Chapter 35 – Blackened Reputation
Shen Qingqiu didn’t know how he made it back to the Gold Weapon shop. He went upstairs to his room, still dazed, and fell onto his bed. All he could think about was how the blood that had been poured into his stomach was now flowing around his entire body. He tossed and turned all night long.
When an ancient demon’s blood leaves their body it can still be manipulated by the heirs of that bloodline. If someone drinks it, death was not the only possible consequence. In fact, among the many possibilities, death wasn’t even the worst.
For example, in the original novel, Luo Binghe was able to easily manipulate his blood in a variety of ways, including using it as a poison, tracker, brainwashing and s** tool, human parasitic blood mites, and so on.
Shen Qingqiu was covered in cold sweat, half-awake and half-asleep, until he finally fell into a deep sleep at dawn. He hadn’t slept for long when he was awakened by the sound of earthshakingly loud cheering. He stumbled out of bed. Since he had fallen into bed with all his clothes on, he didn’t need to dress himself. Just as he was about to open the door, it shot open and an excited teenager bounced his way in.
Yang Yixuan said excitedly, “The city gate is open! The city gate is open!”
Shen Qingqiu: “What?”
Yang Yixuan shouted, “Those red monsters have all been caught! The gates are open! Jinlan City is finally saved!” The thought of his father’s sacrifice brought tears to his eyes. Shen Qingqiu had a splitting headache but he still tried to comfort the teenager. He thought to himself, So fast! They were all caught in just one night?
The moment the gates were opened, various cultivators who had been watching from the sidelines a few miles outside of the city swarmed inside, gathering at the city’s plaza where Mu Qingfang was distributing the pills he had prepared. The formerly lifeless Jinlan City residents were now full of joy. A total of seven sowers had were captured alive. They were currently being kept isolated in an enchanted barrier set by Zhao Hua Temple.
Shen Qingqiu saw Liu Qingge, who seemed absorbed in thought. Shen Qingqiu went up to him and clapped him on the back: “What happened last night?”
Liu Qingge glanced at him and said darkly: “What happened to your disciple?”
Shen Qingqiu: “What did he do?”
Liu Qingge said slowly: “Last night, he caught five, and I caught two.” He looked at Shen Qingqiu: “What happened during the years of Luo Binghe’s disappearance?”
For someone to fight for kills with the Bai Zhan Peak Lord, and for this suicidal upstart to actually win, was something that could really shatter the worldview of Bai Zhan Peak’s disciples! It’s extraordinarily shameful and humiliating!
Regarding those two’s power rankings, the data is clear. The current situation is this – Luo Binghe: Liu Qingge = 5: 2…
Suddenly, the noisy crowd of disciples simultaneously hushed and parted, consciously making room for a group of people. Not far away from them, a group of leaders slowly walked forward. Yue Qingyuan and the Old Palace Master of Huan Hua Palace walked side by side while the head cultivators of the Tian Yi Monastery and Zhao Hua Temple walked closely behind them.
Luo Binghe stood next to the Old Palace Master.
In the early morning sunlight, Luo Binghe looked refreshed and in high spirits. Shen Qingqiu compared Luo Binghe’s appearance to his own sorry state and felt depressed. Even Yue Qingyuan noticed. When the sect master approached, he looked at Shen Qingqiu for a while and said worriedly, “You look horrible. I shouldn’t have let you come.”
Shen Qingqiu forced himself to smile: “It’s just that Mu Qingfang’s patients kept me awake last night with their crying and wailing.”
When Mu Qingfang returned from distributing the pills, he was also surprised. “Senior apprentice brother, how could that be? No matter how much noise I made over there, you couldn’t have become like this overnight. Did you take the medicine I put in your room?”
Shen Qingqiu said brusquely: “I took it. I took it.” Don’t ask me to take any more medicine today!
There was a sudden racket at the other end of the square. Sheng Qingqiu turned his head to look then suddenly felt the urge to put a hand on his forehead. He saw a middle-aged man in mourning clothes leading a large group of men and women to kneel in front of Luo Binghe. It was the lord of Jinlan City.
He was beside himself with excitement: “The immortals sacrificed their lives to save this insignificant little city! There’s no way that we could ever repay your grace. In the future, if there’s ever anything you need, we will do it even if we have to die for it!”
The corners of Shen Qingqiu’s twitched. This was truly the standard novel plot. After capturing all of the demons, the protagonist collects followers and the rewards. At this time, the protagonist alone steals the spotlight, while the rest who helped are regarded as mere background scenery. Even if Shen Qingqiu himself didn’t contribute much, two of the demons had been caught by Liu Qingge—and what about Mu Qingfang who had been totally focused on distributing medicine just now?
