Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Dong Zhi sneezed.
He certainly wouldn’t expect Tang Jing, who was far away in Shencheng, to mention him to Shu He, whom he had never met before.
The late autumn in the south was much warmer than in the north. He came to Lucheng wearing a coat and felt that it was too hot. He had switched to short sleeves after a while. As a result, he was injured in his fight with Yamamoto a few days ago and his immunity declined. At this moment, the aftermath came out, and he was sneezing and coughing endlessly.
Before his internal injury healed, he already had symptoms of a cold.
He got out of bed, put on a coat, and looked at his phone.
This was a habit he had developed whenever he woke up.
There was a missed call from Mu Duo.
Seeing that he didn’t answer, Mu Duo sent him a text message saying there were two things. One was Yamamoto’s whereabouts. The police have been tracking him and it seems they have expanded from Lucheng to the county province. However, she was afraid that there was little hope. The second was that two people who the branch was sending would arrive this afternoon and asked if he wanted to pick them up.
Dong Zhi replied that there wasn’t a need and to just send them the office address.
After sending out the text, he remembered that he was wandering like a headless fly on his first day in the old community for a while and felt that people of the branch should also experience this kind of taste. Maybe then, next time, they would be more generous when it comes to funding allocation.
As for the whereabouts of Yamamoto Kiyoshi, neither Dong Zhi nor Mu Duo had much hope.
No one knew where Yamamoto’s hideout was, let alone where he would place his replacement puppet. If he was still a member of the Shinkawa sect, then the Special Administration Bureau could still settle accounts with the Japanese. The issue was that Yamamoto Kiyoshi had already rebelled from the sect as early as 20 years ago and killed his and Fujikawa Aoi’s master.
The Japanese didn’t pay attention to being a teacher for a day and a father for life*, but they were still strictly hierarchical, thus the relationship between students and teachers was the same. Yamamoto’s behavior made him a target of the Japanese onmyojis at that time. His international warrant was also the first issued by Japan. As a result, he completely severed contact with Japan. According to intelligence, he had been in Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam in recent years. In the past few years, he had been to Hong Kong before coming to Lucheng, and now there was also a warrant posted from Hong Kong, but there was little hope.
*(一日为师，终身为父) Metaphor referring to treating a teacher with the same respect as a father.
Although Dong Zhi failed to kill him on the spot, this person had been roaming for many years, with his hands full of blood, and possessed a perverted hobby and specialized in targeting ordinary people. This behavior was something even practitioners would disdain, but because of his cunningness, he often escaped without leaving any clues. He was afraid of the hard while targeting the soft, so generally he wouldn’t provoke a stronger practitioner than himself, thus he remained elusive to them.
When he arrived in Lucheng, he encountered Dong Zhi when he tried to make a move, making his previous accomplishment practically invalid. He probably wouldn’t be able to commit atrocities for at least a few years, therefore, the Special Administration Bureau commended Dong Zhi for his work and rewarded him with some merits.
Dong Zhi didn’t know if his master would be a little happy to hear the news of his merits and forget the old accounts.
Thinking of this, he couldn’t help but glance up at the Changshou Sword.
The illusion that night seemed to really be a dream.
However, what appeared in the illusion must’ve happened before.
He vowed to forget all feelings he shouldn’t have for Long Shen and respect the wishes of the other party, so even if he wanted to contact him again, he still suppressed his thoughts.
On the other hand, his curiosity about the Changshou Sword grew stronger with each passing day, like a grassland slowly being overtaken by wild grass. By some miracle, his finger scratched the blade of the sword as soon as it was drawn out of the scabbard.
The wound hadn’t healed yet, and he was traumatized again, and his pain doubled. Dong Zhi hissed and endured the pain as he wiped the string of blood. The sword’s body quickly changed, just like that night, and the small amount of blood turned into red light, which quickly flowed over the sword’s pattern.
Seeing the scene around him begin to change, Dong Zhi’s heart, which had tightened a lot previously, was much calmer now, and he even had a little expectation.
What kind of past would he see this time?
The wilderness, the snow, the endless white.
Moonlight, starlight, the sky and river above, and the mountains below.
