*warning just in case: mild fatphobia
Before Bu QingYun was expelled from Xuanmen, he had frequently interacted with each of the other great sects. The Water Moon Manor was no exception.
Back when Bu QingYun walked the Jianghu with his white clothes and silver sword, many Water Moon Manor disciples fancied him. It didn’t hurt that he was handsome either. It was just a pity that from his youth, this person only had his eyes on the dao and had no desire for the romance between sexes.
To this day, Lin FaCai still remembered the first time he met Bu QingYun.
From a young age, he had admired the Water Moon Manor’s second young miss, Yue FangZhou. Sadly, he didn’t know how to express his love and could only laugh obnoxiously while staying by her side, which provoked her ire instead. That night, he had guessed that it was probably Yue FangZhou’s after-practice bathing time, so under the cover of night, he slipped his way out of the guest room.
He didn’t really think he would see anything. If nothing else, he just wanted to anger the person that he liked, to see her face flushed with anger and embarrassment. What he didn’t expect was for a white clothed person to stand behind him just when he hopped off the roof.
He considered himself a fairly accomplished cultivator within the younger generation, but the other was able to stop him with just one technique. At that moment he thought, Could this person be an expert that was looking to kidnap one of the Water Moon Manor disciples to raise his cultivation?
Even though he was internally worried, he still put on a sleazy expression as he mocked, “We’re both peeping, me on the roof, and you through the back door. How about we just mind our own businesses, yeah?”
But the white clothed person unexpectedly laughed when he heard this, and his laugh was very attractive. “This humble one is not the peeper, but rather the guard.”
Not waiting for him to react after saying this, Bu QingYun suddenly raised his voice and shouted, “Miss Yue, like you predicted, someone really did try to take a peek.”
The moment he said this, Lin FaCai instantly knew this was going to be bad. Not a second later, he received a ruthless kick to his backside. Looking up, he saw a furious Yue FangZhou. “Lin FaCai! You bastard, you came to peek on me1 I (老娘) – in the original, she uses an arrogant way (laoniang) to refer to herself; it’s similar to using laozi, but for women. again!”
He relaxed after knowing that the mystery man was someone Yue FangZhou knew, before protecting his head in a practiced motion and painfully wailing, “You’re bound to become my wife anyways, what’s wrong with me taking a look?”
Yue FangZhou grew up with him and was already used to his shameless display, but today, he was still spouting the same nonsense in front of that person. She couldn’t help but become more angry, her hits becoming harder as a result. “Who is your wife already?! I’ll beat you to death, you shameless fatty!”
“Mercy! You’re murdering your own husband ah!”
After she finished beating the crap out of him, Yue FangZhou suddenly realised that her behaviour wasn’t in-line with the famed, virtuous lady image. She turned, only to find the white-clothed young warrior trying to hold back his laugh as he watched the two of them, and became more embarrassed. She hurried to explain, “Bu-shixiong, it’s only the older generation’s wish that we get together, I didn’t agree yet, I… I…”
It was at this time that Lin FaCai knew. So this was the Bu QingYun that all the elders praised.
The women of the Water Moon Manor were all remarkable beauties. So even though Yue FangZhou was a little young, she had an innocent blooming allure. But Bu QingYun didn’t have any reaction whatsoever, only politely and somewhat awkwardly replying, “It’s good that Miss Yue is fine. Be more cautious of the roofs when taking a bath in the future.”
Lin FaCai had never seen Yue FangZhou like this. He watched as the barbaric young lady that would hunt him down daily suddenly retracted all her fangs and claws and became as gentle as a cat begging for people to love them. Too bad this person actually ignored her.
His heart was a little sour, since he obviously wouldn’t be happy if Bu QingYun paid attention to her, but at the same time such indifference still made him angry. Not knowing what to do, he could only indignantly complain, “What’s so good about this type of pretty boy? How come all you women immediately become shy and fidgety when you see him?”
“Probably because he looks handsome?”
Lin FaCai was just about to retort, before he registered that it was actually a male’s voice. He raised his head and saw that it was the sword-wielding2 young warrior himself who said this. Suddenly, everything that he wanted to say was swallowed back in, opting to glare at him instead. “Bro, a respected Xuanmen Da Shixiong such as yourself should want a little more face, okay?”
Towards this, Bu QingYun levelled an incomparably upright gaze, as if controlling all the evils in the world to look at him. His tone was very upright and sincere, “My apologies, we Xuanmen disciples have always been relatively honest.”
Never could he have imagined that the Xuanmen Da Shixiong everyone held as the model of morality was a narcissist in private! Lin FaCai felt that he was a little ready to collapse and immediately tugged on Yue FangZhou’s sleeves as he advised, “FangZhou, you should quickly give up on this man. Just look at that shameless expression, he’s clearly the type that can marry his own reflection! Where would he have the eyes for women?”
What replied him was a pink fist as well as the young lady’s resentful scolding, “Shut up, you stupid fatty! If you slander Bu-shixiong one more time, I will beat you!”
