***IMPORTANT INFO-PLEASE READ***
❗❗ PROOF OF PURCHASE REQUIRED FROM CHAPTER 4.2 ❗❗
NSFW, torture – lots of it and pretty disturbing, incest (not main cp), dubcon, toxic relationship, oppressive gong (list non-exhaustive) – Reader discretion advised.
Rating 18+ at the very least but this is the internet and I can’t control what you read or do not read so please do make your own informed decisions.
✧ Note that the chapter splits are a little odd because I started with the published book which has three volumes and then tried to match the web novel version on Myrics which comes to 57 chapters in total. It doesn’t affect the story.
✧ This was a blind translation as in I was reading along as I was translating. It also means that the tl is in desperate need of an edit which I can’t be bothered to do right now, if ever, kindly lower your expectations ^^.
British English and punctuation used throughout. Mainly pinyin used for forms of address, names of weapons and wuxia moves but there are some translated names for other things, I’m aware it’s inconsistent thank you!
It wasn’t snowing but it was deathly cold.
Far away, the warm air had been ruthlessly blown away by the unforgiving Northern wind into inexistence. Those citizens who could return home were rushing back, trying to accumulate as much of the pitiful amount of heat they could behind their tightly closed doors.
Li lao-ban pulled his hands further up into his sleeves as he watched the abandoned and empty street.
It wasn’t only the street that had been abandoned, even inside the restaurant, it was completely empty. Just a few days before, the crowds of people who had come through and passed in front of the teahouse1店 diàn – I’m using teahouse but dian can mean shop, inn, store whatever on their way to the Bai family manor, were nowhere to be seen. Perhaps because the guests had probably all already arrived.
The weather was cold, there were not many people who were willing to set foot outside. There would probably be no customers today.
*da, da, da, da*…Just at this moment, the sound of horse hooves clattering on the floor floated in the air.
“Ahhh！Customers are coming!” The waiter returned to his senses.
Li lao-ban leaned his neck out to look outside.
A fast horse was galloping in the wind. Two people were riding on two separate horses, one in front and one following behind, and as expected they actually stopped in front of the restaurant. There was a girl who had a face that had been reddened by the cold whilst riding on top of the horse, who asked candidly: “Hey, how do we get to Bai Manor?”
“Gu-niang, are you going to Bai Manor to offer Bai laoye birthday wishes?”
“Turn left up ahead, and then go forward for another three li2里 lǐ – 1li =500m and you will be on the Bai family land, and you’ll be able to see the Bai Manor courtyard.”
“What! We still need to ride for another half a shichen? How lavish are the Bai family!”
She turned her head towards the young man behind her and smiled: “Shixiong, don’t you agree?”
Zhou Rouwen smiled.
He had just turned twenty this year, he had an upright demeanor about him that made people feel calm. He was the most outstanding disciple of the Huashan Sect, as well as the only worthy candidate that his shifu would betroth his beloved daughter to. He looked at Fang Nihong, his shimei and the person who his shifu and shimu had tacitly betrothed to him and said: “Shimei, the Bai family are the most prestigious families amongst the largest four families in Jianghu. We have come specifically to offer birthday wishes, I think it would be better to speak more respectfully.”
“Pfff, amongst the Feng, Bai, Sima and Xu families, Bai family has not produced a single worthy individual in the last few years, in terms of influence upon Jianghu, the Bai family would be considered coming last.”
Zhou Rouwen sighed as he shook his head: “Shimei….”
“This is what my father told me.” Fang Nihong stuck out her tongue and then smiled sweetly at Zhou Rouwen: “Shixiong, I can be discreet, I definitely won’t talk like this in front of Bai lao-taiye.”
“It’s getting late, let’s go! It’s Bai Qianbei’s 50th birthday, most of other’s from Wulin have already arrived two days ago. Tomorrow is his birthday, and we only managed to arrive today, it may already be a little disrespectful.”
