Chapter 1004: The truth, Qishao tricks them

Gu Qishao’s account of his meeting with the couple was true, but his fireproof and waterproof vines were just balderdash. If Long Feiye guessed right, the plant was just an excuse for Gu Qishao to hide his undying body. As someone who didn’t die or decay, vines that drank his blood would share his physical properties. Thus, they weren’t affected by swordfire. 

Just like that, Gu Qishao covered up the reality of his secret. By now, Han Yunxi had moved on to wondering why his body had absorbed the Moye sword spirit. 

“Why did the Moye sword spirit go into your body? You...are you alright?” Han Yunxi asked.

Long Feiye’s lips retained their cold smile as he waited for an answer. He was wondering the same thing, but figured that Gu Qishao’s unique physiology was to be blamed. He didn’t age, die, or decay, so his body was much stronger than any ancient treasure sword. Naturally, it would be able to endure something like the Moye sword spirit too. In fact, Long Feiye doubted whether there was anything in the world that Gu Qishao couldn’t shoulder.

What about the Lustbite energy? Could Gu Qishao take that? Or Bai Yanqing?

Long Feiye waited for Gu Qishao to keep making things up, but he only played dumb and shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know why it turned out that way either. Right now I feel...all right.” So speaking, he turned to the one-armed man with a serious, yet angry tone. “Hey, what’s going on? If you don’t tell me, I’ll poison you to death!”

Gu Qishao was simply preening after getting an advantage!

The one-armed man had been thoroughly wrecked by him already. He had no idea why Gu Qishao’s body could take the Moye sword spirit. 

“Logically speaking, human bodies can’t take the strain of a sword spirit. I don’t know why it’s like this either. You..” the one-armed man trailed off, growing more puzzled by the second.

“Perhaps he’s not human?” Long Feiye said coldly.

Gu Qishao immediately spun to face him with a sinister look. Before he could approach him, however, the quiet proprietress suddenly threw herself at him. “Return the Moye sword spirit to me! Give it back!”

Gu Qishao immediately backed away, but the proprietress chased after him with a venomous tongue. “You shameless wretch, give the Moye sword spirit back to me! It’s mine! Mine! I’ll kill you!”

Gu Qishao could tell that she had mental issues, so he didn’t fuss. Instead, he kept backing away and evading her efforts to catch him. Who knew that she’d pull out a knife and start stabbing at him instead? Gu Qishao ducked behind the one-armed man with a curse.

“Grab her, or else I won’t be polite.”

The one-armed man didn’t block her, but simply hit the back of her neck until she blacked out. As the proprietress laid paralyzed on the ground, the one-armed man looked at her with pained eyes filled with tears that threatened to overflow.

“She...what happened? Why is she saying the Moye sword spirit is hers?” Han Yunxi asked. Although they had found the suspects and Gu Qishao had quelled the sword spirit, there were still too many questions floating about.

“Since we’ve fallen into your hands, we’ll do as you see fit,” the one-armed man said.

“Then I can only hand you over to the authorities. Those were innocent lives lost,” Han Yunxi said frostily.

“I was the one who killed them. Let her go!” the one-armed man said in a heavy tone.

“I believe that you killed them, but wasn’t she the one who took their bones? She played a part in setting the justice department on fire too, right?” Han Yunxi asked.

The one-armed man spun to face Han Yunxi, his eyes filled with killing intent. But he couldn’t do anything against her. 

“Why didn’t you take out the bones right after killing them instead of leaving the evidence behind?” Han Yunxi asked. She had to know the answers to feel at ease, afraid that there might be another secret hiding in wait. But as it turned out, there were no more mysteries. True Love’s proprietress was a woman of deep emotions. The one-armed man wasn’t her husband, but her husband’s longtime friend. 

The proprietress’ husband accidentally fell into Yinyang Lake and was sucked in by the whirlpool. By the time the one-armed man dived in to save him, it was already too late. He managed to grab his friend’s hand, but the whirlpool was so strong that it tore his friend’s body into pieces. In the end, he could only present the severed hand to his wife. From then on, the proprietress underwent a huge personality shift. She crafted her own husband’s finger bones into a piece of jewelry set as a bracelet and wore it all the time. She clung stubbornly to the belief that her husband’s spirit was still alive, simply trapped and waiting at the bottom of the lake. The one-armed man forgot how many times he’d stopped her from jumping in to join her husband. Whenever he failed, he ended up knocking her unconscious just like then.

Eventually, the one-armed man discovered the Moye sword spirit hidden at the bottom of the lake. With no choice, he coaxed the proprietress by saying that her husband’s spirit had long merged with the sword’s. As long as they could obtain the Moye sword spirit, she would be able to reunite with him. From then on, the proprietress stopped trying to commit suicide and began to help the one-armed man find ways to recover the Moye sword spirit. They found that they had to get rid of its killing intent first, then bind it to a blade. However, the metal of the blade had to be filled with a strong killing aura, so it took them five years to find the Qi Sha dagger. With the one-armed man’s swordsmithing skills and the proprietress’s bone collecting technique, it was easy enough for them to collect the bones and destroy the bodies. However, the swordfire needed to burn for 49 days without rest. To prevent their efforts from being disturbed, they spread rumors of malevolent spirits so they could convince the government to seal off Yinyang Lake. 