“You’re already beating me!”
At that time, it was because Lin FaCai was fed too many pills and treasures that his body presented a fatty’s physique. This carried on until he reached the Nascent Soul Stage where he was finally able to digest all of that pure energy and also became handsome and imposing.
However, occasionally when he dreamt at night, he would remember that period of youth that had already passed years ago. Where he was still the little fatty being chased everywhere by Yue FangZhou, and everytime they laughed, that white-robed young man would be on the side, watching them as he held his sword.
Thinking about it now, Bu QingYun was no older than sixteen at the time, how could he not enjoy liveliness? It was only because he was Xuanmen’s Da Shixiong that he had to keep a dignified and solemn appearance. For him to joke with them every once in a while was already a very rarely indulged impudence.
All in all, Bu QingYun only spent four short years walking in the Jianghu. And in these four years, he spent half the time resting from his travels at the Water Moon Manor and Thousand Treasures Sect. Lin FaCai thought, Even though they were love rivals, they could still be considered friends.
But today, he had no choice but to gather everyone together to besiege this former friend.
Sitting in front of the desk, he watched as the candle flame swayed from the night breeze. A luxuriously dressed middle-aged man fiddled with his abacus blankly as events of the past followed the dance of the candle light and floated up into recent memory. Eventually leading up to a deep sigh. “Who could have thought that the fakely proper young man would become what he is now.”
Hearing his lament, the expression on the woman sitting in front of the bed also fluctuated. Despite already being a mother, the eyes of the Water-Moon Immortal were still as alluring as ever. And because she had aged, she gained a touch of having looked past mortal affairs, only serving to make her seem all the more ethereally beautiful.
It’s just, at this moment, she tightly held the clothes her beloved son left behind with eyes full of worry. She could only lightly say, “Don’t think about it anymore, the past is the past. What we need to do now is rescue Xuan’er.”
They were also century-old Jianghu veterans, how could they not sense that there was something wrong with this situation? However, their child had already entered the Palace of Bliss, what good would pursuing this matter do now? No one was more aware of the taboo between He Huan and Xuanmen; they were just afraid that Lin Xuan was facing a fate worse than death after having been caught by He Huan.
As long as she thought that the son she treasured could possibly be suffering under the Palace of Bliss’s torture, her heart would hurt as if someone took a knife and twisted it in her heart. Compared to such pain, the pain from the injuries she received when she tried to stop Bu QingYun from leaving was completely negligible.
Just as Lin FaCai wanted to go comfort his wife, the sound of tiles breaking suddenly came from the roof. If they were ordinary people, they’d naturally not notice, but this pair of husband and wife were both in the late-stage Nascent Soul realm.
“I’ll go take a look.”
Sharing a look with each other, he gestured to her to be careful before grabbing his golden calculator and silently flew out the window.
In those days, He Huan finished off many enemies through assassination. Towards this particular skill set, the Three Great Sects naturally made lengthy preparations against it. Each and every residence was laid full of arrays, so needless to say, the Sect Head’s residence was secure to the point where the average cultivator wouldn’t even be able to enter. The only way in was if the intruder’s cultivation exceeded everyone present.
In his heart, Lin FaCai already vaguely guessed who the intruder was. He landed on the roof apprehensively, but was stunned by the scene in front of him. He felt as if he had been returned to the past for a moment.
With the moon hanging high over the sky and the night as cold as water, the white-clothed man stood silently alone under the moonlight. The night breeze lifting the white cloth of the veiled hat, revealing that person’s unchanged face. It was still the same calm-as-water eyes and jade-like features, even the CaiYun Sword attached to his waist was the same as before.
Seeing that he arrived, that person turned towards him and chuckled. His words were no longer calculated, only leaving behind the rash frivolousness of playing life. “There’s no beauty taking a bath tonight, what brings Patriarch Lin to the roof?”
Ever since He Huan fell to demonic cultivation, he stopped using the sword and never wore white clothes. He avoided everything related to Xuanmen to the point where he wasted a demonic cultivator’s cultivation just for mentioning those two words. The Bu QingYun in his memories no longer existed.
Lin FaCai thought, This person definitely can’t be He Huan. But if he isn’t, then who is this that possesses a level of cultivation that even makes me feel apprehensive? Looking at the other, he became even more alert. “Who are you?”
Yet, he couldn’t maintain his composure for much longer because just when he said this, a young man burrowed straight into him. It was fine to not be able to recognise He Huan, but it was impossible to not recognise his own blood son. He immediately held his son, examining everything. “Xuan’er! Are you okay?”
Lin FaCai’s heart suddenly leapt to his throat the moment Lin Xuan spat out this word, but the next sentence put it back down. “He made me sweep the floor, wash the laundry, and even made me clean the lavatory!”
Were the demonic cultivators so merciful these days? A captured righteous disciple only needed to do chores?
