Chapter 5: Gentlemen
This year, there were abundance of rain. At this season of the past year, rainfall in the mountains would not be as frequent. However, this year, it was weird. For half of the month, there was only clear weather for two days.
Shen Qingxuan had long learned how to pass his time. He was not fretful even when he was trapped in the house. He leaned against the side of the window as he listened to the rain day after day with great patience.
The sound of rain smashing on the tree leaves, the sound of rain landing on the roof, the sound of the rain dripping on the jar pots in the courtyard… It was rather enthralling to use his hearing ability to capture them one by and identify the miniature discrepancy.
There was even more vivid inflorescence in the courtyard, stained with raindrops as it fluttered in his view. This might not be demure but there was some kind of amorous feelings.
When interest arising from this viewing came, Shen Qingxuan unfolded his drawing paper and added washes of ink of this scenery amidst the rain to amuse himself.
In the evening, after he had his meals, he was soaked in the warm water of light medicinal fragrance. It was only until when his eyelids were powerless to lift themselves, that he shook the bell to call for the servant to serve him and go to bed.
Tonight was another night of heavy rain.
Shen Qingxuan knew that Yi Mo would not come, therefore, he had long gone to bed early. Yet he did not fall asleep, instead, he was just leaning on the bedhead with a small square table set up with a chessboard in front of him. He held a book on ancient chess game and arranged the pieces as according to the book.
The black and white chess pieces were scattered and dispersed in advance, and suddenly, under his hands, they were connected inseparably close, as if it was a magnificent army with thousands of men and horses, encircling with the intention to annihilate by fighting in close quarters; like a fierce tigers that got out of the cage, directly attacking the military.
While he was in rapt attention as he moved back and forth the chess pieces, the curtain on the bed seemed to be blown by the wind and lifted its corner with grace.
Shen Qingxuan raised his head and looked through at the green yarn in surprise.
The room was uninhabited, but Shen Qingxuan knew that he was here. He quickly lifted open the mosquito net and waved to the empty place.
Feeling a slight cold air approaching, Shen Qingxuan hurriedly put the chess pieces away from the table and then he took out the paper and brush from the wooden cabinet beside the bed. He wrote: The wind and heavy rain are pressing, come in and have a sit.
In a moment, the big bed shook slightly, and the thin quilt under the chess table emerged marks.
The sound of rain pounding outside the window echoed. Shen Qingxuan thought that he would not come, so he only dressed in a snow-white middle garment with a crooked lapel, likewise, his hairpin on his head was long removed. A fine black hair scattered behind him. The front and back of him just described laziness.
It was not until Yi Mo sat opposite the chess board that he noticed his discourteous. He hurriedly wrote: I thought you woule not be coming. When he had finished writing, he looked across at the empty space, but there was no movement on the other side.
Shen Qingxuan was quite surprised. In these past few months of acquaintance, although Yi Mo had been very much apathetic, he never once lost his courtesy and replied whenever this was a question.
What was going on today?
In the midst of appraising in his mind, the paper on the table and the brush in his hand were taken away from an external force and moved to the opposite side.
Then handwriting gradually appeared on the paper, yet it was a farewell.
Yi Mo was going to leave the mountains and go somewhere else.
When Shen Qingxuan saw that, there was an unexpected palpitation in his heart. At once, he felt frenetic. He grabbed the brush and paper in a go. His illegible handwriting urgently asked him where was he going and when would he come back. His bearing had utterly vanished.
In a little while, the paper and brush in his hand were once again taken away. Each of these unhurried words was still as upright as they were, yet, it was an affair in which this thousand-year-old snake demon had been searching for two hundred years. It was only in the recent days did he received prospects of a positive outcome. Naturally, he would be going down the mountain to take it back.
Only then did Shen Qingxuan’s heart calm down.
After a moment of quietness, he couldn’t resist his curiosity and asked him what was the affair, for it to be so precious that even Yi Mo could not wait to get it.
The brush and paper once again paused for a moment, and then two words appeared: Snake molt.
Shen Qingxuan was stupefied.
