The ears of a fox and a wolf were rather sensitive to sounds.
But this sound was obviously not quite right. Song Ci dug his feet into the ground and refused to move. He said, “Forget it, let’s not stir up trouble.”
Wen Changchu had a completely different idea in mind. He clicked his tongue and said, “What are you afraid of? I’m here. The bigger the place, the more secrets it hides. We can’t come here for nothing.”
“Are we here to pry out Mo Yao Sect’s secrets?” Song Ci said, “It takes a petty man to snoop around. I’m not going.”
Wen Changchu gave him an inexplicable look. “The decision isn’t yours to make.”
He grasped Song Ci by the neck and took a step forward. The world blurred before Song Ci’s eyes as he was transported somewhere. The sound of delicate panting grew louder.
On hearing it, Wen Changchu gave a mischievous laugh and cast an ambiguous look at Song Ci. He loosened his grip on Song Ci’s neck and walked to the main hall before him.
This hall was slightly different from others. The outside of the chamber was brightly lit with small lanterns hung all over, and there was no one on duty at the entrance.
Song Ci could tell what kind of erotic scene would be within just by listening to the sounds outside the main hall. Song Ci gulped. He was seriously inclined to cover his ears.
He was no longer a young boy, but he had not even held a maiden’s hand before!
When he was young, he was betrothed to a maiden. At that time, he did not understand the love between men and women. He had found the maiden to be a bubbly person who loved to laugh, and she was also pleasing to the eye. The betrothal had been arranged by the parents of both parties, so Song Ci had simply accepted it.1
After the betrothal had been fixed, he had observed all the proper proprieties and stayed clear of all the other girls as he waited for his betrothed to reach marriageable age.2
Who would have expected that maiden to fall in love with someone else and begged and played hardball with her parents to break off the engagement?
Since then, Song Ci no longer gave those matters any thought.
But he was, after all, an adult man. He still had some knowledge of certain matters; he was not wholly ignorant.
Song Ci could neither move nor stay as he watched Wen Changchu walked towards the chamber, cool as a cucumber. It was until Wen Changchu stopped to look back and beckon him over that he hesitantly followed.
As soon as they reached the window, Wen Changchu reached out without hesitation and poked a hole3 in the corner of the window. He even thoughtfully made another hole for Song Ci.
Song Ci inexplicably imitated Wen Changchu and peeked through the hole. What he saw was too big of a stimulus for him.
The canopy bed was shaking violently. He could vaguely see two intertwined figures on it, and there were even screams too obscene for his ears to take.
Song Ci felt as if his head and heart have been dealt a heavy blow. He scuttled away and turned his head aside, averting his eyes from the window. Covering his ears, he said, “See no evil! Hear no evil!”
His entire fair face flushed like a red persimmon.
Song Ci’s sudden words startled Wen Changchu. He glared at Song Ci, then looked into the room again. Fortunately, the two people inside were so absorbed in what they were doing that they did not seem to hear Song Ci.
Wen Changchu was at a loss; he did not know what to do with Song Ci, so he shook Song Ci’s shoulders and whispered, “Go wait elsewhere. I’ll look for you later.”
Song Ci could not wish for anything more. Without lingering any longer, he hurriedly fled until he reached a dense tree, trying to conceal the blush on his face under the darkness of its shadow.
Song Ci gradually calmed down after standing in the cool breeze for a while. He closed his eyes to recite a few poems to calm his mind. Even the keenness of his hearing was sealed off, and he could no longer hear those sounds.
He sat down and leaned against the tree. Suddenly feeling sleepy, he gave a big yawn.
His mouth had yet to close when an unfamiliar voice suddenly rang out beside him. “Why are you running around at this hour instead of sleeping?”
Song Ci was jolted wide awake and promptly stood up. There was a man beside him, dressed in a long blue and white robe. He looked at Song Ci and smiled.
This man was Zhu Yishu’s shifu, Dai Yanxing.
Song Ci had never expected to meet him here. He thought, there sure are many people who can’t sleep tonight.
He bowed slightly to Dai Yanxing. “Li Yan Zhenren.”
Dai Yanxing was surprised. “Do you know me?”
“We’ve met once during the day.” Song Ci replied deferentially.
“You’re a smart child.” Dai Yanxing’s voice was indifferent, unlike his gentle tone earlier in the day. He looked in the direction of the main hall and said, “Just as well, I need someone to chat with.”
Song Ci said nothing, waiting to see what he had to say.
“Do you know who is in that main hall?” Dai Yanxing suddenly asked.
Song Ci had no idea, and he also did not want to find out. He shook his head and did not probe further.
