Agarwood like Crumbs (沉香如屑) Novel Translations

Chapter 16: Behind the Mystery

Reading Time: 10 minutes
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— a short note —

Hey y’all! It’s been a WHILE since my last update teehee, but I felt really overwhelmed and my mental health dipped during the first couple months of 2022. But anyways, I’m going to be updating the post schedule as soon as possible and look forward to some more regular updates! Thank you for all your support <33

Tang Zhou recalled what happened earlier, from the moment he stepped into the cemetery, to everything he heard yesterday night in the well, and decided that something didn’t match up. The coffin of the formal imperial concubine was in the stone chamber but there was another passage behind it. Normally, the coffins were placed at the very end of the tombs. Moreover, the secret passage behind it, there were black dragon stones cast over it and the decoration of the room at the end of the secret passage was too elegant. It just didn’t add up. 

After he and YanDan were trapped by the Broken Dragon Stones, it was Shen XiangJun who came to save them. Even if she said that the birds were the ones who told her, she still seemed very familiar with the layout of the tomb. But who is Tang Zi Qi? Is she really a vicious woman, as Xiang Jun stated?

Last night, he knew that he couldn’t trust Master Shen’s words, but does that mean that he could trust Shen Yijun? The two of them think the same way about small matters, but the two of them are completely different. Between the two of them, one of them must be lying, or both of them are lying, so what’s the truth behind this?

The truth will become clearer gradually, and there are only a few clues missing before he could figure everything out. 

But what are the clues that he’s missing?

He was still thinking about it when he heard a couple of knocks outside his door and said casually, “Come in.” He heard bright laughter and looked to see Shen Xiang Jun outside his door, holding a plate with red apples in them. “These apples were so beautiful I couldn’t help taking a bite out of them, but my sister scolded me and told them they weren’t clean.” She put the apples onto the table and said with a smile, “I already washed it before I gave them to you, so they’re not dirty.”

Tang Zhou looked at the plate of apples and nodded, “I’m not hungry right now, so maybe later.”

Xiang Jun pressed her lips together, “Ok, fine.”

Tang Zhou suddenly asked, “Do you know where YanDan went, since she still isn’t back yet?”

Xiang Jun was stunned, “I haven’t seen her, so maybe I’ll ask my sister if she saw her.”

Tang Zhou realized that YanDan couldn’t even get out of the Shen Mansion and nothing could go wrong, so he replied, “There’s no need, she’s just very naughty and probably went somewhere to play.”

Xiang Jun looked down at the table, unblinking, “I often play hide-and-seek with the birds. Do you want to join me?”

Tang Zhou thought for a while and said, “Catch demons.” YanDan was caught by him.

Xiang Jun asked again, “Catch what again?”

“… wait for the demon to escape and then catch it again.” That sentence was completely true, “because some monsters are very articulate and must be spoken to.”

Xiang Jun seemed completely lost and replied dazedly, “Oh really?…”

Tang Zhou had no idea what he was thinking and suddenly smiled, “Occasionally, I would meet a demon who’s sophisticated but can act like a child. When she talks, she only chooses to converse about nice or irrelevant things.”

Shen Xiang Jun looked at him and couldn’t help but say, “I feel like you’re not talking about demons, but rather… I’m not sure either, but demons aren’t that interesting.”

Tang Zhou was slightly startled and suddenly everything started shaking in front of him. He forced himself to keep standing but his body lost all the strength it had and he fell back onto the bed. The moment Xiang Juns aw this, she immediately jumped out of the room and yelled loudly, “YanDan, YanDan, come quickly, someone’s sick! Hurry up and take a look!”

Tang Zhou bent his knees and soon found that he lost the ability to move his fingers. He gathered all of his strength and bit the tip of his tongue, tasting a faint trace of blood. 

Shen Xiang Jun turned back and stretched her hand out to steady him, “Where does it hurt? Is it an emergency? I don’t’ know where my sister went, I’m going to look for her!”

He smiled bitterly, “Why are you looking for her?” He was drugged by poison and can’t even move. Looking at Xiang Jun’s behavior, she probably didn’t know anything and wasn’t the one who did it. 

Xiang Jun tried to pull him up with all her strength, but Tang Zhou was completely immobilized and she couldn’t pull him up at all, so she decided, “I’m going to find my sister!”

After a while, Shen Yijun showed up at the door, her face was still gloomy. 

Tang Zhou couldn’t move, but his thoughts were as clear as water, “So it was you.” He fell into the well last night and now couldn’t move. She must have done something to the water inside the tea and she set up the trap so that he could see and hear what Master Shen was doing, but it was all a trick to make him fall into her trap. 

