“Lord Wei Shi, may I ask what New Year’s fortune you drew?” – Journalist
“No comment.” (Gnashes teeth) – Wei Shi
“Meow meow meow.” (Translation: He drew “Yin Shi”.) – Blackie, Folded Ear, White Feet
Vacation is great, but the start of the new school term is cruel.
They had a lot of fun over the holidays, but their leisurely days numbered only a few, and it felt that they hadn’t really had any time to enjoy themselves. In the blink of an eye, they had to return to school life, which was truly an unhappy occasion.
But fortunately, they only had morning classes on their first day back.
Fan Tong heaved a sigh.
The reason they only had morning classes was because the general tournament’s demonstration matches were in the afternoon, the very same competition that Lord Yin Shi nonsensically called the Eastern City’s Five Attendants’ Marriage Tournament.
Actually, about that, Hui Shi has already disappeared for two years, maybe nearly three years, and they are still called the Eastern City’s five attendants. It really sounds awkward.
Clearly, there are only four left – does the Eastern City have any particular taboo about the number four? We can all live in room 444 on the fourth floor, so I’m not sure it’s considered taboo here…
After class, even though it wasn’t mandatory, they still decided to go watch the demonstration competition.
After all, it’s going to be a lively activity. Just going to see Lord Yin Shi and the rest put forth their best effort should be quite interesting, right?
Moreover, this is a rare opportunity to see experts exchange blows. How could we pass it up?
I’m very happy about going to watch it together with Yue Tui, but Zhu Sha is also coming along… I’m not rejoicing about that. Even though we will be comrades-in-arms for a while, but, but… Ah, forget it, it’s just like that.
In addition to an elevated stage for the competitions to take place on, the general tournament had a resting area for the competitors.
Currently, there were a few people who had gathered there ahead of time to wait for the competition to begin and discuss a few private matters.
“Yin, I’m going to first carefully warn you, you’re not allowed to defeat me in one blow. This is a demonstration competition, no one came to see you get rid of people in one second.”
In addition to keeping with the demonstration competition’s nature, Ling Shi blank-facedly made his request to Yin Shi so that he could save a little face.
“Eh? Why? Since it’s an exhibition, wouldn’t it look better to go all out?”
It was clear that Yin Shi’s problem was not that he couldn’t follow instructions. It was just that you can’t carve rotten wood. After he asked this question, Ling Shi almost got angry.
“Do you really want to kill me…?”
“Ah, how could that be, you shouldn’t be able to die. Your master skill is not dying even after an explosion, wouldn’t people think that’s worth seeing?”
“…In short, you’re only allowed to use fifty percent of your strength, do you understand?” Ling Shi completely did not accept his terrible explosion idea and directly ignored his excitement, giving him instructions.
“Eh? But I don’t want winning to be difficult; that would be so tiring. Whenever I do that, my entire body aches, and my bones feel loose. Why does an easy win have to turn into this…?” Yin Shi was not particularly pleased with Ling Shi’s plan. He felt annoyed that a simple matter had become a complicated one.
“…Ten minutes! At least let me stay on stage for ten minutes! If worst comes to worst, I’ll give you a massage once we return. If that’s impossible, then what kind of comrade are you!” Ling Shi squeezed the words out through clenched teeth, and after hearing them, Yin Shi beamed with joy.
“Ah, alright, alright, well said, remember to come find me later this evening.”
“What are you so happy about?” Seeing the other person’s attitude, Ling Shi found it hard to avoid feeling like he had been cheated.
“Ah, because I’m feeling happy… Having such a good comrade as you is truly great! I feel reassured! On stage, after ten minutes have passed, I’ll immediately make you leave!”
The first part of that, he refused to comment on. The middle part, he refused to comment on. The last part… Ling Shi deeply felt that Yin Shi still basically didn’t understand.
After ten minutes, he would immediately dispose of him? This wasn’t saving face at all, right?
“Is getting you to defeat me slowly that difficult?”
“Eh? Is defeating you quickly a bad thing? It’s not very painful, and I don’t want you to get hurt. Otherwise, what would I do if you couldn’t come over this evening?”
Ling Shi didn’t know what to say to that. Those words were open to misinterpretation, although he was fully aware that Yin Shi’s words were brainless.
No, did he actually have that thing called a brain?
“Also, you’re not allowed to use magic and curses. This is the Eastern City.” He absolutely had to warn him about this point. In the Eastern City’s public activity, in front of the entire city’s however many citizens, if Yin Shi used techniques from the Western City to show off, that would be too outrageous.
“Ah, let me use magic! I can pretend that it’s Shufa! Apart from Ying, no one would be able to tell!”
“If I tell you you’re not allowed to use it, then you’re not allowed to use it! It’s not like I’m telling you not to use swordsmanship, so it’s not that bad! Shufa Xuan’s rector!”
“Alright, alright…” Yin Shi’s vigor diminished. The more confined he was, the more unhappy he felt. He always felt suspicious about why he had to listen to Ling Shi’s words.
“You’re already here?” Luo Shi entered the rest area. When he saw them, he seemed amazed that they had arrived early. After all, Yin Shi was always doing all sorts of crazy things, messing things up and fooling around as if there wasn’t enough time, and then shamelessly showing up late. This time, he’d unexpectedly arrived early; it looked like all the credit should go to Ling Shi.
“Nn. I didn’t want this guy to make a careless mistake, do I dragged him over here first to educate him.”
“Educate him? Yin Shi can be taught?” Luo Shi’s tone sounded like he had just discovered that Yin Shi had a brain and looked towards him. Yin Shi refused to accept this.
“Xiao Luo Shi, how come you don’t know better than this? You’re following a bad example! That damn Wei Shi always says annoying things, you can’t follow his example!” After saying that, he still didn’t wait for Luo Shi’s reply. Because he suddenly thought of Wei Shi, Yin Shi jumped onto this other topic. “Ah, that’s right, Ling Shi, how is the demonstration competition conducted? You and I fight, and then, won’t Xiao Luo Shi and that damn Wei Shi fight? That’s too pitiful, that damn Wei Shi will certainly bully this child!”
Wei Shi never hung around the rest of them. He would feel uneasy being in the same space as them, so, before the competition started, it wasn’t very likely that Wei Shi would show up in the rest area. They could discuss freely without fear of him overhearing.
“Regretfully, that’s how it is,” Ling Shi confirmed his guess. This made Yin Shi immediately start worrying.
“Ah! What can we do? Old man, quickly thing of something! Although that damn Wei Shi is weak, Xiao Luo Shi is a red tassel, this is simply unfair!”
Only he, a pure black tassel monster, had the qualifications to call Wei Shi weak. No matter where you went, Wei Shi’s deep purple tassel didn’t fall short; only in front of Yin Shi could his strength be considered lacking.
“Luo Shi didn’t say anything. What do you do with all of your free time? In the end, who is it that keeps looking more and more like an old maid?” Ling Shi replied, swallowing the observation that as long as Luo Shi was carrying a cat, Wei Shi definitely wouldn’t harm a single hair on his head.
“It doesn’t matter to me, I’m also one of the five attendants.” Luo Shi’s personality was strong. Even though he also knew that Wei Shi would certainly defeat him, he still wasn’t afraid to fight.
“Xiao Luo Shi – ”
“The people who win the first two demonstration battles will fight each other. If you beat me, you can fight Wei Shi, there’s no need to be in such a hurry.”
“Eh? So that’s how it is! Then I’ll definitely eliminate you! I’ve wanted to beat Wei Shi to death for a long time!”
For the time being, regardless of whether he said ‘fight damn Wei Shi’ or ‘beat Wei Shi to death’ [T/N: “打,死違侍” VS。“打死, 違侍”Maybe it would be better to change this into something understandable in English, such as “regardless of whether he really wanted to beat Wei Shi to death or if it was just an expression”, since I can’t think of a good way to translate this play on words.], he only heard that Yin Shi, in order to come to blows with Wei Shi, said he wanted to eliminate him. Ling Shi’s thoughts took a dark turn.
However, telling Yin Shi that he was upset was no use. His standard course of action was always to not say a word, then transfer his revenge to Wei Shi. Wei Shi truly got any misfortune that he may have deserved.
“Xiao Luo Shi, I’ll help you get revenge!” Yin Shi patted Luo Shi’s thin shoulder in a ‘leave everything to me’ manner.
“…Fight or no fight, please don’t so quickly say that you’ll help me get revenge.” Not only did he make it sound like he was sure he would lose, he also made it sound like he was sure that he would lose very miserably. Black lines appeared on Luo Shi’s face. He didn’t have the slightest intention of accepting Yin Shi’s good will.
“Then should I ask Wei Shi to get vengeance on my behalf?” Ling Shi shot a glance at Yin Shi, not cold, not fervent, as he asked this question.
“Ah! Old man, how could you say such a thing? We’re comrades! Among comrades, there’s no such hatred, regardless of whatever happens!” Yin Shi seemed completely unable to understand why he asked such a question, and his face showed an astonished expression. He even placed a hand on Ling Shi’s forehead to make sure he didn’t have a fever. After deciding that his temperature was normal, he continued using a baffled expression to look at him.
“Sometimes, I really want to dismember you into ten thousand pieces,” Ling Shi said in a low voice.
Due to the time it took to arrive after class was dismissed, when Fan Tong and the others arrived at to watch the competition, it had already begun.
Because they showed up late, cramming their way through the crowd to the front was not at all easy. There were no good places, except for tall people who could see over the human wall. Even though the stage was elevated, it would be very difficult to see anything. Therefore, at Zhu Sha’s recommendation, they simply climbed onto the roof of a neighboring building to get a good view. There wasn’t even a need to fight the crowd.
Of course, Yue Tui pulled Fan Tong up.
“How long has it been over? Did we miss anything?”
Hearing Fan Tong’s strange statement, Zhu Sha gave him a look, then answered coldly, “If it’s already over, then we’ve completely missed it, so why do you need to ask?”
It’s merely the curse again, nothing more. Of course I know that it just started and hasn’t ended yet, I really do!
On the stage stood two people, Luo Shi and Wei Shi. They had asked around, and this should be the first match. It seemed they hadn’t arrived too late.
Standing on the stage, Luo Shi looked serious and one hundred percent cautious. Wei Shi maintained a constant expressionless face. Apart from the occasional sound of Fuzhou or Shufa being launched, there were n o other sounds.
In this match, it wasn’t very likely that anyone supported Wei Shi or cheered him on. As for Luo Shi… Even though everyone wanted to support him and hoped he would win, everyone knew from looking at his tassel that it simply wasn’t possible.
Moreover, the fight was rather boring. Luo Shi would make a move, which Wei Shi would counter without any trouble. Then, Wei Shi would casually launch an attack, and Luo Shi would become flustered dealing with it… Luo Shi could not do anything, and Wei Shi did not want to seriously fight him, so the fight turned into more of a teaching session, and was thus boring to watch.
“Oh… So this is what’s going on…” Fan Tong was a little suspicious about the demonstration competition. As far as he knew, shouldn’t a demonstration be less boring? Shouldn’t it be more hot-blooded and dynamic?
Even if they couldn’t advertise ‘participate in the competition, and you can become an expert’, couldn’t they at least give people the impression that ‘fighting is very exciting, you get to engage in a life-or-death situation’?
How come Lord Wei Shi feels it’s beneath his dignity to hit Luo Shi?
“Yue Tui, does Luo Shi have no hope?” Although Fan Tong himself thought that he had no hope, he still asked Yue Tui. In general, he felt that Yue Tui’s opinion was more credible than his.
“Nn. For Luo Shi to deal with Lord Wei Shi, it would be too difficult.”
Since Yue Tui said so, then there really is no hope. Luo Shi, you need to quickly admit defeat.
At this time, Luo Shi finished reading a Fuzhou, tossed the paper in the air, and it scattered in all directions, each link connecting and multiplying the attack’s power.
This Fuzhou was a fairly high-level skill. After Luo Shi successfully used it, Ling Shi, who was watching the fight, cheered up a little. However, he still lightly shook his head. He thought that the spell wasn’t bad; what a pity it still wouldn’t have any affect.
Sure enough, when the Fuzhou network appeared in front of Wei Shi, he easily made out the center of the Fuzhou and quickly struck out at it, breaking the entire network.
“Hmph, a minor accomplishment,” Wei Shi said. After breaking Luo Shi’s attack, he didn’t scramble to retaliate. It looked like he really didn’t intend to be active in this fight.
“Wei Shi! Do you want to fight or not?” Continually being treated to this uncaring approach, Luo Shi got the feeling that he was completely being looked down on. He knew that he was unable to defeat Wei Shi, but he thought Wei Shi should at least take their fight seriously.
“I’ll wait for you to upgrade to a purple tassel. I have no desire to fight you until then.” Wei Shi’s answer was clear – he simply didn’t consider Luo Shi a worthy opponent.
The volume of the people speaking on stage wasn’t deliberately low, so some of the spectators also heard them talking. A lot of people were disgusted with Wei Shi’s attitude.
“This person really looks down on others.” Zhu Sha furrowed his brows. Although he had never seen Wei Shi before, his first impression of him certainly wasn’t great.
Exactly! He’s a snob! If you look down on a child, sooner or later, you’ll make that child cry!
After hearing Wei Shi’s answer, Luo Shi’s face became taut. This wasn’t the first time Wei Shi had taken a jab at his inferior strength. Every time, he could only silently exercise patience, since he couldn’t come up with a way to refute him.
After clenching his fists and then releasing them, he gave his reply. “I admit defeat. I won’t fight.” Finished speaking, he immediately turned around and left the stage, going straight to the rest area. It seemed he had not interest in watching the following competition.
Since Luo Shi admitted defeat, the match was over. After the announcer declared the winner, Wei Shi also left the stage. Next was Yin Shi and Ling Shi’s match.
“Ah, ah, Ling Shi! Can I quickly finish this! I can’t wait ten minutes; I want to beat him up now! I won’t kill him, but I’ll at least handicap him!” Preparing to go on stage, Yin Shi looked ready to blow his top. Ling Shi looked towards him coldly.
“You can’t beat him up too much. Ying is also here, do you want to make Ying angry?”
“Hateful – why can’t I beat him up once? With that kind of person, it’s necessary to use fists to communicate and violence to settle disputes! If he always has it easy, there will be no justice!”
“It’s only because you’re an uncivilized person that you want to use this method.”
“Ah! Damn old man, whenever I’m mad at Wei Shi, you won’t take my side! What kind of comrade are you?” Yin Shi was flustered and exasperated, with no way to vent his anger.
“I’m also not on Wei Shi’s side. Hurry on stage, and don’t forget that you promised me ten minutes, big idiot.”
Yin Shi still wanted to say more, but it really was time to go on stage. He was forced to go with Ling Shi, and each of them went to stand in their corner of the stage.
“My brain is full of thoughts about that damn Wei Shi, how can I fight with you…” Before the match was announced, Yin Shi muttered one last sentence to himself.
“I forgot to say, although you will be failing on purpose, I probably won’t go easy on you.”
“Eh? Slow down! I’m not like you, who can’t be beaten to death – ”
However, as soon as the beginning of the competition was announced, Ling Shi drew a golden Fuzhou that filled the entire stage. It was the same skill that Luo Shi had used, but on an entirely different level. As soon as the Fuzhou took affect, it was almost as if billowing clouds were rolling towards Yin Shi.
He didn’t need paper to bring out the Fuzhou’s innate power – many people had heard that rumor. Now, they could see it with their own eyes and confirm that this rumor wasn’t fabricated. All of the rolling clouds exploded in sequence, not giving the target a chance to attack. At the same time, no one could see the hand that stopped the clouds midway. At the last moment, Yin Shi gained control of the situation. Ashen-faced and struggling to survive, he opened his mouth to scold.
“Damn old man! You’re trying to kill me! As soon as you turn your head, I’ll certainly get my revenge on you!”
“Oh? So there’s no ‘coming to an agreement between comrades, and not holding a grudge, regardless of what happens’?”
“You, you…” Having Ling Shi throw his words back at him, Yin Shi wanted to bite his own tongue. He didn’t reply for a while. In that time, waves of Fuzhou fire formed again and assaulted him, nearly knocking him off stage.
Ah, a woman with a fiendish mind…
Sitting on the roof and watching the competition, Fan Tong sighed with sorrow.
Although Lord Ling Shi is a man, using those words to describe his appearance is really quite suitable. Lord Yin Shi, if it comes down to brains, you have no chance of success. I think everyone strongly believes this.
However, Lord Ling Shi, do you guys really share a secret, deep hatred? Do you basically consider Lord Yin Shi to be an enemy from Luo Yue to fight? Is this lethality due to old, accumulated resentment? How do I say this, using your own comrade of many years, as target practice isn’t a good thing? Or do you have so much confidence that your storm of Fuzhou will give him a new lease on life?
Nn, how come it doesn’t look like he’ll be alright? Rather, it looks like you seriously want to kill him.
Fan Tong switched his gaze to the lively crowd, then the other side of the stage, and then towards Queen Xi Ying, who looked just like an ice sculpture as she watched the battle with a detached air.
Even if someone on stage were to die, Xi Ying looks like she wouldn’t interfere.
“Ah! Lord Yin Shi! Be careful – ”
“No! Don’t harm Lord Yin Shi – ”
“Go, Lord Ling Shi! Long live Lord Ling Shi!”
“Lord Ling Shi, you’ll definitely win!”
Off stage, the masses were split into two groups to cheer. One side, supporting Yin Shi, didn’t have a single man, while the side supporting Ling Shi was made up almost entirely of men. This kind of division was understandable; however, their fervor was headache inducing.
This kind of noisy atmosphere makes the demonstration competition feel more public. However, the girls supporting Yin Shi will make him more enthusiastic, while Ling Shi’s supporters will make him fight more viciously; there is a subtle difference here.
I’d say the girls supporting Lord Yin Shi have the advantage in numbers, but I also think there are more people who want to get rid of Lord Yin Shi. Because Lord Ling Shi has a gentle and beautiful face, no woman would have reason to kill him.
Fan Tong reasoned that a man like Yin Shi, who had handsome good looks, money, and status, could often stir up another man’s desire for murder.
It was a pity that, even though Ling Shi’s Fuzhou was extreme, Yin Shi still avoided the danger on stage, making a lot of noise as he worked hard to preserve his life. It seemed like he was having a difficult time, but that didn’t mean he was no match for his opponent. Fan Tong could only once again asked Yue Tui.
“Yue Tui, who will lose?”
Yue Tui looked engrossed in watching the competition. It wasn’t until he hard Fan Tong’s question that he came back to himself. He didn’t have to think about the question for long, so he quickly answered Fan Tong.
“Lord Yin Shi will only lose if he wants to; otherwise, he won’t lose.”
Oh? Meaning that the outcome of the battle rests completely in Lord Yin Shi’s hands, even if he was just chased down so miserably by Lord Ling Shi’s Fuzhou?
“Yue Tui, how do you figure that in?”
I’m saying ‘how did you figure that out’, thank you very much.
“Lord Yin Shi still hasn’t attacked…”
The majority of Yue Tui’s focus was probably on the demonstration competition, so he didn’t pay attention to Fan Tong’s strange speech.
He still hasn’t attacked? But wasn’t he forced to counter that attack?
