“Eat, sleep, and fight Wei Shi.” – Yin Shi
“Isn’t there something wrong with that statement?” – Ling Shi
The moon had already risen in the west. It was time for people to rest, despite that; there were two people in a boat at the Eastern City’s rebirth pond. It could only be said that, since those who didn’t help their friends would encounter bad luck, one had to carefully choose one’s friends. Once you were friends, it would be too late; as your friends would rely on you.
“I’ve already grasped the essentials of rowing, so we shouldn’t have any problems getting there,” said Luo Shi while Yue Tui operated the paddles.
Just then, the two of them had rushed to the pond preparing to salvage Fan Tong. However, they’d forgotten that they had no experience in boating. Finding someone to help would take too long, so they had to bite the bullet and figure it out on their own.
Out of the two of them, Yue Tui had never salvaged someone from the pond, but he had Fan Tong for a friend. Perhaps in the future, he would become an expert salvager. Currently though, Yue Tui had absolutely no experience with boats and suddenly being tossed into this situation made things difficult. Although Luo Shi had salvaged someone before, his only purpose in this task was to act as the “leader.” Due to his status, it was only natural that he was the one giving instructions. Since there were only two people in the boat including himself, he could only sit down and tell Yue Tui to start rowing, which seemed rather unjustified. Friends should work together and share in each other’s hardships! Therefore, Luo Shi put aside his status as a prince and started rowing also. Fan Tong should be honored that a prince was helping to fish him out of the pond.
The two teenagers who had never rowed a boat before found it difficult to coordinate everything and were naturally very confused. It could only be said that they lacked mutual understanding. Fortunately, after flailing around for a bit and nearly capsizing, Yue Tui got the hang of things and was able to coordinate with Luo Shi. At last, the boat went forward.
Since the moon exerted a strong influence on the pond, using Shufa Fuzhou was impossible. They could only rely on the strength of their own body, so they had to dutifully row the boat. If they could use Fuzhou, then they wouldn’t have had any difficulties. Again, there wasn’t any need to make things so troublesome!
“Row towards the other side of the pond,” Luo Shi instructed, but Yue Tui didn’t understand.
“Because Fan Tong is unlucky. He’s so unlucky that he would surely be reborn in a place that’s far away from the dock and also very difficult to swim from.”
Yue Tui laughed bitterly at Luo Shi’s theory. It was a reasonable argument. Only, if Fan Tong was truly unlucky, they’d probably reach their destination only to find that he had been reborn in the middle or the front of the pond. They would pass by him completely.
“Do you know why you can’t touch self-aware weapons?” Luo Shi suddenly asked, catching Yue Tui off guard. The guilty look on Yue Tui’s face could be considered as an answer, as it explained everything.
“I’m sorry. I just… It’s a matter that I can’t explain to you.” Even though Luo Shi had seen right through him, Yui Tui truly didn’t understand the matter all that well, so he could only hide what he knew and apologize.
“You aren’t actually Hui Shi, right?” Luo Shi said in an incredulous tone and fixed a clear gaze on the other.
“No, I’m not Hui Shi,” Yue Tui straightforwardly rejected the possibility. Even though he heard the reply, Luo Shi was still unwilling to give up.
“Then why do you look just like him?”
It was a truly vexing question. Even if they looked alike, Yue Tui had no idea why.
“I heard something over there; maybe it’s Fan Tong…” Yui Tui was initially perplexed and didn’t know how to answer. Just then, he suddenly heard a sound in the pond. He immediately brought the matter up and quickly pointed to the place where the sound came from.
“Tch, as expected, he ended up regenerating there. Let’s quickly row over!”
In this rebirth, Fan Tong realized something: the problems of incurring debt. Besides the pain that came along with regeneration, there was also the risk to his survival after he finished regenerating.
After suffering through the agony of another rebirth, his body limply floated up through the pond. His limbs wouldn’t move according to his wishes, yet he had to start swimming if he wanted to live. The chances of his body suddenly cramping and then his subsequent drowning was extremely high!
Fortunately, just when he floated up to the surface of the pond, he heard Luo Shi and Yue Tui’s voices. To Fan Tong, it was like hearing the voices of angels.
Ah… This is great. I actually have people here to pick me up. I don’t have to swim ashore myself. All that painstaking effort in making friends on my part, wasn’t it all for this very moment?
“Yue Tui, throw the net… Huh? Why don’t we have a net?”
Luo Shi’s voice sounded distressed. Their boat was missing the essential tool for fishing someone out of the pond.
“Eh? We need a net? I saw some on the shore, but I didn’t bring any with us.”
Yue Tui didn’t know that picking someone up from the Rebirth Pond equaled fishing them out with a net. He didn’t make the connection when he saw the nets lying on the shore. Sure enough, it was easy to make a mistake when one wasn’t experienced.
The currently floating Fan Tong became silent when he heard the other two’s conversation.
Hey, why are you guys so unprofessional? Shouldn’t you two be more careful? Don’t tell me you forgot to bring everything, including my clothes?! Do you want me to go ashore naked? Even if we are all guys, it would still be awkward!
“We’ll have to row in closer and pull him up. There’s no other way.”
After Luo Shi made the decision, he and Yue Tui started rowing the boat towards Fan Tong. But, as they weren’t very skilled in rowing, another tragedy occurred.
The small boat collided head-on with Fan Tong. He sank back into the pond and choked down a large mouthful of water.
“Yue Tui, I said to row in closer and pull him up! Why did you collide with him?”
Luo Shi’s voice sounded extremely frightened. At that moment, he swung his paddle and smacked Fan Tong, who had just floated up, back into the depths of the pond.
“Luo Shi, your paddle just struck him on the head!”
Yue Tui also sounded extremely nervous. Fan Tong, on the other hand, was speechless.
I say… Do the two of you want to kill me? Are you guys here to save me or to harm me? Are you guys deliberately forcing me to curse on paper? Yue Tui, don’t think that nothing would happen to you just because you can’t read the Eastern City’s language. My English may not be good, but I am well-versed in English profanities.
“Fa-Fan Tong, grab my hand.”
