Heaven Official’s Blessing – Ch 38

Chapter 38 : Behold the flower through red clouds, A heart filled with pity (III)

Well? Do you admit your loss, gē gē?

Xie Lian stared at the youth in red. “You……”

There were some things he wanted to say, but there were countless eyes trained on them right now, and with Hua Cheng’s words and actions being so ambiguous, neither acknowledging nor estranging him, Xie Lian was unsure if Hua Cheng meant to avoid openly recognizing him in Ghost City.  In the end, he swallowed back all needless words and simply offered a “Thank you”.

“Why thank him?” Lang Qian Qiu interjected. “He runs this place, he has been harboring ill intentions from the very beginning.”

“……” Xie Lian lowered his voice, “Your Highness, let’s not waste words and leave immediately, alright?”

If they continued to stay, who knows what else will come out of Lang Qian Qiu’s mouth. In any case, they were here on official business, it was not convenient for Xie Lian to linger. His eyes strayed towards Hua Cheng a few times as he herded Lang Qian Qiu towards the exit. From behind him, Hua Cheng suddenly said, “Wait.”

Xie Lian’s steps stopped and he turned around. Among the group of ghosts, someone called out, “My Lord! We can’t just let them leave like this!”

“These people’s behaviors are terribly suspicious, and they possess extraordinary strength. Their origins may not be that simple. I say we retain them for a bit for some questioning.”

“That’s right. They could even be spies sent here to scout around, set on deliberately making trouble in our territory!”

The last part of the sentence really jabbed where it hurts. While it was true that they were sent by Heaven, their intention had never been to cause trouble at all, but only to scout out the situation. Xie Lian wasn’t sure if Hua Cheng had seen the faint glimmer of divine light which Lang Qian Qiu had emitted earlier, and wasn’t entirely confident that they would still be free to walk if he had seen it. His chest tightened a little in trepidation. But then he heard Hua Cheng drawl, “Are you not going to make good on your bet?”

Xie Lian looked at him blankly. “Bet?”

Lang Qian Qiu stomped forwards to shield him, demanding warily, “Are you trying to renege on the deal?”

Xie Lian thought, Hua Cheng would not go back on his word, is he referring to something else? He stepped out from behind Lang Qian Qiu and said, “But did I not win when we gambled earlier?”

Hua Cheng replied, “It’s true that gē gē beat me. However, do not forget that prior to that, you did lose a round.”

Xie Lian was baffled. “But you said it didn’t matter, that round doesn’t count.”

Although the rounds in which he lost were not taken into account, and only the winning round was considered valid, when said out loud it did sound very brazen and shameless of him. Nonetheless Xie Lian still thickened his skin to ask this. Hua Cheng replied, “Correct, the losses while gambling with me do not count. But I was referring to the round you bet on at the very beginning.”

Only then did Xie Lian recall. Turns out, Hua Cheng was referring to his first experimental attempt at betting on the smallest roll, but ended up rolling out two sixes instead.

Lang Qian Qiu said heavily, “I did say he was harboring ill intentions. He was never planning on letting us leave so easily. This time, I will not allow myself to be tied up again.”

He sounded fully geared and prepared for another round of fighting. Xie Lian promptly pulled him back. “It’s fine, don’t worry, there’s no need to fight again.”

Hua Cheng tilted his head. “Well? Does gē gē admit his loss?”

If you agree to bet then you must accept to lose. Besides obediently admitting this, what else could he do? Xie Lian nodded. “I do.”

Hua Cheng stretched out his left hand. “Well then, hand over what you promised.”

……what he promised?

After hesitating briefly, Xie Lian slipped his right hand into his left sleeve, groped around a bit before drawing out half a steamed bun. His eyes shifted around evasively, unable to bear meeting Hua Cheng’s gaze as he summoned up his courage to ask, “Do you mean…… this?”

In all honesty, when he brought out the half-eaten steamed bun, the thick, impregnable skin he had developed over eight hundred years suddenly cracked a little from shame.

The group of ghosts in the large hall had long fallen silent, and only peacefully stood in a circle to watch. This was the first time their City Lord deigned to join in their gambling, but he accepted a half-eaten steamed bun as the stakes. Fine, forget it, maybe the City Lord has his own brand of humour. But then their City Lord had, in all seriousness, actually demanded the other party to make good on the bet and hand over the half-eaten steamed bun. Speechless. They were utterly speechless. It was so incomprehensible that some ghosts frantically tried to formulate some audacious explanations for this, such as either this half-eaten steamed bun concealed some earth shaking secret, or this fellow really is the City Lord’s blood brother!