Fan Tong resigned himself to not being able to tell what was going on. That being said, every time Yin Shi had fought before, he has always held some boring weapon. This time, in the rare demonstration competition, would he bring out some godly weapon?
Thinking about weapons, Puhahaha came to mind. Fan Tong became depressed again. Mop, why are you definitely a mop?
As if it was responding to his thoughts, Puhahaha sneezed in a very timely manner.
…You’re still sleeping, right? I think it would be better for me to not remember your existence.
I still want a handsome weapon, ah –
From the point of view of the spectators, the two people on stage had not yet reached the climax of their battle, but for those two, the competition had already entered its final stage.
Ling Shi’s fighting method seemed to involve not considering his next step after each action. He basically thought of the demonstration competition as a duel, but all he wanted to do was to seize control of the time while he had the advantage.
Did he really want to win that much?
He searched his heart; perhaps he was interested in seeking victory. Because he knew Yin Shi’s power, even if he were to win in a situation where Yin Shi was limiting his strength, he would count it as a victory.
If Yin Shi knew that he thought so, he would probably point his finger at his nose and yell something like ‘wouldn’t it be refreshing if you beat me once!’
Yin Shi wouldn’t understand. Perhaps the sudden deep competitiveness in his heart was due to the person he was fighting.
In the middle of battle he almost forgot everything and abandoned all reason, all constraints, and his heart seemed to be restored to its most primitive state – from birth he was meant to fight, and it was in order to defend victory that he was born.
Even so, he couldn’t compare to Yin Shi. Because of his nature, he was unable to step across the wide gap between their strengths.
Condensing his Fuzhou power into one move, Ling Shi lifted both hands. His left and right hands wrote Fuzhou at the same time, and when he released them, they perfectly fused together into an enormously powerful force, expanding instantly.
He watched as Yin Shi’s hand moved towards the sword at his waist. This movement hinted that he was going to use it for something, and at that moment, he finished his terrifying Fuzhou, the spell resolving into orderly rings of light and shooting straight towards Yin Shi. At the same time, he retreated as far as he could in response to the inevitable shock from his attack.
Victory or defeat would be decided with this.
This time, Yin Shi made a move.
He drew a broken sword from the sheath at his waist. From its dull luster, it was easy to tell that the weapon didn’t have a soul. It was only the lowest-leveled, forged to be defeated weapon, but in his hand, it pierced through the rings of Fuzhou light, causing them to explode, and no weapon could compare to its golden radiance.
That sword made the inseparably close rings of Fuzhou split up and collapse, using the greater power of his attack to defeat his opponent’s. That sword was missing its front half, but the blade extended into a sharp golden point resembling a normal sword blade. After breaking through the rings of seemingly invulnerable Fuzhou, it still unyieldingly swept towards Ling Shi.
After Ling Shi had attacked, he had already moved himself into a strictly defensive position. However, seeing the power Yin Shi was using, he already knew that no matter how many defensive barriers he put up, the final outcome would be the same.
Just as if it were tearing through empty space, that gold-tipped sword encountered no resistance, making a clear sound as it broke through the layered barriers. Since it penetrated too quickly, people got the misconception that it had only broken through one barrier, but in reality, that piercing sound was the overlapping sounds of multiple barriers breaking. Perhaps only Ling Shi himself was able to perceive this.
Just as that sharp ‘sword blade’ was about to clear his head from his neck, it was gripped forcefully and brought to a stop, the extremely sharp aura surrounding it cutting a few strands of Ling Shi’s hair.
Yin Shi was already right in front of him, and he felt the golden aura of the sword’s point barely a hair’s breadth away.
“Ten minutes, Ling Shi.”
On that extremely handsome face, there was a look that only appeared occasionally; a serious expression that meant he was not to be toyed with. But despite the crushing strike, Yin Shi still remembered propriety and didn’t injure him.
The clearest point was that he wreathed the blade in a brilliant gold color, and not the ice-cold, battle-ending silver color.
“Indeed, you didn’t agree to a second more.” Ling Shi felt helpless. In fact, the fight could still continue – after all, his most resilient defense wasn’t Fuzhou. But exposing too much of his strength to everyone around him wouldn’t do any good. This was only a demonstration competition, so it didn’t matter if he lost.
Even if he didn’t care if his audience would scared after seeing him receive no injury despite being chopped by a sword, if he continued like this, his odds of success weren’t very good.
Yin Shi didn’t even need to use all his strength; only seven of his skills were enough to defeat him.
“Ah? Damn old man, in the end, do you know what it was that you threw at me just a moment ago? If I waited another second, I would have been turned into scattered ashes and smoke! Do you admit defeat?” After hearing Ling Shi’s grumbling, Yin Shi hollered at him again. His cold and fearsome good looks from just a moment ago were completely obliterated, making many people sigh in disappointment.
“I admit defeat.” Ling Shi tranquilly surrendered. Only then did Yin Shi remove the gold light from the sword and return the broken sword to its sheath.
At the side of the stage, Xi Ying nodded her head, appearing to verify Yin Shi’s victory. After the announcer declared the winner, the young ladies supporting Yin Shi began cheering, releasing their stirred-up emotions. They felt admiration for the battle’s participants and applauded them continuously. Thus, the demonstration competition’s second battle was over.
“So, he’s the real deal,” Zhu Sha commented after the fight was finished. Fan Tong already didn’t want to find out what his previous opinion of Yin Shi was.
“Yue Tui! Was that not originally your knife?”
Why did it become a godly weapon in Lord Yin Shi’s hand? Then, didn’t you suffer a great loss by trading with him?
“It’s a sword, not a knife. That is indeed a broken weapon, there’s no doubt about that.” Compared to Fan Tong’s suspicions, Yue Tui did not think much about that sword.
Actually, Fan Tong was also well aware that, if it really was a godly weapon, the weapon shop’s boss wouldn’t have sold it to Yue Tui unless he were a blind person who didn’t know up from down. What’s more, that boss could sell him a mop for two hundred strings; if Yue Tui’s sword had any quality, he absolutely wouldn’t have given it to him for free.
“Yue Tui, what was that light? Why did it glow?”
“That’s…” Even though Yue Tui was typically the kind of person who answered questions if he could, when Fan Tong asked this question, he still hesitated. “I don’t know. It’s really not that important.”
In the end, Yue Tui drudged up an ambiguous answer again. He didn’t know why, but Fan Tong felt that he knew the answer and just didn’t want to say it.
After the winner of the second match was declared, the third match began.
Compared to the other two matches, this one made the spectators especially fired up. Almost the entire crowd was shouting for Yin Shi, enthusiastically cheering for his victory, each person influencing another and getting the entire crowd worked up.
The appearance of this one-sided favor was, of course, because Yin Shi’s opponent – Wei Shi – was too horrible. For a long time now, the New Residents had suffered his bullying, so they absolutely did not like him. He also appeared to suffer the dislike of many of the Natural Residents he tried to take care of. There actually weren’t many people who had a good opinion of him; this could probably only be blamed on how he conducted himself in failure, and how he behaved with excessive harshness in society.
Lord Yin Shi, do your best! Beat up Wei Shi until not even his mother would recognize him!
Fan Tong also inevitably yelled out the common opinion in his heart. Everyone probably wanted to beat up Wei Shi; in their hearts, they hoped to make use of Yin Shi’s strength to sort him out.
However, they didn’t know what was going on in the rest area at the time.
“You may not beat him until he’s permanently disabled, do you understand?” Ling Shi once again made this clear to Yin Shi.
“Even if Ying gets angry, she won’t stay angry for long!”
“That’s not the problem. You must depend on Ying, so how can her anger not move you? Won’t you be violating her expectations?”
Yin Shi wasn’t happy about being criticized by Ling Shi like this.
“When all is said and done, what does she expect? Does she expect that we’ll get along well? Does she expect me to lose to him? Those things are impossible!”
“She has not said as much. But if you cripple her only government official, are you prepared to sit at Shen Wang Dian all day long and handle all political affairs large and small? Who do you think has the ability to do that work, making it so that you can have free time to go out and run around every day?”
Yin Shi all of a sudden found himself at a loss, but very quickly, he continued to argue.
“Of course I don’t want to sit at Shen Wang Dian and handle those matters, but Wei Shi doesn’t handle them well! He’s basically a psycho! Isn’t choosing another government official better?”
After Wei Shi’s fight with Luo Shi finished, he hadn’t gone to the rest area. Instead, he had walked over to stand by Xi Ying’s side. After Yin Shi and Ling Shi’s match ended, Luo Shi had returned home, so it was only the two of them. Thus, Ling Shi decided to discuss matters openly.
“I understand what you’re saying; I admit that Wei Shi is a questionable person, but if it weren’t for Ying’s favor, he couldn’t promote his policies. Do you believe that Ying cares about national politics? She only wants to be able to defeat Luo Yue’s army, nothing more. The New Residents are a continuous source of soldiers to face danger, and the Eastern City’s population will soon mostly consist of them. Severe politics and war are merely for the purpose of getting rid of the weeds and keeping the flowers. She wants to keep the people she can use, so some New Residents are sentenced to death, even if this punishment doesn’t fit their crime. She would prefer to take ‘flowers’ and invest resources in them so that she can turn them into useful military personnel.” Speaking to this point, Ling Shi arrived at his conclusion.
“So, Ying uses Wei Shi, just like you said, and maybe even because she can’t find anyone she’s more satisfied with as a government official?” When Yin Shi heard his words, his first reaction was lifeless, and he found them difficult to accept. “How could it be like this? Even if it’s on this premise, this is just bullying, not gathering people together. How could it make the Eastern City’s people useful?”
“Ying doesn’t need the hearts and minds of the people, she doesn’t want sincerely loyal soldiers; she only wants to use their fear, and maybe their longing. As long as the pros and cons are relevant, they will listen to her commands.”
“Ling Shi, you… How could you say all this as if it were of no concern to you? Don’t tell me you think this is ok?”
“It doesn’t matter whether I think it’s ok, that’s not something I need to judge. Ying is our master, so we ought to support her and not pay attention to side issues. Don’t tell me you seriously want to stop her?” Ling Shi’s tone clearly said ‘How could you have never realized this matter? But you still have no control over it’. Yin Shi couldn’t come up with a reply.
He had no problem going out to have fun with New Residents, and when those New Resident girls blushed, he felt that they were very cute. He never wanted to harm them; however, he had never thought about what to do for them.
According to Ling Shi’s words, this was normal. There were too many people in the world, and they could only know and care about a small portion of them.
Was it like this?
Was it truly like this?
Yin Shi again thought that perhaps his brain was broken. He wasn’t good at pondering over these complicated matters.
“If you don’t go on stage, the audience may come tear apart the resting area.” Hearing that the crowd outside was becoming louder and louder, Ling Shi indifferently reminded him of the current issue.
“Ah! What! I also need to rest! So impatient!”
After all that, where had his inability to wait ten minutes to beat up Wei Shi gone? Ling Shi already didn’t want to talk to him anymore.
“Do you remember? You must not beat him until he’s disabled, you must not kill him, and you also must not use soul-purging force on him…”
“Ah – so damn wordy, how come I have to treat him the same way he treated Xiao Luo Shi?”
This wording was a little vague. Ling Shi felt unclear on what exactly he was going to do.
“Don’t use excessive force.”
“Hmph!” Yin Shi didn’t answer; he just directly pulled open the curtain and left the resting area.
Everyone looked towards Yin Shi when he appeared, and the cheers were already approaching thunderous levels. Wei Shi had been standing on the stage for quite a while, and after one look at him, his face immediately twisted with hatred.
“Making people wait, causing problems for others, is this your constant style?” After one look at the other person, Wei Shi coldly ridiculed him. This was their first step of interaction with each other.
“Ah, how long were you waiting? Don’t tell me you were waiting for me to come on stage so that I can properly make you admit defeat?”
“Who is admitting defeat?! If you want me to admit defeat, you’ll have to beat me fair and square!” He was quickly becoming infuriated; this was their second step of interaction with each other.
“Oh? I still think you’re afraid of me, will you not admit defeat? Are you certain you won’t admit defeat? No matter what happens, you won’t admit defeat in order to escape? Are you really so courageous?” Yin Shi used an inciting tone, challenging Wei Shi without restraint.
“Don’t speak so much nonsense! Do you believe that you have a one hundred percent chance of victory? If you want to fight, just fight, who would be afraid of a big-talking, uncivilized idiot?!” The third step was being driven mad and losing all reason. Afterwards, speaking was no use.
“Damn Wei Shi, you didn’t bring your weapon out first? You’re so weak, maybe once the battle starts, you won’t even have a chance to draw it.” Yin Shi extended two fingers to strike him, completely looking down on him and showing off.
“I’m already holding it!” Wei Shi looked like he was itching to take over the announcer’s job and announce the beginning of the match so that he could teach the disgusting enemy before him a lesson.
Even though the entire city didn’t believe he could so much as touch Yin Shi, his heart could never admit that he was weak compared to his opponent.
“A fan? What sissy weapon is that?” After discovering the folded fan in Wei Shi’s hand, Yin Shi completely disregarded the material it was made of and looked towards Wei Shi with a provoking gaze.
“Don’t tell me your brain is only filled with knives and swords! Such a narrow way of thinking!”
Thoroughly infuriating his opponent before the battle began could do one of two things; it could either cause his opponent to lose, or it could increase his opponent’s strength. Were it not for Yin Shi’s incredible strength, everyone truly would have felt that Wei Shi killing him was a distinct possibility.
The announcer’s voice was expectant as he announced the start of the match. After hearing the announcer’s voice, Yin Shi still stood uncaringly in his original place, waiting for Wei Shi to make a move.
Straightforwardly using martial arts to vent his anger, Wei Shi immediately sliced his fan towards Yin Shi. Yin Shi looked as if he wouldn’t dodge or avoid it, but just as Wei Shi’s attack was about to hit him, he dodged so quickly that he seemed to disappear.
Once he reappeared, he was already at the opposite corner of the stage, his hand holding a handkerchief as if he had just performed a magic trick. He meticulously held it out in front of him and spoke in a bored voice.
“Ah, a handkerchief? You don’t have anything more interesting on you?”
After looking at that handkerchief, Wei Shi suddenly realized that it was his own, and that Yin Shi had sneakily snatched it off his person. His face turned ashen.
“You thief, give it back to me!”
“Give it back to you? Won’t you come and fight me for it?”
Stricken with indignation, Wei Shi didn’t want to make any excessive moves. He wanted all of his attacks to land on Yin Shi, but he had once again lost all trace of Yin Shi’s presence.
“Oh, this is a little bell? Why did you bring this?” Yin Shi had a finger hooked through the cord of a small bell, swinging it around in a circle… He caught it, and then continued swinging it again.
“Oh, a seal.”
“Ah, a cookie. You brought food with you?”
“Shameless! You have no sense of shame!”
“No sense of shame? … Ah, I grabbed the wrong thing. I’ll return your belt to you. You won’t get upset, right?” Yin Shi gave an innocent look as he tossed Wei Shi’s belt back towards him. Wei Shi was already angry enough that he didn’t want to catch it, because doing so was practically accepting the other person’s charity.
“I am going to kill you –!”
The audience was in the awkward situation of not knowing whether to cheer. Sitting on the roof, Fan Tong was silent, caught up in the stupidity of the situation.
Lord Yin Shi, we came to see you sort him out, not to see you take liberties with him!
Like this, in public and in front of a large crowd, openly manipulating him is not right – don’t tell me that you’re going to carry out what you said at Xuan Dian and strip him in front of everyone…
Can I not watch? Ah, Yue Tui isn’t even an adult! Yue Tui, you also must not watch!
Don’t watch this harassment – in the end, just who is this exhibition for –
Fan Tong’s heart was indescribably stirred up. Yue Tui also looked dumbstruck, and Zhu Sha’s expression was unchanging, as if he didn’t know what to think.
And the farce on stage was still continuing.
“Damn Wei Shi, you brought so many things, do your pockets have a hundred treasures?” Yin Shi was always amazed at the new things he stole, though it was unknown whether his words were sincere.
“You’re such a thief! A filthy thief! Scum!”
Saying that he had been driven mad with rage was probably right. Yin Shi considered Wei Shi’s abuse to be unfounded.
“I just want to take a look, that’s all, why are you taking it so seriously? Silver thief? I didn’t steal your wallet.”
[T/N: Wei Shi called him淫賊but the first character, 淫, and the character for silver, 銀, are both pronounced ‘yín’]
Because he hadn’t taken that many things, apart from Wei Shi’s belt, which he had given back, Yin Shi had put everything else in his own pockets. After all, he felt that throwing them on the stage was unsightly, so it would be better to take them for his own; no one would know.
“Give back by hand-made puppet! It’s one-of-a-kind!”
“Didn’t I say you have to fight for it?” Yin Shi brought out that puppet again and showed it off, waving it in front of Wei Shi’s face.
“Give it back!”
“Give it back immediately! At once!”
“Ah, who told you to bring it on stage?”
At that, Wei Shi had enough. He threw himself in Yin Shi’s direction. Every time he reached out, he fell just a little short of reaching the thing in Yin Shi’s hand, but Yin Shi was deliberately allowing him to nearly grab it; he was toying with him.
The thing that Yin Shi had stolen from Wei Shi and was now showing off was truly an alarming thing.
Its form should not… Its form should not… Lord Wei Shi, why do you have these kinds of things? If you said it’s to plant evidence on Yin Shi to frame him for something, I could accept that as the truth, but looking at your attitude, it doesn’t seem like it…
“It’s really a pity that Luo Shi already left,” Yue Tui said suddenly.
Yue Tui… I say, if Luo Shi had remained here, he wouldn’t get any pleasure from this revenge. He would merely get to know more about Lord Wei Shi, that’s all…
Beside the stage, Xi Ying’s expression was just as indifferent as before. At her side, Ling Shi had also remained silent as he watched the competition up until this point.
“This stupid Yin Shi…” Ling Shi could not help lowering his head and covering his face. He didn’t know if he should continue watching, but he thought that if he went home, Yin Shi would run to find him after the match to share his ill-gotten things. He wasn’t sure if beating him up could save his brain.
Alright, he really hadn’t disabled Wei Shi, and he also hadn’t killed him. He hadn’t even bruised him, which meant that he had listened to Ling Shi’s explanation, but what should he say about this?
Ling Shi observed Xi Ying’s face from the corner of his eye, then looked at the humiliating scene on stage again. The Eastern City’s prestige, the Eastern City’s prestige, ah…
“Isn’t that enough?!” Wei Shi wasn’t attacking anymore; he was simply protecting his chest, afraid that something else would be stolen.
However, the fact that he still had anything left after being robbed so many times was quite amazing.
“Ah, I’m tired of being a small-time thief, I’d rather be a bandit.” After succeeding in snatching a spice bag, Yin Shi pointed towards Wei Shi’s head. “I’ll tell you in advance, I’m going to steal your hat.”
Afterwards, there was a ‘whoosh’ sound, and just like that, Yin Shi robbed him. He appeared behind Wei Shi, and Wei Shi’s hat was already in his hand.
“You barbarian, what exactly are you trying to do!”
“What would be good to steal? Ah, that’s right, your glasses.” Yin Shi simply ignored his protests, using his far greater speed to get a hold of his glasses.
Losing his glasses, Wei Shi immediately sliced in a vague direction, his unstable movements making it difficult even to curse. If resentment could kill, perhaps Yin Shi would have already been hacked into a thousand pieces.
