Yan Huolan and Li Junjing both stiffened their faces, but before they could get mad, the older man smiled. “What a kid. Huolan, doesn’t he remind you of your younger self and the younger Yuesong? Kid, my name is Liu He, what’s your name?”
Seeing Uncle Liu’s kind face and lack of attitude, Ye calmed down. “My name is Ye Ye. If you’re their elder, can you find out who’s the traitor among them?”
Uncle Liu smiled and stroked Ye’s head, “don’t worry, I’ll do my best to find the traitor and avenge your parents.” He ordered everyone but the senior members to leave the hall, ordering one member, “take this kid to the Silver-Hailed Mystic’s domicile, and have him rest. We have important matters to discuss and no one should come in.”
As the clan member led Ye away, the boy mumbled, “I don’t want to eavesdrop anyway!”
After they left, Uncle Liu’s face turned solemn. “This is quite serious. With the letter missing, we can’t prove anything the Ye couple said, although they did lose their lives for it. Our clan owes them, and since our clan always pays our debts, let’s be more forgiving of their kid in the future, inspite of his odd nature.”
Everyone nodded as Liu continued, “it’s hard to tell if we do have a traitor among us. I don’t want to randomly guess and ruin our trust.”
Junjing said, “right, we’re all disciples of my father, why would anyone betray our clan? I think the traitor thing is made up and this couple was making a big deal out of nothing.”
Yuesong’s face darkened, before he spoke, Hengwu added, “Second Sister, how can you say that? They lost their lives for our clan...”
Junjing’s eyes bulged, ”you don’t get to lecture me!” Hengwu yelled, “why can’t I say something if you’re wrong?”
Junjing’s eyebrows rose, she pointed at Hengwu, “you’re just a girl who studied a little bit with my father, how dare you call yourself Fairy? All of us treating you as equals is already quite a honor, don’t let it go to your head, how dare you say anything to me!”
Hengwu’s body shook with anger, she was about to cry when Yuesong pulled her aside, “I’m worried about Ye, go check on him.” She bit her lips before stomping her feet and running outside.
Huolan was not happy. “Junjing, how can you talk to her like this?” Junjing said, “was I wrong? Did she dare to say anything like that to me when my father was alive? Hrmf, what an ungrateful girl.”
Yuesong’s face was frosty, “Second Sister, if we didn’t remember your father, why would we call you Second Sister?”
Junjing’s face turned pale. “What are you saying?”
Zhaoshan moved next to Yuesong and whispered, “Fourth Brother, don’t! Please don’t be impulsive.”
Yuesong ignored the comment. “We’ll always remember our teacher, but that’s because of his sacrifice, and not because of anything from you!” He turned to walk away, leaving an angry Junjing. Uncle Liu called after him, but he just kept walking.
Outside the hall, Yuesong stood at a corner and watched the clan members practice. He remembered how it was when he first joined the clan; he sighed, “teacher, are there earthly troubles in the heavenly realm?”
He suddenly remembered Ye Xiruo and Ou Mei, whose bodies turned to Yuan Shen upon death. They’ve probably ascended to the heavenly realm and were reunited with their teacher by now. What a scene would that be? Thinking of Ye Ye, he couldn’t help but stare in space and sighed again with melancholy.
The Blue Cloud Clan occupied the entire top of Mt. Yuemang. In the spacious compound, the five mystics and three fairies each had their own domain and roomy domicile. Ye has never seen anything so palatial and was busy gawking. The clan member leading him was pretty proud as he introduced the various sights and buildings; while Ye was curious, he seemed unimpressed. The clan member said, “kid, you’ve never seen anything like this before, right?”
Ye stared at him, “so what, it’s just a big house. No big deal.” The clan member huffed and said nothing else to the boy.
In a short while, the clan member led Ye to a discreet yard, “this is where the Silver-Haired Mystic lives. You can go in and rest.” He then turned to leave. Ye watched him go, made a non-committal sound, then pushed open the yard door and went inside.
While the yard was big, there was only a small house with a big tree, making the space look rather lonely. Not only did it pale in comparison to the other mystics and fairies’ grandiose homes, it wasn’t even better than an ordinary person’s house. Ye was surprised. He went toward the house, went in, saw nothing but a bed and a desk inside, and was even more shocked. He suspected the clan member took him to the wrong place on purpose.
The more he thought about it, the more upset he became. He ran outside and sat by the tree. The desolate yard made him even sadder; as he thought of his parents, he started crying.
Just then, the yard door opened and Hengwu walked in. Seeing the crying boy, she sighed. “Missing your parents?”
Ye was surprised, he straightened his face and wiped away his tears. “It’s none of your business! Weren’t you all discussing something important? What are you doing here?”
Hengwu didn’t walk further inside, she leaned against the door and said, “you’re really like him. You pretend to be so strong, but would crying be so bad?”
