Ostentatious Zhao Yao by Jiu Lu Fei Xiang
《招摇》 作者: 九鹭非香
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So back to what happened after my death.
During my lifetime, I was indeed an outstandingly notorious demoness. I did quite a few things like snatching a child’s sugar-coated Chinese hawthorn stick and beating up tramps on the wayside. The people who hated me in the celestial way and the demon path could hold hands and wrap around Chen Ji Mountain three hundred times.
I thought that after I died, my corpse would definitely be dug up, making it difficult for my body to remain whole. Unbelievably, I had drifted around my gravesite for a few years, and the green grass had grown as tall as half a person. I was surprised that not even a single enemy clan came to knock on my door.
I suddenly felt a little lonely, thinking about the bad things that I had caused when I was alive were all done for naught.
It was all due to this nameless tombstone!
I bore a grudge against the person who made this tombstone for me. My title was not carved on it, even my name was also not carved on it. It not only made my worshipers unable to find me, but even my enemies could not find me either. Then in that year, when my animosity against the person who gave me the tombstone became deeper, it was tomb-sweeping season, the rain drizzling down like feathers. I had finally waited for someone to come sweep my grave…
It was a man in ink-dark clothes, who came out to brave the rain. As he approached, I saw his face was like crown jade, so beautiful that even I felt my breath was taken away.
I circled around him for a long time, and suddenly felt that this man’s facial features actually looked somewhat familiar. I stroked my chin thoughtfully. When I waited until he offered some green fruits in front of my grave, I suddenly realized…
Ah! Was this person not that Ugly Little Monster, Mo Qing?!
As It turned out, after those scary ink scars on his face disappeared, his face was actually so beautiful!
He stood in front of my grave, the feather-like raindrops were like frost hitting his body. He said hoarsely: “I know that you’re fond of sour, so on the way here, I picked up some green fruits for you.”
I loved eating sour, everyone in Wan Lu Sect knew that, so the fruit offerings would always be ripe or unripe green fruits. He knew that I was buried in this grave; besides the person who buried me, no one else should know who this nameless tombstone belonged to.
It suddenly dawned on me, it was definitely after seizing the Wan Jun Sword in the Sword Tomb, he brought my corpse here to be buried. Following this realization, I was scornful again. Mo Qing used me, killed me, and now had the audacity to sashay around my grave! Also, with the Wan Jun Sword! He came to show off!
I glared at him, angrily wanting to kick those green fruits away: “Who wants your green fruits?! I can’t even eat it! You came to sweep my grave but didn’t even burn a piece of paper! You brat! Do you even understand the rules?!”
“This fruit is very sour, so on the way here, I tasted it. You will definitely like it.”
You even tasted it? Are you sick or something, even before making offerings to someone, you licked it first?
He looked at my tombstone, completely unable to see my glaring expression, and continued to say, “The current Wan Lu Sect, I’ve helped you manage it very well.”
What?! He actually took over Wan Lu Sect?! I was greatly alarmed. Just great, brat! You killed me and even snatched the sect that I single-handedly built! So ruthless! Anyways… Even though I had said such things like, if someone had the ability to kill me, then that person could take my sect leader position and so on… But was it not because at that time, I felt confident that no one could kill me?!
“With the Wan Jun Sword in my hand, I even slowly retrieved my own power, and have already gradually restored the divided Demon Path.”
What?! I was alarmed again! He wanted to ascend to the Demon King’s position?! That position was originally something in my pocket!
“What you wanted, I’m slowly helping you achieve it all.”
Oh, yes! Everything that I wanted was snatched away by you!
Sure enough, this absolutely disgraceful thing came here to show off!
I was so angry that I wanted my corpse to come back alive. I was already lying in the soil, and he still purposely came to say these words to make my heart seize! How much did he hate me?! Obviously when he was a child, I had even saved him! This guy really did bite the hand that feeds him!
I tore at the grass on my grave, just hating that I could not crawl out and bite him to his death.
However, after showing off his accomplishments, he still had not left yet and stood there for a long time. As if he was in extreme pain, he said: “Unfortunately, you can’t see any of this.”