“What are you afraid of? It’s not like we’re late. Is it a crime to not come early to offer birthday wishes?” Fang Nihong replied, fished out some loose silver and threw it to Li lao-ban, then whipped the horse to advance, facing in front towards the road, when they heard a stranger’s voice.
“Could I ask the two of you to wait a moment.”
Just with a few words from this gentle male voice was enough to penetrate into the minds of these two people upon their horses. The tone and rhythm of his voice seemed to make the cold and stagnant air rise up with it, making the two people instantly turn their heads back.
The only customer in the restaurant, who was sitting quietly by the fire, was suddenly standing at the restaurant entrance.
Black robes, black hair, thick black felt shoes, he was dressed like an ordinary scholar?
“Yes?” Fang Nihong asked, her gaze fell upon a pair of shockingly beautiful eyes, her heart suddenly skipped a beat.
That pair of eyes were unbelievably beautiful, unbelievably calming and even unbelievably deep. Just from one look, one would feel like one had innumerable words to say but at the same time, these words were stuck in one’s throat, unable to be fully expressed.
Impressive eyebrows, straight nose, a gentle smile that made people gasp from astonishment.
“Excuse me, gongzi, but why have you asked us to wait?” the usually coarse and loud Fang Nihong, was suddenly soft and refined.
The warm smile spread a little wider, the man in black cupped his hands together: “Are gu-niang and gongzi headed to Bai Manor?”
“That’s correct.” Zhou Rouwen answered: “We are going to offer birthday wishes to Bai Qianbei, in place of our shifu.”
“If that’s the case, would you be willing to take me along?” The man in black asked: “I also need to go to Bai Manor.”
“You?” Fang Nihong stared at him without blanking: “Don’t you have a horse?”
“I originally planned to go on foot. But the weather is windy and the road is hard to walk on….”
“Are you also going there to offer your birthday wishes?”
Zhou Rouwen took a look at his shimei who seemed to be acting oddly, and then looked at the man again —– quiet and handsome, elegant and refined…..
Zhou Rouwen laughed: “So it seems we are going to the same place, I am the Huashan Sect’s da-dizi3大弟子 = eldest disciple = first to enter the sect not oldest in age, Zhou Rouwen. This is my shimei, Fang Nihong, could I ask xiongtai, what is your esteemed name?”
“I am Bai Shaoqing.” His voice was really pleasant to the ears, every word seemed to be comforting.
Fang Nihong’s gaze fell upon Bai Shaoqing, taking in short sharp breaths: “Bai? Your surname is Bai? Are you part of the Bai family?”
Bai Shaoqing didn’t seem to want to answer this question, he paused for a moment, then smiled bitterly: “I’m embarrassed to say, I am the disappointing third youngest son of the Bai family.”
“Ahhh, you are the Bai family’s san-shaoye, oh so it’s like that, please come up and ride with me!” Zhou Rouwen felt a little more relieved and reached out to his hand to help Bai Shaoqing up onto the horse. “Shimei, it’s late, let’s go.”
“Thank you Zhou-xiong.”
The three of them immediately rode off post-haste.
Li lao-ban who was still standing at the entrance, muttering to himself: “Have I gone mad? That guy is actually the third son of the Bai family. Even though his clothes were in a poor state, but his appearance was indeed extraordinary. If I had heard him speak when he had first entered, I think I would have been able to tell. Aiiie, I lost a good opportunity.” He then successively hit his own head a few times.
Bai Shaoqing jumped unsteadily from the horse to the ground: “Thank you Zhou-xiong.”
“It’s nothing at all.” Zhou Rouwen cupped his hands together and then smiled, he turned around to see the famous Bai family manor.
Amongst the four great families in Jianghu, the Bai family were the wealthiest. Not to mention their land that stretched out for hundreds of li4里 – 1 Chinese mile=1/2 km, just looking at this building on the shore of Luoxi Lake, as well as the two real gold solid rings on the front door and the stone lions that had precious stones for eyes, already told the full story.
