Chapter 60: You know Chang An’s… Saberwork?

In the middle of the night, Qingliang frantically barged into Luda’s house.

Luda still had a lot of worries on his mind, so he was wide awake, unable to fall asleep. When the burst of cold wind hit his head, it gave him a jolt.

He was surprised to see Qingliang with a complexion as blue as a little demon’s. When Qingliang crossed over the threshold, he tripped and fell down awkwardly. Then like a tortoise on all fours, he rushed to Luda’s bedside. “I… I, I, I saw… saw, saw…”

Luda propped himself up on the bed, frowned, and said, “Did you see your damned dead old dad?”

“I… I got up in the middle of the night to go out and pee… No, no, no, I got up in the middle of the night…”

Luda said impatiently, “Okay, I get it, you peed. In the end, what did you see?”

“I saw… saw the mermaid, the mermaid. He, he, he is not human! I saw him eating human flesh. His mouth was full of blood, and his teeth, his teeth! They were so long, it reached his chin. He was really eating human flesh. I… I saw a head!”

Whether the mermaid was human or not, it really was open to question. Hearing this, Luda raised an eyebrow, picked up his jiandao, and rolled off the bed.

Qingliang took a deep breath. After saying it, he calmed down a bit and tried to think. “Shifu… what about Chang An1In the raws, this sentence is written as 师父……长安呢?The character at the end can mean “where” or “what about.” In Chinese, the WH-questions (who, what, when, where, why, and how) are often found at the end, unlike in English, where they are often found in the beginning.

And so another way I interpreted the sentence 师父……长安呢?is that Qingliang was actually addressing Chang An as Shifu, not Luda, but is hesitant to do so. I assumed QL was about to say “师父呢?(Shīfu ne?)/(What about Shifu?),” but he stops himself after having only said “Shifu,” then switches to saying “Chang An” instead. And so, the original translation was: “What about Shi—what about Chang An?”

However, literally translating the sentence would be “Shifu… What about Chang An?” I went with this translation, but I’m not actually sure with it. In a previous chapter, it was implied, albeit jokingly, that Qingliang is now Chang An’s grand-disciple, which in turn would make Luda as Qingliang’s Shifu. And since Qingliang does learn more directly from Luda than from Chang An, I guess it won’t be wrong for him to think Luda as his Shifu.

However, to the tribe, Qingliang is technically Chang An’s disciple. And this is where my confusion comes from. I’m not sure who exactly QL is calling as Shifu—Chang An or Luda.
? We have to go find him first…”

(Don’t skip the footnote above. It’s really important… and also very long >_<)

“It’s just a mermaid, why look for him? You wanna suck milk?” Qingliang’s thinking obviously didn’t get Luda’s approval. He glared at Qingliang, shoved his shoulder, and said, “Lead the way. I’ll go with you to check.”

The two teenagers crept out of the house, and following Qingliang’s directions, they ran to the little brook in front of the mountain behind them.

There was always running water inside that little brook. Unless it was very cold, it usually didn’t freeze into thick ice. In the past few days especially, when the temperature had been picking up slightly, it flowed even more actively to the sea.

The mermaid wasn’t afraid of the cold. At night, he liked to change back into his half-human and half-fish2人身鱼尾 – Raws actually specifically say that it’s a “human body with a fish tail,” and for the rest of the chapter, author makes it a point that his form is with a fish tail (and not a fish head, fortunately XD). But to make it flow more easily, I just say “half-fish.” appearance and toss inside the brook.

Luda and Qingliang hid behind a mountain rock, craning their necks to peek.

The moonlight this day was eerily bright, and sure enough, they saw the beautiful and refined mermaid in its half-fish form inside the water. There was still unwiped blood around his mouth, and he was holding a thigh and gnawing happily. The view of it made one’s blood run cold. He was like an evil spirit that had come out from nowhere.

The young beastman boy’s eyesight was excellent. He held his breath for a while and watched. Just then, a wave of water came over, and with a splash, a person’s head floated to under the moonlight. Luda recognized it at a glance. This dead person was exactly the old madman he had seen that day.

