The goose demon, Lord Bai, spun around in place and let out two loud honks. It puffed out its chest and lifted its head, its small eyes radiating a hint of severity as it scanned the disciples of the Ku Mountain Sect.
If looks could kill, Yin Ci felt like he had just been cursed by Lord Bai for eighteen generations. On the other side, Shi Jingzhi took a step back, his emotions not much better.
Su Si frantically dug out a basin of vegetable leaves, and only then did Lord Bai shift its gaze and start pecking at the food.
"I found Lord Bai near Yongsheng and it's been following me ever since. I just ended up taking care of it - its intuition is amazing. As long as you follow its lead, your life will always be protected."
Yin Ci watched as Su Si stroked the big goose, feeling a bit conflicted.
It's a set, a set. Now they have a doctor, a fortune-teller, a cook, and even a grocery seller. They'll be able to dominate the street corner tomorrow.
It seemed that Lord Bai realized he was being categorized as a "grocery", and his sharp gaze swept over. His range of vision was not limited to Yin Ci, as Shi Jingzhi seemed to be considering similar things.
For the first time, the master-disciple pair of the Ku Mountain Sect had the same thought, with two of them squaring off against the goose.
Su Si took the opportunity to move Lord Bai's food bowl, pulled off a Mountain Ghost Coin from his neck, and casually threw it to Yan Qing.
Yan Qing caught it steadily and said, "If you want to alert that you've been there, leaving something behind is enough. Why did you have to take it away?"
"This thing can ward off evil spirits. Besides, if I die nearby, you might be able to recognize my bones with it and help me dig a grave."
Yan Qing frowned at his ominous words. "Why are you talking about such unlucky things?"
Su Si grinned mischievously and glanced at the master and disciple, with a hint of concern in his eyes. Having walked the lower levels of the martial world for so long, he knew better than to trust easily, so it was only natural for him to be cautious. Yin Ci happened to want to leave the room and check out the situation outside.
Shi Jingzhi acted even faster, coughing twice and saying, "Since there won't be any trouble for the time being, I'll take Ah Ci around for a week. I see there's a river nearby, can we catch fish there?"
"Not good," Yin Ci thought. "It seemed like his master had some issues with fish now."
Su Si happily replied, "Of course you can. We can cook them for dinner later. Do you want to bring Lord Bai with you?"
Both of them shook their heads firmly.
"Okay then, it's not far anyway. Just don't provoke the villagers," Su Si scratched his head, "The fishing net is behind the door, just take it with you."
Su Si's residence was located on the outskirts of the village, near the river, but there were not many pedestrians around, making it very peaceful. The river water was clear and transparent, and the fish swimming in it were plump and leisurely, bending their bodies to suck on the tiny flower petals floating on the surface.
Shi Jingzhi paid no attention to the fishing net. He took off his shoes and socks, tied up his clothes, and carried a bamboo pole down to the river. The water flowed slowly, just barely reaching his knees.
Yin Ci pulled the fishing net and found a rock by the river to use as a seat.
Looking at the scenery in front of him, it was like a paradise on earth. However, he noticed that he had not seen any shrines or medicinal gardens along the way, and he did not know where the immortal mentioned by Yin Deng lived or where the spiritual medicine would came from.
As he was thinking about this, Shi Jingzhi suddenly inserted his bamboo pole into the water and pulled out a fish horizontally. The fish's tail shook in the air, splashing many sparkling water droplets, some of which landed on Yin Ci's face.
The fish here live a comfortable life, with full bellies and no worries. They only know the gentle touch of a fishing net and have never experienced this kind of hardship. When the plump fish are lifted out of the water, they become furious and thrash their tails like steel whips.
But Shi Jingzhi closes his eyes.
He cautiously steps through the water, gracefully avoiding the fish tail. Shi Jingzhi moves with such precision, like a gentle breeze, not even a single drop of water splashes up, nor does he disturb the fish swimming in the water.
Yin Ci raises an eyebrow.
His master not only dodges the fish tail, but even avoids the water droplets. However, on his first try, Shi Jingzhi's shoulder still got splashed with water.
His cheap master lightly taps the a bamboo pole, and the fish is trapped in mid-air without falling back into the water. Only when the fish is too weak to struggle does Shi Jingzhi stop practicing and toss the fish to Yin Ci on the shore.
Then he's on to the next fish, repeating the process over and over again.
Yin Ci quickly figured out the trick. Shi Jingzhi was digesting the various martial arts he had stolen from the masters previously, and he was combining and modifying them to make them his own.
It was undoubtedly a very tiring task to keep both the mind and body tense. However, his master seemed tireless and practiced for a full hour. His every move showed a strange sense of desperation.
