“If I am not Shao Yao then you tell me, who am I?” Wan Mei got up and fumbled her way step by step towards him, her eyes closed.
Han Xiu lowered his head, struggling to convince himself that this was not a dream but a plot of some kind.
In front of him, Wan Mei sighed, “Perhaps it is because this girl’s circumstance was very similar to mine so I was able to return and take over her body. But Han my love, why are you so afraid? I never resented you for anything.”
Hearing this, Han Xiu suddenly raised his head up. And the little placidity he had left started to dissipate.
Everyone has a weakness, a past that they are unwilling to face. His weakness was Shao Yao. An entertainer at a brothel who would veil herself and entertain guests by playing the zither. And many guests would listen to her music everyday.
If that day he managed to successfully smuggle that cargo of salt, then he would have been able to keep his promise and save her from her suffering. Except he was betrayed by someone and during the transaction, he was surrounded by the government soldiers and captured along with sufficient evidence.
Smuggling salt was a capital crime and when he thought he was a dead man, someone suddenly opened the door to his cell, told him that the salt censorate had ordered his release as they found him innocent.
He was ecstatic back then and hurried over to tell Shao Yao immediately but when he arrived, she had already become a corpse, but her body was still warm. She used her life and her body to exchange for his freedom and his successful future.
That was his crime. Even if he was powdered into ashes it would not be enough to be washed away. And he never forgave himself for it.
“But I feel that you should resent me.” As his mind turned back, his rationality started to cloud over and he begun to believe that the person in front was indeed Shao Yao. “I am not fit to be called a man.”
Wan Mei raised her hand then, rubbed a little of the white powder between her fingers and delivered them to his nose.
The powder was spirit breaking poison something that would cause illusions and confuse the victim. If it was under a normal circumstance, it would have been impossible to use such a trick on Han Xiu. Even if it did work, a little amount like this was not enough to control him.
But it was different now, what was occurring now had swayed his mind, which was inclined to believe this. This amount of spirit breaker was like the tiny speckle of snow on an overloaded branch that only needed it to reach breaking point.
“I do not resent you .” After rubbing the powder on him, her hands retreated back and she crossed her arms. “I only came back to see if you were alright.”
Han Xiu started, the little rationality he had left disappeared. He leaned his face against her chest, right against the white peony.
“I married your elder sister and gave her all the love I should have given you.”, he told her in a low voice by her chest, like a forlorn child.
Wan Mei nodded, “My sister is not in good health and cannot bear you children. Thank you for looking after her for so many years.”
“And that censorate Gu, I framed him for smuggling salt and he died 7 years ago in prison,”he continued.
Wan Mei nodded burying her head in his hair. ” So I do not resent you. I did not when I died and now even less so.”
Han Xiu fell silent, trembling against her chest.
“But I cannot forgive myself,” he finally sighed, ” whether you are Shao Yao or not, I am willing to leave with you. I am willing to be punished, suffer a hundred times more pain than you did.”
Wan Mei laughed at that and pulled out her hairpin and in a patronizing way asked, “Then you are willing to be blinded? Suffer a hundred times more pain than I did is not a simple matter.”
Han Xiu did not reply. He lifted his head up and slowly opened his eyes.
Wan Mei bit her lip and pierced his right eye with her hairpin. His right eyeball immediately poured with blood.
He let her and did not fight back. He didn’t even cry out in pain. Wan Mei stared at him in shock and her hand that was holding the hairpin shook slightly.
In her plan, the two of them would take a trip down memory lane to the past and then when he could not control himself she would kill him.
But now it seemed it was not necessary, the Han Xiu in front of her did not have any desire to fight her, as determined he was to die for Shao Yao.
In the end, Wan Mei felt her heart soften and when she delivered the hairpin to the left eye, she pushed with all her might to drive it all the way in.
Han Xiu’s body lost all strength as his head collapsed onto her chest, leaving a trail of blood and tears on her.
The red demonic parosol in the corner of the room suddenly started to move. The ground touching golden lotus sensing the smell of death, opened up it’s petals and started to move in.
Wan Mei looked back, unsure of what she felt so quickly covered herself up and jumped from the window using the opened parasol.
Outside it was pitch black and when she looked back somehow she felt a feeling of sadness overcome her.
Xiao San’s qinggong  had always been very good. But it was clear that the person who was following him was skillful too. Even when the two of them entered a forest, Xiao San was unable to lose him.
And so he stopped. Right at the spot where the moonlight shone, his hand clasping the soul destroying sword in his hands.
