Chapter 30 Part 3
Hu Die looked at Old Ghost, dumbfounded.
When Xi Jia looked at this scene, his heart trembled fiercely. He quickly turned his head, “Master Ye, is it possible to call for Ling Xiao again?”
Ye Jingzhi said, “Fellow Daoist Hu had requested for Ling Xiao through his grandmaster and could ask for Ling Xiao three times. There is still one last request.”
Xi Jia said, “Then, that’s just enough to ask for Ling Xiao a third time. Since Ling Xiao didn’t give the punishment of scattering the soul to Old Ghost, then it might allow Old Ghost to see Wang Ru one last time.”
Ye Jingzhi shook his head, looking at the altar in the distance, “Fellow Daoist Hu nearly failed when he asked Ling Xiao the second time, and he broke the third incense stick. Three incense sticks, three chances to ask for Ling Xiao. There’s no more chances left right now.”
This time, Hu Die was in quite the dilemma. Old Ghost was so miserable as he persistently kowtowed to him. He wasn’t heartless, and it was only wanting to see that Wang Ru. He also had no reason to refuse. However, he had already broke the third incense stick and simply couldn’t ask for Ling Xiao. If Old Ghost didn’t return to the cauldron and Ling Xiao sent a punishment, it would be highly possible for it to want Old Ghost’s soul to scatter.
“Quickly go back! If you don’t go back, Ling Xiao will get angry, and your soul will get destroyed!”
Old Ghost was still kowtowing to Hu Die. If he returned to the cauldron, he would disappear from the human world and enter Hell along with it. From then on, he would never see Wang Ru again.
Hu Die angrily lifted his peach wood sword to drive Old Ghost into the cauldron. In response, Xi Jia subconsciously stepped forward, wanting to think of a method to help Old Ghost. However, Ye Jingzhi rushed in front and blocked him, “You want to help him?”
Xi Jia blanked, “……He only wants to see Wang Ru.”
Ye Jingzhi earnestly stared at Xi Jia. After he seriously glanced at him once over, he turned his body and walked forward. Master Ye raised his left hand, and Wu Xiang Qing Li flew into his hand from Xi Jia’s palm. He swatted Wu Xiang Qing Li’s surface, and the 18-sided die started to rapidly spin before his eyes. In a flash, the die stopped. Ye Jingzhi slapped on one of Wu Xiang Qing Li’s sides and used his strength to pull.
A gold colored long zither was forcibly dragged out from within the bronze die.
Hu Die exclaimed in shock, “Jin Se!”
This golden zither had a total of 50 strings. The body of the zither wasn’t large, and the 50 strings were densely arranged on its surface. Just as it was drawn out, a golden light erupted. Ye Jingzhi held the zither made from golden rays of light within his palm. He didn’t sit down to seriously play the zither. Instead, his left hand held the zither like a harp, placing it vertically.
In the next moment, his right hand quickly strummed a string.
A butterfly fluttered out from the trembling string. The entire body of this butterfly was a golden yellow. Specks of golden light sprinkled down on the places it flew past. Wherever the golden light went, an illusory image slowly appeared in the air.
There was a dim and dark prison in the image. On the single bed, an emaciated woman was lying on top, quietly sleeping. A deep scar was on her forehead, and her cheeks were sunken in. Her weak body tightly hugged herself in the night, wanting to keep warm.
When Old Ghost saw this scene, he frantically threw himself over, earnestly looking at the young woman lying on the bed.
“Granddaughter……granddaughter……My good granddaughter……”
His kind gaze was fixed on the illusory screen as if seeing his own granddaughter.
Ye Jingzhi continued to play the 50 stringed golden long zither without stopping. The gold butterfly was fluttering in the air.
Hu Die yelled, “Are you done? If you’re done looking, quickly go back! Hell King Ye actually used Jin Se to draw out a butterfly and gave you a Dream of Master Zhuang.1 This lifetime of yours was worth it. Quickly go back into the cauldron, or else even we won’t be able to afford it.”
Old Ghost’s eyes teared up in gratitude. He wanted to head towards the cauldron, but he exclaimed in shock, “Ling Xiao has blocked Old Ghost’s body, not letting Old Ghost to go back!”
Hu Die widened his eyes, “My god, Laozi has really the shitty luck of eight lifetimes to come across this situation. You just wait for your soul to scatter then!”