Fan Tong was choking and feeling lightheaded; he flailed wildly and grabbed onto Yue Tui’s hand. Just when Yue Tui was about to pull him up to the boat, Luo Shi cried out in alarm. Clearly, something else had happened.
“Yue Tui, the boat’s leaning sideways! We’ll capsize like this!”
Then you should go stand at the opposite side and use your weight to maintain the boat’s balance. What are you doing coming over here? Do you actually want to capsize?
“Oh? Then, should I let go of Fan Tong?”
Yue Tui was undecided. To let go of his nearly drowning friend was slightly… No, it was clearly very cruel.
No! Don’t abandon me! I don’t want to die! Don’t bully me because I can’t speak right now due to my choking—
Splash! The boat rocked back and forth and then stabilized. Both Yue Tui and Luo Shi had jumped into the pond.
“Hah… Fan Tong, we’ll swim back with you to shore. Here, I’ll support you,” Yue Tui said helplessly, sweeping back his dripping, golden hair.
“Your bad luck is truly rubbing off on us. By being together with you, we have to suffer too!”
Since Luo Shi had also jumped down, he was drenched through and through. He grumbled as he treaded water to keep afloat. It appeared that both Yue Tui and Luo Shi were good at swimming.
However… The situation had developed to such a stage. This time’s fishing could be said to have been a huge failure.
“Relax so you can float,” Yue Tui instructed Fan Tong on how to adapt to being in the middle of the pond. Fan Tong felt somewhat wronged. How can I relax in front of you two when I’m completely naked?
“Fan Tong, if you’re not going to swim, then do you need us to support you all the way to shore?” Luo Shi narrowed his eyes dangerously.
“Didn’t you bring any clothes for me?” Fan Tong finally found an opportunity to bring up this important issue.
“Ah!” Yue Tui cried out and looked at the boat that had floated some distance away. He shook his head.
“Swimming while wearing clothes will only make it more difficult on you. You can just put on clothes when we reach the shore.”
“If you say it like that, then you guys should also put on clothes!” No, I meant to say that you guys should also take off your clothes, so that we’ll all be in the same situation.
“Are you trying to tell us to undress? Ah, who cares about you?” Luo Shi understood what he’d meant, but was completely uninterested in complying.
“It’s hard to undress underwater, especially when our clothes are already wet,” Yue Tui explained.
That is definitely an excuse. Don’t give me excuses! Just take your clothes off!
“Hurry up and swim. We still need to sleep.” There was truth to that sentence, as Yue Tui appeared extremely weary. Yue Tui had indeed done a lot of running around today, and rowing all the way out here must have been tiring. However, Fan Tong had just been reborn, so he was full of energy. After we go home, I’m afraid I won’t be able to sleep at all.
“You’ve already drowned twice, but since you didn’t drown this time, shouldn’t you be able to swim?” Fan Tong believed that he hadn’t told Luo Shi about the matter of him drowning before. Could it be that Luo Shi had looked it up? Did the city keep records on New Residents’ deaths? He had died in such a stupid way that day, though no one was around to see it. Such information is actually available to the public? There aren’t any privacy rights here, are there?!
But as Luo Shi had specifically researched how he died; he was probably truly concerned for him. Though Fan Tong still preferred it if no one knew that he’d died so stupidly. That being said, every single one of his deaths up till now had been stupid. As long as my deaths don’t become even more stupid from now on, should I consider it as an improvement?
Anyways, the three people who had nothing better to do began swimming towards the shore. They left the boat where it was, as Luo Shi could just order someone to deal with it later.
It was a trying test of Fan Tong’s physical strength and ability to swim from the point he had been reborn to the shore. It wasn’t all that strange for his body to start hurting after swimming halfway.
“Is it your hand or your foot?”
It’s hard even for me to tell, but it doesn’t matter whether it’s my hand or my foot, can’t you tell I need help?
“Fan Tong, pull yourself together. Just use the hand and foot that aren’t hurting to swim…” Yue Tui told him a method of swimming that no normal person could possibly accomplish. Maybe Yue Tui himself could do it, so he instructed him as if other people had the same ability. In conclusion, Yue Tui was a truly unique existence.
“Impossible! It’s possible for normal people!”
“Is it possible or impossible?” Luo Shi once again added from the side.
I think a normal person would know that I meant to say “impossible.” I really do.
Anyway, my feet hurt. I can’t continue swimming. I’m going to drown no matter what. You guys don’t have to worry about me anymore.
“Fa-Fan Tong!” Yue Tui reached out and dragged him back up. Seeing the situation, Luo Shi also swam over to help.
“Fan Tong, do you really have such little desire to live? Dying will cost you another hundred strings.”
Luo Shi, you are clearly a Natural Resident. How can you use something like money to calculate the value of a human life?
Three people… No, two people plus one dead weight, finally arrived at the shore after many difficulties. Fan Tong hurriedly put on the clothes that Yue Tui had brought him from the exit. Only then did he regain a measure of comfort.
“Let’s leave first, then we’ll be able to use Fuzhou and Shufa again.”
It’s a good thing Fuzhou and Shufa can be used to dry off. Both Luo Shi and Yue Tui are soaking wet right now, if they don’t dry off, they might get sick.
“Oh right. Fan Tong, as you’ve started carrying around a few personal items with you, there are some things you must understand. When you die, your soul will go to the pond to be reborn, but your personal belongings will remain behind at the spot where you died. If you were carrying around something important, you’ll have to return to that place to collect it. If you get robbed, then your things are just gone. People passing by will often steal things like money, so don’t expect too much.” Fan Tong’s expression sank as he listened to Luo Shi’s explanation. Dying was already depressing enough, but now it also caused one to become penniless. Wasn’t Luo Shi just telling him that he shouldn’t carry around too many things?
That being said, isn’t the mop still at Yin Shi’s place? Just leaving it there doesn’t seem like a bad option.
“Don’t worry Fan Tong; I’ve brought your mop along with me… Ah! I left it on the boat!” The second Yue Tui finished speaking, his face paled considerably.
By “left it on the boat,” do you mean that you left it on that small boat over there in the middle of the pond? Well then… Job well done, Yue Tui. You don’t need to retrieve it. I don’t want it in any case. It’s fine just leaving it there for some lucky person to pick up. Even then, other people probably wouldn’t want it either.
