Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
He couldn’t run anymore as he had hit a dead end. At the end of the corridor was a side hall with a screen tea table and a shrine dedicated to Lord Guan Yu hanging on the wall. Everything was arranged in an ancient style.
It was said that in Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, many people, especially businessmen, liked to worship Guan Yu to ward off evil. Even casinos regarded him as the god of wealth. Considering this place was owned by the Lin family of Lingnan, it wasn’t surprising that a shrine worshiping him was here.
Catching sight of the statue caused Dong Zhi’s heart to inadvertently be moved.
He could still treat a dead horse as if it was still living*!
*(死马当作活马医) Idiom referring to you know things are hopeless, but you still hold onto a glimmer of hope. Usually refers to as making a final attempt.
He found the unlit incense from the lattice nearby, lit it with a lighter, and bowed respectfully to the statue.
“I, Dong Zhi, disciple of the Hezao Sect, sincerely implore the virtuous, loyal, and righteous gods, the gods of martial arts, the benevolent, valiant, and mighty emperor Guan Sheng to come down and help this disciple!”
Zhong Yuyi had taught them the benefits of familiarizing themselves with known historical figures of the world. If they were not familiar with the information, it would be impossible to memorize the complete seal for the Second Master Guan*.
*Another name for Guan Yu. Due to his brave and loyal image, he’s often honored by people as Second master of Guan.
Zhong Yu once said that when statues were worshipped by people, it would have more or less a spirit. For example, police stations in Hong Kong enshrined the Second Master, as such a place in and of itself had a murderous aura, which would naturally attract evil spirits, but they couldn’t enter due to the Second Master’s blessing. As for whether the spirit of this statue in this kind of entertainment club existed, Dong Zhi wasn’t certain, but in such a critical moment like this, he could only give it a shot.
The incense curled and the statue on the shrine looked as if it was twisting its beard with a knife while looking at him with long and narrow phoenix eyes, seemingly unresponsive.
The sound of footsteps behind him was getting closer, and he had nowhere to hide, causing his heart to sink. Dong Zhi held his breath and concentrated, letting go of his thoughts and abandoning all the noise from the outside world.
Suddenly, his eyes darkened! His body seemed to have been hit hard by something, but it seemed as if it was just an illusion. He remained where he was standing, but his hands and feet were disobedient.
He could clearly “see” himself slowly inserting three incense sticks in his hand into the incense burner, then he turned around quickly to face the chasers. The feeling was weird. He was still him, but he had lost all autonomy over his body and was replaced by another force.
Seeing that he was cornered, several of the Japanese men laughed at him as the person surnamed Li slowly walked forward.
“Please come with us.”
“What if I say no?” Dong Zhi “heard” himself say.
Mr. Li: “Then pardon us for being rude.”
Dong Zhi said slowly, “I will not kill the nameless. Report your names.”
Several of the Japanese men looked at each other as if they had heard some big joke. The person surnamed Li said, “It doesn’t matter, so I’ll tell you. My name is Otowa Saburo.”
Dong Zhi wanted to ask if he was connected to Otowa Hatsuhiko, but while his mouth opened and closed, the sound he wished to utter did not follow as he wanted.
“Japanese people dare to be so presumptuous?”
Otowa Saburo chuckled. “Mr. Dong, there is a word in your country called zhuang bi*. It seems that it describes people like you. You don’t have to pretend to be brave for fear of death. Don’t worry, you won’t be able to die until Mr. Otowa sees you.”
*Pretending to be B [Zhuang bi/B] (装逼 or 装B) Has two meanings. 1. Refers to self-satisfaction or even deceitful behavior of showing off and contriving to gain vanity, but actually lacks abilities. Stupid people often think they are smarter than others (AKA Dunning-Kruger effect). 2. Refers to pretending to hide one’s talent and is actually very capable underneath. Smart people tend to think they are dumber than others. || I’ll be leaving it pinyin because of the next footnote. Note: it’s called B or 13 instead of [bi] (逼) sometimes to avoid vulgar language, as [bi] (逼) translates to cunt.
