The Shadow Guard is also the White Moonlight [Rebirth] Chapter 95

Chapter 95

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The back hill of the Distant Moon Sect was considered a feng shui treasure land and was the burial ground for many disciples who had died unexpectedly.

It was said that this piece of land was dug by their master for the tomb of a certain royal prince from the previous dynasty, which is why it was deemed suitable for burial. Those buried here were believed to have auspicious lives and prosperous descendants in their next lives.

In the six months since Senior Brother’s passing, Fu Nineteen silently took over the responsibilities that Eldest Senior Brother used to have. He would wake up early every day to watch over his junior brothers and sisters as they practiced swordsmanship and organize the tasks within the sect.

However, unlike before, Fu Nineteen did not move into the inner courtyard to live. Instead, he had prepared a small and not particularly spacious room for himself as his residence.

As the Double Ninth Festival approached, Fu Nineteen was sorting through letters when he saw a letter from his junior brother.

In the letter, Little Nian mentioned that he would return to the sect during the Double Ninth Festival. The reason was that the Fifth Prince had been exiled to the Northern Frontier, and he had been busy making arrangements these days. He didn’t want his informant to see him, so he had given him a few days off.

Upon reading this message, Fu Nineteen’s bitter expression finally revealed a hint of a smile.

In the six months since eldest senior brother had left, their master had been silent and reserved, speaking only a few words when teaching martial arts and studies to his junior brother and junior sisters. Occasionally, he would sit in front of eldest senior brother’s tombstone, drinking in solitude.

After finishing the account books, Fu Nineteen sent his junior brother to the town to bring back new clothes and food supplies for the taller children. Then he took his sword and went to find his master.

Since eldest senior brother had left, their relationship had undergone subtle changes.

This change… even for Fu Nineteen, who made a living by killing, his initial reaction to this behavior was: morally wrong.

But when he was rescued, in Fu Nineteen’s eyes, this man was like a savior. When he was a child, he had tried every means to gain his master’s attention and affection, but his master’s attitude towards him had always been inconsistent.

One moment the whip was hitting him, the next moment his master would softly tell him that the longsword technique was passed down to him alone because he had great talent.

So when this man held him in his arms, treating him like a precious treasure, and their eyes met repeatedly, besides the sense of moral wrongdoing, Fu Nineteen also had a bit of attachment to this feeling.

The childhood desire for his master’s affection was finally fulfilled.

Of course, after waking up, self-reproach overwhelmed him.

Climbing to the top of the mountain, the moon was high in the sky. Fu Nineteen saw the man sitting in front of the tombstone, and he walked up quickly. “Master, it’s time to go back.”

“….” The man didn’t speak, continuing to drink from his wine bottle in silence.

“Junior Brother Twenty will return on the Double Ninth Festival,” Fu Nineteen added.

Upon hearing this, the man finally put down his wine bottle, and a hint of clarity returned to his eyes. “Little Nian is coming back…” His excitement couldn’t be concealed as he kept repeating this sentence.

Fu Nineteen didn’t say anything.

Little Nian’s return was indeed a joyful event.

But no matter how he called his master “Master,” his master paid no attention to him. Whenever Little Nian was mentioned, he instantly stopped drinking and mourning at the tombstone.

Fu Nineteen narrowed his eyes and clenched his fists.

After helping his master back to the inner courtyard’s bedroom, Fu Nineteen dipped a towel in water, sat on the edge of the bed, and wiped his master’s face.

Suddenly, a rough sensation gently touched the back of his hand.

Clearly, it was the roughness that came from years of holding a sword.

“Zhu Er, when will you be willing to move into the inner courtyard?” 

The man’s tone as he spoke carried a hint of intoxication.

Fu Nineteen’s breathing faltered.

While his master didn’t prevent him from entering the inner courtyard, there were no spare rooms in the inner courtyard for him. 

Little Nian’s former residence was a small attic when he was a child, and it had become a storage room again after his departure. Eldest senior brother’s former residence was definitely off-limits, and the other rooms were either his master’s study or a storage room.

“….”Fu Nineteen didn’t respond to the drunken talk.

After finishing wiping, he was about to take the basin of water and dispose of it.

Before he could get up, he felt a strong arm embracing him from behind.

It was different from the aggressive embraces of the past.

It seemed like he just wanted him to sleep by his side, just like when he first entered the sect, sleeping next to his master while listening to his master’s stories.

“Nineteen, thank you for helping to manage the sect during this time.”

Fu Nineteen: “It’s what I should do.”

“From a young age, you’ve always been sensible, but the more sensible you were, the more I felt I owed you. Back when you were a child, you used to be very affectionate, but I neglected you at the time. I allowed the others in the sect to isolate you, and I didn’t speak up for you. Instead, I treated you harshly. … I’m sorry.”

Listening to his master’s murmured apology, Fu Nineteen lowered his gaze.

His master actually remembered the past events related to him. Hearing this apology, he felt a mix of emotions.