“It doesn’t matter. I’ll get someone to retrieve it and return it to you later. Nobody would pick up that sort of thing anyways.”
Luo Shi, although your intentions are good, I think you’re just being a busybody… Regardless, since I always have to bring a weapon with me when I go out, maybe the next time I accidentally die, there won’t be anyone around, then I can get rid of Puhahaha!
Why does it seem like I’ve just cursed myself to die again?
“Fan Tong, I was just thinking.” Luo Shi looked rather serious, so Fan Tong also regarded him solemnly. “That two hundred and five strings… There’s no need to pay me back. Your debt just keeps increasing, and since this amount money means nothing to me, I’ll just write it off.”
Fan Tong didn’t expect Luo Shi to suddenly say something like that. He was a little surprised. He’d always thought Luo Shi was the type of person who would say “Even if we’re friends, we still have to settle our accounts.” He’d never expected Luo Shi to suddenly reveal a charitable side. Was it because after having seen him die so many times, and in such miserable ways, Luo Shi couldn’t help but feel sympathetic towards him?
However, as a man of indomitable spirit, not paying back his debt was something he shouldn’t do. Due to that, Fan Tong reluctantly decided to refuse the offer.
“How can I allow that! I borrowed money from you, so it’s only right that I return every single bit of it back to you!” After Fan Tong spoke, Luo Shi’s expression became cold.
“So you never intended to pay me back?”
Eh? What? Ah, I had spoken correctly just now, but you believe I had spoken the opposite because of the curse, is that it?
“Just now, the sentence I’d spoken hadn’t been affected by the curse. I sincerely believe I should pay you back…”
“There’s no need to continue repeating how much you don’t want to repay me. It doesn’t matter.”
“That’s not it!”
“Forget it. Since the words are already out, I can’t take them back just because you never intended on repaying me.”
It’s an misunderstanding! A big misunderstanding! How come I spoke three sentences in a row and none of them were affected by the curse? What is the probability of that? A tenth of a tenth of a tenth?
“Fan Tong, even if you didn’t intend on repaying Luo Shi, you don’t have to be so obvious about it,” Yue Tui advised him.
Since when did the two of you become so chummy with each other? Yue Tui, how come you aren’t helping me out? Why did you change sides?
“Luo Shi, thank you for today. We’ve caused you quite a lot of trouble,” Yue Tui then said to Luo Shi, speaking in a extremely polite manner. As for Fan Tong, he thought that there was no need to be overly polite when speaking with friends… The three of them could be considered friends, right?
Luo Shi’s attitude towards him was friendlier than how Zhu Sha treated him. He might need to give more thought on how to improve his relationship with that roommate of his. The problem was that even though he’d already explained his curse to Zhu Sha, the latter didn’t believe it. Zhu Sha already regarded him as an incessant liar, correcting that seemed a bit difficult.
“You’re welcome. It didn’t take all that much effort. There’s no need to thank me,” Luo Shi responded in the same polite tone out of habit. In any case, they knew what he’d meant, so the superficial words didn’t affect them.
“Also, Fan Tong, even though you unexpectedly died at Yin Shi’s place, you had been told specifically to go through the left door. But you just had to go through another door, so your death this time is because of your own stupidity. Since it’s like that, it’s unlikely Yin Shi will help you out by paying your rebirth fee.”
Oh, my heart feels so cold. Are people not allowed to be arrogant once in a while and do some unnecessary things? Can’t we talk this over? Luo Shi, can you write off my debt to the Eastern City instead? I’ll repay the debt I owe you personally when I get the money. At least that way, when I die next time, I won’t experience even more pain during the rebirth.
“Oh yeah, your leftovers have already been delivered to your dorm, you should see them when you return home.”
That was very considerate of Luo Shi. In fact, when they were still at Yin Shi’s place, Fan Tong had already been contemplating on how they were going to carry so much food back to their dorm.
“I should probably go home then. Goodbye!”
“Fan Tong, shut up.”
Luo Shi, you can be so vicious at times.
Fan Tong and Yue Tui parted ways with Luo Shi at the entrance of the Rebirth Pond. The two of them immediately went back to their dorm. The sooner they returned, the sooner they could go to sleep, then they wouldn’t have to suffer through a day of sleep deprivation tomorrow. However, when they opened the door to their room, they saw a will-o’-the-wisp floating inside.
“Wh-what happened?” Fan Tong said, his courage wavering. The strange atmosphere in the room made him want to flee.
“I don’t know…” Yue Tui said, but he still courageously walked into the room, turning on the lights as he did.
With the lights on, the room didn’t seem as sinister anymore. Fan Tong looked around and found that there were quite a few boxes stacked around the room; which probably contained the leftovers Yin Shi had sent over. The source of the gloomy atmosphere, Zhu Sha, was currently sitting on his bed and hugging his knees.
He can’t be angry, right? They had been gone the entire day without telling him, and had only returned now.
But if he was truly worried, couldn’t he have just used his communication charm to contact us?
“Oh… You’re back,” Zhu Sha lifted his head and glanced at them, a dismal look on his face. He then buried his face back between his knees.
“Zhu Sha, what happened to you?” It was rare seeing him so dejected. Fan Tong couldn’t help but ask concernedly.
“I overslept… I overslept so much that I ended up missing class…” Zhu Sha looked as if the world had ended.
So he was depressed over this… He really is a good student.
“I’m sorry, because you told us not to disturb you while you are sleeping, we didn’t wake you up.” Yue Tui immediately apologized, feeling guilty for not waking Zhu Sha. This morning, he had hesitated on the matter. In the end, Yue Tui decided to respect Zhu Sha’s wishes and let him sleep. He’d never thought that missing class would make the latter so dejected.
“I’m the one who overslept… I just, randomly didn’t wake up…” It seemed like Zhu Sha was blaming himself instead of them. , But they still felt a little responsible for not waking him up.
He just missed class for one day. Is it really that serious? He’s making it like it’s the end of the world. That being said, until when did he sleep?
“Then… Have you eaten anything today? We have some leftovers. Do you want anything to eat?” In addition to always attending school, Zhu Sha also persisted in eating three meals every day. Yue Tui asked him in the hopes that it would lift his spirits.
