With One Smile: Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

*note: you’ll see various iterations of yao, mo, gui, and guai. This is just various categorizations and ways to name ‘bad’ supernatural creatures. More in ending translation notes.

 

Heaven and earth quiets.

Gu XiaoMo’s already pale face only grows paler, her looks completely ordinary, her black hair lazily and carelessly bound, her expression gradually getting more serious. The gray robes completely wrap around her thin body, lightly swaying from the wind. The fallen leaves rise, gently circling around her. The surroundings change and she stands there, capturing everyone’s attention.

Mo Wei knits his brows. Can it be that this disciple who has never been able grasp using magic has finally broken through and understands?

Gu XiaoMo draws out a sword and pinches her two fingers together in a sword mnemonic, flips and turns, throwing her sword straight out. That sword move pierced and scattered the air currents in its straight path. She watched it avidly and in one move jumped onto the sword, yelling loudly, “Ji!”

……

The sound of something falling.

It seems like someone is still in the same place.

The wind blows past, all the disciples gape open-mouthed, unable to close them for a long time.

Strictly speaking, her posture is very exact and standard, with a pinched waist and raised bottom, back straight, standing very balanced on the sword. But her expression is very ugly, a sinister expression with gritted teeth. It’s just that that sword is very loving and close to the earth, not even lifted and flying from the ground a tiny bit.

Du YuQi can’t stop himself from going too far, his shoulders shaking violently, even Mo QingYuan can’t stop himself from laughing.

Mo Wei has a headache and can only roll his eyes. This Gu XiaoMo, from when she was little didn’t have the least talent in magic and can’t even use the most basic flying sword spell. Good news is that’s she’s good with a sword, but as cultivators, they’re not the common dross of the Jianghu world. However excellent she is with a sword, what’s the use? When confronted with demons, ghosts, and other strange creatures, you’ll still be stopped.

“YingYing, you demonstrate.” Mo Wei pulls over Gu XiaoMo: “Watch carefully.”

Suo YingYing moves, a little frightened, and looks back once. Mo QingYuan smiles faintly at her. Like she’s been given great encouragement, she pulls out her sword and shouts out the sword mantra, left hand held in the sword mnemonic, shouting: “Ji!”

A white light shines all along the sword and Suo Ying stands on top, like an arrow about to fly out.

Mo QingYuan takes the lead in cheering, even Mo Wei secretly nods his head in approval. Among these little disciples, junior apprentice-sister Suo Ying’s gongfu is the worst, but this time she succeeded so smoothly. She must have spent a lot of bitter effort practicing.

Suo Ying jumped down from the sword, her small eyes wide open, like a pink flower running towards Mo QingYuan: “Big apprentice-brother, big apprentice-brother, do you think I flew well?”

Mo QingYuan isn’t even given the time to reply when Du YuCheng smilingly comes: “Little apprentice-sister seems a bit biased, once down only calls for senior apprentice-brother. What about your third and fourth senior apprentice-brothers, are they invisible?”

Suo Ying’s two cheeks turn deep red. Who doesn’t understand this girl’s thoughts, with a small smile everyone pretends not to see. To pull up the somewhat lost expression of Gu XiaoMo: “Whether the task is difficult or simple, you shouldn’t worry too much about.”

Finally seeing a straight exit, Gu XiaoMo has already disappeared into the midst of her apprentice-brothers. Look at that smile of hers that shows teeth, she isn’t even regretful at all of her failure.  Mistress Qiu Jing seems to freeze into a block as the disciples leave and Mo Wei’s thoughts go with them. The elders can’t help but shake their heads, can only laugh bitterly.

 

The morning class is ended. Du YuQi reaches out a hand and grabs Gu XiaoMo’s collar, to prevent her from ducking out from her responsibilities to go to the kitchen.

“Little Mushroom, the set of sword forms Master taught yesterday, practice it again so I can see.”

Gu XiaoMo dangles from his hand with a dull gaze: “I don’t want to.”

Du YuCheng and Du YuQi with the same face laugh at her: “Do it just once then, and I’ll do my best to bring you to TianYan Peak to pick jujubes.”

“Really?” Gu XiaoMo’s eyes glow, if there are people who can use magic who accompany her to TianYan Peak, then it will save quite a lot of effort climbing.

Du YuQi’s eyes shine with cunning: “Really.”

Suo Ying runs up from behind and shouts: “You aren’t allowed to bully elder apprentice-sister!”

