Heaven Official’s Blessing – Ch 34

Chapter 34 : The Palace Hall of the Supreme Martial God, Crown Prince meets Crown Prince (III) 

Women’s Clothing, Bigshots Gather 

Xie Lian was silent. Jun Wu shook his head gently and said, “You don’t know either.”

He tilted his head slightly, then motioned for Xie Lian to follow him. Together, they strolled towards the rear hall of the Palace of the Supreme Martial God.

Jun Wu clasped his hands behind him as he walked. “Xian Le has grown up,” he said lightly.

Xie Lian dared not utter a word in reply. Jun Wu continued, “Eight hundred years ago when you descended, I asked you to keep in touch with me, and to stop wallowing in filth on your own. Eight hundred years, and not a word from you did I receive, while you went courting death relentlessly. You returned to Heaven many days ago, but did not see fit to report yourself at the Palace Hall of the Supreme Martial God. If anyone else had been this impertinent, the Ling Wen Palace Hall would have certainly taken that person to task.”

Xie Lian’s apology earlier had not been referring to this, and Jun Wu was naturally aware as well. He continued mildly, “If by ‘Sorry’, you mean to apologize for those stabbings, then just forget about it. You said yourself that everything should henceforth be forgotten.”

{T/N: This is referring to something that happened sometime during his second ascension, for those confused}

Xie Lian smiled bitterly. “……how could I forget.”

“Look ahead of you then,” Jun Wu said quietly. “There are still many affairs that need you.”

Xie Lian rubbed at his brows. “Xian Le is now only a worn out excuse of an immortal with no spiritual powers. It is highly unlikely that I would be needed anywhere. I only ask to avoid trouble.”

“Why disparage yourself? The two tasks which you have completed since your return were handled excellently,” Jun Wu said.

Xie Lian gave a rueful sigh. “But I managed to offend General Pei as soon as I returned.”

“Don’t worry yourself about Ming Guang, I’ll be keeping an eye on him. However,” Jun Wu turned to give him a piercing look. “Back to the topic on hand now. Did you manage to provoke someone that you shouldn’t have when you went down this time?”

Xie Lian raised his hand. “Your Majesty, I swear I did nothing. I just happened across a very interesting child by chance, and stayed with him for a period of time. I didn’t think too much about it.”

Jun Wu nodded and said slowly, “A chance encounter, a child, a Devastation Ghost King. Xian Le, if General Pei had continued pursuing the matter and you had given him this same reply before all the other Heavenly Officials present, you know well what the outcome would have been. No one would have believed you.”

Xie Lian winced. “Xian Le knows, and is grateful for Your Majesty’s timely assistance in helping me out of a difficult situation. Your Majesty, do you doubt me as well? I would never collude with the Ghost Realm, those were all baseless fears.”

“I’m obviously aware that you would not collude with the Ghost Realm.”

“Thank you for Your Majesty’s trust.”

Jun Wu continued, “I do, however, have an important task for you. But it won’t be easy for you, I fear.”

Xie Lian, “What is it?”

They arrived at the rear hall of the palace. The front and rear halls were separated by a towering mural wall. The front of the mural depicted a golden palace standing on a summit atop a sea of clouds, lit up by a thousand scintillating rays of light. On the other side, was a map spanning thousands of miles of mountains and rivers. Looking up, this enormous map was studded with countless precious pearls, shimmering softly like the stars in a night sky.

These pearls marked out all the temples dedicated to the Supreme Martial God in the mortal world. When Jun Wu had received Xie Lian eight hundred years ago during his first ascension, those starlights had not been this dense. Yet now, the entire field of the map was evenly covered with the twinkling light of the pearls. It was stunningly beautiful to behold.

Jun Wu stood before an area of the map which illustrated soaring mountains and snaking rivers, and pointed at a spot on the East. “Seven days ago, many claimed to have seen with their own eyes a fiery dragon bursting out from somewhere deep within the mountain vicinity.”

Xie Lian’s expression turned grave.

Jun Wu had one hand tucked behind his back, while the other lightly tapped on the map. “That fiery dragon burned for two incense sticks’ worth of time before fizzling out. This was witnessed by many people, yet no one was injured. Do you know what this means?”

{T/N: In ancient Chinese timekeeping, 1 incense stick = 5 mins. So 2 incense sticks = 10 mins. No, incense sticks don’t actually burn out that fast, but the logic is that we don’t wait for it to be burned to a stub before changing it for fresh ones. Not applicable to modern Chinese households.}

“The Fiery Dragon Illuminates the Heavens,” Xie Lian replied. “The flames of this spell may be powerful, but it would not harm anyone. It’s a cry for help.”