“No, I can’t. I have to punish myself…”
He really is depressed, to see so much food and not even be a little curious about where it all came from.
“If you’re not going to eat anything, then why don’t you get some rest so you can go to school tomorrow? It’s already very late.” Yue Tui gently suggested, but Zhu Sha shook his head.
“You guys can go sleep… Don’t bother with me.”
Since the depressed person already said not to bother with him, all they could do was leave him alone for the moment.
Yue Tui nimbly climbed up to the middle bunk and immediately went to sleep. Fan Tong also climbed up to the top bunk. Things like showering could wait for when he got up in the morning. Besides, he just had a swim in the pond. Instead of showering, the thing troubling him the most at the moment was the fact that he was full of energy after his rebirth. He couldn’t sleep at all.
At the end of every month, when the moon was full, the Eastern City held a “Judgment Day.”
Criminals yet to be judged were sentenced according to the severity of their crimes and those who received the death sentence would be condemned to die on the same day the next month.
If there was a controversial or significant case, then the queen and her five attendants would preside over it.
The final decision, however, rested in the hands of the queen. The accused’s relatives always tried all sorts of ways to plead for mercy, but the Queen always remained indifferent.
Usually, no more than ten cases were referred to the queen and the five attendants every month. Trials were conducted in Shen Wang Dian, on a pavilion outside the first palace where the criminals were escorted to. Letting them be there in person to defend themselves was ironic though, since the only people brought to Shen Wang Dian are those accused of felonies and gagged with a Shufa rendering them unable to speak.
The queen and the five attendants usually discussed the case among themselves, while the accused waited silently for their fate to be decided. Only when asked a question could the accused speak, at which point someone would undo the Shufa that kept them silent. Often though, a verdict would be reached without the criminal ever being allowed to speak.
“This is my least favorite day of the month,” Yin Shi would always mumble to himself. But he had no choice except to attend and so he was always on edge on Judgement Day.
Ling Shi felt that it was no different from any other day of the month, except that he would surely see Wei Shi, which put him in bit of a bad mood.
Luo Shi always confronted the day with a serious manner, although he was usually very upset.
Although Xi Ying always presided over the trials, no one could ever determine her mood. Her face was always cold and expressionless – even more so in the past two years since Hui Shi’s disappearance. Ever since Hui Shi disappeared, she had also been much quicker to reach a verdict during the trials.
Or perhaps it should be said, she had been quicker to sentence accused criminals to death.
The only one who seemed to like this day, so much so that one could say it was his favorite day of the month, was Wei Shi.
If the criminal on trial was a Natural Resident, he remained impartial. Regrettably, on the Judgment Day, 80% of the criminals brought to Shen Wang Dian were New Residents.
Wei Shi apparently considered the suffering and misfortune of New Residents to be a source of happiness. Every time a New Resident was on trial he would do his utmost to give them severe punishments, preferably the death penalty. His malice was successful because the Queen usually took his advice.
It could be that he simply loathed New Residents, but regardless, this was one of the reasons why everyone hated him. It would not be wrong to call him the greatest enemy of New Residents.
As for why Queen Xi Ying always accepted Wei Shi’s suggestions, there were many different opinions. There were those who thought that Queen Xi Ying simply had the same mindset as Wei Shi, that she simply loathed New Residents, while others said that it was because Wei Shi understood the Queen’s mindset best. There had always been a lot of gossip on this subject, but after the most dramatic gossipers were arrested and punished, no one dared to tread on the topic anymore.
“Death penalty. If someone commits one crime, they will definitely commit a second and it may even be worse than the first one. New Residents simply cannot be trusted, and I believe there is no more to discuss for this case. We should directly deal a death sentence. This time next month Eastern City will have one less piece of trash.”
They were on the third trial of the day and two people had already been sentenced to death. Just like in the past, Wei Shi simply wanted to hand out the most severe punishment.
After this barbaric statement, Yin Shi lost his patience and decided to mock him. “You always say the same meaningless words on every Judgment Day. Forget about directly sentencing people to death. Going by your words, everyone is damned!”
Looking down his nose, Wei Shi replied,“If you have an opinion about the trial, I suggest that you find a stronger argument to defend the accused. You’re speaking nonsense, and you won’t help anyone like this.”
Perhaps one of the reasons why Wei Shi liked Judgment Day was because he could arrogantly suppress people he considered objectionable, since the entire day was pretty much his “one-man show.”
“Ah, how dare you call my words nonsensical! Damn Wei Shi, do you want me to show you what true nonsense is? Your hair has just grown back, but so has your . In these past years, you haven’t managed to rise a single rank and change the color of your tassel, yet you still dare to be this loudmouthed—”
“Yin Shi, stop talking.” said Xi Ying emotionlessly, not wanting the trial to turn into a farce. She also didn’t want those two fighting on the pavilion.
“Ying, you’re always like this… telling me to stop talking but never telling that damn Wei Shi to shut up…”
“Are you going to stop talking?” When she narrowed her eyes at him, Yin Shi had no choice but to obediently shut up and sulk by himself.
“Your Majesty, I earnestly request that you sentence this criminal to death.”
Turning towards Xi Ying, Wei Shi spoke respectfully, not forgetting to throw a gloating look towards the disadvantaged Yin Shi.
“Ling Shi! Doesn’t it look like that damn Wei Shi needs a beating?” Yin Shi said through gritted teeth as he forcefully pulled at a corner of Ling Shi’s clothes.
“Do you really think Ying will indulge you when you both just had a fight in front of her? In the end, have you still not learned your lesson? How many times has this happened?” Although Ling Shi disliked Wei Shi, he didn’t feel the same as Yin Shi.
“I’m seriously angry!” Yin Shi’s restlessness was completely different from Ling Shi’s cool-headed attitude, but Ling Shi felt no need to calm him down as long as he wasn’t causing a commotion at the moment.
“Do as Wei Shi says,” Xi Ying said indifferently, agreeing with Wei Shi’s judgment. Hearing this, Wei Shi was extremely pleased with himself. He gave the signal for the death penalty to be written down as the official sentence, and signaled for the criminal to be taken away.