Most of Qingzhou Water City’s residents had bad impressions of the lake to start with. When women by its shores started dying off from bleeding of the seven orifices, they were even less likely to approach. The justice courts, being unable to solve the case, soon forbade the populace from approaching it at all.

Afterwards, they went to collect the bones of the six women at the justice department and set the building on fire to hide the evidence as well as raise more rumors. Everything had been all planned out. They were supposed to target the governor’s womenfolk next, then find a few sorceress-types to spread more slanders saying that “heavenly fire” would punish all those who dare to disrespect Yinyang Lake. Like this, the government would stop all investigations and only send guards to watch the lake. When the swordfire really did start burning, no one would dare to approach it or interfere. 

They were supposed to collect bones from seven women first before looking for the man with the right constitution, but who knew Gu Qishao would suddenly show up by the lakeside? The one-armed man saw through his birthday at a glance and that he was born under the element of fire, an ideal body of killing aura. 

The seventh day of the seventh lunar month wasn’t a bad date; plenty of others were born on it too. Yet those with vigorous lives born on that day were rare. Thus, the one-armed man immediately kidnapped Gu Qishao and put him under house arrest. Meanwhile, few women had approached the lake ever since the recent spate of murders, but they managed to run into another one by herself one day. The one-armed man could tell that Cui Yun was no ordinary girl, so he discovered the two guards hiding in ambush as well. Uncertain of her origins, he decided to kill all three and had the proprietress collect her bones right then so they could start crafting the sword that night. 

But who knew that the guards would whistle for help when he killed Cui Yun? Only then did they discover she had compatriots. Without a choice, the couple could only choose to flee and keep an eye on new developments. After that, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi entered their store. The proprietress didn’t sense anything off about them, but the one-armed man suspected the two hadn’t come to buy jewelry at all, but just snoop around. As soon as they left, he took the proprietress away and dismissed everyone else. The two of them simply hid themselves by the banks of Yinyang Lake to wait. 

As soon as Long Feiye stirred up the Moye sword spirit, the proprietress grew anxious. Forced into a corner, the one-armed man could only toss Gu Qishao out and fight. But who knew Gu Qishao had long found out about the Moye sword spirit! 

After hearing the one-armed man’s explanations, Han Yunxi’s expression grew complex. When she looked at the proprietress again, her expression held less disgust than before. She knitted her brows in silence. But Long Feiye and Gu Qishao remained unmoved. One wore a cold face while the other only looked like he couldn’t care less. 

“Why do you treat her so well? You were aiming for the Moye sword spirit, weren’t you?” Gu Qishao asked disdainfully.

The one-armed man explained, “She used to be a woman you’d want to keep in the palm of your hands and dote on. I didn’t want her to be lonely for the rest of her days.”

“That has nothing to do with the Moye sword spirit. Even if you were trying to comfort or cheat her, there are plenty of other excuses. Why pick the Moye sword spirit? You should know that even if you succeeded to sealing its spirit, she wouldn’t be able to control the sword containing it!” Han Yunxi said.

“How did you lose your arm?” Long Feiye asked.

The one-armed man laughed bitterly. He never expected to fail at hiding his intentions even after this far. “Just who are you people?” He glanced at Long Feiye. “You’re a disciple of Celestial Mountain?”

Most members of the jianghu would have figured out Long Feiye’s identity by now based on the merits of his sword skills, but this man seemed ignorant to its recent happenings. 

“You haven’t answered my question yet,” Long Feiye replied.

The one-armed man sighed and finally admitted his selfishness. “I cultivate an internal energy method from the Heretical Sword Sect. Although it allows mastery within a short amount of time, it can backfire easily for the user and cause deviation. My arm was lost because I deviated from my way. If I can’t find a treasure sword capable of sustaining my internal energy within the next three months, my deviation will relapse. By then, my other arm…will probably be lost too. I started out as a swordsmith, but my master forced me to cultivate. I’ve never stepped foot into the martial arts world, much less held interest in its affairs. I just wanted to keep my other arm…”

The one-armed man looked towards the proprietress before his voice dropped to a whisper. “I only want to protect her wellbeing.”

Long Feiye was surprised. He hadn’t even realized the person was internally injured. Now he took his hand to test his pulse…

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Ruyi's Thoughts

Mmm, it's not as fun reading a recap of "how things went" vs. discovering clues and piecing together the story for yourself. A lot of this chapter felt like infodump instead, but I'll give the author some credit for coming up with new stuff 

Hey, today's my lil sister's birthday! I won't be seeing her 'til Xmas though, so I'm trying to decide whether to get her food, games, clothes, stationery, or something related to her major (premed). If you have an older sister, which one would you prefer? Or if you're a younger sister, what do ya want your cool big sis to secretly buy yoooooooou? ( >u< )!