Once his voice dropped, another lightning crashed down from the skies. Ye Jingzhi wanted to do something, but his hands were firmly fixed on Jin Se. He simply couldn’t let go if the song wasn’t done playing.
In the split second this lightning sparked, a tall and thin shadow quickly picked up Old Ghost who became all white bones from head to toe, and threw him into the cauldron directly and efficiently.
Xi Jia turned his body to the side to dodge the few drops of boiling oil that had splashed out from the cauldron. He softly exhaled a breath. When he lifted his head, he saw Hu Die’s eyes widened into circles and staring at him in disbelief, as if seeing a monster. Ye Jingzhi was looking at him with a strange……proud gaze, and seemed to be a particularly pleased.
……Wait a minute, why would Master Ye be pleased?
Hu Die exclaimed in horror, “That is a malicious ghost with 300 years of cultivation that had killed a person and went down into the Burning Oil Hell. Just now, you carried it like that? You actually carried it like that? You’re actually not dead?!”
Xi Jia asked back, “Should I be dead?”
Hu Die, “……” Using bare hands to touch the yin energy of a 300 year malicious ghost, could it be that they shouldn’t be dead?!!!
The world views of Modou Ranking’s third place and Longhu Mountain’s eldest disciple crumbled today because of a mortal.
Finally done with Old Ghost’s matters, Hu Die gasped for breath as he collected his things, putting the altar, talismans, and whatnot back into his Qiankun bag. In the broken temple, Ye Jingzhi was still holding onto the golden zither. Since he hadn’t finished playing the song yet, he could only dryly hold it.
Xi Jia curiously asked, “Master Ye, why aren’t you putting the zither back?”
Hu Die sneered and said, “That zither is the legendary Jin Se. ‘For no reason, Jin Se has fifty strings. Each string, each fret, recalls a youthful year. Master Zhuang woke from a dream, puzzled by a butterfly. Emperor Wang reposed his amorous heart to the cuckoo.’2 He only played half of ‘Recalling a Youthful Year’, of course it’s impossible for this zither to be put back. If the song isn’t finished, Jin Se won’t fade away. Although Jin Se requires magic power to materialize and is not a true divine artifact, it also has the same effectiveness.”
Xi Jia looked towards Ye Jingzhi, and he nodded, “It’s like this.”
Xi Jia asked, “Then, what will you do now, Master Ye?”
The tips of Ye Jingzhi’s ears became slightly red. He held the zither and virtuously sat down, whispering, “No hurry……I will play for you.”
Hu Die, “……” Why was there some type of gay gay feeling?!
Hu Die had finished packing his things and wanted to leave. Xi Jia, who was listening to Ye Jingzhi play the zither, got up in response and asked, “Celestial Master Hu, I want to ask something. Wang Ru is innocent. Will you guys be doing something to handle her matter?”
Xi Jia suddenly was no longer listening to the music anymore, and Ye Jingzhi pursed his lips in disappointment.
At this time, Hu Die had just walked to the door. When he heard this, he moved into a flashy pose. Leaning against the doorframe, he said with a feeling of the vicissitudes of the world’s elite, “My Xuanxue World International Liaison Department, short form Xuanxue World Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is handling this matter. Naturally, they have its own set of regulations. She will be acquitted.”
However, Xi Jia asked, “Then, what about her reputation?”
Hu Die was stumped all of a sudden.
The black haired young man’s expression was undisturbed as he said the cruel reality one sentence at a time, “This case is a very hot topic online. We all know that Wang Ru is innocent, but we can’t tell the netizens that Li Xiao was killed by a ghost. Without a reasonable explanation, no one would believe that Wang Ru is innocent. Master Hu……gossip is a fearful thing.”
Hu Die slowly straightened his expression. This was the first time he looked at Xi Jia so seriously. After a long time, his red lips hooked into a gorgeous smile, “Who is laozi, laozi is Longhu Mountain’s eldest disciple, Hu Die. This sort of trivial matter is a breeze.”
Xi Jia looked at Hu Die’s look of “laozi is the best in the world.” After quite a while, he substituted his old classmate and bowed, “Thank you, Master Hu.”
Hu Die asked, “What’s your name?”
Hu Die brushed aside the bangs in front of his forehead. He left a message in a showy manner as he quickly left, “Very good, Xi Jia, you succeeded in attracting my attention.” When the voice fell, the person had already floated far into the distance.
