Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Living to Suffer - ch19

Translator: ayszhang
Editor: Marcia

Living to Suffer chapter 19
The prequel to TDDUP


The dim chamber fell silent.
Ch’in Ching spoke no more, only bowing his head as though he had lost consciousness again.

Some four hours later, the gates to the chamber were suddenly pushed open. In walked the two Elders and four t’angchu. Without any apparent cause, all the candles in the chamber relit, making it as bright as day.
Miao Jan walked close to Shen Liangsheng and asked quietly, “Hsiao-Shen, how are you holding up?”
For the past seven days, Shen Liangsheng had cast his duties aside and stood there without eating or drinking. Although she knew his foundations were strong, she was nevertheless concerned because at the end of the day, he was a man.
“Not an issue.” He gave a slight nod, his eyes still glued to the man imprisoned by the chains.
take a good look then, because you won’t get much longer anyway unless you want to hold on to his corpse for the rest of your life.
Miao Jan heaved a silent sigh and held her tongue.

Actually, Ch’in Ching had not lost consciousness.
Even if he had, he would have roused in the last moment.
After all this time, the moment he had awaited had inexorably come.
The seeds of hetu that had been planted deeply in his veins were awakening and soon would yield the fruits of vipaka.

“But Shen Liangsheng, did you know…”
The moment he noticed the unrest in his veins, without a care for the others in the chamber he blurted out his answer.
“What I truly desired was never your heart.”

As soon as the last syllable faded, a golden glow beamed down from the heavens.
Word by word, Ch’in Ching activated the Buddhist mantra which he had memorized since childhood and which had long ago merged into his veins.
The golden, holy light grew increasingly stronger and enveloped the coffin in the centre and the person hanging above it.

“No!” The two elders reacted first and flung their weapons out at Ch’in Ching at top speed, but the pure light of Buddha quietly rendered them into fine dust.
A chilling shriek sounded from the coffin but only lasted a mere instant, the golden rays vanishing as well.
Six people rushed towards the coffin, eager to assess the situation. Only Shen Liangsheng leapt up, shattering the metal chains with his ch’i and catching the man that fell straight into his arms.

The Mantra of Extermination. Every word required flesh and blood in exchange for its power. With each word uttered, the body withered a little more.
Shen Liangsheng witnessed with his very eyes the incredible speed with which the man grew weak and old amidst the holy light.
Black silk into white fibres, green youth into grey bones.
‘Twas but a moment or two.
What fell into his embrace had already become a dessicated corpse.

“I was wrong…this is truly the last time.”
One knee on the ground, Shen Liangsheng held the man in his last moments. His mind was empty. He gazed at the face now devoid of flesh and blood, no more than a dried layer of skin stretched over bones. He listened as a hoarse, ancient voice spoke three final words to him:
“I love you.”

Meanwhile, the creature in the coffin had clearly been extinguished. Although a human shape had formed, it would be impossible for it to live.
The two elders were filled with fury and hatred, thinking Shen Liangsheng had betrayed the sect, and instantly charged at the hufa.
Miao Jan was naturally shocked as well but had some composure left. Immediately, she cried out and dashed forth to receive the blows of the two elders. Blood spewed out violently from her mouth.
“My Elders, this isn’t what it…” Miao Jan had no time to rechannel her ch’i as she struggled to calm the enraged elders while coughing up blood. But she noticed that everyone was looking at a spot behind her, so she turned around without much thought.

She saw Shen Liangsheng rise with the dried corpse in his arms, his face as still as backwater.
Then the next thing she knew, all the flames in the chamber dimmed. It was Shen Liangsheng channelling his entire reservoir of ch’i, an amount capable of obliterating mountains and flipping the sea, straight into the corpse, instantaneously sending it in the air as a cloud of dust.
Such a ruthless action stupefied every person present so much that they momentarily forgot about the issue of betrayal.
While the shock had not worn off, Shen Liangsheng walked toward the gates, through the air now filled with ash.
Step by step, until he collapsed quietly to the ground.

