There will definitely be trouble. When Su Yi Mo had left this afternoon for his other mansion to visit Jing Qiu Han, he’d predicted that Jing Qiu Han would be concerned about his sister, the news that his sister had not been rescued out successfully had been met with disappoint and worry.
“I don’t know what Lan Kuang will do to my sister!” Jing Qiu Han had worried, his voice hitching up a tone before the expression changed as he pulled Su Yi Mo into the house, hugging him as he vented for a while.
To be honest, at that time, Su Yi Mo was feeling a little guilty, that was the only reason why he had promised to stay the night.
Moreover, Jing Qiu Han had prepared a whole table full of dishes that Su Yi Mo liked.
“Ah Mo, I’m also almost fully recovered, why don’t you just get rid of the body double now?” Jing Qiu Han suggested during dinner.
Su Yi Mo felt his heart skip a beat, he refused to even entertain that thought, and so all he could do was fake a smile: “You have only just been discharged from the hospital. The injuries from before were so severe, I think you should spend a longer time recuperating just to be safe!”
“But… I am so bored being all by myself!” Jing Qiu Han said as he placed his chopsticks on the table and scurried over to Su Yi Mo’s side of the table, burrowing himself into his arms, “I just want to be with you. I don’t want to hide and pretend any longer…”
“Are we not together now?” Su Yi Mo placated as he rubbed soothing circles on to Jing Qiu Han’s back, “Besides, I am wary of Lan Kuang at the moment, he may send men to cause trouble again. Just be good and stay here okay? This way I won’t be as worried.”
“What about my little sister?” Jing Qiu Han sulked, “I am very worried about her. Ah Mo, you have to think of a solution to rescue her quickly!”
“Don’t you worry, I will think of something.” Su Yi Mo sighed, looks like he will have to use the ace in his sleeve to make the rescue a successful one.
Jing Qiu Han looked up at Su Yi Mo’s side profile, raising a hand to caress the man before him: “Ah Mo, I still worry…”
Su Yi Mo reacted before he could stop himself by grabbing on to Jing Qiu Han’s arm before he could touch him. “What are you worried about?” he quickly replied.
“I am worried you will be stolen away from me!” Jing Qiu Han straightened his posture and looked directly at Su Yi Mo, “You have someone who looks exactly like me, I am afraid you will start having feelings for him!”
Surprised, Su Yi Mo schooled his features so as not to betray his actual thoughts as he replied: “You worry too much.”
Jing Qiu Han was actually very good at reading people, he was also wary that if he kept pushing Su Yi Mo’s buttons, even if he were his lover, he would still face his fury, and so he joked: “I know, I know, I always over think everything. However, Ah Mo, can you promise to come and see me more often in the future?”
“Okay.” Su Yi Mo nodded his head in agreement as he reached for Jing Qiu Han’s rice bowl and chopsticks before handing them over to him. “Eat.”
After dinner, while the two of them sat together on the couch to watch movies, Jing Qiu Han decided to take the offensive. First, he went to shower, after which, he covered himself in a bathrobe exposing a large expanse of skin that had been flushed red from the hot water.
It was absolutely enticing.
Su Yi Mo looked at him and immediately understood the direction of which this was going towards.
Jing Qiu Han watched as Su Yi Mo eyed him up, and allowed a seductive smile to grow on his lips as he made his way towards the couch. With knees on either side of Su Yi Mo’s thighs, Jing Qiu Han laced all ten of his fingers behind Su Yi Mo’s neck, his voice low with need: “Ah Mo, let’s do it!”
Su Yi Mo wrapped an arm around Jing Qiu Han waist and before he could even say anything, Jing Qiu Han had already made the first move and latched his lips onto Su Yi Mo’s.
After a tense battle between tongues, Su Yi Mo’s breathing was hardly affected whereas Jing Qiu Han was utterly out of breath. The image of him panting was enough to get anyone watching him excited.
“I need to go take a shower first…” Su Yi Mo said as he made to push Jing Qiu Han away. Jing Qiu Han refused to budge: “Let’s do it first, shower later…”
Su Yi Mo could not protest and so he pushed Jing Qiu Han onto the couch and kissed him fiercely on the lips.
The kiss was a lot longer this time. It ranged from the lips, down to his neck, the collarbones, followed by the little nubs on the chest…
Jing Qiu Han threw his head back to expose more of his long slender neck as he panted heavily. Su Yi Mo could not help the tremble that erupted from deep within as he watched the two peaks turn red.