The servant of the Bai family who was in charge of welcoming guests quickly came to the door “Ah! Esteemed guests have arrived, gongzi and xiaojie. Could you tell me your names? I’d like to report to laoye.” He said with a smile, as if he was unaware of Bai Shaoqing who was beside them.
“I am Huashan Sect’s, Zhou Rouwen. My shifu is not well, so he is unable to come personally. He sent my shimei and I to come and send well wishes in his place.”
The servant was courteous and well-trained, “So it’s the heroes of the Huashan Sect, come in, come in. The rooms for Huashan Sect are ready. He smiled at the two and turned to lead the way.
“How about you?” Fang Nihong was unwilling to move forward and instead turned to ask.
Bai Shaoqing’s graceful and proper lips raised slightly, “I will first go and greet my mother, Fang gu-niang take care of yourself.”
Seeing Bai Shaoqing turn around seemingly without any tenderness, Fang Nihong suddenly pursed her lips, “Wait, I…….”
“Fang gu-niang is here to offer birthday wishes, and I imagine you will stay here for a few days right?” Bai Shaoqing stopped walking, from the back he looked tall and calm: “Well, I….. I will definitely come to see you, and thank you for your previous kindness.”
Fang Nihong finally smiled, she said with timid delight: “Really?” She looked up to see the back of Bai Shaoqing, and couldn’t resist asking: “How are you going to thank me?”
“I will treat you to a meal, how’s that?” His tone was a little mocking, but not too frivolous.
Bai Shaoqing then quickly left, his gentle laugh still ringing in Fang Nihong’s ears.
Zhou Rouwen turned around and discovered that she was still standing in the same spot: “Shimei, why aren’t you coming?” Gazing over at her, he already knew the answer but still asked: “The Bai family’s san-shaoye, has he left already?”
“Yes, he said he’s going to see his mother,” said Fang Nihong with some disappointment.
”Let’s go. There’s someone waiting to show us to our rooms to rest! Bai Qianbei is busy today, we will offer our well-wishes tomorrow.”
The manor had pavilions littered throughout the place, with winding walkways that interconnected with each other, the two of them followed the servant for almost half a shichen before they arrived at Fengya Pavilion that had been prepared for them.
The elegant environment made Fang Nihong, a true child of Jianghu, feel like she had stepped into another world. The walkway had many different types of beautiful bird cages hanging from the ceiling, which made Fang Nihong smile even more.
“Shixiong look, what is this?”
Fang Nihong threw a pebble into the lake which scared off a school of red and white koi carp, she looked up, “What is it?”
“That Bai Shaoqing, it would be better if we keep our distance from him.”
Fang Nihong was stunned: “Why?”
“His….. his family background is not good.”
“How can that be, he’s a young master of the Bai family?” Fang Nihong was shocked.
“Haven’t you heard of the rumours in Wulin?” Zhou Rouwen sat on top of the handrail of the walkway, and hiked up his sleeves: “Come, shixiong will tell you about it.”
“Well go on then.”
“The current patriarch of the Bai family, Bai Moran….. Who is the Bai laoye that we are here to offer birthday wishes to, well, the love story between him and Bai fu-ren, who was considered the number one beauty of Wulin back in the day, Song Xiangli, is actually a really moving story.
Fang Nihong looked deflated as she waved her hand and said: “Boring, I thought it was going to be a new story! My father has already told me this story. Back then, Bai Moran had been ambushed by his enemy, Song Xiangli saved his life, she got her leg broken, and her beautiful face destroyed. Bai Moran swore to the heavens on his sickbed that he would never ever betray her, and he even married her, after several decades, he has treated her with much love and respect, and he’s even known as the number one husband in Wulin.
“Ohhh! So I guess you know everything then?” Zhou Rouwen waved his hands, “Well let me ask you then, who is Bai Shaoqing’s mother, do you know?”
“Well …… so it’s not Song Xiangli?”
“So? You don’t know, right?” Zhou Rouwen nodded and said: “In fact, it isn’t. In Jianghu, everyone knows that Bai fu-ren only has two sons, the eldest is Bai Shaoxin, the second is Bai Shaoli. This third son, his mother, is a blind woman who lived in Shen Mountain.
