Agarwood like Crumbs (沉香如屑) Novel Translations

Chapter 23: The Herbal Collector

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But as the man got closer, his face gradually became clearer. Yan Dan couldn’t help sighing.

The person who was approaching was a man in sackcloth and holding a basket. His shoes were covered with muddy water and it splashed all the way to the hem of his clothes. 

The tall local person looked down on him very much, “Wu Shun, why are you in the mountains when you have nothing to do?”

Wu Shun immediately took off the basket on his back with a smile and showed them, “Didn’t you go into the mountains to pick up some herbs and exchange them for money? If you are lucky, you can catch a snake. Snake gallbladders can be sold, snakes. Meat…” He said this, almost salivating.

Yan Dan sighed again.

She originally thought he was something like a banished immortal, but he turned out to be an inexplicable herb collector. Her eyes are really getting worse and worse.

As soon as the herb collector Wu Shun turned his head, he saw Yan Dan and his mouth was slightly open, not being able to take his eyes away.

Yan Dan was extremely angry, and wanted to slash him with a sword. She immediately reached out to draw Tang Zhou’s sword. But before she could make a move, Liu Weiyang held her wrist calmly. Yan Dan was stunned and turned to look at Young Master Liu beside her. He looked at her, shook his head slightly, and then slowly released his hand.

When Wu Shun heard that they were going to climb Zhu Cui Mountain, he led the way. Yan Dan touched her wrist, always feeling that something was wrong. Liu Weiyang doesn’t seem like someone who liked to be in physical contact. Could it be that Liu Weiyang isn’t the one walking beside her?

Who would that be then? It doesn’t really matter who it is, as long as it is not the Palace Master Shenxiao. When she thought of Palace Master Shenxiao, she couldn’t help being horrified. Although she has not fully experienced Liu Weiyang’s ability, she is not inferior to Tang Zhou. It would be terrifying if such a person was able to be quietly dragged away by Palace Master Shenxiao and thrown into the wilderness.

Tang Zhou glanced at her and asked in a low voice, “Your face is blue and white, what’s the matter?” He half-jokingly said, “He only looked at you a few times, why are you so afraid?”

Yan Dan secretly glanced at Liu Weiyang, and slowly leaned closer to Tang Zhou, “Is it possible for me to be ashamed of that? Yeah right…”

Tang Zhou thought for a while, then stretched out his left hand to her: “If you’re afraid, just hold onto me.”

Yan Dan hesitated, should she hold it or not? Holding his hand would damage her self-esteem too much, but if she didn’t hold it, she would feel a little uneasy. 

She felt a gaze swept over from her side, and immediately gave her hand to Tang Zhou. Tang Zhou held it gently and said with a smile, “Have you forgotten what you said in the cemetery?”

What did she say in the cemetery? She said atleast thirty sentences back then, so which sentence is it referring to?

Yan Dan thought about it for a while, and suddenly thought, could it be… the sentence: “He won’t really kill us, because he’s just testing us”? This means that, Tang Zhou also noticed Liu Weiyang disappeared, which means that it really happened. If the the Palace Master Shenxiao is pretending to be the current Liu Weiyang, it means that he won’t act against them for the time being. 

Because there was such a delay, the group were only halfway up the mountain when the sun set.

The two locals cut down tree branches neatly, rubbed them with flint a few times, and lit a fire. They took out a small casserole from the package he was carrying and put it on the pot to cook. The herb collector Wu Shun immediately picked out some herbs from the basket and put it into the pot to cook together.

After the food finished cooking, they slowly filled their stomachs.

Yan Dan knew that Tang Zhou was immune to all poisons, and she wasn’t afraid of poisons in the mortal world, so she ate it with peace of mind. Liu Weiyang was still as silent as usual, facing the fire silently as if he had endless thoughts.

When the group finished eating, they talked about the vigil. The two tall locals stayed in the first half of the night, while the other one and Wu Shun, the herb collector, stayed in the second half of the night. Seeing that they had arranged it like this, Yan Dan also closed her eyes and fell asleep next to the fire. She never slept deeply, and she would always wake up with a little movement, so she was not afraid of what they would do behind her back.

She slept for a while, and when she woke up, it was already the midnight. After the rain, the mountain stream was as clear as glass, and the stars were dotted the night sky, making it extraordinarily bright. She looked around and saw that Liu Weiyang and Tang Zhou were still asleep, but the three people who were standing vigil were nowhere to be seen. She stood up gently and walked very lightly towards the forest in front of her. After walking a dozen feet away, she saw a little bit of fire near the slope of the mountain. She approached slowly, only to see Wu Shun with hemp rope tied around his waist, carefully climbing up the mountain path. The other end of the hemp rope was caught in the hands of the tall local man. His face was impatient and he said harshly: “You kid, can’t you hurry up?!”