Jing Qiu Han then proceeded to wrap his leg around Su Yi Mo’s waist, inviting him to take the next step.
Su Yi Mo’s attention was abruptly distracted by the numerous healing bullet wounds that patterned his pale chest. The scars were barely healed over and it seemed as though the slight movement was going to rip them raw again.
Finally, Su Yi Mo found his excuse. He stopped whatever he had been doing: “Xiao Han, the doctor said that for your injuries to heal properly, you should refrain from any rigorous activities for the time being.”
Once he said that, Su Yi Mo ignored the look of disappointment from Jing Qiu Han and helped him sit back up as he fixed up the bathrobe to cover Jing Qiu Han properly. Once done, he carried jing Qiu Han back into the bedroom: “You just take it easy now. We can always pick up where we left off once you have recovered completely.”
Jing Qiu Han still refused to back down as he held on to Su Yi Mo’s arm: “Ah Mo…”
Su Yi Mo patted his arm and coaxed gently: “Be good.”
Although Jing Qiu Han was entirely unwilling, he was more afraid of Su Yi Mo getting annoyed and so he released his arm and watched as Su Yi Mo picked up his outer jacket: “Are you leaving already?”
“Yes… There’s still some business that needs to be handled back at the company.” Su Yi Mo said as he laid a soft kiss onto Jing Qiu Han’s forehead, “Plus, I still need to think up a plan to rescue your sister. All these things need proper planning, things are changing all the time, and we need to be prepared.”
Jing Qiu Han was unable to refute anything Su Yi Mo had just said and so all he could do was mumble a very unwilling “Then be careful”.
“Understood.” Su Yi Mo bade his goodbye and left.
Su Yi Mo left Jing Qiu Han’s place around ten in the evening, without having anything to do, Su Yi Mo decided to just drive around and pass time. By the time he made it back home, it was already past midnight. He had thought Ran Feng Ge would have long fallen asleep, and so when he heard the eerie piano sounds, he immediately became alert.
Ran Feng Ge was a mystery. The more he tried to get close to him, the more mysteries he seemed to uncover.
His past with Lan Kuang for example…
Why he chose to become a body double along with those two extremely volatile people he calls friends…
How he managed to become so talented and yet still remain so humble…
Damn it! It wasn’t easy for Su Yi Mo to finally stop thinking about Ran Feng Ge, and now that he started, he could not stop…
This was one of the major reasons that made him go check out the piano room as he wanted to make sure that Ran Feng Ge was okay. Seeing the remnants of dried tears at the corners of Ran Feng Ge’s eyes made Su Yi Mo’s heart wrench.
“Hey!” Ran Feng Ge slapped his hand on the table top a few more times trying to get Su Yi Mo’s attention. Su Yi Mo came out of his reverie and found Ran Feng Ge staring at him, on his face was a look of upset: “I was asking you a question! Why are you ignoring me? If you are really troubled, then tell me! It isn’t as though I won’t take responsibility for it…” Ran Feng Ge tapped his chest and continued: “Don’t you worry, I will definitely get this done so that your little lover’s sister will be safe and sound!”
Su Yi Mo stoically eyed Ran Feng Ge directly and asked, his tone a little harsh: “What are you planning?”
Ran Feng Ge gave a confident laugh: “I have a plan, that’s all! Oh right, I’ve slacked off for a good while now, I’m gonna piggyback your ride to the company tomorrow!”
Once he finished, Ran Feng Ge picked up his bowl and drank the last mouthfuls of his porridge and pushed his empty bowl towards Su Yi Mo: “You can wash up yeah!”
It was at this point that Ran Feng Ge finally noticed Su Yi Mo’s expression – he wasn’t happy, not happy at all. “Aiyah! Since you cooked, you might as well wash up too! I’ll give you high distinction for today’s meal okay?”
“Whee, what a smarty pants!” Ran Feng Ge laughed as he patted Su Yi Mo on the shoulders before stifling a yawn. “I am so tired. I’m going to bed first, good night!”
A certain person quickly slipped away while yawning, leaving the mess in the kitchen all to Su Yi Mo…
Once back in his room, Ran Feng Ge threw himself onto his bed and stared absentmindedly up at the ceiling. His sleepiness just now was all an act.