Despite his strong foundations, standing for seven days in addition to triggering his core ch’i caused damage to his essence.
When Shen Liangsheng awoke, two days had passed. He was not in prison but lying in his own bed.
“There you are.” Miao Jan was sitting at the table but heard the noise. She came up close and explained straightforwardly, “I have told the others about it, beginning to end. The crime of betraying the sect will not be mentioned again.”
“Maybe not all of them believe it, but so what?” Miao Jan rambled on while Shen Liangsheng rose and dressed. “The deputy has lost all his cultivation, and the federation has gathered at the foot of the mountain. I imagine they’ve found a way to get past our defence formations during the past two days. Believing you will defend the sect to the death before the final battle is better than believing you really are a traitor.”
“Well, I’m just glad you woke up. I still have patrol tonight. You get some more rest, all right?”
With that, she turned to leave but saw that the man was following her. She frowned at him. “Just where are you going? Hsiao-Shen, can you stop making me worry so much already?”
Only after a pause did Shen Liangsheng speak, in a tone that actually seemed lost. “Auntie Miao, let me stay with you for a bit.”
Miao Jan then felt the urge to cry, but her tears had dried up many years ago. In the end, she reached up and patted his head as she had in his childhood, gently replying, “Then come with Auntie on patrol. We’ll keep each other company for a bit.”

It was patrol, but there was nothing to do. The federation used to be fearful of the combined power of the deputy leader and the hufa of the Hsing Sect, but now that they had certain victory, they were not going to rush into things. Mount Fut’u was a treacherous natural barrier that made a night invasion unwise. Thus, that evening was unusually tranquil.
Shen Liangsheng strolled alongside Miao Jan, taciturnly.
It was Miao Jan who broke the silence and continued the previous topic. “Perhaps I should not say this, but Hsiao-Shen, you should think twice about defending the sect to the death.”
“The two elders will certainly do so. The other t’angchu and adjutant…I doubt they can escape even if they won’t defend to the death.”
“But if you do want to leave, your success is likely. You think about it some more.”
“Auntie Miao,” Shen Liangsheng answered. “I shall protect you in battle tomorrow.”
“Thank you for your kind offer.” She smiled and shook her head at the déjà vu. “Hsiao-Shen, do you remember the man I told you about?”
“…I do.”
“He said all those years ago that he would rather die than see me again, but this New Year’s I couldn’t help but sneak a glimpse at him.”
“He’s still alive, with children and grandchildren and a big happy family.”
“His oldest grandson looks a lot like him. He was even around the same age as he was when we…” Miao Jan paused, her smile deepening as though she thought of something entertaining. “I thought, how interesting, and lingered around the kid a little longer than usual.”
“And guess what?” Miao Jan burst out giggling. “He came over to me, blushing, and asked me if I was lost.”
“It was New Year’s, for crying out loud. Everyone on the street was rushing off to the market. Why would any girl be lost? He obviously had some other motive.”
“But even his clumsy greeting was exactly the same as the one his grandfather had used.”
“And that’s when Auntie Miao felt…” Sighing, Miao Jan smiled at Shen Liangsheng. “That I’ve lived for far too long.”
Hsiao-Shen, don’t concern yourself with me tomorrow. I won’t concern myself with you, either. It’s all up to you.”

They resumed walking in silence, but after a while Miao Jan halted, produced a potpourri sachet from her sleeve and passed it to Shen Liangsheng.
“I thought about it, and I think you should have this.”
“I think you know very well what is inside.”
“Do you truly hate him so?”
“Just take it. Things have already become like this. You feel how you feel. Don’t cause any more pain for yourself.”

Shen Liangsheng accepted the sachet. Light, almost weightless, it seemed empty.
“It is nearly the Hour of the Rat. Your essence has not fully recovered, so you’d better get some rest.”
With that, Miao Jan continued on. Shen Liangsheng turned around as advised, but instead of returning to his room he headed for the peak of Mount Fut’u.

On the mountain where fire grows is the meng ts’ao which is red in colour and shrinks into the earth by day, coming forth at night. Its alternative name is huai-meng.
“Legend says that holding it enables one to dream of what is on one’s mind. Maybe you should pick one and try it for yourself, Shen-hufa.”
“I have naught on my mind.”
His response that day seemed to echo in his ears. Only, his former self never would have thought that one day he would go and pick a stalk.
That he would want to dream.

To see exactly what was on his mind.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
ayszhang: So just some lighten up the mood a little bit... >_<

I've settled in pretty well. There's been some problems with the house itself but nothing serious. I'm a bit scared of the imminent winter here in the East. I've never experience a true winter before D:    The English teachers at work are super friendly, but I wish I could speak and understand French better to interact with the teachers who do not speak English well... :(

Anyways! Back to the story... What do you think SLS will dream about? :')

No comments:

Post a Comment