By the time they reach Zhi Yan House, the sky is already dark. Feng Di is standing guard at the entrance like a stone statue, a look of anticipation on his face.
“Shifu, you are back!” he is shocked after seeing Fang Zhun, “Shouldn’t you be back after a couple of days?”
Fang Zhun replies him, “The assembly was boring. All the things they brought up are clichéd. The longer I was there, the more time I wasted. If my shifu had not been acquainted with Taoist Ling Min, I wouldn’t have bothered going there.”
Feng Di frowns lightly, “Shifu, why do you still speak recklessly so? What if Senior Grandfather heard you?”
Fang Zhun turns to look at him, “He is in another peak, how can he possibly hear me? This child- you have been with me for so many years, why are you still so uptight and uninteresting?”
Feng Di cannot find it in himself to reply to that. Instead, he turns to the uneasy Hu Sha who is standing in the sideline. He warmly asks her, “How did it go? What did you experienced?”
Hu Sha coughs softly before barely speaking above a whisper, “I’m afraid I will have to disappoint Senior Brother.”
After she says that, a trace of disappointment can be seen on his face. But he is not at all angry as Hu Sha thought he would be. He simply nods, saying, “…… It’s okay. The Art of Teng Yun is not something one can learn within one or two days. Senior Brother is not disappointed. With how hardworking you are, you ought to master it soon. No need to rush.”
The one who was in a rush was him, alright! Hu Sha secretly sighs.
“I can only fly half-a-foot up. I cannot fly that far, though.” Hu Sha purpose puts on an ‘I am very pitiful’ look. As she mutters her incantation, she beckons clouds over before slowly flying up. When she lowers her head to look at them, she can see the slight disappointment in her Senior Brother’s face changing into a delighted one. Her heart suddenly feels triumphant and she promptly forgets about all her complain to her shifu, earlier on.
“Oh….. Oh! Not bad, really not bad!” Feng Di is so pleased he almost forget how to speak. He does not dare to be too preposterous in front of his shifu, he forces himself to contain his smile, though the one in his eyes cannot be contained. His iceberg-like face finally changes.
Fang Zhun laughs, “Feng Di has only begun teaching and you already achieved this much, you deserves a lot of admiration. You are indeed, my, Fang Zhun’s disciple.” He turns at Hu Sha and exchange a look with her. Then, they both burst out in laughter.
Feng Di immediately bows and places his balled hands in front of him respectfully, “Shifu mistakenly praises me. This disciple is ashamed. It has only been a month since Hu Sha entered the sect, all the progress she had is due to her own diligence. This disciple merely guides her from the sideline. This disciple is not worthy of being called a teacher.”
No matter what, Hu Sha feels triumphant. The progress she had is due to shifu’s teaching, not her diligence. She was like a good-for-nothing Ah Dou, but because of her shifu, she became a precious flower.
(TN: Ah Dou is referring to Liu Bei’s son, Liu Shan. He was known for being a useless and incapable ruler, losing the jiangshan in the end. Some people suggest that he was actually capable and was only feigning ignorance.)
Fang Zhun waves his hand, “Both of you complements each other when it comes to modesty. It looks so unctuous it gives me goosebump. Where is Feng Yi? He has not returned?”
Hearing about Feng Yi, Feng Di frowns once again, “This disciple planned to report this to you once you returned. Po Jun Department continues assigning him with missions to banish demons. Today, I went to Pu Jun Department to have a discussion with the Elder there. But I received cold shoulders from them. Perhaps, it is better for shifu to be one to go.”
Fang Zhun replies him with an ‘Oh’. He pulls a chair to sit down before covering his mouth to cough a couple of times. “If Feng Yi personally refuses to do the work, those old men in Po Jun Department can do nothing to force him. If he wants to do it himself, we must not force him either.”