Shen Yijun looked at him and nodded, “I knew that you would go to the well and when you’ll see Father burying the dead bodies, you knew that you shouldn’t believe him. But you believed what I told you, right?” She looked into Tang Zhou, her eyes fiery, “Your soul is so pure and I’m going to enjoy this very much, although I didn’t want to treat you like this.”

Tang Zhou watched her reach out and touch his face softly, her voice also soft and gentle, “Childe Tang, you were born with such a gorgeous appearance that a lot of girls must chase after you and I don’t want you to become wrinkled and old, but that’s impossible…”

Tang Zhou smiled, “Why are you acting so shy?”

Shen Yijun looked at him, a smile blooming on her face, “Do you like me or Xiang Jun more?”

Tang Zhou was too tired to pay attention to her, so he closed his eyes. 

There was suddenly another voice, a soft and laughing voice, “Of course he likes you more. Do you believe it?”

Tang Zhou opened his eyes and saw that Yijun’s face was pale and trembling and she called out loudly, “Who are you? Are you a human or a ghost?” She stood up in a panic and looked around, but saw that there was nobody in sight. A wet hand touched her neck and a voice said with a chuckle, “I’m a ghost, a drowned ghost…”

Shen Yijun wiped her neck and felt a piece of slippery moss in her hands. It suddenly felt like she was slapped quickly with a whip, “Come out! Don’t think that just because you’re a ghost, I’m afraid of you!”

Tang Zhou could tell that YanDan was the one talking, but was confused by Yijun’s strange reaction. 

“I know that you’re not afraid of me, and I don’t want you to be afraid of me. If you’re afraid of me, then that’s not fun anymore.” Shen Yijun suddenly turned two times and looked around, but couldn’t see YanDan’s silhouette, even though she could swear that the voice was right next to her ears. Her eyes became bloodshot and she yelled, “Come out, stop pretending to be a ghost!”

The voice sighed, “I wasn’t even a human to begin with, if I don’t pretend to be a ghost, then what should I do? I would like to meet your ghost though since you were the one who harmed me to this state. But I look really ugly right now, so if I’m seen by anyone, then I would feel bad for them.”

Tang Zhou vaguely heard a noise coming from the doorway. Shen Yijun must have done something to YanDan, but she didn’t know that YanDan was a demon, not a human.

Shen Yijun forced out a smile, “I wasn’t afraid of you when you were alive, so why should I be scared now that you’re dead?” The moment she finished speaking, she felt a cold piece of moss against her face and she turned to see YanDan, dressed in white and soaking wet. Her pale face contrasted greatly with her dark, wet hair and YanDan said gloomily, “I came out…I’m standing right in front of you…”

Shen Yijun watched helplessly as a hand slowly reached out to her and suddenly yelled, running away as quickly as she could. When she reached the door, she tripped and fell over. Yijun glanced back and became even more distraught: YanDan was moving stiffly, as if she were a newly formed corpse zombie. She was frightened because she’d never seen a dead person transform into a corpse within a few hours. 

YanDan watched as she ran farther and farther away. She brushed away her wet hair and turned to look at Tang Zhou, “Are you okay?”

Tang Zhou saw her walk closer and closer until she was standing next to him. She smiled and slowly said, “I’ve looked around the entire Shen Mansion, but could only find one pair of white clothes, although it doesn’t fit well.”

He looked into her eyes, speechless. 

YanDan stuck her chin up and smiled gently, “Guess who I took the clothes from!” After seeing Tang Zhou turn his head away and ignore her, she pouted and asked, “Why are you ignoring me?”

He kept a calm expression but his ears turned bright red, “You-”

YanDan smiled sweetly, “Tang Zhou, you’ve treated me terribly before, but God has taken mercy on me and let you fall into my hands.” She moved even closer and laughed while saying, “But before you settle the account, you still don’t understand something, so I’m going to have to explain it to you.”

Tang Zhou was silent for a little before asking, “When did you start becoming suspicious of Shen Yijun?”

YanDan sighed, “Why are you asking about second Lady Shen? Originally, there’s only one Miss Shen, there never were twins, have you never noticed?” She nodded and pointed to her mouth, “Miss Shen has a mole on the side of her mouth if you look closely. Second Lady Shen also has that mole. Even if they were twins and looked extremely similar, there must be some difference between them. Even if you take a step back, do you actually believe that Miss Shen is stupid? I think she’s really smart, and she has messed some things up by being able to understand the birds.”

When Shen Yijun got close to him just before, he could see that there was a mole near her lip, but didn’t look closely at it. YanDan smiled, “Do you remember when I told you that I could understand the language of the fish? Even when I say truthful things, you wouldn’t believe me.”

