With only those few words, Qin Mo caused Shi Qing to blank for a moment, and then he fell deeply into thought.
When he recalled the entire process of the task, Qin Mo actually did not do too much. He manufactured the miraculous medicinal pill, had someone introduce it to Concubine Li, and reminded her of her desire to return to her youth. After that, it was a matter of leading the players, step-by-step, on the game board that he had laid out for them.
If the old Emperor had not been greedy for longevity, and obsessed with power and influence, he would not have fallen for such a simple ruse, and he certainly would never have eaten medicine from an unknown source.
The Second Prince, Rongxiang, had he not been so anxious about ensuring his position, was unlikely to have entered the palace at that time. If he had remained outside, he would have ultimately avoided the snare that proved to be his ultimate downfall.
In the final analysis, it was the worldly desires of the two men that had caused them to plunge into the abyss of death on their own initiative. Of course, it could not have happened as it did without Qin Mo’s small ‘contributions’ to the situation.
As he had recalled their experience, Shi Qing was nevertheless startled in his heart. He already knew that because of Qin Mo’s experience of being used and abused, first by his stepfather, and then his biological father, he had blackened into a complete psychopath. What he did not expect was his keen awareness of the intricacies of the human heart; he was familiar with the weaknesses of human nature, and he put that knowledge to very good use.
Shi Qing was apprehensive…it was not that terrible working with a psychopath; the horrible thing was that with his tremendous IQ, as well as a high EQ, you could not really call it working together!
At this rate, won’t he be eaten so thoroughly that not even his bones will remain1?
For a moment, he was depressed.
Shi Qing was very self-aware; when he was alive, his IQ was just barely at the low end of normal compared with people across his country. He was still a long ways from being mentally handicapped, but he could not even reach the geniuses with an eight foot bamboo pole. Yet, now he wanted to try to get along with this psychopath…QAQ…he should have just waited five hundred years.
While he was wallowing in remorse, a shrill alarm bell suddenly sounded in Shi Qing’s ear and startled him. He hastily removed himself from the jade pendant, reverted into a mass of black mist, and sped towards the quick guide. Once there, he quickly turned to the page he had in mind, and when he saw the contents, his heart tightened. He immediately shouted at Qin Mo, “Qin Mo, get ready, in thirty seconds you will leave the system space and return to your body!”
His voice faltered; Qin Mo’s figure had already started to disappear.
Shi Qing was troubled, cursed, and immediately returned inside the jade pendant, then followed after Qin Mo.
While Qin Mo was in the process of disappearing, Shi Qing displayed his ability to speak exceedingly fast, and flew through an explanation, “In the past was my mistake. I did not make it clear that while every time you enter the system to complete your task, time remains static; after finishing the task, the system will require three hours to reset and review the task. During this time, you cannot stay in the system space—therefore, you can only go back to your world. Three hours, you just have to go back for three hours!”
His voice had just faded when their immediate surroundings changed dramatically; they had returned to Qin Mo’s world. Just to be safe, Shi Qing immediately fell silent and remained so. He also jumped down and hid in Qin Mo’s bosom.
Qin Mo was suffering from excruciating pain throughout his entire body because he had destroyed his own cultivation. Unfortunately, the method awaiting to restore him to the nascent soul stage was truly cruel; he had to be submerged in a medicinal bath, but it definitely was not something ordinary people could bear.
Qin Mo had grown accustomed to having his whole body wracked with pain, but because his soul had moved into the system, he had experienced a reprieve from the pain. That meant he had spent the days completing their task without the slightest bit of pain. However, now that he had returned to his body, the intensity of the pain was almost strong enough to cause him to collapse.
Although Qin Mo had a very high pain tolerance, he could not help but close his eyes as he trembled, and cold drops of sweat dripped down his back. He was struggling with his body, and strove to adapt to the pain that felt as if his bones were breaking and his flesh was being gouged out.
