The Guide to Capturing a Black Lotus

Chapter 41 Soul and Sandalwood (5)

Translated by: Echo (Round of applause for dear Z, aka Echo.)

The night the fire burned Xingshan Temple, Dowager Consort Zhao took the śarīra out amidst the panic in the pagoda, and quietly transferred them to the new temple.

It was unknown where the evil spirit, the “śarīra” originated from. After being tainted with the grievances of those who died in the raging inferno, it’s killing aura only fiercened. The “śarīra” placed in the new temple was like a central remote control. Once the sandalwood incense was contaminated by the ashes of the dead, it would use the grievances ghosts carried within the ashes as weapons, controlling a horde of ghostly troops, haunting the poor Princess Duanyang, so the new temple is no less gloomy than the old one.

On the inside, it is haunted by evil spirits. On the outside, Lu Jiu and Pei Yu are cooperating. There was no way Duanyang could break free from this all-encompassing net until the entire truth was revealed to the world.

At the end of the climb up the seven-story pagoda, the stairs were steep and narrow, only allowing people to pass through by bending over.

The light was dim. In the middle of a cloud of dust, Miaomiao tried her best to protect the faint bit of candlelight in her hands.

The tower was empty.

Ling Miaomiao was choked by the dark and dank smell inside and coughed several times in a row, complaining endlessly as she poked her head out of the tiny window like a prisoner longing for light.

The following parts of the text will be scrambled to prevent theft from aggregators and unauthorized epub making. Please support our translators by reading on secondlifetranslations (dot) com

Fbl zssjle esod, sdzu vs pll Yw Fbldt zssjkdt wr yv bla obkzl pvydekdt wdela vbl vsola okvb bkp yaxp naspple. Fbl pbswvle ydmkswpzu, “Yw Fbldt, vbl śyaīay kp dsv wr vblal!”

Mbl uswdt xyd’p czynj lulp olal oyvlau yde pllxle vs cl pxkzkdt yxcktwswpzu. “Mbyv’p dyvwayz. Rq kv oyp pvkzz blal, vbyv Psoytla Usdpsav oswze dsv byhl wple vbl osaep ‘zssj qsa’ obld pbl tyhl bla kxrlakyz elnall.”

Ykys Ykys vbalo vbl nydezl swv sq vbl okdeso, ykxkdt pvayktbv qsa bkp qynl: “Zsw vaknjle xl!”

Yw Fbldt alynble swv vs czsnj kv yde lypkzu nywtbv vbl vbkd ale nydezl. Mbl rkvkqwz qzyxl bye tsdl swv yde vbl nydezl oknj zlqv y vbkd zkdl sq pxsjl kd vbl yka.

Yw Fbldt zsolale bkp lulcasop. Gd saydtl pryaj lmrzsele okvb y “cydt” qasx clvolld bkp qkdtlavkrp yde vbl nydezl qzyxl oyp kdpvydvzu aljkdezle. Mbl qzknjlakdt zktbv pbsdl sd bkp obkvl-fyel-zkjl qynl.

Tl vssj y nzspla zssj yv vbl nydezl: “Zsw’al vbasokdt kv elzktbvlezu dso, cwv R’e zkjl vs pll bso usw’zz nsxl cynj esod zyvla.”

Mbl Nkdt Ykysxkys vayrrle kd vbl eyaj rytsey: “……” 

Nkdt Ykysxkys qlzv vbyv pbl xktbv byhl clld y zkgyae kd bla zypv zkql. Ebyv lzpl nswze lmrzykd bso pbl oyp yxygkdtzu yczl vs nayoz cynjoyaep, sd yzz qswap, esod vbl pvllr rytsey kd vbl eyaj yde es kv yzz ps iwknjzu?

“Pei pei!” She had gotten a mouthful of dirt while descending. She began vigorously patting her sleeves, skirt and hair. Luckily, she had worn a few extra layers when she left home. She had gotten her outer garment scraped, revealing her very clean inner jacket and skirt.

