And things are starting to get more and more confusing now 😉 Our protagonist finally appears
sort of. And I’m back with the second chapter of Nirvana in Fire by Hai Yan. Hope you enjoy reading and please give me some feedback 😀
Once again here are some things to note to help you better understand the plot:
- jianghu: literally rivers and streams, essentially means the martial arts world where people join sects and fight each over and perform heroic deeds
- gongzi: a title for a young man from a prosperous family
- Lang Ya Bang: an anual ranking by the Lang Ya Hall, its categories are: top martial arts experts, top sects, top wealthy people, top beauties, top gongzi
- Xiao Jingrui: the second ranked gongzi on the Lang Ya Bang, 2 identities
- Zhuo Qingyao: the eldest son of Zhuo Dingfeng, Xiao Jinrui’s older brother; the young master of the Heavenly Spring Water Mansion
- Xie Bi: the 2nd son of the Ning Guo Marquis; younger brother of Xiao Jinrui
- Mei Lang: 梅 (Mei) means plum and 郎 (Lang) is a form of address for a young man
- Jiang Zuo: Literally left of river. It is also an alliance named Jiang Zuo Alliance under the leadership of Mei Lang
If anything is unclear please feel free to ask, hehe let’s get reading~~
Standing in front of the Yun family’s medicine stand, Xiao Jingrui couldn’t move a step.
The gong signaling the time, 2 pm, sounded. Far away, down the street, a light appeared coming closer and closer, until it embraced Jinrui’s body.
A warm, gentle hand reached out and grabbed onto his arm, and a warm, clear voice sounded in his ear.
“Come with me…..”
Xiao Jingrui slowly turned his head and looked at the person who clutched his arm then slowly lowered his head and silently followed that person.
At the end of the street there was a plain, blue carriage. That person dragged him on board and they left for the gates of the city.
It was time for the gates to close. Yet when they quietly arrived at the door the gates creaked open a sliver. When they went through, the gates closed behind them silently. After an hour, they arrived at a manor surrounded by a garden of flowers. The courtyard was bright and heartwarming and two pink, servant girls, were waiting outside.
“Serve Xiao gongzi to the bath.”
During this whole conversation, Xiao Jingrui was dully standing, listening to the other’s orders. Even until changing into a silk robe and leaning against the bed frame, he didn’t utter a single word.
That person came in with the lantern and used his hand to check Jingrui’s temperature and then sighed, a long, sigh.
“This isn’t good, you’ll get sick. Zhen Er bring the qin.”
When the qin was brought, the incense swirled though the room, and the candles were lit. The room felt brighter. That person lifted his robes and sat, positioning his hands gracefully over the qin. His fingers hovered over the strings of the qin, when suddenly they dove down and moved like flowing water over the strings. This movement was accompanied by a stream of music that erupted and hung in the air. Xiao Jingrui couldn’t help but lift his eyes. The music that poured out sounded void but natural; as if plainly telling a story, as if it were a small stream. Even though it was devoid of extravagances, it sounded like wilted flowers drifting away into streams, bringing out a feeling of voidness. Longing ripped through Jingrui’s soul. A bittersweet feeling rushed up and could not be suppressed ever again. His tears welled up and flowed out like a dam breaking free. When Xiao Jingrui had cried until it felt like his heart had broken, the sound of the music changed. It changed into a tune of the warm spring, embraced in a cloud of warmness, and a pitying of the voidness that had come before it. The pain was already healed. The music brought a silent, peaceful sensation, as if a weight in his chest had been lifted. Jingrui was hit by a tide of drowsiness. He couldn’t help but want to rest.
“Bring Xiao gongzi some calming tea.”
Xiao Jingrui’s eyes were sleepy and when the china of the teacup touched his lip, he instinctively opened his mouth; only feeling the flavor soothing him and the drowsiness becoming heavier. Falling onto the mattress; someone covered him with a blanket and softly said, “sleep.”
Even though he was in a strange state of mind, he could still clearly feel that person’s kindness. Jingrui wanted to express his gratitude, but he was too tired. He turned over and feel into a deep sleep.
One morning two days later in Xunyang, the dust rose into the air. The sound of the horses’ hooves sounded like the splattering of rain. Two riders who had ridden overnight and were beginning to look worse for the wear came into sight. They had tired faces and slightly messy hair, but the white stallions underneath their bodies and the garments they donned still clearly showed the identities of the two riders.
A blue-robed person waiting outside the gates quickly rose and went towards the riders, bringing his hands together in a greeting.
“May i ask if you are the Heavenly Spring Water Mansion’s young master and the Ning Guo Marquis’ second son?”
Zhuo Qingyao and Xie Bi were slightly startled and pulled on the reins, they looked closely at that blue-robed person but they found that they didn’t know him.
“May I ask who you are?” Zhuo Qingyao asked.