{T/N: Because gē ge means ‘elder brother’, although this form of address is not limited to kin. So they’re wondering if XL is actually HC’s biological sibling.}

Hua Cheng accepted the bun with a smile and held it up for a brief inspection. “I’ve received the bet.”

Xie Lian stared at him speechlessly for a long moment. “It’s…… kind of cold. It’s probably stale by now,” he said tentatively.

“It’s fine,” Hua Cheng replied. “I don’t mind.”

What else could Xie Lian say to that? He shut his mouth, turned around again and walked to the exit. When the ghosts in the gambling house had previously parted to make way for him as the first person who took up Hua Cheng’s challenge, they had viewed him as a brave warrior. Now, when they made way for him to leave, their watchful gazes were filled with curiosity and awe. After taking a few steps, Xie Lian could hear the ghosts behind him asking in tandem, “My Lord, My Lord, where will ya go next?”

{T/N : The ghosts have a very informal way of speaking, even with Hua Cheng.}

Hua Cheng replied lazily, “Today’s a good day. To Paradise Manor.”

There was a burst of happy cheers in the inner lobby, like a festival arrived early. Xie Lian could not help turning his head around to look again, and happened to meet Hua Cheng’s gaze. In Hua Cheng’s hand was the half-eaten steamed bun which he tossed up and down for a bit, before lowering his head to take a bite. Then he looked up at Xie Lian again.

Xie Lian’s steps faltered. For some reason, he felt that he really couldn’t linger in this place any longer. He sped up, dragging Lang Qian Qiu with him in a run.

The two of them dashed out of the gambling house and down the road, running a long way away and nearly knocking over some vendors’ stalls in the process. They finally managed to locate a secluded little alley with some difficulty, whereupon Shi Qing Xuan immediately turned up to join them. Flapping his fan madly and sending his hair flying in disarray, he huffed, “Too close, that was too close! Oh gods, I could just feel the blood draining from my face just now!”

Xie Lian’s heart was still pounding wildly, probably from the way they had been madly fleeing. Lang Qian Qiu peered at Shi Qing Xuan. “You do look a little pale still, Wind Master.”

Shi Qing Xuan touched his face with a wide smile. “Really? Hahahaha, this is not due to fright, this is my natural…… ahem! Hai, Qian Qiu, as a Martial God overseeing this region, how could you be so impulsive? We are in the Ghost Realm now. If you had been captured and your identity exposed, and it gets out that a Heavenly Official disguised himself to infiltrate the Ghost City and behaved boorishly to destroy the peace of the Three Realms, how would we explain this to His Majesty?”

{T/N : Hai – sighing sound} 

Lang Qian Qiu lowered his head. “I’m sorry,” he admitted honestly. “It really was impulsive of me. But–” He lifted his head again. “But that gambler really was too mad and preposterous. If I had allowed that man to open the gambling cup, regardless if he won or lost, the outcome would not have been good. Either his daughter would be inflicted with bad luck, or his business rivals would have suffered a calamity. My anger got the better of me, so I shattered the cup.”

“But you still should not have just rushed out on your own,” Shi Qing Xuan rebuked.

Lang Qian Qiu looked at him uncomprehendingly. “But what else could I have done, Wind Master? No one else was going to rush out.”

He asked this very earnestly. Shi Qing Xuan looked plagued by the beginnings of a headache as he tapped the edge of his fan against his temples. “Uh……”

Xie Lian smiled faintly. “It’s fine, let it be.”

When Lang Qian Qiu lifted his gaze to look at him, Xie Lian continued, “I think, even if His Highness Tai Hua had been captured, no matter how he is tortured, he would not have revealed his identity to the enemy. However, to prevent the other party from unraveling any clues from the threads of your speech, Your Highness should still exercise more caution in the future and avoid getting captured, alright?”

Lang Qian Qiu nodded. “Alright! I understand.”

Shi Qing Xuan capitulated. “Fine fine, I won’t say anything more. By the way, Your Highness……”

Xia Lian and Lang Qian Qiu both turned to look at him. Shi Qing Xuan added, “Oh, I mean the old one.”