“Is there anything left to steal…? Ah, do you finally want to admit defeat? If you say that your skill is inferior, admit that you can’t go on…”
If the rest of Wei Shi’s things were too far away to steal, then maybe he could maintain some self-respect, although at this time, too much self-respect wouldn’t do him any good.
You’re just going around in a big circle, trying to get him to admit defeat with his own mouth… Out of the entire audience, more than half of them were speechless and thinking something along those lines.
“This is a demonstration match, and you’re only showing off these dirty tricks. You’re not fighting honestly; I’m going to sue you for violating the rules!”
“Ah, I stole and stole, robbed and robbed, aren’t you too slow in getting around to this point?” Yin Shi’s tone of voice succeeded in its goal of further infuriating Wei Shi, but since Wei Shi had put forth that suggestion, they decided to get another person to settle this dispute. Thus, they both looked towards Xi Ying.
However, since no one had actually asked her a question, Xi Ying didn’t give any instructions. Suddenly, since Yin Shi wasn’t standing very far away from him, Wei Shi hatefully grasped his fan and struck out ruthlessly.
Of course, he did it out of resentment for being toyed with. Since Yin Shi’s attention was on Xi Ying, he didn’t move until the fan cut into him, the sharpness making him cry out in surprise. Even though he retreated without delay, he was still a little slow, the sharp fan leaving a shallow, bloody cut on the left side of his upper chest and neck.
“Yin Shi!” When he saw Yin Shi injured, Ling Shi stood up in astonishment, but at his side, Xi Ying was even faster, and her voice had a rare hint of panic to it. All of a sudden, she vanished from her terrace and appeared in front of Yin Shi, urgently wanting to look at his wound.
“Ying, it’s nothing, don’t make a fuss about nothing…” Looking at Xi Ying’s outstretched hand that was too close to his body, Yin Shi felt a little uneasy, but he didn’t dare recoil. Wei Shi grit his teeth at the side; the Queen came on stage to intervene, so this fight naturally wouldn’t continue.
“This competition is over! Wei Shi, stay behind and sort things out.” Xi Ying used a severe voice to give her orders, and then looked at Yin Shi. “Come with me.”
“Oh…” Yin Shi didn’t say anything more. Xi Ying could always make him feel as if he was in the wrong.
He silently followed after Xi Ying and left. Ling Shi came down from the terrace and kept pace with them, and on the originally noisy stage, the only person left in charge of the situation was Wei Shi.
However… Before he left, Yin Shi hadn’t returned Wei Shi’s glasses, which was a little cruel.
Fan Tong’s Afterword
The surprising end to the demonstration competition was truly beyond anyone’s expectations.
Ah, seeing those few fights seem to have shortened my life by a few years, how did this happen?
Lord Yin Shi, you clearly wanted to go up there and sort out Lord Wei Shi, but instead, you got yourself injured, this is truly laughable. Was it to teach us a lesson, letting us know that it never pays to be careless?
After this, will you wear your armor? It’s still no use! Lord Wei Shi cut you in a place that you don’t have armor for, and he couldn’t even see clearly because you stole his glasses! Are you just really unlucky?
But the fortune from Xuan Dian came true. This should be considered a ‘bloody disaster’, right? Because the words on Yin Shi’s fortune aren’t nearly as numerous as those on Yue Tui’s, it was only a small injury?
If it’s that accurate, then I’m worried about Yue Tui. Regardless of the fortune he drew, there was still Zhu Sha’s fortune to consider…
Oh right, also, also, I think Queen Xi Ying showed emotion when she saw Lord Yin Shi injured, which is very unusual.
She ordinarily looks indifferent, but when Lord Yin Shi was injured, Her Majesty’s entire face changed. Compared to the burns from the driven fire spell, the injuries from being trampled by a moshou, etc., that obviously tiny injury was not worth paying attention to! When my injuries killed me, no one looked at me so nervously…
Adultery! You’re having an affair! I smell adultery!
Sure enough, Lord Yin Shi is unjustly handsome, has he already won over Her Majesty?
This world is indeed too unfair – one man can have so many women, this is such an uneven distribution! No wonder there are so many pathetic guys who can’t find a partner, like me…
Even Yue Tui’s circumstances are better; so far, he only has half a woman, so his chances of romance are difficult to determine…
If I had the chance, if it weren’t for my unshakeable mouth breaking my feng shui, I would certainly study even more to increase my knowledge about marriages predestined by fate. After all, wasn’t that my best moneymaking knowledge up until recently?
Most importantly, after studying, I would immediately put my knowledge into practice to help myself find a life companion…
Previous:Chapter 2: A martial arts competition to win over… a hand in marriage? Yeah right!
Return: Main Page
Proofreaders: Dinoj, TaffyGirl13
[TN: A flower ball is a ball of silk in the shape of a hydrangea that is thrown in traditional Chinese weddings, similar to the throwing of a flower bouquet in Western weddings.]
“A martial arts competition to win one’s hand in marriage? Can’t you just throw a flower ball? I think that would be a lot simpler!” -Fan Tong
“If Yin Shi smashed a flower ball down, whoever catches it would immediately die, right?” -Ling Shi
Fan Tong and Yue Tui understood why Luo Shi had so hurriedly gone to inspect the notes, so they didn’t wait to be escorted out. They had come in the same way, so leaving Shen Wang Dian by themselves wouldn’t be too hard. At least, it was way better than the labyrinth-like Fu Zhou Pavilion; no matter what, they’d be able to get out eventually.
After exiting Hui Shi’s Pavilion, they did not encounter the Empress, whose quarters were next door. Pass.
While walking through the fourth palace, they did not bump into Wei Shi in his quarters. Pass.
While walking through the third palace…Yin Shi was unfortunately playing around right near the entrance, and so they bumped directly into each other. Fail.
Although coming to Hui Shi’s Pavilion had gone very smoothly, leaving was a different story. It looked like they would not be able to actually leave for another while.
“Ah, Xiao Yue, why are you guys walking out from there? When did you get here?”
Since Yin Shi and Ling Shi had left Xuan Dian first, he didn’t know that Luo Shi had come to invite them to Hui Shi’s Pavilion for cleaning.
It really bothered Fan Tong that Yin Shi still did not remember his name, choosing instead to omit it completely just now. However, Fan Tong knew there wasn’t much he could do about it.
“Lord Yin Shi, you are…?”
Yue Tui looked at Yin Shi in evident confusion, then down at the delicate little creature warily standing next to his feet.
“Ah, this is the cat I picked up before. I brought it here to play.”
Yin Shi replied as he reached down to securely pick the kitten up, completely ignoring its mews and struggles of resistance.
I don’t think it likes you as much, Lord Yin Shi.
“There are stray cats around Shen Wang Dian…?”
Yue Tui had an odd expression, seemingly finding the entire situation very strange.
Anyways, this is at least an actual kitten, and not some random abnormality of a beast that he is just calling a kitten.
“Yep. Ling Shi said that to raise a cat, you need to let it out to play rather than keep it locked up all the time. So I brought it out specifically for that reason.”
As he replied, Yin Shi began to play a game of toss where he would throw the kitten high into the air before catching it again. Mews sounded out endlessly.
I feel bad for this cat. It’s probably better if you just lock it up inside, that would probably make it feel happier, actually.
“Ah, it looks super happy and full of energy!”
You’re completely mistaken!
“Are you not just able to ask someone else to do something like taking care of the cat…?” Yue Tui politely pointed out.
Fan Tong felt that the only part lacking there were the words “You’re not at all suited to raise a cat”.
“But…I’m the one that brought it home, so it should it be my responsibility. How could I give it to someone else?”
It’s great for men to have a sense of responsibility, but in my opinion, you’re better off just leaving it outside.
“If there’s nothing you need, we will be returning first.”
Since Fan Tong and Yue Tui felt like they really couldn’t help the cat even if they sympathized with it, it was better if they did not interrupt the time shared between the man and cat. As a result, Yue Tui and Fan Tong prepared to make their leave.
“Ah, wait! There are some really exciting events after the New Year, so remember to attend!”
Yin Shi did not let them leave so easily, and even shouted an unknown advertisement to stop them.
Exciting events…is that referring to the suspicious statement mentioned earlier at Xuan Dian, the martial arts competition to win over a hand in marriage or whatever?
“What kind of event?”
Since it was mentioned, it wouldn’t be good to express absolutely no interest, so Yue Tui chose to ask about it.
“It’s an annual event at Eastern City. When it starts, the Five Lords of Shi will all go up and participate in the competition to win someone over!”
What…exactly is that supposed to mean? You compete once a year to win someone over? Doesn’t that mean you have to get married every year? As in, the winner gets a spouse for only a year? Does the Empress take part? Otherwise, it would just be all guys…or are you asking females to compete over you?
And doesn’t that put Luo Shi in a dangerous position? Who knows what kind of random passerby he could get married to. And Lord Wei Shi probably isn’t capable of those emotions. Lord Yin Shi, if you don’t throw the match, you wouldn’t get married at all. And the amount of people wanting to marry Lord Ling Shi could form a line all the way outside the city…but going off of tassel color, only you, Lord Yin Shi, would be able to defeat him and marry him…?
If this martial arts competition really happened, Bi Rou would probably put her life on the line to defeat all the other contestants just to end up with Lord Yin Shi, right?
Or maybe not, she said she didn’t want to marry…
Just the mention of a martial arts competition to win over someone was enough to send a pile of random thoughts racing through Fan Tong’s mind. Did that mean his thoughts were just too quick?
“Lord Yin Shi, this martial arts competition is….?”
Yue Tui also found this description out of place. Or rather, it wasn’t something anyone could really understand.
“We will be in charge of the grand opening ceremony for the martial arts competition, demonstrating fights to win over the audience.”
Hey! That’s completely different from a martial arts competition to win over a hand in marriage, alright? Don’t just randomly throw these kinds of words around please! You got all of us mistaken!
“Xiao Yue! You’ll participate, right? You should sign up now, there isn’t a registration fee.”
Why are you only asking Yue Tui? Is it because I would just end up being cannon fodder if I went?
Although Yin Shi seemed to really look forward to Yue Tui’s participation, Yue Tui did not have any interest.
“Ah? Why? The top five people can challenge the Five Lords of Shi. Many people put their full effort in trying to get there so that they can get the chance to openly and honorably beat the living daylights out of Wei Shi.”
Are you mistaken about something? It’s not like the top five can just choose Lord Wei Shi and beat him up as much as they’d like. If they were to challenge him, they’d be the ones beaten to a pulp by Lord Wei Shi’s dark purple tassel strength, right?
Besides, doesn’t this competition have any other attractive rewards to draw people in?
“If you think fighting 1v1 is too boring, you can also participate in group battles!”
Lord Yin Shi, your evaluation of Yue Tui is so high. Although I also feel like Yue Tui is very strong, I don’t think anyone would typically be willing to get themselves involved with trouble like this for no reason and participate with such a burden.
But when Yue Tui heard these words, he actually gave Fan Tong an earnest look.
“Fan Tong…are you interested?”
…What is going on? If I’m interested, do you plan on bringing me up to open my eyes to the world?
“What kind of punishments are there?”
No, I meant to ask what kind of rewards there are!
“Punishments? The competition doesn’t have any strict regulations. Even if someone was killed in the ring, there wouldn’t be any problems.”
Whoa! Wait a minute! Doesn’t that mean participating means there’s the danger of dying?!
“If you die during the competition, does it cost money?”
Perhaps because this was an extremely important matter, Fan Tong was unexpectedly able to speak without any reversed words for once.
“Huh? Of course it does. Ling Shi says that this annual martial arts competition is the Eastern City’s most profitable event, which is why more people participate.”
Lord Ling Shi, that kind of direct remark is too evil. And Lord Yin Shi, how could you thoughtlessly say that kind of thing to lower tier people? You’re really too open.
And doesn’t that mean you guys would actually prefer for murder to occur on stage?
Exactly what kind of country is this…
“Are you really not going to attend? The more people, the livelier it will be. Xiao Rou isn’t attending either, so dull…”
If Bi Rou participated and got the slightest bruise, wouldn’t you completely dismember the culprit?
After Yin Shi reluctantly gave up on trying to persuade them, Fan Tong and Yue Tui were finally able to leave Shen Wang Dian. By this point, the poor kitten had already been tossed so much to the point of being dizzy. Fan Tong could only pray that it would be able to find a moment where it could escape Yin Shi’s evil hands.
On the way back to the dorms, they encountered another blindsided person looking to challenge Yue Tui.
Having spent forever walking, being obstructed now did not leave a good mood. Even Fan Tong, who wasn’t directly involved, thought: Why is this happening again? Most importantly, defeating this kind of person wouldn’t really be beneficial at all. If anything, it was just a waste of time and energy, which made the whole situation even more annoying.
It was only the first day of the New Year, and there were already people fretting over trifles like this. What is the point?
“You’ve come to challenge me?” Yue Tui asked in confirmation as he looked at the stranger clearly seeking death.
“That’s right! If you’re scared, then start begging for mercy!”
Where did a treasure of a guy like this pop up from?
Yue Tui’s right hand swiftly reached towards the opponent’s tassel as his left hand flashed out, instantly knocking him out with a single chop. Job finished, time to stop for the day.
“Yue Tui, can you search him for any belongings?”
I’m starting to turn crazy being with you. At this point, there isn’t a difference if it’s you or me. A plump lamb just offered itself to us as the first profit of the new year.
“Wouldn’t…we be robbing him then?”
As expected, Yue Tui had a stronger conscience compared to Fan Tong. But Fan Tong firmly believed that it was because he hadn’t experienced the hardships of life that he could continue living as a man of honor.
“Who cares! If we don’t loot him, some random dog passing by would!”
This is the first time I’ve heard that “person” can be reversed to “dog”. While I feel like it being reversed to “beast” would make some sense, why “dog”? For that matter, even reversing it to “ghost” would be easier to accept.
If I really analyzed this closely, then the opposite of “dog” should be “god”. After all, “dog” is literally “god” spelled backwards. But that would require the curser to know English.
Yue Tui still seemed as if he was about to persuade Fan Tong against doing something so unvirtuous. But just then, another person appeared.
“Oi! I challenge you to a fight! Your hairstyle pisses me off!”
The second person seeking death at the start of the new year has arrived.
Yue Tui furrowed his brows, and without bothering to speak, reached to pull the other’s tassel off. He then quickly knocked the opponent out, like a lightning strike before thunder could be heard.
“Fan Tong, I think I should still…”
Yue Tui’s words were cut off a second time when a third challenger popped up. This time, Yue Tui didn’t even shift his gaze, and without bothering to grab the tassel, directly knocked the challenger unconscious.
“Fan Tong, you can search these guys and take whatever you want.”
Although Yui Tui had a smile on his face, there wasn’t a single trace of warmth in his eyes. It seemed as if he’d finally snapped.
Hooray! Reaping the benefits without expending any effort is what I love to do the most!
After going through all three peoples’ belongings, Fan Tong happily gathered three wallets. Although there wasn’t much money in each, it was still no small change to someone with as great as a debt as he did.
Yue Tui was now emitting an aura that would prevent anyone with the slightest danger sense from getting close to him. Fan Tong felt that this was actually a shame. If Yue Tui continued to maintain his usual harmless ambience and walked around some more, they would definitely be able to get a lot of money.
“Yue Tui, are you angry?”
This situation where they would be challenged countless times despite being outside for a short period of time was one that would cause even Yue Tui to be clearly upset. Fan Tong was already used to it.
“Yes. I don’t like the feeling of being forced into fights against weak people. Battles should be done more carefully, they aren’t something that people should play as jokes.”
I’m pretty sure that all of those guys was taking it seriously. Not a single one of them was treating it as a joke.
In short, you don’t think any of them are worth being your opponents, right?
“Fan Tong, the person in front of us seems to be someone you know…” Yue Tui suddenly said, causing Fan Tong to follow his line of sight.
“Yo! Fan Tong──”
Whoa, it’s Mi Zhong!
Why do I feel like it’s a horrible thing to be bumping into Mi Zhong on the first day of the new year? Don’t come over and ruin my good mood!
“Fan Tong! I finally found you! Where did you go, you didn’t even stay in the dorms over the holidays!”
Mi Zhong walked over with a professional, extremely bright smile. But since he rarely looked for Fan Tong for anything good, Fan Tong found it hard to look at him favorably.
Aren’t you supposed to go out and explore during the holidays? If you spend your holidays at home all day, that typically means there’s something wrong with you…
“We went to pay our worships at Xuan Dian,” Yue Tui helped Fan Tong reply. When Mi Zhong heard this, he answered, “Oh,” and immediately followed up with another question.
“How was it, did you draw your fortunes? The fortunes there typically hit the nail on the head. Sometimes they’re not the best for the heart.”
I’ve already learned that from experience, thank you very much for your reminder.
“What did you draw?”
Fan Tong couldn’t be bothered to mention that they’d met Ling Shi at Xuan Dian. He definitely didn’t want to have a guy end up clinging onto him and crying in anguish; just the thought of such an experience was horrifying.
But Lord Ling Shi pulling the “good wife and loving mother” fortune might actually be some good intelligence to sell to him?
“I didn’t bother drawing a fortune there since it always ruins my mood.”
…Such strangely good foresight.
“Fan Tong, I came looking for you to tell you something. Did you that after the break ends every year, Eastern City holds an annual martial arts competition?”
Having just heard this from Yin Shi, I wasn’t expecting to hear it from Mi Zhong again. I must be destined to have some kind of relation to the martial arts competition today.
Fan Tong nodded, and Mi Zhong continued, “Ah, if you know about it then it’s all good. I’ve already helped you sign up for it.”
AH….wait a minute! What kind of bizarre thing did you just say?!
“Sign up for what now?! What are you talking about?!”
“Hahaha, calm down first. I’m just about to explain.”
Calm down, my ass! You’d better explain properly, or else I’m going to make Yue Tui slice you down!
“Newcomers to Eastern City need to participate in various events as a baptism, and it’s necessary for growth anyways. Besides, how could you not participate in such a grand ceremony?”
Mi Zhong’s words sounded extremely dignified, but Fan Tong didn’t show him any respect.
“Who needs you! Even if you hadn’t signed me up, I would’ve gone!”
I meant to say that even if you had signed me up, I wouldn’t have gone!
“Oh? You seem pretty motivated. What excellent courageousness. If I had known this earlier, I wouldn’t have bothered doing anything.”
Now that he was stuck in this misunderstanding, Fan Tong felt like there was no way he could relieve the depression he felt.
“In that case, you’d better properly attend the competition. Being absent without good reason will result in punishment.”
After hearing these words, Fan Tong immediately blew up again.
I’m already poor enough, I don’t want to be fined for something like this!
“It’s a rule set so that everyone properly competes. If you’re absent, you’ll be fined two hundred strings, it’s pretty expensive.”
Being absent would result in a fine of two hundred strings.
Dying once would result in a debt of one hundred strings.
Exactly which one is the better deal?
Participating doesn’t necessarily result in death, and dying would just add one hundred strings to my debt. But the issue is that if I am absent the next round, and I get fined two hundred strings, and if I die again, I lose another one hundred strings…
Wait, if I die, there shouldn’t be a next round, right? If I participate, would there only be one round?
“How do you stay in the tournament?”