Xi Jia, “……”
Master Ye who was currently sitting on the ground and sincerely playing the zither, “……”
Master Ye was angry to the point that he wanted to immediately get up and chance after him. However, the golden butterfly that was materialized from Jin Se kept bothering him, asking for him to finish playing the song before letting him go. Master Ye felt wronged as he finished playing the song. By the time he finished playing and wanted to chase after him, the person had long since disappeared.
Xi Jia didn’t notice Ye Jingzhi’s unusualness at all, and the two of them headed home together from the temple.
After they walked away from the broken temple, the round sun rose from the east. The brilliant and flourishing radiance illuminated the land, hiding a good deal of the unusual events that had happened during the night underneath the darkness.
Xi Jia stood in the endless open field, gazing at the round sun in the distance. After a long time, he turned to look at the black clothed man by his side and smiled, “Master Ye, a moment ago, if Ling Xiao had gotten angry and sent a punishment down, would the aftermath be very severe?”
Ye Jingzhi looked at Xi Jia in surprise. After thinking a bit, he still nodded.
Xi Jia smiled, “Thank you for taking the risks to help Old Ghost so that he could see Wang Ru one last time.”
The golden yellow sunlight shined on Xi Jia’s fair face, making the smile even more gentle and warm. Ye Jingzhi’s throat became a bit rough, and he hoarsely said, “……No problem.”
Xi Jia, “I know that this is really dangerous for you.”
Ye Jingzhi was stunned, “No.” If it was Hu Die alone, then it would have been quite dangerous. But with him there, it was only a little accident while he was summoning for Ling Xiao, and he was still capable of settling the issue.
Xi Jia only took it as Ye Jingzhi being modest. He looked at the sun in the distance. After he said another “Thank you,” he silently gazed at the sun and no longer spoke.
The sun had completely jumped out of the horizon. Ye Jingzhi was immersed in this grand and magnificent sunrise when he suddenly heard a whisper from beside him, “Being able to see someone close to you for the last time, how blessed……”
Ye Jingzhi immediately turned to look at Xi Jia. Xi Jia showed him a brilliant smile and said, “Master Ye, let’s go home.”
Ye Jingzhi silently hooked up the corners of his lips, “En.”
En, go home.
Originally, Xi Jia thought he could rest well after settling Old Ghost’s matter. However, only after three days, Chen Tao sent him a message saying that this time Wang Ru and Li Xiao had this incident, and the college classmates actually wanted to have a class reunion.
Chen Tao, “Brother Jia, they invited me again, but I’m too busy with this crew. It’s not too convenient for me to go. Most of our classmates are in S City, and the reunion this time is also in S City. Brother Jia, since you’re in S City, can you attend? If you want to attend, help me say hi to everyone. But, I guess you won’t go, Brother Jia. Hahaha, I’m only casually mentioning it to you.”
Xi Jia held his phone in one hand while watching the news on TV, “Who said I’m not going?”
Chen Tao was immensely startled, “Brother Jia, you’re actually going?!”
On the TV, they were currently reporting about the “Qiuhu Poisonous Woman Murder Case.” The police finally found the real murderer. According to investigations, the murderer of the victim, Mr. Li, was not his wife, Ms. Wang. Rather, it was a murderer. This murderer had committed more than a dozen cases of burglary outside of the province before fleeing to this province. When Li and Wang were fighting, they didn’t know that the murderer was robbing their home right before they went home. They suddenly came back home, and the murderer hid in a wardrobe. All of a sudden, Li opened the door, and the murderer used a knife to hack Li to death.
Wang had fled from the house in fright, the murderer ran away after stealing some things.
Ultimately, the police asked the netizens to not randomly spread rumors online. The so-called death photo of Li was actually a still from some movie. A normal person couldn’t chop a person’s head like that. Everything was only special effects. Yesterday, the police had captured three netizens who had spread the photos. They hope that the majority of netizens would discerningly watch the news and to not easily trust the rumors.
Sure enough, the Xuanxue world’s power was formidable. Xi Jia had really searched up the serial murderer’s wanted order and also found the information about the horror movie. Because the movie was too bloody, it was banned by the country. However, after searching for the related pictures, there was indeed that photo of Li Xiao.
