Agarwood like Crumbs (沉香如屑) Novel Translations

Chapter 13: The Two Shen Sisters

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You guys will be gifted 2 chapters this week because I’m feeling generous! (and because its my birthday week but anyways…) The next chapter will be updated on Sunday!

Master Shen coughed and the paleness of his face faded away quickly, “This is my eldest daughter, Yijun. This childe is Tang Zhou and that lady is YanDan.”

Shen Yijun walked to the table and glared at Tang Zhou, “So it was you? What were you doing sneaking around my house?”

YanDan was very envious, if only she could talk to Tang Zhou in such an arrogant manner. 

Master Shen immediately tried to smooth everything out, “Yijun, Tang Zhou is a guest, how could you say things like that?”

Tang Zhou replied lightly, “Last night, I heard someone crying last night and thought that it sounded very familiar, so I went and checked. Turns out, it was Ling Xuzi making those sounds. 

Master Shen looked at his eldest daughter, and said angrily, “Now that Tang Zhou has made everything clear, can you relax now?”

YanDan looked at Master Shen, and then Shen Yijun, thinking that something was off, but couldn’t quite place her finger on what it was. Suddenly, Shen Yijun looked over, with a fierce expression, “My Shen family doesn’t have anything else to entertain you two, so why don’t you leave as soon as possible.”

Master Shen stomped his foot in anger, “Shut up! You’re… really driving me mad!”

Shen Yijun looked at him coldly before the corner of her mouth twitched, revealing a strange smile before she walked out of the hall.

YanDan propped up her chin, leaned over, and asked quietly, “Tang Zhou, what did you do yesterday to Miss Yijun to make her so mad?

He glanced at her but didn’t speak.

Master Shen’s face was both red and white, but he managed to force a smile, “I’m… I’m really sorry for this.” He clasped his hands together and tried to explain, “Yijun was always a withdrawn child, and she has always been very cold towards people. It’s all my fault for not teaching her correctly.”

Tang Zhou smiled slightly, “It’s alright, but I think it’s time to talk business. The best time to exorcise ghosts would be noon when the yang energy is at its peak. From now to noon, make sure to not allow anyone near the courtyard.”

Master Shen nodded, “Is there anything else you need? I could get my men to quickly prepare it.”

Tang Zhou replied lightly, “As long as my junior disciple helps me, it’s enough.”

YanDan immediately looked up at him. Half of her magic was already blocked and the rest is extremely precious, so she couldn’t waste it on something like this.

The two of them went back and toured the courtyard. They didn’t see anyone at all, which means that Master Shen probably told them to stay away. Tang Zhou suddenly asked, “Do you usually buy flowers on weekdays?”

YanDan looked at him with a choked expression, “Why? Because you saw the ghost planting flowers last night? The revengeful energy here is very weak, it’s not possible for them to turn into ghosts. Also, I would never do those things that mortal women do that hurt the spring or fall plants.”

Tang Zhou said likely, “The flowers were planted by a man. If a girl did it, I obviously wouldn’t ask you.”

YanDan immediately heard the underhand insult and whispered back, “Since you’re a man, why don’t you ask yourself…” She walked two steps and suddenly asked, “Could it be Master Shen?”

Tang Zhou quietly hummed.

YanDan waved her fingers, “I’m going to give you two options right now. First, from now on, no matter what you see, act like you didn’t see it and then leave right after you got rid of the ghosts. This is the most convenient and the safest.

Second, you can delay for as long as you want. As long as someone did something, there must be traces leftover and there would eventually be a day when you find out the truth. This is the most dangerous and you might be dead before you even find the truth.

So, I think that the first option is the best one.”

“I also think the first option is the best.” A frigid voice floated into their surroundings. YanDan immediately stepped back and Tang Zhou looked at the person. She had a slim figure leaning against the gate, with a gloomy face and fierce eyes. It was Shen Yijun.

The corner of Yijun’s mouth lifted, revealing another strange smile, “Everyone who came close to here is already a living dead. Do you really want to become a dead person?”