After grooming herself, she stepped out from behind the pagoda and from afar, saw Mu Sheng staring dazedly at the candle.

In the twilight, not a single person was present in the inner courtyard of Xingshan Temple. The forest was partially shrouded and blood-red lanterns under the temple eaves were lit. The royal family’s lanterns were the color of a winter flower 1 Image shown at below footnote , giving off a noble and cold aura.

The candle flame in the young man’s hand was dim, carrying an illusory warmth. It outlined his long eyelashes, the silhouette of his nose bridge, and illuminated his pale face which seemed like a soap bubble that would break if you reached out to touch it.

A faint fishy smell floated in the air, accompanied by an almost nonexistent sweet fragrance.

Miaomiao pulled at her hem and walked over while arranging her sleeves. “How do you think we should look for it?” 

Mu Sheng lowered his brows, unperturbed in the least, and said, “Naturally, we look through the rooms one by one.

His gaze took in her clothes and slowly swept across her face. Only then did his eyes seem to carry a gleeful smile within. He decided to remark, “You crawled down?”

Miaomiao coughed. “Crawl…… crawling is good, it works out all of your limbs and you won’t trip and fall. It’s just like a morning run, good for your health!”

Autumn cicadas constantly buzzed.

The inner hall of Xingshan seemed to stretch on endlessly. The Bodhisattva and golden arhat each had their own side halls. The moonlight clearly hit the marble floor reflecting the cold light of white frost.

When looking through a hall, you needed to look through the altar, check the statue, and lie on the floor checking every inch. Even worse though, was the cleaners slacked off. The tribute table in the afternoon was full of dust.

Of course, the passive slacker, Mu Sheng, wouldn’t be crawling on the floor to search. When Ling Miaomiao, who was working hard to push the plot, was lying on the cold floor for the tenth time, she only hated that she wasn’t a metal detector.

It wouldn’t do to keep going on like this. She dusted off her hands and stood up. She walked over to him, “Young Master Mu, you demon hunters have seen many big battles. With this kind of inefficiency, surely, you’d be kicked out of the inner circle of your occupation…… Is there no easier method?

As she said these words, her large black eyes stared unblinkingly at Mu Sheng’s sleeve ends. In the past, there were many talisman papers stored there. Even if you randomly pulled out a piece, it would probably still be more useful than her lying on the floor.

Sadly, the black lotus deliberately hid his hands behind his back. “No, there isn’t.”

Mu Sheng got up. His face was paler than usual and under the moonlight, his eyes seemed to look blacker, so much that they seemed to shine.

Ling Miaomiao smiled slightly and moved a prayer mat over to sit on the floor. She began arranging the exquisite hairpins by her temples.

The white pleated skirt emphasized her waist when she stood but unfurled like the petals of an iris when she settled on the floor. Sixteen pieces of fabric decorated the pleats of the skirt. Each piece was embroidered with partially-bloomed chrysanthemums of gold thread, reflecting the moonlight which fell like snow.

If you were to consider who was dressed more ostentatiously, Ling Miaomiao absolutely wouldn’t lose to the black lotus.

Mu Sheng glanced at her. Sure enough, he was distracted for a moment by the reflection of the moonlight on her skirt before frowning and asking her, “You aren’t going to continue looking for it?”

Ling Miaomiao looked up at him. The tiny balloon flowers on either side of her temples were like innocent stars. Her hanging bun hairdo was tied with green jade-colored ribbons, revealing pale jade-like earlobes, and apricot eyes which shined brightly.

The appearance of this human girl under the moon was more beautiful than usual and seemed to have gained the aura of an immortal. Even this spiteful coquettish anger could stir one’s emotions.

Sadly, Mu Sheng’s face showed no signs of being moved. He knelt down and leant in closer to her face. Pity and mockery could be seen in his eyes as he said, “You only looked through a few rooms and you’re already tired?”

She looked into his eyes for a moment without saying anything. Without warning, she suddenly reached out. Unable to dodge in time, Mu Sheng could only watch as Miaomiao placed her cold hand on his forehead.