Having said that, he waved his hand and ordered, “Catch him!”
Several people swarmed up to him, and Otowa Saburo quickly realized how ridiculously wrong he was. The other party wasn’t putting on a front as he wasn’t really bluffing*.
*Clarity: As explained above, [zhuang bi] has two meanings. So, while Otowa Saburo was referring to the number 1 meaning, ironically, it turns out to be number 2.
Just as several people tried to grab Dong Zhi, his wrists turned, and a white light suddenly appeared in his hands. Dong Zhi waved it at them with it, and several famous warriors in the judo world were beaten to pieces in an instant. Otowa Saburo didn’t even see how they had fallen.
He couldn’t believe the sight before his eyes. If the opponent had been this powerful earlier, he wouldn’t have fallen into their hands.
Despite his shock, his reflexes were still quick. When the white light blasted over to him, he leaned back just in time to avoid it, rolling to the ground. He grabbed Dong Zhi’s ankle, wanting to pull him down, but Dong Zhi took advantage of the situation and spined his legs, kicking him in the waist. He flew back and landed firmly on the ground.
Otowa Saburo was extremely agitated. After he cursed and swore, he rushed up again with bloodshot eyes, while his hand reached for the gun hanging by his waist. He unlocked the safety and pointed it at the expressionless Dong Zhi, then suddenly pulled the trigger.
The demeanor of Long Shen and the others was different from that of ordinary guests. As soon as they came in, they were noticed by the lobby manager, who hurriedly reported it to Lin Xuan. Seeing that they were up to no good, he stopped them from entering. As the atmosphere got more tense, Lin Xuan arrived.
“Isn’t this Boss Long and Boss Song? I’ve heard so much about you for a long time. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. How can this little temple be blessed with two great gods at once?” He smiled and bowed with his hands. “This club has not opened yet, but when it does, I’ll be sure to invite the two of you-“
Long Shen interrupted him, “Where’s Dong Zhi?”
Lin Xuan’s smile remained the same. “I’m not understanding. What winter and summer solstice*?”
*Clarity: Remember, Dong Zhi’s name means winter solstice, so he’s pretending that Long Shen is referring to the winter solstice.
Long Shen looked at him coldly, his eyes full of murderous intent.
The lobby manager on the side couldn’t help but shudder and took two steps back, but Lin Xuan was still motionless and continued to greet him with a smile.
If such an incident hadn’t happened, Long Shen would’ve looked at him quite highly.
Song Zhicun eased the situation and said, “Mr. Xiao Lin1, I also have some friendship with Mr. Lin1. Furthermore, Lin Jun is a working member of the Special Administration Bureau. With this in mind, we’re not enemies so if you know-“
1Clarity: He’s calling him this because the second Mr. Lin is referring to the patriarch of the Lin family so think of it as like Mr. Lin Jr..
Before he finished speaking, a gunshot was heard from inside! Everyone’s faces changed colors.
Lin Xuan cursed his own mother and strode towards the source of the gunfire while others hurriedly followed.
When many guests heard the gunshot, they all ran out one after another and bumped into Lin Xuan, who was walking towards it. Some people directly grabbed him and asked, “Xiao Lin, what the hell is going on?!”
Lin Xuan angrily said, “That’s what I fucking want to know! This here is a legitimate place of business, and I have no hidden weapons or firearms!”
With that said, he knew in his heart that the gunfire must have something to do with the Japanese. He shouldn’t have brought them here if he knew that they would dare shoot on his own territory. It was better to have found an abandoned factory and just thrown them all there. That would’ve saved him a lot of trouble.
When they arrived at the scene of the crime, everyone was stunned. Otowa Saburo fell to the ground while holding a gun in his hand, but there was a black hole in the middle of his forehead with blood seeping out. He was dead.
The surrounding Japanese were either injured or dead, as they all lay motionless on the ground. Everyone looked in horror at Dong Zhi, who was standing there.
“How did this-” Lin Xuan was about to step forward, when he was shoved to the side.