Tang Zhou looked at Yijun’s silhouette disappear, wrapped his hands around his sword as if he made up his mind, and then strode into the courtyard. All the mysteries started there, which means that there would definitely be clues there as well. 

YanDan tugged his sleeve, whispering, “Wait a minute.”

Tang Zhou lowered his head to look at her, “What is it?”

She replied leisurely, “Let’s first think about Miss Shen’s intentions. When we were eating earlier, she told us that we should leave already. She came here to tell us this again, and in doing so, she disobeyed her father. She obviously knows a secret, but she can’t tell us. It must be a large secret then.”

Tang Zhou nodded, “Perhaps she only knows a part of it, and doesn’t know everything.”

YanDan snorted and replied, “Then why would she remind us about it? Since this secret is in her home, then it definitely has something to do with her family, so why would she want to help outsiders like us?”

“There are two possibilities. It’s either because she might have good intentions, so she reminded us of the risks, or she didn’t want us to find out what’s going on, so she threatened us.”

YanDan smiled, “As expected of you, being sharp enough to spot these things.”

Tang Zhou smiled and walked into the courtyard, “Oh really?” YanDan sighed behind him, “Actually, there could be a third reason. She knows someone who thinks that they’re all-powerful and amazing and even though they know that there’s danger ahead, they still jump in to find the truth. The more mysterious she speaks, the more that person would want to do the opposite, and they would jump into the trap without hesitation.”

Tang Zhou turned his head to face her, “Do you think that I would jump into other people’s traps without hesitation?”

YanDan thought for a while and then replied obediently, “Nope.”

“YanDan, don’t you also want to know what’s happening here? From the mysterious deaths in Qingshi Town to what we saw in the cemetery, and finally, to the Shen family, there must be some sort of connection, right?”

She thought about it and had to admit, “Yes.” But compared to her curiosity about the secret, she wanted to get rid of Tang Zhou even more. If he died in some unexpected way, she would definitely remember to burn paper for him every Qingming**. She has always been a kind and good-hearted person.

Tang Zhou saw that she admitted to it and continued, “I hope that you help me. After all, you’re the only one that I can trust in the Shen Mansion.”

YanDan felt flattered, “You’re already powerful enough, I don’t think there’s anything for me to help with.”

Tang Zhou smiled a little, his eyes clear and pretty, “Remember the corpse that we saw in the haystack? Can you find a way to dig it out?”

YanDan choked. It turns out the reason he didn’t want anyone to come near the courtyard was that he wanted to dig up the corpse. She put on a sad expression, “Although I’m a demon, I’m also a girl. How could you make me do this kind of work?”

Tang Zhou was surprised and asked, “Aren’t the boys and girls in the Flower Clan the same?”

“Where in the world did you hear that from? It’s obviously not like that.”

“Well, it doesn’t really matter. I’ve known you until now and never thought of you as a girl.”

YanDan clenched her teeth and forced through, “You’re… really wonderful.”

She squatted by the pit and looked at the white bones inside it. She looked at it for a while and then turned her head to face Tang Zhou, but found him looking at her with a complicated expression. Seeing that she was looking at him, he quickly turned his head to the side. YanDan really wanted to take this scene as “Tang Zhou saw the error in his ways and was moved by her appearance and beauty” but it would be much easier for Lord Zilin to suddenly care for her than for Tang Zhou to be moved by her.

At least Zilin was a demon with a normal mind, while Tang Zhou was cold and emotionless.

After a while, Tang Zhou suddenly asked, “You only have half a heart?”

YanDan sat on the ground, raised her hand, and waved it in front of his eyes, “Tang Zhou, are you possessed? Or did you catch a cold? Or are you feeling dizzy?”

He swatted away her hands, “I was just asking, for no particular reason.”

YanDan looked at him with suspicion but she suddenly felt curious, “If I were to say that I only had half a heart, would you believe me?”

Tang Zhou looked into her eyes, “Do you think that I will believe you?”

She spread her hands, “I was just asking randomly.” She stood up and patted away the dust on her clothes, “Besides the skeleton, there’s probably more in this courtyard, so is there anything else you want me to dig up?” She turned around, walked two steps, before turning her head around, “I’m going to sit near the lotus pond then, you can slowly think by yourself. If you can’t figure it out, then I could probably give you some clues.”

