Before long, as expected, the mainland pugilist world wiped out the Blood Lotus religious sect. The Blood Lotus sect who had lost their leader Lan Ruo was like a dragon without it’s head. Within one month, that so called unorthodox sect was at the brink of extinction, everything was now going the way Qiu Tie Dan wished, he relished every moment of it.
It was only then that Wan Mei understood what Gong Zhi intended and understood how long he had prepared for this.
After proving that Fang Ge who understood how to negotiate and make appeasements was a traitor to the righteous side, the pugilist world heroes learnt their lesson and as expected chose someone who despised evil to the bones as their chief.
All the practitioners of Gu poison were categorized as the unorthodox sects, and those from the unorthodox sects deserved to die, so to uphold justice, sacrifices cannot be avoided. And the kind of mindset Chief Qiu had was exactly the type that Gong Zi wanted as the Chief of the righteous alliance.
What Wan Mei did not expect was, in this month she was ordered to stay in the Gate of Ghosts and the majority of the members of the Gate of Ghosts did not participate in the bloody war.
Only when the Blood Lotus sect was completely annihilated did Gong Zhi send a message to her, summoning her to visit the Lan Zhao city with him.
Throughout the journey, Gong Zhi said nothing but his expression was extremely serious. When they arrived did he finally say, “Have you contacted You Chan?”
Wan Mei nodded. “Xiao San has already made the preparations, it should be all ready.”
Everything was going according to the plan. You Chan was already waiting for them by the carriage when they got off. Compared to before, she seemed to have lost some weight.
As soon as she saw Gong Zhi she bowed to him in greeting and went straight to the topic, “Su Qing Ya has not made an appearance yet. I will take you to his lodgings now.”
Gong Zhi seemed to be apathetic to her report; his only response was to silently follow her, his dark robe caressing the green path that lined the path, cutting a lonely figure in the street.
Su Qing Ya’s lodgings was at the end of a market. That was something that no-one expected. Concealed beneath the busy fresh fish stall was a small hole and when the trap door was activated, it opened up to a long stone stairway leading to a passage where it was impossible to see the bottom of.
“Does anyone else know of this passage?” Gong Zhi inquired as he stood at the top a sharpness seem to gleam from his unfocused eyes.
“The only other person who knows is Lan Ruo,” You Chan replied with a bitter smile. “He was the only one who was allowed to meet the chief, I only knew about it by following him here.”
With that, Gong Zhi said nothing else, he turned around and went down the steps, Wan Mei and Lan Ruo hurriedly followed his footsteps.
The basement was buried deep under the market and the further they went down, the colder it became. By the time they reached the end of the stone steps, it seemed as if they had stepped into the winter of the north, so cold that Wan Mei felt her lips numb in the cold.
Suddenly she felt something was off, but just as she turned around to glance to You Chan, the light in the entire basement suddenly blew out and it fell into complete darkness. Slowly the basement seemed to fill up with a sticky liquid that had the consistency of blood which in a blink of an eye reached her ankles.
Then…something slithered up their leg and started to wind around their calves, cold and slippery like a snake trying to worm their way into their flesh. “Is it a water leech? Or something else?” Wan Mei asked You Chan as she used Shen Ying to cut that part of the bloodthirsty thing that was about to pierce her flesh.
You Chan had already lept into the air as her voice reverberated dispassionately, “It’s not a water leech. Aren’t snake vines that grow in blood cold and slippery? Could this be the snake vine? Do not let it sink into your flesh!”
“Get down!” Gong Zhi’s voice suddenly rang out in the darkness. Although the words were spoken quickly but not quick enough. Before You Chan could respond, he had already grabbed her ankle and pulled her back into the bloody water.
Almost instantly after, they could hear a quiet whistle of sound above their heads before silence returned.
“They are silent arrows, each weighing about 1000 Jin If one of it touches you, it’ll pierce through your body,” Gong Zhi informed them coldly. “It’s best if none of you go up there.”
But the snake vines attacked even harder at this point, like the ghosts in hell, it was impossible to get rid of them. By this time, Lan Ruo’s voice had already begun to shake, “This place really is a cavern for ghosts. You can only enter and never leave. Lan Ruo didn’t lie to me, he never lies to me!”
The bloody water had risen to their waist, one snake vine even made it’s way to her private area. Finally she felt fearful of the place and her counterattacks started to became chaotic.
“Only enter and never leave? I don’t think so,” Gong Zhi’s voice rang clearly in the darkness. In the next moment, he had launched himself in the air, his fingers grasped the tail of one of the arrows and shot it into a small hole to the right in front of them. The air around them finally fell silent; the bloody waters receded and the snake vines disappeared completely.
Light flooded back into the cavern and all the traps shut down with that one arrow. “It’s a shame one of the visitors here was a blind man. The blind have better hearing that those who can see so I was able to hear the trigger of the trap,” Gong Zhi said shaking his clothes and without any hesitation stepped into the deeper into the basement.