Luo Binghe’s response was also in line with the usual plot. He said modestly: “City Lord, please, you do me too much honor. Jinlan City survived this disaster thanks to the concerted efforts of cultivators from different sects. It wasn’t accomplished due to one man’s efforts.”
He spoke and behaved with sincerity and propriety, without upsetting other people. He himself didn’t lose face, but the other sects were also placated. The City Lord once again burst out with more compliments: “Last night, with my own eyes I saw this young lord capture those sinister demons. What an outstanding sight! Truly a young hero! A great teacher produces an outstanding disciple! Old Palace Master, your lordship’s successor is undoubtedly well-qualified.”
When Luo Binghe heard the words “a great teacher produces an outstanding disciple,” his smile deepened and, perhaps unintentionally, his gaze flittered to someone. For one fleeting moment, his gaze landed on Shen Qingqiu’s face as lightly as a dragonfly touching water,[note]蜻蜓点水- the dragonfly touches the water lightly[/note] but the latter spread his fan to avoid his gaze.
The leader of Huan Hua Palace looked at Luo Binghe with admiration and fatherly affection in his eyes. Other people may not understand the meaning of that fond gaze but Shen Qingqiu knew very well that this was the proud look of a teacher looking at his future successor + son-in-law.
The seven so-called sowers who were surrounded by a group of cultivators were shouting cruel comments quite noisily, making the crowd anxious. Someone asked: “How should we handle these dirty things?”
Yue Qingyuan said: “Junior apprentice brother, do you have any ideas?”
Shen Qingqiu muttered to himself irresolutely: “Qingqiu has read some ancient books related to this matter. The sowers are afraid of high temperatures. It seems that fire can burn away the corrosive quality of their bodies.”
Everyone understood that he meant that disinfection must be carried out at high temperatures. A shocked cultivator exclaimed: “This… even if it is feasible, how can such a method that is as brutal and cruel as the demons’ be used?”
His voice was quickly drowned out by the angry shouting of Jinlan City’s surviving citizens.
In the days when the plague was rampant, countless innocent lives were lost and there was the ever-present spectacle, too horrible to endure, of the infected victims’ bodies rotting away. A wealthy and bustling center of commerce had become a deserted ghost town. Therefore, expressing sympathy towards the sowers or upholding humanitarian principles on their behalf was unacceptable to the Jinlan City survivors. The monks were quickly surrounded by many people shouting “burn them!” and “anyone who objects should also be burned!”
Most of the seven sowers inside the enchanted barrier were baring their fangs and smiling cruelly, not showing any fear or weakness. Sheng Qingqiu figured that they probably considered themselves heroes who created a good harvest for the sake of the demon race. Only the smallest sower was weeping disconsolately.
Upon seeing it, some people began to sympathize. Qin Wanyue bit her lip and approached Luo Binghe: “Senior apprentice brother Luo, that little sower looks pitiful.”
“They look pitiful”—alas, where is the pity for those who contracted a mysterious plague, suffered, and died?
Luo Binghe smiled at her but didn’t answer.
In Shen Qingqiu’s opinion, Luo Binghe’s reaction to the girl was really perfunctory. It could be considered a failure! Based on the original novel’s content, shouldn’t he take this opportunity to warmly express his feelings to her at this time? Has Luo Binghe improved his leveling up speed at the cost of his harem master skills?
How could she deal with her family’s head disciple whose face, no matter from which angle one viewed it, always looked gentle as jade, confident, relaxed, and elegant? Qin Wanyue was dazzled. Forgetting the words she had just said, she was content to watch the crowd.
It was then that something far more unexpected occurred.
The little sower leaped up and slammed into the edge of the barrier. Its scarlet face became more and more ferocious because of its howling. It shouted, “Immortal Master Shen, don’t let them burn me to death. I beg you, Immortal Master Shen, please save me!”
In that instant, Shen Qingqiu felt as though something in his brain had snapped.
… Who are you?!!!
How can you casually approach and call me Immortal Master Shen when I don’t even know you?!!
From all over the square, thousands of eyes turned to Shen Qingqiu.
The sower continued to wail: “All we did was listen to your instructions but we never agreed to be burned to death!”
…What the ****!!!
What a simple and crude accusation! What kind of godly plot development is this?
Shen Qingqiu felt like he needed a drink. What made him crave a drink and the comfort of intoxication even more was the Old Palace Master’s words: “The words that came out of this thing’s mouth, shouldn’t Immortal Master Shen explain them?”
Such a low-level technique and there was a person who actually believed it?!
Immediately someone else echoed: “Yes! Give us an explanation.”
And there was more than one person!
The twelve peaks were always banded together in solidarity in the face of outside threats. When these accusations were made, many Cang Qiong Mountain sect cultivators’ faces became angry. Yue Qingyuan’s expression turned cold.