He acted very confident just now, but there wasn’t much he could do to rescue Jing Qiu Han’s little sister.
Unless he got close to Lan Kuang once again…
But it was easier said than done. That man was just too dangerous. He was like a wild fire, if you were negligent for just one moment, the fire would get out of control and burn everything in its path.
When he was talking to Su Yi Mo, Ran Feng Ge had been observing him closely, there was no need to say it out loud, but they both knew that if they didn’t rescue Jing Qiu Lan, Su Yi Mo was going to be very troubled.
If Ran Feng Ge was going to be one hundred percent honest, there was a way to get things done.
And that was to once again pretend to be An Mu and appear in front of Lan Kuang. Using Lan Kuang’s obsession with An Mu, perhaps he would be able to get Lan Kuang to lower his guard enough to create an opportunity to rescue Jing Qiu Lan…
But there were too many wild cards in this plan, and if he wasn’t careful, Ran Feng Ge was going to be pulled in to the mess again.
It wasn’t easy for him to escape the first time… The thought of getting pulled back in again was horrifying.
That man… That man really can’t be angered…
Rolling onto his side and closing his eyes, Su Yi Mo’s perturbed expression appeared in front of him and refused to disappear. Ran Feng Ge sighed deeply and gripped onto the blanket tightly as he told himself, just this once. Just this one more time – help him rescue that little girl!
This could be repayment for the meal Su Yi Mo prepared for him today.
Just as Ran Feng Ge was about to drift off to sleep, his lips tingled with a sweet memory from before.
And that was… Su Yi Mo’s kiss.
Su Yi Mo used the tip of his tongue to trace Ran Feng Ge’s teeth, coaxing gently until they parted, allowing his tongue to gain further entry into the moist cavern, entwining with Ran Feng Ge’s own tongue in a dance.
Ran Feng Ge did not actually mind this kiss.
In the beginning, Ran Feng Ge did just allow his body to go with the flow, but as the minutes ticked by, he could not help himself when he started to enjoy the emotions that were coming forth, and so instead of struggling, the hands that had been fighting to push Su Yi Mo away relaxed and started to inch higher. Ran Feng Ge’s arms hooked around Su Yi Mo’s neck as he pulled him closer, his right hand coming to rest at the back of Su Yi Mo’s head; pulling him closer as he deepened the kiss.
Seeing Ran Feng Ge’s reaction, Su Yi Mo was pleasantly surprised. However, surprise soon turned into annoyance as he felt some thing tickling the back of his throat – it was very uncomfortable.
It seemed that Ran Feng Ge was very adept at kissing, and this made Su Yi Mo very unhappy.
How many partners did Ran Feng Ge have before to become so proficient in kissing?
Thinking up to this point, Su Yi Mo started to lose the drive from before; his tongue quickly retreated back behind the comfort of his own lips. Feeling annoyed, Su Yi Mo just wanted to turn and leave in that moment.
Breathless, Ran Feng Ge forced his breathing to slow down as he purposely spoke in a sultry tone: “What? Dine and dash?”
Su Yi Mo’s eyes glanced quickly at the slowly reddening and swollen lips of Ran Feng Ge: “I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me.”
Ran Feng Ge looked at Su Yi Mo with a self-deprecating smile, and said: “No worries, this happens all the time.”
When he first saw the sad smile on Ran Feng Ge’s face, Su Yi Mo felt a wave of regret overcome him, but as soon as his next words came out of his mouth, this happens all the time, Su Yi Mo felt his heart go cold as he turned and left the room immediately.
In actuality, Ran Feng Ge’s “this happens all the time” was different to what Su Yi Mo’s was thinking. To Ran Feng Ge who had to constantly remind himself who he was at any point in time – whether he was the body double of a client or himself, he was used to people losing control of their emotions around him whenever they saw the face of their loved one.
Raising an arm to wipe the remnants of saliva from the corner of his lips, Ran Feng Ge looked as though he were reminiscing about the kiss he just had, but if one were to look closely at his gaze, they would see the loneliness that was plaguing him.
It wasn’t that he’d never suspected that his new employer “Ah Mo” was the “Ah Mo” from his childhood days who vowed that he was going to marry him. However, his “Ah Mo” was not an iceberg like this; he’d always been so happy and full of life.
Besides, they had already been apart for so many years.