“Correct. It is a cry for help,” Jun Wu agreed. “And from a Heavenly Official of the Upper Court.”

“Only one in dire straits would have sent out this distress signal,” Xie Lian sighed.

The spell to summon the Fiery Dragon would emit intense flames, yet it was restricted from causing harm to others. It would shatter a significant portion of the Heavenly Official’s spiritual powers, and if one wasn’t careful enough, they would risk destroying the core of their powers and immediately lose their godhood. Hence unless the person had been truly desperate, no one would resort to using this method to call for help. For it to appear now meant that there was a Heavenly Official in grave danger.

“Are there any Heavenly Officials in the Upper Court who are unaccounted for?” Xie Lian asked.

“The purpose of summoning all the Heavenly Officials back this time, wasn’t solely for the matter of Ban Yue Pass,” Jun Wu replied. “More importantly, it was to take this chance to thoroughly investigate the whereabouts of all the Heavenly Officials. Asides from a few who are generally not present all year round such as the Rain Master and the Earth Master, the remaining Heavenly Officials who were not able to return this time have already sent notice.”

Xie Lian pondered for a moment, then said, “Is it possible that the distress signal had not been from the current pantheon of Heavenly Officials, but from those who had retired themselves and entered seclusion?”

“Then that would greatly increase the scope of our search,” Jun Wu said. “Many of those retired Officials have ceased correspondence for many years, it is impossible to infer which of them may have fallen into danger.”

It seems that the Civil Officials from Ling Wen’s Palace Hall have been running themselves ragged and sporting dark circles under their eyes because they have been busying themselves with this matter. It was no wonder they were not able to spare much manpower to search for the young boy with the Human Face Plague from Mount Yu Jun. “For a Heavenly Official to be forced to a state where they had no choice but to destroy a portion of their spiritual strength to call for help, they must have met a formidable foe indeed. Are there any ghost nests or demon lairs in that vicinity, or any gatherings of the sort?” Xie Lian asked.

{T/N: Previously translated as Literature God(s), but I’ll be using ‘Civil’ going onwards. Read link & link if you wish to understand more}

Yes,” Jun Wu replied. “It’s not far off. Do you know of the Ghost City?”

Xie Lian contemplated it for a moment. “I’ve heard of it.”

The Ghost City is the most prosperous and bustling area within the Ghost Realm, situated right at the boundary which opens to the mortal world.

Ghosts often flocked there to trade, forming a chaotic throng of demons and monsters waltzing in reckless abandon. Occasionally, alchemists would enter to conduct some business transactions for the sake of obtaining materials for their study or make discreet inquiries for information. There were even some Officials from Heaven who, either out of curiosity or some other unmentionable reasons, would disguise themselves and sneak in. And then there would be the occasional mortal who had inadvertently strayed in, and would either end up in someone’s belly or terrified out of their wits.

The Ghost City has existed since ancient times—- though not as ancient as Xie Lian. There were many stories and legends circulated in the human realm regarding the Ghost City. One example of a classical ghost story goes as such: A man who was hurrying home one night saw a bustling marketplace ahead, illuminated with large red lanterns and colourful banners. He entered the market happily, but found that everyone within was either wearing a mask or a hood, or were hideously ugly. It was all very strange to him, but he paid it no heed. He bought a bowl of noodles and sat down, preparing to have his meal, but when his chopsticks delivered the noodles to his mouth, the more he chewed the stranger he felt. When he took another look into his bowl, he discovered to his horror that the ‘noodles’ were actually human hair which was still wriggling!

As Xie Lian reined in his train of thoughts, Jun Wu said, “After the column of flames was spotted, I dispatched a Heavenly Official to investigate the surrounding area. There were no traces found, so it’s very possible the Official had been moved into the Ghost City. However, the Ghost Realm and the Heavenly Realm has always been clearly segregated. Without sufficient evidence, we cannot barge into the Ghost City to make our search. Therefore, I require someone to descend in secret to investigate.”

“You do not wish to alert the enemy of your movements, which was why you did not announce this news to the Heavenly Officials at the Palace Hall earlier, is that not so?” Xie Lian observed.

Jun Wu said, “Precisely.”

Xie Lian said, “Your Majesty, Xian Le awaits your orders.”

Jun Wu sighed. “The first person I thought of was indeed you, but I fear this mission may not be easy on you.”

“Why is that so?”

“Firstly, the East is Lang Qian Qiu’s domain. If you were to go, you would have to cooperate with him to a certain extent.”

“I have no issues with that, please be assured,” Xie Lian said.