What?! You still wanted me to see this with my own eyes? If I was alive today, then would I not be infuriated to my death by you every day, one hundred eighty times?! This brat’s heart was just too poisonous!
I was unable to restrain my anger, and continuously stood in front of my tombstone glaring at him. Only until the drizzling rain became falling snow, did he turn around and leave. His body of ink-dark clothes was completely engulfed by the colors of the night, and the scorn in my heart could not be resolved.
When I was alive, I had never thought that he was this kind of shameless, ugly monster.
I pondered about it back and forth; the more I thought about it, the more I hated him. I felt that if I did not seek him to get my revenge, then I had simply let myself down by accumulating grievances with each passing day.
I had floated around this grave for a few years, so occasionally there would be other lonely, wild ghosts passing by here. From what they had told me, twenty miles from my grave there was a ghost market, specializing in selling items to lonely, wild ghosts roaming the world.
During my lifetime, I saw more rare magical treasures than what they had in the entire ghost market. Originally, I was disdainful, so I did not go look. By now, I felt that it was time to go take a look and find a way to revive after death. I did not need much time, if it could make me solid enough to stab Mo Qing, then I would already be very satisfied.
I asked the passing lonely, wild ghost for directions. On that day, I immediately set out on the journey. I swayed and wobbled for three days, and finally drifted twenty miles away…
I was exhausted to the core.
To travel so slowly, this was also the reason why I had never left my grave in the past few years.
A place twenty miles away, if this was the previous me, I did not even need to twirl my fingers or chant a spell, in the blink of an eye, I would already be there. Now, this ghostly form did not even have a little bit of strength left, and I could only depend on myself to float there. Fortunately, when it was nighttime, thanks to the yin energy during the night, I could float a little faster. When it was daytime, especially at noon, let alone floating, I hated that I could not even immerse myself completely into the ground.
The world of the ghosts was just like this. No matter how powerful you were during your lifetime, after death, you are just a form of energy. In fact, there were many different types of energy forms. Malicious spirits could float much faster than me, as if at the bottom of their feet were the Wind-Fire Wheels. As they passed by, they made flapping sounds. Furthermore, the stronger the ghosts, the faster they would float and the greater their strength would be, but malicious spirits were bound to an item in their previous lives, so they could not leave within an inch or to some degree of that place. No matter how fast they could float, they could only blindly stroll around their own circle.
Thinking about it back and forth, the reason why I did not become a malicious spirit was probably because my death was neither hot nor cold, and not tragically enough.
Speaking about this, I sighed with sorrow. I, Lu Zhao Yao, had acted ostentatiously my entire life, but in the end, I had actually died in an ordinary way that was so particular and very unusual.
I refused to accept this. I still wanted to return to life, and then die once more. This time, I would certainly die a heaven-shattering, earth-shaking death!
Finding and giving myself ten thousand reasons to return to life, I finally drifted to the ghost market of the departed souls. In the ghost market, it was super quiet, the lonely souls and wild ghosts were doing business in a dense yin atmosphere. I followed the main road and searched for a very long time. Finally, I saw a dignified storefront on the side of the road. High above the store hung a black plaque with white characters, and written very crookedly on it were three large words, “Soul Return Store.”
I glanced inside to take a look around. The sales counter was covered with a black cloth, hanging above the cloth were several wooden signs. Each one was written differently, “Soul Return One Hour,” “Soul Return Two Hours,” “Soul Return One Day,” and so on with other different times. I calculated on my fingers, currently Mo Qing had taken over Wan Lu Sect, also had the Wan Jun Sword, and still wanted to unify the demon path. If I wanted to stab him, then it would take at least three to five months. This one hour to two hour timeframe was not anywhere near enough to play with…
I still had to wait to enter the store for a closer look. Suddenly a broadsword unexpectedly blocked the path in front of me. I followed the blade up to look towards the side, I saw that this store had two ferocious-looking ghosts guarding the right and left side of the entrance.
“What’s your name?”
He asked me. I clasped my hands behind my back, casting a sidelong glance at him: “Lu Zhao Yao of Chen Ji Mountain.”
When he heard my name, he was not even scared. He pulled out a mirror and spoke into it. After lowering the mirror, the broadsword in his hand slashed across: “You cannot enter.”
