Agarwood like Crumbs (沉香如屑) Novel Translations

Chapter 11: The Wealthy Shen Shopkeeper

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成毅新剧《沉香如屑》来袭,白发片段好撩人! - 老资料网
(stills from the upcoming cdrama!)

A young girl in snow-white clothes stood outside, tilting her head slightly and wearing a playful expression. A brightly colored parrot stood on her shoulder, pecking lovingly at her earrings.

YanDan couldn’t help asking, “How did you get here?”

The girl raised her hand to pet the parrot, “It told me, this bird is the smartest in the entire world, and it knows everything.”

Tang Zhou’s kept on thinking and thinking, but couldn’t tell if the girl was pretending to be stupid, or is telling the truth.

The girl turned around, walked a couple of steps to see that they weren’t following her, turning around and waving her hand, “Hurry up, the bird will bring us out of here.” As she walked, the parrot whispered into her ears, sometimes the girl laughed, and sometimes the girl got angry, but she never stopped walking. While walking, she unlocked the mechanism and started walking even faster.

They made a couple of turns in the tunnel, and the surroundings became brighter. It turned out to be another hole from the grave. It was already evening, which meant that they’d already spent a whole day and night in the cemetery. YanDan walked closer, laughing a little, “Did the bird tell you who shut us into that place?”

The girl turned around, her smile like blooming flowers, “The birds know everything, and they’ll obviously tell me. The birds say that it was a beautiful person with a snake heart, she was rescued by some people yet still wanted to take revenge.”

YanDan was speechless, locking gazes with Tang Zhou, who continued, “Why would she do that?”

The girl tilted her head as if listening to what the parrot was saying. The parrot croaked twice, so that girl said, “He said that, because the beautiful girl and ugly boy were really good, they were able to see the boy’s secret, so she shut you in there, never able to tell others the secret.”

“Secret…?” YanDan couldn’t help but repeat quietly.

Tao Ziqi was probably one of the Lord of Heaven’s helpers, which had a big possibility.

“Miss, Miss why did you come here again?” The woman they’d seen earlier at the chaotic grave rushed over, panting from exhaustion, “You really don’t want to give others a moment of a break, don’t you. I didn’t look at you for a moment and you’re already gone!” She shook off the cloak and put it around the girl, looking at Tang Zhou and YanDan, “Thank you so much for taking care of my family, would you like to come to our home and rest there?”

Tang Zhou immediately refused, “We didn’t help that much, so we shouldn’t go and disturb you guys.”

The woman nodded, having a heavy expression, “That works as well, our Shen family has been quite involved in this ghost thing. Earlier, there was a bull named Ling XuZi who said that he would exorcise the ghosts, but he just ran to our house, acting like an absolute maniac.”

Tang Zhou thought a little, “I am also a cultivator of the martial arts, and would it be allowed if I go and look for a second?”

The woman looked at him and hesitated a little as if thinking that he was a little bit too young, but in the end, she agreed.

When the girl heard that they were going to her home, she was even happier, pestering them by saying random things. The woman watched from the side and sighed, “This really is a crime, the eldest sister isn’t well, can’t go out of the house, yet the second sister doesn’t understand. I feel so bad for our master, having such a stupid daughter…”

The wealthy Shen family is pretty well known throughout QingShi town. Their huge mansion was built near the outskirts of the town and there were two statues guarding the front entrance to the mansion.

As soon as Tang Zhou stepped into the mansion, YanDan said in a timid voice, “There’s a lot of ghost auras here.” He immediately felt the aura that YanDan was talking about, “Can you bring me to visit Master Shen? I have a couple of things to ask him.”

The woman led them into a flower hall, and served tea, “Please sit, I’ll go call my master.”

YanDan walked around the hall, rolling her eyes and laughing, “Since you plan on getting rid of their ghosts, can you bring me along? Look at this prohibition talisman…”

Tang Zhou looked her in the eye, “Just persevere a little longer, I can help you undo the talisman later tonight.”

YanDan’s heart leaped with joy, but she couldn’t help but be a little suspicious, and could only secretly glance at Tang Zhou. But Tang Zhou stayed silent and she couldn’t see anything from his expression.

A while later, the head of the Shen family came out.

After a couple of words of greeting, Tang Zhou turned the conversation around and started talking business, “It’s true that this house isn’t very clean. I wonder if Master Shen knows the origin of this house?”

Master Shen was a white-faced businessman with a mediocre appearance, unlike the young girl who talked to birds. When he heard what Tang Zhou said and he couldn’t help but show a face of horror, “This house was purchased much later, and we already got Mr.FengShui to look here, and he said that Feng Shui was good. For the past couple of years, I have been doing business abroad and my finances are very stable. How could my house be unclean?”

“Because someone had died here unjustly.”

“Is- is it convenient to expel the ghost right now? If you’re willing to help us exorcise these ghosts, it doesn’t matter how much gold you want for it.”

Tang Zhou nodded, “It will only take 2-3 days, and you don’t need to worry. Before, your daughter helped us, so take this as a way of repaying our debt to her and you don’t need to reward us at all.” 

Master Shen smiled bitterly, “You’re talking about my second daughter, Xiang Jun, right. She is a really nice girl, but sadly she’s stupid.”

“I think Miss Shen has a very clear vision, and maybe she just doesn’t know that much about the world.”

“I’m hoping it’s like that too. As for Xiang Jun, I would be happy if her sister was even half as smart as her.” Master Shen waved his hands around, “Look at me, there’s no point in saying these useless words. You guys are probably really tired. Hu Sao, Hu Sao!” The woman who brought them to the mansion hurriedly came back.