Two people were walking on a snowy plain.
A monk dressed in red monk attire and a man dressed in black.
The one in black was Long Shen. His appearance hadn’t changed much. The sky was cold, and the earth was frozen. In this extremely bad weather, it was impossible for anyone to have a warm smile on their face. Long Shen looked even more cold and icy, as the snow only added to this effect.
Judging from their attire, they should still be in ancient times.
In some places, the snow was so thick that it reached the thighs as soon as one stepped on it, while in other places the snow was relatively light, it would reveal the black moss below, making the surface wet and slippery, but these difficulties didn’t affect their speed of travel at all. Dong Zhi hurriedly kept up, but he could only stay a bit behind in the distance, neither near nor far.
The wind and the snow were getting heavier, but the two of them didn’t stop for even half a step, nor did they use any climbing tools, so they approached the top of the mountain step by step.
Long Shen’s physical strength was excellent, seemingly unaware of what fatigue was, while the monk didn’t lag either. He was always around three meters behind Long Shen.
After knowing Long Shen’s original form, Dong Zhi naturally understood why he was so powerful, but the monk’s performance surprised him. The other party seemed to be very old, but unexpectedly, his physical strength wasn’t any less than that of his master.
It was unknown how long it took, perhaps half a day, or a day, as time had lost its meaning in the illusion, but the two finally reached the peak of the mountain. The monk now showed a trace of fatigue as Dong Zhi heard him speak, “That’s it!”
He had a strange tone, but being in the illusion, there were no obstacles.
Following the place he pointed to, Dong Zhi couldn’t see anything, but Long Shen’s expression moved. It was a joyous expression for something—Dong Zhi was now able to perceive the deeper inner fluctuations from the subtle changes in the other party’s expression.
Even though he was once a sword, in Dong Zhi’s heart, Long Shen had long been a person of flesh and blood; a living human.
The two walked to the direction that the monk pointed at, and Dong Zhi then saw a thick layer of snow covering it. He couldn’t see what was underneath.
The monk first lowered his body and plunged his hand into the snow, as if digging something up. Soon, the snow fell on his shoulders, and he looked happy.
He stretched out his hands that were frozen white, but the monk didn’t care and only patted away the snow on his body.
“This must’ve been given to you by the heavens, and no one can take it away. It has been here since I left, and no one has ever found it.”
According to Dong Zhi, this place was off the beaten path, with snow that accumulated all year round and was on the peak of a high mountain where birds outnumbered people. Who would come here to find something? However, the joy on the monk’s face didn’t show any sign of hypocrisy, and even Dong Zhi was subconsciously happy for them.
Long Shen, like the monk, also ambled in and put his hand inside as the monk watched nervously to the side.
“I’m afraid it’s hard to take out. I couldn’t do it before…”
As soon as his voice fell, Long Shen’s hand had already drawn it out. A cloud of ice crystals was overflowing with white mist on his hand.
Dong Zhi thought that what they were looking for was the Changshou Sword. After all, this was an environment related to the Changshou Sword, but it turned out it wasn’t.
He looked curiously at the irregular “ice” in Long Shen’s hand.
The monk showed joy. “It’s destiny. It seems that the heart of this mountain is yours!”
Long Shen said, “Mountains and stones have hearts. They have cultivated a soul for thousands of years, forming this thousand-year old crystal. I want to refine it into a sword.”
The monk asked curiously, “What will you name it?”
Long Shen shook his head and replied, “It’ll be nameless for the time being, but I want to name it Changshou.”
Monk: “Always be true to your heart.”
Long Shen: “It will be the guard to a peaceful world.”
The monk laughed. “Then when you finish refining it, you must show it to me.”
Long Shen: “Naturally.”
The brief conversation between the two ended.
They didn’t stay on top of the mountain for long and soon descended. Seeing the two of them drifting away, Dong Zhi’s vision gradually blurred and distorted, and he knew that his dream was almost over.
Sure enough, he suddenly felt dizzy and couldn’t help but close his eyes and faint.
When he opened his eyes again, he was lying on the floor of his living room. Suddenly, returning from the ice and snow to a warm and calm setting was a major environmental gap.