Ye was startled, “who?”
Hengwu didn’t answer his question, “I was your age when my parents took me to visit my grandma. On the way there, robbers killed my parents. I still remember how it happened...” Tears fell as she talked.
Ye stared at Hengwu as she continued, “if it wasn’t for our teacher and him, I’d want to be dead too. I cried all-day, but he didn’t say anything, just letting me cry. I hated him so much back then. He looks cold but he’s very caring, he takes care of me better than anyone else in the clan. I’m grateful to him and admire him. It kills me to see him hurt, I wish I could carry his pain for him, but...”
Hengwu smiled suddenly and slowly wiped her tears away. “Why am I telling you all this? I came here to say that the Silver-Haired Mystic lives in a small place, and he’s used to being alone, so he may not be good at watching you. Do you want to stay with me?”
Ye didn’t understand Hengwu’s earlier speech, and he still didn’t know who “he” was, but realized she had a similar fate as he did. He felt a little empathy as he said, “whatever.”
Hengwu, the Wise Scent Fairy, lived inside a big garden. The many flowers competed with each other’s blossoms and a beautiful fragrance permeated the place. The surrounding trees were like walls made of leaves; with rolling clouds and a blue sky in the background, the home was enchanting.
Ye marveled at the sight. Inside the Wise Scent Fairy’s home lived a dozen or so clan members, all of whom were young women. The playful group was curious to see their leader had brought back a young boy, so they all came up and talked to him, which made Ye uncomfortable. Hengwu picked an elegant room for Ye, but he only felt out of place, “why am I staying in a woman’s room, I’m a man.” The clan members all laughed, “you’re just a kid, you’re not a man.”
Ye turned angry, he pushed aside everyone and started walking out. Hengwu tried to catch up and to convince him to stay, but couldn’t. Ye marched outside and said, “my mom said men who spend all their time among women amount to nothing! I’m going back to Xin Yuesong’s place!”
As he reached the gate of the garden home, a young woman was standing there and stared at him. Ye recognized her from earlier, seeing how she was watching him, he grew annoyed. Remembering her question of him from before, he parroted, “why are you staring at me? Why aren’t you greeting me?”
After a pause, the girl said shyly, “Hi... I‘m Ni Suxin, what’s your name?”
Hengwu and some clan members, who were chasing after Ye, were all stunned, some even started whispering among themselves. One said, “did she change her personality? I thought she’d beat him up.” Another commented, “who knows...this girl is like her teacher and quite a bully. What’s wrong with her today?” A third person said, ”the saying goes, the bullies have their own bullies, maybe he’ll be the one to control her.”
Ye looked Suxin up and down, finding her quite weird; he huffed and started walking away again. It took Suxin a moment to chase after him, “you... what’s your name?” Ye ignored her and kept walking toward Yuesong’s place.
The two homes were far apart, but Ye’s good memory made sure he found the way. Hengwu waved off the other members and walked him back, trying to make him stay with her instead. Ye didn’t listen. It wasn’t until they reached the Silver-Haired Mystic’s place that he talked back, “why are you such a wordy woman?”
Hengwu sighed, “if you don’t want to go, then so be it.” She turned to go. Ye watched her leave and suddenly said, “Aunt Su, thank you. I know you mean well. But I’m here to avenge my parents and not to have fun.” Then he went inside and closed the door.
Hengwu was very surprised, she muttered, “he’s so like him...” as she ambled away.
Ye returned to the tree in the yard. Watching the barren space, he couldn’t help feeling a little regretful and melancholy. He gritted his teeth and stopped his tears, telling himself, “don’t cry, you’re not supposed to be a loser! I’m the son of Ye Xiruo and Ou Mei, crying is not allowed!”
Soon, the skies darkened. The yard door opened as Yuesong walked in with a plate of food. He walked next to Ye and handed over the plate. The boy shook his head. “I’m not hungry. I just want to learn.”
Yuesong said, “you’ll need the energy to learn, and to avenge your parents.” When Ye heard this, he grabbed the food and started eating in big bites, as if he was fulfilling a duty and not eating a meal.
In moments, Ye finished all the food; he wiped his mouth, “now you can teach me!” But Yuesong turned away and waved at him to go inside the house, Ye quickly followed. Yuesong told him, “my place is called the Silver-Haired Mystic’s Palace, but there’s only this room. You can sleep here from now on.”
Ye yelled, “I don’t want to sleep, I want to learn!”
Yuesong answered, “skills take a long time, the more anxious you’re, the harder it is to learn. Rushing will not get you anywhere. You have to understand this or you’ll get in trouble.” He then walked out.
Ye pondered this for a bit before finally getting in bed. He tossed and turned, but images of his parents filled his mind as he cried again.