At this, a few more holes seemed to have suddenly opened in his heart, making it a lot more heavier. Recognizing that man at a glance, his heart turned into several corners.

It wasn’t strange that the mermaid ate human flesh. When a mermaid turned into their fish forms, they had such sharp claws and fangs. If one said that they were vegetarians, then that would probably be even more strange. The thing was, this old fool had only spoken a few words to him, yet he was surprisingly disposed of so quickly and secretly. 

This place was close to the residential area, and the city defense had been tight these days. Even Qingliang was able to see it by accident. Could it be that the night watchmen were blind?

Therefore… they were all in tacit understanding.

When Luda thought of this, he pulled Qingliang and said in a low voice, “Let’s go.”

Qingliang had always followed him blindly. Not daring to say anything else, he followed him honestly.

After walking out a good distance away, he heard Luda whisper, “Mermaids are naturally carnivores. They are uncivilized, and living in the water everyday, the seawater has squeezed out their brains. They think that whatever is thrown into the water is for them to eat. I’m afraid they eat corpses as food. But don’t worry, when he goes ashore, he wouldn’t dare.”

Qingliang was practically given a shock by him. He had never gotten Luda to say a few soft words to him for a couple weeks. He was suddenly flattered and a little disoriented.

However, Luda had only casually spoken those words to him. He was so preoccupied that, in fact, he hadn’t taken those words seriously, and all the way, he didn’t care about Qingliang. He walked back to his room with a heavy heart and closed the door, lost in his own thoughts.

That man is dead, thought Luda as he took a deep breath.

What am I still troubled about? He was just an ineffable and deranged old lunatic that could be executed at will. How could it be right to listen to him?

Becoming suspicious of Shifu, the Chief, and them just because of an old fool, isn’t it my brain that has a problem?

It was as if the heavens had shown him such a clear path, and Luda felt that he had suddenly figured it out.

He had tossed and turned for a long time, but once he made up his mind, his heart was like a large stone settling on the ground. At once, the rain passed and the sky brightened. Luda turned over and lay down. This time, he slept until dawn.


The people Hua Yi sent out were gone for a few days, so the city gates were shut, and the garrison was doubled, the men changing shifts three times a day.

Fortunately, they had plenty of food this winter. People didn’t have to do a lot of farm work, and hunting was also rare. They would occasionally go out to sea, and even sub-beasts and strong, young married women could go.

But even then, Black Wind Puya came to harass them almost every day. The people guarding the city walls were growing tired of it. Bu Dong and Suo Laimu, who were foresighted, and the patient ones like Chang An were better off. Ka Zuo, however, couldn’t stand it anymore. Every day, he had to look down from the city walls, and as he watched, he badly wished he could grow a pair of wings so he could swoop down and fight the enemies up close.

As time went by, flaming blisters broke out in his mouth. A’Ye applied some medicine on him, and the combination of red and green led to an unfortunately ferocious-looking3青面獠牙 – a long-toothed man with a livid face; One’s face was blue and one’s teeth stuck far out face, entertaining the men on the walls for several days.

In contrast, Hua Yi had been thinking more. He had an ambitious plan in mind, and he was slowly starting on it, going at it step by step.

When Hua Yi and Chang An defended the city walls together, they ran into Black Wind’s night attack. Up and down the city walls, arrows flew all over. 

Black Wind Puya had been recently fond of night attacks. For one thing, accurately aiming arrows from top to bottom was easy during the day; from bottom to top though, it wasn’t the case. At night, however, it was different. No one could clearly see who was who, making it very confusing. Secondly, their beastmen could also take advantage of the chaos to climb up the city gate tower.

After a handful of times of this, Hua Yi came up with a solution. He asked A’Ye to grind a kind of grass stalk that would glow in the dark and had the walls coated with it. Now every person climbing up the wall was more or less covered with some.

And Chang An stood right behind the wall, seemingly non-existent as he hid in the dark. Many of the wall guards were equipped with long sabers to make it convenient to stab people down. Because of this, even Hua Yi sometimes couldn’t find his own man.