Dong Zhi stayed still for a while before slowly regaining his senses.
He looked at the Changshou Sword in his hand. It lay quietly in them, speaking to him speechlessly about the spring and autumn that it had seen.
The more he knew, the more he felt that Long Shen had traveled through many ordeals; the wind, frost, rain, and snow; and the magnificent waves. To be able to see his footprints, even if they were only fragments, was a thrilling and strange encounter for Dong Zhi.
But for Long Shen, that had long been carved into his bones.
Others pursued legends, while he himself was one.
Long Shen was already standing on the top of a high mountain, looking at the snow at the peak, and his hands could touch the stars while he was still hesitating under the mountain. Like all inexperienced people who climb for the first time, he marveled at the steepness of the mountain. On the way, he stopped because of hesitation and timidity. Perhaps he would stay at the foot of the mountain a little longer because of the warmth.
Dong Zhi felt that if he were Long Shen, he might not be able to see an apprentice that was still groping up step by step. As far as Long Shen was concerned, the two of them were too far apart in terms of age and experience.
The more things he saw in the illusion, the less he felt that he knew Long Shen, but this was also interesting to approach step by step, explore, and venture deeper to see the fragments of the past of the Changshou Sword from its birth until now.
He couldn’t help but look forward to it. Next time he entered the fantasy realm, what kind of Long Shen would he see?
After standing up for a while, Dong Zhi began to feel dizzy. He braced himself against the wall for a bit before he felt better.
Feeding blood to the Changshou Sword also consumed his energy to a certain extent, and it shouldn’t be done often, so Dong Zhi didn’t continue. Instead, he got up and went to the kitchen to boil some water to drink.
His phone suddenly rang. It was Liu Qingbo, who he hadn’t been in contact recently.
Dong Zhi only knew that he had gone to Ruanzhou, and he didn’t know exactly what and how he was doing there. Liu Qingbo certainly had the ability, and as long as he could control his temper, he would certainly excel.
The premise was that their leaders could make him look good, though he didn’t know which leader would be so “lucky” to have a subordinate like Liu Qingbo.
“Lao Liu, how are you doing? Why did you suddenly call?” he asked casually.
“You don’t know?” Liu Qingbo’s voice was a bit weird.
Listening to his tone, Dong Zhi guessed it shouldn’t be something big that happened, so he raised his cup and started to drink from it.
Liu Qingbo angrily said, “Zhang Chong and I are now circling around the address you gave. Where is the Lucheng office? Why is it so difficult to find!”
As soon as he finished speaking, Liu Qingbo heard the spray of water from the phone, followed by a series of coughs.
“Are you the one sent by the branch to assist us?!” Dong Zhi asked in disbelief.
“Why? Are we not welcomed?”
Dong Zhi imagined Liu Qingbo saying this with a dark face and found it a bit funny. “Of course not. Welcome! Who is the other one? Is it also from our session?”
Liu Qingbo: “No. His name is Zhang Chong. You’ll be meeting him for the first time.”
After that, he said suspiciously, “By the way, you didn’t deliberately fuck with me, right? Is the office really here?”
Dong Zhi held his forehead. “No, it’s really true. Let me take you over. I’ll meet you at the entrance of the community!”
After hanging up the phone, the more he pondered, the more he felt that the name Zhang Chong sounded familiar, but it was reasonable to say that it couldn’t be so coincidental.
“Brother, it’s been a long time since I saw you. Did you miss me?”
When Zhang Chong saw him, he jumped three feet high and rushed over and gave him a warm hug.
Dong Zhi blinked, pulled him away a little, and scanned him up and down to confirm there wasn’t anything wrong with his eyes.
“Why are you here?!”
Zhang Chong raised his chin and said, “I heard that you were short of manpower here. Don’t worry, with me here, nothing will happen to Lucheng in the future!”
Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo looked at each other.
Liu Qingbo clearly expressed doubt in his eyes, ‘Has he always been so blindly confident?’
Dong Zhi nodded helplessly.
The last time they eliminated the Archfiend in Yangchang, this guy was also full of confidence in himself, but he miscalculated and almost led to Dong Zhi being unable to save He Yu.