“You just have to keep winning to stay in. Although it’s unlikely for you.”
I wanted to ask you how to get eliminated from the tournament! Ugh!
“The tournament is pretty considerate to participants. If you lose, there will be a resurrection round for the losers too. Don’t worry about it.”
Considerate? Yeah right, more like ruthless!
“Oh right, if you kill your opponent, you win ten strings.”
So the price of dying is higher? Moreover, what kind of crazy one-sided profit is this business? If a person dies, Eastern City earns one hundred strings, and only gives the killer 10%!
“If you reach the top five, you get the privilege of challenging one of the Lords of Shi, and your tassels can directly jump up a level!”
Jumping up a level meant skipping the three sub-levels and going up a color. For example, if Fan Tong’s tassel was currently grass green, he’d be able to skip dark green and blue-green, and jump directly to a blue tassel. This was indeed a great jump, and would also result in a huge increase in salary. But getting to the top five is way too hard.
“Exactly why did you considerately help me sign up?”
This time, selfishly turned into considerately, but the general meaning of the sentence stayed the same.
“For your sake, to serve you…”
“You lying ghost!”
This time a person was reversed to a ghost, and not a dog. Exactly what kind of logic is this?
“I’m responsible for guiding you. If you win, I’ll benefit from it too.”
Since Mi Zhong could tell he couldn’t bluff anymore, he confessed the truth.
Fan Tong no longer knew what to say to him. If he cursed, it could possibly end up as being praise, which would just make him angrier.
“Did you register yourself?” Yue Tui, who had remained quiet this whole time, finally spoke up.
“Me? There’s no way I have that kind of skill. Moreover, I’m only a dark green tassel; if I participated, wouldn’t I just be seeking death?”
When Mi Zhong casually said these words, Fan Tong really wanted to punch him.
So you also admit that a dark green tassel participating means a surefire death. Would a grass green tassel not be the same then?!
Moreover, my grass green tassel isn’t even earned from strength!
Yue Tui’s dark green tassel could also be said to be unrelated to his strength. However, this was in a completely different meaning from Fan Tong’s tassel level.
“Since you also know how dangerous it is, making such arrangements for others isn’t very good, is it?” Yue Tui flatly replied. It looked like his previous sour mood had not yet dissipated.
Mi Zhong was momentarily unable to reply, most likely because he wasn’t really good at responding to a question laid out in such a level and proper way.
“In order to show your sincere enthusiasm and support, you should also sign up for the tournament, should you not?”
Although Yue Tui was younger than Mi Zhong, and smaller in stature as well, his emotionless voice had an imposing air that made it difficult for Mi Zhong to retaliate.
“Why don’t you go register?” Yue Tui smiled, while also casually squeezing the wooden club that he had picked up from one of the three challengers into wood dust in his fist.
“…Of course, we all should be undertaking in this communal event! I’ll leave now, I’ll see you around as fate allows, Fan Tong──”
Mi Zhong could feel his forehead break out in a cold sweat as he immediately felt it was best to flee. He hurriedly left the area with rising tension──nothing was more important than protecting one’s own life.
Hmph! Serves you right! Let’s see how you do on stage! Your beloved Lord Ling Shi will be watching too. We’ll see how elegant you are then.
But, Yue Tui, your grip strength is getting more and more frightening. It’s no wonder the rice balls you made last time were as hard as rocks, which I still feel regret towards whenever I think back about it…
“Fan Tong, let’s start some special training tomorrow. I will teach you properly.” Yue Tui sighed, and suggested a way to deal with the impending crisis.
No way? The competition starts as soon as break ends, which only gives a few days. Is that enough time?
“Yue Tui, are you not participating?”
Fan Tong pitifully looked at Yue Tui, and his pleading gaze couldn’t help but cause Yue Tui to waver.
“In a group competition! Fighting as a team!”
Although this was a pretty low move, Fan Tong’s strong desire to survive had thickened his skin enough to let him express as such.
“In the end, you still don’t plan on putting in the effort to go through rigorous training…”
“Yes! Yue Tui, you have to save me! I don’t want to live!”
I was trying to say I don’t want to die, I’m not trying to threaten you to not help me and let me die…
“Alright. Let’s go ask about it.”
Hooray! Yue Tui, you are indeed a wonderful person! I was already preparing to start weeping bitterly, but it looks like I succeeded in my objective before even doing anything!
Thus, rather than returning to the dorm as they had originally intended, the two of them instead went to go ask about how to sign up for a group tournament at the martial arts competition. It seemed like going back the dorm was impossible, as if they would be stopped from doing so in every possible way.
When Fan Tong heard that registering to be in a group required three people, his expression fell. He had barely managed to get Yue Tui to join, how was he going to find another good samaritan to do such an arduous and thankless task?
“Let’s go ask Bi Rou…”
Although Yin Shi said Bi Rou would not participate, that doesn’t mean it would be impossible to persuade her, right?
“No.” Yue Tui’s response was blunt and cold. Fan Tong had almost forgotten the unexplained enmity Yue Tui had towards Bi Rou.
“Then who else…?”
Three people, three people….hm? When you think about it, don’t we have another person in our dorm?
By the time they had returned to the dorm, Zhu Sha had already gotten up. But as soon as he heard Fan Tong’s request, he immediately rejected.
Fan Tong was unable to tearfully run away nor twist his expression. Instead, he stared blankly for a few seconds before turning around to pat Yue Tui’s shoulder.
“Yue Tui, it’s your turn.”
Yue Tui didn’t quite understand where Fan Tong was going with this, but since he had said to go, Yue Tui asked once more.
“Zhu Sha, we need three people for a group competition. Between me and Fan Tong, we’re still missing one person. Are you really not willing to join us?”
When Yue Tui asked, Zhu Sha fell silent.
See? You see that? I knew that your face would come into use! If Luo Shi’s special status didn’t prevent him from joining us, I would’ve asked you to persuade him. It definitely would’ve worked!
Sigh, if it didn’t require three people, we wouldn’t be struggling so much either. You’re pretty much the equivalent of two people’s support. Stupid rules…
“You wanted to attend the martial arts competition, yet you chose to find Fan Tong first before me…”
Zhu Sha suddenly complained, momentarily stunning Yue Tui.
“Um…is there a difference?”
Yue Tui…in some ways, your as thick-brained as Lord Yin Shi.
“Of course there’s a difference! You only thought of me because it requires three people, doesn’t that mean I’m just a placeholder?”
You are indeed a placeholder, because Yue Tui alone would be able to hold up the fight.
Yue Tui had probably never thought about this, thus feeling awkward upon hearing Zhu Sha’s words.
“To think that you’d want to attend with Fan Tong and not me…”
Zhu Sha’s tone seemed to be carrying a bitterness that made Fan Tong shudder.
Uh, if you’re going to speak in such a manner, could you please transform into a girl first? This really gives others an uncomfortable feeling…
“I didn’t plan on participating originally. It was only because Fan Tong was framed into registering that I…”
In his rush to attempt to explain, Yue Tui’s response was somewhat sloppy.
“I’ll go on one condition.”
Zhu Sha had no interest in watching Yue Tui struggle. In exchange, he probably wanted something more practical.
“If I agree to attend this time, you will have to unconditionally agree to three of my requests in the future.”
What? What the heck is that? A single request in exchange for three, aren’t you asking for too much? How ruthless can you be?
“Why three…” Yue Tui seemed to have noticed there was something wrong with this number too.
Zhu Sha boldly replied, “Because a single request would be used up instantly!”
Exactly how many things do you want to make Yue Tui do?
At this point, Fan Tong wasn’t sure if Yue Tui would agree or not. If Yue Tui didn’t, they wouldn’t have enough people for a group. But if he did, he would be at too much of a disadvantage…
Moreover, when it came down to it, the whole thing was clearly Fan Tong’s own problem. Yet now it seemed like Yue Tui would be paying most of the price, which just didn’t feel right at all.
“Could you give an example of what kind of request you would make…?”
Since he was up against someone like Zhu Sha, who didn’t follow any moral code, Yue Tui didn’t dare to carelessly agree. Otherwise, he might end up selling himself to Zhu Sha.
Yeah, that’s right! Clarifying the request is necessary. If he uses this advantage to make Yue Tui date him, wouldn’t that spell doom for Yue Tui?
Ah, not that I don’t approve of you two dating, but since we’re still minors, there’s plenty of time to think about it first. Besides, who knows if Yue Tui is willing to accept your strange constitution. He’s gone through an extremely painful past already, isn’t it best to not torment him further?
“I won’t ask you to do anything impossible. Only simple things.”
What kind of joke are you trying to pull? That’s clearly subjective! If you asked him to go die, that would obviously be possible, but that’s not a simple matter at all.
And if you ask him to slaughter me, he would definitely be able to do it; moreover, it would be a simple task for him. But, but…you can’t just do that!
“Alright,” Yue Tui replied simply without questioning any further.
Huh??? Yue Tui, you’re just agreeing like that? Are you not afraid…afraid that he’ll have some crazy and ridiculous demands?
“I believe that you wouldn’t do anything crazy, Zhu Sha, so I don’t think its a problem. I agree to unconditionally fulfilling three of your requests.”
Yue Tui, to think you would so easily believe that someone would be kind enough to not get their revenge…
Zhu Sha froze for a moment, but then bounded over and kissed Yue Tui on the cheek.
“Mm, you are indeed the man I have fallen for.”
The sudden attack instantly caused Yue Tui’s expression to change. Even Fan Tong, who was watching from the side, couldn’t help but blankly stare with wide eyes.
Yue Tui seemed to have momentarily lost his ability to speak, and was unable to form a complete sentence.
Are all youngsters this bold now? Yue Tui, hurry up and finish your sentence, I really want to know what you’re trying to say…”
“You…could at least turn into a girl before kissing…”
Yue Tui’s expression stiffened after saying these words, his expression extremely overcast.
Fan Tong really didn’t know if he should try to point out the issue. But it seemed like…there were honestly too many of them.
“Oh? It’s fine as long as I turn into a girl?” Zhu Sha’s eyes lit up. The delicate, curvy version of Zhu Sha appeared. Her originally loose clothing had now become tight in the chest area, making it hard for people to know where to look.
“No! I didn’t mean it like that! It’s not fine!” Yue Tui’s sharp cries rang out as he immediately backpedaled from Zhu Sha’s grasp, and the two of them immediately initiated a game of tag in the dorm room.
Oh Yue Tui, you really have great luck with woman. Who knows, you might end up meeting your end through blood loss from nosebleeds, although you haven’t had any yet.
Although, is this really a good thing? It’s probably even worse than Bi Rou and Lord Yin Shi. They just throw out verbal attacks, but what about you guys? Is this a display of psychological warfare? Making fun of me for being partner-less? Isn’t that going overboard?
If this continues, Yue Tui will probably lose his virginity. It’s bad for a man to force himself onto a woman, but having the means to get a woman to force herself on a man is an envious trait…
But it still isn’t confirmed for sure whether or not Zhu Sha counts as a female…
“Zhu Sha! Stop fooling around!” Yue Tui sounded like he was about to lose his head out of fear. Fan Tong was starting to feel dizzy watching them run around in a chase.
Zhu Sha had absolutely no intention of stopping, and continued to chase Yue Tui without giving up.
You guys completely forgot there’s another person in the room, haven’t you?
“Cough! Cough, cough, cough!” Fan Tong couldn’t stand it any further and made some noise in attempt to make his presence known.
“If you’re going to cough, go and do it outside.” Zhu Sha rolled her eyes with evident dislike, but a glare from her with her current appearance only made Fan Tong’s heart race.
What, what is this? I can’t surrender to her charms! Hold yourself together! Zhu Sha is half male!
“Fan Tong, why are you suddenly coughing──ah!” Because Yue Tui had gotten distracted from worry over Fan Tong’s coughing, he didn’t dodge properly, and was captured by Zhu Sha.
“I got you!” Having finally caught Yue Tui after much struggle, Zhu Sha had a triumphant grin on her face. However, just as Fan Tong was wondering if Yue Tui would get pushed down that easily, a knocking sound was suddenly heard.
“Fan Tong, are you guys there?” It was Bi Rou’s voice. Fan Tong went to open the door. Zhu Sha lost interest and changed back into male form, and Yue Tui hurriedly untangled himself from Zhu Sha’s grasp to get some distance between them.
“Oh, cough, Bi Rou, happy new year.” Fan Tong let out a sigh of relief upon the rare occasion of being able to speak properly. Although he and Bi Rou weren’t particularly close, he still decided to say her name directly without adding a “miss” in front to avoid the risk of accidentally calling her “mister” instead.
“Happy new year! Is everyone here? I bought a bunch of seasonal food and have a ton of leftovers, so I brought some over to share with you guys,” Bi Rou greeted as she passed over a basket.
“Oh, you’re welcome, you’re welcome.”
Please, let me be able to at least say thank you properly.
“You really do talk strangely…”
If those two hadn’t been in a fervent battle, I wouldn’t have bothered to come answer the door.
“I went to Xuan Dian to pray today, did you guys go too?”
Praying at Xuan Dian should be the most popular thing to do in Eastern City during the new year, it’s no wonder this topic is constantly brought up today.
“What fortune did you draw?” Fan Tong asked Bi Rou while peeking to check the inside of the room.
Yue Tui, although your expression seems very cold, you still seem to listening closely.
“Oh, I pulled ‘life is full of surprises’, which I don’t think is anything special at all.”
Surprises? As in, suddenly discovering one day that Lord Yin Shi has two lovers?
“Alright, I won’t bother you any further and take my leave now then.” Bi Rou quickly walked away without bothering to ask what fortunes they had drawn. It seemed she had come solely to deliver the food.
She’s actually a good person. Although I won’t easily forget those three thousand strings, hmph.
“So you guys went to Xuan Dian too?” From the tone of his voice, it sounded like Zhu Sha had gone as well.
“Zhu Sha, you went as well?” Having distanced himself from Zhu Sha, Yue Tui was able to speak properly again, which was an achievement worth celebrating.
“Yep, a year’s worth of luck is pretty important. I’m pretty satisfied with my luck in pulling fortunes.”
Among the people they knew, he was the first one to express satisfaction in his fortune. Fan Tong and Yue Tui couldn’t help but grow curious.
“Then…what exactly did you get?”
Zhu Sha pulled out the small slip of paper and flashed the words written.
“It’s ‘ambition is essential’.”
Fan Tong saw Yue Tui tremble.
Ah, Yue Tui, I wish you luck.
◎ Fan Tong’s Afterword
It’s only the first day of the new year, but why do I feel like it will be a lively one?
But I can say for certain that I’ll have to brace myself. Even though I’ve managed to get Yue Tui to help me, the martial arts competition won’t be easy to pass through.
It’s a shame that it’s not actually a competition for the Five Lords of Shi to fight for a hand in marriage. I feel if that were truly the case, the event would be a lot more interesting, and have a lot bigger audience. Just betting on the winners would be huge fun. Why can’t the Lords just sacrifice themselves a bit to give everyone else a different form of entertainment?
Speaking of which, I wonder what the demonstration match that Lord Yin Shi mentioned will be like?
There are only four of the Five Lords of Shi, and the difference between Luo Shi’s strength and that of the other three is too great. Exactly how will that work?
And, now I’m also wondering…did I make a mistake?
Was it really a good idea to get someone that had drawn a fortune with “blood calamity” packed all over the paper to bring onto a stage where much blood would be shed? Is that really correct?
Sigh, honestly, rather than causing a blood calamity in the tournament, Yue Tui, you’re better off just letting Zhu Sha excite you a bit and get a nosebleed to relieve some stress…but after all this time, I feel like the one getting a nosebleed is always me. Although your entire face flushes red, you don’t show any signs of a nosebleed. Isn’t there something wrong there?
And I feel like Zhu Sha has accepted the situation and finally decided to separate his lovers as a male and as a female, so has been in full attack mode? Or is it that he finally decided to just lock onto only Yue Tui, regardless of being male or female? The more I think about it, the more frightening it gets.
Anyways, the group registration can be said to be done. Naturally, the next step is to try my best to not lose any money from the competition!
I don’t want to die anymore! I don’t want my debt to keep growing! At this rate, even if I get a girlfriend, I won’t have any betrothal money──!
“The Queen lives next door, right? What if, what if we run into Lord Yin Shi when we leave? What should we do then?” – Fan Tong
“You don’t have to do anything. Just sell the first piece of news to me at lightning speed, and I promise you’ll profit!” – Mi Zhong.“Isn’t there a mortality rate of over 90% for selling the Queen’s gossip….” – Yue Tui.
The first day of the new year was naturally part of the holidays. However, Fan Tong and Yue Tui still got up early because they had an appointment with Luo Shi today.
These days, one might have the misconception that they’d been leaving Zhu Sha out of many events. Yue Tui felt a little guilty, believing that roommates should do things together, but it was Zhu Sha himself who hadn’t gone to work with them and Zhu Sha himself who hadn’t participated in the New Year’s party. It would be inconvenient to bring an extra person this time to their engagement with Luo Shi, so after freshening up a bit, they left by themselves without disturbing the still sleeping Zhu Sha.
The purpose of today’s meeting with Luo Shi was to go together to Xuan Dian by Shen Wang Dian to worship and pray for blessings.
It’s probably something similar to the first shrine visit of the year? I hear there are also that you can write on and hang up as well as . The culture here is really similar to my world’s, huh.
“Good morning, Luo Shi.”
Fan Tong and Yue Tui found Luo Shi standing by a stove for warmth. In this season, the Eastern City’s early mornings were always a little chilly. Luo Shi wasn’t wearing extra clothes, so that was probably why he felt cold.
The warmth of the fire caused his originally delicate and fair skin to gain a pink tint at his cheeks, giving him the adorable aura of a small child. This sort of look was guaranteed to make all aunties who saw him yell “This child is so cute –” and then put all their energy into rushing up to pinch, rub, knead, and squish him. Although a fourteen-year-old could be considered already half-grown and no longer small, Luo Shi’s petite stature and tender face still seemed to give people a protective urge.
“This is the place. Let’s go in.”
Xuan Dian was not very large. It was said that the number of visitors would multiply at noon; they had specifically come at such an early hour so that there would not be as much of a crowd. They wanted to avoid people watching Luo Shi curiously or blocking the road to request a duel with Yue Tui.
As for how people would react upon seeing Fan Tong, generally speaking there wasn’t much of a reaction. Normally, everyone would ignore him. Even Fan Tong himself didn’t know whether to be happy or sad about this.
“Luo Shi, who or what are we here to worship?”
Things like prayers required an object of worship, so Fan Tong was curious about what kind of faith existed here.
“Chen Yue of course, did you not see the carved mirror up there?”
Hearing Luo Shi’s answer, Fan Tong looked in the direction Luo Shi’s finger was pointing, and sure enough, there was an enormous wooden carving above which looked like a circular mirror of a rather archaic style.
It seems reasonable for the people of Huan Shi to worship Chen Yue. Do Luo Yue’s residents also worship it?
“The carving of Chen Yue is so small….”
Luo Shi wanted to retort but realized that Fan Tong had made another contradictory remark.
“It’s not that big, but since it’s made for everyone to worship, it should have more impact. That’s why it was made a little bigger.”
Oh. How boring.
“Come over here to draw a fortune and gain some luck.”
Are you certain you meant luck? Or are there no “Xiong” fortunes in the container?