Chang An was like a ghost in the crowd. Every enemy that managed to slip in would encounter a saber so fast, they couldn’t even see the shadow of the person behind it.

One slash, and the head was off. It was never dragged out.

Hua Yi had originally wanted to personally assume command, but in the end, he just sat back in the wind shelter and counted. By the time he counted to seven, the fierce battle was over.

Chang An leaned against the stone wall of the wind shelter to catch his breath. Hua Yi brought a kettle over, and wrapping an arm around Chang An’s shoulder, he fed the water into his mouth. He said jokingly, “I think that, in the future, with you around, I don’t need to come to the garrison anymore.”

When Hua Yi stickily rubbed his mouth to wipe the water stains, Chang An avoided it, feeling that it was inappropriate. Though they weren’t in broad daylight, there were still many people beside them. Hearing Hua Yi’s words, he immediately said, “You naturally don’t have to come over. I’ll guard the city walls for you. That’s how it should be.”

The cheap Chief Hua Yi, who’d been taking advantage of the darkness to secretly grope, once again fell speechless when he heard this. He almost fled in a panic. He coughed dryly to stabilize himself, and after a long while, he sighed. In his heart, he thought tenderly, How can I ever be willing to part with you?

Hua Yi was just like this. When his heart was full of desire, his mouth would be sickeningly sweet. He’d say all kinds of sappy words, but inside, he had actually already become a puddle of water. He badly wished he could put the person in front of him deep into his heart as a treasure4宝贝 (bǎo bèi) – A very sweet term of endearment that can be translated in different ways: treasured object (literally), treasure, darling, and baby., but his mouth was unable to say anything.

Looking at Chang An deeply, he took him into his arms and kissed him on the hair. After that one kiss, he released him and turned around to command the city guards.


Then finally, eight days later, Shan Xi came back first.

Let’s talk about what happened on their way back.

When Shan Xi was young, he happened to meet Suo Laimu. Suo Laimu, this Shenwu5神物 – The characters for god + thing. It would be literally translated as “divine object,” but in this context, I guess it’s used like the Shengun (god stick) from before, simply referring to how SLM is always going on about the gods haha, had practically influenced his entire life, so as a result, Shan Xi had developed a kind of craftiness in his bones.

The first thing Shan Xi did after receiving his mission was to spread the news that they wanted to buy a lot of weapons. The merchants, who were rooted in every commercial road in the continent, had long been thinking about making money from the war. Hence, when this news came out, they conveniently took the bait, and as soon as they were hooked, Shan Xi started his evil plan.

He secretly made an appointment with several merchants, but he deliberately didn’t go at the agreed time. He figured that some of the old foxes among the merchants were bound to seek profits before anything else and would certainly sell out the place.

Sure enough, the merchants who gathered there first were then attacked by Black Wind Puya.

Black Wind Puya rushed to where Shan Xi and the others went. They couldn’t kill off all the merchants without having caught anybody, so they instead took the group of trembling people back as prisoners.

At this time, Shan Xi was leading people to lie in ambush at a small mountain pass the enemy would have to pass. Beating gongs and drums, they acted as if their strength and momentum was so great as they trapped them inside. Taking advantage of their panic, they massacred them all in a quick battle, and then smoothly robbed the group of merchants who had just recovered from their shocks from having been unluckily caught up in the war.

Shan Xi’s plan had gone well, yet there was a bit of a mishap. He had just left the pass when he came across some of Black Wind’s men. These men, fortunately, were already dead.

But there was one man there who had his back towards them. In his hand was a notched scimitar picked up from somewhere, and following beside him was a beastman in his giant beast form. Shan Xi signaled the people behind him to be quiet, while he himself peeked out from the thick bushes just in time to see the way the man sent the notched blade into the throat of the last man.

Although the weapon used was different, the blade’s familiar and bizarre course and the light but forceful lifting method of the man holding it all reminded Shan Xi of one person that he couldn’t help but blurt out, “Chang An?!”