Shi Qing realized that Qin Mo was going through all that and he was worried, but there was nothing he could do. He could only watch—it was not even possible to speak words of comfort.
Suddenly, Qin Mo removed Shi Qing from his bosom, and tightly clutched him in the palm of his hand. The cool white jade was in complete opposition with his burning hot skin. He clutched the jade pendant tightly in his hand, to the point that it actually may have made the pain worse. However, the feeling of holding it tightly, and being completely in control, gave his restless mind something to focus on. He gradually stabilized, and was able to condense his spiritual force in order to give strength to his physical body.
Just when Shi Qing thought he would suffocate, Qin Mo finally calmed down. He slightly loosened his grip, and he finally released the jade pendant out of the darkness and the brutal pressure that was on the brink of crushing him.
Shi Qing was extremely thankful that he was made of jade. Because of that, he was very solid; if he was a small animal he would have already been strangled…
Even the thought of that, boo hoo hoo—real men should not cry so easily, ah, but that was far too terrifying!
Shi Qing exhaled his breath in order to relax, and in that moment the darkness around them lit up.
Qin Mo looked up. His pale face did not contain even a single trace of colour. His lips were almost transparent, and his dark eyes were deep and profound. It was obvious that his body was still strong and handsome, yet maintained that proud and arrogant bearing. He was like a messenger from hell; a vampire that wandered in the night. Even if he had fallen from grace, he was still so noble.
Lu Jiuyuan glanced at him, and sneered before uttering, “You have indeed inherited a good body2.”
Qin Mo frostily replied, “Too bad such filthy blood courses through it.”
Just that one sentence caused Lu Jiuyuan’s anger to flare up, and he raised his hand to attack Qin Mo. However, when he was met with the ice-cold stare of those bottomless black eyes, he quickly withdrew.
“Do not test me—I have no kindness for you. Even so, I will take care of you3 until your cultivation has been restored.”
Qin Mo stared back at him, and then suddenly smiled and whispered, “Your day will soon come.”
His voice was very low, and his laughter was light, but it filled anyone listening with a sense of unease. Lu Jiuyuan frowned; since he had encountered a multitude of people in his life, he was an expert in manipulating others to his will. Yet, regarding his son, he inevitably felt that he could not sense the depths of that individual. He had originally thought that he had him under his full control, but in the end had completely lost all face.
Lu Jiuyuan looked at Qin Mo, and put away his attitude of utter contempt. He did not want to waste this top grade human cauldron, and he did not want to, once again, go through all the effort of improving him just to lose it again. He would consume the fruits of his labours one by one until there is nothing left.
Pulling his thoughts back to the present, he removed the medicine filled barrel that he had prepared from his storage ring. The huge wooden barrel was filled with scalding a hot elixir and countless herbs, and it was releasing a putrid aroma. The colour of the liquid was an opaque grey-black; like a bucket full of venom—it appeared as if it would corrode the body.
Lu Jiuyuan glowered maliciously at Qin Mo, “Will you go in on your own, or do I need to help you?”
Qin Mo did not look at him. He stood up, stepped into the barrel without hesitation, and then sat down quietly and closed eyes.
He leaned against the edge of the barrel as he experienced the same level of pain and suffering as if his body had exploded.
Lu Jiuyuan did not leave immediately, he stayed to make some adjustments to the medicine. He understood thoroughly that although these medicines were helpful for cultivation, they were extremely potent only in the pursuit of cultivation and for speed; there was no regard to the comfort of one subjected to such a treatment. Because the cultivation speed was so brisk, the accompanying pain was accordingly monstrous. It was as if innumerable small animals were biting every inch of skin, all of one’s nerves were being destroyed, awakened, restored, reorganized, renewed…repeat.
That feeling could definitely make the most arrogant man bow, and the strongest man beg for mercy; as long as they were human, they could not bear this pain.