Wu Shun obeyed, climbed three steps at once, but almost tripped and fell. Yan Dan looked at it and sighed, but before she could finish her sigh, a very shrill scream exploded in her ear. Wu Shun fluttered for a while, as if he was trapped in something, and only half of his body remained on the mountain road.

Yan Dan moved her body quietly, wanting to take a closer look, when he saw that the tall local man suddenly chopped off the hemp rope with an axe, and Wu Shun’s figure suddenly disappeared.

Yan Dan touched his chin, thinking that there are many underground karst caves in the southwest. The ground looks flat and solid, but it is actually hollow. The herb collector probably fell into the karst cave. But if the two locals wanted to pull Wu Shun up, it wouldn’t be too difficult. It was very malicious of them to cut the hemp rope with such an axe.

The short local man said, “Why don’t you bring Wu Shun up? It doesn’t really matter anyway.”

“I think this kid is suspicious. If he falls now, just let him go- there’s one less trouble.” The tall local snorted heavily, “Wait if the others ask about him, we’ll just say that Wu Shun’s family had urgent matters and he left early.”

Yan Dan was confused, but seeing that they were turning around to go back to the site, she had to quickly sneak towards the fire. When she was still a dozen steps away, Tang Zhou was also coming down the sloping mountain road, and his face was not very good. Yan Dan said: “I just went to follow those three local people, they…” Tang Zhou made a silent gesture and said lightly: “I saw all of the things you saw just now.”

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When it was just dawn, the group continued on their way.

Yan Dan looked around and suddenly asked, “Hey, what about the herb collector named Wu Shun yesterday? Where did he go?”

The short local man laughed dryly: “Yesterday, last night, this kid remembered that he had something to do at home, so he went back to the village before dawn. You didn’t wake up when he left, so you couldn’t say goodbye.”

Yan Dan looked at him contemptuously: if he didn’t tell a lie, then why were there beads of sweat hanging on his forehead. “It turns out that he went back early in the morning… Strange, it’s not summer yet, and you’re sweating after saying a couple of words?” She said with a slight smile. The short local man had to laugh dryly again and keep his mouth shut.

Tang Zhou gave her a warning look and whispered, “Yan Dan!”

Yan Dan sighed: “Even if you call my name a thousand times, I still don’t understand what you are trying to say, right?” 

Tang Zhou was not angry, but slowly wrote the word “willow” on the palm of her hand. Yan Dan thought it was interesting, and dragged his handwriting to write down the word “Xiao”. Tang Zhou shook his head and nodded again. Yan Dan immediately understood that what he wanted to say was that the current Liu Weiyang was probably not the original one, and it was hard to say whether it was the Palace Lord Shenxiao.

The tall local man turned his head and smiled and said, “I see that you two are a couple who eloped since you’re sticking together all the time.”

Yan Dan looked at Tang Zhou stiffly and squeezed out a smile that was uglier than crying. Tang Zhou spoke very indifferently, “It was a proper marriage, not an elopement.”

Yan Dan was stunned, Liu Weiyang was also stunned, while Tang Zhou smiled and asked again, “Isn’t that so, Yan Dan?”

Yan Dan was very sullen and wished to look up to the sky and shout: “No—” but as soon as she finished speaking, the mountain road under her feet loosened, and she started falling. Tang Zhou hurriedly reached out and grabbed her arm, but because YanDan loosened the dirt around them, and a crisp and pleasant “kara” also sounded from the ground beneath his feet and the two fell at the same time.

Yan Dan could only hear the wind whistling in her ears, and grabbed something like a stalagmite, only to hear a click, and the slender stalagmite unexpectedly broke. There was only one thought left in her mind. Could it be that she has been living a good life recently and gained a lot of weight? Suddenly her wrist tightened, and before her body could stop her falling momentum, the other wrist was also caught. It’s just that the two forces came from two completely different directions, and Yan Dan almost fainted in pain.

She would rather fall directly to the ground and bite the mud, rather than hang in the air and be torn in half from the middle.

I just heard Tang Zhou’s voice slowly coming from overhead: “Yan Dan, you are really heavy.”

Yan Dan snorted: “Nonsense, where did it sink, the Shen family’s sister-in-law also said that I was so light it seemed as if I had no bones!”

“Compared with Sister Hu, of course, you are extremely light.”

“Shut up, shut up!” Yan Dan gritted his teeth angrily, and when she looked up in the other direction, she saw Liu Weiyang looking down at her, and the cold sweat formed on her face immediately, “Young Master Liu, I’m too heavy, will you let me down?”

