With One Smile: Chapter 4

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Note: Changed the fruit mentioned in past chapters from ‘date’ to ‘jujube.’ MTL failed me for once lol. And I’ll be trying out superscript for translation notes now as well as changing the formatting for names. For instance, our heroine’s name will be ‘Gu Xiaomo’ now instead of the previous ‘Gu XiaoMo.’ Let’s see how it works out. 😀

As for update schedule, I sadly won’t be able to do weekly posts. I skimmed ahead with MTL and peeked at the length of the chapters. Each chapter is a whopper. Two times the length of a regular chapter from other novels and I have to edit to fix syntax. ;A;

Chapter 4

Once Du Yucheng and Du Yuqi learned that they are going down the mountain, they immediately clamored to come along with them. Mo Wei just said two words: “Another time,”1 and successfully shut their mouths up.

Gu Xiaomo tidied her things though she didn’t have many possessions: a sword, some laundry, just wrapping these things in a cloth finishes her packing. Qiu Jing’s hands hold a bundle. Once she entered through the door and saw Gu Xiaomo looking like that, she can’t help but laugh lightly.

“Mistress……”

Qiu Jing doesn’t speak and just silently opened the cloth roll, properly packing up the clothes. Then she picked up the bundle she brought herself. Inside there are two robes, one rose pink and one deep green, both embroidered. When Gu Xiaomo saw them, her heart warmed and she said: “Mistress……”

“When you were little, you liked pink. It was only after Yingying arrived that you stopped wearing it…… you, this child, do you really think Mistress wouldn’t understand your thoughts? It’s just that Yuan-er2, he……” Qiu Jing patted Gu Xiaomo’s hand, sighing lightly: “These two robes are Mistress’s gift to you. Spring clothes. When you go down the mountain, bring them and show some color. You are a young girl, don’t wear such old clothes. When Mistress made these clothes for you, you were in her heart and she believes that you are just like a real daughter……”

Gu Xiaomo can’t endure it anymore and her tears fall like a waterfall: “Mistress……”

She was mysteriously abandoned in the mountains but thankfully adopted by Qiu Jing. All these years she has treated both Mo Wei and Qiu Jing as her real parents. But hearing Qiu Jing reveal her real feelings despite her usual casual indifference; her tears and snot flow.

 

Two people exited the room, walking and talking at the same time on their way to the cultivation pavilion. Mo Wei is having a discussion with Mo Qingyuan.

“Qingyuan, you’ll have to carefully watch over your two apprentice-sisters for this time’s expedition. Understand?” His face is stern but towards the end of the conversation, his expression softens: “It’s fine to retreat to avoid trouble, but you aren’t allowed lose any of Tian Yan sect’s face either.”

Qiu Jing softly said: “Yuan-er, Jianghu is vicious. You must be extremely careful.”

Mo Qingyuan nodded. Mo Wei said: “Going down the mountain this time is said to be for getting experience, but actually the purpose is to find your apprentice-brother and bring him back. Do you understand?”

Though curious, Mo Qingyuan didn’t ask and only hesitated about asking whether he should speak about yesterday night’s matter with them. He opened his mouth but in the end decided to close his mouth and refrain from speaking. Mo Wei gave Qiu Jing a glance and Qiu Jing nodded. Only then did he slowly say: “Call them over.”

The disciples in the pavilion stood in a line and wore serious expressions as though infected by Mo Wei’s serious demeanor. Mo Wei held three sticks of incense and made his obeisance to Tian Yan sect’s ancestor before turning and said: “A thousand years ago, the sky changed. Upon the dragon’s reincarnation, all six realms were thrown into chaos. The dragon is the god of beasts, its strength enough to destroy the heavens. Our sect’s ancestor once said that because of everyone wanting to attain the dragon’s strength, the world encountered a catastrophe: blood flashing everywhere, so many innocent souls wronged and gone!”

He paused for a moment, then continued: “After the dragon passed away to reincarnate in the Jiao family, they had no more peaceful days and were completely extinguished. The sect’s ancestor was friendly with the Jiao family head and was given a treasure by him to safekeep before the family perished. The treasure requires the blood of ten great elders to unlock the dragon’s seal!”

“This matter is Tian Yan sect’s greatest secret.” Qiu Jing said: “The dragon was sealed and disappeared for thousands of years. However, rumors have started up again. If people know about this secret, Tian Yan sect will suffer the same fate as that of the Jiao family.”

Everyone who heard Mistress’s words felt fear, their faces blanched. Then they heard Mo Wei say: “You are all no longer small. The reason I reveal this secret is so that you know our Tian Yan sect’s thousands of years of history and glory! Understand?”

All the disciples nodded. Mo Qingyuan was a little puzzled and didn’t understand how this big issue was related to the deceased apprentice-brother Liu’s appearance. He thought for a while, then decided not to mention this for now. He would wait until they found Second Apprentice-brother3 and came home before talking with his father and mother.

