“I wish to be pulled to your side like the sunken moon is drawn west…”
No matter how breathtaking a sunset, the beauty meets its demise as the fading sun disappears behind the mountains.
No matter how radiant the dawn is, the destiny it meets in the end is to be swallowed by the darkness.
Dusk is but a prelude to the night where ebony shadows and a vexing moon reside. There the fragile moonlight can never drive away the darkness.
I stand in front of the city gates peering into the distance, yet I don’t know what I’m looking for. With wandering thoughts, I took out my notebook and added another stroke to the many scribbles. The feeling was no longer as profound as when I wrote the first.
Today, Hui Shi still hasn’t returned.
“Lord Luo Shi, we are ready to depart.”
I packed up my notebook and fixed my expression until it was no different than it usually was.
Hui Shi always told me that I shouldn’t mind my status, that I should just have fun like other children. My hand gently brushed against a hanging from my waist. Looking past my name carved on the plate, I caught a glimpse of the red tassel hanging beneath. With a slight frown, the usually tense feelings tightened even more.
Only five people in The Eastern City are given jade plates with the name “Shi”.
Among the five, only my tassel is the common red.
Following my left, this person probably didn’t bear any ill intention when saying that. It still made my mood worse nonetheless.
“If it was Yin Shi, Ling Shi, or one of the others who came, you’d be more at ease, wouldn’t you?”
I didn’t mean for it to sound so prickly.
I wish I could be more honest. If I were, maybe more people will like me?
Although I think that, I still cannot do it.
“I’m… I’m sorry! Lord Luo Shi, that’s not what I meant!”
After hearing the terror-filled apology, I ignored that person and silently continued.
This world is called . When I was born, “” has already existed for a long, long time.
In the beginning, The Eastern City and the Western City discovered “Chen Yue” together. As an artifact of the gods, Chen Yue possesses unbelievable power. It can attract the wandering souls of other worlds, create paths that lead them to ours, and give new life by providing them with new bodies. Our two cities take turns greeting these people and allow them to become part of the community as New Residents.
New Residents are important human resources. In recent years, the welcoming process gradually became a battle as neither city wants to see its enemy growing stronger. Whether it be Luo Yue’s turn or ours, those despicable people from Luo Yue hogged the New Residents. Thus, whenever news of a new soul arrives, we would both send crack troops to wait at the pathway’s exit. It typically ends with bloodshed to obtain the soul. The time we have to defeat the other troop is when the soul’s body is still forming, before the person walks out of the pathway.
The troops who come to snatch the newcomer always prepare a to teleport themselves home. Since both The Eastern City and the Western City can do this, whoever catches the person walking out of the path first and teleports, wins.
The pathways of Chen Yue usually open when the moon is at its zenith. And only during this time would the area surrounding the pathway be safe for humans to enter. That is why they chose to depart at dusk. When they arrive, it will be the perfect time for entrance.
“Lord Luo Shi, the people from Luo Yue have also arrived.”
I heard the report from my comrade, nodded, and looked to the field across from us.
The place was lit only by the faint threads of light from the pathway’s exit. As long as we can see our enemy’s numbers and appearance, that bit is enough.
I knew they can see us as well. The light reflected from the swords waving for battle is truly stinging. The already horrible mood worsened again.
“Prepare the spell!”
Apart from the talismans used to teleport home, there are also other ones for offense and defense. As for me, I direct a group of attackers.
I hoped to vent my feelings of irritation and emptiness in this battle.
Desiring destruction, I also took out seals for attack and gazed at the people across from us.
Hui Shi, just where did you go?
I’m always searching for you, always waiting for you to return……
My name is Fan Tong. I work as a fortune teller. When doing business at my stall, I use the alias “”. But since I was cursed, business became very difficult… No, I should say it actually became better, though it’s a nonsense kind of “better”. It gives me complicated feelings. Oh, of course, I can’t leave out the details regarding my curse problem. Speaking of the incident, there was seriously no justice to it at all! Why am I so unlucky–I call this lady an “aunt” once, and she curses me! She cursed that for nine out of every ten sentences I say, words will be reversed. And it came true! Her face was too mature. Was it my fault I couldn’t tell her age?