At the same time, a lot of news media began reporting about Li Xiao’s domestic violence against Wang Ru. They published photos of Wang Ru’s wounds caused by the domestic violence and also several of Li Xiao’s written letters of guarantees. Mr. Li’s family had previously threatened Ms. Wang’s family to repay the favor. Wang’s parents felt that they needed to repay the debt of gratitude so they wished their daughter to marry. In fact, Wang was repeatedly beaten by Li after getting married and was even slashed by a blade.
With this many news media reporting the same and the police also cooperating, the netizens slowly changed the trends.
【 It turns out that the man was actually an abuser! He’s indeed not a person, he deserved to die! 】
【 I just knew that the man’s hacked head was a bit too mushy. How could it be that mushy? 】
【 I’m a doctor. The skull is one of the hardest bones in the human body. It’s impossible for a normal person to hack a skull into two with a knife. 】
Seeing the news reports, Xi Jia was very happy. He said to Chen Tao over the phone, “Yes. I haven’t seen my classmates in a long time. I want to see them. Do you have anything you want me to tell them?”
Chen Tao hurriedly said, “Urgent, urgent. Brother Jia, it seems like Old Zheng of our class has a plump little baby now. He wants to bring his son this time. Take a few pictures of his son for me to see. Also, also that one……”
Xi Jia agreed to each one.
Three days later, Xi Jia took a taxi to a certain high-grade restaurant in S City. Chen Tao had told him that there were quite a few classmates who came from other provinces to attend the class reunion this time. During college, these classmates loved to eat several kinds of S City’s local specialties the most. He asked him to bring some food over for the old classmates when attending the reunion. This could also count as a kind gesture.
Carrying a few dimsum boxes, Xi Jia entered the restaurant. A waiter lead him to a private room. Once the door opened, the smile on his lips slowly stiffened.
Inside the private room, there were three large round tables. The crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling and illuminated the people in the room who were clinking their drinking glasses. Seeing Xi Jia, these people simultaneously froze. Very quickly, a young woman wearing a name brand dress walked forward and smiled, “Xi Jia? I’m Liu Yan from the study group, do you still remember me? Come come come, quickly sit. If you’re coming, just come. You still brought these things.”
Xi Jia lightly smiled, “Chen Tao said that Wang Haozhen and the others likes to eat them. They took a plane to Haicheng at noon, and then took the high-speed rail to S City in the afternoon. At night, they’ll have to take a flight back. They certainly won’t have time so I bought some of these.”
A man wearing glasses who was sitting at the other end of a table heard this and quickly said, “Isn’t it only a few dimsum? If I wanted to eat, what other place can’t I buy from? Chen Tao thought too much. Thank you, Xi Jia.”
Xi Jia smile was constant, “You’re welcome.”
Half of the people sitting in this private room were programmers. Their complexions weren’t very good. However, sitting in this glorious restaurant, they tried to make themselves as eloquent as possible. Xi Jia silently ate the dishes. He opened his phone to send Chen Tao a WeChat, telling him that he would never want to participate in another class reunion like this in the future.
Chen Tao still hadn’t replied, and Xi Jia suddenly heard voices discussing.
“Have you seen the news lately? It seems like Wang Ru didn’t kill Li Xiao, and she was let out a few days ago.”
“I saw. Like I said, Wang Ru’s such a good person, how could she kill Li Xiao.”
“At that time, when she married Li Xiao, I thought her life was good. Li Xiao liked her that much, and his family has money. Marrying him is the same as being a full time wife. Who would’ve thought that Li Xiao was a domestic abuser……”
Several people sighed for a while.
All of a sudden, a faint voice sounded, “……It really wasn’t Wang Ru being abused for too long and killed Li Xiao in a fit of fury?”
Xi Jia’s expression became cold and suddenly turned his head to look at where the voice came from.
Two men and three women sat in that direction, but he didn’t know who was talking.
However, even more voices in the private room started talking.
“What about that one serial murderer who was hiding at home? This is too much like a TV drama. Why do I feel like it’s unreal……”
“That’s right. I remember during sophomore year, Wang Ru especially liked watching some gory Western movies and even said that it was good to watch. I was scared to death at that time.”
“During college, I thought Li Xiao was pretty good. Li Xiao and I were next door in the dorms. He often invited us to eat and was especially loyal. Wang Ru looked so pretty. Li Xiao probably thought she was having an affair and hit her. Did Wang Ru really have an affair?”
