Heaven Official’s Blessing – Ch 35 (1/2)

Chapter 35 : Entering Ghost City, Crown Prince meets Ghost King 

Dance of the Devil 

Thoroughly embarrassed with himself, it wasn’t until two hours later that Xie Lian finally managed to steal a look at his scroll. Only then did he gain a better understanding of the Wind Master’s background and origins.

All five of the masters of Heaven have replaced their surnames with their titles. For example, the Earth Master was once known as “Ming Yi” in the human realm, but after ascending to Heaven, he was henceforth known as “Earth Master Yi”. The Wind Master’s name had been “Shi Qing Xuan” prior to his ascension, and now he is “Wind Master Qing Xuan”. And just like his name, Wind Master Qing Xuan’s nature was free and easy as the breeze. He enjoyed socializing, often eager to meet new faces and was warm and generous with his friends. He was highly popular among the Officials of the Upper Court, as evidenced when he tossed out a hundred thousand merits with a wave of his hand within the spiritual communication array. But then again, with the Wind Master’s elder brother being the God of Wealth and Fortune, it was only natural for him to be this generous and open-handed.

Indeed, Wind Master Qing Xuan’s brother is no other than the Water Master, Shi Wu Du the “Water Tyrant“.

{T/N: Refer end of page for footnote}

After descending together, Xie Lian and the Wind Master chatted easily as they walked side by side. Xie Lian crossed his arms as he marveled, “The Pei family is already deemed incredible for having produced two progeny capable of ascending to Heaven. But the fact that you and your brother, the masters of Wind and Water, ascended to the Upper Court together, is truly beyond belief.”

Within tens of thousand people, there may not even be one who is capable of ascending. Pei Ming and Pei Su were born several hundred years apart, and Pei Su was not a direct descendant of Pei Ming’s, but the great-great-great-great several times removed grandson of one of Pei Ming’s younger brothers. Yet Water Master Wu Du and Wind Master Qing Xuan are brothers by blood, a double ascension from one same house. How could it be anything but incredible?

Shi Qing Xuan shrugged with a smile. “There’s nothing too spectacular about that. My brother and I grew up together, apprenticed under the same master, and cultivated the same path. It’s only natural that the both of us would ascend.”

This, Xie Lian had learned about during his intense study session with his scroll earlier. Between the Masters of Wind and Water, Shi Wu Du had ascended first, and Shi Qing Xuan experienced his own heavenly tribulation a few short years later. They were often worshiped together as equals in the same temples by the masses. It was clear to see then, that these two brothers shared a genuinely good relationship. Presumably, San Lang and Nan Feng had been referring to the Water Master as the reason why Pei Ming would not move against the Wind Master. After all, how could Pei Ming afford to rashly provoke the Water Tyrant’s little brother?

Something occurred to Xie Lian just then. He hesitated, then asked tentatively, “My lord Wind Master, back at the Palace Hall of the Supreme Martial God, from the way General Pei speaks, he seems to be on friendly terms with your brother. Since you reported on General Pei Junior, would your brother……”

“Nonono, my brother has long known that I can’t stand the sight of Pei Ming,” Shi Qing Xuan replied dismissively.

“Knowing is one thing, taking action is another. Will this strain the relationship between lord Water Master and General Pei?”

“It’d be fantastic if it does,” Shi Qing Xuan said sourly. “I simply cannot wait for the day my brother stops hanging around with him and break away from the Three Tumours.”

{T/N: Specifically, the malignant type, aka cancerous growths}

Xie Lian blinked. “What Three Tumours?”

“Huh?! You don’t know what that is either?” Shi Qing Xuan exclaimed. “Ai! Alright alright, I know you’re clueless about everything. Listen well then. The Three Tumours is a nickname for a few Officials in the Upper Court who have notoriously bad reputations, but weirdly good relationships with each other. They are Ming Guang, Ling Wen and my brother.”

Xie Lian thought wryly, You mean it’s not Xie Lian, Xie Lian and Xie Lian?