So what exactly does this mean? Take this for example. When I see a male customer, I’d want to call him a “mister”, but my mouth will blurt out “miss”. Then he beats me up. What? You say this isn’t serious? This is clearly a crisis! Alright, let me clarify this. No need to thank me. You’re welcome.
It works like this:
“Miss.” I am hit with a painful punch.
“Miss, I didn’t mean to say that. It’s because…” Another punch.
“Miss, please let me explain…” Again.
“Miss…” And again.
“You blind ass. D’you just realize I was a guy?!”
And I get beaten anyways.
That means I have a ten percent chance of saying something normal. But what’s the use! If it only shows up the tenth time, doesn’t that mean I’ve already been punched nine times? Actually, no. Usually, it’s not just one punch near the end. I learned this from experience by the way… but that’s besides the point. Other than the words reversing, what’s worse is that not every single word changes. So even if I try to think the opposite of what I want to say, it’s still useless. I’ve already experienced the superpowers of this curse and the many incredible functions it comes with. Now, I am more than full from tasting its various surprises. Plus, I’m inherently an honest, good guy. Even if the guy’s some gullible idiot, I won’t take advantage of him.
There’s something else that’s tragic too. When the witch cursed me, she told me the curse will only be lifted if I can hold a normal conversation with someone for ??? sentences. Well, when she was saying that important detail, the number, some kid screamed nearby and I missed it. And before I could verify the information with her, she left… Now, who knows what absurd number it could be? Maybe it’s a million, maybe it’s nine billion! Maybe I will rot my tongue speaking for all my seventy cherry blossom springs and still never reach that number! And it’s not like I can just talk to myself either, I have to be speaking with another person. With my mouth, everyone’d probably run away after just a couple sentences!
Let me think very calmly. Let me think very, very calmly.
Thanks to this curse, I am still single with no girlfriend. The closest, most intimate friend to me in my life is “the slap” …seriously not something to be proud of.
There’s no helping it. Whenever I want to praise a girl’s beauty, my mouth would blurt out, “You’re ugly,” “You made me lose my appetite,” “You are the most gullible sucker I know,” or some similar others. Because of this circumstance, no girls approach me and I hope none will. If any did, they cannot be normal. I prefer quality over quantity, you know! I can live my life alone anyways! It’s just that I have to apologize to my ancestors for not producing an heir…
Girlfriends I don’t need, but my stomach I must feed. My fortune telling service can only continue. It provides me with opportunities to converse with others as well. So hey, two birds with one stone. Although I do worry about what would happen if I do business with this mouth, this is the only job I’ve had until now. So even if I pass the point of no return, I will still have to try this out.
This brings us back to what I said before. I don’t know why, but probably because my words became all mysterious sounding, and the incomprehensible sentences gave me a true master’s aura, business actually became better! You can call it profiting from a disaster, but I still can’t accept it! Even though everything I spouted is all messy gibberish, it’s beneficial for my business. Doesn’t that mean the fortunes I told before were all wrong? Dammit!
Ok, I have already calmly pondered for a long time, but it seems that that was no help. Is this a dream? Why can’t I wake up? Where is this place?
Now that I think about it, I must feel sorry for that person. Even in a dream, my defect follows me and won’t let go. Made me waste so much time before I could agree to their dying wish. The person looked like they were about to die with their eyes open and could never rest in peace…
…so just what is this place?
If this isn’t a dream, could I be cursed by someone again? Who did I anger this time? I already refrained from addressing my customers lately!
I examined my surroundings then noticed the end of this path. I might as well walk towards it and see. I’m already so unfortunate. What else can scare me?