Though both from Mount Longhu, Zhang Heng and Zhang Chong were two completely different people. One was a poster boy for the group, while the other was kicked to the Yangcheng office. Their treatment was very different. Facts have proven that it wasn’t a matter of shady insider affairs but was purely due to aptitude.
Of course, Dong Zhi had no opinion on Zhang Chong himself. He seems righteous, and while a bit pompous and having mediocre abilities, in general, they had a good friendly and brotherly connection, as long as they weren’t on a mission together.
“If you’re here, what would the Yancheng office do with you missing?” Dong Zhi said tactfully.
Zhang Chong: “I heard that recently, because a lot of things are happening in the south, the superiors are afraid that Shengcheng will be out of reach. They plan to set up another branch, which will be on the same level as the South China Branch. In the future, Shencheng will be the first bureau of south China, and Yangcheng will be the second.”
It turned out that they were planning to upgrade and expand, so Dong Zhi joked, “Then you shouldn’t leave, so you’ll be a senior of the branch in the future.”
Zhang Chong said with traces of regret, “My cousin Zhang Heng may become director of the second bureau. After all, we’re in the same division and are related, so we have to avoid suspicion. I can rest assured that Yangcheng will be in good hands with him. Although my ability is also good, it’s still a bit worse than him.”
Dong Zhi: …Brother, I’m afraid your understanding of a little bit is way off.
Liu Qingbo listened impatiently as they caught up. “Hurry up and take us to the office. I’m going to die of thirst!”
As soon as he spoke, he was hugged by Dong Zhi without warning.
Liu Qingbo was stunned, and before he could react, Dong Zhi had already released him.
“Thank you, Lao Liu, for coming. My heart can rest easier all of a sudden. It seems that we are back to the old days when we stabbed the python in the chrysanthemum together. With you, there will be no problems in the future!” Dong Zhi said sincerely.
During this period of time, although the top affirmed their achievements in dealing with Yamamoto, the deaths of Zhou Dui and Xiao Qi, as well as the death of the weasel Lao Liu, were all weighing heavily on Dong Zhi, silently supervising him to hurry up and recover so he could avenge them.
This was also coupled with his change in relationship with Long Shen; Dong Zhi actually endured a lot of pressure in his heart. He just didn’t want to transfer this pressure to others, so he never mentioned it in front of Mu Duo.
Now, in front of his former companions, he would inevitably reveal some traces in his heart.
Liu Qingbo looked at the red eyes and smile on Dong Zhi, and his heart suddenly became mixed and sour. He was about to say something when he heard him speak about stabbing the chrysanthemum, and his face abruptly sank and became dark like the bottom of a pot.
“Stab you in the head, ah! Why are you coughing endlessly? Injured?”
Dong Zhi coughed a few times again. “It’s nothing. I’ve suffered a little internal injury before, so I just need to take it slowly.”
Liu Qingbo: “Don’t cough to death, otherwise the top will definitely let me replace you as the person in charge!”
Dong Zhi smiled. “I didn’t expect you to care about me so much.”
Liu Qingbo rolled his eyes. “I’m gloating. Where are you seeing that I care about you?”
Zhang Chong said with jealousy, “Hey, what are you doing ignoring me? I’m here to help too!”
“Okay, thank you! Come with me. I’ll take you to the office first.” Dong Zhi smiled, thinking that they would probably want to stay out for a while longer.
He took the two of them around the old building where the office was located and opened the door with the key.
Neither he nor Mu Duo had come back in the past few days, and as soon as the door opened, the smell of dust hit their faces.
Liu Qingbo and Zhang Chong were stunned.
Zhang Chong murmured, “This is worse than the office in Yangcheng!”
Dong Zhi patted them on the shoulders and said, solemnly, as a person who had already gone through it, “Just get used to it!”
Also in Lucheng.
In an old house in the Republic of China, the crew was in full swing on the final stage of filming.
The house was originally the residence of a foreign consul. After the liberation, the consul withdrew with the diplomatic team. It was taken over by the government and later developed into a tourist attraction. During this time, in order to make a spy war drama, the crew paid a lot of rent and contracted the house to avoid being disturbed by the endless stream of tourists.