“Little Mushroom, there are a lot of tasty things to eat down the mountain. You’d better bring some back for us.” After Master and Mistress exited the pavilion, Du Yucheng started joking again.

Gu Xiaomo made a face at Du Yucheng. Du Yuqi laughed: “Little apprentice-sister will bring some back of course.”

Suo Ying also made a face and said: “I won’t give you any.”

Once everybody finished laughing, full of real emotion, Mo Qingyuan took Gu Xiaomo with him on his sword. Along with Suo Ying’s sword, they made up two flashes of light that faded into the distance.

While on the road, Suo Ying chattered without stopping. Gu Xiaomo is excited about her impending life as a free girl – under Master and Mistress’ eyes, nothing is hidden and she must adhere to the rules. She can be as free as she wants.

Some black lines appear on Mo Qingyuan’s face. Looking at that cringe-worthy smile, it seems like she’s forgotten that this expedition down the mountain is supposed to be a hard and bitter learning experience.

Three people landed at the bottom of the mountain. Master said that after arriving at the bottom of Tian Yan mountain, they were to stop using their swords to fly unless something unforeseen happened. Suo Ying hadn’t finished playing but because Mo Qingyuan insisted, she retrieved her sword and warmly held hands with Gu Xiaomo. The mountain trails and natural scenery were beautiful, the light breeze blowing was very comfortable.

At the beginning, they laughed and talked a lot but after exiting the forest the landscape wasn’t interesting. The sun is too bright and makes people want to sleep. Gu Xiaomo floated like this all the way to the first small county. Suo Ying, who couldn’t ride on her flying sword and proceeded slowly, also saw the hustle-bustle of the scene and didn’t wake up out of her daze in time.

The three people immediately revived their spirits. Suo Ying hadn’t been down the mountain in ten or more years and was happily taking in the new sights. Gu Xiaomo had come a few times, only that she thought going up and down the mountain was too tiring. She also thought there wasn’t anything interesting and so brought her fellow disciples back with her. Her calves feel strung up into tendons when she saw Mo Qingyuan sitting at a table. She quickly hurried over and sat down as well.

After swallowing a few mouthfuls of tea, she finally recovered a little. Mo Qingyuan pulled out a couple copper coins and set them on the table just when Gu Xiaomo suddenly thought of a very important question.

“Older apprentice-brother, did we bring silver with us going down the mountain?”

“Not more than one liang.4” Mo Qingyuan was indifferent: “Only enough for us to stay for a few days at the inn.”

She was suddenly plunged from a cozy warm summer into ice water, only to be fished out and held in the cold wind, listless. Suo Ying said: “Experience, experience, it means to exterminate demons for other people to get money.”

Mo Qingyuan nodded lightly: “Not bad. The old town nearby always has something going on, we’ll complete jobs along the way. We can also get some reward money from the government.”5

Gu Xiaomo lazily opened and closed her eyes. Mo Qingyuan was full of handsomeness, Suo Ying like a light and beautiful fairy. Then look at her, always with such a pasty white complexion and ashy gray clothes. Her hairy all messy…… she’s very like what they’re planning on exterminating.

Seeing the glint of money, the waiter ran over to receive it. Mo Qingyuan grabbed him and asked: “Little brother, are there any strange places in this county recently?”

The waiter’s eyes blinked and looked over them again, asking secretly: “Have you also come here to see about the yaoguai?”

Upon hearing his words, Gu Xiaomo’s blood rose at the prospect of gossip: “What is this, this county’s yaoguai is very famous?”

“Right on target, the county’s been in a complete panic……” The waiter’s tongue loosened, unable to stop: “It’s said that on the western side there’s a Wang family that keeps chickens, all the restaurants buy from them. Their business used to be very good but after going up a mountain and coming back, the family wasn’t doing well. First their chickens decreased, blood and feathers all over the ground. No matter how they strictly looked after the chickens, they still lost them. Then their chickens started crowing in the middle of the night, especially loudly at midnight. Like this, the head of the family all the way down to the children are afraid to go out at night. No one dares to kill chickens in this county now.”

Chicken spirit6? These two words jumped out in Gu Xiaomo’s brain. Suddenly she felt there was something wrong, maybe turn around the two words into chicken demon?

……Chicken spirit-demon?

She let out a puchi7 and almost laughed out loud. The little waiter was a bit displeased and thought that his inspired and colorful account of events succeeded, only to be met with laughter. This was supposed to be a very serious topic.