Wan Mei hurriedly followed him but You Chan remained standing where she was, staring dazed at a black snake vine peeping out from within her finger. She struggled with it for a moment before she raised her sword and cut off her entire right arm. She collapsed onto the floor in front of her, doing her best to not cry out in pain.
Hearing her suppressed moan of pain, Wan Mei turned around but Gong Zhi grasped her sleeve before she could turn her entire body around. “You’ve now finished your mission, you may go now,” Gong Zhi informed You Chan, there was not an ounce of warmth in his voice.
“As you are already here, why leave? Why don’t you all come in?” A voice with a slight rasp suddenly echoed down from the end of the basement. The door flung open, releasing a blow of arctic air into the basement.
“It took so long before you finally came. The three of you are truly an honor.” After passing through the door, Wan Mei finally saw the owner of this underground complex, the chief of the Blood Lotus Sect that had not made an appearance for 10 years, Su Qing Ya.
That jade colored door swiftly closed behind them. Despite the heart numbing cold inside the room, Su Qing Ya was clothed in nothing more than a light, thin robe, sky blue in color tied together with a black belt.
He was a man who was worthy to be called beautiful, his beauty had a kind of evil in it, and looked no older than 30.
“I am Su Qing Ya.” After a short moment of silence he introduced himself, raising his luminescent wine cup as he did so. “Apart from You Chan do the two of you not plan to introduce yourselves to me?”
He turned his head slightly when he spoke those words and it was only then when Wan Mei noticed a vine running along his right cheek and the side of his right hand, completely black like the pattern on a snake, it’s shape alluring.
Having such a pattern accentuated his evilness more, as if he was a siren from the depths of hell and with the darkness as his backdrop, it only make him more beguiling. Wan Mei could not help but stare at him, at the black vine when moved abruptly, growing about half an inch on his face.
Her surprise caught the eye of Su Qing Ya, he turned his head around and caressed his right cheek. “I forgot to inform you. This thing on my face is called a snake vine, a snake vine that has lived for 20 years, the best kind of Gu in the world and has now become one with my body.”
Before he was even able to finish, You Chan let out a cry of fear, falling onto the ground, her eyes filled with dread.
“20 years….” she muttered quietly, “why in these 20 years did that snake vine not consume you, not burst out into a snake tongue flower through your head?”
“If I leave this basement of course it will.” Su Qing Ya lifted an eyebrow at her. “But did you forget that snakes are afraid of the cold? My home is quite cold, it uses up quite a lot of cooling stones. ”
“So my Mother did not die for nothing,” You Chan said, picking herself up, her eyes now bursting with fury. “She put that snake vine in you forcing you to be unable to see the sun for 10 years.” That was a story itself, it’s contents brutal and old.
In order to seek revenge, You Chan’s mother planted that snake vine into herself 20 years ago in order to assassinate Su Qing Ya. Because of the vast difference in ability, You Chan’s mother ended up with her throat slit, her blood flooding the floor and Su Qing Ya got away with nothing but a pricked finger. But that small prick was enough. The snake vine found a new host and through that small wound found it’s way into Su Qing Ya’s body.
In return for her sacrifice, You Chan’s mother got what she wished and so she died smiling as if she could see the snake vine grow inside Su Qing Ya before her own eyes, it’s branches piercing his flesh, his heart and then finally a scarlet snake tongue flower would burst out through his head.
“The snake tongue flower….” Su Qing Ya said in a low tone, stroking the snake vine. “Turns out that was your mother. Speaking of which I should thank her, she helped me find the long lost snake vine and went to such trouble to plant it in me, increasing my inner strength and help me attain eternal youth like a demon.”
You Chan’s body started to shake again. Raising her sword she screamed, “No matter what today will be the day of your death! Those 3000 sacrificed souls, they have been waiting for your head for a long time, go and atone your sins!”
“Why should I atone?” Su Qing Ya inquired leaning forward. “Your Ding Shan sect were not a kind peaceful sect either, if I did not resist your advances, then the blood lotus sect would not lose just 3000 people!”
“But those 3000 people do not deserve to die! My younger brother… when he died he was only one…he was still unable to talk….”
“So Lan Ruo deserves to die then.” Su Qing Ya said, in a raised voice. “Lan Ruo who would conjure magic tricks on the street to cheer children up, Lan Ruo who would use the bone on his knees to help others grow back some bones, the Lan Ruo who tried to ensure that the Blood Lotus sect will not involve themselves in conflict in these 10 years, does he deserve to die too?”
You Chan halted for a moment, her eyes became more bloodied and her heart became more heavy, so heavy that it felt as if it would sink to the bottom of the sea. “He does not deserve to die,” she agreed as she felt 7 parts of her strength leave her body, “but how is it relevant? Are you trying to point out that you’re innocent or….”
