Ostentatious Zhao Yao by Jiu Lu Fei Xiang
《招摇》 作者: 九鹭非香
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Walking through the market of Feng Zhou City, all kinds of demons and ghouls were all turning to look at Mo Qing and I.
At first, I thought that it was because this Wan Lu Sect Leader, Mo Qing, was just too dazzling. In the end, I did not expect that it was Liu He Tian Yi Sword that I held caught their eyes. Anyways, it was also true that Mo Qing’s unassuming black robe did not flamboyantly display the level of his cultivated foundation. When looking from the outside, it was completely impossible to know what kind of person he was.
Moreover, from my understanding of the first few years was that after Mo Qing took over Wan Lu Sect, he very rarely left Chen Ji Mountain. Therefore, besides from the high-level disciples of Wan Lu Sect, I anticipated that no one in the world knew what he looked like.
But on the contrary, this Liu He Tian Yi Sword that I held in my hand, made crackling echoes and flashed non-stop the entire way. The only thing missing was the roaring voice for everyone to hear–“Look at me, look at me; I’m Liu He Tian Yi Sword!”
‘So ostentatious, I like it a lot.’
I held my head high and puffed out my chest as I walked with extreme pride.
In fact, flaunting your wealth in Feng Zhou City was a very dangerous matter because you could not guarantee that a hand would not appear from the dark with the ability to steal the wealth that belongs to you. Before, I was not in the least afraid, even if it was at Feng Zhou City exhibiting my wealthiness. In the front, I dispatched eight people to clear the road for me. In the middle, I requested eight people to carry the palanquin for me. In the rear, I ordered eight people to announce my presence for me. This allowed the masses to look at me with their eyes brighter and stand with their bodies lowered because I, Lu Zhao Yao, was coming.
Although the present could not be compared with the previous, because my status was different now and I also could not exhibit my wealth like before. It was inevitable that my heart experienced some dejection and disappointment. But I was still not in the least afraid because beside me was still Wan Lu Sect Leader. If I wanted to bully them, I could still bully them properly.
“Master, where are we going to buy the sheath?” I asked Mo Qing.
Mo Qing glanced at the small alley ahead: “We’re almost there.”
Entering the alley, separated from the outside noise and inquiring gaze, Mo Qing stood in front of a door and knocked lightly three times. Just a moment later, someone from the inside opened the door. Upon entering, it was a small courtyard like any other ordinary dwelling, but the person who opened the door was not like any other ordinary people.
I looked at the “person” in the doorway with acute interest and observed it from top to bottom and all around: “It’s actually a nimble wooden person?”
Its entire body was made up of large and small wooden blocks, like a wooden puppet that was not controlled by wires. It moved its mouth and also bowed to Mo Qing and I: “Hello, who are you looking for?”
Before I died, I had known earlier that there were people practicing the Mechanical Magic Technique in Jiang Hu. But at that time, no one had been able to create things like this. It was hard to imagine that within a few years time, the Mechanical Magic Technique cultivators had made such great progress.
”Si Ma Rong, tell him that Li Chen Lan is here.”
Hearing this name, I could not help but be surprised: “Huh?” Who did he just say?
Mo Qing arched the tip of his eyebrows and turned his head to look at me: “What’s wrong? Do you know him?”
I crushed down the questions in my heart and cleared my throat: “I don’t know him.”
‘How can I not know him! Si Ma Rong is my West Mountain Lord! He’s in charge of Wan Lu Sect’s intelligence network! When I was here, any information that I wanted to know, all I had to do was ask Si Ma Rong. It really was at whatever moment I wanted to know something; then I could know about it at that time.’
‘That’s my general! My not-just-in-name-only, but-also-in-reality right-hand man!’
‘This youngster actually sent Si Ma Rong to a place like Feng Zhou City? Although, this is the capital city of evil but the distance from here to Chen Ji Mountain is still very far away. Did he place my West Mountain Lord… In banishment?’
The wooden person went into the house. A moment later, Si Ma Rong came out of that house. Somewhat contrary to my expectation, he was actually… Sitting in a wheelchair and letting the wooden person push him out.
“Chen Lan, how did you get free time to come here?”
‘Yi, what, unexpectedly you even address him so intimately?’
‘When did you two have such a good relationship, how come I didn’t know?’