Despite his unenthustiastic thoughts, Fan Tong came over anyway. Yue Tui also wordlessly followed.
Fan Tong continued lamenting even after putting his hand into the container of fortunes.
Sigh, if my memories and abilities returned, I would only need one glance to figure out something like this year’s fortune. Then, who would need to draw any fortunes? Can Chen Yue tell fortunes? Who knows if Chen Yue’s fortunes are accurate….
However, the fortunes that they drew weren’t the ones saying “Xiong” or “Ji ” that Fan Tong had imagined. When Fan Tong drew out his fortune and opened it, he saw that it contained only two large characters that made his facial muscles twitch.
…What is this? Who wrote nonsense on this slip of paper and threw it in?
“This year it’s also ‘Dead End.’ What do yours say?”
Luo Shi seemed dejected by the fortune he drew and so became interested in their fortunes.
Fan Tong wordlessly revealed “Fool.” Yue Tui seemed baffled, as if he were still deciphering the characters written on the fortune. After all, he had yet to master the script of the Eastern City.
“Pft! You actually drew ‘Fool’! How fitting!”
Luo Shi completely disregarded Fan Tong’s feelings and laughed out loud. Fan Tong was really unsure how to react to the words “how fitting.”
“What does it mean….”
“Mm, a fortune is something you must figure out yourself. If you feel at a loss, then it might be that you don’t understand yourself enough.”
I seriously hope that’s the case! Temples usually have interpretation services, right?
It was only the first day of the new year and he had already been mocked as a fool. To Fan Tong, it was like drawing “Da Xiong,” but it seemed like nobody could understand his feelings. For example, Luo Shi had even ridiculed him mercilessly.
“Don’t feel too bad. When Yin Shi comes to draw fortunes every year, he almost always gets ‘Big Idiot.’”
… So you’re saying, compared to that, “Fool” isn’t too bad?
It’s really too tragic for me to be compared to Lord Yin Shi. However, if Lord Yin Shi received “Big Idiot,” then I can believe that these fortunes have a certain accuracy rate.
“You said ‘almost always,’ but what did his other fortunes say….”
“Occasionally, there are years where he draws ‘Brain-dead,’ ‘Retarded,’ ‘Romantic Luck,’ and so on, according to Ling Shi.”
…Aren’t they all rather similar? The only good one is “Romantic Luck,” but up until now he’s only snagged a Bi Rou, so it looks like it wasn’t very useful….
Who knows what Lord Ling Shi got? I’m so curious. And what about Lord Wei Shi and Her Majesty the Queen….
“Yue Tui, what did you get?”
Yue Tui handed the fortune to them a little vacantly.
“I can only read one character. Bloody bloody bloody… Bloody what?”
In contrast to the few large characters on the others’ fortunes, Yue Tui’s slip of paper could be considered densely packed.
The characters for “Bloody Calamity Bloody Calamity Bloody Calamity Bloody Calamity Bloody Calamity” were densely packed on the fortune.
Yue Tui, you…. What exactly is going on with you?
“Yue Tui, what’s written here is ‘Bloody Delight.’”
After Fan Tong finished speaking, Luo Shi glared at him.
“Don’t mind Fan Tong; what’s written here is ‘Bloody Calamity.’”
We’re all friends here. It’s just one misspoken word; was that really necessary?
But speaking of which, the term “bloody delight” is really inscrutable. How should I interpret it; is it saying you’ll give birth or something?
“Bloody calamity… Next year?”
Yue Tui’s complexion was a little unsightly, but Fan Tong could understand his feelings quite well.
If he had to choose “Bloody Calamity” or “Fool” for the coming year, he really would not know which one to pick.
“It…. It might not be accurate. There’s a possibility that, if you are careful, you might avoid it. Otherwise, what’s the point of drawing fortunes….”
Luo Shi, you really spare nothing to comfort Yue Tui. That’s favoritism, you know, favoritism….
Yue Tui looked very worried. Fan Tong even thought he heard Yue Tui mutter, “Is it happening to me or am I the cause,” but he didn’t understand what Yue Tui meant by that.
“Hey! Xiao Luo Shi! You guys are also here to worship?”
At this time, a voice came from far away. Fan Tong thought to himself, “Ah, it’s the ‘Big Idiot.’”
We saw each other just last night; now we meet again this morning. I don’t know if I should call it being brought together by fate.
On the first day of the new year, we run into Lord Yin Shi. It doesn’t really put me in a cheerful mood…. Eh, Lord Ling Shi came with you too? Then what about your Bi Rou? How come you didn’t come together with her?
“Ah, you went to worship without bothering to invite us; Xiao Luo Shi is so heartless.”
Although it was early in the morning, Yin Shi’s energy levels were at one hundred percent, as demonstrated by both his complexion and his voice.
“Yin, don’t make a fuss within Xuan Dian.”
Ling Shi entered soon after and gave an indifferent warning. Unfortunately, Yin Shi turned a deaf ear.
“Are you guys drawing fortunes? Then I will too….”
“Please do things in the proper order and worship first.”
“What, it’s no big deal to draw fortunes first….”
“You sure are troublesome, old man! You’ll definitely draw ‘Old Maid ’ later!”
“It’s still better than ‘Big Idiot.’ What is there to be proud of about ‘Big Idiot’?”
There was indeed nothing to be proud of about “Big Idiot.” About “Old Maid,” however… For Lord Ling Shi, who was feminine-looking but full of masculine spirit, wasn’t it really an insult?
“Come. Worship. First – ”
Ling Shi hooked an elbow around Yin Shi’s neck and squeezed tight, using brute force to drag Yin Shi towards the worship location.
“Violent old geezer! My neck— cough! Cough cough— ”
Lord Ling Shi’s arms, though slender, were actually extremely strong. They looked really reliable.
Fan Tong had been mentally narrating his thoughts. If Bi Rou had been there, she might have also informed him that that slender arm was not only strong but also invulnerable. When struck by the Western City’s Magic Sword Guard, it had taken no damage.
“It seems like we encounter Lord Yin Shi wherever we go.”
Yue Tui voiced his thoughts as he forced a bitter smile.
“Just ignore him. He always brings disaster.”
Of the three of them, it was Luo Shi who had associated with Yin Shi the longest. But because both Fan Tong and Yue Tui had been affected by the disasters Yin Shi had brought, they both silently agreed with those words.
Furthermore, the disasters had been quite severe – a deadly one almost every time.
“Luo Shi, what do we do now?”
“Mm… We could go to the front to receive plaques to write our wishes on, then go hang them up in the public space. But since we’ve already greeted them, I think we should wait for them.”
The people Luo Shi wanted to wait for were Yin Shi and Ling Shi. Even though Yin Shi was a bringer of disaster, he and Luo Shi were still friendly with each other. It would be unreasonable to just abandon Yin Shi and Ling Shi, so the three of them could only wait in order to go together.
Thus, choosing your friends carefully made a lot of sense. If one wasn’t friends with someone, then there would be no problem. After becoming friends, it was always more troublesome to break off the relationship, and one would have to find many excuses to do so. Why not just be more selective from the start? That way one would be safer and have fewer worries.
Sadly, one couldn’t control something like fate. Moreover, Fan Tong was still uncertain whether or not he was actually friends with those two illustrious attendants.
In truth, those who became friends with him seemed to also be affected by his misfortune. Just take Yue Tui as an example. Then, should Fan Tong be grateful that others didn’t avoid him and stop being picky about choosing friends?
If you are all destined to be rich and famous, then you can’t be dragged down by my bad luck! –In the end, Fan Tong still decided to blame other people. Anyway, it didn’t matter how many mistakes he made if he blamed them on someone else.
Nearby, Yue Tui was still repeating those words, seeming extremely bothered.
Ling Shi appeared extremely pious and beautiful as he closed his eyes in prayer, giving him a peaceful aura. When gazing at him like this, Fan Tong felt that he looked just like a rare beautiful woman. Unfortunately, the undeniable fact that he was a man had crushed many men’s dreams— but there were also men who refused to give up even if they were beaten to death.
In comparison, Yin Shi appeared to be praying much more half-heartedly. One could tell from that bored expression and offhand manner that what he was thinking probably had nothing to do with worship. Most likely thinking things like, “What nice weather,” “Want to nap,” and so on, he was obviously just waiting for Ling Shi to finish praying. It really made people speechless.
After all that trouble of waiting for them to finish their prayers, Ling Shi and Yin Shi finally came over to draw fortunes. This was something Yin Shi had a little more interest in, and his expression showed that he was extremely eager.
“Ah! This year it isn’t ‘Big Idiot’!”
After opening the fortune he drew, he immediately reported this to Ling Shi with excitement.
“Oh. What is it?”
Ling Shi was not the least bit affected by Yin Shi’s excitement; the tone of his reply was full of indifference.
“It’s ‘Bloody Calamity’!”
Yin Shi proudly revealed the piece of paper. He successfully earned silence from those watching and a contemptuous look from Ling Shi.
What’s there to be so happy about when you draw “Bloody Calamity”…. Moreover, that’s nothing compared to what our Yue Tui got. You only have those four characters that spell out “Bloody Calamity,” but Yue Tui’s slip of paper was completely packed with the characters for “Bloody Calamity.”
But you are already this strong; what sort of bloody calamity could happen to you? That fortune really can’t be that accurate. At least “Big Idiot” would be somewhat more accurate.
“Bloody calamity isn’t a good thing….”
The corner of Luo Shi’s mouth twitched; he really did not know what to say to Yin Shi.
When a big idiot encounters a bloody calamity, what will happen?
“No matter how I look at it, I can’t help but think it means you’ll accidentally cut yourself, you big idiot.”
Ling Shi made a deduction based on Yin Shi’s situation, but Yin Shi didn’t accept that at all.
“Ah! How can that be! I’m not as dumb as that damned Wei Shi!”
Does that mean that Lord Wei Shi has accidentally cut himself before? Does this count as gossip? Although there’s no proof, can I still sell this information to Mi Zhong?
“Then, Ling Shi, what did you get?”
When Yin Shi asked, Ling Shi clenched the slip of paper in his hand as if he wanted to destroy all traces of it, but Yin Shi immediately grabbed his wrist and forced his fingers open with agile movements, rescuing the fortune from his hand. After one look, Yin Shi laughed out loud.
“Puhahaha! I knew you wouldn’t be able to get anything good! It’s actually….”
“No one will ignore you if you don’t speak.”
Ling Shi simply used a strong blow to shut Yin Shi’s mouth, causing Yin Shi’s next words to turn into a cry of pain. However, because Yin Shi was in pain, his grip on the slip of paper loosened, so Fan Tong saw what was written on the fallen slip.
“Good Wife and Loving Mother.”
Woah, how nice.
That’s the only compliment here; how can it not be a good thing? Is it embarrassing because Ling Shi is a man?
‘Snore──huu … Wuwu, is someone calling my name?’
Puhahaha, who had been hanging at Fan Tong’s waist, suddenly awakened and asked him such a question.
…. You heard wrong, that was just somebody laughing out loud.
‘There’s nothing? Then I’ll continue sleeping. Zzzzz….’
If Puhahaha had hands, Fan Tong would have wanted this fellow to draw a fortune so he could see if it said something like “Lazybones” or “Sleeping Pig.”
If Puhahaha got something like “Calligrapher” or “Janitor,” then Fan Tong would be justified in using it to draw characters or clean.
Someone like Yin Shi, who was both curious and loved to cause trouble, would naturally want them to share what was written on their fortunes. There wasn’t much to discuss about Luo Shi’s “Dead End,” but Fan Tong’s “Fool” was laughed at a bit. Wasn’t it just like the pot calling the kettle black for a “Big Idiot” to mock a “Fool”? However, this year Yin Shi wasn’t a big idiot, so his mockery was still justifiable. Fan Tong could only swallow his protests as he was ridiculed.
When Yue Tui took out his fortune with “Bloody Calamity Bloody Calamity Bloody Calamity….” on it, Yin Shi was unexpectedly full of praise.
“Ling Shi! Xiao Yue’s is amazing! He has so many!”
Exactly what is up with that expression, as if you’re envious of someone who got more toys than you?
“Do you really like bloody calamities that much….”
Ling Shi asked with a superficial smile. Fan Tong felt that Ling Shi was currently pondering whether to create some bloody calamities for Yin Shi.
“If they’re so great, then you can swap with him.”
Luo Shi said with a creased brow. However, exchanging slips of paper was not equivalent to exchanging destinies.
“Ah! That makes a lot of sense! Xiao Yue! Do you want to swap with me? I want to take your fortune back as a souvenir!”
Lord Yin Shi, what exactly is your brain made of?
Yue Tui hesitantly looked at the slip of paper in his hands. The characters for “Bloody Calamity” were not only densely packed but also tiny and red. In addition, Fan Tong had no idea what had been used to write those characters…. No matter how one looked at it, it was a very unlucky item which might even attract trouble to someone if they kept it, so why, why would someone would want this kind of thing as a souvenir?
“If you like it, I don’t mind just giving it to you. There’s no need to swap….”
Yue Tui clearly had an attitude that said, “I don’t want it; if you want it you can have it, and you can also keep your own.” This was the attitude ordinary people should have. Who would want to carry around the sort of item that would attract bad luck?
“Eh? There’s no need to be polite, just trade with me. Ah, it seems like I frequently exchange things with you, Xiao Yue.”
Yin Shi said while disregarding what the other party wanted. He took away Yue Tui’s fortune while simultaneously stuffing his own into Yue Tui’s hands so that Yue Tui was neither accepting nor declining it, causing Yue Tui’s smile to be a little forced.
And as for what Yin Shi had said about frequently exchanging things with Yue Tui, he’d only exchanged his broken knife for Yue Tui’s broken sword last time. One time shouldn’t count as frequent.
However, with Yin Shi’s terrible memory, it was already commendable that he could remember that incident, so there was no need to quibble with him.
“Lord Yin Shi, why isn’t Bi Rou here?”
At this moment, Yue Tui suddenly asked this question. The fact that he had actively asked about Bi Rou made Fan Tong rather surprised. Yue Tui was normally very cold to her, and just seeing her would make him look unhappy.
“Ah, Xiao Rou said it was too early. She wanted her beauty sleep and wouldn’t come with me.”
When speaking about Bi Rou, Yin Shi became dejected. Even so, he hadn’t rescheduled their visit to Xuan Dian to accommodate Bi Rou because, the later they went, the more people there would be, making it less convenient for travel.
Yin Shi was also one of those people who would encounter many reckless people requesting duels when walking down a road. If he were obstructed by an impenetrable crowd on the first day of the new year on his way to worship and draw fortunes, then it would be very hard for him to recover his spirits.
“Let’s go write on wishing plaques together.”
Since Luo Shi suggested this, everybody proceeded there together.
Wishing plaques, which weren’t very big, were distributed free of charge. As long as something was free, Fan Tong wouldn’t dislike it. Furthermore, he was much more comfortable with writing than with speaking. Even now, whenever Fan Tong recalled what he had yelled last night at the meteor shower, he would still feel like crying but was unable to shed any tears.
If I write, at least it won’t be wrong!
Fan Tong very earnestly wrote down his wish for the new year. In the end, he still decided to write down paying back his debt. Yue Tui put great effort into using the brush he was still unfamiliar with and the characters he knew to write down his wish. No one wrote for very long, as if they had already decided what their wishes were ages ago.
The next step was to hang the wishing plaques in the designated area. Some people had already hung their plaques before New Year’s, so there were already some wishing plaques hanging there. Once they’d added their five plaques, the whole thing looked a bit livelier.
Luo Shi’s writing was very graceful. Because Yue Tui wasn’t used to the Eastern City’s writing yet, his writing was a little rough. Fan Tong’s writing was very beautiful, so beautiful that it could be sold as calligraphy. Ling Shi’s writing was firm and neat, full of his personality. In contrast, Ying Shi’s writing was sloppy to the point of being illegible.
“When are you going to write something that people can read….”
Ling Shi looked at Yin Shi. His tone carried a bit of a sigh.
“Ah! It’s that damned Wei Shi’s plaque! So he’s actually been here already!”
Yin Shi completely ignored Ling Shi.
Hearing that Wei Shi’s wishing plaque was there, everybody curiously came over, wanting to see what kind of wish he had made.
“I hope that the Eastern City’s children can grow up peacefully.”
Fan Tong felt extremely weird. Is this really what Lord Wei Shi wrote? That Lord Wei Shi? Doesn’t seem like it, right? He wrote this sort of ordinary, harmless wish?
“How did you know that this was Wei Shi’s plaque? There’s no signature. Did you recognize his handwriting?”
Luo Shi asked suspiciously. Yin Shi pointed at the plaque angrily.
“Who needs to recognize his handwriting! This has a detestable smell on it!”
Who can comprehend these things that only you can sense?
“Ah! There’s more! Look! Evidence!”
Yin Shi flipped over the plaque. Shockingly, four large characters spelling “Drop dead, Yin Shi” were written on the back.
These four characters made it easier to believe that this was Wei Shi’s plaque, but openly cursing someone like this really wasn’t very good. Should it be called having no filter? It wasn’t like no one would see something if it was written on the back. For Wei Shi to openly display the conflicts between the two attendants… exactly how horrible had their relationship become?
“Mm, if it has those four characters, then I can believe that he wrote it. It’s very authentic.”
Ling Shi nodded his head. Fan Tong didn’t know whether he was agreeing with Yin Shi’s reasoning or with the four characters for “Drop dead, Yin Shi.”
“That damned Wei Shi actually cursed me to die; he’s just too traitorous… Ah! He actually wrote on two plaques!”
Hearing that Yin Shi had discovered another one, everyone went over to look. It really made people speechless for one person to actually write on two plaques. The previous plaque’s wish had been very ordinary; what about this one?
These words had been written on the plaque: “The Eastern City won’t be defeated! Long live Her Majesty, the Queen!”
Oh…. Fan Tong could understand why Wei Shi hadn’t left a signature.
It would actually be kind of embarrassing for someone to openly display this sort of passionate opinion. However, perhaps Wei Shi didn’t feel embarrassed, it had just never occurred to him to leave his signature.
“Quickly flip it over and look.”
Luo Shi seemed very eager. After all, the previous plaque had had something written on the back, so this one might also have writing there. It really made people curious about what exactly was written there.
Yin Shi flipped the plaque over with a frown. Sure enough, the back lived up to their expectations, containing a few big characters.
“Drop dead, Yin Shi.”
“Why is it also telling me to die—!”
According to this pattern, if Wei Shi had also written on a third or fourth plaque, the back of those would also have “Drop dead, Yin Shi” written there. It looked like he truly held a deep resentment towards Yin Shi. His persistence really made people speechless; did he really detest Yin Shi that much?
Lord Yin Shi, exactly what did you do to him? Exactly how many detestable things did you do?
“Could it be that your very existence is a huge eyesore to him? Without you, the Eastern City would be much better.”
Ling Shi made cynical remarks nearby, seeming extremely unconcerned.
Without Yin Shi, the Eastern City would be much better. Fan Tong didn’t know why he wanted to second that. Because that wasn’t very nice, however, he could only applaud silently.
“How evil! I’ll definitely make him pay when I return!”
Yin Shi said indignantly. In contrast, Ling Shi didn’t support him at all.
“Forget it, would he ever admit it? Even if he does, what can you do to him?”