The veteran disciples of Mo Yao would surely beat a retreat and keep a wide berth if they encountered such a situation. What’s more for a newbie like him who had just joined today. It was not necessarily a good thing to know more.
However, Dai Yanxing said, “The woman is Elder Qingyuan. As for the man, well, I can’t say for sure.”
Song Ci intuitively realized that this did not bode well for him. After all, Dai Yanxing was the head of a school. He was not an indiscreet child who would shoot his mouth off. Revealing this to him could only mean two things.
The first was that he believed Song Ci would not divulge it. The second was that he was certain Song Ci would not divulge it.
Both of them were strangers. It was impossible for Dai Yanxing to be so naïve to trust Song Ci unconditionally. So, it could only be the second possibility.
Why would he be certain? It was likely that Dai Yanxing was going to silence him, so he did not care how much Song Ci knew.
With this thought, Song Ci instantly broke out in a cold sweat. He put on a bold front and asked, “Who is Elder Qingyuan? I haven’t heard of her.”
“My shishu.” Dai Yanxing suddenly put his hand on Song Ci’s head as if stroking him. His voice was quiet. “It’s normal for you not to have heard of her. After all, you just joined today. Elder Qingyuan is gentle and refined and rarely flare up at others. All the Mo Yao disciples adore her.”
Song Ci gritted his teeth and slowly retracted his neck, trying to extract himself from Dai Yanxing’s hand. Dai Yanxing refused to release his grip and gently patted Song Ci’s head. He turned to ask in a low voice, “Are you afraid?”
Song Ci shook his head.
“Don’t worry. I won’t hurt you.” Dai Yanxing smiled at Song Ci’s expression. “But I want to ensure that you will say nothing about what happened tonight.”
Then, his palm radiated with clear blue light.
Song Ci intuitively felt a gush of wind around his ears and hurriedly bent over to dodge it. He said to Dai Yanxing, “Please rest assured. I will never say a word about this. A gentleman knows to keep his mouth shut!”
Right after saying that, he made a run for it.
Song Ci ran in a different direction. Wen Changchu might be on the other side, but if he rashly lured Dai Yanxing there and alerted the two intimate people in the hall, then it would be disastrous if the three of them joined forces to fight against the two of them; dealing with a wounded wolf pup and a fox who could not fight for nuts would be even easier than slaughtering poultry.
It was natural for Dai Yanxing to chase after Song Ci once Song Ci made a break for it.
But Song Ci had been running for his life in those four years since he turned into a demon, so he was pretty good at fleeing. Dai Yanxing could not catch up with him in time and watched as the youth in almond-colored clothes gave him the slip like a slippery loach disappearing into the water.
Ain’t that the truth? My life is on the line!
Song Ci knew that if he kept running like this, he would either spook others or be overtaken by Dai Yanxing. So he gave it his all and leaped onto the roof, jumped around a few times, and hopped down the wall. He vanished into the darkness and sneaked into an unguarded hall.
This hall seemed to be a shrine. There was no lighting in it, and there was only a table with several candles on it in such a big room. There was a statue behind the table, with candlelight illuminating a corner of its hem.
The rest of the place was dark.
Song Ci suppressed his breathing and hastily hid behind a pillar, praying in his heart that Dai Yanxing had not seen him enter.
There was only his own breathing in the silent hall. Song Ci carefully listened for a moment. There was no sound outside. Dai Yanxing did not seem to have noticed his hiding place.
Song Ci cautiously waited for a while and breathed a sigh of relief when there were no signs of activity. Just when he was sighing with emotion over how he had not trained his escape skill in vain, the sound of footsteps rang outside the hall.
It drew nearer and nearer to the entrance of the hall.
Song Ci’s heart leaped to his mouth as everything turned dark before his eyes. He inwardly wailed to himself, I’m doomed! I didn’t think Dai Yanxing would really find me!
He did not have his scimitar with him now. If he fell into Dai Yanxing’s hands, he would definitely be dead meat.
Song Ci was so anxious he broke out in a sweat. The sound of footsteps stopped right before the entrance, and the door was slowly pushed open. A ray of yellow light shone in, creating an oblique shadow on the ground.
Then, the man at the door entered, and his beautiful and clear eyes met Song Ci’s eyes right away.
Song Ci heaved a big sigh of relief, delighted with his good fortune. Woohoo! My savior is here!
- Marriages in those days were arranged by parents, especially between clans or families that were closely matched in social status. It was very rare for children to have any say.
- 及笄 to come of age or reach a marriageable age at a girl’s fifteenth birthday;
The coverings of the windows in ancient times were made of paper. It was easy to “peek” in by poking a hole through the paper.