Fang Nihong frowned: “Doesn’t that mean Bai Moran is actually a heartless rat?”
“No, we can’t say that.” Zhou Rouwen shook his head slowly, “After Song Xiangli gave birth to her two sons, a few years later, Bai Moran was ambushed again, he was thrown down a cliff and nearly fed to the tigers, but he was saved by a blind girl who lived on Shen Mountain. The two of them were alone, with just each other for company day in and day out, with nothing to do. Anyway, by the time the Bai family found Bai Moran, that girl was already pregnant.
“Ahh! That must have made Song Xiangli so mad.”
“Not only that, I heard Shifu say…..” Zhou Mouran lowered his voice, and leaned closer to whisper in her ear: “Song Xiangli was inconsolable and heartbroken, and even tried to commit suicide several times but was stopped by servants. Back then, the Bai family’s lao taiye was still alive, he was unwilling to let an offspring of the Bai family be left to live outside, Bai Moran was aggrieved for his beloved wife but he also had to think about his own reputation. In the end, the situation came to blows and Song Xiangli was made to allow the third son to live in Bai Manor with them, and take him in as one of her own. Even the blind girl who had saved his life was taken in to live at the Manor, under the pretense that she was a distant relative, and that was how the situation was resolved.
He took a deep breathe in after saying all that and then continued: “So, Bai Shaoqing is not well regarded in the Bai family, everyone is well aware that he is the b*stard son. Did you not see the way the servant reacted to him before? Plus, when he got on the horse, he was not particularly steady, it seems that Bai laoye has not passed on the family’s martial arts to him. Shimei, we are not at home, we mustn’t poke at the family’s sore spot.”
Fang Nihong had just undone her braids and was combing her hair, when she heard Zhou Rouwen say this, she tied up her hair again into a casual bun, and snorted: “What do you mean poke their sore spot? Even if Bai Shaoqing isn’t Bai fu-ren’s son, he is still a member of the Bai family, so why can’t I talk to him? Humph, I still want him to treat me to a meal!” Thinking about the rudeness of others towards Bai Shaoqing, her heart felt some sorrow, and she turned towards Zhou Rouwen to say: ”Shixiong, you wouldn’t be that self-interested right? If you can’t be friends with him just for this, then I won’t talk to you ever again!” After she finished speaking, she suddenly stood up.
No one knew, mysteriously and inexorably, once the string of fate has been tied — it’s hard to remove.
In the depths of Bai Manor, the cold winter seemed even colder.
The sun had passed, and this corner, where not many people wanted to come, was even colder and lonelier than the others. A few servants who were cleaning the flower garden looked up at the figure walking in front of them, and their eyes flashed with a hint of admiration and regret.
Graceful, calm, handsome….. San gongzi.
All the admiration and regret went away in a flash, the servant quickly remembered himself and his identity, immediately bowed his head deeply and concentrated on his own errand up.
Counting from the entrance of the manor, this was the 112th time.
Bai Shaoqing’s gaze remained unmoving, and he gently looked at the house in front of him that was so small that it shouldn’t have appeared withinin the wealthy Bai Manor, his lips turned into a sneer.
The one hundred and twelfth servant who knew his existence, but regarded him as non-existent.
San-gongzi does not exist – this had become the default rule of the Bai family. Bai Shaoqing remembered that the few servants who used come by the window calling him out to play together had been ruthlessly driven out of the Bai family.
With a slender finger, he rubbed the familiar yet unfamiliar door for a while, and Bai Shaoqing sighed.
The sun retired as the stars shifted5日转星移 – this can represent both the night coming/end of day and metaphorically times flies and things change, the leaves on the trees had long fallen, it had been another year.
Her back was not beautiful, she was wearing coarse clothes, with no accessories on her head, even if you only see from the back, you can guess that she had a face that was extremely plain and ordinary.