Inspecting his son again in confusion, Lin FaCai saw he really hadn’t received any sort of injury or been drugged with any poison, he was only a bit thinner. He knew his son’s temper very well, as long as he opened his mouth to speak, he would definitely anger He Huan. Yet he returned in good condition. Lin FaCai still thought he was dreaming. “That’s it?”
His question stunned Lin Xuan. He originally thought that after his father saw him like this, he would ruthlessly curse out that He Huan, but he actually said “that’s it”? Never in his life had he ever done something like cleaning the lavatory! Was this his father or not?
He Huan understood Lin FaCai’s confusion. After all, even if it were him, he also wouldn’t believe that he would let off a Xuanmen disciple. That time, if it hadn’t been for He Ku instinctively waking up at the mention of Xuanmen, this Lin Xuan definitely wouldn’t be alive.
Perhaps, inexorably, this was the past Bu QingYun stopping him from harming Xuanmen disciples. Even without memories, even though his personality wasn’t the same, that unexplainable sense of responsibility was already carved into He Ku’s being.
Feeling his dantian’s position, for some reason, He Huan slightly wished that He Ku was standing beside him. However, Nascent Soul stage cultivators would already be able to see him, so in the end, he couldn’t let his Yuan Ying out to play.
It was only a fleeting thought before he faced his old friend alone. He still wore a smile, but for some reason, it made people shiver. “It wasn’t He Huan who let off your son, but rather Bu QingYun who saved him. Be glad that his luck is good.”
Outsiders naturally didn’t understand what he meant, so when this fell into Lin FaCai’s ears, he only thought that He Huan still remembered their old friendship. Seeing his expression, he laughed. “See? Everything in the world has a course. Back then, you were the one holding a sword on the roof, while I held my wife. Now, I’m holding my son, but you are still only holding your sword. Of the two of us, I think I’ve won this round.”
His words moved something in He Huan’s heart, but just when he was about to speak, a woman in yellow leapt onto the roof. Although she was older, her voice, face, and smile were the same as before. She scolded Lin FaCai the moment she grabbed him, “Old thing, what did you see to keep you up here for so long?”
“Mother! They’re bullying me!”
Lin Xuan instantly perked up after seeing her arrive, throwing himself over. Yet Yue FangZhou had never been some delicate woman. After sweeping her awareness over the flying mass and confirming that it was indeed her son, she released a series of reprimands, scaring him back into his father’s arms. “Silence! Brat, you actually dared to saunter into the Palace of Bliss alone? Watch if I don’t break your legs later!”
Seeing her, He Huan was rendered temporarily speechless. At least he knew where Lin Xuan’s temper came from.
However, it had always been so since they were young. Although everyone said the Yue sisters fancied Bu QingYun, but whenever they were all together, Yue FangZhou always went to play fight with Lin FaCai, and Yue LingJing had always teased the silent Bu YaoLian. Only he stood to the side as he maintained the air of Xuanmen’s Da Shixiong, unable to get close to anyone.
Actually, wasn’t it the same even after becoming He Huan? Sure, the disciples dared to tease him and share a few jokes, but no one dared to be excessively close to him because of his identity. However, now that he thought about it, even if someone were willing to become close to him, he wouldn’t have been able to trust them. He could only trust himself.
Just like in the past, He Huan just stood by and quietly watched them. Sure enough, after examining her son, Yue FangZhou stepped forward, her speech becoming dignified with no hint of her previous shrewishness. She became the respectable Deputy Manor Lady that everyone admired. “Thank you, Palace Master He, for not taking offense at my son’s actions. To what do I owe the pleasure of the palace master’s visit?”
Knowing that this moment of reminiscence would pass by quickly, He Huan didn’t feel that it was a pity. He softly replied, “You like to bicker with each other, right? This master hopes that you will continue to bicker. It’d be best you’d ignore everything no matter what happens outside.”
They were all smart people and understood the meaning of his request…
He didn’t expect to be completely ignored. Yue FangZhou just politely replied, “I understand, Palace Master. Since my son is safe, the Water Moon Manor and Myriad Treasures Hall would naturally withdraw from the campaign.”
“Good.” Nodding to her, He Huan prepared to leave since he couldn’t think of anything else to say.
Seeing the two interact as if they were strangers, Lin FaCai, who wanted to alleviate the atmosphere, also didn’t know what to say. He sighed. “Is this necessary…?”
Perhaps it was his sigh that had stirred up something or the memories of youth had finally resurfaced, but seeing that person about to leave, Yue FangZhou was suddenly returned to 80 years ago at this very Sky Veil Town. Back then, she had asked a question, and today, she couldn’t help but to ask again, “Palace Master, Bu QingYun, have you ever regretted?”
The same answer, and just like before, he dissolved into the endless night alone. Taking nothing and leaving nothing behind.
End of Chapter 20
ThisBro: Merry Christmas y’all! Stay happy and safe!
- 1I (老娘) – in the original, she uses an arrogant way (laoniang) to refer to herself; it’s similar to using laozi, but for women.