“I’m going to flay him and hang him from the city walls!”
Are you serious? That wouldn’t be good, would it?
Compared to being executed, being flayed and hung from the city walls seems like a much lighter punishment, but it’s not like one would die from something like this. I’m afraid that, if this sort of thing happens, Lord Wei Shi would turn the Eastern City into a bloodbath afterwards in order to exterminate everybody who saw….
“Oh—? Keep your word then.”
A fleeting thoughtful smile appeared on Ling Shi’s lips, making people shudder in fear.
Lord Lin Shi, please stop prodding him….
“Mother the Queen wouldn’t ignore this.”
Luo Shi hadn’t been trying to defend Wei Shi. It was just that less was better when it came to this sort of mischief.
“Ah, that’s right, Ying will get mad.”
Yin Shi recoiled a bit, as provoking Xi Ying’s rage wasn’t a good idea.
“What a pity. I thought that you would do something on the first day of the new year to give everybody a pleasant surprise.”
Lord Ling Shi, that shouldn’t be called a pleasant surprise, okay? That should be called horrifying or shocking, regardless of whether you’re talking about the spectators or those involved.
“I’ll definitely find an untraceable way to get revenge!”
Yin Shi was still panting in rage, as if he couldn’t accept not getting revenge.
An untraceable way of getting revenge? Unlikely. If you had the ability to find one, you wouldn’t have drawn “Big Idiot” for so many years.
“Take your time; I’ll be waiting expectantly. But I think you’ll forget by tomorrow.”
Yin Shi’s burning fighting spirit seemed to matter not one whit to Ling Shi.
Looking at the wishing plaques hanging here was a very interesting task as well. Fan Tong had snuck a peek earlier: Luo Shi hoped that Hui Shi would return soon, Yue Tui hoped everyone would stay safe – basically everyone had written wishes that were uninteresting to look at. Therefore, he went to check out strangers’ plaques.
As expected, other people’s plaques were much more interesting, with much more to mock. For instance, those who wrote extreme wishes such as “Get a black tassel overnight” or “Dominate the Eastern City” greatly overestimated themselves. There was also someone who wished, “Don’t die again this year.” Fan Tong felt that this person was a fellow comrade in suffering.
When he discovered Mi Zhong’s plaque, he really felt like leaving without looking at it. He believed he would definitely see something written on it that would make him uncomfortable. After discovering it, however, he had already read the words there; the wish really was in Mi Zhong’s usual style.
Written on it were these words: “Lord Ling Shi! Give me a single glance! I beg of you to give me a single glance!”….
Fan Tong pondered whether to call Ling Shi over to look at this plaque and consider that as fulfilling Mi Zhong’s wish.
If Ling Shi asked whether he knew this person, however, he definitely would not want to admit it. He didn’t want to be looked at strangely because of someone else’s perversion, so why should he bother.
“Since we’re pretty much finished with the events at Xuan Dian….”
Luo Shi looked over at them and smiled shyly.
“Happy New Year.”
“Happy New Year.”
Yue Tui also smiled faintly, returning the benediction.
“Unhappy New Year.”
Fan Tong’s mouth was still the same as usual. At this moment, it truly was an .
“You could at least say ‘Unhappy old year’; it’s much better than saying ‘Unhappy New Year’!”
Luo Shi glared at him and scolded him again, but this wasn’t something Fan Tong could control, so he could only feel extremely wronged.
In any case, a new year was beginning, and Fan Tong continued sincerely hoping that the coming year would be even better.
…Even if it would involve a wild goose chase, a fool, and a whole lot of bloody calamities.
“Then we’ll go back first. The martial arts tournament and the matchmaking event are about to begin. Remember to participate, okay.”
Hey, hey? What martial arts tournament and matchmaking event? What are those?
“Who’s going to fight or marry you? Do you understand anything at all? Stop disgracing yourself; just hurry up and go.”
Ling Shi didn’t bother to explain Yin Shi’s disorderly remarks and dragged him away, leaving Luo Shi, Yue Tui, and Fan Tong there.
“Do you guys have time now?”
Luo Shi asked them this, as if he wanted to do something with them.
They had never refused Luo Shi’s invitations – it wasn’t as if they would run into anything bad with Luo Shi. In fact, there were often good food and drinks.
“Mm, we don’t have anything planned today.”
Hearing Yue Tui say this, Luo Shi looked happy.
“Then… I’m going to clean Hui Shi’s place now. Do you guys want to come along?”
What? We’re going to Hui Shi’s pavilion?
Fan Tong and Yue Tui were stunned for a moment. They hadn’t expected Luo Shi to want to do this kind of thing together.
“I thought you already cleaned it last year….”
Yue Tui replied confusedly. When they had swept Shen Wang Dian for a job last year, they had heard that Luo Shi would personally clean Hui Shi’s pavilion.
Things like cleaning…. Normally people would do it before New Year’s.
Luo Shi seemed a little embarrassed to speak and hesitated for a moment.
“I was preparing…. Last night’s…. I didn’t have enough time….”
Oh, so you spent your time preparing last night’s food and gifts? How thoughtful.
You even claimed that you had been dragged there in the spur of the moment; it turns out you were just trying to salvage the embarrassing situation…
“Do you, do you guys want to go or not!”
You were shamed into anger so quickly. Luo Shi, you are still an amateur….
Fan Tong nodded his head. After cleaning, Luo Shi would definitely ask them to dinner, right? Furthermore, Fan Tong just happened to bring a mop, so going to clean would be a perfect arrangment.
‘W-what are you thinking of doing with me again!’
Puhahaha spoke up again. It probably hadn’t heard his thoughts – rather, it had probably felt his ill intent?
Hmph hmph hmph, you can’t escape this time! Even if you’re a horsetail whisk, you’re still a cleaning tool. You don’t have any excuses!
‘Your aura is extremely sinister! Your thoughts are definitely impure! What are you going to do! I’m warning you, don’t defile my sacred body!’
Never heard of a weapon admonishing its master. Go ahead and lament;. I’m not going to talk. I’ll just let you worry a bit, hehe.
‘If you dare mess around! I’ll use my soul-purging glow!’
That’s great, when I sweep in the dark corners, I’ll even have illumination. Oh yeah.
Fan Tong was unmoved by Puhahaha’s threats. Sadly, in order to prevent Luo Shi and Yue Tui from finding out, he couldn’t verbally trade a few lines with Puhahaha. Otherwise, it would have been even more refreshing.
“Yue Tui, are you going too?”
Luo Shi stared at Yue Tui and asked again. Although Fan Tong had nodded, that didn’t mean that Yue Tui would agree as well.
Yue Tui replied very straightforwardly. This time, he agreed directly and frankly instead of saying something like, “If Fan Tong wants to go, then I will as well.”
“I do really want to go see.”
Oh, Yue Tui, are you afraid he’s not fully convinced you’re Hui Shi? Or are you actually Hui Shi?
Since both parties had already agreed to go, there was no need to waste any more time. They then set off towards Shen Wang Dian.
The last time they had come to Shen Wang Dian, they hadn’t gone farther than the third palace, which was also where Yin Shi’s pavilion was. However, this time they were heading to Hui Shi’s pavilion in the fifth palace, so Fan Tong couldn’t help but be a bit nervous.
After they’d gone farther inside, it became even more apparent that Shen Wang Dian was huge. Since they weren’t sightseeing, they only passed through the area on their way to Hui Shi’s pavilion, yet that already took a very long time. The vast interior made Fan Tong feel that it was a waste to house only a few people inside, but a palace had to be big in order to have grandeur, so there was nothing wrong with its size. At most, it caused Fan Tong to think about their triple bunk bed situation and feel a burst of grief.
They entered Hui Shi’s pavilion without any trouble, as they didn’t meet Yin Shi midway and waste time, nor did they meet Wei Shi and suffer. They arrived at the fifth palace without running into Xi Ying once again; their entrance had been so dull and smooth that it felt a little surreal.
“It’ll just be us three cleaning?”
No way, this place is so big, how many days are you planning on cleaning for?
“Mm, we’re only cleaning a few rooms, the study and a bedroom. Don’t worry.”
After hearing Luo Shi’s words, Fan Tong finally felt at ease. So they didn’t need to sweep the whole place. He could probably endure it then.
“Then, let’s start with the study!”
They didn’t need anything too complex to clean the study. All they had to do was use a cleaning rag and mop to tidy the bookshelves and floor.
Because he didn’t really want Puhahaha to hate him forever, Fan Tong didn’t use him as a mop. Instead, he obediently grabbed a mop that Luo Shi had prepared and commenced mopping.
‘Look, that is a real mop, while I am a horsetail whisk. Can you tell what a real mop is or not?’
Puhahaha obviously held a grudge against Fan Tong for always calling him a mop. As soon as he had a chance, he had to reprimand Fan Tong.
“Of course I don’t know that this is a mop….”
Fan Tong replied impatiently; the curse attacked again.
‘You grew up without knowing this is mop? What did your family use to mop the floor!’
I was saying that I do know this is a mop. Why are you fussing so much? Watch out or I’ll call you .
“Fan Tong, what are you talking to yourself about?”
Luo Shi looked over suspiciously.
“I’m talking with Puhahaha.”
“Oh… You are getting closer to your mop.”
No way are we getting closer to each other. It’s more like we are growing further apart.
“Fan Tong, conversing more with your weapon is a good thing. Your strength will increase as your connection and relationship deepen.”
Yue Tui, who was polishing the bookcase, turned his head towards Fan Tong and said this, leaving Fan Tong somewhat puzzled.
Don’t you only have a broken weapon that can’t talk? How did you know? Did you diligently study the Eastern City’s books while I wasn’t paying attention? But can you even read those words?
“How did you know, Yue Tui?”
Sure enough, Luo Shi also found this strange. After all, the three of them had bought weapons together.
“The teacher at school said it….”
Yue Tui replied with a half-baked explanation. However, there was no evidence against him since Luo Shi did not take classes with them and Fan Tong didn’t pay attention much in his Wushu classes.
Since they’d finished cleaning the study quickly, they then went to the bedroom. The bedroom was slightly bigger than the study. Besides the necessary bed, there were also a few shelves, tables, and chairs. The cleaning process was quite similar to how they’d cleaned the study; Fan Tong continued to mop while Luo Shi and Yue Tui continued wiping things.
After entering, Fan Tong looked around.
He had some sort of wondrous feeling he couldn’t describe…. At any rate, it was just a very wondrous feeling.
The decorations in Hui Shi’s pavilion were very plain and simple. Although the tables, chairs, and rugs were still made of high quality materials, they didn’t have a gorgeous feel. The furnishings usually had plain white designs or stripes; this aspect made the place somewhat similar to Yin Shi’s pavilion.
However, Yin Shi’s pavilion was brighter than this place. Upon entering Hui Shi’s pavilion, Fan Tong felt a sort of gloomy aura. He couldn’t figure out why he had such a heavy feeling, and after he entered the bedroom, this feeling became even more obvious.
Why exactly did he have that feeling? Was it because the atmosphere was bad?
Although they were all in the same room, the room was quite large, and one could say they had been scattered to three corners. There wasn’t much conversation, so after Fan Tong mopped a little, he started spacing out.
He felt himself subconsciously inspect the room, scanning from left to right, then from right to left. His eyes seemed to move with a will of their own, until they stopped at a small cupboard.
At this time, Fan Tong wasn’t sure what he was thinking and just felt a little confused. He felt that he was looking not at that small cupboard but at something else…. And just as he could wrack his brains no more, Yue Tui’s silhouette suddenly entered his line of sight.
Yue Tui wiped the small cupboard a few times with his cleaning rag, then stopped and suddenly used a slim, pale hand to quickly maneuver something on the side of the cupboard. He then proceeded to press a spot on the wall above.
A square depression silently appeared, from which he retrieved a manual as if by magic. Fan Tong stared dumbly until Yue Tui returned the wall to normal just as quietly before coming back to himself and yelling out loud.
“Yue Tui, what is that?”
Probably because he hadn’t expected Fan Tong to see what he’d done, Yue Tui jolted slightly, and Luo Shi also came over at Fan Tong’s shout.
“What is it….”
“Uh…. I accidentally discovered this; it probably contains Hui Shi’s notes.”
After turning around to face Luo Shi, Yue Tui flipped through the book in his hand and replied as such.
What do you mean you accidentally discovered it; was I just imagining what you just did? Wasn’t that trick to open the secret compartment done too competently for it to be an accident?
Fan Tong was somewhat dumbfounded at Yue Tui’s lie, but after thinking about it, he decided not to expose Yue Tui, although he had no idea what Yue Tui was planning.
“Hui Shi wrote this?”
Luo Shi’s voice was somewhat shaky from the surprise. He was in such a hurry he couldn’t be bothered with manners and rushed over to snatch the book from Yue Tui’s hands.
After he’d briefly flipped through a few pages, his expression became a little ugly.
“Luo Shi, what’s written inside? Does it have anything to do with Hui Shi’s whereabouts?”
There must be something strange inside for his face to change like that. Fan Tong couldn’t help but ask about it, causing Luo Shi to purse his lips.
“I…. will go back and study it carefully, then I’ll tell you.”
Oh. Actually, it’s fine even if you don’t tell us. If this book can give you a lead on Hui Shi’s whereabouts, then just find a way to bring him back.
“Yue Tui, where did you find this? How come I’ve never seen it before?”
After Hui Shi disappeared, of course Luo Shi had also come to Hui Shi’s pavilion to look for clues. He’d resigned himself to searching the whole place yet had never discovered this booklet, so of course he had to ask.
“There was a mechanism in the wall. I think I accidentally triggered it, and then….”
Yue Tui lied again, making Fan Tong feel even more suspicious.
He could have sworn that Yue Tui had known how to open the secret compartment, but why would Yue Tui know?
Luo Shi’s expression while gazing at Yue Tui was filled to the max with suspicion, but what was more important right now was the booklet. Luo Shi had no choice but to temporarily set aside his doubts and focus on the booklet.
In order for him to sit down and study the book properly, it was of course impossible to continue cleaning. Therefore, Luo Shi decided that today’s cleaning session was finished.
Since it was still early and not mealtime yet, Fan Tong’s dreams of gourmet cuisine naturally flew away. This was a huge blow to him, and his disappointment was completely visible on his face.
“Why is your expression like that?”
Fan Tong’s dispiritedness was so conspicuous that it couldn’t be ignored, so Luo Shi couldn’t help but ask him about it grumpily.
Hearing his response, Yue Tui was somewhat speechless. In contrast, Luo Shi couldn’t help but smack his head.
“You think about nothing but food all day! You should have drawn ‘Rice Bucket’! That would suit you the most!”
That’s just over the top! Using others’ names to make a fuss ! Then picking at their sore spots as well!
As Luo Shi said this, Yue Tui also sighed nearby. It looked like he didn’t object.
People should care about their stomachs first! If the stomach isn’t full, then there’s no point mentioning anything else!
But no matter how justified he was, his cursed mouth made it was impossible for him to argue. Fan Tong could only be silently depressed.
Fan Tong’s Afterword
The first day of the new year, the first day of the new year….
Today felt very long, with lots of things happening, so how come only one day has passed?
All right, it might be because we got up early. Under those circumstances, the day has become extra long, since several hours have been added that would have normally been slept away—but when we were preparing to depart from Hui Shi’s pavilion, it wasn’t even noon yet. This really is…. Time passed a little too slowly, right?
It feels like most of the morning was spent on drawing weird fortunes. Maybe the leftover fatigue from dealing with the “Big Idiot” contributed to that feeling. I feel that the Eastern City’s fortunes are really unique, since they’re truly able to make people angry. Does anybody ever draw a satisfying fortune?
Lord Yin Shi doesn’t count. He drew “Bloody Calamity” but was still satisfied to such a degree – I’ve never seen such a thing before.
Returning to the main topic, if there’s no need to report the fortunes drawn or return them, then how do Xuan Dian’s managers know which ones are missing so they can replenish them?
Luo Shi actually said that I should have drawn “Rice Bucket.” That really hurt me. If that’s the case, doesn’t that mean Mi Zhong should have drawn “Rice Weevil” and Luo Shi should have drawn “Pretty Girl”? I didn’t even use his most upsetting point to attack him; how could he attack me like this—
Then we went to Hui Shi’s pavilion and didn’t even get to touch anything good before having to leave. That was really quite unsatisfying.
No matter what, I should still properly ask Yue Tui exactly what happened. It would have been awkward to ask that in front of Luo Shi, but when it’s just the two of us, I should be able to ask, right?
But what if he plays dumb and evades the question….
Mm, looks like I can’t do anything about that.
Ah—a new year, a new year—I’ve written on a wishing plaque, so my wish must come true!
Actually, after looking at everybody’s wishes, I figure the probability of their wishes coming true is very low.
However, for Lord Wei Shi, it’s not that the probability is low. You wrote on two plaques, cursing Lord Yin Shi to drop dead, so that the chance it’ll happen will double?
Sigh, that Hui Shi person had better hurry back already. We have his notes, so there must be a lead, right….
Proofreaders: NyxEclipse, Sherry
Hello everybody, it’s me, Fan Tong. Nn, yes, it’s still me. Don’t blame me for such a short greeting; I just feel that if people talk too much, it’s easy for the tongue to slip, which would incur bad luck. Not to mention, no matter how little I speak, I will still slip up. Therefore, this year my New Year’s resolution is to be taciturn and also improve myself by acting cool and looking handsome.
However, I felt hopeless on the first day of the new year. It’s hard to change a person’s nature. Even if I shut my mouth and stay silent, my thoughts will be too messy, and my face will still betray me. Nobody will think that I am dignified. What is the point of living such a difficult and halfhearted life? I should just change my New Year’s resolution.
The time that I’ve spent since arriving at the Eastern City can’t be called long or short, yet a few months have already passed, and the year is over.
I’ve already undergone brainwashing after encountering the Luo Yue Magic Sword Guard and completed my first memory release. Everyone’s tassels have already been upgraded, but I’m still stuck at grass green, just because I didn’t have the guts to go challenge the Wushu Tractor Teacher… Wu.
In a more or less peaceful atmosphere, we all happily sat on a grassy slope outside of the Eastern City, watching a meteor shower during New Year’s. The starry sky was very beautiful, the mood was great, the food was delicious, and Yue Tui also looked very happy, so it was an excellent night.
But… people say that, no matter whether you’re rich or poor, you should get a wife to celebrate a good year. The year has already ended, but where is the wife?
I’m not saying that I have no qualifications, okay! Looking at the reflection of my respectable face, I feel that, although it isn’t so incomparably handsome that people would drool over it, at least it’s a notch above tasteful and good-looking, right?
Staring at the mirror to judge my looks first thing in the morning, I really feel that there is something wrong with me. But every time I look back at Yue Tui’s face, I once again feel inferior and ashamed to show my face. Sigh, staring at the mirror is better; if there’s nothing better to do, I shouldn’t abuse my own self-confidence.
But who decreed that you have to be like that to get a wife! If that was the case, then there must not be many men in the world who have married!
My New Year’s resolution is to date a girlfriend with the expectation of marriage! It’s decided!
But actually, repaying my debt might be a more realistic wish…
Proofreaders: Sherry, Dinoj
“Happiness, even just a brief moment of it, I wish I could recall…” ─Yue Tui
Even on New Year’s Eve, there were still trials being convened to tie any loose ends on any remaining legal cases from the past year. Most people were fed up with this routine, but they were required to attend. About two out of every five people attending today’s trials felt this way.