“I came to ask you to make a scabbard.” Mo Qing took Liu He Tian Yi Sword from my hand and handed it to Si Ma Rong.
‘I can’t help but be confused, what is this situation? My West Mountain Lord is not working on the intelligence network anymore? Change to cultivating the Mechanical Magic Technique? Make a living as a blacksmith? In this small residence? Does he sell anything else? How does he sell things out? Also, how were his legs broken? Furthermore…’
‘If it was broken by someone, then did you, Ugly Little Monster, help him get revenge?’
‘My capable assistant’s legs were broken by someone!
‘This is equivalent to one of my fingers being broken by somebody, okay!’
‘West Mountain Lord got his legs broken. Gu Han Guang didn’t treat it well. This situation was already not about a simple person getting hurt, but this situation was about my Wan Lu Sect being bullied by someone! If you, Ugly Little Monster, let me find out that you didn’t handle this matter properly, then sooner or later, I will break your legs!’
“Liu He Tian Yi Sword?”
Si Ma Rong took the offered sword. His eyes reflected the light of Liu He Tian Yi Sword, it somewhat sparkled and shined with meaning. With the sword in his hand, he meticulously did a preliminary check and praisingly said, “It is indeed the heavenly sword of legends; out of ten parts of the sword’s aura, it carries three parts of murderous intent.” Si Ma Rong seemed to remember something in the past and smiled slightly, “I remember, Zhao Yao used to mention this sword, but she disliked that the journey to Immortal Island was far and fetching this sword would’ve been time-consuming, so she never before succeeded. But now, you were able to fetch this sword and keep it in Wan Lu Sect. It’s also considered as you have fulfilled one of her wishes.”
This was not called ‘considered as,’ instead this ‘actually’ fulfilled one of my wishes because this sword would nevertheless still fall into my hands.
How rare, my West Mountain Lord unexpectedly still remembered the words that I used to mention.
In my heart, I sighed with sorrow. This West Mountain Lord of mine was the gentlest person. The first time that I met him was right at the time of the fall of his family.
He was from a very small celestial sect that was bloodily slaughtered by the enemy. He struggled to escape and among the refugees begged for food to make a living. I coincidentally passed by and saw that he was a body of bones. Therefore, I gave him food to eat and took him into Wan Lu Sect. Then, I assigned a master to teach him magical techniques.
Afterward, a few years later, the master that I assigned him had passed away. Soon after, he went to wander the world from the heavenly south to the earthly north.
* heavenly south, earthly north – all over the country
I still remembered, that year he was just an adolescent. He knelt in front of Wu E Hall, kowtowed to me, and solemnly said: “Sect Leader, Si Ma Rong presently doesn’t have any skills. I’m unable to effectively serve Sect Leader. It is difficult to repay Sect Leader’s kindness. I beg Sect Leader for your nod of approval to allow me to go out and learn through experience. When I finish learning, I will return one day. I will definitely repay Sect Leader wholeheartedly!”
That day, the sound of his voice was young and inexperienced that carried a little nervousness. Right now, his voice still seemed to echo beside my ears.
I allowed him to fulfill that wish. I permitted him to go out and learn through his experiences. Within those few years, he often sent information back to me. He told me how many good friends he made and how much Jiang Hu had grown.
Finally one day, this adolescent returned to Wan Lu Sect, but he had already become a young man with a handsome appearance and gentle temperament. He could talk cheerfully and wittily to me with hardly any stage fright in Wu E Hall.
He was no longer that young and inexperienced adolescent, but what had not changed was actually his loyal heart.
When Si Ma Rong returned to the mountain, he brought back to me an intelligence network that he single-handedly established outside. Although at that time, the system was still not perfect. But later, Wan Lu Sect could “one day know everything in the whole world,” it was entirely through borrowing this network of intelligence that it slowly matured.
Si Ma Rong did exactly as he said. He devotedly worked for Wan Lu Sect and also wholeheartedly repaid me. Faced with such a good disciple, I naturally gave in return what I could, the biggest preferential treatment. I presented him with the West Mountain Lord’s position. His intelligence network was very dangerous but his cultivation was not high, so then I dispatched the Dark Guards to personally protect him.
Until I died, Si Ma Rong had never before done anything to make me disappointed and I had never before done anything to let him down.
Saying that he was my closest right-hand man was not at all excessive.