The only thing that could make an impression was her loneliness.
Under the flickering candlelight, she looked even more lonely.
The corners of Bai Shaoqing’s lips had a rare real smile because of this gentle loneliness.
“Mother, your son has returned.” He leaned in close, and gently knelt down at the woman’s knees, and looked up at the face that had aged a lot in a year.
The woman smiled, tilted her head, and her ordinary face looked red under the light of the candle: “Shaoqing, are you back? Tomorrow is your father’s 50th birthday, I guessed you will be back today. Look, my mother prepared a candle to wait for you.” She couldn’t see, but her hand pointed out in the direction of the candle accurately.
A warm feeling rushed in, he was overflowing with emotion, words stuck in his throat.
“Stupid boy, mother didn’t give you anything!” She fumbled around and grabbed Bai Shaoqing’s hand, and the woman sighed, “You have suffered.”
“No I haven’t.”
“No need to conceal it from me, a blind person is the best at touching people. As soon as I touched your hands, I could tell you’ve done some hard labour.”
Bai Shaoqing laughed, “Mother, don’t worry, I’ve just been helping my teacher carry water and chop firewood. As a disciple, how can this count as anything difficult?”
“Shaoqing, this time you’ve come back, will you have to leave again for your studies?”
A short pause.
Bai Shaoqing said quietly: “If Mother is lonely, Shaoqing will not leave and stay with mother.”
“No,” the woman laughed self-consciously, “Look at me, a man’s ambition is to go all the way, how can you be restrained. Go on! Leave after your father’s birthday.”
After a moment of silence, the peaceful air seemed to be disturbed, and the woman suddenly sighed, “What are we talking about? There are no outsiders here, so why do we have to tell such lies? Shaoqing, I know they don’t treat you well, mother doesn’t wish for you to stay at Bai Manor to suffer.”
“Mother!” Bai Shaoqing suddenly yelled, and the enthusiasm rose to her eyes: “You will definitely have to make something of yourself and take the mother out of this prison.”
“Yes, Mother please wait.”
The night was getting darker, and through the screen windows, it was possible to see two figures warm and close in the house.
The candlelight was dim, what about the will of the person?
Originally he wanted to wait for his mother to sleep before going back to his room, but instead Bai Shaoqing stood by the bed and actually stood all night looking at this familiar face.
Mother, I am leaving again after father’s birthday celebration.
The sorrows usually hidden in his heart were picked up and out by a reluctant needle.
The first day he arrived home he went to see his mother, and today he was going to see his father and his other “mother”, as well as those two older brothers standing in the clouds. After paying your respects to father, you must leave immediately!
He raised his head and wanted to sigh loudly, but suddenly remembered that his mother was still asleep and swallowed the sigh hurriedly.
The sky was bright outside the window. He had put a little calming medicine in the tea last night, he didn’t want his mother to see him leave.
Once gone, I am afraid it will be another year.
The wooden door creaked open once more and the sun poured in. Bai Shaoqing regained his former indifference and stepped out of the house.
The main hall of the Bai Manor was far away from here. Bai Shaoqing walked slowly. On the way, he kept bumping into happy and excited guests who had come for the birthday celebration, their eyes full of surprise and admiration were also mixed with jealousy, from his face to his slender neck, it was simply more slender and graceful than a lady’s.
“Bai gongzi!” A clear shout came from behind, and a figure dressed in pink rushed over, “Bai gongzi, are you going to wish Bai laoye birthday wishes?” Seeing Bai Shaoqing nod very slightly, Fang Nihong laughed, “Shixiong and I wanted to ask you to lead the way. Shixiong, hurry up!” The excited tender face turned around, and shouted at Zhou Ruowen who was deliberately dawdling.
“Hmmm, okay.” Zhou Ruowen sighed secretly, and had no choice but to walk forward and smile to Bai Shaoqing: “Bai-xiong is up early.”
Bai Shaoqing didn’t smile, but there was an unconcealable smile in his eyes, “It’s not early.”