Qi Qingqi scoffed: “Anyone with a brain can see that this thing isn’t reconciled to dying alone and wants to bring down someone to share its fate. It’s simply trying to frame him! Demons are all the same, they have no moral integrity. How could people take the bait like this? Don’t make me laugh, this is ridiculous!”
Old Palace Master said softly: “Why doesn’t it falsely accuse others? It singled out Immortal Master Shen. It’s worthwhile to think about that.”
Shen Qingqiu was overwhelmed by his logic. Based on this type of thinking, so long as a person was singled out, others would need to think carefully about whether or not that person was innocent. The cost of framing people was also sufficiently low.
Luo Binghe didn’t say a word, staring at the scene with rapt attention. Maybe it was just his imagination, but Shen Qingqiu always felt that his pitch-black eyes were like stars, and his smiling expression was full of satisfaction.
In the original novel, Shen Qingqiu was hated because of his unforgivable crime of murdering his own sect brother, killing Liu Qingge with his own hands. But now, Liu Qingge was standing beside him. If anyone tried to beat Shen Qingqiu up, perhaps Liu Qingge would protect him. That charge won’t hold water!
Could it be that since the stain on his reputation wasn’t big enough, false accusations will pool together until his reputation is sufficiently tarnished?
Based on Luo Binghe’s character after he blackened… it’s not unthinkable.
Suddenly, a Huan Hua Palace disciple with a pockmarked face stood up. It was the disciple who had sneered at Shen Qingqiu in the abandoned building that day. He bowed and said: “Palace Master, this disciple discovered something but didn’t know whether it would be inappropriate to speak.”
Shen Qingqiu face was expressionless as he said: “You say you ‘didn’t know whether it would be inappropriate to speak’ yet you’ve already spoken. Isn’t it hypocritical to say that?” As a matter of fact, isn’t this the same as slapping yourself on the face?
The disciple probably hadn’t expected that a senior cultivator would scold him. His face changed colors to red then white until the pockmarks on his face stood out, but he dared not scold him back. He had no alternative but to glare at Shen Qingqiu ferociously, saying: “Yesterday, this disciple and a few senior apprentice brothers and sisters saw that there were some marks of the sowers’ infection on Elder Shen’s arm. We all saw it, but today those marks have already completely disappeared!”
“Cang Qiong Mountain sect sent Senior Mu to announce that the pills that were distributed in the city were created in a rush. It takes the pills twenty-four hours to take effect and they might not even work. Senior apprentice brother Luo took the pill in front of us, but the marks of infection on him have not disappeared. How come only Elder Shen has recovered so fast that the marks of his infection have faded? In any case, this disciple thought this point was very suspicious.”
Shen Qingqiu silently sighed in his heart. He should have known that Luo Binghe wouldn’t be so kind as to remove the infection out of the goodness of his heart.
Yue Qingyuan spoke in a calm and measured way: “My junior apprentice brother is in charge of Qing Jing Peak. As a Peak Lord, he has always been a good role model, a person of noble and unblemished moral character. In the sect, everyone knows everything, we do not keep secrets from each other. You are too easily provoked by such credulous nonsense.”
Even though Shen Qingqiu was thick-skinned, his face was about to turn red. Senior apprentice brother, don’t say that! Are you serious? If you must act against your conscience this much in order to speak up and protect me, I’ll really feel bad about it! Whether it’s the original or the current Shen Qingqiu, neither one of them could possibly touch even the edges of the phrase “noble and unblemished moral character.” Oh no, the original character can touch the third word.
The Old Palace Master said, “Really? That’s quite different from what I heard.”
Shen Qingqiu’s heart sank.
It seems that today he has to be dragged down into the gutter.
- This chapter is by Reika (me).
- The title is 冤罪加身 – I understand that 冤罪 means false charges/falsely accused but what does the 加身 part mean? Perhaps it’s wordplay with the idiom 黄袍加身 which literally means “to take the yellow gown (of the emperor).” In context, this title should mean “to be covered in false accusations.” Edit: I’ve received feedback that it’s literally “False Accusations Piling Up” which is very close to what I thought when I put “Blackened Reputation.”
- “Has Luo Binghe improved his leveling up speed at the cost of his harem master skills.” -Context: LBH was supposed to emerge from the abyss in 5 years but he did it in 3. Also, SQQ noticed that LBH basically never shows interest in girls. Original novel’s LBH slowly but surely improved all his skills, eventually maxing out all stats. On the other hand, our little sheep LBH was too impatient in the abyss and leveled up quickly… while making “romance” his dump stat! LBH, you need to work on your “courting my aloof, tall, rich, and handsome master” skill!