The thing that he had been painstakingly searching for many years finally received progression. Yi Mo’s mood was rather joyful. He once again spread out the paper and continued to converse with him in great delight—— It turned out that around two hundred years ago, Yi Mo was molting in the mountain after he smoothly passed his tribulation. It had never crossed his mind that his snake molt would disappear without a cause.
Although he did put not view that thin layer of snake molt with high regard, he was, after all, a thousand years old demon therefore, his molted skin was also an extraordinary thing. As long as someone took it, it was certain that disturbance would birth. It was something that numerous juveniles had been seeking for.
It was only until today that this affair showed a positive outlook.
Having seen his words, Shen Qingxuan asked in more detail. Yi Mo did not hide anything and answered each of them one by one. It was inevitable that some of the past events would be brought into the conversation and that the roots would be revealed. But Yi Mo was not at all bothered about letting others know. However, Shen Qingxuan still carefully note them down.
Until now, Shen Qingxuan was only aware that he was a snake demon, but he never knew the origin and the past of this snake demon. Today, he realized only then that the reason why Yi Mo became a demon was that he had been enlightened by someone and that his hometown was far away.
Shen Qingxuan lifted his brush and asked him: Why did you leave your hometown?
Yi Mo thought for a moment and replied back with a word: Noisy.
In the perspective of humans, hometown was the root of the soul, whereas, in the viewpoint of snake, it was merely a place where they were born in. Originally, he was just a confused little snake. He slept when he had his fill, woke up when it was spring, hibernate when it was winter. He took reside in the mountain cave, staying ignorant of the outside affairs.
At that time, the world was in the turmoil of wars, with a continuous beacon of flames stretched across the land of the five dynasties and ten states. In these troubled times, yet there were the contention of a hundred schools of thought. Scholars, saints, heroic warriors appeared in succession. For a moment, it was unknown how many of those heroes coexisted with the immortals and demons. There were also immortal practitioners, alchemists that concocted magic pills, disciples of Maitreya and sects of different directions gathered in this chaotic world, presenting splendid scenes.
He was a little snake that was incomprehensive of the chaos of the world and was settled in a corner in contentment. He had never unexpected that the conflagration would end one day.
The smokes of wolves’ dung burnt and flames of war sparked towards this small green mountain.
Sound of drums erupted loudly at the bottom of the mountain, shouts of ‘kill’ quaked towards the sky, glint and flash of cold steel shone, bloodshed into the rivers, youths came back buried in horsehide.
But there were more bodies of those youth left on the land, each was cut off their limbs and arms, separated from the dead body.
The excessive scent of blood and the resentment born from the unremunerated magnificent aspirations eventually molded a Devil Matter. For a period of time, the small green mountain blew of chilly wind all day long.
At that time he was still a little snake.
The Devil Matter was growing without restraint, naturally, saints and immortal practitioners came overlooking.
One day at the foot of the mountain came two Taoists, one of whom was a young child. He came with his master.
At that time he had just awakened from his hibernation. The small snake Yi Mo also protruded his head out from the cave and foraged in the grass to look for food. But he had just awakened from hibernation, his body was stiff and unwieldy, and just like that, he bumped into the shoe of the Taoist.
The Taoist child cried out in fear and raised his foot to kick, but his master stopped him.
When little snake Yi Mo saw that the two men were not going to make things difficult for him, he was also disinclined to make the situation difficult for them. Even though he was hungry, he knew he could not eat them so he turned around and left.
But he was called out by the older Taoist.
The Taoist said, “That snake.”
Yi Mo was aware that he was a snake, so he ceased his movement and turned his head around. He looked at him coldly with his black bean-like eyes, as if waiting for him to continue talking.
“You this snake is very interesting and rather spiritual.”
Yi Mo wasn’t called Yi Mo at that time. He was a nameless and footless long worm. There were many birds and animals in the mountains, some of them who cultivated and became a demon who loved to croak. Even if Yi Mo was not interested, he knew a little about these immortal and demons. He had never thought of cultivating and becoming a demon. He only felt that his present situation was very good.
His smooth and steady current situation of being a snake had been broken by this Taoist.
The Taoist took out a pot of wine from his waist and beamed. “I see that you’ve just woken up. You must be hungry. How about I invite you to a drink?” With this, he opened the wine pot without consulting anyone.
