FRS: Chapter 24 – Unknown Love (6)
Translator: Momoe Pom
Quality Check: Isalee
First Published on Ainushi.
Hua HuaiXiu felt his face burning. Not only because Fan JiJing was holding him in his arms, but also because he had publicly jumped onto the roof under so many gazes while holding him in his arms.
“I said I would catch up with you.” He grinded his teeth and protested in whispers.
Unfortunately, it was no different from a coquettish request in Fan JiJing’s ears. “The assassins from the Assassin Sect know how to exploit every single opportunity. I don’t want you to be injured.”
Hua HuaiXiu was not happy. “The injured one has to be me?”
Fan JiJing suddenly lifted his hand, pointing to a group of houses in the dark. “The Assassin Sect is right there.”
It didn’t seem like it to Hua HuaiXiu however he looked. He doubted, “How do you know?”
Fan JiJing stopped his feet, pulling out a piece of paper from his clothes. “Look.”
Hua HuaiXiu took over and looked at it. The vivid houses on the paper were no different from the scene in front of his eyes. It was just that one of the residences was circled in red, standing out from the layers of houses.
He glanced at the inscription. “Zhou HuaiSheng from the Demonic Sect, Luoyang Subdivision?” To be honest, even though the Demonic Sect and the moral sects formed an alliance during the eradication of the Lanyan League, in the hearts of the people from the moral sects, the Demonic Sect was still an evil sect from the underworld. Therefore, when he saw Fan JiJing in contact with the Demonic Sect, he couldn’t help but bear a grudge.
Fan JiJing realized what he was thinking, so he explained, “I asked Sect Leader Ji to ask Mr. Yuan for a favor.”
Whether it was Ji WuDi or Yuan AoCe, Hua HuaiXiu didn’t have a good opinion on either of them. However, because they were Fan JiJing’s friends, he said tepidly, “Why bother them just for my business?”
Fan JiJing asked, “Isn’t your business my business as well? If it’s my business, then I’ll solve it my way.”
At this point, it would only seem argumentative if he continued. Hua HuaiXiu had to stop saying any more.
Fan JiJing jumped down the roof. He held Hua HuaiXiu by the hand as the latter followed him, then slowed down his pace and walked toward that residence.
It was the dead of night.
The clamorous market now seemed like yesterday’s prosperity.
The starry night and the houses around them merged into one scene, bundling the two of them separately like a curtain made of dark clouds.
Hua HuaiXiu slowly said, “Is the Jiuhua Sect alright?” Recalling how Fan JiJing appeared in front of him in a moment of life or death, he must have rushed over in hurry. He had just succeeded the position of zhangmen. It was the exact period of time to win people’s hearts. There would probably be gossip and remarks if he left like this.
Hua HuaiXiu thought about this, and his felt overjoyed and yet worried at the same time.
Fan JiJing laughed, “Everything’s good.”
Hua HuaiXiu thought he was merely comforting him, so he consoled back, “Neither your shishu nor your shixiongdi are easy to deal with. But since you are absent, they might end up holding each other back.”
Fan JiJing looked at him, all smiles. “Cousin has sharp eyes.”
Hua HuaiXiu saw how composed he appeared. It didn’t seem like he was faking it, so he asked surprisingly, “Don’t tell me they’ve really never opposed you!”
Fan JiJing replied, “Umm, they each had their own pursuit.”
Song BoLin cherished his life, while Guan Xing cherished Shi JiZhong.
Hua HuaiXiu still had doubts inside, so he stared at Fan JiJing indomitably.
Fan JiJing had to answer, “I used some small tricks.”
Hua HuaiXiu had not only experienced his tricks before; in fact, he could never forget it, so he replied with some ridicule, “I almost would have forgotten if you hadn’t brought it up. It’s good enough that you don’t go bully others, how could they possibly bully you?”
Fan JiJing said, “It doesn’t matter if I’m bullied by others or not. It’s good enough as long as Cousin is not bullied by others.”
Hua HuaiXiu sneered, “I’m not afraid of being bullied. I’m only afraid of being deceived by some people.”