Lu Jiuyuan was torturing Qin Mo—he wanted him to understand that he was paying the price for his own actions, that he should never have tried to escape his fate. Even though he would repair his body, he wanted to let him burn in the fire, roll in the pan, scream in pain, and then, out of fear, kneel on the ground and beg for his forgiveness!
However, he was disappointed; Qin Mo seemed to be asleep. His long black hair flowed outside the barrel, and his black robes had been completely corroded away since coming into contact with the medicine. His flesh was quickly stained black, except for that ice-cold face which remained as perfect as ever. Not even this situation could draw out a trace of a facial expression.
Lu Jiuyuan furrowed his brows. He could not believe—he absolutely would not believe—that Qin Mo had the capability to persist, that he would endure until the end.
Shi Qing had already cursed eight generations of Lu Jiuyuan’s ancestors in heart, fuck! Was this fucker really his biological father? How could you insult the title of ‘father’ in this way? Anyone with even a tiny sliver of humanity would not sentence their own son to death!
Although Shi Qing’s body was made of jade, that did not mean that he could not feel anything. His jade body still possessed the five senses, including touch, but it was worth noting that his ability to feel pain was hundreds of times less than the human body. This meant that, under normal circumstances, he could not actually perceive pain. But, now that he had followed Qin Mo into the medicine bath, the pain was killing him, okay?
During his fight against cancer in his last life, Shi Qing had considered himself superior in his ability to resist pain. In this moment he began to gnash his teeth; damn it, what crime had this man committed that could possibly warrant this level of punishment?!
Once again, he thought about Qin Mo. Although Shi Qing and he were not very familiar, at this very moment he was filled with righteous indignation on his behalf. Lu Jiuyuan, that scum, if I do not kill him a hundred times, I am indeed unworthy!
Shi Qing did not dare to make a sound, so he could only silently bear the pressure from Qin Mo’s palm. Qin Mo, from head-to-toe, remained motionless, but continued to tightly clutch the jade pendant. It seemed like all of his strength was concentrated there, so Shi Qing thought that perhaps he may have given him courage, but he could not ask and determine whether it was a misperception.
Three hours, that felt like years, passed by; each second crawled in, stopped, and crawled back out. Lu Jiuyuan, that trash, had been watching from the side, waiting for his chance to take joy in calamity and delight in disaster. Denied his desire, he poured even more medicinal herbs into the barrel.
That dark medicine could only incite suspicions towards its true nature; after all was said and done, it was difficult to believe it was medicine rather than poison.
Shi Qing did not know how to restore Qin Mo’s body. He was only capable of sensing, after Lu Jiuyuan’s actions, that his pain was even worse…
The final few seconds passed, and their three hour wait was finally over. Shi Qing immediately opened the passage, and pulled Qin Mo back into the system space.
As soon as they came back, Shi Qing immediately flew out of the now grey and black jade pendant, which freed him of pain. Qin Mo closed his eyes and leaned against the wall.
Shi Qing grew somewhat panicky within his heart; he was momentarily fearful that Qin Mo may actually die. He quickly flew over, and anxiously shouted, “Qin Mo, Qin Mo, how do you feel?”
Qin Mo did not open his eyes, and maintained his silence for a while, until he finally inquired, “Why did you follow me?”
Interesting fact: Jiuyuan means abyss or deep chasm. Seems appropriate. Also, did you notice that I have some of the laziest and worst footnotes? You’re welcome.
Back to PUP next! I am glad that I did these two in a row though. Despite being almost as long as the average PUP chapter, the translation went pretty fast (for me).
- Usually when you read something about being eaten up in danmei, it has sexual undertones. This particular sentence does not. It’s like saying he’s going to lose to him because he’s just way too smart and too good. Just wait guys. Just wait. ↩
- The word he uses means leather bag, so I think he’s being very derogatory. I didn’t want to TL that way, because I think that rather than being all evil/rude, it just sounded dumb and weird. ↩
- When he says ‘take care of you,’ he is saying it in the same way you would talk about taking care of livestock. Not in a nice way. ↩