Edited by renderedreversed
Returning to the Netherworld, I looked at the tall plaque on the door for a long moment and sighed. Then, steeling my nerves and fortifying my determination, I began my way to Yanwang’s palace while the little ghost watched me.
I opened the door to Yanwang’s palace. Surprisingly, I didn’t hear the sound of his snoring. Instead, on a small table beside Yanwang’s enormous desk, I saw the magistrate, buried in a pile of cases. He was busily writing. He didn’t even look up when I came in and simply threw out a few words: “Do you have some business here? Say it.”
“Eh…I’m here again.”
The magistrate finally lifted his head from the table and glanced at me. Then, he buried his head and continued to work.
“En, I see.”
I totally didn’t expect such cold treatment. After standing there for awhile, I figured that the short term pain of disrupting him would be better than the long term pain of indefinite waiting, so I asked, “Where is Yanwang? I have come to receive my punishment.”
The magistrate coldly replied, “Went on a business trip to Heaven. Not back yet.”
My eyes lit up. “Then can I just go reincarnate without bothering about him?”
The magistrate gave me another cold look that clearly spelt out “don’t even think about it.”
“Wait quietly in the Netherworld.”
I sighed. “Then how long do I have to wait?”
“One day in Heaven is one year in the mortal realm. Yanwang has been almost gone for a year. He will be in Heaven for about two, three days more.”
This means two, three years here, ah! Having an endless immortal life, waiting for a couple of years was not too long in the grand scheme of things. But I had just finished living as a mortal, so I also began to care about time.
Two, three years…that would be enough time for Chu Kong to defeat Wei Country.
I found my good mood and perked up. But before I managed to walk out of Yanwang’s palace to take advantage of this two, three years free time, the magistrate coldly stopped me. “Where are you going?”
“I’m going to take a two-year-long vacation traveling the Netherworld.”
After the magistrate heard those two words, his eyes flashed green. He fiercely threw all the files on the table onto the ground and stood up.
“You dare to mention a long vacation in front of me! The Netherworld lacks people, so there isn’t one ghost who gets a free year, you know?! Working through the night won’t earn us overtime pay, you know! Even working when you’re sick is very normal, you know! You actually dare to go on a pleasure trip around the Netherworld?! Very good, very good. I see; you immortals coming down to reincarnate is just meant to torment us. Very good, very good. I understand. When Yanwang comes back, I’ll make sure he makes you lick our shoes to taste our hardworking sweat and tears…”
I rubbed my temples and waved. “I understand, I understand. You want me to help, I’ll help.”
The magistrate sat down again. While writing, he said, “First, help me pick up the files and put them in order. Second, there are many documents on Yanwang’s desk that need to be stamped. Stamp the files on the left. Cross the files on the right. This job should be simple enough for you to do.”
By the time I finished, it was lunchtime. I slid down in Yanwang’s seat. Under the table, I spied a bunch of documents that still needed to be done. I was instantly dumbfounded. “This…why does this Yanwang never look busy?”
The magistrate expressionlessly replied: “Because he leaves everything to me when he goes on a business trip. If I don’t clean them up, they’ll sit there forever.”
I said, “If that’s so, you can just pretend you didn’t clean the office, so you didn’t see anything.”
The magistrate gave me a look. Cowed, I sat up again and began to work, but the fact of the matter was that neither I nor Yanwang were the type to do desk work.
I had worked for less than seven days, but I was already growing restless. It was really hard to concentrate. I was beginning to understand why Yanwang would have that ecstatic kind of look on his face whenever he saw Chu Kong and I come down to the Netherworld. He would only expose such an elated expression because life in the Netherworld was really just too boring. It was difficult to find something fun around here…
I climbed onto Yanwang’s desk. There was a hard container blocking my face. I curiously removed the hard thing. Inside it was a mirror. This mirror felt a little familiar. I asked the the magistrate: “What is this?”
The magistrate’s gaze swept over me.
“The mirror of the past. You have to work.”
I ignored the other half of what he said and asked, “What do you use it for?”
“To see the past life of the one whom your heart wants to see. I said you have to work!”
I nodded and ignored the other half of what he said again. Then I looked into the mirror, eyes wide open. I suddenly remembered…didn’t Yanwang use this thing to let me see Lu Hai Kong? At the time, I didn’t have the heart to watch. Now…I still couldn’t bear to watch.
Even filled with reluctance as I was, the mirror reacted. It began to quake, and finally, within its reflection I saw a familiar face. It was General Kong. He was wearing heavy armor, riding a warhorse. The aura he was emitting matched well with the position of a general. I actually couldn’t believe that the man I saw in the mirror was the same prideful and foul-mouthed Chu Kong.
So, when I couldn’t watch him, Chu Kong could also have this expression. He looked like Lu Hai Kong, who was burdened with hatred but still had a soft heart…
At least, this was what I saw.
He raised the long sword and charged straight ahead. The noise of the battlefield and the numerous people screaming echoed in my ears. His murderous aura seemed to flow right through the mirror, and I shuddered at the feeling. I put the mirror down. I didn’t want to keep watching.
Unexpectedly, over the next few days, I bunkered down and focused with a serious heart. I repeatedly crossed and stamped, performing my duties without interruption.
Maybe my focus wasn’t actually attributed to a serious heart, but an absent-minded one.
One day, I hesitated to stamp, the seal in my hand hovering above the paper. I asked the magistrate: “Say…does Chu Kong still remember the details of Lu Hai Kong from that lifetime?”
The magistrate glanced at me. “Do you still remember the lifetime when you drank the Soup of Oblivion?”
The magistrate humphed coldly. “Then isn’t it solved?”
I struggled to parse my thoughts into a language. “Do the feelings of that lifetime also stay?”
In my opinion what silly Xiang left for me from that lifetime was only two things: reliance on Chu Kong, and an inexplicable trust in him.
Well, the silly Xiang from that lifetime was entrusted to an immortal. Chu Kong still had his memories. It would’ve been sillier if she hadn’t trusted him.
Faced with my question, the magistrate, as straightforward as he was in work and manner, said, “If you’re asking about Celestial Star Chu Kong, I only have one answer.”
I looked at him, eyes wide and expectant. The magistrate’s answer was thus:
“Are you blind? Can’t you see that he’s always liked you?”