Jun Wu continued, “Secondly, do you know whose territory the Ghost City belongs to?”

Xie Lian looked startled. “You mean, is it Hua Cheng’s?”

Jun Wu gave a slow nod of his head. A thought suddenly surfaced in Xie Lian’s mind.

That pillar of fire was sent up seven days ago, and Hua Cheng had also left the Pu Qi Shrine seven days ago. The timing was too coincidental. Was it possible that these two events were related?

“It looks to me you’re on reasonably good terms with him, which in itself is not an issue,” Jun Wu said. “But I fear he may have had a hand in this matter. Do not force yourself if this troubles you. If you have any other suggestions or other candidates in mind, please let me know.”

“Send me,” Xie Lian said. “I believe that Blood Rain Seeking Flower is not as unscrupulous as he’s made out to be.”

Jun Wu gazed at him searchingly. “Xian Le. I know you have a sense of propriety and would abide by our rules of conduct. But I also know that you have always tried to see only the good in people.”

Xie Lian laughed softly at his words. “Please don’t make me out to be a little princess who has never left her palace halls. Such words really no longer suit me.”

Jun Wu shook his head, resigned. “I ought not interfere with the type people you choose to befriend. But I would still say this; be careful of Hua Cheng.”

Xie Lian lowered his head silently, his eyes lidded. He ought to have answered with a “Yes, Your Majesty”, which was already a familiar enough response to be an ingrained reflex in him. Yet this time, somehow, he could not bring himself to give this reply.

Jun Wu added, “And be exceptionally careful of his demonic blade.”

Xie Lian, “Why so?”

“The scimitar È Ming is a cursed blade, a blade of misfortune. The successful forging of such a weapon would require a cruel sacrifice and ruthless, bloody determination. Do not let it touch you, do not let it injure you. The consequences may be inconceivable otherwise.”

San Lang would not attack me with the blade. The thought came unbidden to his mind, and even Xie Lian himself did not know where this sense of conviction came from. Nonetheless, he answered, “Xian Le understands.”

Jun Wu nodded and said, “Since the matter will be handled by you, I am at ease. That you do not feel troubled by this is even better, but it may be difficult for you to handle this task alone. Which Heavenly Official would you like to have accompany you?”

After some thought, Xie Lian replied, “Anyone will do. But it’s better if they have a good temperament and easy nature. And an abundance of spiritual powers which they can lend to me when need be.”

Jun Wu chuckled. “You have eliminated Nan Yang and Xuan Zhen from the list with your first requirement.”

But of course. Neither the Feng Xin nor Mu Qing of today could be described as easy to get along with. Xie Lian laughed as well. “How has it been with them?” Jun Wu asked gently. “Have you spoken with them yet?”

Jun Wu has never entered any of the spiritual communication arrays, naturally he did not know of the cacophony and their squabbles. “We’ve spoken a little,” Xie Lian replied evasively.

“Only a little? It’s been so many years,” Jun Wu said. “By the way. I did hear that your ascension this time caused quite the furore. Quite a number of the Officials’ golden palaces were wrecked, including Nan Yang’s.”

“I’ve paid it all off!” Xie Lian quickly defended himself. “Eight million, eight hundred and eighty eight thousand merits, it’s all paid off. And for this, I must also thank Your Majesty for giving me the opportunity to go to Mount Yu Jun.”

“Thank Nan Yang. I heard from Ling Wen that he approached the Ling Wen Palace Hall, saying he does not need you to repay him the merits for the repairs of his golden palace.”

Xie Lian was stunned. “This……I was not aware of this.”

No wonder the debt of eight million, eight hundred and eighty eight thousand merits was cleared so promptly, so much of it has already been rescinded. The Nan Yang Palace Hall had been the building that suffered the worst damages, purportedly half of its golden roofs had caved in. Jun Wu said, “Of course you would not have been aware, Nan Yang forbade Ling Wen from telling you of this. Since he did not want you to know, it’s best if you continue feigning ignorance of this matter.”

Xie Lian did not know how he felt about this. Bitterness, sweetness, regret, all of this swirled around in his heart, waiting to be recognized.  In the end, he breathed out a silent sigh. In this world, the words “do not tell anyone else” are truly meaningless. 

Jun Wu thought for a moment, then offered, “Since Nan Yang and Xuan Zhen are not suitable, how about the Wind Master?”

“The Wind Master is very good, but I do not know if she would be willing to accompany me on this mission.”