Fan JiJing’s face was extremely thick. He laughed, “It is clear that in Cousin’s mind, I’m more important than anyone else.”
“Shh.” Hua HuaiXiu suddenly put his finger under his lips, then pouted at the residence in front, asking, “Look, is it this residence?”
Fan JiJing answered without even looking at it, “It’s right here.”
Hua HuaiXiu unconsciously lightened his footsteps. “How come there’s no sound?”
Fan JiJing said, “Apart from the ones we encountered on the way, there’s probably not many people left in the Assassin Sect.”
Hua HuaiXiu finally knew why he dared to fight all the way to the headquarters of the Assassin Sect unaccompanied.
Fan JiJing said, “According to what I know, the leader of the Assassin Sect is not someone easy to deal with.” While he was talking, he hid Hua HuaiXiu behind him, then slowly came before the main entrance of the residence.
The door was half-closed.
An indistinct pounding sound came out from inside.
Fan JiJing was counting the pounding sound silently.
Seeing him standing motionlessly in front of the door for quite a while, Hua HuaiXiu couldn’t help but ask, “Why don’t you go in?”
Fan JiJing heard that the pounding sound had finally stopped before he answered, “I was listening to how many people were in there.”
Hua HuaiXiu had already known since long ago that Fan JiJing’s martial arts skills were unfathomable, but he didn’t know it was unfathomable to such an extent. He hurriedly asked, “How many people?”
“Six are in the outer hall, six are in the inner hall, and there is one who is exceptionally skilled in martial arts.” Fan JiJing’s look was dignified when he said it.
Hua HuaiXiu frowned as he repeated, “Exceptionally skilled in martial arts?”
Fan JiJing sighed, “I’m afraid he’s nothing less than me.”
Hua HuaiXiu stared at him suspiciously, “If he is nothing less than you, then how could you hear it so easily?”
Fan JiJing was shocked inside, but his face remained calm and collected. “I could sense his killing intent. If you don’t believe me, you can count it yourself later.” He pushed the door with one hand and pulled Hua HuaiXiu with the other as he walked through the doorway.
Hua HuaiXiu said nervously, “Since they still have so many people, won’t it be better if we go back first and take our time to decide?” It was not like he was boosting other people’s morale and reducing their own, but because he was too clear about his own capability. Not to mention some super-skilled martial arts expert, he could not even fend off two second-rate ones. The other party still had thirteen people. Apart from the expert who was comparable to Fan JiJing, he would fight against twelve people by himself… Unless these twelve people were all some kind of wine sacks, he would definitely lose. He was afraid of death, but he was more afraid of implicating Fan JiJing.
The inside of the residence was eerie.
The moonlight had gone to hide somewhere, and only faint traces of stars were left. The difference between the scenery here and the flourishing market in Luoyang was far more than thousands of miles away.
Hua HuaiXiu looked around cautiously.
All of a sudden, Fan JiJing abruptly released his hand. He lightly jumped in mid-air like a flying swallow.
Before Hua HuaiXiu snapped out of it, the six catkins in the sky had already broken into twelve pieces.
Fan JiJing landed back on the ground, and instantly covered Hua HuaiXiu’s eyes with his hand.
Hua HuaiXiu pulled down his hand discontentedly. “I’m not a woman.” He glanced over the ground. “…” Fan JiJing’s hand was pulled back up in silence.
The residence had layer after layer of yards.
After walking for about half a cup of tea , Hua HuaiXiu felt the blood smell in his nose slightly dissipate. He finally set his mind back to the environment around them, asking, “Where are they ambushing?” If Fan JiJing was able to hear how many people were here, then he should also know where they were hiding, right?
Right after he finished, he saw six figures flash out from inside.
Right as Hua HuaiXiu was about to strike, Fan JiJing’s sword light spanned across between them like a ghost.
A white glimmer flashed across.
Six heads fell to the ground. Their eyes were like the eyes of oxen. There was still terror and panic left in their pupils before they died.
“They…” Hua HuaiXiu only said one word before he felt an intense killing intent rushing towards him from behind.
Fan JiJing drew him into his arms and turned away like a spinning top.
