Chapter 404 - Moonlight Mark? Liu Sect?
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don't read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Ji Yunshu’s gaze darkened as she wordlessly pulled Wei Yi up from the ground. “Wei Yi, tell me. What happened?”
Wei Yi shuffled behind Ji Yunshu, pointing towards the snowflake congee on the floor. “Shu’er, I accidentally bumped into this sister, spilling her congee. But it was an accident! I swear, it wasn’t on purpose!”
“You did so!” Zhang Xinlan was furious. She glanced sideways and spotted Wen Lingyang who had tagged along with Ji Yunshu. She ran up towards him and held onto his arm, complaining first before the others could say a word. “Lingyang, I spent a whole day making this snowflake congee for you, but it’s all ruined by that idiot. It’s all that idiot’s fault for walking into me without looking. You must help me.”
Wen Lingyang’s expression darkened, pulling his arm back as he scolded her instead, “He already said that he didn’t do this on purpose, so why are you putting him on the spot?”
“I’m not putting him on the spot, it was obviously that idiot who bumped into me, it was him…”
“Xinlan,” Wen Lingyang reprimanded her. “Mind your manners.”
Zhang Xinlan felt wronged. She glared angrily at Wei Yi as she stomped over and scoffed, “Where did this idiot come from? Clumsy fool, not watching where you walk - you need to pay me back for my snowflake congee.”
“Shut your mouth!” Ji Yunshu suddenly cut in. This was the first time she had been this worked up throughout this journey.
Zhang Xinlan flinched, her large, round eyes landing on Ji Yunshu. “Who… who are you?” She was frightened byJi Yunshu’s imposing manner.
Ji Yunshu replied coldly, “Listen up. Wei Yi’s not an idiot, and you don’t have any right to call him these names. If you want us to pay you for your snowflake congee, then we will pay you what it cost, not a drop of water or a grain of rice less. As for the time you spent on it, once you’ve estimated that roughly, just send me a bill and I’ll return you every single cent.”
Ugh! Zhang Xinlan swallowed; she was at a complete loss of words.She opened and closed her mouth as if she had ingested a fly and choked on it. She finally stammered out an explanation. “I don’t care for the silvers that I spent, but I specially made this bowl of snowflake congee for Lingyang.”
“Take it that I’ve already eaten it. Stop fooling around.” Wen Lingyang pulled her away as he warned, “Return home quickly. This is the yamen, not your playground.”
“Lingyang, you…” Her pooled tears were threatening to fall, when a hoarse voice shouted across the hall,
They turned to see Constable Zhang scurry in, his brow glistening with sweat. “Teacher Ji, His Highness said…”
“Big brother.” He was interrupted by Zhang Xinlan who sniffled as she crept up beside him.
Constable Zhang only then realised that his own younger sister was present. He momentarily forgot what message he was to pass on to Ji Yunshu as he asked, “What are you doing here?”
“I came here looking for Lingyang. The snowflake congee that I spent the whole day making was spilled by somebody. Big brother, you must help me - it was that idiot who spilled it. He keeps insisting that he didn’t do it on purpose, but is it alright if it wasn’t on purpose?” She pointed to Wei Yi, then Ji Yunshu, “And this person - I don’t know where she sprouted from, but she scolded me earlier.”
“Nonsense!” Constable Zhang slapped her outstretched hand away as he gave her a dressing-down. “These two are Prince Rong’s men, what are you going on about?”
Huh? Zhang Xinlan stumbled backwards in shock, her eyes widened in alarm. As she eyed Ji Yunshu, she suddenly felt as if she had committed a grave mistake. She hunched in on herself and hung her head in remorse. All she wished for in that instant was for a hole in the ground to magically appear for her to hide herself in, disappearing from their sights!
Constable Zhang remembered what he was here for, and quickly conveyed his message. , “Teacher Ji, His Highness wants you to head over. He said some Zhao Huai was here.” Ji Yunshu nodded, putting aside the recent incident as she pulled Wei YI along to the front yard.
Before Constable Zhang left to follow Ji Yunshu, he did not neglect to give his own sister another warning. “Isn’t it just a bowl of some snowflake congee? You’ve described it as if he threatened your life. If you offend Teacher Ji, you’re offending His Highness - at that point, even though I’m your big brother, there’d be nothing I can do! Can’t you, for once, just watch your mouth? Stop causing unnecessary trouble for me.” He flicked his sleeves forcefully and left.
“Big Brother,” Zhang Xinlan held back her tears infuriatingly. Wen Lingyang followed Constable Zhang out, leaving only her and that spilt snowflake congee on the ground.
Zhao Huai stood in the middle of the court as if he were here to audit his superiors, and not the other way around. His gaze was as straight fixed steadily ahead, the bulge of his impressive muscules clear even through his robes. He stood upright, calm as a cucumber, with a look on his face that seemed to say ‘I dare you to challenge me’. Before him stood Jing Rong, whose aura was no less imposing. In fact, he emitted an additional touch of frostiness, sending shivers down everyone else’s spine!
One wore the finest brocades, the other wore coarse cotton and tiger skin
One was regal and cold, the other unrefined and wild.
One cut a tall, elegant figure, the other burly and stocky.
The two of them were as different as night and day.
An unseen, dark fire seethed between and around them, threatening to explode at any moment. Whether it was Fang Mingsan or the yamen runners - none of them dared to go near them, for fear of being caught in this tussle!
This was the scene Ji Yunshu walked into. Fortunately, her arrival broke the tense atmosphere. Once Zhao Huai saw Ji Yunshu, all his killing intent disappeared, his sharp gaze softening into one of obedience. Ji Yunshu eyed his amputated arm, guessing that he must have recovered; he was lucky that he lost his left arm - if it were his right, he would possibly have been unable to wield a sword anymore.
Ji Yunshu approached him. “First Master, we have a request to ask of you this time. We hope that you’d forget our unhappy dealings and share with us what you know.”
Zhao Huai pulled out that sketch, smoothening its edges as he replied languidly, without expression. “This tattoo is the Moonlight Mark - the signature of the Liu Sect.”
Moonlight Mark? Liu Sect? Nobody had ever heard of these before!
Zhao Huai continued explaining, “This sect was a large sect from the North - they had laws and hierarchy as an efficient organisation. For some unknown reason, they disappeared without a trace twenty years ago. As for this Moonlight Mark, it’s not a tattoo any member of the sect could have - only the Sect Leaders had this right.”
“Do you know who they were?”
“There were seven leaders in the sect. The eldest brother was named ‘Touhu’, the second eldest brother ‘Dihu’, but the remaining five had less recognisable names. So many years have passed, who could know if they were actually still alive or not?”
Seven brothers? Were they the seven dwarves?
“Those seven brothers worked their way up from zero; it took them no more than half a year for them to expand Liu Sect to the famed group they were then. Even the officials and generals at the Northern border found them too difficult to handle - it was such a pity that they had just dispersed like that.” Zhao Huai felt sorry for them, as well as for his own Gaoshan Gang.
The entire court fell into hushed silence at his words.
If he was correct, then Li Mingzhou and Old Master Chang, as well as the other two victims, were four of the original seven brothers. But what Ji Yunshu had discovered so far pointed to the three victims being complete strangers. Li Mingzhou claimed to not know them as well - how strange! Why were those three victims targeted? Was it because they were three of the seven brothers?
ChouFleur Rants Corner
Curiouser and curioser...
I really liked the face-off between Jing Rong and Zhao Huai! Such a dramatic image~
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