Tang Zhou lowered his head to examine the skeletons. It didn’t appear to have any scars, which meant that they were unharmed before they died. If that’s the case, then why are there so many revengeful spirits in the house? He thought of the two sisters, Shen Yijun and Shen Xiang Jun. They looked so alike, yet people could easily tell that they were sisters. What did Shen Yijun mean earlier, when she was talking about it being a trap? Since Master Shen often buries flowers here, wouldn’t he notice all of the bones in the courtyard? 

He used his sword scabbard to cover up the bones again, and then suddenly realized that the soil here is very messy because of frequent excavation, and the bones were buried so shallowly that they won’t remain buried for a long time. It has been a while since the Shen family moved to QingShi town. Even if they don’t know of anyone who has died violently in this house, there’s no possible way that they don’t know the origin of this skeleton.

He wanted to organize his thoughts but couldn’t seem to connect them into a neat line.  

Tang Zhou stood up and slowly walked around the courtyard aimlessly. Sure enough, he saw YanDan sitting by the edge of the lotus pond. He had no idea where she got the fish food from, but she threw a big handful into the water. The fish wiggled their tails to get to the surface and snatch the food.

He walked closer and stood next to her.

After a while, YanDan smiled and asked, “Would you believe me if I told you that I could understand what the fish are saying?”

She had already asked this question in the tomb. Tang Zhou was pretty certain by now that whenever she spoke, she would mix both lies and the truth together in one sentence. If she spoke 10 sentences, you couldn’t trust half of what she said. For example, if this sentence was said casually, then the next sentence would probably be true, as well as the sentence after that, but the last sentence is almost definitely false. Unless he went mad, he would never trust anything that comes out of her mouth.

YanDan sighed, “You obviously didn’t believe that. You don’t believe that I can understand fish, yet you believe that other people could understand birds. How strange.”

That was exactly what Tang Zhou was thinking. He replied calmly, “Shen Xiang Jun is obviously more trustworthy than you, not to mention that certain people have certain talents.” 

“The two Shen daughters are sisters and I think that they’re the siblings with the most different personalities. Although everyone can tell who the oldest and youngest are, from what I see, siblings won’t have such a large contrast between their personalities unless they grew up separately. But the thing is, the two of them grew up together.”

Those words were true. Tang Zhou nodded, “You seem to know a lot about this.”

YanDan gazed to the distant horizon, “That’s because I also have a twin and we look just like each other. A lot of people would mix us up together.”

Tang Zhou replied lightly, “Even if you look similar, there will be differences.”

“True, everyone always likes her. It’s literally the same face, yet she looks nobler and more gentle. When you talk to her, you wouldn’t even think of joking around before you tell the truth.” YanDan slightly closed her eyes, “Yet there are still people who can’t distinguish between the two of us. A lot of people would think that I was her, but nobody confused her with me.”

Tang Zhou was stunned. Ever since he met her, he’d never seen her care about things like this. If this was swapped with him, he would never allow himself to be in the shadow of someone else. YanDan reached out her hand, “If you truly feel sorry for me, you should remove this talisman.”

He looked at her and slowly replied, “I feel sorry for your sister, people actually confuse you with her.”

YanDan smiled slightly, with bright bright eyes and brilliant teeth, “I can’t do anything about that.” She threw the rest of the fish food into the pond. 

Her clothes fluttered in the wind as if she was a fairy.

** Qingming is a holiday in China where relatives or friends sweep the tombs of their loved ones and commemorate the dead.

[haha I absolutely love YanDan’s sarcasm lol]

2 thoughts on “Chapter 13: The Two Shen Sisters”

  1. Thank you so sooo much for this! I’m really enjoying the happenings in the story so far and can’t wait to see more of your updates. Btw, happy birthday (not sure if I should greet you in advanced or belated lol, anyways…)!! Hope u enjoy your special day and be happy! Looking forward to the upcoming translated chapters~

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