“The Wind Master has powerful magic, and a lively, amicable nature very much in keeping with your requirements,” Jun Wu said. “The way I see it, the two of you would work well together. The Wind Master has also spoken well of you. If you have no more questions, you may descend together with the Wind Master to investigate the Ghost City. And one more thing.”

“Yes?”

Jun Wu spoke slowly, “Work hard if you will, but do not overexert yourself.”

Xie Lian stared blankly for a long moment, before pulling his lips in a smile. “What does Your Majesty mean? I’m not overexerting myself.”

Jun Wu patted his shoulder. “Return to Xian Le Palace first and get some rest. I will send word to the Wind Master.”

Xie Lian was startled. “My merits are not sufficient for building a palace hall. The former Xian Le Palace has been torn down a long time ago, where did this Xian Le Palace come from?”

“I approved for a new one to be built for you. You don’t mean to continue squeezing in that dilapidated little shrine, do you?”

When Xie Lian left the Palace Hall of the Supreme Martial God, he was led by a little official from Jun Wu’s palace to the new ‘Xian Le Palace’.

This Xian Le Palace was almost identical to his former palace of the past, down to the red glazed tiles on the walls, it was just as magnificent and elegant as he remembered it to be. But he stood rooted at the gates of the palace for a long time, not in the least bit eager to step inside. A broken down shrine was more befitting of a God of Scraps. He could no longer live in such a lavishly gorgeous palace.

Xie Lian idled at the palace gate, waiting for the Wind Master to come find him. But after having waited for a long time, the person who came up to him was not the female cultivator in white robes, but a male cultivator in white instead.

The cultivator was in glowing spirits, his robes fluttering as if stirred by a heavenly breeze. It was the “Qing Xuan” who had been wrangling with Pei Ming back at the Palace Hall of the Supreme Martial God. He flicked his horse-tail whisk and grinned at Xie Lian. “Hello, Your Highness!”

Xie Lian returned with a smile of his own. “Hello to you too, fellow cultivator.”

Truth be told, he really wanted to ask who the other man was, but couldn’t help but feel this would be inexcusably rude. He was just about to sneak a peek at his scroll to see which Heavenly Official went by the name of Qing Xuan, when the cultivator in white strode over to him. “Let’s go, let’s wig-wag down together!”

Xie Lian stared at him in bemusement. “Friend, I’m waiting for someone here.”

The cultivator stuck his horse-tail whisk into the neck of his robes and turned to give him a strange look. “Who else are you waiting for?”

Xie Lian, “I’m waiting for the Wind Master.”

The cultivator’s expression grew stranger. “Am I not standing in front of you?”

“……”

Xie Lian felt his brow twitching. “You’re the Wind Master?”

The young man snapped open his fan and started flapping it as he spoke, “I’m the Wind Master, was there ever any doubt about it? You mean you didn’t know who I was?? Have you never heard of the Wind Master Qing Xuan???”

His tone and manner were candid and confident, as if it was completely impossible for Xie Lian to not know who he was. The front of the fan had the symbol ‘风’ drawn on it, and on the back were three curved lines depicting the wind. Isn’t it the same fan that was used by the female cultivator in white at that time?

{T/N: – wind}

Xie Lian suddenly recalled how Fu Yao had once told him that there were some Heavenly Officials in the Upper Court who, due to some special circumstances, were particularly proficient at changing their appearances. And at that time in Ban Yue Pass, Nan Feng had said something along the lines of: “The Wind Master has always been……”

Has always been? Always been what?

A man?!

Xie Lian found himself dragged along by his companion, but was still unable to comprehend the magnitude of this revelation. He stammered, “Ah…… my lord Wind Master, y-y-you, why did you disguise yourself as a woman last time???”

“Why not? Wasn’t I pretty?”

“Erm yes? But……”

The Wind Master had a wide smile stretched across his face. “Pretty is pretty, there’s no ‘but’ to it. It’s fine as long as I’m pretty! Obviously, I used that disguise because I looked good.”

He suddenly seemed to have thought of something and tucked his fan away, before turning to eye Xie Lian up and down. He remarked eagerly, “Speaking of which, since we’ll be entering the Ghost City this time, we’ll have to disguise ourselves right?”

“……”

Xie Lian: “? ? ?”

 

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Note : Character list & Appendix 

About the 4 ghost ranks. Per Sakhyulations and the Wiki for HoB, they are known as Fierce1, Severe2, Wrath3 and Devastation4. However, strictly speaking in terms of translation, this is not really accurate, hence I’m not sure if I should amend the terms used. For the first two (Fierce and Severe), the terms don’t really show up much, so it has very little impact. But the last two (Wrath and Devastation, especially Devastation) gets used a lot. I’m thinking of substituting Fierce with Malicious, Severe with Ferocious, Wrath with Savage, and Devastation with Supreme. Thoughts?