Tang Zhou couldn’t help but think that back when she said that phrase, she’d gone crazy and you couldn’t believe a word she says. 

“The fish in the lotus pond, although not the brightest, was able to tell me a couple of key points. Master Shen and Miss Shen don’t even have a father-daughter relationship.” YanDan’s eyes flickered, “I saw them arguing in the flower hall before, and had a strange feeling that they weren’t treating each other as kin. After that, I guessed that they must’ve had a plan to move to QingShi Town, and it had something to do with the mysterious deaths of the townspeople. It’s obvious that the two of them hate each other and are using you as a way to get rid of the other. It’s a pity that you didn’t believe what they said. And since your spirit is very pure and clean, it must taste really good, so Miss Shen decided to take action first.”

“After that, Miss Shen brought you to the abandoned well in the backyard. Suddenly, I guessed that the two Shen sisters were actually one person, so I went to confirm it, and the mole was there. I’m pretty sure that what you saw in the well was an illusion, but there might be other reasons. Later, I learned that magic and she could control someone’s mind. She made me unconscious with this method and made Maid Hu throw me into the well.” YanDan lifted her wrist, and the heavy bracelet wasn’t there anymore, “She helped me a lot on accident. I told her that the bracelet helps me guard off evil spirits and that you would know if I was in trouble, so she took it off and threw it into the pond.”

Tang Zhou said quietly, ‘That means that what she said about understanding the birds is false.”

“Miss Shen isn’t that smart, to be honest. She can’t speak with the birds at all, yet chose to bring along a parrot. I have a friend in the Wings Tribe, and she could mimic every sound. She once told me that parrots are the species that hate talking the most, so I knew from the beginning that it was all nonsense. I guessed that she just happened to be very familiar with the layout of the tomb and she was the one who broke the Dragon Stone back in the tunnel.” YanDan paused, and then suddenly slapped Tang Zhou and asked bluntly, “Although I’m a demon, have I harmed you before? Or do I owe you something? Or are you just biased towards me? For a bully with a big brain, you almost killed my comrade!”

Tang Zhou looked at her without even frowning. 

YanDan slowly stood up, “Right now, you owe me a life, and how do you play on repaying me? But you’re someone who would want to repay kindness with harm, and want my life instead, right?”

Tang Zhou replied without hesitation, “I’d never thought that before.”

She walked towards the doorway and looked back, “The girl has been scared away from me, and the drugs on your body will soon pass as well. Tang Zhou, the two of us aren’t anything now.”

Tang Zhou saw her cross the threshold and suddenly wondered, “I have no power to fight back. No matter who comes into power in the Shen Mansion, I’m going to lose either way.”

YanDan sighed and stepped back, “That’s why I need to leave now. Once you regain your powers, my magic can’t stop you, so wouldn’t I just be captured again?” After she said that, there was a little more vigilance in her eyes, “Don’t you want to delay time and wait for the drugs to lose their effect? I still have a lot of things to do and I don’t want to spend any more time on you.”

She turned around and stepped once more, to hear Tang Zhou slowly call out, “YanDan…”

She immediately turned around and put on a mask of flattery, “Tang Zhou, the drugs in the tea should lose their effect after two hours. I’m still going to be ahead of you by a step, so just don’t even bother anymore.”

Tang Zhou looked at her and asked slowly, “Where do you live? Maybe I could come and visit you someday.”

“…it would be better if you didn’t know.” If Tang Zhou came to Kunlun Mountain, he would be scared to death by a room full of demons.

“Xiangdu Tang Mansion, if you go to Xiangdu, just ask someone and you’ll know.”

YanDan touched her cold hair and decided that it would be best to change into a warmer outfit. She only walked a couple of steps when she felt a breeze behind her and she turned around. Suddenly, her body grew rigid and she couldn’t move at all. A paper talisman had been stuck to her wrist, and after a few short moments, it turned into a heavy bracelet.”

Tang Zhou retracted his fingers and smiled, “This will only be for a couple of short moments and I’ll come back next time.”

(BRUUUU Tang Zhou what are you doing??? I was hoping for a peaceful separation, and then they meet each other later and fall in love?!! I guess not…)

6 thoughts on “Chapter 16: Behind the Mystery”

  1. Are you better now?
    Thanks a lot both for being healthy so you are fit to update now and also for the chapter .♥️
    Was waiting for you , I used to open the site regularly except last few days as I had my exams going on, and you gave a beautiful surprise on the day I finished my exams.♥️

  2. Hi translater… Thank you for your hard work. I’m waiting for the next episode. Hope you will upload soon.

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