“Fine, fine, fine.” Du YuCheng laughs: “If little apprentice-sister says no bullying, then we’ll not bully.”

Du YuQi snickers and puts down Gu XiaoMo. Once she turns her head, she sees a white-robed man’s carefree smile.

Mo QingYuan says: “XiaoMo, we know your sword arts are the highest. Let us see it.”

With this rare, unlooked for praise from senior apprentice-brother, even if it isn’t overly great, she doesn’t dare look at his face.

Spinning around, legs split, leaping, flying into the air.

So dry and thin, the pale and boring Gu XiaoMo will never be able to compare to Suo Ying’s glowing beauty.

But as long as there’s a sword in her hand, she seems completely different. Her sleeves fly gracefully, her spirits completely raised and lighting her up inside.

Master need only demonstrate a sword form once. Even if it’s to the best ability of Mo QingYuan, it still wouldn’t compare to her perfect form.

Suo Ying claps her hands enviously: “Big apprentice-sister is so great.”

Du YuCheng and Du YuQi look very interested, then started to compare sword forms together. Mo QingYuan keeps looking, his line of sight turns more and more from the swordswoman to the pale pink shadow behind. Suo Ying is far on the other side but finds out that eldest apprentice-brother is looking at her. Her face turns inadvertently red and she unconsciously displays the charm of a young girl.

“Third brother.” Suo Ying is shy and suddenly says to Du YuCheng: “Tonight I’ll go with you all up TianYan Peak to pick jujubes.”

Du YuCheng is surprised for a moment. Going up on some TianYan Peak is nothing but an excuse to appease to Gu XiaoMo. But now there’s someone else who wants to go together; it’s not in him to be picky about why. Du YuQi laughs: “Sure.”

“Eldest apprentice-brother……” Suo Ying says with a red face: “You…… are coming?”

Mo QingYuan gently brushes the hair from her forehead and warmly says: “Naturally I’ll come with you.”

Gu XiaoMo’s set of sword forms are not finished, having heard there are jujubes to eat tonight, it’s as though she’s already been met with the unending gun gun sound of rolling jujubes drowning her in a big pile. Her laugh is particularly cringe-worthy.

 

When night falls, TianYan mountain’s dominant peak is gorgeously dark, the heavens without moon or light like being blanketed in the silence of heavy black silk.

Gu XiaoMo is jumpy and cannot help feeling a small finger raised in her heart noting that this kind of atmosphere is suited for killing and pillaging.

Four thin rays of sword light fell on her front, scaring her back a step. To speak of other immortal arts, Gu XiaoMo is too lazy to learn, but this flying sword spell is something really handy. Not to mention the fact that all the female apprentices live on the very tall XiaoZhi Peak, even climbing TianYan Peak wouldn’t require any exertion beyond the gongfu of rotating your bottom. You wouldn’t even need to save breath by living in the cliff between the kitchen and the cultivation pavilion, every night wrapped in blankets, afraid and shivering.

In some ways, Gu XiaoMo can be said to be the only cultivator afraid of ghosts.

She is unique in living alone on this cliffside. If she wanted to cimb to TianYan Peak by foot, it would take her till tomorrow morning. Since the problem is obvious, Du YuCheng and Du YuQi’s combined four eyes shine in the dark with a cunning light; Suo Ying is like enchanting pink flower blooming in the night; Mo QingYuan reaches a hand out to her with a small smile: “I’ll take you along, XiaoMo.”

Of the four people present, only eldest apprentice-brother is capable of bringing another person with him using the flying sword spell. Suo Ying was like a bunch of flowers flying excitedly out, Du YuCheng and Du YuQi following after her. Mo QingYuan lightly held Gu XiaoMo’s hand, raising her onto the sword. As the sword suddenly rose and shot forward, her tenseness caused her to bump into him.

Mo QingYuan only slightly smiled and did not mind. Gu XiaoMo sat back to back with him, in her heart a wind rising up into a secret fever. His white robes fluttered into her line of sight from time to time, carrying some of his fresh scent. Her heart beat just behind his, again and again, exceptionally clear to her ears.

He’s so close to her.

Since a long time ago, after Suo Ying came, he was never this close to her again.

Mo QingYuan quickly catches up to the three in front, Du YuCheng laughs: “Little Mushroom, the feeling of flying in the sky isn’t bad huh?”