Shi Qing Xuan waved his Wind Master fan as he continued, “Even if I can’t stand Pei Ming, the matter this time was entirely Xiǎo Pei’s wrongdoing. How could I allow Pei Ming to shift the blame to the Ban Yue Preceptor instead? Be they human, God or ghost, one should always be responsible for their own actions. What kind of bastard decides to bully a little girl instead?”

His tone was dripping with contempt at the end. Xie Lian smiled. “My lord Wind Master is truly gallant.”

Shi Qing Xuan grinned. “You’re not too bad yourself. I have heard some vague rumours surrounding Ban Yue Pass before, but never found the time to look into the matter. That, and my brother would haul me over the coals whenever I mentioned it. With other things piling up as well, I clean forgot about the matter. Then I heard you asking about it in the spiritual communication array the other day, which reminded me of it so I decided to take a look. Who would have thought you did not stop at just asking, but actually went to investigate in person. And I thought, Ei this guy’s not bad!”

The Wind Master had a frank and humourous nature. Xie Lian could see why he could get along so well with the other Officials in the Upper Court. He had never thought that his ascension this time would allow him to meet such a Heavenly Official, and could not keep his lips from tugging up in a smile. Xie Lian turned his head away briefly, but when he turned back again to face to the Wind Master, the cultivator in white who had been by his side had transformed into a woman.

Xie Lian almost stumbled from shock. “My lord Wind Master, why did you transform yourself again?”

Shi Qing Xuan twirled a length of hair around her finger. “Ah, Your Royal Highness, to be honest with you, my powers are actually stronger while I’m using this form.”

{T/N: Gender pronouns will be changed according to SQX’s assumed gender}

As Xie Lian had learned earlier, the Wind Master and Water Master were frequently worshiped together. Yet as a result, this gave birth to some strange notions. Perhaps the people felt that praying to two male Heavenly Officials under the same temple seemed inadequate somehow, wouldn’t a male and female pairing be more felicitous instead? After all, men and women together make light work. As a result, someone took it upon themselves to ‘rectify’ this matter, and the Wind Master’s statues ended up being carved in the likeness of a woman.

{T/N: 男女搭配,干活不累 – Very loosely translated. Literally means “men and women working together will not feel tired”, aka the “heterosexual-effect”. Long story short, guys put in more effort while working in front of women, and women feel more secure seeking assistance from men than from their own gender. Lol.}

As if reassigning the Wind Master’s gender wasn’t enough, they began fabricating tales out of thin air, such as how the Wind and Water Masters were actually a brother-sister pair. There were even some more outrageous renditions which claim that these two were in truth, husband and wife. After several hundred years, with falsehoods piled upon falsehoods, the truth grew increasingly distorted, and many tales of fantastic oddities of every description were abound. One day, on a whim, these two Heavenly Officials decided to take a look at what their worshipers were writing about them, and ended up with a body full of goosebumps for their trouble. However, this nonsense had long since convinced many of their believers of its veracity. The truth of the Wind Master’s gender grew increasingly garbled, and “Goddess, please bless me” had become a customary prayer. Thus Shi Qing Xuan also has a nickname, “The Wind Goddess”.

Funny as it may be, such preposterous events are actually not unheard of. Take Ling Wen for example. Unlike the other immortal ladies who enjoyed dressing up and adorning themselves in finery, swaying around like a lovely scene of blossoming flowers, she was always garbed head to toe in somber blacks. Sharply intelligent and competent, she spent her days within the Ling Wen Palace Hall working through piles and piles of civil documents in a frenzy. Although her withdrawn personality was part of the cause, there was nonetheless, another reason. In the mortal realm, if one was to randomly grab a passerby and demand: Is Ling Wen ZhēnJūn a man or a woman?, one would receive a firm reply: Man.