Hearing him calling them ‘those old men’, Feng Di’s frown deepens. He helplessly looks at his teacher, “Shifu…. Be cautious of your words. Besides, regardless of Feng Yi’s willingness, he has only been here for around 50 years. He has not reached the age to receive the lesson about offering. His life will be at stake if he receives those missions, how can we not care?”
Fang Zhun yawns, “You yourself has not reached the age of altar-hood and offering, had you reject any assignments from Po Jun Department? Besides, Qing Yuan does not have this rule that forbade disciple from receiving missions before altar-hood. If you can do it, Feng Yi naturally can as well. Your protective instinct as a Senior Brother is too strong, how can you not trust your own Junior Brother?”
Feng Di becomes speechless at what he said.
Fang Zhun yawns once again, “If there is nothing else, I would like to go to sleep first. I was at that wretched place for too long, my body feels uncomfortable.”
He gets up and leaves while Feng Di calls for him from behind, “Shifu…..” To put it short, his shifu is never unsuccessful when it comes to rendering him speechless.
The sound of footsteps can suddenly be heard outside the door, followed by the sound of door being pushed opened. Feng Yi’s cheerful voice fills the air, “Huh? Shifu has returned? How merry! Are all of you gathering together like this to wait for me?”
Hu Sha has the fastest response. She runs towards him and sweetly speaks to him, “Second Senior Brother, you are back so late!”
Feng Yi laughs while he pats her head, “Has Junior Sister learned the Art of Teng Yun? Did you return while riding a cloud?”
Hu Sha’s face immediately falls.
Feng Yi nods repeatedly, “From the look of it, you failed.”
Hu Sha hastily speaks up, “Says who? I only failed to fly properly…….”
Before she even finish speaking, she sees him taking out a package from his chest. Just from the aroma she can tell that it is roasted chicken. Before her grievance even fade, she salivates over the package, drool almost flowing out of her mouth. She gulped.
“Be good. Do not be discouraged. Just continue practicing. You will be able to fly, one day.” Feng Yi tosses the paper bag to her. He pats her head as though he would pat a little puppy. After that, he turns around and pays respect to Fang Zhun, “Greeting, Shifu and Senior Brother.”
Fang Zhun nods, “As long as you returned safely. Did you suffer from any injury?”
Feng Yi laughs, “Shifu must not underestimate me. Can a couple of mere demons injure me? I dare not let others make fun of shifu’s teachings.”
Fang Zhun nods in agreement, “Not bad.”
‘What ‘not bad?’’ Feng Di secretly murmurs in his heart. He really did not expect anything constructive from his shifu. He has always been dismissive towards things. At times, even when big things are heading their way, he would simply say, ‘It is not a big deal. Why is everyone so anxious?’ paired with an innocent look.
“Feng Yi, come to my room at night. There is something I would like to tell you.” Feng Di icily tells him.
Feng Yi raises his eyebrows before putting on a bitter smile, “Aiya, how annoying. How troublesome.”
Hu Sha takes out the roasted chicken. She yearningly looks at it, sniffing it from top to bottom. In the end, she endures the yearning and puts it back into the bag. She only takes out a bun and starts eating it.
“The little girl has changed her personality? Why aren’t you eating delicious thing?” Feng Yi is very curious.
Hu Sha solemnly nods, “I need to cultivate. Eldest Senior Brother said I am a genius. I must not disappoint him. From now on, I will not eat meat! I will only eat buns!”
“Ge…nius?” Feng Yi is amused now as he glances at Feng Di. The latter blushes, pretending to coughs.
“The Eldest Senior Brother is such a good teacher!” The way Feng Yi praises him sounds very half-hearted. He stretches his waist before rubbing his eyes while murmuring, “I am so tired. I should not talk anymore, I need to go to bed.”
Feng Di frowns, “Hang on! I will go with you!”
Feng Yi laughs bitterly, “Eldest Senior Brother, please spare me this one time! Whatever you have to say, can you please say it tomorrow? I am too tired today.”