Walking and walking, I arrived at the exit. When I poked my head out, I discovered that… I am still quite scared.
The attacks used by the two sides fighting each other outside are seriously no joke. The special effects I couldn’t understand, but the exploding meat and blood? I understand that no matter what logic is behind it.
Sigh. God, what should I do now? Should I bet on a winning team? Can I wake up from this dream if it wins? Ahahahahah. Ouch! That guy over there split in half! Can I faint now? Is that even possible in a dream?
“Hurry and come out!”
While the two sides ferociously beat each other to a bloody pulp and I watched them wondering if I should place a bet, a bishounen suddenly appeared in front of me. Standing at a distance, he told me to join the sea of drama…… N… No. It’s becoming more and more like a dream, yet it’s becoming more and more… unlike one.
“No! I don’t have a chicken’s worth of ability! Telling me to go out is the same as telling me to die!”
Heavens! I spoke a normal sentence! It’s so touching to be able to express myself properly, especially during this crucial moment regarding life and death…
The bishounen wrinkled his eyebrows. How odd. I didn’t say anything wrong. Did he not understand me? Even if he didn’t understand, can’t he see my strong will to live?
“What are you talking about? You’re already dead. Didn’t you know, Fan Tong?”
Wait wait wait waiiiiiiitttt a minute! I won’t fuss about how you know my name, but how could I have died without knowing it! So is this heaven? Or is this hell? Can I have some hope that this is heaven? Though this place looks nothing like it…
“Lord Luo Shi! Behind you!”
While I was still confused about the whole matter, the bishounen, who I’m guessing is called Luo Shi, dodged to the side with a surprisingly light and graceful step… And in my face came an enormous fireball, flying towards me for full-body contact.
I heard a couple screams and cries, saw the bishounen look at me with a panicked expression on his face, and… because it seriously hurts too much, I can’t broadcast the situation right now. In short, it’s about the same as when three billion dollars worth of cash is pressing on your body, the same ugh feeling that makes you want to cuss. You guys all look so surprised. Can’t someone just come and help me?
I’m already dead. Although I still haven’t accepted the fact or figured out why I died, is there really a need to kill me again?
No, actually, it is still debatable whether this counts as a dead person dying, or if it’s just a corpse blasting to pieces…
Slender fingers soothed through the black hair that is softer than satin. Combing has just finished. It is now time to provide this beautiful hair a fitting style.
The owner of the hair sat quietly and waited for her servant to finish his job. She is the most respected Lord of The Eastern City. Of course, such a person would not need to dress herself.
“Is any hairstyle all right?
A tray of hair accessories has already been prepared by her side. The speaker’s deep voice naturally infiltrated the silent room. It did not feel like an interruption to the stillness.
“Do as you will.”
The girl answered half-heartedly. With her reply, he held a pin and began setting the various decorations with a skillful hand. The technique displayed a true mastery of the art. Shortly after, the originally loose threads of hair exuded a dignified, yet luxurious appearance. Thus, he packed up the remaining tools and got ready to take leave.
“Ling Shi. Clothes.”
After placing the things back to their proper places, he was about to ask for permission to excuse himself. With the girl’s light sentence, he changed his mind and said,
He walked towards the cupboard hanging with gorgeous garments and accessories, and began searching for the perfect outfit to match her hair.
Logically speaking, people usually choose an outfit before dressing the hair. But since the girl only asked for the clothes now, he could only switch the order and make adjustments accordingly.
Then, the makeup must be redone as well.
He carried back a long-sleeved silken dress, and helped the now standing girl unclothe her original attire. Draping the dress over her, he carefully buttoned it up from the front.
Adjusting her clothes, tying the lace around her waist, lifting her arms, and slipping them into sleeves… Regardless, there was nothing erotic about the process.
“Who is commanding the troops this time?”