I raised an eyebrow: “An open shop, but won’t let others in, why?”
“You don’t have any netherworld money!”
I felt like my heart was hit by an arrow, in the blink of an eye, I almost wanted to vomit blood. I had never been to the ghost market to buy anything before, so I did not know that they actually shopped like the world of the living and needed money. I controlled my temper to ask him: “Where do ghosts get money?”
“Get someone to burn some for you.”
I became silent.
Who would I get to burn some for me?! In these past few years, only Mo Qing came to sweep my grave! Damn his uncle, he only offered some green-skinned fruits that he picked along the way! Was this not ridiculous!
Once again, I looked at the ferocious-looking ghosts, then reexamined myself, finally could not help it but heaved a sigh, accepted my misfortune and turned away to leave, letting the ferocious-looking ghosts to laugh behind my back: “Have been dead for four to five years now, but don’t even have a single coin. Such a poor, wretched ghost still dares to come to our Soul Return Store.”
All of the words that he said were true, I really did have a bad temper, but did not have the confidence to let it loose.
On the road, I heaved three deep sighs, swaying and wobbling for three days. Without any other choice, I reluctantly drifted back to my grassy grave.
Fortunately, as a ghost, I did not need to eat anything, otherwise, I would have no money to buy the food. Being starved to death would be the greatest joke in my, Lu Zhao Yao’s, life.
Thinking about this, I sighed with sorrow. My surname was Lu, my name was Qiong, and my moniker was Zhao Yao. When I was alive, I lived by these two characters “zhao yao,” but now that I was dead, I acquiesced to this one character “qiong.” Truly pitifully poor. During my lifetime, I had never suffered even a tiny bit of poverty, and now I unexpectedly nose-dived into one…
*招摇 (zhāo yáo) – to act ostentatiously
*琼 (qióng) – fine jade
*穷 (qióng) – poor; destitute
Things in the world were difficult to anticipate, extremely difficult to anticipate!
I felt that getting my revenge would be hopeless. However, when my life as a ghost was at its bleakest, on a rainy night with mingling thunder, at my grave, I was silently watching the lightning flashes and rolling thunder. Suddenly from afar, the sounds of horse’s hooves could be heard, urgently approaching.
Only saw a fine jet-black horse galloping closer. On the horse’s back was a woman in powdery-pink clothes, who was struggling with all her might. Even from quite a distance away, I could hear her yelling, shouting herself hoarse: “Let me go! I don’t want to go with you!”
Behind her, a man was holding her and verbally urging the horse forward, not bothering to reply.
When the fine horse galloped to the front of my tombstone, suddenly a flash of reddish-white lightning tore across the sky, and a sudden clap of thunder exploded. Caught unaware, the woman still struggled with all her might, and unexpectedly fell off the horse headfirst to ruthlessly bang her head on the top of my tombstone.
A “thud” sounded, then blood gushed out on the spot. I was sitting on top of my grave, when I heard this sound, I could not help it but utter an “oh.”
The woman slid down my tombstone and rolled into the muddy ground. Her beautiful light-colored, powdery-pink clothes were immediately covered with dirty mud. The man riding the big black horse, urgently reined in his horse. Without waiting for the horse to come to a steady stop, he immediately jumped off the horse and rushed over. Within a few large strides, he came before my tombstone and embraced that woman, whose face was dark with mud: “Zhi Yan!” His rough voice was both heavy and distressed, “Zhi Yan!”
I stood behind the man, together with him, looking at the young lady he held in his embrace.
The young lady’s eyes were tightly closed and the mud on her face was mixed with blood. Not too long after, the heavy rain washed away the dirt, revealing her pale face.
“Ai-ya, when she banged her head, she was not stingy with her strength at all. She’s going to die, she’s going to die.” I clicked my tongue, sighing in sorrow. After I finished sighing, suddenly a divine light flashed by. She died, died in front of my grave, perhaps this was the Will of Heaven, allowing me to try the legendary Body Borrowing Soul Returning Technique?
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Enjoy your reading pleasure!
Please do not copy my English translations. You are welcome to link back to my website. Much appreciated.
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