One could tell by looking at the gleeful expression on his face, as if he had just won a game, one that he would probably never get tired of playing; a game of toying with other peoples’ fate.
Continuing on, the fourth criminal was brought out and his crimes were recited, and the trial of the fourth criminal of the day officially began.
“Put him to death. I think his argument of ‘self-defense’ is completely unsupportable. Continuing to allow this kind of person to walk around Eastern City will only cause more harm to Natural Residents.” As always, Wei Shi rushed to give his opinion about why the accused should be sentenced to death, and this time, Luo Shi couldn’t help but to try refuting him.
“I believe that his crime isn’t worthy of death. That Natural Resident didn’t die, and a misunderstanding is what caused the incident. The attack wasn’t premeditated, and the prisoner shows remorse, not to mention there could be factors that we don’t know about. Dealing out the death penalty so quickly is not fair to the prisoner.”
Hearing Luo Shi’s opinion, Xi Ying frowned, remaining silent. Wei Shi gave him a contemptuous look, thinking that he was too naïve, and continued speaking.
“Doing that would reach the limit of indulgence; New Residents are outsiders and cannot be trusted. Instead of contemplating issues concerning New Residents, we should do as much as possible to protect the interests of Natural Residents. Someone like this person could potentially harm Natural Residents, so there is no reason to give him another chance to do so.”
“Wei Shi, who have you ever given another chance?” Luo Shi couldn’t stop himself from speaking out in anger after hearing that kind of twisted logic; he certainly couldn’t go on listening to it. “We bring the New Residents here, we exploit the New Residents, but once again you’re saying that we can’t trust the outsiders, isn’t that just too extreme? You always blindly demean New Residents, never trying to understand them, shouldn’t you know why their souls are attracted by the power of Chen Yue? Many of the New Residents suffered a lot in their original worlds, most of them suffered a miserable fate, and there are even people who were massacred. Since we welcome them as residents of Eastern City, then we should give them a new start. With the hope that life brings, shouldn’t they be allowed to heal their wounds? They are also alive, they also strive to be hard-working residents of Eastern City! You can’t always act as if the Natural Residents are the masters of New Residents, as if the New Residents are tools that you can just throw out whenever you want and replace them with another!”
In the past, during Judgment Days, Luo Shi often spoke up on behalf of New Residents, but this was the first time he had spoken so much. Yin Shi and Ling Shi looked towards him, surprised.
Wei Shi, however, remained unmoved. “Yes, I do indeed believe that the New Residents are tools that can be discarded. Furthermore, I believe that they need to clearly recognize this. They should try to make themselves useful instead of making things troublesome for their masters. You want to talk about life? They’re already dead. As for saying that they deserve sympathy for their suffering, that’s even more ridiculous. One of Chen Yue’s conditions for attracting souls is that the soul must have a deep obsession. How do you know that they weren’t heinous criminals in their original worlds who were executed for their crimes? There’s no need to let them heal their wounds, give them hope, or show them compassion. Sealing off their memories with Shufa should be enough, that’s the most rational thing to do.” With that, Wei Shi slammed his right fist onto the table. “You side with the New Residents, forgetting to consider what Natural Residents think. How can Xi Ying feel at ease knowing that you will inherit her position as the city’s ruler? The Natural Residents are your people, we are the same, the New Residents are nothing!”
Hearing this long mess of a speech, Luo Shi wanted to refute his words, but couldn’t find his voice.
Xi Ying didn’t look at him or at Wei Shi. She just coldly looked ahead, as if she hadn’t heard the debate.
“So you also know that Xiao Luo Shi will inherit his mother’s position, so why are you pitting yourself against him, you’ll end up dead later…” Yin Shi chattered annoyingly from his seat. Of course, everyone around him could hear the annoying chatter, and after Xi Ying gave him another look, he quieted down.
“Mother, please give the accused another chance.” Luo Shi begged in a weak voice, hoping that he could still change the outcome of the trial.
“Your Majesty, in order to protect Natural Residents, you must sentence the accused to death, this is the most correct thing to do.” Of course, Wei Shi still wanted the accused to be executed.
Xi Ying was silent for a moment, and then made her decision. “Do as Wei Shi says.”
The fate of the accused still did not change. Seeing the person being taken away, Luo Shi bit down on his lip, finding it difficult to accept.
“Ah…” Ling Shi usually never expressed his opinions during the trials. For him, Xi Ying’s words were the law. Even if he did have an opinion about a case, he would never try to influence Xi Ying’s decisions, as it was his role to simply obey. Therefore, he could only sigh and listen to Yin Shi’s complaints.
After the details of the fifth criminal’s case were read out, Wei Shi was once again the first one to speak. “Death—”
“Death penalty! We all know that that’s what you are going to say! Is it really necessary to listen to you say it again? Ah, this is boring, when is this going to be over? Wei Shi’s voice is so damn unpleasant to listen to.” Yin Shi yawned rudely, as if he found the whole day to be unbearable.
“Interrupting other people is extremely discourteous behavior. Did you not have lessons on proper etiquette?” Wei Shi protested unhappily, but Yin Shi didn’t pay any attention to him.
“Ying, are you going to tell me to shut up again?”
Xi Ying’s expression wasn’t pretty, but she didn’t reply right away.
“This case is only a small matter. We can teach him a lesson by giving him a hundred lashes. We resort to the death penalty too much. We are always executing people, even our own citizens. I really don’t like it. Damn Wei Shi is too cruel, and you’re becoming cruel just like him. Nobody would dare to associate with a girl like that, so don’t give out the death penalty again.”
Xi Ying still didn’t answer, so Wei Shi angrily rebuked Yin Shi. “When you address Her Majesty, you need to consider your attitude! A hundred lashes? Can that even be considered a punishment? How can a generous sentence like that even serve as a warning? If we merely served out lashes, no one in the city would think twice of committing a crime! If that kind of thing were to happen, would you be willing to take responsibility?”
“Ah, Ling Shi, we’ve misunderstood Wei Shi! We’d thought he was biased and cruel, turns out he’s just afraid to bear the responsibility for not administering the death penalty.”
“What do you mean by that?! You need to talk less rubbish.”