Actually, she rarely cares about the happenings within the city. Of course she didn’t know whose turn it is for the welcome ceremony. Even now, she was asking only for the sake of asking.
“Luo Shi is.”
Ling Shi replied blandly while bringing the cosmetics equipment. As expected, the girl didn’t question further. He could tell that her mood isn’t wonderful today.
Probably that was why she tried to find a topic for conversation.
Although knowing that, Ling Shi would not comfort her or do anything particularly considerate.
Because she doesn’t need it. Rather than comforting words, she prefers her depressed sentiments to be kept secret.
The supposedly impeccable esteem influences her, makes her loathe anyone who discovers any hint of vulnerability from her.
The room became quiet again. Wiping off the makeup from before, he added color to the pale, clear skin with a scarlet pencil.
Her skin is like porcelain, so delicate and flawless that foundation isn’t even needed. Only some light colors for a rosy complexion was used at most. However, since she doesn’t favor cosmetics generally, just a couple touches to the eyebrows and lips were enough.
Once done, she was again that icy, stunning Queen.
…Prouder than anyone, more noble than anyone, peerless in the whole of Eastern City.
“Is Yin Shi back?”
After the last smear of color is added to her lips, she spoke again and asked this question.
“Not yet. I’m guessing he will very soon.”
He didn’t know what answer she wanted.
The person was spared from being called “that rascal” or “that idiot” this time……Even if he finished his business, there’s no guarantee he’d come back immediately. There are so many places that could prolong his trip, so many things that could be reasons for him to waste time, and they’re not just excuses.
“Tell him to come see me when he’s back.”
He nodded to her instructions. Now, the girl had no other requests and was no longer facing his direction, and so he quietly left her bedroom.
Along his way down the hall, the Communication Charm rang.
He picked it up suspecting trouble again.
Ever since Chen Yue opened pathways for New Residents to come in, a life-support system was constructed within both The Eastern and Western Cities ––––– The Pond.
Although called The Pond, its size isn’t small and it does have a certain depth to it. It is fine for boats to float on it and actually takes a bit of time to make a lap. It’s actually no different from a lake, but since it has always been called The Pond, people continue to use that name. There is no particular reason why, and no one feels the need to change it.
The Pond is directly connected to Chen Yue’s energy, possessing powers to construct incoming souls. When a New Resident dies, the soul will automatically be sent to The Pond’s bottom. When soul reconstruction is complete, the person will float to top with a new, healthy body.
During this moment as well, Chen Yue’s power was in operation at the bottom of The Pond. A young boy’s soul became clearer in appearance, waiting to fully merge with his new body. He opened his eyes. Fragments of hopelessness and despair from before his death still lurked in his sky-blue eyes.
Discovering that he was surrounded by water and cannot breathe, the young man quickly decided to kick his feet and glide his arms to reach the water surface.
The feeling of directly touching ice cold water with a naked body could not be called comfortable. Piercing to the bones was more like it. Accompanied by an unnamed type of panic, he couldn’t get used to it.
Penetrating the surface, he was welcomed by the chilling night air. The supposedly dazzling golden hair glued itself to his cheeks and neck. The boy raised his elegant face and saw the moon hanging in the distance.
Under the sparse, thin moonlight, he looked down to his arms and fingers, then to the landscape by the pond’s shore. The conclusion he came to instantly made him speechless.
After a long while in the emptiness, with a sentient voice he asked himself…
Proofreader: Aindra, Roniz, Zeleio
Tai Sui is the divine deity in charge of the world’s general affairs. A person’s bliss, health, luck and misfortune are all under the care of Him. He serves as a reminder to avoid misdeeds, to take good care of health and to avoid offending the Tai Sui so that misfortune will not strike.
As for “Fan Tai Sui”, it means you are clashing with Tai Sui this year. This happens when your zodiac is the same as the Zodiac of the Year. For example, year 2009 is “Year of the Cow”. All people born on years of the cow had clashed with Tai Sui that year.