Surrounded by beautiful scenery and with Fox Shi's charming face, the scene was very pleasing to the eye. Unfortunately, Demon Lord Yin was not in the mood and gradually became sleepy as the warm breeze blew. Countless thoughts were mixed up and jumbled together.
What was Shi Jingzhi trying so hard to do? Did he know that his days were numbered?... This man's thoughts were unfathomable, so perhaps he knew.
This cheap master was bouncing around, and still had to count down his remaining days. In a way, this was more torturous than being bedridden with illness. Yin Ci had seen countless talented individuals who were unable to survive, consumed by their own regrets and madness.
On their journey so far, this person seemed relatively calm, but afraid of the unknown. He was a typical coward who feared death. He didn't seem like someone who had seen through the dust of the mortal world, so how could he maintain his sanity?
Yin Ci yawned and held onto the fishing net in his hand. Dozens of fat fish were struggling for breath in the net, but there wasn't much of a fishy smell. He squinted his eyes, feeling the sun's warmth on his skin, wishing he could just lie down right there.
Shi Jingzhi was still practicing hard in the river.
Oh well, it had nothing to do with him. After all, Shi Jingzhi had said when he left the Ghost Tomb that he wouldn't pry into his personal affairs anymore.
The master and disciple sat on opposite sides of a paper-thin window, neither daring to break the fragile barrier. They made do with what they had. Shi Jingzhi knew when to advance and when to retreat, so he wouldn't intentionally provoke...
"Are you tired?"
Shi Jingzhi appeared out of nowhere, his hand gently touching Yin Ci's forehead as he leaned in close.
His master's hand was cool from being soaked in water. Yin Ci lifted his eyelids slightly and replied, "I'm fine."
"If you're tired, go to sleep. I'll watch over you."
Shi Jingzhi's smile returned, one that wasn't condescending or forced, but pure and sincere.
Yin Ci felt a sting in his heart, like he had been stung by a bee. Instantly, he became more alert, feeling a dark restlessness within him. Here it was again, that inexplicable sincerity.
He didn't dislike genuine people, but this smile in particular seemed to pierce through him.
Shi Jingzhi saw his disciple frown and thought he was unhappy from sitting for too long. He moved his palm and casually smoothed out Yin Ci's hair. The gentle spring breeze blew, and Yin Ci was half asleep, with a few wildflower petals stuck in his hair.
As his hand caressed Yin Ci's head, it naturally slid down his face and brushed away some stray hair behind his ear.
Yin Ci trembled as if struck by lightning and grabbed Shi Jingzhi's wrist.
With fingertips brushing his hair and the beautiful scenery around them, coupled with that sincere smile, Yin Ci suddenly understood the source of his restlessness.
Shi Jingzhi had been chasing after a fleeting hope like a bubble with what little life he had left. He too was like this. However, he had been in this state for too long, unable to taste the flavor of hope, only wandering around like a walking corpse.
No matter who it is, they cannot escape from collapse when their heart is at stake.
More than twenty years ago, in the desolate mountains, Yin Ci was on the brink of losing his mind. He had fled to the demons' Gathering Valley, where he encountered an outsider - a two or three-year-old child from the mountain village who was also mute. Who knows how he managed to sneak in among the demons.
If it weren't for that child, Yin Ci would have lost his humanity long ago and become a ruthless demon.
That little mute child also smiled so sincerely. Perhaps because he didn't understand anything, he didn't know there were other ways to smile in the world.
Yet that child would also reach out his hand and slowly stroke Yin Ci's hair, from the top of his head to his cheek, tucking the unruly strands behind his ear.
It was exactly the same.
Yin Ci took care of the little mute child for a while, even considering taking him away. Even if the goodwill of a child cannot last forever, and flowers always wither, Yin Ci was better at saying goodbye than anyone else in the world.
However, in the end, he was unable to take the little mute child with him.
The mute boy had died. It seemed like a cruel twist of fate, forcing him to remain conscious in this world.
The Gathering Valley, was similarly a beautiful paradise.
As memories flooded back, he was pierced again by that "cruel fate" and tightly gripped Shi Jingzhi's wrist, feeling lost and helpless. He couldn't help but think that this man wouldn't live much longer either.
Shi Jingzhi winced in pain, "Yin Ci?"
"It's nothing, just feeling a bit dizzy," Yin Ci gradually loosened his grip.
If the mute boy were still alive, he would be around the same age as him.
Ever since Shi Jingzhi made his promise to never betray him, Yin Ci had been waiting for him to break it. But what if Shi Jingzhi never did?
What would Yin Ci do then?