{T/N: 真君 (Zhēn jūn) – lit. means, ‘true monarch’. Refer bottom of page for footnote}

Of course a Civil God has to be male, right? Because of this, Ling Wen struggled from the moment she ascended. She is a Civil God, but many in the mortal realm were aghast. How could a woman possibly shoulder the responsibilities of a Civil God? How can she ensure good luck and send blessings for literary endeavors? Surely it wouldn’t be effective! As a result, even though she worked industriously after assuming her post, the air in her temples were still clear of incense smoke. After enduring and enduring, a few of the temple acolytes went into a fit of pique and proceeded to remodel all of Ling Wen’s idols of worship into that of a man, thereby transforming  Ling Wen YuánJūn into Ling Wen ZhēnJūn, and also concocted some jaw-dropping, stupefying legend of Ling Wen’s family of origin and life experiences to go along with it.

{T/N: 元君 (Yuán jūn) – lit. means ‘first monarch’. Female only. Refer bottom of page for footnote}

After having made these changes, incense began burning in her temples again. Ling Wen was now effusively praised for her talents and efficacy when before she had only received scorn. When all was said and done, a Heavenly Official is still a Heavenly Official, their powers remain the same. Technically, nothing has changed, but the people ate up all the fabricated stories happily enough. Thus thereafter, whenever Ling Wen appeared in their dreams or manifested herself, she had to use the form of a man.

Going by this same logic, if the people feel that the temples dedicated to the Wind and Water Masters ought to worship a male and female pair, then they would have their male and female pair. Who cares if you were God or ghost? If the people believe that you are so-and-so, then you are so-and-so. They may be a hundred thousand miles off the mark, but still they will only see what they want to see. To this, the Heavenly Officials of the Upper Court have long grown accustomed and would not bat an eyelid at it.

As for Shi Qing Xuan himself, from Xie Lian’s observation, he didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that he absolutely relished in it, and would gleefully attempt to induce others to join him, leading Xie Lian to wonder about the identity of the young woman in black who had previously accompanied the Wind Master. In the two hours’ time it took for them to descend from Heaven and make their way to their current location, Shi Qing Xuan had been relentlessly coaxing Xie Lian to also take the form of a woman, on the basis of a very practical reason : “Women have stronger Yin energies and thus it would be easier for us to conceal our presences within the Ghost City.”

{T/N : Yīn – one of the principals of Yin and Yang, associated with femininity, darkness and negativity}

Xie Lian’s mind ran a full lap before he tactfully declined, “My magic’s not sufficient for me to make the transformation.”

“I’ll lend some to you!” Shi Qing Xuan offered enthusiastically. “This is what His Majesty sent me for, right?”

“My lord, I think it’s better if we save your strength for when we need to fight……”

Shi Qing Xuan finally gave up and did not attempt to badger him further. At this moment, the both of them arrived at a desolate area in the wilderness. Night had fallen. The hoarse caw of a crow sounded from within the pitch darkness of the woods, and the air felt heavy and bleak. Xie Lian scanned their surroundings silently for a moment. “Let’s wait here,” he decided. “The air here is dense with Yin energies, and there’s a graveyard just yonder. We’ll likely see one or two making their way to the festival. When that happens we can follow them in.”

The two of them crouched among the cluttered burial mounds to bide their time.

A short moment later, Shi Qing Xuan began rummaging through her sleeves and somehow managed to produce a small jar of wine. “Have a drink?”

Xie Lian accepted the proffered jar and took a sip, feeling the liquid burn his throat on the way down. He returned the jar. “Thanks.”

Shi Qing Xuan took the jar and downed two mouthfuls. “You can’t drink?”

“I can, but drinking too much impairs the mind. Best to just stop after a taste,” Xie Lian said. “What time is it now?”

Shi Qing Xuan muttered to herself for a moment, then replied, “Close to midnight.”

{T/N: 子时 (zǐ shí) – actually means 11 PM to 1 AM}

En, it should be soon then.”

As soon as his words fell, they spotted a row of lights bobbing dimly among the trees, deep within the darkness of the woods.

The wavering lights drew closer and closer. As they neared the clearing, Xie Lian and Shi Qing Xuan saw a group of women shuffling slowly in a line, faces wooden and expressionless. Some were young, some were old, some were beautiful, some were ugly, but they were all dressed in burial garb and bearing white lanterns.

These were female ghosts who were making their way to the festival in the Ghost City in the middle of the night.

Xie Lian whispered, “Follow.”