“I am here on the orders of my master to wait for you. My master has told me to tell you to please rest assured. Xiao gongzi has stayed with my master for these past two days. And master has played the qin for him and convinced him to let go of his pain. If the two of you are anxious, I’ll lead the way to him.”
“And your master….” Xie Bi asked but was interrupted by Zhuo Qingyao. Xie Bi looked at Qingyao questioningly. He his eyes flicker towards the collar of the blue-robed man, and saw what it was that had caught Qingyao’s attention. The moon white collar had a small plum blossom embroidered on it. If only a glance was spared it wouldn’t have been able to be clearly seen. Xie Bi suddenly understood and inhaled a breath of air. Zhuo Qingyao brightly said, “Your honored master has spent much of his time helping our younger brother. The Xie and Zhuo families are deeply grateful and will return this kindness when we have the chance. “
The blue-robed person smiled and replied,”These 14 districts of the Jiang Zuo, are all under the protection of our master, the brothers of the jianghu often like to visit and our master worries about them as well, therefore we must treat someone as honorable as Xiao gongzi especially well. If Xiao gongzi was to be harmed in the Xunyang area, our master will feel guilty, it is our responsibility. Zhuo gongzi mentioned returning our hospitality, we cannot accept such an offer.”
Xie Bi smiled and praised, “It seems like under a strong general there are no weak soldiers, you are very clever with your words.”
“Second young master is too polite.”
That blue-robed person didn’t waste anymore words and said, “Please follow me.”
Zhuo Qingyao and Xie Bi followed close behind that person. They travelled west on a not-so-big dirt road for the larger part of half an hour before they arrived at the manor.
The door was unlocked so that blue-robed man gestured them to enter. Zhuo Qingyao pushed open the door and saw his younger brother sitting under the Osmanthus flowers. Even though his complexion was pale, his state was pleasant. Qingyao’s hear was calmed and he cried, “Jingrui!!!!”
Xiao Jingrui turned around and looked at him, “Older brother, second younger brother, why did you two come?”
“You’re asking us? What day was it yesterday? The Mid-Autumn festival and we were all waiting for you. Mother, father, and uncle and auntie, we cannot help but be worried. And you are a stubborn person. If we don’t bring you back, will we, your siblings, have any good days?”
Being lectured by his brother Jingrui felt ashamed and lowered his head. Xie Bi immediately said “Brother Zhuo don’t lecture anymore, you’re almost sounding like my father! Since older brother is well then what’s passed is in the past, let’s rest and go back to Jinling tomorrow.”
“You are really impolite,” Zhuo Qingyao said while lighting tapping him on the head, “Jingrui has already stayed here for two days and now you want us to impose too?”
“It wouldn’t be a bother, this manor is for guests. Feel free to stay,” the blue-robed person said.
“If you are too polite, then it would make my master uneasy. “
Zhuo Qingyao humbly replied, “Your honored master is very genuine and us brothers will only bother you for one more day and we will leave tomorrow morning.”
“Please do as you wish. I will bring some utilities and not interrupt you anymore.”
That person found an excuse and left the brothers alone.
“No matter what he says it’s still a huge favor.”Zhuo Qingyao turned and looked at his brother. “Do you know who the person who took care of you is?”
“Even though I am not feeling too well, I don’t have amnesia, he personally led me here, and took care of me for two days. Of course I know who he is.”
“He personally invited you here?” Zhuo Qingyao was shocked.
“Did you know each other before”
“We have met a few times, if I didn’t know who he was why would I have left with him?”
“Huh, Without even being there I can already imagine that you must have not been in a right state of mind. You would have probably left with anyone.”
Zhuo Qingyao sighed, “Jingrui I have already told you, you have no fate with Miss Yun. You have been admiring her for so many years, now you must give up.”
Xiao Jingrui’s face paled, he lowered his head and did not speak for a long time.
Xie Bi was only one year younger than Jingrui and was very close with him. Seeing his brother’s expression he felt sad and said, “Actually you have only admired her from afar, now that there is no possibility, you should let her go. If you don’t want to go home right now, I shall travel with you for a while. Leishan Ding granny will be 100 years old next month, and Zhuo uncle has received the invitation. Let us leave for her party tomorrow.”
After healing for the past two days, Jingrui’s logic had recovered and as Yun Piaomeng had never given him any hope and he saw the caring of his brothers, he didn’t want them to worry anymore and forced a smile on his face and said, “If father Zhuo said so then I will go.”
“Actually I am the one who should go but Qi Er is pregnant and her condition is not stable. So I’ll leave it up to you,” Zhuo Qingyao smilingly said.
Xiao Jingrui thought about how his brother had left his pregnant wife to find him, and his heart was happy and sorry at the same time. In a low voice Jingrui said, “How is Qi sister’s body?”
“She’s fine you don’t have to worry.”
Xie Bi put his hands on Qingyao’s and Jingrui’s shoulders and said, “I don’t know if they sell wine around here, but even if the Mid-Autumn Festival has passed, we brothers should drink together.”