“We always go with whatever Wei Shi decides, so what’s the point of gathering us three other attendants here? You might as well let me leave so I can go find Xiao Rou to play.” Once again ignoring Wei Shi’s protests, Yin Shi directly spoke to Xi Ying, but the latter pursed her lips, apparently disapproving his words.
“Enough. I can make my own judgments. There is no need for you to be so talkative. Death penalty.”
“Ah—” Yin Shi made a disgruntled noise when he saw Xi Ying once again siding with Wei Shi. Ling Shi immediately cut him off by pinching his arm and whispering, “It’d be better for you to refrain from talking so much.”
“Eh? Don’t talk? But then Wei Shi would get to make all the decisions!” Yin Shi whispered back.
“What I’m saying is, don’t add in so many unnecessary words… Forget it, if I were to wait for you to understand, I might have to wait until my next life.”
The fifth criminal also couldn’t escape his fate. The only one who was happy about the results of the trial was probably Wei Shi.
Two more criminals were brought in and then carried out. Finally, the last criminal was brought in. By then, the only one who still seemed willing to speak was Wei Shi. For the others, even if they did speak out, the results wouldn’t change. This was the greatest example of the idea that it was pointless to speak sometimes.
“Death penalty.” With her ice cold voice, Xi Ying dealt out the sentence, sealing the criminal’s fate.
All of the criminals had been judged; today’s trials were officially over. As if she had no interest in lingering in the room for another second, Xi Ying immediately stood up, undid the Shufa boundary around the stage, and walked down.
Beneath the stage, guards were trying to drag the last condemned criminal out of the room. A stunned expression was on the criminal’s face, as if he couldn’t believe what was happening. When he saw Xi Ying walk down the stage, even though he was scared of the guards, he tried to throw them off, and shouted at her.
“Your Majesty! Why? I didn’t do anything wrong, they attacked me first! I’m the victim here, why must I be the one to be executed?”
Immediately afterwards, Yin Shi and the others watched as the New Resident-hating Wei Shi reprimanded the criminal.
“The judgment has already been made, so whatever you say now is useless. Won’t you guys shut him up? Are you going to continue allowing him to offend Her Majesty?”
Hearing Wei Shi’s instructions, the guards understood and tried to handle the situation. But in the end, they began to panic, since they didn’t have anything to cover the criminal’s mouth.
“This judgment is not fair! Why did you so carelessly decide to have me killed? Release me, I won’t accept this! I won’t go back to prison and wait to die. Murdering people like this, you’re all guilty, all guilty―”
The guards had not resolved the situation in time, and the accused took the opportunity to protest some more. Finally, they used their hands to grab the criminal and covered his mouth, but at this time, Xi Ying took a step forward.
She lifted her hand, not too slow and not too fast. Her slender fingers emerged from her long sleeves and deadly ice-blue lightning bolts shot from her hand, piercing the forehead of the criminal who had spoken rudely. They went straight through his brain and out the back of his head, leaving several terrible, bloody holes.
The guards who were originally holding the criminal finally became aware that the person had already been turned into a corpse, and that just a moment ago, when Xi Ying had moved her hand, there had been power in it, along with light. Everyone at the scene naturally knew what it meant.
They did not need to bother going to the pool to retrieve the prisoner, because it was already impossible for that person to revive from the pool.
“Ying…” Seeing this, Yin Shi looked as if he wanted to say something, but Xi Ying paid him no attention and left, Wei Shi following behind. Luo Shi stared dully at the bloody scene for a while until the guards carried away the corpse, and he left with an ugly look on his face.
“…Ying used to talk to me about all the city’s affairs. How did she become like this…” Yin Shi said absentmindedly, seeming somewhat melancholic. “Surely it’s that damn Wei Shi’s fault! Ling Shi, tonight, can we steal into his room and throw out his clothes?”
“You want to do what to his clothes? Anyway, where would you put them?” Ling Shi sighed, and regarded him for a bit. “Speaking of pretty boys, you could also be called one, except you don’t act like one.”
“Ah! What are you saying? You’ll have to go and be an old pretty boy by yourself. I have Xiao Rou!” Yin Shi said, rubbing the side of his head. “I’m in a bad mood. I’m going to chat with Xiao Rou, so I’m leaving now.”
“You’re truly serious?” Hearing Yin Shi mention Bi Rou again, Ling Shi asked another question. “You’re the one who placed the mark on her body. Aren’t you worried that she might be just another Luo Yue spy?”
With this kind of sensitive topic being brought up, Yin Shi couldn’t feel happy. “What, old man, aren’t you also quite fond of her?”
“I don’t dislike her. I just want to confirm how you see her.”
“Xiao Rou couldn’t be evil. Your brain is broken. All day long, you suspect that there could be a Western City spy. Am I not the Western City’s biggest spy? Why don’t you arrest me, hmph.”
“You’re not, right? Do not say this kind of thing. You will make Ying uncomfortable,” said Ling Shi, intending to finish the conversation. “I’m going to go. Ying’s clothes are bloodstained. I’m going to make sure she doesn’t need to change.” Ling Shi truly was a dutiful attendant. Yin Shi waved a good-bye, then left Shen Wang Dian himself.
Coincidentally, the school had let the students out for vacation on the same day as Judgement Day. Fan Tong should’ve been happily making arrangements and planning what he wanted to do over the break. Unfortunately, he didn’t actually have the means to live such a leisurely life.
Yue Tui and Zhu Sha could happily plan how to spend their vacation, but Mi Zhong had dragged him away for a temporary job assignment. He had to give up his valuable personal time in order to pay back his debt.
“Fan Tong, this job isn’t bad. It’s both effortless and simple, so why do you have on such a bitter expression?”
Half the reason is because you’re my work partner, the other half is because your words are simply a bunch of nonsense.
They were currently standing guard on top of the city wall. It really was a simple job, as they didn’t even need to move. However, what did Mi Zhong mean by saying the job was “effortless?” The so-called “no need to move” was actually “they weren’t allowed to move.” They had to stand there for the entire day, could that really be considered effortless and simple work?
