Chapter 57: The Fluttering Heart
Fan Xian kept his head low as he walked towards the side temple, but out of the corners of his eyes, he couldn’t stop looking at the Heavenly Altar in the main hall. He was very curious as to who was blessed enough over there to drive away such a skilled opponent. He knew his opponent must indeed have an immeasurably in-depth background, but he was here only to look around, and didn’t feel like butting in, despite "minding other people’s business" being in his name.
His right hand was still at his lips, and from time to time, he would cough once or twice. After scanning his upper body with zhenqi, he was able to make sure there weren’t any substantial injuries. His lungs and airways weren’t hurt, but his vocal cords were torn when he was retaliating.
Fan Xian kept coughing as he walked, dotting his white handkerchief with blood. He thought of Lin Daiyu, Su Mengzhen, Zhou Yu, Lin Qinnan, and many of his seniors—cough, well, not Lin Qinnan, who was not as tear-jerking as the other three.
By the time he arrived at the side hall, his zhenqi had already healed his throat. Fan Xian put his handkerchief away somewhat sadly. He turned and took one more look at the Sky Altar before walking into the side temple.
The side temple was slightly smaller and surrounded by a blue stone wall. There was no one inside. Fan Xian was disappointed not to have seen any ascetics. As he walked in further, he was even more disappointed after discovering there were no statues of deities, unlike the temples he had known in his previous life.
He eventually changed his tune, however. This should be normal, since the people were worshipping the sky. Naturally, they couldn’t grasp its form.
In the center of the temple was an extremely wide incense table. Pale yellow satin hung down from the table, reaching the ground and covering the stone pavement underneath.
On the table was an elegant porcelain incense burner with three sticks in incense that had already been burned through more than halfway. The entire room was filled with a calming aroma.
Fan Xian wandered aimlessly, and his gaze scanned across the murals. He discovered that those murals resembled the more contemporary oil paintings from his previous life. However, the deities depicted standing at mountaintops, floating on the sea, or sitting by volcanoes all had blurred out faces. It was almost as if the artist intended them to be this way.
Fan Xian noticed that the murals told of ancient folktales commonly found in books, including stories such as Gun Yu controlling the great flood, among other things Fan Xian couldn’t match up the murals with their books.
He shook his head, relinquishing the thought he would find answers here. He found a thin cushion, threw it before the incense table, and got down. His clasped his hands together and closed his eyes. His lips moved slightly to the rising of the smoke from the incense as he kept praying.
Fan Xian was an atheist in his previous life, but the Fan Xian now was truly religious. Such a change was to be expected. Anyone going through what he experienced would surely do the same.
Which was why he was worshipping so sincerely. He prayed that the heavens and the temple would tell him why he was in this world. Not to mention, though, that he prayed for a trouble-free life with lots of money.
Suddenly, there was a disturbance in the incense smoke. Fan Xian’s ears perked up, as if they had heard something. Feeling doubtful, he opened his eyes and saw the little incense burner trembling slightly. He was absolutely astonished. Had his seemingly devote, absent-minded prayer finally reached the heavens?
His gaze stopped at the wide incense table. Fan Xian finally discovered where the problem was. His eyes flashed. With his left hand on the hilt of his concealed dagger, he reached out slowly but firmly wit
h his right hand and lifted up the satin which draped over the table.
Lifting up the satin, Fan Xian could not believe his eyes.
Half-kneeling under the table was a girl wearing a hanfu wrapped youren style. She too was shocked as she stared at Fan Xian.
The girl had big eyes with a gentle gaze, resembling the surface of a tranquil lake. Her face was exquisitely beautiful; she had pale, tender skin and long eyelashes, like a character from a painting.
Stunned, Fan Xian couldn’t move his eyes away. He gradually noticed that the girl’s forehead was slightly big and her nose was slightly pointy. Her skin was just a bit whiter than normal, and her lips were somewhat thicker than conventional beauty standards. Despite those imperfections, her overall appearance, plus her faintly frightened expression and innate shyness, still made Fan Xian’s heart skip a bit.
His heart was moved.
The girl looked at this sky-worshipping youth with curiosity. She wasn’t expecting the youth to look so beautiful with his long eyelashes. She couldn’t help but sneak a few more looks at him.
Afterwards, the girl felt she was being rather inappropriate. A hint of red began to spread across her cheeks before quickly disappearing. The redness had at one point spread to her ears.
And yet she still reluctantly refused to look away. She was that curious, wondering where this good-looking youth came from.
It was all quiet in the center of the temple, Fan Xian’s hand still held onto the satin, his eyes were still fixated on the girl’s face. The girl had now gathered up the courage to look back at him. They mutually looked at each other. A long time passed, everything was still silent.
Fan Xian scanned his eyes across the girl’s face, and she couldn’t help but lower her head in embarrassment. An unusual glisten on the girl’s lips got Fan Xian’s attention.
He took a couple more looks before realizing the reason. What was about to happen would remain in his memory for a long time—the girl was holding a chicken leg, and the grease had gotten on her lips while she ate.
This beautiful girl in white; to think she hid under the incense table to eat chicken! Fan Xian’s jaws hung open at this contrast. He was speechless for a while.
Finally, the uncomfortably quietness was finally broken.
"Who… You… Who are you?"
The beautiful duo spoke at the same time, their gently shaking voice matching each other.
Fan Xian heard the girl for the first time. Her voice felt soft and without strength. It was a comfortable sound, but it also left him without any sense of direction. There was a feeling of excitement around his chest. Fan Xian then threw up a mouthful of blood.
"Ah!" the girl yelped in surprise. She wasn’t afraid, however, as her eyes showed intense sympathy as if she felt all of Fan Xian’s suffering.
Seeing the girl worrying on his behalf, Fan Xian’s heart warmed. He reassured her with a smile on his face: "this is nothing. I’ll get used to it."