And even if he really was the “Ah Mo” from his childhood, he already had a new lover – so there was nothing else Ran Feng Ge could do anymore…
Therefore, confirming it or not, it was no longer important…
In his heart, Ran Feng Ge had already decided that this “Ah Mo” was not the same person as the one from his beloved memories even though there were some overlapping qualities.
Su Yi Mo returned to his room in a haze of anger and frustration.
He didn’t understand what was wrong with himself. He was supposed to spend the night over at Qiu Han’s home, but he stopped halfway through. He just wasn’t interested in doing it anymore.
Ran Feng Ge was only the body double, the face he had on was definitely that of Qiu Han, so why? Why was it that when he faced the original Qiu Han, he was unable to continue, but with Ran Feng Ge he had the urge to crush him under him?
Up to the point where he would be jealous of Ran Feng Ge’s past partners and history…
I must be… Crazy…
Su Yi Mo left his room feeling absolutely frustrated. He quickly made his way into the kitchen and pulled open the fridge to reach for a wine bottle. Unwilling to even look for the cork screw, Su Yi Mo placed the bottle to his lips and tore the cork out with his bare teeth and took two big mouthfuls. The strong smell of alcohol spread through his mouth, sliding down his throat, filling his belly with a warm intense heat.
Upon seeing Su Yi Mo by the fridge door, Ran Feng Ge was slightly taken aback as he thought Su Yi Mo had returned to his room to sleep, that was why he had come down to finally get a bite to eat.
Having lost himself in his memories for the entire day, Ran Feng Ge had yet to have eaten anything the entire day to the point of feeling weak from hunger.
Without acknowledging the other man in the room, Ran Feng Ge pushed past him and started ransacking the cupboards.
Su Yi Mo had half a mind to return to his room immediately, however he did not actually go through with it, instead he decided to feign disinterest and asked: “What are you looking for?”
“Something to eat. I’m hungry.” Ran Feng Ge answered without even looking up as he continued on his quest to find his next meal. Lucky for him, the next compartment he opened contained a bag of smoked ham and two packets of bread – this was all he needed to make a satisfying meal.
Su Yi Mo leaned against the kitchen island his expression dark: “You haven’t eaten dinner?”
“Yeah, who knew I would lose myself thinking about things…” Ran Feng Ge mumbled absentmindedly before he realized something was strange.
Without even needing to turn around, Ran Feng Ge could feel the intense stare on his back as he hugged the bag of smoked ham and packets of bread trying to figure out the quickest route of escape back to his room: “I’m going back to my room first, enjoy.”
“Stop!” Su Yi Mo yelled out suddenly, and Ran Feng Ge immediately stopped in his tracks. Suddenly realizing that there was no need for him to be afraid of Su Yi Mo, Ran Feng Ge quickly turned around as he pulled open one of the bread packets and mumbled: “What? Something you need?”
Su Yi Mo reached forward and grabbed the bread from Ran Feng Ge’s arms and promptly tossed it into the garbage bin.
Ran Feng Ge was taken aback by Su Yi Mo’s actions as he stared wide eyed at the other man: “What are you doing?!”
“You should not be eating these kinds of foods with no nutrition.” Su Yi Mo replied as he reached for the other packet of bread residing in Ran Feng Ge’s arms.
Ran Feng Ge squeezed the bread in his hand to prevent him from taking it and his expression was uphappy: “I want to eat it; it’s not up to you!”
“Don’t forget that you just had surgery, if you don’t want your gastric disease to get worst, you better listen to me.” Su Yi Mo said as he grasped the bread packet and threw it into the bin.
Ran Feng Ge was pissed. When the hell did bread become something unhealthy? If it was truly unhealthy, why the heck was it in the kitchen cupboards then??
Feeling more and more indignant, Ran Feng Ge reached for the bottle in Su Yi Mo’s hand and threw said bottle into the bin in one smooth action.
Having been too quick, by the time Su Yi Mo registered what had happened; his freshly opened bottle of wine was now in the company of the bread in the trash.
Ran Feng Ge stared at Su Yi Mo’s surprised face and instead of feeling fear; he could not help the little smirk from appearing on his lips. Crossing his arms leisurely: “Drinking alcohol in the middle of the night is bad on the stomach. I am, being. Considerate. For. You.” Ran Feng Ge said as he laid emphasis on the last three words, sending them out like punches to Su Yi Mo’s gut.