He turns around before walking away. Feng Di anxiously calls after him, “Feng Yi!”
Hu Sha who is immersed in her bun feels someone tugging her shoulder. Before she knows it, Feng Yi has already, intimately, leans against her, resting his chin on top of her head. He smiles, “Alright, if Eldest Senior Brother has anything to say, you can say it to out Junior Sister. She will convey it to me, tomorrow, right Junior Sister?”
Hu Sha jumps up, alarmed. Just as she was about to detach herself from this entire thing, she discovers that something is not right. His body….. is shaking? She turns around to look at him and realizes that the area under his ribs is soaked with blood. Just, his robe is flowery and ostentatious, making it very hard to spot that.
She gasps, almost pointing it out in alarm when he pinches her in the shoulder. His five fingers are like iron pliers; his pinch stings so much, she almost bit her tongue in shock.
Feng Yi raises his hand to touch her cheek. It looks intimate and all, but the truth is, he is only doing that to cover her mouth. “Do not tell them. Be obedient.”
She feels like her shoulder is about to crumble from the way he pinches her. She can hear him whispering to her, “Hurry and nod.”
Hu Sha hastily nods while Feng Yi laughs brightly. He seizes her shoulder and walks a few steps while saying, “Then, Junior Sister can go to Eldest Senior Brother later. I have not seen you, this entire day, I really missed you! Come and let me take a good look at you.”
While saying that, he completely ignores Feng Di as he continues dragging her far away.
Hu Sha stumbles through the road and is dragged back to her own room by him. With a ‘bang’, he pushes open the door and drags her with him. Then, he goes to the long couch and rests on top of it, as though he is familiar with this entire room.
He did not say anything, though his face is unusually pale. Hu Sha gives him an uneasy look, “Second Senior Brother, you are bleeding.”
He touches his abdomen, “It is nothing serious. It is just a small wound, no need to make a big fuss.”
Hu Sha stands there while holding her bun, not knowing what to do. After a while, she finally realizes something and rushes to take Jin Chuang Medicine from the drawer.”
“I-I have medicine here! Eldest Senior Brother gave them to me!” She presents the paper bag to him as though she is presenting him treasure, watching him attentively.
Feng Yi laughs in amusement at that. He slowly opens the paper bag, but his left hand suddenly loses it’s ability to hold things. The powdery medicine falls on the floor. He sighs, “I don’t think I can use this arm, for now. Junior Sister, I need you to help me. You….. Go and lock the door, first.”
Hu Sha immediately runs to lock the door, but the moment she turns around to look at him again, she discovers his robe strewn carelessly on the floor. The aegean blue color of his inner clothes is very dark, but she can still see the color of blood soaking through the cloth, under his ribs. Her messy hair almost stands from the chill she gets.
“What are you standing there for? Come and help me put on medicine,” Feng Di beckons her over, and without a single trace of hesitation, sheds off his inner cloth.
Hu Sha gasps before quickly covering her eyes, “Second Senior Brother! Second Senior Brother! You— You are not wearing clothes!”
Feng Yi frowns, “Says who? I am still wearing my pants. How will you put on the medicine if I don’t take off my clothes? What are you scared of? Just because I am not wearing anything does not means I will eat people.”
What he says make sense. But…… Hu Sha stubbornly shakes her head, “No way! No way! My mother said only a husband and wife can…. Can take off clothes in front of each other! You are not my husband….. Besides, I already have a husband!”
Feng Yi laughs in incredulity. After a while, he speaks, “Nobody knows of this, other than you and me. Don’t worry, I will not spread this outside. We will pretend this never happens, okay?”
Hu Sha steals a look at him through the crack of her fingers and sees him drenched scarily in blood. She hesitantly goes over, “You really won’t tell anyone, right? We will really pretend nothing happens, right?”
Feng Yi impatiently pulls her over, “Alright! Hurry and apply the medicine! If I die from bleeding too much, things wouldn’t look good for you, either!”