Long Shen saw at a glance that something was wrong with Dong Zhi. Not only was his expression too cold, but the way he was looking at them wasn’t like they were acquaintances, let alone a living person. Under such a gaze, it seemed to deem all things were dead.
This look was not human. Seeing as Dong Zhi was motionless, a Japanese quietly stretched out his hand, reaching for the gun around his waist. Before he had the opportunity to touch the gun, pain filled his wrist as he suddenly screamed.
“Dong Zhi!” Song Zhicun couldn’t help but shout. He watched in horror as the white light flashed in Dong Zhi’s hand towards the Japanese man’s wrist.
Long Shen said in a deep voice, “I don’t know which righteous god is here, but please forgive our rudeness. These are all Japanese thieves, and we are here to arrest them. We ask O’Righteous God1 to please raise your hand2.
1Clarity: Long Shen is referring to him as [Zhengshen] which means a true formal god. The translated term “Righteous” doesn’t refer to morally upright/virtuous but to the god being a rightful god of worship (think God in Christianity or Zeus in Greek mythology ect.). Because he’s addressing him as “Righteous God” some sentences in English (like this one, for example) will be awkward unless I add in an O/Oh at the beginning.
2(高抬贵手) A polite expression that means please raise your hand and have mercy to let people pass by. It’s to express politely when seeking forgiveness and accommodation from the other party.
Chi Banxia felt uncomfortable when she heard Deputy Director Long’s words, but what surprised her even more was the change in Dong Zhi.
Hearing Long Shen’s words, Dong Zhi’s indifferent eyes finally reacted a little.
He said slowly, “Since you’re from the official government, it should be handed over to you then.”
Long Shen’s gaze swept past the shrine next to him and he cupped his hand and said, “Thank you, O’Righteous God. Please return to the Great Emperor Guan Sheng.”
Dong Zhi nodded slowly.
Chi Banxia’s mouth dropped wide open. She found that Dong Zhi’s voice was very strange, as if there was another person talking through him, and the tone was overlapping like an echo. It was exactly the same as that day when Zhong Yuyi invited a god.
Dong Zhi returned Long Shen’s salute with his own.
“I am Guan Er*, and I dare not call myself a great emperor in front of a destined person.”
*Clarity: Another name referring to Guan Yu.
Long Shen said, “We’ll finish this matter and deal with the aftermath, so we won’t bother you, O’Righteous God anymore.”
Dong Zhi nodded, then his body suddenly shook slightly and fell limp. Long Shen reached out his hand and hugged his waist as he steadied him.
“Lin Xuan, now we can talk.”
A Japanese had died in an entertainment club run by the Lin family. Lin Xuan didn’t kill him, but he would inevitably be associated with it. Even if Long Shen and the Bureau didn’t hold him accountable, the Japanese definitely would.
When he sat in the conference room with Long Shen and the others, his expression wasn’t as calm as he had put on at the beginning and was even a little ugly.
“I know what you are going to ask, but I am only responsible for helping them inquire about the whereabouts of the bronze mirror and sending a car to take them over. As for other matters, I did not participate in any of them. I don’t have the things or people you are looking for.”
Song Zhicun’s voice was ugly. “There are people dead, and the mirror is now lost, yet you dare claim to hold no responsibility? Lin Lao is an upright man, yet why is his son so irresponsible?”
Lin Xuan said indifferently, “My dad is my dad, and I am me. As things are getting messy, this club will be closed for a period of time, and I have nothing to do with it!”
Song Zhicun narrowed his smile. “You must know the purpose of those Japanese people and the whereabouts of the mirrors. As long as you are willing to cooperate, you can redeem some merits, and we will no longer hold the Lin family accountable. Lin Xuan, now that the two of us are talking to you, there is still room for things to change. If you wait until the top comes forward, you won’t be sitting here. I heard that your business has been booming in the past few years. Presumably you don’t even know how deep this goes. Stealing and selling cultural relics, kidnapping, even if you’re just an accomplice, it’s still enough to implicate you! What’s more, there are still a few Japanese who are alive. Even if you don’t speak, we can ask them.”