“Maybe. Last month, I saw Wang Ru upload a photo onto Moments. It seems like they were drinking tea at some coffee shop, and she wasn’t with Li Xiao. I don’t know who it was……”
His heart sank into cold water bit by bit.
A sort of silent chill attacked from all around.
In April, spring was warm and flowers were blossoming in S City. But in this private room, Xi Jia felt the cold drilling into his heart.
After eating the last dish, Liu Yan came over. With a smile, she asked Xi Jia to come to karaoke later. Xi Jia grabbed his jacket, and gave her a smile, “It’s fine. I still have something to do today, I’ll be leaving first.”
Liu Yan extended the invite several times, but Xi Jia kept on refusing. When he left the private room, Xi Jia saw that the dimsum he had brought was left on the guest table by someone, but no one took it. He silently walked forward, took all those inexpensive dimsum, and left the restaurant.
Standing at the restaurant’s entrance, everyone were waiting for the classmates who brought their cars, and then drive over together to karaoke. Xi Jia stopped a taxi and got on.
The moment he closed the car door, he heard someone whisper, “During freshman year, Wang Ru gave Xi Jia a love letter. She and Xi Jia are both in S City. She couldn’t have had an affair with Xi Jia, could she?”
Sweeping his sharp gaze over, Xi Jia coldly stared at this group of unfamiliar yet familiar classmates.
The taxi driver asked, “Lad, to where?”
With a brown window in between, Xi Jia watched this group of classmates. He suddenly felt that these people were even more terrible than ghosts.
The taxi driver asked again. Xi Jia sighed heavily, turned his head and smiled, “Master, I’m going to the Industrial Park.”
The car slowly drove away from the restaurant, and Xi Jia never glanced back. He simply told Chen Tao what had happened at the reunion and Chen Tao sent six dots over. After five minutes had passed, Chen Tao said:【 Brother Jia, I also won’t go in the future. I’m really busy, and there’s no point. 】
Xi Jia looked at the words that appeared on his phone screen and closed his eyes. Not long after, his phone rang again. Xi Jia opened his eyes to take a look.
Chen Tao: 【 Brother Jia, it’s almost April 30, I’m coming back to S City to see you? 】
His eyes widened in a flash, and Xi Jia’s lips slightly parted. After a long time, he replied with a simple word: 【 Okay. 】
Four days later, Xi Jia headed out first thing in the morning. Just as Ye Jingzhi was in the middle of cleaning the apartment, he suddenly heard the doorbell chime. He walked to the door in surprise. When he opened the door, he saw a little fatty carrying several bags of groceries and also looking at him in surprise.
Chen Tao said in confusion, “Did I get the wrong apartment?”
Ye Jingzhi blankly looked at him.
Chen Tao stepped back a couple steps to take a look at the door plate, “Eh? I didn’t go the wrong way. This is Brother Jia’s place. But, it seems like this door has been changed.”
Ye Jingzhi’s expression was undisturbed, “Are you looking for Xi Jia?”
Chen Tao nodded, “Yes. I said that I’ll be coming to see Brother Jia today.”
Ye Jingzhi looked down and saw a small suitcase by Chen Tao’s feet. It seemed like he had come from somewhere else.
Ye Jingzhi said, “He went out in the morning.”
Chen Tao entered with his suitcase. Hearing this, he set down the groceries in his hand, “Turns out that Brother Jia has already gone out.”
A clap of loud thunder rang from outside of the house. Ye Jingzhi immediately turned his head to look out the window, only to see heavy rain pouring down. A sudden torrential rain turned S City into a water town.
The sky suddenly darkened, and the world became quiet.
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Mirror: Wife seems to be hiding something from me……FeelingWronged.jpg
1 Dream of Master Zhuang – In one of Master Zhuang’s books, he wrote about a dream he once had. He dreamt he was a butterfly. When he woke up, he was confused as to whether it was him that had dreamt of being a butterfly or a butterfly that had dreamt of being him. ↵
2 Excerpt from a poem by Li Shangyin – The poem is called Jin Se, and the zither is named after it. Master Zhuang is mentioned in this poem, refer to Translator’s Note 1 for more info. Jin Se has been translated as “The Gorgeous Zither” or “The Inlaid Harp.” (I find the harp inaccurate…) Found this alternate English translation online, but it had no credit….↵