Mi Zhong had told him that he could pay off 10 more strings of debt if he stood guard for the entire day. With that, his debt would officially change to 280 strings. Fan Tong honestly felt powerless at that revelation. Compared to the job he had during Chen Yue Jie, it was much more difficult to earn money now. Truly…
“I’ll tell you if there are any more opportunities to earn money, so why don’t you help me get Lord Ling Shi’s autograph?”
Mi Zhong made that kind of request whenever he had the opportunity to. His obsession over Ling Shi was something Fan Tong completely couldn’t understand.
If you really want a noble goddess to keep in your heart as a source of comfort, then why don’t you find an actual “goddess” instead of a “god?” Are there not any beautiful women in Eastern City? The queen’s looks aren’t bad; even though her son Luo Shi is almost an adult. She should be pretty old, but at least she looks as if she’s in her twenties. She’s also the queen, so why do you think she’s incomparable to Ling Shi?
Regarding Mi Zhong’s request, Fan Tong vigorously shook his head as he was afraid of opening his mouth and having his curse flip his words again. Help him get an autograph? He really didn’t want Ling Shi to think of him as strange.
“You really are no fun, aren’t you? Anyways, since you know so many important people, why haven’t you used those connections to get rid of your debt? This is very suspicious. Don’t tell me you’ve been lying about knowing them?”
When it came to “knowing important people,” Fan Tong felt that he actually wasn’t very familiar with them. He was somewhat familiar with Luo Shi. Yin Shi liked to call himself their friend. As for Ling Shi, he couldn’t tell whether or not he saw them in a friendly way. Fan Tong felt that his connections with these important people were all due to an accident that was completely unrelated to making friends.
In order to keep Mi Zhong from nagging him even more, Fan Tong decided to not provoke the man by bringing up the matter of him having seen Ling Shi in casual clothes.
“Mi Zhong, we’re having a good conversation. Let’s talk about something boring.”
It should be I want him to talk about something interesting since I’m bored. My words got flipped again.
“Something boring? Do you want me to tell you a story? What price are you willing to pay in exchange for my services?”
“If you want to act familiar with me, then you should at least make an effort to be sincere about our friendship.”
“Oh! Then, Fan Tong, what do you want to hear?” Mi Zhong immediately put on a pleasing face, one that was worthy of a professional.
Although Mi Zhong was going to tell him a story, Fan Tong didn’t know what he wanted to hear about. At the moment, he still wasn’t very familiar with this world. The place he was most familiar with was probably the Rebirth Pond… So really, he didn’t know much!
“Say whatever you want.”
“Ooh, alright. Last time, weren’t we talking about Englar, the young emperor of Luo Yue? I’ll tell you some new rumors about him, how does that sound?”
Englar was the emperor who had allegedly killed three hundred thousand people single-handedly. Fan Tong still didn’t know if that was true or not. He thought for a bit, listening to a story about that kind of legendary character didn’t seem so bad. Besides, hadn’t Luo Shi told him that it was good to know the enemy? It wasn’t a bad idea to let Mi Zhong clear things up for him.
Fan Tong nodded in response. These days, he was nodding and shaking his head more often to express his emotions.
“Ahem! Last time, I mentioned that he had single-handedly massacred three hundred thousand people. This time, I’ll talk about his weapon, alright?”
Ooh! His weapon!
Fan Tong’s eyes brightened. Although he had already read information on the weapons belonging to Luo Yue’s young emperor and Eastern City’s queen countless times in his Wushu textbook, aside from the names, the information given was very general. Mi Zhong should be able to tell him a little bit more.
Although his eyes had brightened, when Fan Tong unwittingly glanced down and saw the still-sleeping mop hanging on his waist, his mood fell again.
Luo Shi had sent people to retrieve the mop from the boat and then had it delivered to Fan Tong. Puhahaha complained to him about how it had woken up and found itself alone on a boat, thinking that it had been abandoned… Due to his curse, Fan Tong could only respond with “That wasn’t the case,” “I was very worried that I had accidentally left you there,” and other such false remarks. Even though he’d wanted to let Puhahaha know he actually didn’t want it, he couldn’t do anything about it. He felt truly helpless at that.
Right now, he was going to hear about the Four Stringed Sword Tian Luo Yan. Even if he was curious, he could only sigh upon hearing stories of that kind of godly weapon. After all, they would never belong to him. He was really a bit sad about that.
“Englar’s weapon―Four Stringed Sword Tian Luo Yan―is said to need Shufa to activate. It is a magic blade just like Lunar Crescent Blade―Skies. When using a weapon like Tian Luo Yan, one must be familiar with its Shufa in order to draw out as much of its power as possible. With that information, Queen Xi Ying should also know how to use magic since she would need it to use Skies. Although she has a high-level weapon, she still needs to learn many things about the enemy, which can be quite exhausting. ”
At that moment, Fan Tong was reminded of a question that he had before. Luckily, Mi Zhong started explaining before he could even ask.
“You probably think this all sounds very strange. As a matter of fact, a long time ago, Eastern City and Luo Yue seemed to have swapped their rulers’ weapons with each other. That’s why Luo Yue’s young emperor wields a weapon that has an Eastern name, while Queen Xi Ying wields a weapon that has a Western name. Tian Luo Yan and Skies are weapons that are passed onto successors by each country’s rulers. Despite that, the successors need to be strong enough to obtain the weapons’ approval. If they fail to obtain its approval, the weapons can only wait until the next ruler appears to see if they will be a suitable wielder.”
Fan Tong had originally thought that the rulers of Eastern City and Western City were both just naturally talented. He’d been under the impression that they could wield powerful weapons the minute they became rulers of their city. He’d never imagined they had to fulfill specific conditions. Even though they were rulers, it seemed they still had to spend great efforts to train.
“We have more information on Tian Luo Yan than Skies as Englar had used Tian Luo Yan in the battlefield. As for Skies, it is still a mystery to us. Our queen has never used her sword in battles. She hasn’t even worn it at her side during important occasions and celebrations. Most people have never gotten a clear glimpse of her sword, so we don’t even know its exact appearance. The best description we have on Skies is in the Wushu textbook.”
“Oh… Call it whatever you want. We’ve never seen its actual appearance after all. Since it’s called ‘Lunar Crescent Blade,’ it’s probably a long knife, right? But it could also be a sword, who knows?”