Lin Xuan was silent for a moment. “The mirror was really taken away by Otowa Saburo’s accomplices, but I guess they didn’t rush to leave the country, so they should still be in China.”
Long Shen: “What’s so special about that bronze mirror?”
Lin Xuan: “I only know that the Japanese value that mirror very much, but they can’t interpret the text above, so they went to Guizhou to hire a sorcerer.”
Long Shen frowned. “Text to the dead?”
Lin Xuan nodded. “The mirror should have some secrets. I can help you track down the whereabouts of the Japanese and the mirror, but I want one thing.”
Song Zhicun: “What?”
Lin Xuan: “Dragon scales or bone. Doesn’t matter which part as long as it’s part of a dragon. I heard that last time in Changbai Mountain, you subdued a bone dragon.”
Song Zhicun answered without having to even think about it, “Impossible! That bone dragon has been handed over to the state!”
Lin Xuan spread his hands. “Since Boss Song has no choice, then I also have no choice.”
“What do you want it for?” Long Shen asked.
Lin Xuan was silent for a while before saying, “Medicine.”
A few years ago, Lin Xuan’s father, Lin Ji, was doing business in Southeast Asia. On the first day, he was fine, but then suddenly on the next day, he couldn’t move his limbs. He was sent to the hospital for examination, but the cause couldn’t be found. What’s even more terrifying was that Lin Ji’s body began showing unexplained ulcers. Only then did the Lin family realize something was wrong and immediately sent Lin Ji back to his country and searched for a famous doctor.
The Lin family of Lingnan is not a leader in the spiritual world, but they have operated in Lingnan for a long time. Many of their family members have connections to high places and officials, so everyone will more or less give them face. As head of the family, when he fell into this situation, it sent the Lin family into chaos.
An old traditional Chinese medicine doctor felt that Lin Ji’s symptoms did not look like an illness, so he suggested that they find someone else to take a look. There were many practitioners in the Lin family who said that Lin Ji seemed to have been hit with a curse, so the Lin family asked the Chi family from Shanghai for help.
Chi Banxia’s father came forward to help Lin Ji and confirmed that he was indeed cursed, but the trouble was that he did not know what kind of curse. He stated that there were many schools of witchcraft in Southeast Asia, and each school had its own method of cursing and blessing. What Lin Ji was afflicted with was not some low-level curse but the most difficult and vicious, called the ghost-faced peach blossom curse. The person who’s cursed with this would consciously watch as his entire body festers, and in the end, all that remains would be his skeleton. The only way to resolve it would be for the one who cursed him to lift it.
However, Chi Chongxing gave Lin Xuan a recipe, saying that it was passed down from the ancestors of the Chi family and could solve all kinds of problems. There was one ingredient that was difficult to get, dragon powder. In other words, they needed any part of a dragon’s body that could be ground into powder and put into the medicine. The prescription paid attention to the emperor, minister, and envoy* and specifically mentioned paying special attention to the “emperor” in the prescription. Without this, Lin Ji’s curse could not be resolved.
*(君臣佐使) In terms of Chinese medicine, it refers to the arrangement of the relationship between all the ingredients in the medicine. Each ingredient has a part to play and is assigned “importance” by their rank (emperor, minister, envoys). || In this context, dragon powder is the “emperor” of the prescription and is the crucial ingredient they need.
Lin Xuan said, “At first, I thought Chi Chongxing was playing tricks on me when he asked me if I could find a part of a dragon’s body. The news that I was looking for this medicine spread to the ears of the Japanese, who sent someone to me and said that they could give me a dragon scale on the condition that I help find the whereabouts of the bronze mirror.”
He took out the prescription he carried with him.
“This prescription was written for me by Chi Chongxing.”
Long Shen looked at Chi Banxia.
Chi Banxia understood, took it for a look, nodded, and said, “This is indeed my father’s handwriting.”
Lin Xuan raised his eyebrows, showing a look of surprise. “It turns out you’re Chi Chongxing’s daughter.”
