Agarwood like Crumbs (沉香如屑) Novel Translations

Chapter 19: The Trail Ends

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After a long time, YanDan sighed, “This method of murder is very powerful.”

Tang Zhou replied in a low voice, “At least we know that this has something to do with Palace Master Shenxiao.”

“Even if we know that it doesn’t change anything. We don’t know who Palace Master Shenxiao is, what he looks like, how old he is, and his purpose in doing this. We don’t know anything about him. Even if we do meet him, we can’t be sure if it’s a disguise or his real face. 

The only thing I know is Shenxiao Palace is located in a place called Jinghu Shuiyue, but no one knows where Jinghu Shuiyue is.”

Tang Zhou smiled slightly, “Forget it, don’t think about it anymore. We can’t really do anything about it.”

YanDan thought about it for a while and decided to do what he said.

“Now that I think about it, the blood letter left by Miss Shen talks about how she wants to cut off a person’s thoughts. If the person she’s talking about is Palace Master Shenxiao, what does she mean about cutting off his thoughts?” YanDan wondered.

Tang Zhou immediately said, “Could it be the Seven Luminary Divine Jade?”

YanDan smiled, “Your reactions have gotten much quicker.”

Tang Zhou responded with a smile and shook his head.

When YanDan saw that he didn’t speak, YanDan continued, “When I first met the mountain master, I didn’t even realize how miserable he was. But now, after twenty years of training, we’re evenly matched. So basically, if you suffer a lot, you learn to be smart.”

“Is the mountain master the fish demon who was with you last time?”

“How did you know?”

Tang Zhou smiled lightly: “The monsters I met in the past are nowhere near as powerful as him. His level of cultivation is rare”

While speaking, he had already walked back to the vicinity of the carriage. Liu Weiyang sat near the fireplace. As the beating flames reflected on his face, he looked a little gloomy, but you will find that he’s actually just expressionless. YanDan had a sudden realization that Weiyang was probably at QingShi Town when the Shen Mansion burned down, but it’s all just a guess.

    Yan Dan slowly took a few steps closer and said softly, “Young Master Liu?”

    Liu Weiyang turned to look at her calmly. Seeing such emotionless eyes, Yan Dan almost decided against saying anything, but she asked cautiously, “Young Master Liu, are you also a cultivator?”

    Liu Weiyang nodded slightly.

    “Cultivation is also divided into two and four factions. The duties include Zhaidui, Fulu, Transcendence of Souls, and alchemy. In alchemy, there are inner alchemy and outer alchemy. Each one distinguishes the cultivation from yin to yang. Which one are you?”

    Liu Weiyang replied slowly, “Neither.”


    Liu Weiyang brushed his sleeves, turned, and lay down to sleep.

    Yan Dan suddenly felt that she was a fool for asking him anything.

    When the sun rose the next day, the group continued on their way.

    “Liu Gongzi, it must be boring to play chess alone, so do you want me to play with you?” YanDan asked timidly. She received a slight nod. She decided to make it her one goal to beat Liu Weiyang in a game of chess.

After one game: “I must’ve placed it in the wrong place with a shake of my hand…”

    Tang Zhou looked away.

    After two games.

“I’m sorry, I think one of my sleeves accidentally moved one of the pieces in the wrong place.”

    Xu’er looked away.

    More hours have passed and Yan Dan stared blankly at the chessboard that was completely occupied by Liu Weiyang, saying slowly, “One more game.”

    As the sun went down, Liu Weiyang picked up a chess piece with two fingers, landed on the chessboard with a snap, and then began to count on his hands how many times he has won. Yan Dan collapsed and cried to Tang Zhou: “He’s too cruel, he didn’t even give me a chess.”

    Tang Zhou looked at her sympathetically: “Actually, my master and Brother Liu haven’t won a game for ten years, and you’ve only played for one day.”

    “Ten years? He could outperform your master at chess when he was only ten years old?”

    Tang Zhou pondered for a while, then shook his head: “From what my Master said, Brother Liu is very accomplished in Taoism so his appearance doesn’t change that much.” 

    The next day, in a bumpy carriage, Liu Weiyang put out the chessboard and started to play against himself.

    Yan Dan gritted his teeth and moved over, and said firmly, “I’ll accompany you again.”