Actually, Ran Feng Ge was counting on Su Yi Mo to continue the fight as he was still upset over not being able to have his smoked ham sandwich.
In the end, all Su Yi Mo did was hold Ran Feng Ge’s challenging gaze for a moment before he pulled Ran Feng Ge back into the kitchen and forcing him to take a seat at the counter: “Aren’t you hungry? I’ll make some porridge for you.”
“HUH?!” Ran Feng Ge was surprised, “Can your porridge even be eaten?”
Su Yi Mo had been in the middle of folding up his sleeves when he heard Ran Feng Ge’s comment; Su Yi Mo was already feeling irritated, even if the porridge is a disaster, at least he could find a distraction. Besides, it seemed as though his irritation was ebbing away the longer he stayed beside Ran Feng Ge.
It seems… He was eager to spend time with Ran Feng Ge…
Hearing what Ran Feng Ge said, Su Yi Mo couldn’t help feeling a little helpless before he gently said: “Well, if you sit right next to me as I work, you can point out my mistakes and correct them as we go along.”
“Fine, do your worst then.” Ran Feng Ge relented with a pout.
“You need to wash the rice at least twice, my dude!”
“Oi! That is too much water!”
“You need to let the green beans soak a little longer, add in the rice first!”
“The fire! The fire! Lower it down a little or else the water is gonna dry up!”
“Yeaahh, once the green beans open up, it will be ready.”
This could be counted as the first time Su Yi Mo cooked successfully. The first time where he followed the cookbooks did not count as all he did was fumble around and the things that were made could kill a person instead of save one. Therefore, Su Yi Mo really put his all in as he prepared this dish.
At the end, even though it was just an ordinary bowl of green bean rice porridge, this was his first successful attempt at creating something edible from scratch. Su Yi Mo couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit of self-satisfaction bubbling up from within.
Scooping out a bowl, Su Yi Mo grabbed a spoon from the cutlery drawer and placed the finished product down before Ran Feng Ge: “Try it.”
Ran Feng Ge did not need to be asked twice and quickly tucked in. He was there during the entire preparation, so Ran Feng Ge was fairly certain this was going to be good. The faint scent of green beans permeated from the rice porridge as Ran Feng Ge brought a spoonful of it up to his lips, blowing it slightly before shoving it straight into his mouth. En, the rice is nice and soft and the green beans have mixed in really well.
Su Yi Mo stood to the side watching Ran Feng Ge eat with slight apprehension: “So, how is it?”
Coughing lightly, Ran Feng Ge quickly took on the persona of a lord: “Hmm, passable. As your first try, this is admirable. You pass!”
Su Yi Mo could tell right from the moment Ran Feng Ge took his first bite that he really enjoyed the taste of the porridge. He knew that Ran Feng Ge was being difficult on purpose but didn’t mind it at all. He took another bowl out and scooped himself a portion and settled down directly opposite Ran Feng Ge.
Ran Feng Ge quickly slurped the remaining porridge down before getting up to get himself a second helping of the porridge from the pot. As he watched Su Yi Mo gracefully swallow each mouthful of the porridge, Ran Feng Ge slowed his eating speed down to gracefully match the other man.
The kitchen soon fell into a comfortable silence.
Su Yi Mo didn’t mind the silence but Ran Feng Ge couldn’t help but feel a little weird – two grown men sitting together drinking porridge in the middle of the night.
Clearing his throat slightly, Ran Feng Ge acted as though he were asking was about the weather: “So, why did you come home tonight?”
Su Yi Mo carefully placed his spoon against the side of the bowl and replied: “This is my home, do I have to report to you whether or not I’m coming home?” Su Yi Mo’s eyes gleamed.
Shrugging, Ran Feng Ge absentmindedly continued to shove spoonful’s of porridge into his mouth before replying: “I am only asking to make sure you don’t get hated by your little lover, that’s all! I didn’t rescue his little sister last time… Will this cause you trouble?”
Whatever that was in his hand was flimsy, light and made of who knows what material, Ran Feng Ge pinched it this way and that, and found that whatever it was, it was slightly sticky to the touch; kind of like playdough – yet it was not playdough.
Lifting his small arms, Ran Feng Ge looked at the man in front of him before reaching forward to pinch and pull at the man’s face. He realized quickly that no matter how he tugged at it he was unable to remove anything else. Perplexed, Ran Feng Ge could not help the cute head tilt as he looked up at the man before increasing the strength he was using to try.