Today was the twentieth day of filming, and the progress that should have ended a long time ago has been extended for a few days because of a situation.
With an order from the director, Han Qi settled down and walked to the side of the stairs, ready to greet the actor.
“Zhiru, why are you here?” The actor said his lines as he walked down from the second floor, in a suit and waistcoat that looked elegant.
Han Qi smiled sweetly. “Why? You’re not happy to see—”
Before she could finish, the actor missed his steps and stumbled down the stairs, tumbling and crashing towards Han Qi, who was standing at the bottom.
Han Qi was so shocked in the moment that she had no time to dodge and could only watch as the actor smashed down towards her.
Suddenly, someone next to her stretched out a hand and grabbed her arm, pulling her aside violently. In the next second, the actor fell to where she was originally standing.
“Oh my god!”
“Su Fan, are you okay?”
The filming was interrupted. The crew gathered around, helped the actor up, and then ran up to look at the stairs. They were surprised to find that the stairs that were clearly intact and had been inspected before the shooting now had cracks and had partially collapsed when the actor had just stepped on them. He lost his balance and fell down.
Han Qi was in shock. If she was hit just now, her back would’ve taken the brunt of the fall and a fracture would probably be inevitable. The most serious might be…
“Qi Jie, are you okay?” The assistant handed her a glass of hot milk, pulled her to the side, and sat her down. She then put a coat on herself meticulously and considerately.
Han Qi shook her head and looked up at Hui Yiguang, who also took a hot drink from the assistant.
“Thank you for just now.”
Hui Yiguang smiled and said, “Han Jie is too polite. It was nothing. Speaking of which, this isn’t the first time, right? Based on all the things that have happened since we joined the group, it’s like the director didn’t pray and worship God correctly when they started filming, right?”
Han Qi smiled bitterly.
Hui Yiguang wasn’t the first to say that.
She hadn’t heard any rumors of ghosts here before, but since the crew started filming here, strange things had indeed started happening frequently.
First, the chandelier above her head suddenly fell down. One of the unlucky assistant directors happened to be standing below. He couldn’t dodge it in time and was hit by it on the shoulders and was sent to the hospital with a broken bone. He hasn’t been discharged yet.
Then there was the lightning technician. After getting off work one day, he tripped over his own lighting board and smashed his head in.
Then there was the third female lead. They didn’t know whether it was due to negligence or malicious intent, but someone threw an old-fashioned pushpin on the ground. The third female lead happened to be filming an indoor scene with Han Qi that day. She was wearing long satin pajamas that reflected the style of the Republic of China that day when she stepped on something with her soft slippers and fell to the ground while hoarsely screaming. Everyone thought she was just acting on the spot. Only then did they find out that a nail had pierced the sole of her foot and stabbed her flesh. Fortunately, the sole was padded, and the injury wasn’t too serious, but she was hurriedly rushed to the hospital to remove the cold needle. Oddly enough, a lot of people were present at that time, and the lights were very bright, but somehow no one noticed it.
After these three strange events, rumors began circulating that there was something unclean about the crew.
As for why it was unclean, no one could say. Since no one had died yet, the producers didn’t want to delay the progress, so they wanted to shoot and try to finish the scene as quickly as possible to get rid of all this bad luck.
Who knew that today, something happened again?
The actor pushed away the support of others and tried to stand up, but he couldn’t help but groan in pain. His body tilted and leaned against the wall. The director guessed that he had probably twisted his foot when he saw the actor’s posture, so they hurriedly sent him to the hospital for an examination. The scenes that were to be filmed had to be put on hold again. Once again, scenes had to be rearranged, not to mention how depressed everyone was.
The actors had nothing to do. They sat idly beside each other and waited for the directors to make arrangements while chatting with each other. Han Qi was a big name, so few people usually approached her. She was currently in a daze and needed someone to relieve the pressure, so she didn’t refuse Hui Yiguang, who sat down beside her.
“How did they choose this place? It’s too unclean!” Han Qi’s assistant muttered in a low voice, expressing dissatisfaction with the successive accidents.
“I think it may not be a problem with the venue,” Hui Yiguang said suddenly.