Gu XiaoMo glared at him. Seeing her make that kind of creepy white face in this darkness really gives some atmosphere to their endeavor. Du YuCheng’s heart beats ge dung and he quickly catches up to Suo Ying ahead. Du YuQi says: “How about we have a competition?”

They are all around seventeen to eighteen years old and therefore full of youthful spirit. Secretly, they get excited at the idea. Gu XiaoMo laughs: “Eldest apprentice-brother, we’d best speed up.”

Mo QingYuan doesn’t hear her words, his eyes focused on the dark expanse below them. His eyebrows furrowed, he says quietly: “There’s… something down there.”

He uses a spell of secrecy, stopping a few clouds lying ahead. Suo Ying uneasily draws closer to Mo QingYuan. Du YuCheng and Du YuQi also quickly realize something’s wrong. Gu XiaoMo extends her neck to peer down but totally doesn’t feel like there’s anything there.

“Eldest apprentice-brother……”

Mo QingYuan’s hand gestured for silence. Everyone huddles together and slowly descends. The center of TianYan Peak has its own mysteries. Five people step onto the ground and seamlessly blend into the foliage, aside from Gu XiaoMo who almost tripped over a hole. Still, the process is smooth.

In the deep cover of night, there is a faintly floating layer of purple-black air. Gu XiaoMo shrinks and says: “There is yao qi.”

Even though Gu XiaoMo’s talents aren’t much, her instinct for perceiving yao and gui is truly very accurate. Suo Ying is excited, Du YuCheng and Du YuQi perk up a little. Aside from eldest apprentice-brother, this is the first time everyone has faced yaomoguiguai so everyone’s anticipating the encounter a little.

Mo QingYuan’s expression is imposing. It’s natural for an unusual mountain like this to have a few yaoguai, but this is the main TianYan peak. All over the surrounding mountains are cultivating disciples. How can the yaoguai cast themselves into this kind of trap?

Once he thinks on this point, Mo QingYuan can’t help breaking out in cold sweat. The moment is tense with waiting, nothing revealed and the breeze curling around their necks and through their clothes irritatingly.

Even the light breeze of Heaven and Earth has calmed down a lot and Gu XiaoMo has suppressed herself so much her face is purple. Just when she’s almost unable to control herself, there come two people’s footsteps approaching.

“Mistress……”

Once this word is said, the people hidden in the bushes and trees are surprised. So it’s only Master and Mistress.

“Apprentice-brother, I saw him! I really saw him!”

“Mistress, don’t be so anxious. What you saw walking definitely cannot be Ze Xu……”

Sixth senior apprentice-brother? Gu XiaoMo’s heart tightens.

“These words would definitely disturb Ze Xu. Apprentice-brother, I……”

“Mistress, you need to calm down. We should first go back, all right?”

Mo Wei comforts Qiu Jing and pulls out a sword with his other hand, forms a sword mnemonic, and in a flash of sword light they leap into the air. Soon there is only a speck of light in the distance.

 

End Chapter 2

 

Ji: The equivalent of saying “giddyup” to a horse. LOL

Gongfu: AKA kungfu, except in real Mandarin pinyin. XD

ge dung: SFX for heartbeat. Poor Du YuCheng’s quite disturbed by Gu XiaoMo’s scary face.

Yao qi: Kind of difficult to explain. Yao is a word referring to bad/evil/monstrous supernatural stuff. Paired with qi, it can mean a kind of atmosphere or in a noun sense as in demons, etc.

Yao and gui: Can be loosely translated as demons and ghosts. Basically supernatural creatures, inferred to be bad ones.

Yaomoguiguai: An even more comprehensive term for shady supernatural creatures. Yao, Mo, Gui are categories of evil creature types. Guai is just a descriptive term for anything else unnatural that can’t be sorted into the aforementioned categories.

Master/Mistress (form of address): As it says in the parentheses. After all, spouses can call each other hubby and wifey right? And it’s also not unusual for cultivators around the same age to call each other apprentice-brother/sister even if they’re in a relationship, especially if they came from the same sect.

‘disturb’ Ze Xu: I’m assuming Ze Xu is the name of this Sixth apprentice-brother. If you talk about a dead person (especially if it’s not very flattering words) you invite their attention, according to superstition.

 

Summary of situation revealed at end of this chapter: I haven’t read ahead since I’m translating as I go (edit as of Chapter 3), but it appears that there’s something to do with a deceased Sixth Apprentice-Brother. This is why the Mistress (Qiu Jing) is so distraught.

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