Although Xiao Jingrui didn’t feel like drinking, he didn’t want to spoil the mood so he said, “In the backyard there are two servants, I’ll go ask them.”
With that he turned and left.
Xie Bi took this time and surveyed the surroundings, all the plants, flowers, statues, and benches, lakes, and rivers, were very well placed. Not too strange, but not too ordinary. Xie Bi couldn’t help but praise, ”Even though this manor must not have been personally designed by him,it is still this elegant. It can be seen that the owner is very talented.”
Zhuo Qingyao burst into laughter hearing what Xie Bi said.
“Since he’s not here we can say whatever we want..…actually it would have been better if he was here. We have always heard of his name but have never seen him. If we had the luck to see him today, it would have been nice.”
Just as Zhuo Qingyao was about to reply, Xiao Jingrui had come back and said, “The two servant girls said that there is wine in the courtyard and they will bring it here.”
Just as he finished his sentence, the two servant girls had brought out jugs of wine and greeted them. They placed the cups down in front of them and poured three cups of wine.
When the scent of the wine drifted into the air, Xie Bi’s expression changed. He lifted the cup and took a whiff, and his expression became even more astonished. Zhuo Qingyao and Xiao Jingrui knew that he loved wine and was very educated in the study of wine. Judging by Xie Bi’s expression it must be some kind of rare wine. Xiao Jingrui didn’t really think anything of it, but Zhuo Qingyao’s hand had already stopped Xie Bi’s hand.
“You are a nobleman, how can you appear to be so greedy? If I tell your parents…”
Xie Bi with a flushed face and stammered, “But,b-but, this is Zhao Dian Hong!!!!!”
With the utterance of that name, Zhuo Qingyao and Xiao Jingrui were both stunned.
Zhao Dian Hong, best of the best, was made 200 years by and old saint. It was made with precious flowers and fruit. A fragrant smelling wine, no one else had been able to make it again. As there was not a big supply of it in the world, even the emperor would only drink it in very important settings, to show off. Even Xie Bi the son of the Princess Wei Yang, had only had a small sip before. No one could believe that in this manor, servants would bring such a wine out to serve ordinary travelers. Naturally, this caused everyone shock.
“Sisters, without the permission of your owner, we cannot drink this precious wine, please take it back.”
Zhuo Qingyao declined immediately after recovering from his shock.
Xiao Jingrui slowly came back to his senses, while Xie Bi was staring with forced expression.
“Our master already knew that the both of you would come today so he already told us to serve you. If you wanted to drink then we were to bring out the Zhao Dian Hong, to repay Xiao gongzi’s kindness.” The servant girls had the grace and elegance of noblewomen.
Zhuo Qingyao looked towards his brother, “Didn’t you say you only saw him a few times?”
Xiao Jingrui thought back and finally remembered.
“What he means is that day at Qinling…..it was only a small matter. How is it worth such treatment? And when we met later at Qingfeng Pass, he already thanked me.”
Zhuo Qingyao and Xie Bi were speechless. When they first heard that Jingrui and that person had met a few times, they thought that meant that Jingrui had seen him from afar before. Now it clearly sounded like it was much more than that.
“Jingrui, before when you came back home, you’d tell us about your doings in the jianghu, why did you not tell us about this matter?”
“This is rather strange,” Xiao Jingrui looked at his brother, “the people I have met can be said as few, or many. I can’t possibly tell you about every single one I’ve met can I?”
“The other people you have met are not out of the ordinary, but the person you met is…..”
Xie Bi almost said his name but was stopped by Zhuo Qingyao again, who looked steadily at his brother again. Seriously Qingyao asked, “Do you really know who he is?”
“Of course I do.”
Xiao Jingrui saw that his brother was acting strange and deep inside he became unsure, and with a low voice he answered, “He is one of Qinling’s merchants….”
Xie Bi rolled his eyes collapsed onto the stone chair. Although Zhuo Qingyao was more composed, his mouth still slightly twitched. The two servants covered their smiles with their hands, but because of their class they did not interrupt. After a minute of awkward silence, Zhuo Qingyao gritted his teeth and found his voice back, “You have already met him several times and still think he’s only a merchant?!! Such naive judgement. How can you possibly be ranked on the Lang Ya Bang? I’m beginning to think that the owner of the Lang Ya Hall isn’t any better than you are at judging a person.”
Xiao Jingrui was also a sharp person and hearing this, of course understood that the “merchant” he had met couldn’t possibly be just a merchant. But still even though these years he had been struggling through the rankings, in his heart he didn’t really care about such titles. So even now, even though he felt some awkwardness he did not feel any shame. He only lightly asked, “So who do you say he is?”
Zhuo Qingyao sighed and crossed his arms, looked his brother straight in the eye and spit out 8 words.
“Top of the Lang Ya Bang. The Jiang Zuo’s Mei Lang.”