He couldn’t remember how he fell asleep in the end, but this was the first time since he had become an adult that he had slept beside his master, and it was a peaceful sleep.

The day before the Double Ninth Festival, just before dinner, Fu Nineteen was watching the servants busy in the kitchen. The rising cooking smoke made it hard for him to keep his eyes open.

He was flipping through a medical book while supervising their work.

“Senior Brother Twenty is back!”

“Wow! Senior Brother Twenty’s prosthetic limbs look amazing!”

Fu Nineteen paused and immediately dropped the book, rushing out towards the courtyard.

Sure enough, there was a young man of his age standing outside the courtyard, looking particularly slender due to the missing limbs. Many junior brothers and sisters were gathered around him.

“Senior Brother Nineteen!” Little Nian spotted Fu Nineteen and kicked away a junior brother hanging onto his leg before running towards him.

“Little Nian!”

After not seeing each other for several years, the timid junior brother from his memory seemed to have become more cheerful. Quickly, Fu Nineteen’s attention was drawn to the prosthetic limbs on Little Nian’s body.

Made from some kind of white jade, the prosthetic was pristine, with visible knife marks on it, indicating its durability.

It wasn’t the wooden prosthetic he had when he left the sect.

Little Nian noticed his senior brother looking at his prosthetic. “The lord from the Wang family gave it to me. He said this stone prosthetic is sturdy and can withstand blows. The wooden prosthetic that Master gave me broke within a couple of days. How have you been during this time, Senior Brother? I heard about eldest senior brother passing away half a year ago…”

“Yeah, due to illness,” Fu Nineteen recalled the death spirit incense eldest senior brother had given him before his death and casually lied, “I’ve been doing alright. How about you? That lord, did he cause any trouble for you? I remember you mentioned in your letters that you were having financial difficulties.”

“He treats me… pretty well. He even doubled the monthly allowance he owed me,” Little Nian said with a smile. “Oh, Master came to visit me once in between.” Mentioning their master, Little Nian’s expression quickly cooled.

“Master visited you? When did that happen?” Fu Nineteen hadn’t heard about this and was curious.

Little Nian didn’t pursue that topic any further and quickly changed the subject.

After dinner, Fu Nineteen was in the courtyard, practicing his swordplay while vaguely aware that his master had summoned Little Nian into the inner courtyard. However, for some reason, both of them ended up having a discussion outside the courtyard.

Fu Nineteen wasn’t as focused on his sword practice as he should have been. He listened in and noticed that the tone of his junior brother and his master didn’t seem pleasant.

As night fell, Little Nian didn’t return to his original quarters in the inner courtyard but laid down beside him.

His room wasn’t spacious, and lying side by side was quite cramped.

“Senior Brother, during this time, did Master… did he mistreat you?” While lying side by side, Little Nian hesitated for a while before asking.

Fu Nineteen couldn’t comprehend. “Mistreat me? Why would Master mistreat me?”

“I might have been overthinking it.”

Fu Nineteen: ?

His relationship with master, which couldn’t see the light of day, was indeed a secret, but he wouldn’t describe it as mistreatment.

He didn’t dare to ask Little Nian what he meant by “mistreatment.”

Little Nian remained silent for a moment, then asked again, “And Senior Brother, have you… ever pursued someone you loved?”

Pursue someone he loved?

Hearing this question, Fu Nineteen quickly turned his head, propping it up with one hand as he looked at Little Nian in disbelief. “Little Nian, do you have someone you love?”

Little Nian didn’t speak, but the earnest look in his eyes said it all.

Fu Nineteen’s heart turned cold.

Then, he couldn’t help but laugh. “Is this for real?”

“Indeed. We met during a mission at the Wang Mansion, but we didn’t exchange many details, and I dare not mention their name. Besides my senior brother, I don’t know who else to ask…”

Fu Nineteen didn’t respond.

Meeting someone at the Wang estate, it had nothing to do with him.

This was a situation that he couldn’t fully express his feelings about.

“Senior Brother?”

Fu Nineteen wanted to say something, but all that came out was a bitter taste in his throat.

When Little Nian was a child, he used to say, “I like Senior Brother Nineteen the most,” and “Only Senior Brother Nineteen treats me the best.” It seemed that those were just childish words.

Only he had thought about becoming sworn brothers after leaving the sect and living together like eldest senior brother and their master.

“Senior Brother?” Little Nian didn’t notice Fu Nineteen’s complex emotions and asked again.

“Which family’s daughter is it? How does that person treat you?”

Little Nian hesitated, “It’s not a girl.”

Fu Nineteen clenched his fists.

For a moment, he almost couldn’t breathe.

“Although they often scold me, hit me, but—”

This time, Fu Nineteen didn’t let his junior brother finish. He impatiently interrupted, “I don’t have anyone I love, so why are you asking me? I have to wake up early tomorrow for sword practice. Goodnight.” After yelling, he turned his back and threw a blanket over Little Nian, wrapping himself in another one.

