Chapter 177 – Sea of Flames
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
That scar on Ji Yunshu’s face made Mei Xiang’er feel that they were both alike.
She madly screamed. “We are the same!” Her voice was one close to madness, on the edge of insanity. In a split second, her expression became ferocious. She leaned over, sticking close to Ji Yunshu’s ear and said, “Look at you! Look at the scar on your face. Look at my scars. Look at my brother. We are the same! Fate has brought us all together.”
“Mei Xiang’er, don’t continue to repeat the same mistakes again. Turn back before it is too late.”
“It’s already too late!” Her yell seemed like it was squeezed out in one breath and her mental state was incredibly excited. From behind Ji Yunshu, she grabbed the other jaw and continued, “As long as you agree not to continue investigating this case, I may help you… help you find a pretty face that you can change your face with. How about it? Isn’t that a good deal? Agree with me!”
Although her jaw was gripped until it was red, Ji Yunshu remained stubborn. In a hoarse voice, she asked the other woman, “Mei Xiang’er, do you know why your mother peeled off your skin, but she didn’t do so to other people?”
“Because in her heart, there was still a tiny bit of conscience. She would rather have her daughter hate her forever, prefer her to be sad and grieving for a lifetime, than to skin other people and cause their parents to grieve instead. In the end, she could only let regret and belief torment her until her last breath. However, she never expected that her mistake would cause you to err on the road she didn’t want to tread on – a sinner with blood-soaked hands.”
“I am not! Shut up!” Mei Xiang’er put more strength in her grip and lifted Ji Yunshu’s face higher.
“You’re speaking nonsense! From the start, my mother wanted to peel other peoples skin to give to my brother, but she didn’t dare to do so. Fine! Since she didn’t dare, I was only accomplishing her last wish. I am helping her and my brother! I will turn my brother into a normal person.”
“Mei Xiang’er, don’t lie to yourself! There is no such treatment in this world that can turn someone back to normal by exchanging their skin!”
‘This isn’t the modern world where skin grafts exist!’
However, Mei Xiang’er’s expression showed distrust. She swung her hand and roughly handled Ji Yunshu’s jaw. “Miss Ji, you don’t need to trouble yourself. I know you meant to advise me, but I have no need for such advice.” When she spoke, she walked to the table and picked up the oil lamp before going back to Ji Yunshu. Under the lamp’s light, Ji Yunshu’s scar seemed as if it was molded by wax. Mei Xiang’er revealed a regretful expression. “That face… How beautiful! Not many women in this world can reach your beauty. Yet, that scar ruined you. Why do the Heavens want to treat us that way? Why turn us into blemished, inferior beings that cannot lift their heads forever?!”
Ji Yunshu knew that this girl was beyond redemption!
Right at this moment, the sounds of horse’s hooves and disciplined footsteps were suddenly heard from above.
‘This place is actually a basement. It’s really well hidden!’
Mei Xiang’er’s expression became tense as she lifted her head, looking at the ceiling. It seemed as if she knew what was going on above. Then, a creaking sound was heard and a small wooden board was removed, revealing a small hole, through which a lot of movements were heard.
“Xiang’er, those people have surrounded the courtyard.”
The voice belonged to Mei Xiang’er’s brother. Mei Xiang’er was calm and simply smiled, then talked through the small hole in the ceiling. “Brother, don’t be afraid! No matter what happens, we will be together.”
“Yes, we will certainly be together.”
It was extremely strange and creepy.
Soon after, the small hole was covered again.
‘Are the people outside lead by Jing Rong?’ Ji Yunshu struggled a few times, but she could not free herself. She felt pressed to speak to her captor. “Surrender! You can’t escape!”
However, Mei Xiang’er remained calm. She picked up a cloth, crumpled it into a ball and stuffed it into Ji Yunshu’s mouth.
Ji Yunshu shook her head, but her body could not put up a fight.
Mei Xiang’er slowly retreated. A faint smile blossomed on her lips, shining under the oil lamp in her hands. It was incomparably splendid.
“Miss Ji, let the Heavens decide. Let’s see if they want you to survive or die.”
“Hmph?” Ji Yunshu widened her reddened eyes as she watched Mei Xiang’er climb up a ladder, open the trap above and leave the sickening basement.
It didn’t take much time before something being toppled was heard along with footsteps and cacophonous sounds. Not long after, Ji Yunshu’s sharp nose smelt the faint scent of smoke. Then, she saw white smoke coming overhead, gradually filling the basement. As time passed, she heard sounds of collapse and the white smoke gradually turned black.
Despite the pitch-black darkness covering the basement, Ji Yunshu was aware that she was surrounded by smoke and the dilapidated house was engulfed in a sea of flames. As for Mei Xiang’er and her brother, they had already embraced death, so they could be together forever.
As the smoke rolled inside the basement, Ji Yunshu suffocated on it. She felt as if someone was strangling her. It was extremely uncomfortable. Because her mouth was still stuffed with the ball of cloth, she could not shout no matter how much she struggled. The rope tying her became tighter the more she tried to free herself. “Wuuuh! Omph!”
Her eyes were tightly shut as the smoke badly stung her eyes. The feeling of suffocation spread from her nose to her throat each passing moment. Her consciousness was gradually slipping away. After an indeterminate time, more and more footsteps could be heard above her. It seemed as if there was someone or many people yelling, running and moving things.
It was Wei Yi’s voice.
Jing Rong was also there.
Ji Yunshu heard them and their voice resounded clearly in her ears.
“Wuuh…” She could not reply to them.
“Shu’er! Where are you? Shu’er?” Wei Yi’s voice continued to echo.
‘Is that fool Wei Yi madly searching for me in this fire?’ Suddenly, a memory flashed through Ji Yunshu’s foggy brain.
‘I only need to hear the bell sound and I can find you.’
‘I only need to hear the bell sound and I can find you.’
‘That’s right! Wei Yi once said that he can find me with the sound of the bell.’ Ji Yunshu poured all her strength to shake her leg and make the bell on her ankle jingle.
Once! Twice! Thrice!
She fought for her survival until all her strength was exhausted. She struggled despite how suffocating it was to breathe. She did not relent until her consciousness was no longer aware of the passage of time.
Time passed, she was roused by a pain on her face. She opened her eyes and found herself lying on an antiquated bed. She heavily lifted her hand and was about to touch the painful region on her face, but someone grabbed her wrist midway and put it back under the quilt.
“Does it hurt a lot? Of course, it should hurt! If I was late by a few minutes, your face would be a lost cause.” The voice was unfamiliar to her.
She looked to the side and vaguely see a man standing at her bedside. “Who… are you?”
“Mo Ruo!” His voice was very pleasant to the ears.
Grenn’s Rants Corner
Sorry, I took more time translating this chapter. And with this, the missing girls case is almost wrap. Now, all that’s left it pretty much reporting to the emperor and unsealing those coffins…