Now, only a layer of thin window paper separated the two. Yin Ci was too lazy to continue pretending to be a good disciple. Should he give his master a little "surprise" as a reward?
But before he could think too much about it, there was suddenly a commotion nearby. A group of villagers playing suona instruments and throwing red paper everywhere marched towards the village.
Shi Jingzhi immediately became alert. He lowered his head, picked up the fishing net full of fish, and dragged Yin Ci back to the house.
As soon as they entered, the master and disciple almost thought they had walked into the wrong house.
The clothes scattered all over the floor were now neatly folded. Some were already washed and hung by the window. The table was wiped clean, and the luggage of the Ku Mountain Sect sect was neatly arranged. Sausages and cured meat were placed in a basket by the stove.
"Fish are not allowed inside the house," Yan Qing appeared just in time, holding a broom and speaking with a hint of authority. "Otherwise, there will be a smell that's hard to get rid of."
No wonder he was a servant trained by the Taiheng Sect, he was too dedicated.
Meanwhile, Su Si was slumped in the chair, with a big goose slumped on top of him, both of them turning into decorations in the room. Su Si looked in a good mood, obviously having had a good chat with Yan Qing.
Seeing the two of them return, Su Si stood up straight and twirled the meat cleaver in his hand. "You are guests, I can handle the fish by myself. San-zi said that Little Brother Yin's cooking is delicious, I'm really looking forward to it."
Shi Jingzhi's expression wasn't very relaxed. "I just saw a group of villagers in red outside, but I didn't see a sedan chair. What are they doing?"
"Oh, that's a funeral," Su Si stroked Lord Bai twice. "I've only heard about it, but this is the first time I've seen it."
"...They dress so festively for a funeral?" Shi Jingzhi frowned.
"This village has a lot of strange customs. Take funerals for example - when someone dies, the villagers dress up the body and prop up the limbs with wooden sticks. Then they mix the dead body in with the procession and send it to the forbidden area, where the deceased will 'ascend to heaven as an immortal'."
Su Si sneered. He was born with delicate features, and the beauty mark under his eye made him seem a bit frivolous.
"I was just talking to San-zi about this. There are hundreds of people in Xizhuang, but I've wandered all over this place and haven't seen any Xizhuang people or found any graves or bones. If the people of Xizhuang are really alive, they can only be in the 'forbidden area'. I'm new here and don't have the qualifications to get close to that place. But you guys..."
Lord Bai suddenly straightened his neck and let out a loud honk, causing Su Si to immediately shut his mouth. After a moment, there was a knock at the door. Su Si motioned at them to stay quiet and quickly opened the door.
Yin Deng stood outside, her big eyes looking around. "Mummy asked me to bring you some nice clothes. Uncle Liu ascended to heaven today, and there's a banquet tonight, remember to come."
Su Si quickly adjusted his expression and smiled warmly, "Uncle Liu ascended to heaven?"
"Yes. Daddy said he was cutting meat at home yesterday and injured his finger." Yin Deng shook her head like an adult, "He left too early, Auntie Liu is so reluctant to let him go. But there are new guests in the village, so it doesn't matter."
Shi Jingzhi was shocked, "...…Just injured his finger and he's dead already?"
"What do you mean dead? He's ascended to become an immortal!" Yin Deng raised her nose.
Shi Jinzhi had a bewildered expression, and Yin Ci understood how he was feeling. This girl claimed to have a miraculous medicine that could cure all ailments, but if someone died they would 'ascend to heaven'. Who knows if the medicine was just made of paper ash?
"Are you sure it's just a cut on the finger?" Sect Leader Shi confirmed multiple times.
Yin Deng patiently explained, "Yes, brother, you're not from this village, so it's normal that you don't know."
"People in this village don't get sick. But if they suffer from an external injury that doesn't heal within three days, they will ascend to heaven."
Fox Shi finally got his revenge! 1 Fox Shi = dozens of fish now, which is cause for celebration.
Demon Lord Yin: probing the edge of the window paper.jpg
I see a lot of comments in the section discussing the "secondary CP," so let me explain a little. My personal habit is that if there is a clear and complete love line for the supporting roles in the text, I will indicate the secondary CP in the synopsis.
This book is not marked, so it is similar to the first two books. Yan Qing and Su Si are both traditional growth-type characters. The main plot of their story leans towards growth, and there will be no romantic line, if any, it will be in the extra chapters. Of course, everyone can feel free to imagine (?) their own version.
Happy readers make me float like a cloud in the sky. If you enjoy my translations and want to read them more quickly, I'll translate bonus chapters as a thank you for coffee!
Give me feedback at moc.ebircssutol@eyks.