    When the sun went down again, Yan Dan stumbled to Xu’er’s side and cried, “Your gongzi is too ruthless, how can he play chess like this…”

    Liu Weiyang picked up a white stone and tapped it on the chessboard, and said slowly, “Well, you lost three fewer chess pieces than yesterday.”

    Xu’er smiled slightly and said, “Miss Yan, the gongzi said that you have improved. You must know that Master Tang’s master has lost more and more in recent years.”

    On the third day, in a bumpy carriage. 

    Liu Weiyang gently lifted the lid of the teacup, blew off the tea leaves floating on it, and took a slow sip. At this time, Yan Dan moved over and said firmly, “Let’s play again.”

    Liu Weiyang raised his eyebrows, looked at her lightly for a while, and then quietly took out the chessboard.

    When the dark night overwhelmed the setting sun again. Yan Dan was lying down on the cushions, staring at Liu Weiyang with resentful eyes. The latter counted his wins again and asked, “Next tomorrow?”

    Yan Dan clenched his fists and said without hesitation, “Okay.”

    On the fourth day, in the midst of the bumpy carriage, the capital city of Xiang is finally in sight.

YanDan wondered to herself, why she was so determined to beat Liu Weiyang.

    “I plan to go home first, and come back to see my tutor in a few days, so I won’t go up the mountain with you.” Tang Zhou and Liu Weiyang said goodbye, then he turned to look at Yan Dan, “Let’s go.”

    Liu Weiyang walked to Yan Dan and asked lightly, “Are your feet better?”

    Yan Dan immediately felt a dull pain in her ankle and flashbacked to that crisp and pleasant “click” sound, and immediately said, “It’s much better.” If she dared to say something wrong, would she be treated again like that day?

    Liu Weiyang nodded and walked away.

    Yan Dan immediately stretched out Tang Zhou’s wrist with a desolate expression: “Tang Zhou, quickly remove the ban, I can’t do anything without my magic…”

    “If you have witchcraft, I am afraid that you’ll scare my family.”

    “Then don’t take me to your house.”


    “…” Yan Dan was extremely disappointed.

    Xiangdu was the old capital of the old dynasty and is still prosperous even in the new dynasty. There are many shops on both sides of the four main streets. There are tea houses, wine shops, temples, and public houses. The streets were bustling with people, and the rivers flow endlessly.

    Yan Dan followed Tang Zhou through the lively market and quiet alleys until they stood in front of a mansion with a single door and a single courtyard. The red copper gate is flanked by mighty stone lions on both sides, and above the door is a golden sign with the word “Tang Fu” written on it. She looked at Tang Zhou suspiciously: “Are you sure this is your home?”

    Tang Zhou didn’t answer, just stepping forward and knocking on the door.

    Yan Dan thought that the servants of some big families in the mortal world also followed the surname “Tang”, but she didn’t really know what to expect. The gate opened and a servant poked his head outside. When he saw Tang Zhou, he immediately smiled, “Young master, you’re finally back! The master and his wife are thinking about you.”

    “…” Yan Dan became even more depressed.

    “Cousin, I’m glad you’re back. My aunt talks about you so much that my ears are getting calluses.” A young and clear voice echoed out from behind, and a beautifully dressed teenager stepped out.  He walked by and slapped Tang Zhou on the shoulder with a smile.

    Tang Zhou smiled slightly: “The days away from home are longer each time.” He paused and said, “You don’t look like you just came back from the academy.”

    The boy said shyly, “Cousin, don’t tell your uncle and aunt, but the Dragon Boat Festival is almost here. I have a few friends who want to win the dragon boat race, so I wanted to go to the riverside to see it.”

    “Don’t worry, I won’t tell on you, but you have to wipe your face first.” Tang Zhou turned his head and glanced at Yan Dan who was standing towards the back, and Yan Dan immediately stepped forward consciously.

    The boy looked at her and said with a smile, “Cousin, who is this girl?”

    Tang Zhou said casually, “My junior disciple** Yan Dan.”

    Yan Dan couldn’t help but wonder that, since he now calls her his junior disciple to his family, what would happen if they meet one of his real junior disciples?

