoLin. He lowered his voice and asked, “But no one uses this sort of thing to make an assumption for no reason. How did you find out?”
Song BoLin sighed, “I guessed.”
“…” Wu ChangBo believed that his expression must have looked ridiculous now.
Song BoLin added, “But he didn’t deny it.”
“Fan JiJing didn’t deny it?” Wu ChangBo looked at him in astonishment.
Song BoLin impatiently replied, “You don’t believe me?”
“It’s not like I don’t believe you, but according to Fan JiJing’s character…” ‘He should have refuted the claim with severe and categorical terms.’ Wu ChangBo stared at Song BoLin in suspicion, and a thought suddenly flashed across his mind. ‘Could it be that he regrets handing over the position of zhangmen to Fan JiJing and therefore is trying to get it back by all means?’
Song BoLin answered without even lifting his head. “I know what you’re thinking about, but what I want to tell you is that the Fan JiJing you formerly knew is not the real Fan JiJing.”
“Your incoherent speech lost me completely.” Wu ChangBo shrugged. “Be concise. What happened?”
Song BoLin hesitated for a moment and then relayed every detail to Wu ChangBo, no matter how big or how small, of his visit to Fan JiJing today one by one in order.
Wu ChangBo’s curious expression in the beginning gradually changed into a grave look. In the end, he was so shocked that he was left speechless.
Song BoLin let out a breath: “Now let’s come back to the first question. What should we do if the murderer is Fan JiJing?”
Wu ChangBo blurted out, “Punish him according to the sect rules!”
Song BoLin looked in askance at him.
Only then did Wu ChangBo realize how much impediment there was behind his words. First of all, the claim that Fan JiJing was the murderer was only a one-sided statement from Song BoLin. Fan JiJing had never admitted it throughout the entire conversation between the two of them. Not to mention, he also had Hua HuaiXiu as his witness, which made him much less likely a suspect than any other person on Mount Jiuhua. Secondly, since Fan JiJing was able to kill Bu LouLian in secret, it was obvious how high the level of his martial skills was. It was probable that even if he joined forces with Song BoLin, they still might not be Fan JiJing’s match. If Fan JiJing’s true colors were really like what Song BoLin had said, then it would be as difficult as ascending the heavens for the Jiuhua Sect to punish him. Finally, it was true that murdering one’s master was a grand crime of disobedience, but Bu LouLian had killed both Fan Ying and his wife in the past. Since killing one’s parents was an absolute irreconcilable grudge, it could be said that Fan JiJing had a good pretext to kill Bu LouLian.
Adding up all of these things, he finally knew why Fan JiJing dared to act so openly without fear.
Seeing Wu ChangBo remain speechless for a long time, Song BoLin knew that this difficult problem baffled him as well. “In fact, I was thinking why he decided to tell me.”
Wu ChangBo responded, “Perhaps, he has repressed himself for too long.”
Song BoLin turned his head and looked at him.
“For someone carrying the deep bloody debt of the murders of his parents ever since he was young, and to be extremely deferential in front of his foe, putting on a filial appearance as if nothing had happened — would not be an easy thing to do in the first place.” Wu ChangBo sighed. After he calmed down, he even had some sympathy for him.
Recalling the Fan JiJing in the past and then thinking about the Fan JiJing today, Song BoLin shook his head. “If it was me, I would’ve said it straight out.”
“Moreover,” Wu ChangBo paused for a second before continuing, “I’m afraid that there was half a sentence of his that was real.”
Song BoLin frowned, “Half a sentence?” ‘Are you saying that all the others are fake?’
“He wanted to bring the Jiuhua Sect to a higher level in order to comfort the spirits of his Master and his father in heaven.” Wu ChangBo paused for a moment. “Of course, he only comforted the Fan Ying’s spirit in heaven.”
Song BoLin asked, “What do you mean?”
Wu ChangBo replied, “If he really thinks this way, then he must obtain support from both of us.”
“By means of threatening?”
“If not so, how can he show his ability?” Wu ChangBo imagined Song BoLin’s look when he was threatened and thought it must have been quite a good scene.
Song BoLin coldly humphed, “It was not you who was there at that time.” Had he not experienced it himself, who would have thought that Fan JiJing was that frightening?
Wu ChangBo only smiled but did not say anything.
Song BoLin was also too lazy to explain: “Then what should we do next?”
“Wait and see.” Wu ChangBo gave it a few thoughts then said, “In fact, besides waiting and seeing, there is nothing else that we can do.”
Song BoLin muttered, “Should we tell Guan Xing and the others?”
“There’s no need.” Wu ChangBo said, “If what I have thought of Fan JiJing is indeed correct, then the next person he is going to rope in would be Guan Xing.”
As it came to his mind that there would be another person to suffer from the shock and that person would be Guan Xing, whom he had always found to be obnoxious, Song BoLin could not help but secretly feel good inside his heart.