Hu Sha applies the medicine with only one eye open. As she puts on the medicine, he suddenly laughs as he speaks in disbelief, “….. Interesting! How old are you again? You already have a husband? You really really have a husband? You wouldn’t be lying to me, would you?”
Hu Sha hastily replies him, “I am not a liar! I am already 15 years old! I could’ve gotten married long ago!”
Feng Yi looks at her from head to toe, then, he shakes his head, “You don’t look like it. No matter how I look at you, you look like a little girl. If you hadn’t told me, I would’ve forgotten that people here could marry despite being only 13 or 14.”
“My husband is an outstanding person, he is very good-looking!” She is very prideful when she says that. She will never forget that painting. That young man in that painting is more beautiful than anyone else, despite only being a painting.
When the powder falls on his wound, Feng Yi trembles from the pain. Sweat fills his face as he continues making fun of her, “Oh? Is he really that handsome? Is he more handsome than me?”
Hu Sha raises her head and looks at his face earnestly. She recalls the man in the painting again, before solemnly speaking, “I don’t know about things like that. He and you are different, though. He is my husband, and you are my Senior Brother. I look at you two in completely different ways.”
“Oh? In what way do you look at me, then?” he continues asking around jokingly.
Hu Sha earnestly answers him, “You are like my uncle.”
Hearing that, Feng Yi almost falls from the couch. He touches his face with a bitter smile, “Am I that old? Oh God…..”
“You and Eldest Senior Brother have lived for many decades, shifu even more so. He is already 300 years old, older than my grandfather. All of you are so old, of course I regard you as my uncle, as an older generation.”
Feng Yi finally stops laughing. He props up his body and looks at Hu Sha carefully. Her eyelashes are so long, it almost touches her nose. Being looked at by him gives Hu Sha goosebumps, “What is wrong, Second Senior Brother?”
He blinks at her, smiling softly, “Little Hu Sha….. Little good girl…. This injury must be kept a secret. You must not tell anyone, okay?”
She freezes for a moment before mumbling, “But…. Didn’t you gain it from banishing demons? Why am I not allowed to tell anyone?”
He pinches her cheek gently, “No matter what, you are not allowed to divulge this to anyone. If not, I will not bring you buns anymore.” After thinking for a moment, he adds, “Not only the injury thing, everything that happened tonight must be kept secret. Only the heavens and you and I know, understand?”
Hu Sha nods her head.
Feng Yi pats her hair in satisfaction. He suddenly seizes her neck and plants a kiss on her smooth, little face.
“Ya———-“ She screams out loud and jumps up like a rabbit.
“Second Senior Brother. You-You-You-You-You….. What had you done!” Her face is flushed from anger. She looks like she isn’t going to let him off unless he explains this properly.
Feng Yi laughs happily. He wraps a bandage on top of the wound before putting on his inner clothes. He waves his hand at her, “No need to be nervous! I just thought you looked so cute. In my hometown, kissing each other’s face is a normal thing. Especially when we see Xiao Guai Guai like you!”
(TN: Xiao Guai Guai (小乖乖) means ‘Obedient Little One’ but I just put it in pinyin rather than the English term because it sounds so creepy :O)
“Really?” Hu Sha suspiciously looks at him, refusing to believe the existence of a place where kissing each others’ faces are normal.
Feng Yi nods, smiling without saying anything. He changes his position and half-lies on the long couch, softly saying, “Alright. I need to rest, so do not disturb me. If Eldest Senior Brother comes, tell him you are already sleeping, alright?”
Hu Sha immediately replies him, “No way! You are in my room, how can I be sleeping?”
Feng Yi sighs, “Silly girl, no need to worry about that. He doesn’t know I’m here. Just blow that candle and calm down. When had I ever lied to you?”
Hu Sha walks about for a long time. Forced by his abuse of authority, she can only blow the candle off. The room immediately falls into darkness.