Who knew what was the wine brewed with, it had a delicate fragrance assailing the nostrils. Yi Mo was indeed hungry even though he knew he had no good intentions. He hesitated for a moment and drank the wine from the gourd.
When he finished drinking and looked up again, he found that the world before his eyes was different.
Only to see the original verdant forest was shrouded in a dark atmosphere that was extremely dense. There was some red and green breath interspersed. The original world that he was accustomed to changed in this moment.
That Taoist was still beaming as he crouched down to explain to him which was the devil breath, which was the demonic breath, which was the breaths of resentment. He also explained to him the difference between the devil and demon. Finally, he kept the empty gourd in contentment and said, “You have become a demon after drinking my wine. You are no longer the long worm that was going to be caught, peeled, boned and stewed into a soup.”
Yi Mo was stunned and remained silent for a long time.
The man then gave him a name before he got up in perfect satisfaction. He didn’t even do the business he had come here for and left briskly. He had no regard to how much influence he had cause to a snake’s life.
Later, the snake demon Yi Mo, who had never cultivated for a day, had to draw the essence of the sun and the moon and began to learn to cultivate.
It was not difficult to accept the fact that he had become a demon. The difficulty laid in how he found out that they were so many demons in the mountain after he became a demon. Formerly, he was an ordinary little snake. That Devil Matter disdained him. Now that he was enlightened by a Taoist, he was now different in the eyes of the Devil Matter and it often entangled with him.
Yi Mo was naturally fond of quietness, thus he was fed up with this.
In addition, the birds and animals that Yi Mo was familiar with in this mountain gradually fell into the devil’s way. Polluted by love, hate, greed, anger, and imbecilty, they fall into insanity. So, he was even more unhappy.
Finally, the yellow oriole, who often croaked on his back, disappeared overnight.
The loud arrogant clamor and laughter of the Devil Matter finally forced Yi Mo to go out and destroy its core, which was formed by the grievance of the dead soldiers at the foot of the mountain. Every day and night, he cleaned up the noisy little devils and henceforth left his homeland.
Having gradually experienced many things, Yi Mo then realised that Taoist who had enlightened him knew that the devil breath in the mountain was not easy to be subdued. Thus, he enlightened this little snake who had few desire and scant intentions and gave him the power for no reason, which was to borrow its hand to kill the core.
Demon and devil were evenly matched when fighting.
If you were a human, even if you had considerable power, you would still suffer due to having a physical body.
Yi Mo knew that he had been schemed by him, but he did not show joy and anger. With tranquility, he sought another spiritual mountain and cultivated for another hundred years so that he could cultivate into a human figure and go down the mountain. He wandered and searched for the reincarnation of the Taoist. He played with the reincarnation of the Taoist that he almost killed himself by hanging on the roof before he went back to the mountain to resume his cultivation.
Afterward, the Taoist lived through three lives and ranked in the immortal. All these past events were just like a puff of smoke and had faded away.
Shen Qingxuan listened with rapt attention to his past. In the end, he couldn’t help but bow his head and snickered. He thought that this Taoist and this snake could be regarded to have a beginning and an end.
When he thought about it, he lifted his brush again: When will you return after you go?
Yi Mo replied: Fast will be two months, slow will be half a year.
When Shen Qingxuan saw that it would take half a year that long, he no longer hide his reluctance, but he would not be intimate with him too. They were not unfamiliar, yet he only questioned: Does it have to be this long?
That snake said: This mountain had many demons. If you feel lonely, you can burn incense to invite them.
Although his words were courteous and there was no lack of concern, it was still as indifferent. Shen Qingxuan was displeased in his heart and thought that it was sufficient for him to know him, this one snake demon, why do him still need to invite some demons and monsters to accompany him.
Then he proceeded to incline his face to one side. His long hair helped to shield the expression on his face.
Yi Mo who was sitting opposite was also silent for a while. Later, he picked up the paper and brush again and wrote, “Goodbye”.
Although Shen Qingxuan remained motionless, his eyes swept across the movement at the side. When he saw the words written on the white paper, his heart jumped violently. At this moment, the lamp at the bedside exploded and his hand that was on the silk quilt was also so squeezing tightly that his fingertips were suffused with white.