The mysterious man allowed Ran Feng Ge to try until the tugging started to hurt, “tsss” hissing in pain, the mysterious man grabbed onto Ran Feng Ge’s little arms: “Stop pulling already, this is my true face. No matter how much you pull at it, it won’t come off.”
Blinking his large eyes, Ran Feng Ge asked without any hesitation: “Then are you able to make a mask that looks like me?”
The man laughed happily: “Of course!”
“Make one now and let me see.” Ran Feng Ge ordered with as much authority as he could manage.
“Eh…” The man scratched at the side of his head, “This will require some time to make preparations…”
“What do you need to prepare?” Ran Feng Ge asked.
“Materials and so forth.” The man said.
“Here, I’ll give this to you.” Ran Feng Ge said as he handed the mask he had in his hands back to the man, “Change then.”
The man stared incredulously at Ran Feng Ge.
“Then you aren’t as good as you claim.” Ran Feng Ge concluded, turned his back and prepared to leave.
The man quickly grabbed onto Ran Feng Ge: “Hey, kid, don’t leave! Let’s first find a place to rest for the night how about that?”
“… Don’t wanna.” Ran Feng Ge insisted, “What if you are a human trafficker? Then what should I do?”
The man stared again.
“You don’t have anywhere to go anyways, why don’t you come with me! I am really not lying to you. You are one kid all by yourself, what if you meet actual human traffickers? That would be worse wouldn’t it?” The man explained quickly.
Ran Feng Ge could not help pouting as he mumbled: “What makes you think I am alone? I have my family! They-they will very soon…”
“Don’t be stupid. They aren’t coming back! I saw it all happen. They abandoned you on purpose!” Frustrated, the man accidentally spilled all the beans before he could stop himself.
As expected, Ran Feng Ge’s little face screwed up as big fat tears started pouring out from his eyes. His little hands balled up tightly into fists as he cried: “No, no, no! They will come backl! They will come back!” as soon as he finished, Ran Feng Ge kicked the man in his shin, “I hate you!”
He turned immediately and started running!
The man’s face paled immediately and he silently reprimanded himself for his idiocy, for adding oil to fire, and rubbing salt into wounds… Why would Ran Feng Ge leave with him now? He hopped up from the ground as fast as he could; reached down for the luggage Ran Feng Ge had left behind and sprinted after the little boy.
“Ai! Little kid! It was my fault! I was wrong! Please stop running! In a snowstorm like this, it will be very easy for you to just slip and fall – aiyar! See, I told you so! Oi! Oi! There is a car coming, are you not going to dodge?”
With his free hand, the man scooped the heartbroken little Ran Feng Ge up from the snow and into his arms and jumped out of the way of incoming traffic. The car barely missing them by a hair’s length – but it still missed them in the end.
No matter how tough Ran Feng Ge pretended to be, he was still but a young child. He did think of the possibility that he had been abandoned, but he was unable to accept the reality of it. Having his emotional and mental scars ripped raw by the man so suddenly, Ran Feng Ge could not help but sob painfully.
The man looked at the heartbroken little boy in his arms and sighed, the arms around Ran Feng Ge tightened as he gently said: “Just cry, once you finish crying, you’ll be alright.”
Sensing the man’s sincerity; the gentle voice comforting him by his head, Ran Feng Ge was soon unable to fight against the man any longer. He buried his head deep into the man’s embrace, his little fists clutching onto the man’s coat as though he were drowning and this was his only lifeline…
After a while, the man noticed that Ran Feng Ge had cried himself to sleep, he reached into the luggage and pulled out a large winter jacket to cover him up properly to prevent the young child from getting any colder. And so, in one hand, the man held onto the sleeping Ran Feng Ge, in the other, the luggage. He walked to the junction they had passed by before, hailed a cab, and the two of them disappeared slowly into the darkness of the snow storm…
This man, Wu Ling, will then become the master of not only Ran Feng Ge, but of Chen Xi Ran and Mi Le. [TN Note: direct translation for Wu Ling is untraceable or shadowless)
Ran Feng Ge who had been submerged in the deep sea of memories did not realize he had been seated at the piano for the entire afternoon, unknowingly, the ten fingers that had been on the piano keys, slammed down hard all at once as though he was trying to grasp onto the disappearing trace of a dream or as though he was trying to repress the haunting image of a nightmare he had nearly forgotten. The ten keys that were forcibly pressed made a horrendous noise and yet Ran Feng Ge couldn’t hear it. All he could do was stay as he was, staring blankly into space as though he were a statue.