Chi Banxia said, “Ghost-faced peach blossoms curse is very rare. I have also heard from my family about you.”
Lin Xuan motioned with his hands. “Since Miss Chi has proven that I did not lie, then you should believe it.”
Song Zhicun frowned and asked, “Where did the Japanese get the dragon scales? Who did they steal from?”
Lin Xuan laughed. “You have wronged them. Japan used to have dragons, but it was during the Jomon period. One of their three artifacts, the Yasakani-no-Magatama*, was thought to be jade by the people who didn’t know the truth. In fact, it is said to be dragon bone. Moreover, other parts of the dragon are now enshrined in their shrines and imperial palaces.”
*One of the Three Sacred Treasures of the Imperial Family. It’s a large magatama that’s been handed down for generations. According to Japanese mythology, the jewel was made by Tamanooya and is an object commonly used to demonstrate status for regional rulers in Japan.
Song Zhicun: “As you said, dragon scales should not be accessible to ordinary people, let alone you.”
“It’s true, but Otowa Saburo,” Lin Xuan said as he nudged his head towards Dong Zhi, who was still sleeping on the sofa, “was killed by him. He was a man under Otowa Hatsuhiko, who is the president of the Otowa Conglomerate. I heard that he’s connected to the royal family, so how can he not pit me with dragon scales?”
Song Zhicun snorted, “You speak lightly. Do you know how precious dragons are?”
Lin Xuan raised his hands. “I know! Now that Otowa Saburo is dead, the Japanese may put the blame on me. Even so, chances are the dragon scales may even fail, and I have already suffered heavy losses. A dragon bone is only a drop in the bucket for you, but to me it can save lives. I still remember the pattern on the bronze mirror, so I can draw it for you.”
Song Zhicun and Long Shen looked at each other, as if considering his suggestion.
“I remember the pattern on it…” A voice suddenly sounded untimely. Dong Zhi moved a little while holding his forehead. His face looked like a tangled ball.
His head was in great pain, as if he was being dragged by his hair and was slamming repeatedly against a wall. His ears were buzzing, and he had double vision of the scene in front of him. The center of his brow suddenly became cold, and he opened his eyes with great difficulty to look around. He saw Long Shen stretching out his finger and tapping it in the center between his eyebrows.
“How is it?”
“It’s better…” Dong Zhi said weakly. He reluctantly propped up his body, wanting to sit upright.
Long Shen helped him up while holding his arm with one hand.
If this was an ordinary time, Dong Zhi would rejoice being in such an intimate position, but he currently didn’t have the strength to notice this. After taking in some breath, he turned to the topic at hand. “I can draw the pattern on the back of the mirror. The difference shouldn’t be too big.”
Lin Xuan raised his eyebrows and said sarcastically, “Wouldn’t it be difficult for you to remember?”
Dong Zhi felt a little dizzy and nauseous. This was the aftereffects of inviting a god, especially to someone like him, who never have much experience doing it. Surprisingly, he had invited Second Master Guan, so naturally the sequela would be even more serious.
He leaned against Long Shen, caught a few breaths, before slowly saying. “I come from a background of artists. I am more sensitive to patterns. If I want to remember something, I can basically remember up to 70-80% of it. Give me a pen and some paper. I can draw the patterns and inscriptions on the mirror. Uncle Qian has also seen the mirror, so maybe he can add more details to it.”
Lin Xuan’s face darkened. Dong Zhi’s words have made him completely lose his bargaining chip.
Song Zhicun frowned. “Like I said, it doesn’t matter whether you say it or not, and now you’ve missed your opportunity to cooperate. You can’t escape the charge of kidnapping!”
Lin Xuan made a quick decision and immediately changed his position. He smiled slightly and said, “I have told you all that I know. I heard that this bronze mirror was unearthed in the Northwest. When it was discovered, there were also batches of gold, silver, and jade there, so the mirror wasn’t taken seriously at first. After changing multiple hands, it was discovered by the Japanese. They came to me with the pattern that was on the back of the mirror and asked me to help them find its whereabouts. In exchange, I asked someone to inquire about it, and only then did I know that it was in the hands of a man named Zheng Shun. The other party had taken the mirror to find Lao Qian to get it appraised.”