Shi Qing Xuan nodded, and drained her jar in two gulps. After tossing it aside, they got up from where they had been crouching, and nonchalantly fell behind this procession of ghosts.

They had made sufficient preparations beforehand, having rid themselves of any and all divine light that surrounded their bodies, and were now like two human-shaped blocks of wood devoid of any breath of life. As the group of ghost women bearing their white lanterns ambled slowly along within the dark forest, soft snatches of conversation could be heard.

“I’m so glad the Ghost City has opened again, I need to touch up my face.”

“What’s wrong with your face? Didn’t you get it done not too long ago?”

The first one lamented, “It’s spoiled again. Ai, the one who did my face the last time said it would last for at least a year, but it’s not even been half a year yet.”

Xie Lian and Shi Qing Xuan trailed after them from behind, silently eavesdropping on their chatter. Every time they heard something amusing, the corners of their mouths would twitch, and they would share a look of mirth. After about half an hour, the party arrived at a valley.

From the depths of the valley, a red wash of light beckoned, and faint strains of music drifted out hazily. Xie Lian’s curiosity grew by leaps and bounds. What would the legendary Ghost City look like? Yet just as they entered the valley, a female ghost at the end of the procession suddenly turned her head and saw them. She asked suspiciously, “Who are you two?”

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Note : Character list & Appendix 

This chapter has been split in half owing to the length. 

Thank you to AnarchyAngel, Jude, Maria for the Kofi!!! ❤

Water Tyrant – 水横天 (shuǐ héng tiān) – I’m not entirely sure, but I think it means ‘ water traversing the sky’. Shi Wu Du Skywalker lol lol. I did note that Shi Wu Du is also known as the “Water Tyrant” on some sites, and I believe this was derived from some Chinese idioms (out of over 30) which have these 2 characters, and mean ambitious, unstoppable, unhindered, unobstructed, overbearing, tyranny. If anyone can enlighten me, please do. 🙂

So we have Dì jūn (帝君), Dào jūn (道君), Zhēn jūn (真君), Xīng jūn (星君) and Yuán jūn (元君) in Chinese mythology. Jūn (君) means monarch/lord/ruler.

  1. Dì jūn – Di means emperor. This title is a bit ambiguous, as Dì jūn can refer to a branch of powerful immortals (who rank below the Jade Emperor) with their own territories and responsibilities, and also the Heavenly Emperor (aka Jade Emperor) himself. In any case, in HoB, Jun Wu is addressed this way (I use “Your Majesty” in the translation).
  2. Yuán jūnYuán means first, original, primal. This title is used for female immortals with strong powers and high status, such as the Queen Mother, or some other lofty goddess. Not all goddesses deserve this title. In HoB however, it seems to be used as the female equivalent of Zhēn jūn.
  3. Dào jūn – Dào means truth, morality, and is the same as Tao in Taoism. A general title for immortals with higher status than Zhēn jūn. It is a common title for all high-level immortals. (This term does not appear in HoB)
  4. Zhēn jūnZhēn means true, genuine. Hate to break it to you guys but Zhēn jūn is for those middling immortals with almost non-existent magic. They’re kind of mid-level gods, but not the lowest levels of existence. In HoB, I believe the status associated with “Dào jūn” is more fitting for those Heavenly Officials with this title (eg. Ling Wen and Nan Yang).
  5. Xīng jūn – Xīng means star. In ancient times, the Chinese believed that every star in the sky represents a God. These gods are known as Xīng jūn. However, these gods are typically middle to lower level immortals. (This term does not appear in HoB)

Happy reading.

-Syeki

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31 thoughts on “Heaven Official’s Blessing – Ch 35 (1/2)

Add yours

  1. It is funny when Xie Lian said Three Tumours isn’t Xie Lian, Xie Lian, Xie Lian 😂😂 My baby, why so negative. You ascended three times not developing tumours thice ba.