Wu ChangBo said, “Perhaps, he’ll use a different way.”
“What do you mean?”
“They are shixiongdi after all.” Wu ChangBo suddenly had a strong desire to go and take a peek, as he wanted to see how Fan JiJing would take his next move. However, since his martial arts were not very good, he was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to successfully spy on him.
Song BoLin snorted abruptly, “And I’m his shishu.”
“Bu LouLian is his master.”
Fan JiJing and Guan Xing were having tea in the garden.
The exuberant greenness which filled the eyes left Guan Xing in a pretty good mood.
Fan JiJing grabbed the teapot and filled both of their cups. “How is fifth shidi lately?”
“Pretty good.” Ever since he admitted that he had improper desires for Shi JiZhong in front of Fan JiJing, his heart had been much lighter.
Fan JiJing slowly put down the pot. “I want to bring the Jiuhua Sect to a greater height.”
Guan Xing lifted his head and stared at him.
Fan JiJing kept his composure and allowed him to look.
Quite a while passed.
Guan Xing slowly said, “Isn’t this the sect leader’s obligation for the Jiuhua Sect?”
Fan JiJing smiled as he answered, “That’s right.”
“What can I do for zhangmen?” Guan Xing asked on his own initiative, quite aware of how to play the game.
Fan JiJing said, “I want to abolish part of the sect rules.”
Guan Xing asked, “Such as?”
“Anyone who joins our Jiuhua Sect can learn the Xianlian Sword.”
Guan Xing was slightly surprised.
The reason why the Xianlian Sword was only passed to one person per generation was to ensure the supreme status of zhangmen in the sect, such as Bu LouLian — not to prevent the ultimate skill of the Jiuhua Sect from spreading to the outside world. Since Fan JiJing brought up such a proposal, either he was of a kind disposition or he had confidence that no one could shake his position.
Guan Xing stared at the man who had grown up together with him. He once thought that Fan JiJing was the former, but as time passed by, he had gradually perceived the unfathomable depths of Fan JiJing. This was because he believed that no matter how lucky one was, it was impossible that he would be so lucky as to easily and unobtrusively dodge every single hidden plot from Bu LouLian.
Perhaps it was because of this unfathomable depth. Ever since Bu LouLian was killed and Fan JiJing came back, swearing to find the murderer, the thoughts of putting his own safety before the matters of principle had already come to his mind.
How could you be the rival of a person whom you could not even see clearly?
“Shi Xiong?” Fan JiJing softly called.
Guan Xing replied, “All will be at zhangmen’s command.”
After Fan JiJing proposed the reform, it provoked an outburst of astonishment as expected.
Zhu LiaoDa was the first one to jump out, stating that the matter could not be done.
Guan Xing reminded him indifferently on the side. “Back then, when Master wanted to teach the Xianlian Sword to the three of us, you were the loudest one to second it.”
Zhu LiaoDa’s face flushed. While he was pondering about how to refute it, he heard Fan JiJing say with a smile, “Since this matter concerns the many disciples of the Jiuhua Sect, it would be better to let everyone vote on it together to decide.”
Teaching the Xianlian Sword to the disciples of Jiuhua Sect was like a pie falling into everyone’s lap. Who would be so dumb to decline it?
Even though Zhu LiaoDa was unwilling to give in, he dared not run risks of offending the entire Jiuhua Sect, and thus, the matter was decided.
Right on the second day, Fan JiJing appointed Guan Xing and Shi JiZhong as instructors to teach the Xianlian Sword to other disciples.
Zhu LiaoDa was dissatisfied, but since the situation was beyond his control now, there was nothing much he could do. He locked himself up in his room and focused on practicing martial arts every day, only to wish that one day his skills could surpass all the others, making Fan JiJing concede defeat against him.
Song BoLin and Wu ChangBo also longed for the sword art, but due to their position as shishu, they could not lower their dignity so much to study it together with the other people.
As if he knew what they were thinking about, Fan JiJing soon delivered the scripts of the Xianlian Sword himself to Song BoLin’s room on that evening.
Song BoLin stared at the sword script in his hands, but he did not take it over. “What does zhangmen mean by this?”
“Shishu’s martial arts attainment is surely above eldest shixiong and me. If the Xianlian Sword is taught by us, I’m afraid we would fail to give the essentials of it. Therefore, I hereby request shishu to please meditate and comprehend the sword scripts yourself to carry the Xianlian Sword to greater heights.”
Hearing that he had given him enough face as well as respect for his ability, Song BoLin’s loathe and hostility towards him somewhat decreased. He quietly returned, “Is zhangmen not afraid of nurturing future troubles?”
Fan JiJing pulled a faint smile and asked, “According to Song Shishu’s opinion…who is capable of causing trouble?”
Staring at his confident face, Song BoLin took back his good opinion of him in silence.