“The Japanese found Zheng Shun and wanted to buy it for five million. Zheng Shun immediately went to Lao Qian to ask for the mirror back. As a result, the mirror had already fallen into his hands. He probably wanted to bring it back to the Special Administration Bureau, but he was discovered by the Japanese, so they kidnapped him and brought him directly to me. You should all know the rest.”
Having said that, Lin Xuan spread his hands and made a helpless expression.
Long Shen: “And now the mirror’s in the hands of the Japanese?”
Lin Xuan nodded. “There are two groups of them. One group took the mirror and left. The other group is the one that was put down by your people just now.”
Otowa Saburo was directly shot in the head and couldn’t be saved. Everyone knew that he wasn’t stupid enough to take a gun and shoot himself in the temple, but the other Japanese were in a state of disarray and couldn’t explain what happened. Dong Zhi had invited a god into his body, so the entire scene was still hazy to him. Even he himself could not explain it clearly.
A murderer must pay with his life*. The issue was that these people were foreigners, and as such, it could easily cause an international dispute. However, these people were caught in relation to the smuggling and reselling of cultural relics. Besides, what Dong Zhi did was self-defense. Even if they were investigated, it was the Japanese who were guilty, so they wouldn’t be able to make any waves in the end.
*(杀人偿命) Saying that part of (杀人偿命，欠债还钱) A murderer must pay with his life as a debtor pays with money. || In this context, it should be more like an “attempted” murderer.
The most important thing now is the whereabouts of the mirror. If the Japanese wanted the mirror, there must be more to it than just the patterns.
Song Zhicun asked, “What’s so special about that bronze mirror? Why do the Japanese want it so badly?”
Lin Xuan smiled bitterly. “I really don’t know this. In order for me to help find its whereabouts, the Japanese were willing to give up even a dragon scale. It must be of great significance.”
While they were talking, pen and paper were brought in. Dong Zhi wanted to reach out to grab them, but Long Shen had already handed them to him.
“Don’t push yourself,” he said.
“I’m fine.” Dong Zhi smiled at him.
He thought intently for a moment, and then began to draw. Dong Zhi moved quickly, and with a few strokes, he sketched out the general outline. For fear of disturbing his thoughts, Song Zhicun didn’t ask any more questions, and the room was silent.
Half an hour passed quickly before Dong Zhi finally stopped writing.
“It should probably be like this, but there may be some deviations.”
Lin Xuan had also seen the patterns on the bronze mirror. When he glanced at Dong Zhi’s drawing, he found it was basically everything that was on the original mirror. Even the shadows of the ridges on the mountains were reflected accurately. At the edge of the paintings, there were four symbols that looked like Chinese and English, corresponding in pairs.
“What is this?” Long Shen pointed to a small black shadow on the painting.
Dong Zhi: “There should be patina here. On the other hand, I don’t remember the text very well, and the strokes may be missing.”
Long Shen nodded. “It’s okay.”
The characters on it were enough for him to recognize what the characters were.
Lin Xuan said sourly, “The Special Administration Bureau is really hiding dragons and tigers! I will never forget this when I catch anyone from there again!
We’re finally done with arc 3. Such a long arc, and the others just keep getting longer…
Dong Zhi repaying back his grudge:
Lin Xu: I can draw the patterns as long as you negotiate with me.
Dong Zhi: Fuck you, I can do it better and for free! (Bonus, I got to snuggle with my hubby too~)
Also, a big shout out to Crazy Mama for your generous ko-fi donations and support, as well as everyone else. Thank you for your support!
Yasakani-no-Magatama One of the Three Sacred Treasures of the Imperial Family. It’s a large magatama that’s been handed down for generations. According to Japanese mythology, the jewel was made by Tamanooya and is an object commonly used to demonstrate status for regional rulers in Japan.