    I am disappointed not seeing XL in female disguise 😅

    And that female ghost conversation! Female will always be female 😂😂

    I am excited to see what they will uncover in Ghost City!~

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for your updates. You have been a blessing, since it is impossible to read a direct translation, your translations gave life to the readers, thank you so much again. 💓💓 And I guess I will be able to improve my English with you, as I see many new words😍😘

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you as always for your hard work!! You’re quite possibly the best translator I’ve stumbled across and the reason why I got into reading Chinese novels.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so exited to finally read this book and that I’ve caught up to the latest chapter! Youre translation is really good and I’m so glad you’ve continued translating when the other translator left it. I’m lookig forward to the next chapter! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for your translation. 😃 I’m a person who tried to learn Chinese but failed so I’m really glad you translated this. When will the next chapter come out? (Take your time. 😁 It can be just guess, I didn’t want to be scrolling through this page every day 😂 )

    Liked by 1 person

  6. thank you so much for translating the chapters! i absolutely love your way of translating! the names and places… sometimes there are people who mis-space them or “typo” all the way because they don’t know the asian/chinese way of speech? and also, the choice of vocabulary…! so… so… good… i might cry… i, also, as a translator (for a diff language) knows that it’s super crucial to “correctly” choose a word because it will give different atmosphere to the context… or in general, how it will flow with the plot… TTTT all the annotated information are really helpful too! thank you so much for your hard work ❤ i REALLY REALLY look forward to your next chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That you for the kind words!! 😀 Yea I know how that feels, agonizing over which words to use, Some can convey the meaning perfectly but are too ‘modern’, and sometimes I have to search for an older or slightly more formal way to express something. XD

      Like

  7. I believe the Water Tyrant descriptor was explained a few chapters earlier. They were saying because all merchants require the Water god’s goodwill to be able to move their wares along the coast, and if they piss him off it’s likely he’ll sink their ship, therefore he’s a tyrant in that sense.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s okay!! I did ask my friend who speaks/studied chinese, and she said the ‘heng tian’ has zero meaning. 😂 Which was why I was confused as to how heng tian = tyrant. Probably some very oblique meaning.

          Like

  8. Here we go Ghost City~ It’s been so long since I last binge-read the MTL, it’s really interesting to search for the little hints MXTX hides in the paragraphs.
    Ling Wen is one of the most underated gods, poor girl…
    Thank you for the translation, stay safe~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yea, I liked how the other Civil Gods were all like, “She’s not that greeeat~~~” but when push came to shove, they were all like headless chickens without Ling Wen. XD

      Like

  9. They have no choice but show us everything like Spiritpact. I was also disappointed with the length of season 2 of MDZS but hopefully season 3 will be longer and I hope they give us kiss scene ( I wish they could show the rest 😭 if weren’t for the law) atleast.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yaaaaayyy, another chapter 🥳 thank you so much for the translation. QAQ, 215 + chapters to go .It’s okay , I can wait but in the meantime we can look forward to the Animation this year ( and MDZS season 3).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I finished MDZS season two in a single night. It was only 8 episodes???? I thought it was not completely subbed yet but nope, season 2 was just that short, lols. Hopefully the Anime for TGCF will be great as well, although I wonder how they intend to bromance their way out of this one. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They have no choice but show us everything like Spiritpact. I was also disappointed with the length of season 2 of MDZS but hopefully season 3 will be longer and I hope they give us kiss scene ( I wish they could show the rest 😭 if weren’t for the law) atleast.

        Like

        1. Ironically, the live adaptation (The Untamed) had stronger gay vibes than the anime. XD Heck, sometimes I find The Untamed to be gayer than the novel (minus the papapa of course), Even those canonically straight characters end up being suggestive in the drama, whereas the anime basically cut everything suggestive out. _(:3」∠)_

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Ahhh! ❤️ another great chapter. I love your explanation of “men and women together make light work.”
    That cliffhanger though! Ahh I can’t wait for the next update 🙂 Thanks for sharing your amazing work!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for the translation. And explanation. And the characters guide! Its going to be long journey (250chapter+?)and the guide would help a lot. Even I can’t remember mxtx charas from novel before it. She had A LOT OF important charas.

    Just input how about not given too detailed description that could give spoiler.

    Liked by 1 person

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