    The young man stared at Yan Dan and his mouth opened slightly. He was obviously in shock and blurted out, “Cousin, I asked you before what your junior sister looks like. You said at that time that her face was as black as charcoal, and she was barely capable of carrying a basket. This- this girl is really different from what you told me…”

    Yan Dan couldn’t help but think that Tang Zhou’s words were really vicious this time.

    Tang Zhou coughed lightly: “This is my cousin Jing Ling.”

    Yan Dan lowered her head halfway, bowing, and greeted him sweetly, “Young Master Jing.” She could’ve sworn that she’d followed the rules of mortal women – not showing her teeth and not looking up –  but Jing Ling blushed and stammered back, “Miss Yan, you can just call me Jingling.”

    Tang Zhou looked back at her with a weird expression.

    “Miss Yan is an introductory disciple of Qiu Guanzhu? Life on the mountain must’ve been extremely rough for a girl like you, right?” Madam Tang picked up her chopsticks and put a piece of fish into YanDan’s bowl. At first glance, she looked like a woman from a big family, with a greasy complexion, a dignified look at the corners of her brows and eyes, and the tear mole at the corner of her eyes that added a bit of charm to her appearance.

    Yan Dan looked at Tang Zhou, and he lowered his head to eat a mouthful of rice, so YanDan had to make something up, “The Taoist temple I cultivated at is in the mountains and it is not easy to get in and out. But my master said that the great responsibility of heaven is that you must endure some hardships and endure what others can’t bear in order to be a superior person.”

    Master Tang nodded with satisfaction: “Well said.”

    “Where is Miss Yan from? What family do you have?” Mrs. Tang looked at her tenderly with a smile in her eyes.

    “I don’t know who else is in my family. It’s been a long time since Master brought me back.” YanDan replied

    Yan Dan smiled, and continued softly, “I only know that my family is very far away. We will be reunited one day.”

When she finished speaking, Madam Tang’s eyes suddenly turned red. Wiping the corners of her eyes with the silk scarf in her hands, she reached out and touched her head: “You poor child…”

    Yan Dan just felt that the other person’s hand stroking her hair was too gentle, and blurted out a sentence: “It feels just like my mother…”

Madam Tang smiled with tears, looked at her for a long time with loving eyes, and slowly asked out a few words: “Then can I be your mother?” 

Yan Dan is stunned.

    Tang Zhou put down his chopsticks, with a complicated expression, “Mother…”

    “My child has a good nature. Although he is a little rushed sometimes, he is still considerate when dealing with others. He likes to keep some words in his heart since he’s too embarrassed to say them out loud.”

    Yan Dan scoffed in her mind. From the moment they met to right now, Tang Zhou was always sarcastic and snarky. And he was never embarrassed to be that way.

    Tang Zhou couldn’t help but break the awkward silence, “Mother, it’s getting late, and junior disciple is tired. If you have anything to say, I’ll talk about it tomorrow.”

    Madam Tang said immediately: “Oh right, I forgot you just came back after a long journey. Xiao Cui, take Miss Yan to the guest room and get someone to prepare hot water. ” 

    Yan Dan still smiled obediently: “Thank you, Madam Tang.” She really wanted to jump up immediately and run away, but to mind courtesy, she stood up and walked away slowly.

    She walked outside the hall and heard Mrs. Tang’s gentle voice coming from inside, “Although Miss Yan’s background doesn’t match you, there is nothing bad to say about her appearance… and I think you like her too.”

    This last sentence was so shocking that YanDan could swear that those words were her imagination. Although she doesn’t have her magic anymore, her eyes and ears were still very sensitive.

** In Chinese the word is 师妹, which means that you both are disciples under a (cultivation) master; and that person (YanDan in this case) is a girl younger than you. But that’s way too long, so I shortened it to “junior disciple” although it might not be the most accurate.

BTW y’all the new update schedule is 1-2 chapter everyday! I gotta finish translating all the chapters before the drama comes out 💪💪💪

1 thought on “Chapter 19: The Trail Ends”

  1. Seriously I’m not lying that this novel actually makes me depressed. I could feels the emotional tortures that happened to Yandan because of Tang Zhou. It’s not cute at all and just pure torture, the same like the synopsis said.

    I really really really likes the story but it’s take a toll on me…. I need a break for sometime I guess…..

    I hope you are doing fine translating this, if you need a break then just do it. Comeback later when you feel better. Stay healthy!!

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