Anyone who saw such a friendly gaze could not help but feel warmed.
Together, the three of them went on their way.
Before arriving at the main hall, the music was already wafting into their ears. It wasn’t necessary to go inside to know how lively and bustling it was.
Fang Nihong tutted: “There are so many guests.”
“Bai laoye is well known in Jianghu, so on his birthday, there are certainly many people who admire him and have come to offer him well wishes.” Zhou Ruowen looked at Bai Shaoqing beside him and made a point of praising the Bai family.
Bai Shaoqing glanced at Zhou Ruowen and chuckled, “Brother Zhou-xiong travelled a long journey to wish my father birthday wishes, I, Shaoqing, am incredibly grateful.”
“No need, no need.”
The sound of suona, gongs and drums, the sound of guests exchanging pleasantries, the footsteps of servants moving from place to place, and the sound of the opera troupe outside the hall preparing for the birthday dedication, became deafening the closer they got.
It was a lively birthday celebration, and could probably be considered as one of the biggest joyous events for Wulin this year.
Just as the three of them were about to step into the main hall, it went silent.
The sound of suona stopped, the sound of gongs and drums stopped, and the talking voices stopped, there was not even the sound of footsteps or coughing.
A complete and sudden silence.
Zhou Ruowen and Fang Nihong looked at each other, unable to comprehend. Both wanted to ask questions at the same time, but before they opened their mouths, they heard a surprised Hong Zhong laugh: “Please! Please come in!”
As if these words unlocked the silent spell, all kinds of lively sounds suddenly could be heard again, and the servants were noisier than they were before.
There were hundreds of guests in this main hall, tall, short, fat and thin, from all walks of life, but all of a sudden a red-faced Bai laoye suddenly came out.
“Who is such an outstanding person to even make the master of the manor come out and greet personally him in person?”
“The Feng family’s eldest son?” Fang Nihong quietly glanced at the silent Bai Shaoqing, and said disdainfully: “Obviously relying on his family’s reputation to put on a show, I despise these kinds of men the most.”
Whilst they were talking, the sound of people’s voices began to rise again, the so-called man that Fang Nihong despised had been welcomed in by a crowd of people.
Green robes, blue sash, Bilu Sword —— Feng Long.
He had pitch-black hair, sparkling eyes and his slender and powerful hands were lightly pressed on the hilt of that famous Bilu Sword.
Fang Nihong had just been cursing his name for being unsophiscated, as well as cursing him for being too arrogant; but now, she couldn’t utter another word.
If he couldn’t use the word “Long6龙 = dragon” then no one else was worthy either. If he wasn’t arrogant, who else could qualified to be arrogant?
Splendid and understated, the famous weapon had been hidden, but it was impossible to hide the beauty of someone so outstanding.
“It’s only my birthday, how could I dare to be granted with the presence of Feng da-gongzi?” Bai laoye was glowing and brimming with smiles.
“The Feng, Bai, Sima, and Xu families have long had a good relationship from generation to generation, as it’s uncle’s birthday7世伯 shìbó uncle- affectionate name for a friend older than one’s father. Not his real uncle obviously just being polite, as your nephew, I should come personally to give you well wishes on your birthday.”
That being said, out of the Feng, Bai, Sima and Xu families, which family had produced such outstanding talent. There was only the Feng family, in just a few years, with the Bilu sword in hand, he had become a legend in Jianghu.
The two Bai family sons thriving with heroic spirit were standing behind their father, when they looked at Feng Long with envy and jealousy.
Feng Long glanced around the hall, then slowly sat down, he took the fragrant tea respectfully served by the maidservant and took a small sip, every action was impeccably perfect in every respect.
What a blessing for the Feng family to have a son like this.
Hmmmmmm…. I couldn’t sleep and kind of translated this first chapter on a whim. I have never read this novel – and literally just started, out of pure curiosity because I’m also reading the Taizi manhua atm that is based on another book by the same author.
Oh, and I have a thing for Mao Yijun ♡ Can’t wait for the live-action!