Mo Qingyuan thanked the waiter, asked him about a cheap place to stay, and paid for their tea. Suo Ying and Gu Xiaomo followed behind Mo Qingyuan, their mouths full of drool as they looked at the food booths on either side of the street. But the silver liang are all in big apprentice-brother’s hands so it’s hopeless. When they passed by the official government house, there was a poster on the wall: if the county’s chickens were returned to normal, the reward was twenty liang of silver. It was not a small amount. Gu Xiaomo and Suo Ying sneakily looked at each other, then couldn’t help laughing.

Mo Qingyuan is more careful and thought to observe others around them and ask the official guard about the situation. The official guard saw that he was a handsome young gentleman and didn’t have the look of someone who’d experienced the Jianghu for long. He didn’t understand why this young man was bothering him but instead took notice of Suo Ying more.

Gu Xiaomo opened her eyes and emerged from her sleepy fugue. Mo Qingyuan smiled gently when he saw Suo Ying come towards him, his aura suddenly open and full of a gentleman’s charm. He said warmly: “Let’s go.”

 

This day has already passed quickly into evening. This county isn’t big but isn’t small either. When they arrived at the western side of the county where the chicken-selling Wang family was, everyone was tired. A light yao qi8 surrounded the house. Suo Ying hid behind Gu Xiaomo, making Gu Xiaomo roll her eyes.

“As a cultivation disciple, you’re really afraid of these……”

She didn’t finish her words when suddenly she became mute. Gu Xiaomo jumped, following behind Mo Qingyuan. Two pairs of eyes peeked out behind him, looking east and west.

Suo Ying and Mo Qingyuan are both silent. The door opened to reveal an old man who shrank away with a face full of fear at the unknown. Mo Qingyuan stepped forward and respectfully said: “Uncle, I am Tian Yan sect disciple Mo Qingyuan. At the government office we heard about the strange things happening and are here to lay things to rest.”

The old man looked at this handsome young gentleman, his expression unchanged. He shook his head: “Ai, before you there came a lot of Daoists who tried technique after technique and all were scared away…… there’s no use, this matter cannot be solved……”

Suo Ying smiled her endlessly warm smile: “Uncle, don’t worry first. Let us try first before determining whether or not we can succeed. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

The old man had a tearful and ugly face: “It definitely won’t work……”

“Hey, old man.” Gu Xiaomo suddenly cut in between Suo Ying and the old man with a pale and sorrowful face: “We’re here to help you. What are you nattering on about, why haven’t you invited us in for feasting……”

Mo Qingyuan was about to stop when the old man stepped back and let them into the house. Mo Qingyuan gave up and cast a blaming glance towards Gu Xiaomo. Gu Xiaomo pretended not to see and followed them inside.

Old man Wang’s family can’t be considered very rich, but they’re doing well enough by raising hundreds of chickens. Before Gu Xiaomo can fantasize crazily about dinner, Mo Qingyuan said: “Please bring us to see the chicken coop.”

The closer they approach the chickens, the stronger the yao qi. Suo Ying didn’t want to get dirty and so didn’t go inside. Gu Xiaomo on the other hand was full of interest and walked inside, spinning a quick circle and excitedly point at the fattest hen: “Our dinner tonight……”

Old man Wang hurriedly said: “Can’t, can’t, these chickens are all like our ancestors. Can’t touch them.”

“So it’s like this.” Gu Xiaomo regretfully shook her head and spit at the hen she pointed at. It clucked gu gu twice then all of the chickens followed it in calling out, attacking her in a swarm and clutching unmercifully. She ran outside the chicken coop in a panic.

Two chicken feathers stuck out of Gu Xiaomo’s head, her face a mess of chicken droppings as she said angrily: “Breakfast, you dare act against your grandma! Grandma will make you into stew!”

Suo Ying at the side thought it was funny, thinking in her heart that everything about big apprentice-sister was good. Only when apprentice-sister touches upon the subject of food, she’s a little unreasonable.

 

—End Chapter 4—

 

1“Another time”: Technically it’s four words not two because it’s four Chinese characters.

2Yuan-er: Another way of making a name cutesy is to add the suffix ‘-er’ at the end. This version can be used by parents to address their children. ‘Yuan-er’ is referring to Mo Wei and Qiu Jing’s son, Mo Qingyuan.

3Second Apprentice-brother: It’s unclear to me here if they’re fetching home two apprentice-brothers (Second and Fifth) or just one apprentice-brother (Second). I’ll edit this part if I find out later.

4Liang (or tael): Old style unit of money. I’m not sure about the conversion rate but it goes from copper coins<silver<liang<gold. Something like that anyway lol.

5Get some reward money from the government: It means they’ll be taking care of personal requests and also picking up any ‘government’ requests at the same time. Two different sources of revenue.

6Chicken spirit: No joke. LOL. In pinyin, she alternates between ‘ji jing,’ ‘ji yao,’ and finally with ‘ji yaojing.’

7Puchi: Snorted laughter SFX.

8Yao qi: You can just consider it a kind of bad juju demonic/spiritual aura.

 

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