Green Dragon Totem - novelonlinefull.com
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The gaze that Fu Wenjie affixed Shan Chao with was now filled with undisguised mocking and sorrow, as if one who had suffered much with one foot in the grave, was looking at a young and innocent child br.i.m.m.i.n.g with courage due to naivety: "You will know in the future."
Not waiting for Shan Chao to reply, he asked again: "—then in that case, how did you start to suspect me?"
Shan Chao fell silent for a moment, and then spoke: "From the moment I ran into you by the West Lake, the bearing of your words and actions made me feel that something was fishy…"
"Oh, where did I make a mistake? Did I not act on behalf of Chen Haiping to apologise in front of everyone to you?"
"There lay the problem," Shan Chao slowly said, "this poor monk has spent two years cultivating in the Ci'en Temple in Chang'an, and though my master is severe, and always feared by the disciples, yet in the case of other people visiting the door to complain he has never rebuked the disciples without distinguishing right from wrong; this is simply because people for the most part shield shortcomings, even if one's own relatives and friends were improper in action, they would more or less side with them to some extent."
"Yet when Young Master first met us, you did not enquire on the course of events, and did not even see clearly what happened on the lakeside, yet your first words were: 'my younger brother has been licentious beyond belief, may Master do forgive by all means'! The implication being, you did not even make clear what happened before you put the blame squarely on Eldest Young Master Chen…"
"Furthermore, while the great martial-arts sects were congregating in the Sword-Forging Manor, as the Young Master you actually opened the three gates, and arranged a banquet in the main hall and ordered Eldest Young Master Chen to apologise to us—although it seemed that your actions were open and honest, yet they were too solemn and exaggerated, and simply did not conform with worldly affairs and popular opinion, moreover afterwards Young Master candidly said before everyone that Young Mistress Fu had been spoiled rotten by your honourable mother and so on, I could not help but have a preposterous notion."
Fu Wenjie gazed at Shan Chao woodenly, only to hear his pause in slight complication: "With regards to the Sword-Forging Manor's prestige, you seem to be deliberately humiliating it."
Fu Wenjie snorted from his nose: "…such fine observation, as expected of Master."
—he actually admitted it!
Shan Chao was rather taken aback, frowning as he said: "You hate Sword-Forging Manor?"
"Hate?" Fu Wenjie connected on without hesitation, giving a hearty laugh: "Do you think that I should not hate?!"
He abruptly turned around to look towards the coffin, trembling as he said: "Of course I hate! Do you know when did my legs heal? It was on the day that Wanjuan died in childbirth!"
Shan Chao said in amazement: "Were you not pretending…"
"Of course not!"
Fu Wenjie took a deep breath, his voice deep and hoa.r.s.e:
"…I was a son born when my mother was ageing, and from young I was doted upon, and extremely pampered. Whenever Father would strictly force me to practice martial arts, Mother would constantly obstruct in front and would not allow me to do painstaking work, up to the extent that only when I was twelve that I accessed the family's ultimate techniques 'Yin-Yang True Force'. Actually I was too old, and my foundation was not good, and owing to my impatience I suffered a qi deviation, thus…"
"I thought that I would be a useless person all my life, and was originally already disheartened, only hoping to end my wretched life. Who knew that I would meet Wanjuan, and enjoy marital harmony as husband and wife, and unexpected began to have all kinds of expectations and merriness in life… the day Wanjuan departed, I was almost about to court death outside the delivery room. In my rage I fainted, and after waking up the blockage in my channels unexpectedly cleared. I tried to practice walking, and within mere months, I had completely recovered to the mobility of ordinary people."
Shan Chao said: "You did not tell anyone else…"
"Of course not!" Fu Wenjie shouted: "If I told others, how would I still make mischief in Sword-Forging Manor? Precisely, I want to make sure that none of them have a moment of peace, and let everyone remember that Wanjuan's soul has yet to rest, that inevitably she would come back one day for revenge!"
"……" Shan Chao's brows furrowed: "In that case, on the day of the fire the sound of the female ghost that the maid heard outside was faked by you?"
"Yes," Fu Wenjie replied instantly: "Do you know how happy I was in my heart, when the next day you exposed before everyone the fact that the corpse was faked? Although whether or not it was discovered would not affect my subsequent plans, and the Fu Xiangrong in the rear hall had already died, but to undo this filthy veil of the Fu family before all those prestigious righteous sects who flaunt themselves as n.o.ble and virtuous, my heart was truly delighted beyond knowledge!"
For a while Shan Chao did not know what to say:
"…..the one who killed Fu Xiangrong, was it you or the Mysterious Demon School?"