Hua HuaiXiu only heard a hum. His body was swaying like a little boat drifting on a current.
There was no sound of weapons crossing each other, only the sound of the wind falling incessantly on the ear.
Time was extended to five or six times its usual length at this moment.
Both Hua HuaiXiu’s back and palm started to sweat.
The sword broke with a crisp sound, which was immediately followed by Fan JiJing’s shout in a low voice, “Assassin Sect’s sect leader?”
“En.” An extremely brief reply.
“Why did you chase after Hua HuaiXiu to kill him?” Fan JiJing lowered his voice and asked this.
Hua HuaiXiu immediately realized that the Assassin Sect’s leader was already under control. He wanted to turn around, but Fan JiJing had him firmly locked, he was unable to move.
“If I take a person’s money, then I’ll solve their troubles.”
“Who is it?”
“If you want to kill me then do it.” The Assassin Sect’s leader answered coldly, “The Assassin Sect has already disappeared under the joint force of you and the Demonic Sect. Me staying here is precisely to wait for my death, what else do you want?”
“I can let you live.”
“How am I different now than being dead?”
Fan JiJing suddenly took a breath, saying, “Of course there is. If you’re alive, you can eat and sleep, walk and sing, and travel to other places. As long as people don’t die, there will always be many things they can do.”
The Assassin Sect’s leader did not say anything. The reason that a man could hold on to the resolution to die was none other than the fact that he had suddenly lost everything, that he had lost the will to live on. Once he found something he could cling to in his life, his will to die would start to waver.
“Besides, if neither of us says anything, then who else in the world will know that you’re the leader of the Assassin Sect?”
Assassin Sect’s sect leader said, “There is one more person who knows.”
“The buyer?” This was exactly what Fan JiJing wanted to know.
Assassin Sect’s leader hesitated.
Fan JiJing asked with a slight smile, “Is it the Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Rites?”
Hua HuaiXiu was shocked. Even though he had vaguely guessed who was possibly behind it, there was always a voice in his head that would deny it. The other party was a high-ranking official in the Imperial Court after all. He really didn’t need to pay someone to kill him.
Fan JiJing said, “He must have been distressed for a long time after Xuetu Hall disappeared.”
The Assassin Sect’s leader sighed, “I thought I could replace them at first.”
“Maybe you should regard it as a lesson to learn from rather than a role model.”
The Assassin Sect’s leader was startled. He had been concentrating his thoughts and efforts on establishing a number one assassin organization in the world like the Xuetu Hall, but it never occurred to him that an assassin organization was never an industry that could last.
Fan JiJing said, “Since he knows, you should make him unable to open his mouth forever.”
The Assassin Sect’s leader stayed silent for a while. Then he asked, “Is this your condition?”
“It benefits others as well as myself,” answered Fan JiJing.
“Listen for the news after one month. You know how to find me.” The Assassin Sect’s leader paused a little. “You’ve also bled a lot, are you still not letting me go?”
Hua HuaiXiu felt Fan JiJing who was holding him in his arms move a little, then heavy pressure came down onto his shoulder like a mountain. “You’re injured?” He grabbed Fan JiJing’s shoulder, looked down, and saw a blood red sheet around Fan JiJing’s lower abdomen. He hurriedly looked outside with alarm.
Fan JiJing smiled bitterly, “Even I end up like this, how much better could he be?”
As expected, Hua HuaiXiu saw a long trail of bloodstains extending as far as his eyes could see. Listening to their fluent conversation just now, he thought they were both perfectly uninjured. Now it seemed like both of them were actually firmly holding on despite the pain.
“Stop talking!” Hua HuaiXiu hastily aided him to the inner hall and found a chair for him to sit on. Then he started to fumble on his own body for vulnerary. He bought this vulnerary back then when he was on the run. He thought about throwing it away a few times, but he felt reluctant in the end. Out of his expectations, it had really came into use.
Seeing Hua HuaiXiu’s eyebrows tightly furrowed, Fan JiJing’s mouth pulled an unnoticeable smile.
 Traditional time counter. The time it takes to drink a cup of tea, about 10 minutes. [back]