“You’re not sick……” She tilted her head, still confused, “Where are you feeling uncomfortable……”

Her wrist was captured almost immediately. Mu Sheng had used ninety percent of his strength and was close to squeezing her bones to the breaking point. She ignored the pain as she gritted her teeth and glanced down. Immediately, she used her other hand to grab his wrist.

She felt his hand tremble, an instinctive reaction to having his wound disturbed.

Traces of blood seeped through his cuffs and a wet feeling spread over her fingertips. At the same time, a faint trace of a sickly sweet scent filled the air.

Mu Sheng didn’t dodge, letting her grab his right hand. His left hand still gripped her wrist tightly, leaving them at a stalemate.

The two looked at each other motionlessly in the dim hall, their faces half-shrouded in darkness, and eyes reflecting the bright moonlight. At this moment, the hall was completely silent except for the sound of each other’s breathing.

“Mu Ziqi, why are you using your blood to support the water ghost?”

Ling Miaomiao, calmly asked as she looked at him with her bright eyes.

When they were on the Wan River boat and she pointed at his nose, asking why he didn’t apply any medicine, she had this same expression.

Mu Sheng’s expression wavered for a moment as the look in his eyes gradually darkened. He gritted out, “I already told you, being too smart isn’t a good thing.”

Miaomiao looked at him and slowly moved her hands away. She laughed silently and asked, “What should we do, I’ve discovered another one of your secrets. Are you going to kill me now?”

That smile was bright and coquettish. It sounded completely excited in spite of the dark words she had just spoken.

Mu Shen let go of her as well. He coldly watched as she rubbed her wrists and moved his face closer to hers and warned, “Do you think I don’t dare?”

“Of course you don’t dare.” Miaomiao bowed her head, “Sister Mu is still waiting to meet up with us.

As expected, Mu Sheng froze.

Just by pulling out his sister who was like a great buddha to him, she could hold him under Five Finger Mountain 2 五指山, Five Finger Mountain is the mountain created by Buddha Sakyamuni which the Monkey King (Sun Wukong) was trapped under. and keep him from making trouble.

Mu Sheng had always felt that Ling Miaomiao was like a rabbit—— only moving it’s three-part mouth 3 Rabbits have a split top lip so they have 3 parts to their lips, so to say.   to eat, and upon encountering danger, would hide in a hole, leaving a fluffy butt. However, recently, the rabbit’s courage seemed to have fattened to an unreasonable point.

The dizziness that had accompanied his blood loss had not yet faded, and his mind was still unclear. He paced in the empty Buddhist temple, not out of worry, but rather, a feeling of ease which rose from somewhere within.

No matter when, carrying a secret alone for a long time will make one feel unbearably tired.

He had also reached his limit of silence and patience.

“I’m really curious, you’ve always mercilessly dealt with monsters. With your temper, that lingering  4 The water ghost is lingering, struggling to survive whilst at death’s door water ghost should have died while crossing through the Wan River, am I right?” Ling Miaomiao was still sitting on the prayer mat as she stared at his pacing figure. 

The cold curse flashed through Mu Sheng’s mind, “You’re killing monsters happily here, but do you remember the mother who’s underground?” 

He spun the demon fighting tools on his wrists in agitation. In an attempt to sidestep her question, he asked in return, “……When did you notice?”

“Back at the palace, you pretended to be sick and sent me to deal with the imperial doctor twice. The water ghost took that chance to come in through the window. Don’t try telling me that your wrist just gained a wound somehow……” She smelled her fingers and wrinkled her nose before smiling again. “And the smell of water ghosts, I’ll never forget it in this lifetime.”

Mu Sheng looked at Ling Miaomiao’s face and soft hair by the light of the moon.

Rabbits are sometimes clever, sometimes foolish, sometimes itching to hide at the ends of the earth, yet sometimes so close their nose could touch your face. Over and over again, she would toe the line but never went past it. Because of this, he was unable to cold-heartedly eliminate her completely……

If he didn’t know she truly liked Liu Fuyi, he’d think Ling Miaomiao had especially come on this trip just to be with him.