"It's the one surnamed Jing." Fu Wenjie coldly spoke, "they wanted the Sword-Forging Manor's family wealth and the secret method to refine swords, and the last blossom of the Snow Lotus still extant in this world, yet they feared that if they drove me to desperate ends I would indiscriminately destroy the Snow Lotus, thus they agreed to work with me—to them it was the safest and most effortless method. Thus the day that the embroidery house caught fire, I found a way to send a message to the people of the Mysterious Demon School, and invited them to a.s.sist me and go to the back mountain villa to kill Fu Xiangrong…"
"But the infant corpse in the ancestral tombs was personally dug up by me, and I also deliberately fell down the precipice, I only did not expect that someone would truly jump down following after me."
He took a deep breath, and said: "Actually I am not worthy of being saved by you."
Within the underground chamber there was complete silence, without the least bit of sound.
This was was already far from the surface, and the suffocating calm seemed to drown people to their crowns like the tide.
"I saved you only because…" Shan Chao abruptly stopped talking, and after a while let out a long breath, changing the subject: "You returned from under the precipice to the back mountain villa, and snuck into the rear hall from this tunnel, burying saltpetre, sulphur, and personally killed the Old Madam and a host of servants with an explosion?"
Fu Wenjie did not reply but asked: "How did you know this now?"
"The floor tiles," Shan Chao said.
"Lightning strikes down from above, and would first smash the roof beams, and it would end spontaneously after striking people to death, it would not explode the brick bed and floor tiles into pieces. But gunpowder goes up from below, and would first smash the floor tiles, and then break through the brick bed and impact the roof beams, so the roof, and roof tiles show less cracking and lighter damage. Comparing the two, obvious differences could of course be detected."
Fu Wenjie nodded without speaking, his expression showing an unexpected admiration.
Shan Chao said: "I only have two misgivings, and do not know if Young Master is willing to answer. First, although sulphur, saltpetre, soap beans1 and so on can make gunpowder, yet gunpowder has limited explosive force, how could it collapse half the rear hall?"
Fu Wenjie indifferently said: "Sword-Forging Manor has a secret method to forge swords, and we are extremely good at using fire, this is the first reason. Secondly, this type of gunpowder was given by the Mysterious Demon School, back in the day the Mysterious Demon School were formerly… forget it, Master hast left home, and it makes no difference whether or not you know about these old affairs of the royal court and the Jianghu."
Shan Chao did not pursue, only nodding his head before he continued talking: "I still have one doubt, may Young Master forgive me. I only wanted to know, Fu Xiangrong is your younger sister, and the Old Madam is your birth mother, when you were doing these things, could it be that you did not even have a little bit… a bit or reluctance whatsoever?"
Fu Wenjie gazed at Shan Chao, and showed once more that extremely mocking smile, as if jeering him for being so strongly attached to such a silly question. Yet after that satire, from his eyes there floated up an even more distorted, malicious and bitter agony.
"Reluctance?" Fu Wenjie hoa.r.s.ely repeated, and asked back: "Then when they created all kinds of difficulties, did their hearts show reluctance at any point? When Fu Xiangrong recommended that quack to my mother, did she have any reluctance? When my mother forced Wanjuan to drink that so-called decoction to turn the female into male, did she have any reluctance at any point?"
"Did you know why I wanted to use such a dangerous and laborious method like burying gunpowder? I wanted everyone to see, it was the thunder of heaven which struck her to death! It was my mother's conduct and deeds which invited heavenly thunder, which had struck her to death! Otherwise I could have put poison or committed arson, and plotted an accident or a.s.sa.s.sination, what method was not within reach? There are methods of murder aplenty in this world!"
Fu Wenjie's face was entirely red and distorted, and could not help but cough violently again, the sound as sharp as a howl of grief, and within the underground chamber's jumping illumination it seemed to make people tremble in fear from the bottom of their hearts. Shan Chao's heart ached, as he murmured: "After all that was your mother…" The words had just concluded, and even he himself found them powerless.
"So what if she's my mother? Don't you know, that this world is filled with parents who kill their own children?! There are those who beat and scold their own children to death, those who out of ignorance pamper their children to death, and there are still those who are ignorant yet remain persistent in their views, who use the poison known as motherly love to kill everyone around her children save herself, and leave her children living in a suffocation, loneliness and despair, more terrifying than death, can you understand?!"
Shan Chao gave small gasps, and after a while shook his head: "I don't know, ever since I was born… I have never seen my mother."
Fu Wenjie gave a loud cold laugh: "Very good, then I wish that in this life you would never suffer this heart-breaking bone-chilling, hate-filled pain!"
1 ZH: 皂角 - refers to the tree Gleditsia sinensis, used as an early form of soap.