Liu Weiyang smiled softly, “It doesn’t matter.” The moment he smiled, it was really warm and warm, the butterflies and warblers flew, and the flowers washed away the fine dust.

Yan Dan immediately flattered: “Liu Gongzi, you look really good when you smile. But you should let go quickly, we can’t hang here forever, right?”

Liu Weiyang held back his smile slightly: “After I let go, it doesn’t matter if you go on like this?”

Yan Dan said obediently, “It’s okay, it’s okay, just let go.”

Liu Weiyang immediately let go.

Yan Dan only felt his body sink, but her left wrist still hurt. She said loudly, “Tang Zhou, why don’t you let go? My hand is about to break!”

Tang Zhou snorted and let go. Yan Dan only felt that her body swayed forward slightly and slammed directly into the stone wall opposite. Fortunately, Liu Weiyang fell to the ground lightly and kindly pulled her back.

Yan Dan’s heart thumped, and there was an indescribable strangeness in his heart. It was Liu Weiyang’s face, but she had a very familiar feeling.

Suddenly the light above the head dimmed, and dirt kept falling from the cave where they fell.

Tang Zhou lit up a torch and saw that the top of the cave had been blocked by a piece of granite, and the cave in front of him was twisted and turned and there was nowhere to go

The two locals really had bad intentions- they led them to places with many karst caves, and when they fell, they sealed the hole on the top.

He was wondering why when turned his head and saw Yan Dan jumping towards Liu Weiyang happily, hugging his neck, “My lord!”

There was a faint blue glow on Liu Weiyang’s body as his appearance gradually changed- his ink black hair grew out, his eyebrows were handsome, and there was a smile on the corner of his mouth, vivid and handsome.

Yan Dan rubbed his cheeks and said softly, “My lord, you’ve gotten thinner and darker… and your skin isn’t smooth anymore…”

“The lotus’s complexion is pretty good although her body has gained five pounds and six cents…” Yu Mo picked her up and said with a smile, “Even her waist is half an inch thicker…”

Tang Zhou coughed heavily: “Where’s Brother Liu?”

Yu Mo replied lightly, “I stopped him when he entered the mountain. That person isn’t simple.”

Yan Dan couldn’t help but say, “But he didn’t do anything bad along the way.”

Yu Mo stretched out his hand and gently pinched the tip of her nose: “Do you remember one time when he got up in the middle of the night and played the flute? Do you think he was just playing the flute? You entered the mountain and were trapped in the Fuxi Bagua formation, and that formation was laid out in advance by someone.”

Yan Dan immediately understood, “So you replaced him halfway through and broke the formation?”

Yu Mo smiled and nodded: “But you didn’t recognize me from the beginning, and you were scared to death, eh?” 

Yan Dan pouted slightly: “You don’t know how scary that Palace Master Shenxiao is… But does that mean that Liu Weiyang is a subordinate of Palace Master Shenxiao?”

“I don’t know either.” Yu Mo turned to look at Tang Zhou, and said slowly, “Zhucuishan is not far from Jinghu Shuiyue. If you want to find an ancient artifact, you don’t have to go to the Yi people to find it because ifthis artifact can be found early, it will fall into the hands of Palace Master Shenxiao.”

Tang Zhou looked at him: “You know where Jinghu Shuiyue is, and you also know that the ancient artifacts are not in the hands of the Yi people but in the hands of the Palace Master Shenxiao. I believe everything you said. But how did you find out?”

Yu Mo said calmly: “I have been to Jinghu Shuiyue before, and I have met Shenxiao Palace Master twice.”

Yan Dan looked at Yu Mo, and then at Tang Zhou, felt that the atmosphere between them was like a taut bowstring.

“Then, how can we get to Jinghu Shuiyue now?”

Yu Mo smiled lightly: “I don’t know.”

Yan Dan couldn’t help but whispered: “Yu Mo…” He said before that he had been to Jinghu Shuiyue, but he didn’t know how to get there, which was the worst lie.

Yu Mo lowered his head to look at her, calmly: “Why, you don’t believe it?”

Yan Dan thought for a while, “Although it sounds a little impossible, I still believe it.”

Tang Zhou folded his arms and said, “Unless you give a reasonable explanation, I’m afraid even children won’t believe it.”

Yan Dan suddenly felt that the hair on her arm stand straight up: Yu Mo and Tang Zhou were fighting to the death when they first met, plus their previous grievances. This journey will be troublesome.

(Oooooo there’s going to be some very interesting chapters afterward…)

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