Mi Zhong didn’t seem all that interested in talking about Skies. It was probably like he’d said, there simply wasn’t enough information on Skies to talk about.
“However, Tian Luo Yan is definitely a sword. During the war five years ago, it was Tian Luo Yan’s four strings that had scared everyone out of their wits.”
“There’s a saying we have about the four strings of Tian Luo Yan: The first string will make your heart tremble in fear. The second string will take away your will. The third string will break your body. Lastly, the fourth string will destroy your soul. This is because the Four-Stringed Sword Tian Luo Yan produces a deadly music that causes everything in its range to cower in its power. When Englar had used the third string, a whole sweep of people fell down dead. Wait, that’s not right, he must have used the fourth string as well since those people never revived. Their souls had definitely all been destroyed.”
It definitely sounds like a powerful weapon… Does it attack by using sound waves?
“Tian Luo Yan is a soul-purging weapon? There’s no need to use the fourth string?”
His words had been flipped again. Paired with his questioning tone, his words sounded extremely strange yet again.
“That is… I’m also not too sure about this. However, it’s said that Tian Luo Yan emits a brilliant light when its fourth string sounds. Perhaps its wielder can choose when to use its soul-purging ability?”
How mystical. It is indeed a godly weapon. Then, can Tian Luo Yan speak?
“Can Tian Luo Yan not speak?”
“How would I know? Due to the high synchronization rate between it and Englar, even if Tian Luo Yan can speak, the only person who could hear its voice would be Englar.”
Speaking of the subject, Fan Tong remembered that his own synchronization rate with Puhahaha was quite low. He still had to speak out loud to converse with it.
His synchronization rate with the mop was low, but it wasn’t a bad thing… He’d had questions about this synchronization rate ever since he had bought the mop and he still hadn’t obtained answers to those questions even now.
Furthermore, how did people raise their synchronization rate with their weapons? After he knew how, should he make an effort to raise his synchronization with the mop or prevent it from becoming higher?
“Alright, I’m done talking about Tian Luo Yan. Are you satisfied?”
“Then what else do you want to hear about? Should I also talk about Qian Huan Hua and Aifroa? I’m sorry, Qian Huan Hua is the same as Skies in that our queen has never been seen wearing it. As for Aifroa… Englar hadn’t been wearing any armor that one time he came out to fight. That’s why I say he’s a monster, not a human. Everyone in the Eastern City who knows what had happened five years ago would agree with me. Perhaps even the people of Luo Yue think so as well.”
Ah, so it’s like this…
“Oh, I see someone below us. It seems to be a friend of yours, Fan Tong,” Mi Zhong said suddenly. Fan Tong looked down and saw Bi Rou standing below the city walls.
“Fan Tong, I heard you were on guard duty? Is everything going well?”
Since she said she had “heard” that he was on guard duty, then it meant she had gone to his room.
“Everything’s not going well…”
“Is it even possible for something to go wrong on guard duty? You need to take this a little more seriously.”
I’m saying that everything’s fine, really!
“I’ve already told Yue Tui and Zhu Sha about this, but I’ll tell you as well.” Bi Rou smiled brightly before continuing. “This afternoon, we’re going to go kill more chickens. That’s all, bye.”
What! What about my job? I still have guard duty this afternoon!
“How wonderful. You have a beautiful woman visiting you even while you’re working…” Mi Zhong said with an envious expression.
Wait a second, isn’t Ling Shi the one you like?
“Mi Zhong, this afternoon…”
“Oh, you can skip if you want, but you won’t be paid for this morning’s work. Moreover, you’ll leave a bad mark on your record. The next time you do a job, your supervisors will keep an eye on you.
That’s… Then you guys can go kill chickens without me. Can you guys just bring back enough feathers for all of us?
◎Fan Tong’s Afterword
Sigh, I had thought that after the previous accidents, I’d become cautious. As long as no one deliberately tried to murder me, I wouldn’t die easily…
In the end, reality turned out differently from what I’ve expected. Is the Eastern City just full of traps and dangerous places then? Lord Yin Shi, you’re obviously very airheaded, how come you’ve never triggered that trap in Sheng Wang Dian and come close to death yourself?
It does seem like you’ve been living at Sheng Wang Dian for quite a while. To have survived for this long, then it means you’ve probably never triggered that trap… I never would’ve expected that just by looking at you. The probability of something going wrong is extremely high when it comes to you.
I am still upset that my debt had been increased by another hundred strings. Exactly what will happen from now on?
Moreover, since I have friends now, I’d expected them to come and salvage me from the pond. In the end, I still had to swim after all that fuss. The only thing that changed is that now I’m not swimming alone.
That being said, just the pain from two hundred and ninety strings of debt was enough to make my body float limply in the pond after my rebirth, making it difficult to swim. Then Mi Zhong, with his disastrous debt situation, doesn’t that mean… His swimming ability must be exceptionally strong!
However, humans are easily adaptable. It’s definitely possible for someone to become skilled at swimming if they trained enough. Huh, should I make some time to practice swimming? I wonder if Yue Tui would agree to teach me, but he doesn’t look like he’d be good at teaching.
I am very depressed at the moment. Why did Bi Rou tell me we’re going to go kill more chickens this afternoon when I am in the middle of returning my debt? Of course, collecting the rest of the feathers I need to rise in rank is an important task, but if I go, then it’d mean this whole morning of guard duty would be wasted! Moreover, I’ll also leave a bad mark on my record! I protest against this! I protest, I protest!
If I’m going to skip this afternoon’s work, it’d be best if I leave now. Another minute standing here means another wasted minute. I won’t get paid in any case…
Mi Zhong, did you never learn a cloning technique? Can’t you make a clone of yourself and dress it up as me and help me stand guard this afternoon?
Even if you knew how to clone yourself, I know you would never use it to help me. If you could clone yourself, you’d certainly have used it before now to double your salary.
Didn’t Yue Tui say that he would work with me to return my debt? When will he start working…
Translator: Saviesa, Nannyn
Proofreaders: PiKairi, Nannyn, Saviesa, Syrra, Dinoj