Han Qi’s heart moved, and she turned to look at her. “What do you mean?”
“I have inquired about Du Li’s since her accident,” she said, referring to the third female lead who had stepped on the pushpin. “This house has been rented out to other crews for filming before, and there has never been a problem. It was after our crew settled here that all these frequent accidents started, so I guess it’s either that there are some new furnishings here that aren’t clean, or—”
Knowing that she was deliberately pausing, Han Qi and her assistant couldn’t help but become intrigued.
“There’s something wrong with the people in it,” Hui Yiguang said softly.
Han Qi’s heart jumped again.
She couldn’t help but glance at Hui Yiguang, but the other party didn’t look at her, let alone notice her strangeness.
Hui Yiguang also knew that her words were a bit sensitive and easy to offend. After speaking, she stopped talking and lowered her head to drink her milk.
Han Qi endured and endured, but couldn’t help but say, “Actually, I think so too.”
Hui Yiguang was a little surprised. She thought Han Qi wouldn’t pay attention to her, but she didn’t expect the other party to follow her words.
“I came here the next day after the machine was turned on. Meng Ge was also here with me at that time. That afternoon, my assistant had diarrhea,” Han Qi said. Meng Ge was the second male lead in this drama.
The lineup of this drama could be regarded as one of the best domestic TV drama lineups in recent times. Although the fame of the male protagonist wasn’t as good as Han Qi’s, he was also a very up-and-coming new actor in China. After Hui Yiguang was exposed to the scandal of betraying her former friend, she whitewashed her reputation by doing charity and public welfare work ads and was able to star in this well-known drama. Even so, she could only provide a supporting role to Han Qi. The film party naturally attached great importance to this kind of cast, so not only did they book a high-end hotel for them to stay at, but the food was also catered to everyone’s taste.
Yet when everything was ready and shooting began, they encountered so many problems.
Hui Yiguang’s expression changed after hearing Han Qi’s words.
She found that Han Qi was deliberately trying to attract the waters of disaster to the second male lead. She smiled and said, “I plan to find a master to look into this in the next few days. Is Sister Han interested?”
Han Qi was noncommitted and just showed a light smile. “There are too many charlatans nowadays, so you should be careful.”
Hui Yiguang had long been accustomed to her appearance, and she nodded and smiled when she heard those words. “Han Jie is right; I will pay attention.”
Han Qi was notoriously difficult to get close to in the circle, but she somehow became famous early, and her career had been smooth. It was rumored that she was in a relationship with a boss of a well-known investment company. No matter whether she was frosty or approachable, there would always be people who flocked to her, and Hui Yiguang was no exception.
However, the same sex tends to repel each other. Han Qi didn’t have much affection for the actresses in the circle, though she had a good impression of Hui Yiguang. After all, she was just saved by him and avoided a serious injury. Moreover, Hui Yiguang didn’t try her best to overshadow her during filming, as she recited her lines honestly.
Han Qi had something on her mind and wasn’t interested in chatting, so Hui Yiguang got up and went to find a different place to rest. The assistant took Han Qi’s milk cup and walked to the nanny car outside, ready to take it back and wash it again.
A production staff member hurriedly ran past from behind and accidentally bumped into her, causing the glass cup she was holding to fall to the ground. The assistant turned her head and glared at the other party, who was repeatedly apologizing. The assistant was about to scold them when Han Qi said, “Forget it. Go and have someone clean up the mess.”
Seeing her in a daze, the assistant didn’t dare say anything more, so she hurriedly complied and quickly walked away.
Who knew that an accident happened at this moment.
The author has something to say:
Zhang Chong is a disciple from Mount Longhu stationed in Yancheng,
Hui Yiguang… You must still remember.
After conversing with some translators, I have decided to switch to pinyin for many address terms like, ge (brother), jie (sister), lao (old), and xiao (little/young) as translating them doesn’t really get across the intended meaning. I’ll try to fix the older chapters when I have time.
She’s back~ Seems like there’s more to Hui Yiguang than meets the eye. For those who forgot who Hui Yiguang was, she was the actress who almost got her body replaced by a vengeful ex-friend. (See chapter 37-38)