This was equivalent to working overtime every New Year’s. Empress Xi Ying’s expression was still as cold as ever, Luo Shi’s expression wasn’t good, Ling Shi looked indifferent, and Yin Shi seemed extremely bored as he watched Wei Shi’s performance.
Looking at the list of criminals being investigated today, it was comprised entirely of New Residents again and most of today would probably just be declaring “death penalty” over and over again. Although it was clearly the same result each time, Wei Shi somehow managed to say different things for each one, as if he had thoroughly investigated the case before deciding that the death penalty was the best punishment. It was to the point where one couldn’t tell if he was seriously hardworking, or if he was just being fastidious. Regardless, this didn’t really improve his reputation among the people.
However, a bit of a unique situation came up today.
Firstly, when they’d reached the ninth criminal or so, just as Wei Shi was still grandiloquently announcing the death sentence:
“Aside from the aforementioned points it’s clear to see from this criminal’s psyche that this was a deliberate crime that he has no regrets about. This means that there is absolutely no chance that this criminal will have a useful future in Eastern City, so I believe that he should be sentenced with the death──”
Before Wei Shi managed to say the last word, his voice suddenly cut off unnaturally.
Everyone turned to look at him in confusion. While they were still trying to figure out what had happened, a light meow reached their ears. It turned out that a cat was currently rubbing against his foot.
Wei Shi had an extremely stiff expression, as if he were struggling to maintain his calm and respond appropriately. At this moment Xi Ying spoke.
“Why is there a cat? Where did it come from?”
“I don’t know how it could have ran in… Or, was it here originally?”
Luo Shi checked the boundary to the area but there were no problems with it. In that case, the cat had most likely been in there since the beginning.
Since Empress Xi Ying’s tone was somewhat unpleased, Wei Shi’s expression paled. The cat, which didn’t know that every person here was a potential threat to its life, was still affectionately rubbing itself against Wei Shi’s foot as if it was trying to win his favor.
“Don’t let the cat interrupt the trial, Wei Shi, and…”
“Your Majesty! I sincerely apologize! My stomach suddenly hurts, so please excuse me leaving for a brief moment!”
Before Xi Ying had even finished her sentence, Wei Shi fervently interrupted her and to everyone’s surprise, immediately ran out of the area in large strides.
“Ah, where did the cat go?” Yin Shi looked left and right but both the cat and Wei Shi were nowhere to be seen.
At the same time, Ling Shi turned around with his hand covering his mouth, seemingly making a supreme effort to keep himself from laughing. Ying Shi and Luo Shi hadn’t comprehended the situation yet while Xi Ying was also clueless.
Of course, the four of them couldn’t possibly wait for a single person, so the trials continued after Wei Shi left. With one less advocate for capital punishment, two of the criminals actually managed to escape the death sentence.
After the kitten disturbance, Wei Shi returned wearing glasses, back to his previous, shrewd appearance and calm demeanor. Thus, he continued to give out his ‘wise’ opinions on the criminals’ sentences, sending each convict to their death to prevent those ill-reputed New Residents from taking up space in the city.
But just when the trials were reaching their end another astonishing situation arose.
The current case was, like the previous ones, regarding a New Resident. However, this time the subject was a child who had just turned eight years old this year. He hadn’t been in Eastern City for very long before he was discovered stealing food, and recklessly attacked and injured several people in a panicked attempt to flee. Thus, he’d been seized and brought to trial.
Although this wasn’t a very serious crime, this kind of case wasn’t uncommon and Wei Shi had always concluded it with a death sentence, so it would be expected for this child to meet a bad end too. Luo Shi bit his lip and looked as if he wanted to speak up and Yin Shi seemed to be having a hard time as well. Both were waiting for Wei Shi to speak and preparing to refute his suggestion. But to their surprise, after Xi Ying asked for everyone’s opinions, Wei Shi remained silent for a long while, unlike his immediate, self-righteous responses of ‘death penalty’ from before.
This was already strange enough, but what followed was even stranger.
After a long while of internal struggle, his words were:
“Since the perpetrator is still young and his living needs hadn’t quite been met, I ask for Your Majesty to administer the punishment for this one under a more merciful light. A lighter sentence such as forced labor or prison time, perhaps.”
The fact that the words “lighter sentence” had come from Wei Shi’s mouth in regard to a New Resident was enough to make Yin Shi and the others gape in astonishment. The sentences that he had suggested were extremely lenient, to the point where it was unimaginable.
“Wei Shi, have you finally seen the light? Have you realized that the death penalty isn’t that great after all?”
Yin Shi couldn’t resist asking this question. This entire situation was just too strange, completely different from Wei Shi’s normal behavior.
“As if! It’s just because the child is very cu–….Children are the country’s assets, its future pillars, and they must be looked after! They can’t just be killed at will!”
But if they’re discovered to have gone astray after having grown up, they must be killed as quickly as possible? Really?
Did Wei Shi even realize that a New Resident’s child wouldn’t ever grow up properly…
In short, even after all the trials ended and Yin Shi left, he still found the entire situation strange.
“Wei Shi, is that guy really Wei Shi? Is this some kind of prank, and it’s actually someone else pretending to be him?”
“Who would do that? Hui Shi?”
Ling Shi retorted with a tactless joke.
“But he was nothing like Wei Shi! In what way was that person like Wei Shi?”
“His naivete, and the way he executes things.”
Ling Shi calmly replied, having clearly not found anything odd about Wei Shi’s actions today.
“Ah, old man, I bet it’s just that your eyes are completely different from mine, right? And your ears? Are we hearing completely different things?”
“No, you just don’t have eyes or ears.”
“What! I clearly have eyes and ears! Ask Xiao Luo Shi and Ying, they can back me up!”
“I definitely know that they will confirm your lack of eyes and ears. The only one who would be able to unconditionally verify your words is Xiao Rou.”
“What! Why are you so horrid you old fart!”
Ling Shi was clearly very used to hearing Yin Shi’s disagreeability, so he obviously didn’t respond to these words either.
“We’re going to get together with the others tonight, have you prepared your dish?”
From the sound of his exclamation, he seemed to have forgotten about this.
“I’m doomed! I haven’t even bought any cooking utensils yet! Ling Shi, can a sword be used to cook a dish? Can it?”
“Even if it could, you wouldn’t be able to do so.”
Besides, couldn’t things like cooking utensils easily be found and borrowed from Shen Wang Dian?
“Exactly what dish do you want to make?”
“Oh, I found a pretty cool one from the cookbook I got last time called ‘Baked Pepper Asparagus Seafood Steak Salad with Lemon Vinegar Salmon Sauce’. What do you think?”
“…What kind of alien cookbook did you get that from? If you can really make that, I’ll address you as ‘The Great Yin Shi’ from now on.”
In terms of naivete, Yin Shi was on par with Wei Shi.
Compared to Shen Wang Dian where borrowing cooking utensils was easy, Fan Tong and Yue Tui had a lot more difficulty trying to borrow the kitchen utensils at the student dorms. Although the dorms did have a kitchen that students could use, it required them to line up, and they had limited time for using it. By the time they’d finally gotten their turn after lining up for an entire morning, they only had half an hour to use it. In addition, by the time their time was up, their final product was an appalling sight as well.
There were things like burnt egg, meat that was charcoal black on the surface but not even cooked in the middle, and some very wrongly seasoned noodles.
Putting aside the horrible product, the kitchen was beyond recognition as well. So, after their time was up, they were forced to clean the entire kitchen before being allowed to leave as punishment.
“What to do?”
“What do we do…”
The two of them looked at each other in dismay with the feeling of facing a hopeless end.
“We can’t present any dishes…”
That’s right… If we can’t provide any presentable dishes ourselves, then how can we ridicule others when they bring out strange dishes…
“If we don’t present any decent dishes or gifts, we’ll be empty-handed on both fronts. Great.”
I’m definitely not trying to sound so sour on purpose! I meant to say that since we don’t have a dish, we still have the afternoon to prepare gifts so that we won’t lose too much face.
“No, it would be too tragic if the situation developed to that point. Let’s go choose some gifts first, and I’ll think some more about what to do for the dish…”
Yue Tui took out the wages they’d gotten from working today, and split it evenly with Fan Tong before they each went their own ways to find gifts. After all, presents should have a certain level of mysteriousness, and if they went together, they’d know what each other had chosen. Thus, they split ways.
Fan Tong found himself wandering randomly back and forth on the streets since he hadn’t quite decided what he wanted to buy. Presents were equivalent to breaking one’s own bank to give money to others. Buying anything too expensive was painful, but buying anything too cheap made one seem petty. In addition, since the gift exchange was lottery-based, there was no way of knowing who would get what. Without knowing who the receiver would be, choosing a present became much harder, and he found the task extremely difficult.
Why celebrate New Year’s like this? It’s so troublesome.
“Are you planning on buying this or not? If you’re not, don’t just stand there, you’re blocking other people’s views.”
Perhaps because he looked so shabby, the salesperson grew impatient with him and tried to kick him out when they saw him looking left and right, clearly short on money and very hesitant.
How do you even run your business! Haven’t you ever heard that amiability makes you rich! Even if I originally wanted to buy something, I won’t anymore!
Whenever Fan Tong encountered this kind of store, he’d simply switch to another one. However, even after searching around for a while, he hadn’t found anything satisfactory. Not only did his cooking have no sincerity, he lacked the genuineness to give others gifts as well. Really, he was just going through the motions that he was being forced to do.
Eventually, a brilliant idea came to him. He suddenly realized that he could give away something he was expert at making as a gift; after all, using the local specialty of one’s hometown was always a good choice for a present. He couldn’t possibly obtain the technology and goods here that he’d used to use, but fortune-telling goods weren’t hard to make on the spot.
Thus, he bought a small wooden plaque, borrowed a brush and some ink, and wrote some peace charms. After he finished, he began to walk back home while marveling at his own elegant calligraphy, before suddenly facepalming.
Ah! What’s wrong with me! I could’ve just written the calligraphy on paper and used that as my gift! To think I even went and specially bought a wooden plaque! Such a waste──
The sight of a full-grown man suddenly clutching his head in frustration in the middle of the street was enough to make others whisper amongst themselves as they passed, not daring to approach him. At this point, Fan Tong had finally realized how strange his actions were as well, and he lowered his head and walked away in embarrassment.
The only good thing about buying the wooden plaque was that they’d given him a small box for free as a bonus, which saved him the trouble of wrapping the gift. But when he thought about it again, he decided that he’d rather wrap it with string, so he walked to a nearby store to get some.
This shop’s owner was pretty nice, and was willing to lend the string to him. As the owner went to retrieve the string, Fan Tong took a casual look at the things being sold there. Just then, his eyes caught something on one of the displays and his heart skipped a beat.
Ah, this is…
By the time Fan Tong returned to the dorm, Yue Tui was already there waiting. He’s bought his gift incredibly fast, making Fan Tong feel inferior.
Zhu Sha was taking a nap, so Yue Tui greeted Fan Tong in a hushed voice so as not to disturb him.
“Yue Tui, the food…”
“Ah, don’t worry, I asked Bi Rou to help me buy new ingredients and finished preparing the dish already. Just tell them we made it together.”
How could you be so fast? We even spent the entire morning distressed without a clue on what to do about this, didn’t we?
“Where… is it?”
“I put it in there.”
Yue Tui pointed at a basket covered by a cloth near his foot. Fan Tong couldn’t help but bend down to uncover it in curiosity, only to stiffen, goosebumps forming all over his body.
Holy crap! What is that! Actually, should I be saying as expected of Yue Tui, creating something only he could ever make? If we said we made it together, who would believe me! Exactly which part of that did I make?!
Fan Tong silently covered it with the cloth again. Actually, it wasn’t a bad dish, he was just slightly shocked. However, at this point he didn’t really care anymore. As long as they could say they had tried, anything was fine.
“Fan Tong, what do you think?”
Yue Tui looked somewhat uncertain and wanted an evaluation from the person before him.
“It’s, it’s very normal. I think anyone would be able to recognize it.”
No, no, no! I was saying that it was amazing and that only you could make something like that!
Upon seeing Yue Tui’s dejected or disappointed expression, Fan Tong hurriedly added another question to shift Yue Tui’s attention.
“Did Zhu Sha see it? What did he say?”
“Yes. He said… why waste my time and do all this to some food…”
Yue Tui let out a dispirited sigh after accepting these two reviews.
That’s… what terrible luck… can’t someone please console him? I actually think it’s amazing, but this mouth of mine is just impossible──
“Yue Tui, did you finish buying your gift?”
“Mhm, I didn’t know what to get so I just chose randomly. Anyways, I guess we’ll just wait until it’s time to meet up with the others.”
It sounds like everything is prepared, not bad at all.
When night fell, Bi Rou came to notify them of the gathering location and all three went together. Since the weather was nice and they’d heard that there would be shooting stars tonight, they decided to have a picnic at a nice grassy place nearby. Neither Fan Tong nor Yue Tui had any objections; having a picnic on the grass seemed to be much better than going to Shen Wang Dian.
Surprisingly, Yin Shi and Ling Shi were already there in addition to a third person who originally said he wasn’t coming.
Yue Tui shot an astonished look at Luo Shi sitting next to Yin Shi and Ling Shi, pleasantly surprised by his presence.
“Didn’t you say you couldn’t come because you were busy?”
“Some space suddenly opened up!”
Luo Shi was very thin-skinned and couldn’t even properly reply.
“Ah, I brought him with us because I thought Xiao Luo Shi looked as if he really wanted to come.”
Yin Shi nonchalantly said, causing Luo Shi to immediately retort.
“As if I wanted to come! I just didn’t have anything to do!”
“But you said you bought your gift ages ago…”
“No way! I bought it just today!”
Lord Yin Shi, please stop trying to expose him, it’s unfair. Just empathize a bit with his thin skin.
“It’s really great that you were able to come.”
Yue Tui looked extremely delighted. Indeed, the more the merrier when friends gather.
By now, the sky had begun to darken. After the last traces of the sun’s presence had faded, the moon rose into the heavens illuminating the evening sky.
Everyone sat down on the grass. The comfortable breeze and fresh air created a nice ambiance. Since even the moon had come out by now, it was naturally already dinnertime. Under Bi Rou’s lead, everyone started to reveal the dishes they’d prepared and braced for inspection.
“I made sandwiches! This is a light and convenient food in Western City; I’m sure none of you have eaten these before, right?”
The first one to show off food for everyone to see was Bi Rou who had made normal-looking sandwiches that seemed perfectly harmless. When Fan Tong saw this, he immediately felt remorse for not having thought of that himself.
Sandwiches! Sandwiches, such simple things! All you have to do is stack all the ingredients on top of one another and there’s no issue of it tasting good or bad, plus anyone can make them. Why did we give ourselves headaches by spending so much time cooking food?!
“Ah, I have indeed never seen them before. Xiao Rou, you really are so perfect.”
Simply being able to make sandwiches means they are perfect? Lord Yin Shi, I think your standards are way too low.
“Really? Am I ready to marry now?”
Being able to make sandwiches means you’re ready to marry? Do you think being a housewife is that easy?
“Ah, of course you can! Xiao Rou, do you want to marry someone? If you want to marry, I’ll take you as my wife.”
Someone help and please drag them away, preferable to the ends of the earth where they can disappear forever and not discuss marriage here!
“Oh? I’m so happy! But, but…”
The strange thing was that Bi Rou didn’t seem to immediately reply in joy, and instead began to hesitate after an initial brief flash of delight.
“You’re not the one she wants to marry.”
Ling Shi coldly stated while drinking some tea that he had brought for everyone.
“Huh! What! Xiao Rou, don’t you like me?”
Lalala~ Just please break up──stop blinding us with your lovey-dovey acts──
Fan Tong felt like his own jerk side was indeed very hard to deal with since saying anything unpleasant could result in him being called lowly. However, as he was the type who would never get a chance to date, he felt that feeling disdain upon seeing a sight like this was inevitable.
“I like you! But, but…”
But what? Could it be that you’re a guy as well?
Fan Tong made some conjectures on his own. After witnessing the strange situation with Zhu Sha, he felt that even if Bi Rou did suddenly say she wasn’t a girl, he wouldn’t be surprised.
However, a long while passed and Bi Rou was still unable to explain. Yin Shi seemed somewhat hurt, and turned around to start drawing circles in a corner. Everyone quickly began to continue displaying their dishes so that the atmosphere wouldn’t die.
The next person to go was Luo Shi. Although he insisted that he had only decided to come last minute and had been dragged by Yin Shi, he had still prepared a dish. In addition, it seemed like he’d put in a lot of effort in making tofu, which made it even harder for anyone to believe his claims.
“So Xiao Luo Shi also knows how to cook? It looks pretty good.”
In reality, rich people like them could actually just buy pre-made food or ask someone else to prepare it for them, it wasn’t like anyone would be able to tell. However, Fan Tong was sure that Luo Shi had made it personally since Luo Shi was a very hard-working person, and wouldn’t choose any lazy alternatives.
“This tofu looks like it would take quite a bit of time to make, definitely at least two hours.”
Ling Shi judged with experienced eyes.
Oh, Luo Shi, just confess that you decided to come ages ago. Perhaps you even started making it yesterday and failed several times before producing something you were satisfied with…
“At the very least, I’ve tried it and it should be ok, so just eat it.”
Luo Shi modestly said. Although he feigned an air of indifference, his face still failed him and reddened a bit.
Your skin really is so very thin…
Yin Shi’s turn was next. When he took out his dish, nearly everyone’s eyes popped out.
“What… what is that…”
Fan Tong couldn’t help but utter these words, unable to restrain his panic.
“Ah, this? Mm… I guess it’s a failure because I didn’t have enough ingredients. I wasn’t able to make what I really wanted to, but it’s something like gratin.”
What do you mean you guess you failed! Did you even try to make this properly? Not enough ingredients? If there aren’t enough ingredients, you can’t use that as replacement can you? Why is there the base of a goblet poking out? And that’s clearly some pieces of porcelain on the surface! What exactly are you trying to make us eat, is that even edible? Gratin? Porcelain gratin? Glass shard gratin?
Please try eating it yourself first…
“Yin, do you really know what food is?”
Ling Shi asked Yin Shi with a smile, but while that smile was extremely beautiful it also had a harshness behind it.
“Huh? Are you talking about the goblet, bell, pearls, ring, porcelain fragments, and glass powder? Those are just ornaments. Don’t think that the shiny glass pieces look pretty on top?”
…So there were actually so many terrifying things in it. And there’s just enough for each person to get some? You’re really too considerate.
Fan Tong firmly agreed with the impression that “Lord Yin Shi really is an idiot.”
“Can you tell me what else you put in there aside from those ‘ornaments’?”
Lord Ling Shi’s smile is turning more and more scary. You should really give at least one answer that will satisfy him.
“Ah, actually I wasn’t really able to stuff anything else in after putting all those ornaments, so I just covered the mix and baked it.”
You’re doomed, Lord Yin Shi.
“…I demand you to eat that entire thing by yourself right now.”
“Ah! Why! Is there something wrong with it? I think it’s pretty cool! Xiao Rou, do you think this would taste bad?”