However, right now…
Although, there was a lot of nostalgia for me in these words of this West Mountain Lord of mine but why did he… Have such a good relationship with Mo Qing?
‘Doesn’t he know that I was killed by Mo Qing?’
From the side, I stared at him with a little unhappiness. I just kept staring at Si Ma Rong. Finally, he moved his gaze away from Mo Qing’s face and quickly swept over me: “This is?”
“Disciple.” Mo Qing answered, “I retrieved the sword for her.”
“Oh.” Si Ma Rong faintly replied and bowed his head to look at the sword in his hand, “That’s also right. Such a good sword, not using it is also a waste.” He muttered to himself. After a moment of silence, he recovered and lifted his head to look at Mo Qing. He smiled and said, “First, come in and have a seat. Tell me what kind of scabbard do you want?”
Passing through the small yard and upon entering the house, I only saw the room had two floors, upper and lower. There were no stairs; it was all sloped to make it easy for wheelchairs to move up and down. Inside the room, from top to bottom, there were several wooden people busily working, each one of them did their own thing and they were more formal than humans.
In the corner, there were also some wooden birds and wooden horses on the shelves.
There was even a completed grand view garden…
In the past, I remembered that my West Mountain Lord had no interest like this.
I glanced around the room and my eyes suddenly stopped in the middle of the lobby. There was a square table and placed on the table was a wooden model of Wu E Hall. The appearance was exquisite; each and every delicate piece of wood were joined together. It looked like a lot of laborious effort was spent on making it.
Seeing that I bewilderingly stared at this model, Si Ma Rong said: “In my free time, I build this model for fun, to relieve my nostalgia.”
He said to relieve his nostalgia… That proves that he still wanted to return to Chen Ji Mountain. But he wanted to return and yet he did not return…
‘Most! Certainly! It was Mo Qing, this Ugly Little Monster, that exiled him to this place! It had to be that my West Mountain Lord was missing me, unwilling to work for him, so Mo Qing targeted him! At present, he imprisoned my North Mountain Lord, banished my West Mountain Lord, and only kept Gu Han Guang who cannot bear to see me and squander his days away at Chen Ji Mountain.’
‘This Ugly Little Monster! Your thoughts are very deep!’
I shadily and eerily glared at the back of Mo Qing’s head.
Right at that moment, Mo Qing was taking the proffered teacup from the wooden person. Within that distracted moment, his fingers stiffened slightly. I was afraid that he sensed my irrepressible fury, so I turned my back to look at other things. Behind me, I heard Mo Qing said to Si Ma Rong: “If you miss Chen Ji Mountain, then return. I’ve always kept the position of the West Mountain Lord for you.”
Mo Qing allowed him to return? My ears shot up.
Si Ma Rong laughed: “No, nostalgia will only lead to more nostalgia. The place that I can’t leave is actually here.”
What? It was my West Mountain Lord himself not willing to return to Chen Ji Mountain? I turned my head and scrutinized Si Ma Rong.
“Besides, I was initially at Chen Ji Mountain because I wanted to repay Zhao Yao’s kindness. Since she is no longer here, it’s not necessary for me to continue to stay there. Also, you have taken very good care of Wan Lu Sect. Early on, there have been rumors in Jiang Hu, within the next few days Chen Lan will become the Demon King. I’m a disabled person, not suitable to walk around, and… This life span, I don’t know when it will end. One day, when you become the Demon King in the Grand Palace, I’m afraid I can’t be present, so let me congratulate you here in advance.”
Mo Qing did not answer.
Si Ma Rong did not mind it at all. He just picked up Liu He Tian Yi Sword and looked at it again: “So, tell me, what sort of scabbard were you planning to get made? Although I have spent many years making mechanisms but making a scabbard, it shouldn’t disappoint you.”
‘Si Ma Rong, you making a sheath will not let me down. But as the West Mountain Lord, how can you make me feel so disappointed?’
‘I’m gone. You just didn’t fight for anything?’
‘You, little child, how can you not have any drive!’
‘Based on my previous concern and protection for you, based on your prestige and popularity in Wan Lu Sect, you have never thought about usurping that position for yourself! Push Mo Qing down and claim yourself as the king!’
‘You followed me for so many years, how can you not even have this ambition? You look at Jiang Wu, an outsider, because of the Sect Leader’s position; he is even more active than you!’
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Enjoy your reading pleasure!
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