Little Nian was a bit stunned by the outburst but obediently took the blanket.

He didn’t quite understand why Senior Brother was so angry, but he didn’t dare to ask any more questions and quietly turned over to sleep.

In truth, Fu Nineteen didn’t fall asleep.

And he couldn’t sleep.

The junior brother he had cared for since childhood, separated by just a couple of years, had developed feelings for someone else, someone who scolded and hit him.

He silently clenched the edge of his blanket.

This sour feeling was incredibly uncomfortable, indescribably so.

Since his parents’ deaths, he hadn’t shed tears for all the grievances he’d suffered, whether it was being bullied by fellow disciples or falsely accused by his master. But today, tears were stubbornly welling up.

When he realized he was about to cry out loud, Fu Nineteen silently rolled out of bed, leaped onto the rooftop, and wiped his eyes with his sleeve.

The water-blue silk soon became wrinkled and slightly damp, but the tears in the corners of his eyes showed no sign of stopping.

“What kind of adult cries like a child? You’re so noisy.” Just as he was silently wiping away tears, a faint voice suddenly sounded behind him.

Fu Nineteen turned around and saw it was his master. He was instantly scared into swallowing back his tears, hastily bowing in respect.

He had clearly been very careful not to make any noise, and even if there was some noise, it was nowhere near as loud as the night wind.

“Don’t use your sleeve, here,” the man quietly handed him a handkerchief. “Understood.” After saying that, he pointed with his thumb in the direction of his room, where Fu Nian, who had returned to the sect, was lying.

Fu Nineteen didn’t respond, but he tacitly agreed.

“You’ve always worn your heart on your sleeve since you were young, and you haven’t changed as you’ve grown up. You’re too easy to read,” the man said casually.

Fu Nineteen, lacking dignity, accepted the handkerchief and wiped his face.

He noticed that his master was sitting right beside him, quietly watching him cry.

After a while, Fu Nineteen felt somewhat embarrassed and stifled his sobs, clutching the dirty handkerchief in his hand.

“They just made a late-night snack in the kitchen,” the man said, leaving this sentence behind as he saw that Fu Nineteen had stopped crying, then jumped down from the rooftop and headed straight for the inner courtyard.

Upon hearing there was food, Fu Nineteen decided to follow along.

From childhood to adulthood, his master had always been able to see through all of his thoughts and needs at a glance, tolerating all his actions.

At least for now, there was no one better to him than his master, whether it was in terms of emotions or physiology. Even though there was no promise for the future, Fu Nineteen had completely abandoned the idea of establishing his own sect after leaving.

News came from the imperial city that the assassins dispatched by the Distant Moon Sect had turned against the emperor.

The imperial edict was read aloud by a eunuch from the palace. At that time, Fu Nineteen was correcting a junior disciple’s sword grip.

Since the last Double Ninth Festival when they parted, this was the first time he had heard news about Fu Nian.

He hadn’t expected him to deceive the emperor, change sides, and betray the teachings of the sect.

He saw his master and the eunuch apologizing profusely, speaking humbly about resolving the issue with the traitor.

But from the eunuch’s tone, Fu Nineteen sensed that his junior disciple’s betrayal was far from simple.

After the eunuch left, as expected, his master urgently summoned him.

“That child Fu Nian… you heard it just now. The emperor sent him to monitor the Fifth Prince, but it turns out… starting several months ago, he began concealing the Fifth Prince’s movements, which led to the Fifth Prince amassing forces outside the capital and capturing two cities before news reached the capital. That’s when I learned of his betrayal. He used to be so obedient, how could he…”

“…” Fu Nineteen wanted to speak up for his junior brother.

But then he thought better of it and didn’t want to defend him.

He didn’t know the source of the discord between his junior brother and his master. He just couldn’t understand why his junior brother, whom his master obviously cared for so much, didn’t cherish that fact.

“Nineteen, you know the punishment for disciples who betray the sect, right?” After a moment’s pause, the man rubbed his nose and continued, “Some of your senior brothers and sisters have betrayed the sect before, but the impact wasn’t as severe. I still considered our past relationships and allowed them to live or die in one piece. But this time, despite the emperor’s favor toward the Distant Moon Sect, he deceived the monarch and showed ingratitude…”

As he spoke, Fu Nineteen saw his master throw a long sword in his direction.

He reached out and caught it, then unsheathed the sword for a quick look. The blade gleamed with a cold light, and even a slight touch with his hand left a bloody mark. This sword was one he had seen his master carry before, but it wasn’t the one his master usually wielded.


“Master, I’m here.” Fu Nineteen understood the man’s intentions.

On one hand, Fu Nian was his junior brother whom he had grown up with, and he believed there must be a reason for his actions. On the other hand, he couldn’t defy his master’s orders.

For so many years, his master had been good to him.

Seeing his inner conflict, the man pretended to hesitate for a moment before continuing, “I’ve actually been meaning to ask you, since you have no intention of establishing your own sect, would you be willing to have an extra sworn brother from now on?”

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