When the man heard his voice, he pushed the corpse away and looked back in surprise. The giant beast seemed to be in tacit understanding with him, and he jumped in front of the man with a low roar, his eyes glaring at Shan Xi.

This man was naturally not Chang An—Looking at his age, he was more like Chang An’s father. His figure was also extremely different. His eyes were quite bright, his lips were a bit thin, and the corners of his mouth seemed to be naturally curled up in a smile. He looked a little immodest, yet also very amiable.

The man raised his hand and patted the body of the giant beast. He casually tossed the scrap notched blade aside, and sized up Shan Xi meaningfully. Suddenly, he asked, “You know Chang An’s… saberwork6I know this word doesn’t exist, but I didn’t want to use “swordmanship” because, in this novel, the author makes a big distinction between sword and saber. And “sabermanship” doesn’t sound nice at all, so saberwork it is?”

As a result, Shan Xi not only brought back a group of quail-like merchants, but as well as two men of unknown origins. The giant beast turned into a man and followed them without saying a word, silent as hell.

When they came back, Chang An was in the wind shelter of the garrison, preparing to turn over his shift to the next team of guards. Hearing others say that Shan Xi had returned, he didn’t care much, but for duty’s sake, he still personally went to the city gate towers to take a look.

With this one look, Chang An seemed to have his soul sucked away by something. He suddenly ran down in large strides and actually went to  personally open the city gates. 

Bu Dong, who was changing shifts with him, unwittingly followed him down, only to see that Chang An was already like a small beast that had escaped from its cage. He pushed the people in the way, and ran straight out as he shouted, “Bei Shi!”


Lizonka: SHIFU IS BACK!!!

Footnotes

Since the translator notes in this chapter are very long, I decided to also list them below in case you want to read them again for clarification.

  • 1
    In the raws, this sentence is written as 师父……长安呢?The character at the end can mean “where” or “what about.” In Chinese, the WH-questions (who, what, when, where, why, and how) are often found at the end, unlike in English, where they are often found in the beginning.

    And so another way I interpreted the sentence 师父……长安呢?is that Qingliang was actually addressing Chang An as Shifu, not Luda, but is hesitant to do so. I assumed QL was about to say “师父呢?(Shīfu ne?)/(What about Shifu?),” but he stops himself after having only said “Shifu,” then switches to saying “Chang An” instead. And so, the original translation was: “What about Shi—what about Chang An?”

    However, literally translating the sentence would be “Shifu… What about Chang An?” I went with this translation, but I’m not actually sure with it. In a previous chapter, it was implied, albeit jokingly, that Qingliang is now Chang An’s grand-disciple, which in turn would make Luda as Qingliang’s Shifu. And since Qingliang does learn more directly from Luda than from Chang An, I guess it won’t be wrong for him to think Luda as his Shifu.

    However, to the tribe, Qingliang is technically Chang An’s disciple. And this is where my confusion comes from. I’m not sure who exactly QL is calling as Shifu—Chang An or Luda.
  • 2
    人身鱼尾 – Raws actually specifically say that it’s a “human body with a fish tail,” and for the rest of the chapter, author makes it a point that his form is with a fish tail (and not a fish head, fortunately XD). But to make it flow more easily, I just say “half-fish.”
  • 3
    青面獠牙 – a long-toothed man with a livid face; One’s face was blue and one’s teeth stuck far out
  • 4
    宝贝 (bǎo bèi) – A very sweet term of endearment that can be translated in different ways: treasured object (literally), treasure, darling, and baby.
  • 5
    神物 – The characters for god + thing. It would be literally translated as “divine object,” but in this context, I guess it’s used like the Shengun (god stick) from before, simply referring to how SLM is always going on about the gods haha
  • 6
    I know this word doesn’t exist, but I didn’t want to use “swordmanship” because, in this novel, the author makes a big distinction between sword and saber. And “sabermanship” doesn’t sound nice at all, so saberwork it is

**✿❀ translated by Lizonka ❀✿**
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