Chapter 236 – The Paper Kite
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Su Ziluo sneered, his body still lying on the ground, “Jing Rong, oh, Jing Rong. You really did make your move.” He was not surprised.
The man in black raised his sword and coldly said, “Teacher Su, even if you became a wandering ghost, you cannot blame Prince Rong. You did kill a man and must pay the price.”
As soon as he finished, he and the other masked men pointed their weapons at Su Ziluo and Li’er, charging ferociously.
Li’er grabbed a nearby sword and pushed the approaching tips away one by one. He was skilled, but seriously outnumbered! Li’er moved as if he were a trained warrior of death, his body slashing again and again as he protected Su Ziluo.
“Li’er, be careful!” Su Ziluo reminded him, although he was coughing.
The masked men fell one by one by Li’er’s sword, but he was injured badly.
Li’er fought on valiantly until he was hanging onto his last breath.
But then, a masked man aimed at Li’er’s back, piercing through his clothes, then skin, then his heart, and finally exiting through his chest, his sword dripping with fresh blood. Su Ziluo had no chance to even warn Li’er.
Time froze. Su Ziluo’s eyes widened as he watched this scene unfold, his ears buzzing and ringing, just like the howling of the wind.
The masked man pulled his sword out from Li’er’s body with a flourish. Li’er hurled forwards, fresh blood gushing from his wounds unforgivingly dyeing his pale green robes red. Finally, knees weak, he kneeled on the ground and his slight, lifeless body soon flopped over.
“Li’er!” Su Ziluo gave a heart-wrenching scream; both his eyes were bloodshot. He fell to the ground and crawled towards Li’er who was bathing in his own blood, reaching feverishly for Li’er’s hands.
‘Just a bit more! A bit more! Almost there!’
He eventually reached Li’er’s side.
As his large hands grasped Li’er’s smaller ones, he painstakingly called out once more, “Li’er.”
Li’er’s clear eyes widened as he tried to turn his head towards Su Ziluo. He used what little strength he had left to open his bloodied mouth, but no words came out.
Su Ziluo grabbed Li’er’s hands and tried to lift his head, his entire body trembling from the effort and pain. He could only eke out these few words, “Li’er, my dear Li’er.” He called out longfully. “I’m so sorry. It’s all my fault. I shouldn’t have brought you here to the Great Lin; I shouldn’t have dragged you into this mess. It’s all my fault, Li’er.”
Li’er’s body twitched as he grabbed onto Su Ziluo’s sleeves, a tear falling from the corner of his eye as he mustered the last of his strength and signed a few gestures in the air.
He wanted a paper kite! The same one as the one Su Ziluo made for him two years ago!
Li’er’s listless arms were caught by Su Ziluo, and he stroked Li’er’s head, crying.
He nodded, “I promise you, I will make one exactly the same for you.”
Hearing this, Li’er’s twitching lips broke out into the brightest of smiles, matching his clean features. Then, he slowly closed his eyes, his limbs stiffening, and he exhaled his last breath.
Two years prior, Su Ziluo had picked the filthy boy up from the borders of Qujiang. The two had become inseparable ever since; Li’er called him Big Brother, and Su Ziluo had given him a name.
– “Big Brother, this is such a pretty kite! Is it for me?” Li’er held both his knees as he looked up at the colourful kite soaring in the blue skies.
Su Ziluo laughed at Li’er who was bathing in the sunlight, “Does Li’er like it?”
“Yes, very much!” Li’er nodded fervently.
But that summer, Li’er ceased to speak ever again. No one knew why but some speculated that because Su Ziluo had guarded the graves for three years, he had fallen gravely ill and Li’er became mute from trying countless medicines for him. Only Su Ziluo knew the truth; Li’er had cut his own tongue off!
He was brought back to reality when the masked man pointed his sword at him.
Su Ziluo held on tightly to Li’er’s hands and tilted his head to meet the man’s gaze. The hatred in his eyes almost startled the masked man, but he still raised his sword menacingly. “Now that you are trapped, accept your impending death!”
“Could you pass a message to Prince Rong?” Su Ziluo was calm.
“Please inform him that if there is a next life, I, Su Ziluo, will definitely have his head.”
“Sure, I will pass on this message.” The masked man accepted readily.
Su Ziluo closed his eyes fearlessly from start to finish; all that remained were heartache and hate! The next moment, the masked man lifted his sword, and thrust toward him…
Meanwhile, in the capital, everything had returned to normal after the departure of the Qujiang envoys, and the bloodbath at the border of Lang Province did not affect the now peaceful city.
On the day Su Ziluo left, the Capital Governor had visited the Rong Estate with an imperial order, “Since the missing girls case and the matter with Qujiang have been resolved, it is time to start investigating the Lin Capital Case. I have ordered someone to Lin Mountain and if there are no hiccups, the coffins will be unearthed in the next couple of days. His Majesty has also ordered this.”
Jing Rong asked, “Is there a place to safely store the 67 coffins?”
“We were originally supposed to send them to the crematorium, but there were too many coffins. Leaving them where they were was also inappropriate, so His Majesty has prepared an empty estate in the city’s West. If the need arises, Teacher Ji can also stay there.”
He wanted Ji Yunshu to move? No way! And if she did move, who knew what would happen without him at her side.
Jing Rong refused immediately, “No, it’s where the coffins are to be placed – there will be too much Yin energy. If Teacher Ji were to move there, what difference would it make if he stayed in the crematorium?”
“Yes, yes, Your Highness is right. It is only a bit more convenient – if Teacher Ji does not wish to live there, there is no problem.”
‘Wasn’t it just a suggestion? Simmer down, Your Highness!’
“Fine, first unearth the 63 coffins at Lin Mountain and bring them to that manor.”
“Yes!” The Capital Governor excused himself.
After Su Ziluo’s departure, Ji Yunshu was out of it the entire day and wanted to go somewhere to recollect herself. She happened to hear of this matter and approached Jing Rong, suggesting that she should make a trip to Lin Mountain herself.
“It’s too humid there.”
“I know, but my face is all better.” She pointed at her cheek!
When she had returned last night in female garbs and was not wearing her mask, Jing Rong had already noticed her face. Only a faint trace of a scar remained just beneath the corner of her eye – one would miss it if one was not looking for it.
Jing Rong pondered briefly, then agreed to go with her.
Grenn’s Rants Corner
*cries* Li’er~! How could you leave like? This is the true definition of cannon fodder – A catalyst to black Su Ziluo even further.
This is the end of the arc and the beginning of a new arc.