He knew very well that it wasn’t because he was distinguished, or because he had extraordinary spiritual powers. It was merely due to the fact that his divine statue was good-looking, and his palace temples were handsome too. Practically all of his palace temples were constructed by the royal family, and the highest-skilled experts and artisans of the kingdom were summoned to sculpt the divine statues according to his face. Besides, because of that phrase “Body in Abyss, Heart in Paradise”, the artisans often liked adding flowers to his divine statues, and liked planting a sea of flower trees in his temples. Thus, at the time, he had another title: “The Flower-Crowned Martial God”. The lady believers liked that his divine statues were good-looking, and liked that his palace temples were filled with flowers, and by that alone they were willing to walk in casually to pray.
But the usual martial gods often had their faces sculpted to be serious, savage, and cold, because their killing aura was too great. So when lady believers saw, they would rather pray to the bodhisattvas instead. While this statue of Nan Yang had none of the killing aura, it was even further from good-looking, yet there were more female believers praying than there were males. Nan Feng didn’t seem to want to answer this question either, so it was making Xie Lian even more curious. Just then, that girl finished her worship, rose to her feet to reach for the incense, then spun around.
After this spin, Xie Lian nudged the other two. The other two were already very annoyed, and after his nudge, they looked, and whoosh, both their faces dropped.
“Too hideous!” Fu Yao exclaimed.
Xie Lian choked for a moment, then chided, “Fu Yao, you can’t talk about girls like that.”
If he must be honest, what Fu Yao said was true. That girl’s face was incomparably flat, like someone had slapped her face into a pancake. The five features were so plain it almost seemed to be a mistake; if they must be described, then only “crooked nose and slanted eyes” could be used.
However, Xie Lian didn’t register whether she was beautiful or ugly at all. The main thing was, when she spun around, there was an enormous tear on the back of her skirt, and he really couldn’t pretend he didn’t see it.
Fu Yao was startled at first, but he quickly calmed down. The popped veins on the corners of Nan Feng’s forehead also instantly vanished.
Seeing his face change colours so drastically, Xie Lian quickly soothed, “Don’t panic, don’t panic.”
That girl took the incense and knelt down anew, and said as she prayed, “May General Nan Yang give his blessings, this believer Xiao Ying prays for that ghost groom to be captured soon, so no other innocents will be harmed by him…”
She was sincere and devout in her prayers and didn’t sense anything peculiar going on behind her at all, nor was she aware that there were three men crouching next to the foot of the divine statue she was praying to.
Xie Lian fretted. “What do we do? We can’t let her walk out like this? Everyone on her way home will see.”
Besides, judging by that tear on the back of her skirt, it was obvious someone had intentionally ripped it with a sharp object. So she probably wouldn’t just be seen by a crowd of onlookers, she would also be publicly laughed at, and that would truly be a round of considerable humiliation.
Fu Yao was unconcerned. “Don’t ask me. The one she’s praying to isn’t my General Xuan Zhen. ‘One shall not look at impropriety’. I saw nothing.”
Meanwhile, blood was draining from Nan Feng’s face. He only knew to wave, not talk; a perfectly fine, unbridled, strapping young man was forcibly rendered mute, completely helpless. And so, Xie Lian had no choice but to take action himself, taking off his outer robe and throwing it down below. That outer robe flapped in the air for a moment and drifted down onto the body of that girl, blocking that very inelegant tear on the back of her skirt. The three sighed a breath in unison.
However, this breeze truly felt wicked and startled that girl. She looked around, took off the robe, and was confused for a moment before she placed it onto the altar. She was actually completely unaware, and after she had stuck in the incense, she made to head out. If they let her out to walk around like that, the little maiden would probably not have the face to look at anyone ever again. The two on each of Xie Lian’s sides were either frozen or frozen, completely useless however you wanted them, and he sighed. Nan Feng and Fu Yao only felt the space beside their bodies empty all of a sudden, and Xie Lian had already taken form and jumped down.
The lamplight inside the temple was dim, and a small breeze rose from his leap, causing the firelight to flicker. That girl Xiao Ying only saw a blur before her eyes and a man suddenly emerged from the darkness, reaching out to her with his upper body bare, and she was scared out of her wits right then and there.
Just as expected, she screamed. Just as Xie Lian was about to speak, that girl’s slap already struck out in a flash, and she yelled, “HARASSMENT!”
PA! And Xie Lian was slapped just like that.
The slap was clear and crisp, and the two crouching on top of the altar both felt the side of their face twitch at the same time.
Xie Lian wasn’t mad at the strike however, and only forcefully stuffed the outer robe into her arms, swiftly whispering something. That girl was greatly alarmed, felt her behind, and suddenly flushed red in the face. Tears welled up in her eyes; who knows whether it was anger or indignation. She clutched that outer robe Xie Lian gave her, and dashed out covering her face, leaving Xie Lian standing there half-bare. After she left, the temple was empty. A cool breeze crossed through the hall, and all of a sudden, it was a little cold.
He rubbed his cheek, and with that red hand-mark on half of his face, he turned to the other two. “Alright, everything’s solved.”
Nan Feng pointed at him. “Did…you tear your wounds?” Xie Lian looked down and oh-ed.
After undressing, what was revealed was a body smooth and fair like jade. Except, his chest was heavily wrapped by layer after layer of white cloth, firmly bound; even his neck and wrists were wrapped in bandages. Innumerous small cuts crawled out from the edges of the white bandages, truly somewhat startling.
He figured his sprained neck was pretty much recovered by now, so Xie Lian started unbinding his bandages.
Fu Yao glanced at him, then questioned, “Who was it?” “What?” Xie Lian asked.
“Who fought you?” Fu Yao demanded. “Fought?” Xie Lian was confused, “No one?”
“Then all these injuries on your body…” Nan Feng was hesitant. Xie Lian looked at them blankly. “I fell on my own.”
These were indeed the injuries from when he tumbled down from heaven three days ago. If it was from a fight with another person, then he actually might not have been hurt to this level.
Fu Yao grumbled something, but it wasn’t clear. Either way, it definitely wasn’t praising him for his fortitude, so Xie Lian didn’t bother to ask, focusing only on taking off the heavy layer of bandages from his neck. The next second, Nan Feng and Fu Yao’s eyes hardened and fell on his neck.
A black collar was encircled around his snow-white neck.