Yin Shi, who had just suffered a blow from his companion, turned his hopes onto his lover.
As expected, you can’t answer huh. You need to think carefully; if you say it looks good, then you might have to eat it with him as a lover’s meal. Can true love really endure the test of eating broken glass?
“It… it shouldn’t be that bad…”
Wow, have you mentally prepared yourself to jump into hell and stay there for all eternity?
“That’s right! I feel that way too!”
Yin Shi grabbed a spoon and ate a bit, seemingly unable to sense any abnormality.
“Xiao Rou, do you want to try a mouthful too?”
Yin Shi brought his dish over to Bi Rou. Her face was somewhat ashen, as if she was facing a test of her love, but she still made an effort to pick up the spoon and eat a mouthful.
“How is it? Is it good?”
Bi Rou replied with tear-filled eyes. Those definitely were not tears of delight at its deliciousness.
Ling Shi seemed somewhat unable to continue watching and turned away with a sigh.
You’re really brave. I’ve changed my opinion of you two; you guys should just do whatever you want.
But if you dared to even eat glass for him, why aren’t you willing to marry Yin Shi?
Also, Lord Ling Shi, you’re really heartless to not even try to stop her. Don’t tell me that you also wanted to see how solid Bi Rou’s feelings are, like I did?
I’m really starting to believe that this New Year’s gathering is supposed to be a convention to administer punishment, or some kind of punishment game if we have to eat those kinds of things…
Fan Tong and Yue Tui went next. After Yue Tui stated that they’d prepared the dish together he brought the basket up and took away the cloth on top.
Although everyone didn’t stare blankly at it the same way Fan Tong had, they still froze.
Simply put, it looked like some fruit. However, these were fruit that had been processed.
There were unbelievably thick slices arranged at the bottom. Some of the fruit had been transformed into a beautiful display after the middle had been carved out. In the center of the dish were fruit-carved flowers that could only be achieved by amazing skill with the blade. The entire appearance was extremely pleasing to the eye, but rather than food, it seemed more like an art masterpiece.
“Oh… it’d kind of be a shame to eat this.”
Bi Rou expressed everyone else’s thoughts, excluding Yin Shi. Ling Shi speculated that it was probably because Yin Shi had been born with a lack of appreciation towards beauty, to the point where it was doubtful if he could even distinguish a beautiful woman from an ugly one.
Although this dish was clearly prepared with sincerity, Luo Shi couldn’t help but question:
“Yue Tui, you said you did this with Fan Tong… what exactly did Fan Tong do?”
Very good, you’ve asked the central point.
It’s true that one could tell Yue Tui did it with a single glance. With my clumsiness, how could I ever help…
This lie was one that Yue Tui had to justify. Fan Tong himself had absolutely no idea how to. Yue Tui struggled to smile and replied:
Oh, the platter…brilliant answer! If only your smile was a bit more genuine…
One could tell from Yue Tui’s expression that it wasn’t the truth, but asking any further would just put Yue Tui in a difficult spot. Nobody could bear bullying Yue Tui for being a good kid that was trying to help the shameless Fan Tong cover the reality of him not having a dish prepared, so nobody pursued the topic any further.
The last person remaining was Ling Shi. As the only expert at cooking, the dish he presented obviously smelled, looked, and tasted great. Preparing a dish himself was a piece of cake to him. Plus, he’d anticipated that nobody else would be able to really provide any decent food, so he had specially prepared a bit more. The amount he had was enough to fill everyone’s hunger tonight. When Fan Tong saw Ling Shi pull out different food one after another, he couldn’t help but feel extremely grateful.
It’s really great that we have Lord Ling Shi! As long as we bring him whenever we go out, everything will be okay!
Of course, Yin Shi was the only one who could make Ling Shi go outside. Fan Tong knew this was something he’d never be able to do.
“The dishes are all done, let’s all start eating──”
As long as they ignored Yin Shi’s weird gratin, all the other dishes were generally accepted. Thus, everyone began to move their chopsticks towards the food they wanted.
Most of them went for Ling Shi’s dishes, Luo Shi’s tofu, and Bi Rou’s sandwiches. As for Yue Tui’s dish, that was fruit meant for dessert, so they would naturally eat it later.
Although Fan Tong was indulging himself with the great food, he noticed that Yin Shi, Ling Shi, and Bi Rou didn’t really eat. At a meal like this with everyone gathered together, it was very easy to notice that they didn’t touch the food. Even Luo Shi found this strange.
“Are you guys not eating? There’s enough food.”
“Ah, but, I’m not hungry.”
This was Yin Shi’s reply.
So, Lord Yin Shi, you actually ran off to eat somewhere else before coming here?
“I… just ate Yin Shi’s gratin.”
After Bi Rou gave her explanation, everyone else seemed to empathize with her lack of appetite.
Although it was just a small bite, I’m sure it was an extremely uncomfortable experience, right?
“I don’t have any interest in eating the food I made myself.”
Ling Shi replied, then looked over at the sandwiches Bi Rou had prepared and smiled.
“However, I must try some of what Xiao Rou made to cheer her on.”
Lord Ling Shi, it’s really a shame that you don’t go out and try to catch some girls. One can only say that your appearance is to blame.
“Ah! What! As if I’d let you eat any. All of the remaining sandwiches are mine!”
When Yin Shi heard Ling Shi’s words he grabbed all the sandwiches away before Ling Shi had reached out for one, clearly not letting anyone else touch them.
His jealousy is really a bit overboard.
Or maybe it could be called a desire for exclusive treatment? A common problem among men.
But even if you do that, Bi Rou won’t ever grab your gratin and say “This is mine, nobody else can eat it.”
“Would you not waste food? You can’t even finish them. Hand over the sandwiches.”
In short, the sandwiches were seized by Yin Shi. Who knew if he was planning on bringing them back and offering them as sacrifices or something. Either way, even without the sandwiches, there was still enough food. Thus, everyone just let him be.
After eating, it was time for the next highlight: the gift exchange.
Since everyone had decided to celebrate the New Year the Western way, and the only one that seemed to really know how to do that was Bi Rou, everyone followed her words.
“I’ve prepared lots, everyone draw one!”
Bi Rou had folded some pieces of paper and held them in her hand, waiting for each person to draw. However, Yin Shi didn’t seem to understand the point.
“Ah, Xiao Rou, why are we drawing lots?”
“Huh? To decide who gets whose gift. You have to give your present to the person you draw…”
“What! I thought we were just giving the gift to whoever we wanted!”
At this moment, Yin Shi began to panic.
Can you at least try to think? Did you think that exchanging gifts was like exchanging diaries? If everyone gave gifts to whoever they wanted, wouldn’t it be extremely awkward if someone didn’t get any?
“Nope, we have to follow the rules. In addition, there’s one added rule.”
Bi Rou smiled widely, clearly excited to announce this rule.
“When you give your gift away, you have to hug the one you drew and give them a kiss to express your enthusiasm and good will!”
When Bi Rou announced this, Fan Tong felt his facial expression twist, and his stomach began to churn.
Miss, why do you look so happy about this? Regardless of whether you’re kissing or hugging the other person, if you aren’t doing it to Lord Yin Shi, won’t you be the one to suffer? You’re the only girl, you know.
If I draw Lord Ling Shi, does that mean I should go back and brag to Mi Zhong about it? …No, I’d probably be beaten up to pulp if I did that…
“Since when did such rules exist!”
Yue Tui asked in horror and shock. He probably didn’t really want to get very intimate with another person.
“This is a tradition in Western City”
Bi Rou blinked her eyes as if this was obvious.
Sigh, I feel like drawing lots like this is extremely stressful. If I draw the wrong person, the situation could turn very scary…
“Alright, who wants to go first?”
Yin Shi was still as energetic as before. Perhaps he felt that choosing any remaining lots after someone else had picked meant that his fate was partially decided by someone else. As the proverb said, if one wants to die, they should die by their own hands.
He drew a lot, and everyone else waited for the result. He opened the paper slip and read out the name with slight confusion.
“Fan…Tong? Who’s that?”
Oi! That can’t be!
Not only, not only is there a problem with the fact that you still don’t remember a name as simple as mine, why would I be chosen by you! This joke is too much, isn’t it?
“Ah! It’s you?”
After Yin Shi realized Fan Tong was ‘the mop’s owner’ he seemed unwilling.
“If it were Xiao Luo Shi, it would still be okay! But my arms will not hold a man! Xiao Rou!”
What are you trying to say, do you think I want to be held by a man? Also, it’s okay as long as you don’t recognize Luo Shi as a man?
Luo Shi’s expression turned dark. It looked like this statement had really offended him.
“Yin Shi, you can’t. You have to follow the rules.”
Bi Rou had no intention of being lenient and insisted they both stick to the rules.
“Or how about this, if you don’t like the rule, we can change it to the receiver hugging and giving a kiss to the giver to express their gratitude. I’ll let you choose.”
…Both options sound uncomfortable. In addition, why are you letting him choose? Is my opinion so unimportant that I don’t even have the right to choose?
“Ah! No! It sounds horrible just thinking about it!”
Fan Tong felt like he was being resented, but he clearly didn’t want to accept this situation either.
“Just pretend he’s a woman and it’ll be extremely easy for you, won’t it?”
Ling Shi sarcastically remarked while sipping his tea, adopting an air of indifference.
“But he’s nothing like one!”
“Wait, easy if it’s a woman…?”
Bi Rou’s ears perked and immediately inquired about the keywords she’d caught.
“Those women that always come to Shen Wang Dian to see Yin Shi, obviously…”
“Ah! Ahhhh! No! That’s not true! Those women are there to visit Ling Shi!”
“I’m sorry, but typically speaking the people that come to Shen Wang Dian to see me are men.”
Lord Yin Si, just a second ago you were struggling to defame your friend’s name to clear your own name, and the next second you’re laughing heartily at your opposing side’s truthful assertion? Is that really okay?
“Whatever, can you just do it? We still have to continue the event.”
“I know, alright.”
Whoa! Wait a minute! Are you really doing it? Seriously?
Fan Tong was a bit scared, and frantically looked left and right. However, there was no way he would be able to run away in this situation. In the end, he could only let Yin Shi reach out to touch his shoulders and then give him a peck on his cheek.
“This counts as hugging and kissing right?”
Bi Rou pouted in slight disappointment.
Oi, what exactly do you want? Did you think that a passionate kiss with tongues intertwining was something two straight men would be able to accept?
It was also a Western City tradition to open the gift on the spot. As soon as Fan Tong unwrapped the present, his face immediately turned dark.
It’s… very adorable, pink woman’s clothing. If a cute girl was to receive this they’d definitely be very happy, but I’m not a cute girl arghhhhh!
“I originally thought we were giving gifts to whoever we wanted, ok? It was for Xiao Rou!”
Then Miss Bi Rou, it’s better for you to just take it. I really don’t want it. Although giving away a received gift is impolite, I’m sure neither of you would mind, right?
“Fan Tong, do you like it?”
Luo Shi took advantage of the situation to interject.
“Of course I like it…. ah!”
Luo Shi! You’re toying with me again!
By the time Fan Tong had realized he’d been tricked, Luo Shi had already hid himself in the back to snicker to himself.
Ahhh! Can you guys not look at me like that! I just misspoke there! Although people normally speak the truth when they misspeak, that’s not applicable to me! Luo Shi, you’d better remember this! I’m going to tell Yue Tui bad things about you!
“The receiver is the next person to draw lots, and this continues until the end.”
That meant it was Fan Tong’s turn to draw. Fan Tong didn’t object, and randomly reached out to grab a paper slip. The instant he unfolded it and read the name written, his face twitched.
Ugh, so I have to hug Luo Shi, give him a kiss, and then give my gift to him?
If it weren’t at this special gathering, there’d be a high chance I would be slapped by him and then called out for harassment, right?
“It’s Luo Shi. Go on, give your present!”
Luo Shi was also given a shock, and his expression turned ugly.
“Tsk, whatever, just come.”
Why must you make it sound like you’re generously offering to be a martyr?
Of course, Fan Tong wouldn’t go overboard. His ‘hug’ was really just the level of touching, and kissing was even less so; whether that touched skin or not was unknown, but it was done in a flash. Who cared about the details.
Luo Shi opened the gift. His expression didn’t particularly show any dislike for the calligraphed wooden plaque, and properly said thank you.
When Luo Shi then drew Yue Tui’s name, his expression completely changed. Fan Tong didn’t know how to even describe the subtle, complex look on Luo Shi’s face, but he was just waiting for an entertaining scene to unfold.
Luo Shi walked up to Yue Tui and seemed unable to act. Perhaps he didn’t even know what to say. It looked as if he was quickly turning into a stiff wooden sculpture. Since it seemed to be going nowhere, Yue Tui just went and hugged Luo Shi himself and pecked his face before thanking him and taking the gift with an overall extremely practiced manner.
Luo Shi’s gift was extremely useful, a pack of high quality Fu Zhou papers. However, Yue Tui excelled at everything but Fu Zhou, so giving it to him was basically a waste.
As for the respected Luo Shi that had turned into a human statue, he seemed to have petrified into stone after receiving Yue Tui’s hug. Who knew when he’d return to a functional state?
You’re clearly very happy, exactly how thin is your skin?
Next, to his unfortunate luck, Yue Tui drew Bi Rou.
Of course, the only one who would know this was unfortunate was Fan Tong, who was always with him. He felt that while Yue Tui had become as rigid as Luo Shi, Bi Rou was very happy.
“Oh, Yue Tui’s gift is for me? So happy~”
Oi, you already have Yin Shi, stop trying to get Yue Tui as well! Have you really not realized he dislikes you?
Because rejecting would make his thoughts too obvious and it was inappropriate for this kind of situation, Yue Tui smiled with great difficulty and gave Bi Rou a hug and a superficial peck. His gift was a small potted plant. Although Bi Rou said she’d take good care of it, Fan Tong felt that Yue Tui’s gaze towards Bi Rou turned colder after their hug.
There were two people left. Technically, there should’ve been a high chance of Bi Rou drawing Yin Shi, but she just had to draw Ling Shi. Although Yin Shi’s eyes grew wide in protest, he couldn’t change the reality.
“Wow, Xiao Rou is giving her gift to me? And she’s even going to hug and kiss me, not bad.”
Ling Shi glanced at Yin Shi, his tone complacent. His gaze seemed to be purposely baiting Yin Shi, and Yin Shi, being very simple-headed, became enraged.
“You old fart! You can’t take advantage of Xiao Rou like that!”
Really, Bi Rou, are you seriously going to hug another man in front of your lover? You’re not afraid of causing hostility between friends? The Western City must be very open-minded…
“There’s nothing wrong with her calling me Gege and hugging me, right? Xiao Rou, don’t you agree?”
There’s something very wrong, to the point where it could be called cheating.
“Mm, Yin Shi, don’t be mad, it’s no big deal…”
Bi Rou said before giving Ling Shi a big hug and kissing his face.
No big deal? The fact that you two hugged each other the tightest is no big deal? Lord Ling Shi, you must feel great. Is this what you would call neglecting your friends when in love?
However, Ling Shi quickly stopped smiling, and Yin Shi’s expression changed from green to gloomy; they realized that there was only one slip remaining and Ling Shi had yet to draw. In other words, Ling Shi’s gift was to be given to Yin Shi.
“Ahhh! Old man, get away from me! I don’t want to be hugged by you!”
“As if I want to! Do you think your body armor is soft?”
“Get away, get away, get away! I don’t want your gift! Shoo!”
“I would prefer to give it to the guards in front of Shen Wang Dian over you, but this is a rule that we have to follow, don’t we?”
Yin Shi refused to submit even unto death. When Ling Shi hugged him with an expression of loathing and his lips brushed against Yin Shi’s face, Yin Shi had an expression of extreme disgust. It was an extremely displeasing experience for the both of them…
Ling Shi’s gift was just a different approach to Luo Shi’s. While Luo Shi had given away blank Fu Zhou, Ling Shi had given away already drawn Fu Zhou that could be used immediately. It was a pity that giving it to Yin Shi was just a waste, as he could already draw the charms, rendering the gift useless.
After the gift exchange was completed, everyone sat on the grass and chatted. Occasionally, they’d spot a shooting star and would hurriedly make a wish.
Fan Tong had once heard that any wishes made on a shooting star would come true, so he couldn’t help but get excited by the sight of shooting stars streaking across the sky. Thus, when he caught one from the corner of his eye, he opened his mouth to make a wish.
“I hope that my debt will not disappear! The more the better!”
The shooting star disappeared into the horizon.
Both him and the others that had heard his wish couldn’t bring themselves to speak any further.
Eventually, everyone somewhat dispersed. Yue Tui, who wanted some peace and quiet, went to sit in another corner and would come back to the central area only to retrieve tea once in a while.
“Bi Rou, why don’t you want to marry?”
Because he happened to pass by Bi Rou sitting alone next to the tea, Fan Tong couldn’t help but ask out of curiosity.
“I just feel that if Yin Shi knew my true face, he wouldn’t want me.”
Bi Rou sadly replied. Fan Tong couldn’t figure out why.
“Don’t tell me your true face is extremely beautiful?”
“I was beautiful in the first place… ah, are you being sarcastic and saying that my current appearance isn’t beautiful? How mean.”
No….. just forget it.
Because they couldn’t understand each other, Fan Tong gave up on asking and after filling his cup with tea, turned to walk to where Yue Tui was sitting.
Although Yue Tui probably wanted to enjoy his time quietly alone, Fan Tong still needed to do something, so he walked over and sat next to Yue Tui.
“Yue Tui, this…”
Fan Tong took out a wrapped box. Yue Tui looked at him in confusion.
“….? This is?”
Yue Tui grew even more confused.
“Isn’t the gift exchange… didn’t you draw Luo Shi? Your present… huh?”
You’re so lost. Really, is it that hard to understand?
“I bought this as an additional thing since I wanted to give you a present. I think you’ll like it. Ah, and I hope that you continue to give me advice this year.”
It’s really great that the curse didn’t do anything! Victory!
Yue Tui finally understood. His originally blank expression turned happy, and he immediately opened the present to discover something he’d never seen before.
“This is a Thousand Grass Cylinder. If you look through there and turn it, you’ll see different images.”
Yue Tui immediately looked into the kaleidoscope like Fan Tong instructed and grew amazed. He then excitedly played around with it, seemingly enjoying the gift very much as some energy returned to his gaze. After playing for a bit, he remembered that Fan Tong was still next to him, and felt ashamed for having ignored his presence.
“Fan Tong, thank you for your gift, I really like it.”
You’re welcome, I used the money I borrowed from you to buy it.
“Mm, I’m going to go grab some food, you can keep looking at it.”
After Fan Tong left, Yue Tui looked at the kaleidoscope some more before finally putting it down and shifting his gaze back to the night sky as he had before.
His mood seemed to shift from endless loneliness to one of tranquility.
A distance away, he could hear the chatter of his friends. He could feel the chilly night breeze on his skin. He could smell the scent of fresh grass in the air. And he could see the never-ending night sky and the moon that slowly climbed its way up… nevertheless, he felt disconnected from the world.
He lifted his head to look up and murmured softly to himself:
“The current me can use these eyes and look up at the same starry sky you see…”
With the chattering and laughter in the background, the youth’s quiet words were faint and indistinct.
The name he uttered silently afterwards also vanished from his closed lips.