“It means it is not up to you to be the judge of this!” Su Qing Ya emptied the grape wine in his glass into his mouth, the glass glimmered in the light but in a turn of an eye shattered and it’s shards flew towards You Chan’s acupoints.
Ten shards, nine of them reached it’s target , You Chan’s curved knife was like a dancing snowflake in her hands but it was only enough to stop one of the shards. Su Qing Ya flew over like a shadow finding it’s owner, his right hand covered her wound, the snake vine in his hand dancing in excitement.
“I meant my crimes are unforgivable, but you are not as innocent and pure as the snow lotus!” he added, his inner powers flowing our from his palm, pouring into You Chan. A small part of the black vine emerged from You Chan’s shoulder, twisting and turning within her wound but in the end was pushed out by the energy flowing out and forced to leave You Chan’s body.
“I promised Lan Ruo to keep you alive,” Su Qing Ya told her in a low tone, as he flicked that ivy away which quickly turned to ash. Then with a sweep of his sleeve, he turned around, not giving You Chan another glance.
In despair, You Chan lifted her curved sword but stopped when it was an inch away from his back, the sword was wrapped up by a corner of her sleeve.
“Offering my head as a sacrifice for the 3000 dead? You are not worthy enough to do that.” Su Qing Ya did not even turn around when he swept his sleeve down. Instantaneously, You Chan’s curved sword fell to the ground, shattering into 3 parts. It’s since sharp edge now dull and blunt.
“She is not worthy to do it.” Gong Zhi who was silent throughout the exchange suddenly spoke up. “The loser should accept his defeat. You do not need to atone for those 3000 dead.”
This time, Su Qing Ya’s mouth broke into a smile. “You were able to stop a 1000 Jin heavy arrow with 2 fingers and was able to locate the initiator of my trap just by sound. This young master is the one I have been waiting for.”
“You knew that I would come here?”
“I did. If you annihilated the Blood lotus sect but did not kill Su Qing Ya, then you would have failed to wipe out the Blood Lotus sect, so you would definitely come. You framed us, then borrowed another’s hand to kill us, you have quite a strategic mind,” Su Qing Ya said as he gently rubbed his palms together. “I am only curious as to how you managed to learn how to use the Gu poison and seduction technique unique only to the blood lotus sect. You wielded it so well, used it to commit murder that there was no way the Blood Lotus sect could prove their innocence.”
Gong Zhi remained silent, the only response he gave was to click his fingers and almost instantaneously a small dot of flight appeared in mid air. The room was soon covered with Gu fireflies which gathered together in his palm and transformed into a blood lotus flower.
“I came in the stead of the owner of this firefly Gu to ask you a question.” The light from the fireflight Gu made Gong Zhi seemed a little strange and beguiling, perhaps it was the light but Gong Zhi seemed to resemble Su Qing Ya a little in appearance, ” I want to ask if you ever feel remorse for what you’ve done.”
Su Qing Ya seemed to freeze for a moment, but the iciness of his look never melted.
“No,” he replied firmly, “from the day she was with me, she should have understood what kind of person I was. As she understood she should not have any resentments towards me.”
Letting out a cold laugh, Gong Zhi dispersed the blood lotus formed by the firefly Gu. “Whether or not you feel remorse, you still have to die. Why did I bother asking?” Gong Zhi retorted, he flew to mid air his killing aura as sharp as a knife which quickly overpowered the coldness in the room.
This was the first time Wan Mei saw Gong Zhi fought with everything he had and used a weapon she had never seen him wield before. A blue light appeared beneath his black sleeve. It was a blue awl, completely transparent and after the two of them exchanged 100 blows, began to appear in shape before her eyes. It was as beautiful as the tears of a lover, full of pity but beautiful.
And that beautiful weapon finally rested on the space between Su Qing Ya’s brows. The tip of it pierced through the skin and then embedded itself half an inch below the skin. Fresh blood trickled down his face, over his right cheek, warming everything in it’s path.
The snake vine shifted a little then exploded across his right cheek, covering that space between the brows immediately.
That finger that rested on Gong Zhi’s chest also moved the snake vine on the back of his hand moved forward and grew into a little finger. His palm was half an inch away from Gong Zhi’s chest but Gong Zhi position as the victor immediately changed with the growing of that finger. The black vine cut through Gong Zhi’s chest, flourishing as soon as it touched blood, it’s entirety passing through his body producing a beautiful eddy on his back.
1. Jin this is a chinese length that equals to about 500g.
2. Luminescent cup: this was a specially crafted jade cup that when you pour wine inside and put it under the moonlight, the liquid inside was supposed to look as if it emitted light hence it’s name.
Apologies! I know I’ve been quite bad at releasing updates for this but I promise I am doing my best to complete it. Only 8 more chapters left for the 1st part.
If you’ve seen the drama the ending of this part is similar to the ending of the drama. The 2nd part is more like a long epilogue/ short sequel to explain some things although the author never truly finishes it so I will probably translate the fanfic ending as well.