Han Yue did not expect for him to stop there but he was too fast to stop now anyway. He pulled his sword out of it’s sheath and pointed it at him. Before the tip of the sword could reach Xiao San, he could feel the cold air of death it brought. Xiao San was not one to underestimate his enemy and used 80% of his strength.
The two swords clashed. But Han Yue’s sword was a normal one after all despite the coldness it brought and was easily sliced in half by the soul destroying sword.
It was not an outcome he expected and he promptly used his hand to control the wind and block Xiao San’s attack.
It was at that moment that Xiao San saw the weakness on Han Yue’s chest and he knew that if the sword was just a few inches longer, he could have easily taken the life of the person in front of him.
But at the crucial moment he pulled back, met with the wind Han Yue produced and when he stepped back, he spat out a mouth of blood.
“Why don’t you go and see your elder brother’s situation?” Xiao San reminded him as his clothes fluttered amongst the wind.
Han Yue stared at him in disbelief bur when he turned the words in his mind, it felt as if he woke up from a daze and he rushed back.
But it was already too late. On the 2nd floor of the Fragrant Powder Tower, he only found his brother’s still warm body lying on the ground.
He howled as he pulled the limp corpse in his arms, as if he wished to shatter all his organs with his voice.
Despite the depair, his mind was clearer than before. The eye and the brows of the green clothed girl flashed in front of his eyes, a pair of eyes that were cold, yet alluring.
“I must have seen her before! I must have!” That phrase was repeated in his heart again and again which he finally spat out through gritted teeth.
Wan Mei lay on the bed as Xiao San carefully treated her injuries whilst listening to her sigh.
“I told you long before that you can fake the lashes too but you insisted on making them real. You must know that you rely on your body to put food on the table. If it leaves a life long mark, that will be bad,” he grumbled.
“I can pretend to be blind, I can pretend my lower body is bleeding but if the lashes were faked as well then there will be too many flaws,” Wan Mei retorted, “do you think Han Xiu is a fool.? He practices martial arts and runs a business, he is extremely sharp.”
Xiao San nodded. “Regardless it was a perfect trap that you set for him this time mistress.”
Wan Mei turned over when he told her to, allowing him to tend to her injuries on her front. She hesitated but finally asked, “Actually this trap only worked because of the news you gathered. Can you tell me where you found the information to know everything about Han Xiu?”
“There are people called ghost eyes within the Gate of Ghosts,” Xiao San explained to her slowly, “they are responsible for gathering information and monitoring the assassins. I got the news from them. They know everything, including the number of hairs you have under your armpit.”
“Monitoring the assassins?” Wan Mei repeated in a low voice, “you mean someone is monitoring us right now?”
He nodded. “The Ghosts eyes are everywhere. It may not be of any use even if you lower your voice.”
As the words left his mouth, his hand had already moved onto her right nipple. Touching the white Peony as if wanting to wipe it away.
Wan Mei grabbed his hand grabbed his five fingers and pressed them against the white flower.
“Do you believe that Han Xiu truly loved Shao Yao, that he truly wanted to leave with her?”
She watched him, her eyes a little wet, “In this world, there really is a love that is as pure as a white Shao Yao (chinese Peony).”
Xiao San lowered his head, and tried to pull his hand out of hers and hurriedly replied, “I think that your lamentation for their love is pointless.”
“I know it is.” But Wan Mei would not give up, “I only want to ask you, if one day, you fell in love with me, would you be willing to give up your life for me too?”
Xiao San finally lifted his eyes to look at her. It seemed an eternity had passed before he finally darted away from her.
“Within the Gate of Ghosts, the shadow cannot have any relations with his mistress so your hypothesis that I will love you will never happen. Hence, I do not need to answer it, ” he lowered his voice,”I will go and prepare some water for you to wash off that white peony.”
Wan Mei coldly laughed and in her heart she knew that he was afraid of death. That sadned once again rushed into her.
Outside, someone knocked on the door. And a voice as icy as a ghost of seduction announced, “Gongzi (young master) wishes to meet with you.”
1) Qing gong is a legendary form of martial arts that allows the user to levitate and almost fly around the air.
Please support me by leaving some comments below about how I could improve my translations! Whether it’s because I repeated too many words or the word structure is a little funny or if there’s something you don’t quite understand! (Of course anything apart from changing the plot as it’s not something I can do about it unless I write a parallel fanfic)
Any comments are appreciated. Thanks in advance 🙂