1恶 – Vicious / Malicious / Wicked
2厉 – Ferocious / Severe
3凶 – Savage / Violent / Fierce
4绝 – Absolute / Supreme

P.S : Xian Le (仙乐) means ‘heavenly music’ (although it’s pronounced as xiān yuè). Just an fyi. 🙂

P.S. 2 : The next 2 chapters (35 & 36) are much longer than usual, so releases may be slow (or split). Ch 35 is almost twice the usual length, sigh.

P.S. 3 : ‘He’ and ‘she’ sound exactly the same in Chinese, despite having different characters. Which was why Xie Lian could have remained oblivious to the Wind Master’s gender for this long. Had to juggle the sentences a bit to avoid the gendered pronouns before the Wind Master’s gender was revealed.

P.S 4: Added an Appendix page, mostly spoiler free.

Fun Fact : There’s actually a Chinese God of male homosexuality, and he is known as a (baby) Rabbit God who was killed for being a Peeping Tom. And had the gall to justify that he died in the name of love. I can’t… XDDD Wiki

-Syeki

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25 thoughts on “Heaven Official’s Blessing – Ch 34

Add yours

  1. Thank you for your amazing work translating 🙏

    I am getting strong Nie HuaiSang vibes from the Wind Master what with the fan and priorities of being pretty over all else 😂 I love him already!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another female Xie Lian in the making?!! 😆🤭

    The Ghost City has existed since ancient times—- though not as ancient as Xie Lian lol. Since it is HC’s territory, of course it is not that old but LianLian, you’re not ancient ba. Jun Wu is 😂.

    “You do not wish to alert the enemy of your movements, which was why you did not announce this news to the Heavenly Officials at the Palace Hall earlier, is that not so?” Xie Lian observed. Does this sentence inadvertly pointed out that there is people from enemy side among the Heavenly Officials or they are juat afraid of Heavenly Officils with loose mouth chattering Heaven’s affair?? 🤔🧐

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Might be they didn’t want the Heavenly Officials to panic and let something slip. But yes, not all Heavenly Officials are 100% trustworthy either. 🙂

      Like

    2. “There were even some Officials from Heaven who, either out of curiosity or some other unmentionable reasons, would disguise themselves and sneak in.”

      i don’t know, but i assume the ‘loose mouth chattering’ one instead of the ‘enemy along the Officials’

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Whooaa… I binged whole chapter… Its a great treat. Thank you for the translation and reminder.

    I have a hard time remember chinnese name, especially in this kind of story when gods called by more than two names. But you make it easier to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The translation is so much better then the ones I find other places. You and your team do so well translating. I am also really enjoying this tanks to you great translation. Thank you and keep on trucking through!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t wait until we get to see Ghost City in the adaptations. I remember when I first read this I was so excited to have a female character in the Wind Master, and was disappointed, but of course I then saw how awesome Qing Xuan was. I would prefer you to use the more accurate terms personally.
    Thank you so much for the chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your beautiful translation of this work! I’m grateful for all translated stories by various people, but sometimes it’s so hard to get into them when they are mediocre-ly translated. The way you translate is very professional and keeps me grounded in the world of the original author! When I read other poor translations…the language and the story world doesn’t match, which makes it so confusing. Sorry for that ramble, I just get happy when I come across quality translators! I’m sure it’s a lot of work. Please know it’s so appreciated! Thanks you and hope you will continue the story to the end 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Aaaaàaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!, thank you so much for the update. I was really about what Jun Wu wanted to talk about to Xie lian. Thank Goodness, he was gentle and understanding towards , I am so relieved. I just hope the Wind Master gives Xie lian a cute disguise to surprise Hua cheng 🤭

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great chapter!!! ❤️ So glad we finally get to see the Wind Master in all his/her glory ❤️
    Thanks for the translations! Keep up the amazing work!
    Also, I like Supreme for “绝 – Absolute / Supreme” but idk if Devastation would be easier to keep up with for new readers (because of the wiki)? =/ Dunno, but your translator notes will probably keep everyone on track regardless of which you choose 🙂
    Can’t wait for the next chapter but I remember how long they were so take all the time you need! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, yea the Wind Master is our comic relief. 🙂 I noted that some sites (eg. TV Tropes) zig zag between Supreme and Devastation. There’s actually a very brief explanation in one of the future chapters on what “Supreme” means, which was why I felt that Devastation was pretty inappropriate. Thanks for chipping in! 😘

      Like

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