“……”

Xie Lian rubbed at the space between his brows somewhat gloomily as he thought, The old one…… fine, I am a couple years older, but not that much older, what need is there to make it sound like I’m already getting on in my years?

Shi Qing Xuan said, “Your Highness, have you met each other at the Palace Hall of the Supreme Martial God? If not, let me introduce you to each other for a bit. This here is the Crown Prince of Yong’an, Lang Qian Qiu, the Martial God overseeing the East. And this is the Crown Prince of Xian Le, Xie Lian, the traaaaaa….. tremendously capable Heavenly Official whom His Majesty looks most highly upon.”

Xie Lian knew perfectly well what he had been about to say before he got stuck. Trash collector! What with the word forcefully corrected halfway, it was inevitable that the entire following sentence would sound painfully contrived. Lang Qian Qiu’s brows lifted as he looked at Xie Lian dubiously. “You’re that Crown Prince who ascended to Heaven three times?”

It would seem that Lang Qian Qiu really had slept through the entire assembly at the Palace Hall of the Supreme Martial God, since he couldn’t even recall who Xie Lian was. If it had been anyone else, these words uttered to Xie Lian’s face would have undoubtedly come off as a sneer. Coming from Lang Qian Qiu however, Xie Lian fully believed that this child simply thought the idea of ascending three times was too incredible to be true, nothing more. Xie Lian smiled brightly, “Indeed, t’is I.”

Lang Qian Qiu said gratefully, “Thank you very much for your help earlier! If not……” He seemed to recall something with a shudder and hurriedly lowered his head to pull his belt up high, tying it tightly. Clearly, he paid no mind to the former relations between the kingdoms of Xian Le and Yong’an. Shi Qing Xuan too, felt that this was introduction enough and ended it, turning to speak with Xie Lian, “Your Highness, are you not acquainted with Blood Rain Seeking Flower? Why was he pretending not to know you just now?”

Finished securing his belt, Lang Qian Qiu said, “That was really Blood Rain Seeking Flower? His actual form?”

Before Xie Lian could answer, Shi Qing Xuan was scoffing, “How could that be the real form? How many hundreds of faces has Hua Cheng worn before? Nobody knows what he really looks like. The last time I saw him at Ban Yue, he looked more or less the way he did today. It’s definitely a fake skin, fake fake fake.”

Xie Lian, however, had always remembered what Hua Cheng had told him in Pu Qi Shrine, ‘The next time we meet, it will be with my true form’. His heart piped up, It’s real.

But of course, he did not say this out loud. Seeing how everyone else was perfectly convinced it was a fake skin, with only him knowing it was Blood Rain Seeking Flower’s true appearance, it felt like he was privy to a wonderful little secret. After another moment, he realized, San Lang’s current appearance is not that different from the one he used previously either. It just seems to be a slightly older and slightly taller version. Which means that the first time he met me, he was already more or less using his genuine form. Somehow, Xie Lian felt a little pleased by that thought.

Shi Qing Xuan prattled on. “Everyone says that Hua Cheng has a strange temperament. Well, they were right. He was obviously taking pains to let you win, and yet he clung to the pretense of not knowing you. Who knows what’s rattling in his head? Could he have been trying to get us to lower our guards?”

Xie Lian gave a few light coughs. Sure enough, it had been obvious to all that Hua Cheng had been deliberately throwing the game at the gambling house earlier. In fact, rather than say he threw the game, one may as well say he flung it down a cliff. It was only Lang Qian Qiu who had been blind to it all. Knitting his brows, His Highness Tai Hua asked, “He let you win? Why?”

The other two patted his shoulder silently, both tacitly choosing not to explain more to him, leaving Lang Qian Qiu alone to ponder the myriad possible reasons for Hua Cheng letting Xie Lian win. Was it because they knew each other?

As the other two turned around and walked away, Xie Lian mused, “Now that our covers are as good as blown, what should our next course of action be? Change our appearances and try again? I wouldn’t recommend doing so, it’s useless. With the way His Highness Tai Hua had been smashing about, the security in the Ghost City would likely be tightened and the vigilance increased.”

Shi Qing Xuan said plaintively, “To be honest, I had anticipated the possibility of being uncovered, but it never occurred to me that it would happen this quickly.”

Xie Lian sighed, “I know, I know.”