Liu Fuyi…… He sneered inside and added another point. The rabbit’s eyes weren’t good.

“Mu Sheng, what exactly did thing threaten you with to make you back down?”

Miaomiao thought, the black lotus hands were black-hearted and he didn’t follow any common sense when doing things. That water ghost must have hold of a great secret.

How exciting!

As soon as she brought this up, Mu Sheng was immediately annoyed. “How does that concern you?”

“Of course it concerns me. As a friend, I kindly remind you not to be fooled.”

These words were said sincerely in a way which implied them as common sense, with Ling Miaomiao’s consistently ignorant and fearless temperament.

The evening breeze carried the aroma of gardenias. The fragrance which wafted through the air was so cloying it nearly turned into a rotten smell 5 When scents are so cloyingly sweet that they start to smell like rotting items. .

Mu Sheng looked down at her, “I hope to exchange my blood for some secrets.”

His unspoken words were, “Don’t be nosy.”

Miaomiao had always had trouble grasping key points and looked up curiously. “What’s so special about your blood that monsters will chase after you for it?”

The aroma became more and more obvious until it was practically choking them. Mu Sheng had just begun speaking, “My blood……”, when he realized that he had been tricked by her. A trace of annoyance flashed through his eyes. “Why should I tell you?”

Ling Miaomiao’s fair hands fiercely fanned the air in front of her nose. “Cough, cough, where are the flowers this fragrance is coming from? The smell could kill with how cloying it is.”

Only then did Mu Sheng notice the smell in the air. Shocked by this, he thought, ‘Damn it, I was distracted for a moment……’

His body tensed, the steel band on his right wrist was brought out in an instant and held between his fingertips, and his left hand reached out to pick up Ling Miaomiao from the floor. However, it was too late——

The moonlight had been covered up at some point by the drifting black clouds, and in the hall, it was so dark that he couldn’t even see his fingers. Slowly, a dim scarlet light lit up from beneath their feet.

Vermilion, gamboge 6Gamboge is a yellow pigment which is used to dye Buddhist monks’ robes. It is also referred to as rattan yellow. For more information you can check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamboge , indigo…… The first thing that caught Ling Miaomiao’s eye was a wrist laden with heavy gold jewelry followed by several pairs of exposed, intertwined bodies of men and women embracing each other.

Th-this…… This is……

“Ah!”

Her eyes seemed to have been stung by pepper water. Frightened, she closed her eyes subconsciously. And like an ostrich burying itself in sand, she quickly stuck her head into his chest, seeming as if she’d drill a hole into him.

Mu Sheng: “……”


Footnotes:

[1] 五指山, Five Finger Mountain is the mountain created by Buddha Sakyamuni which the Monkey King (Sun Wukong) was trapped under.

[2] Rabbits have a split top lip so they have 3 parts to their lips, so to say.

[3] The water ghost is lingering, struggling to survive whilst at death’s door.

[4] When scents are so cloyingly sweet that they start to smell like rotting items.

[5] This is what it looks like according to Baidu:

[6] Gamboge is a yellow pigment which is used to dye Buddhist monks’ robes. It is also referred to as rattan yellow. For more information you can check here


And… Entropy here, sorry for posting late kinda had some techinical issues…. including oversleeping and bad memory…. technical issues.


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Entropy [Translator]

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3 Comments

  1. Ayaaaa
    Ayaaaa

    Hi! Just wanted to alert you to the fact that when I pressed the first footnote, some of the chapter appeared , I think you put it in the footnote instead of after it . Thanks for the translation !

  2. toreadchinesenovels

    Yes, I also found that part of the chapter was in the first foot note (good job I have a habit of checking them as it was an interesting part to read!)I think I’m going to have to re-read this arc when it’s finished because I can’t make neither head nor tail of anything. Also, I’ve completely forgotten about the water ghost. Was it the one from the river?Thanks for the chapter and stay safe!