“Hu Sao, hurry and arrange a suite for these two, and boil some water to let our distinguished guests take a warm bath.” Master Shen ordered, and then turned around to Tang Zhou and YanDan, “Whatever you want to eat, just tell Hu Sao, and the kitchen will bring it to you.”

Tang Zhou replied, “Thank you, but there’s no need for us to trouble you that much.”

Master Shen immediately said, “It’s alright.”

If today was normal, YanDan would have definitely been impatient from these formalities, but since Tang Zhou agreed to get rid of the talisman, she had to stay calm and polite. Hu Sao arranged a room for them in the east wing, and the two adjacent rooms were cleaned up.

Tang Zhou actually got rid of the prohibition talisman from YanDan, and her suspicions left her heart while soaking in a tub of warm water. After dinner, she would start implementing her escape plan.

As soon as she opened the door, there was a flash of golden light in front of her. She immediately staggered back a couple of steps and fell down onto the ground. YanDan looked at it intently and saw that there were a few talisman papers on the side of the school, realizing that it was Tang Zhou’s handwriting again.

The evening breeze sent along with Shen Xiang Jun’s crisp laughter and Tang Zhou’s low voice. The two slowly walked closer and the parrot was still on Xiang Jun’s shoulder. From time to time, she chirped and talked to the parrot, then talked to Tang Zhou with an air of affection. Tang Zhou lowered his head and listened patiently.

YanDan hugged her knees, glaring at Tang Zhou. He immediately felt her gaze on him and spoke a sentence with Xiang Jun. Tang Zhou walked to the door, and laughed softly, “Why are you sitting on the ground?”

She laughed back, also replying warmly, “If you’re afraid that I will run away and get entangled by evil spirits, you can just say it. Was it really necessary to add so many talismans?”

Tang Zhou laughed, “I was worried that you would do some naughty things. It really is difficult for you to understand my painstaking efforts as your senior disciple**.”

YanDan’s face turned cold, “When do you plan on refining me into a pill?”

He sat down on the table, “No rush.”

Standing up, YanDan brushed off the dust on her clothes, “There’s a lot of other demons in this world, but you just won’t let me go.”

Tang Zhou looked at her through the twilight and hummed softly, “To be honest, I actually thought about whether or not to let you go. Your true nature doesn’t seem that bad.”

He only received a burning glare from YanDan.

“But it’s fine. Or would you like to follow me for a couple more days, and sharpen your personality?”

YanDan immediately replied, “Just hurry up and refine me into a pill.”

There was a little fire in the courtyard and it was a blueish-greenish color. After a while, the fire slowly extinguished itself.

Tang Zhou gently walked into the courtyard, knelt down, and grabbed a handful of soil. He was about to turn back towards the guest room, but suddenly heard a strange sound like laughing and crying, coming from the West Wing. The voice was vaguely familiar, as if he had heard it before. He walked quietly to the West Wing, leaned against the door, and opened a small crack.

There was an elderly Taoist wearing yellow robes sitting on the ground, beating his chest and feet, crying and laughing at the same time. It was Ling XuZi. He used to be such a prominent master in the martial arts, yet he fell to such a point of disparity, it’s truly a tragedy.

Tang Zhou turned his head, there was immediately a flash of light, and a long sword nearly slashed him. Tang Zhou immediately grabbed the person holding the sword… and it turned out to be Shen Xiang Jun! He was slightly startled and thought that since it was really dark, she probably didn’t recognize him. Right after he let go, she stabbed the sword again, quickly and ruthlessly.

She looked gloomy and fierce, totally unlike the person she once was during the day.

Tang Zhou didn’t want to hurt her, so he put her scabbard against the acupuncture point on her shoulder and pressed it. Xiang Jun’s grip loosened, and the sword fell to the ground with a clang. He turned around, and left.

To get from the West to East Wing, one had to go through the courtyard and there was one person walking towards the West Wing slowly. It was Master Shen. He was carrying a basket on his back and holding a flower hoe, looking exhausted. He took off the basket, picked up the flower hoe, and started digging a hole. Tang Zhou walked swiftly and hid behind a tree, not making a sound.

Master Shen dug for a long time, and he only stopped digging when the hole was about 3 feet deep. He picked up the basket and slowly poured the contents into the pit, but Tang Zhou couldn’t see what was in it. He thought for a while and suddenly remembered that Tao Ziqi’s hairpin was still with him, so he spotted stone bricks in the distance. And threw it.

When the hairpin landed with a clang, Master Shen immediately left.

Tang Zhou jumped off the tree branch and looked into the pit, but the surrounding area was too dark. He could only reach out, grab whatever was in the pit, and place it in a small bag. As soon as he did that, he heard Master Shen’s footsteps approaching again. Tang Zhou immediately returned to the guest room. 

The talisman papers outside YanDan’s room were still there, the candle in the room already extinguished, and she probably already fell asleep. He returned to his room and took out the bag to examine the contents. What Master Shen buried was even stranger. It was actually just a couple of flower petals. Tang Zhou was surprised, why would a businessman bury flower petals and why is the soil in the courtyard mixed? Is it because someone often digs and buries things there? 

He blew out the candle, took a bath, and lay in bed, too busy thinking about so many things in his head. In the darkness, he felt someone at the front of his bed. He was suddenly awake but saw that the front of the bed was empty. The door to the room had already been blown open by the wind.

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