“Fine, what’s done is done,” Shi Qing Xuan decided. “Since we’ve already been uncovered, how about you just go for it openly and honestly then.”

Xie Lian could vaguely guess at what he meant by ‘openly and honestly’, and sure enough, Shi Qing Xuan continued with, “Right now, the only way we can continue to conceal our motives would be for you to openly and honestly go seek out Hua Cheng and tell him that you had made a special trip here just to visit him. He knows you’re a Heavenly Official right? Then wouldn’t you say it is perfectly reasonable for you to have brought some little friends from Heaven along with you?”

Before Xie Lian could frame a reply however, Lang Qian Qiu immediately protested, “No!”

Shi Qing Xuan asked, “Why not?”

Lang Qian Qiu said earnestly, “Your Highness of Xian Le, are you acquainted with Blood Rain Seeking Flower? From what I’ve heard from your conversation, you and him could be considered friends.”

When Xie Lian nodded, Lang Qian Qiu barreled along, “Then of course you cannot do this. Even though I think this Ghost King is a nasty piece of work, but for him to allow you to win would mean that he views you as a friend. In that case, you should not lie and deceive your friend.”

Shi Qing Xuan nursed a headache as he muttered irritably, “Hai-ya Qian Qiu, you’re really brain-dead!”

{T/N: Haiya – exclamation of pissed annoyance}

However, Xia Lian laughed and nodded. “Very good. Your Highness Tai Hua is absolutely right.”

Lang Qian Qiu beamed. “You agree with me, right?”

“Good? What do you mean, good?” Shi Qing Xuan exclaimed. “We are three Heavenly Officials! If we come away empty-handed and return to Heaven with naught to show, they would definitely say that we’re even less efficient than the Ling Wen Palace Hall. Oh, the humiliation.”

Xie Lian smiled but before he could speak, a sudden burst of shouts and howls sounded from somewhere behind him. The three of them turned around in concert to look.

At the entrance of the alley, a group of demons and ghouls rushed past, intent on chasing someone or something to deliver a beating. “Where did that little brat with the bandaged face go, where is he?!”

Xie Lian noticed the tense and wary expressions of his two companions and said, “Don’t worry, they’re not looking for us.”

Just as he finished speaking, a sudden, desperate scream cut through the air, piercing their eardrums.

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Note : Character list & Appendix 

Thank you Sarah, Cynthia, rellu, RoyalRavioli, Aprillen, Anon (Cassandra), Anon (Brigitta) and Winterfall&Xiera for the Kofis~!!!!

And thank you guys for the support and understanding during the time I went MIA. The break from translation was very much needed, and knowing that you guys were still so patient and encouraging was wonderful. So THANK YOU!! 🙂

Happy reading~~

P.S : I really cannot recommend the novel “The Husky and his White Cat Shizun” enough (although those who would prefer to avoid novels with elements of gore and rape should give this a miss). Seems like it’s also going to be adapted into a Chinese drama series (titled Hao Yi Xing, aka Immortality) scheduled for release in 2021 (sans the BL plot as usual hahaha). I’m only following the English translaton which is still ongoing, so no idea about how it will end, but I still love this novel to bits, and the translation by rynnamonrolls is simply poetry. ❤ ❤

-Syeki

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29 thoughts on “Heaven Official’s Blessing – Ch 38

Add yours

  1. thank you 😊 , and omg the husky and his white cat shizun ☺💗 I love it! I finished the novel reading mtl trans but I’m waiting for rynnamonrolls trans (it’s so good!) and gonna read it again

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this!! I’m honestly awed by your translations as it really doesn’t seem like one. It feels like you’re breathing life to the characters and to the storyline because of the words that you use. And of course, the details that you give are incredible. As a non-Chinese speaker, this translation is easily one of the best out of all HOB translations. Thank you very much and I will be anticipating the next chapters 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just wanted to say that your translation is absolute art. Your words flow so beautifully, and it really feels so smooth! Often I forget that this is even a translation: your work is THAT good. Thank you so, so, so much for breaking down a huge language barrier and allowing us access to stories we never would have known otherwise. Syeki, you are truly an angel. I really, really appreciate you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Welcome back! Loved the chapter and the translation. Simply perfect.

    Ha ha! An indirect kiss! That’s why he wanted the half eaten bun! Lolz… what a cutie/ hottie. I love these two to bits. Fans self and eagerly awaits the next chapter.

    Liked by 1 person

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