The curtain was lifted up again. Although he was invisible, Shen Qingxuan knew that he was going to leave and all of a sudden, he felt unbearable.
Dependence was a common human nature and Shen Qingxuan was no exception to this. Although he loathed his dependence on this demon, he had no time to think about it at this moment. In these twenty years of loneliness, a gratifying change occurred in these past few months. Because of this unusual circumstance, his monochrome life emerged another kind of radiance. His trust in this demon seemed to be formed involuntarily, alongside with dependence.
But he was told to let go now and be separated for half a year.
The original idea of having a friendship between gentlemen seemed to be unable to advance forward.
Shen Qingxuan suddenly turned his face, held up his brush and wrote on the white paper that was lying quietly, “I am indebted in your favor and you treat me well. To depart for several months, I am sure to be worried. Why don’t you let me take a look at you since you came to bid farewell? Even if it is a dream in the midnight, when I recalled the light conversation under the illumination of the candles, it will not just be the sole shadow of mine.
Setting aside his pen, Shen Qingxuan gazed at the opposite place and remained silent for a while.
In his heart, he was clear that their relationship between gentlemen was as light as water. Maybe because of this request, earth-shaking changes might take place.
It was prominent that Yi Mo was not acting pretentiously as to why he did not reveal himself. The only explanation was that this was his habits for hundreds of years. When had their friendship became so familiar that he could change his habits and start a reform?
If Yi Mo refused…
Suddenly, Shen Qingxuan was covered with cold sweat, and his hair went up upside down from the tail vertebrae to the scalp — if Yi Mo refused to do so…
He dared not think anymore.
Even if their friendship was as light as water, it was better than fragmented fission. He was no longer a reckless juvenile. Why did he keep on miscalculating?
While Shen Qingxuan was feeling resentful at himself, while he was in doubt, while he was flustered, while he was thinking about remedial measurements, the corner of the bed curtains began to rise and then drop.
Then the originally empty quilt showed a corner of a black clothes. Shen Qingxuan held his breath and his brain was in chaos.
The thing he was thinking of seemed to suddenly appear in front of him. He did not know whether he was feeling the excitement or was it something else. At this time, he dared not breathe, his pale cheeks were choked with red, and a kind of dizziness was beginning to form.
Yi Mo lifted his invisibility spell very fast, but it fell very slowly in Shen Qingxuan’s eyes. Finally, when the cold face alike to his upright handwriting appeared in his field of vision, Shen Qingxuan blinked and became stiff all over.
Seeing a small cluster of blue flames on Yi Mo’s fingertips bouncing toward his chest, Shen Qingxuan suddenly exchanged his breath as if he had been hit by gravel.
When he realized that he had forgotten to breathe and almost choked to death. Shen Qingxuan was red-faced for a moment.
With his redden face, he looked at the cold face that looked like it was carved out from the knife for a while, Shen Qingxuan wrote: Modestly talented, unequaled in the world.
Only to see Yi Mo raising his eyebrows slightly and wrote with his hand, adding a line beside the six words: An unadorned elegance with an anomaly allurement, heaven made beautiful.
When Shen Qingxuan saw the words, he unconsciously touched his cheek with suspicion. He raised his eyes and saw the light in the dark eyes of the other party flashed. He immediately realized that he had been teased. He praised him with heartfelt, but Yi Mo was completely ridiculing him. He was still fooled.
Shen Qingxuan’s face was so red for a moment that it almost dripped blood. He opened his mouth and scolded, “You bad snake.”
Although there was no sound, the mouth shape was clear and distinct.
Yi Mo was neither happy or angry, he only left one word on the paper: Likewise.
Then the curtain rose and disappeared.
Disclaimers to all the cultivation terms used! Take it with a grain of salt, ty.
- Middle Garment: That white colour attire that the ancient people wear to sleep, clearly, i dk the term
- Contention of a Hundred school of thought: refers to the classical philosophic schools of the Warring States period 475-221 BCMiddle
- Long Worm: means snake
- Gentleman: I am pretty sure this refer to friendship between guy?
TN: Hello, i am little busy nowadays! But i will be coming back to this novel soon!