The moment Su Yi Mo returned home, that was the one noise he heard echoing loudly, it was a very dull and dreary tone that seemed to carry on forever, carrying with it an emotion of helplessness and despair.
Su Yi Mo’s eyebrow shot up in confusion as he handed the car keys to Ah Jiu: “What is he playing?”
“I am not too sure. It has been like this for a while now, but I did not want to go and interrupt him.” Ah Jiu replied honestly.
Su Yi Mo waved his hand to indicate that Ah Jiu should go and park his car in the garage whilst he made his way into his home.
Cutting through the living room and straight up the stairs, step after step, making his way into the room Ran Feng Ge was in. Su Yi Mo pushed open the door and teased: “Are you practicing some demonic ear torture?”
Ran Feng Ge stayed quiet.
Su Yi Mo furrowed his brows and walked right up to face Ran Feng Ge only to notice that Ran Feng Ge was not himself; his eyes gave a blank stare and yet there was a hint of sadness and despair within, and if Su Yi Mo looked even closer, he could see there were traces of dried tears on his face.
“Oi!” Su Yi Mo called out to him.
Ran Feng Ge was still quiet.
Su Yi Mo reached out and held onto one of Ran Feng Ge’s hands, disrupting the piano keys as he repeated a little louder: “Oi!”
Ran Feng Ge finally came back to his senses only to be caught off guard at the sudden image of Su Yi Mo standing right before him. It took him a while to come back to reality and realize that all that pain from before was only from his memories, and it was all in the past.
They are… all in the past now.
The edges of his eyes felt a bit dry, Ran Feng Ge was not too sure if he had cried sometime during the time he had been reminiscing, and he really did not want Su Yi Mo to find out about what he had just experienced or the internal turmoil he was suffering, and so Ran Feng Ge averted his gaze and smiled cheekily, changing the subject quickly: “You’ve returned?”
Looking out of the window, Ran Feng Ge was surprised at how dark it was outside and quickly spun his sights to the nearest clock – it was already past midnight.
He had been in a daze for so long!
Although Ran Feng Ge was trying to lighten up the atmosphere by averting his eyes, Su Yi Mo didn’t miss the fleeting emotions Ran Feng Ge was trying to hide, and he couldn’t help feeling a strange sense of heartache.
Is it only when there is no one around that Ran Feng Ge feels safe enough to show his true self? If that is true then isn’t that too cruel and lonely?
Ran Feng Ge stood up from the piano seat with an air of mischief: “What? Why didn’t you spend the night with your little lover? I thought that the two of you would have a huge night of at least 300 rounds! Or… Are you… In that department… No good? Did you just end the battle as quickly as you can and run back home with your tail between your legs?”
It might have been because Ran Feng Ge was trying to divert all the attention away from himself that he had forgotten that he had been seated in the same position for the entire day. Both his legs were already numb from the lack of proper blood flow, standing up wasn’t too much of a problem, but the moment he tried to take a step, the feeling of pins-and-needles immediately shot up both his legs, causing Ran Feng Ge to lose all the strength in his legs. Unable to stop himself, Ran Feng Ge couldn’t help but collapse forward.
Su Yi Mo took one step forward quickly, one leg coincidentally ending up in between Ran Feng Ge’s thighs as he reached to wrap one arm around Ran Feng Ge’s waist making it seem as though Ran Feng Ge had planned this on purpose to dive straight into Su Yi Mo’s embrace.
“Are you ok?” Su Yi Mo asked gently, a hint of worry lacing his words; the two figures caught in an embrace in a dark room which was only lit up by the moon outside.
Having been caught in Su Yi Mo’s arms, chest against chest, inevitably made Ran Feng Ge’s heart speed up a little. Ran Feng Ge tried to right himself as he didn’t want it to look as though he was just collapsing onto Su Yi Mo. Laughing softly to himself: “I sat too long; my legs have gone numb…”
Su Yi Mo however interrupted him, a tinge of bitterness in his tone as he said: “I was not asking about that. I was asking about what caused you to lose track of time? What made you stay so long in that position?”
“This doesn’t seem to have anything to do with you right?” Ran Feng Ge said as the feeling slowly returned to his legs. He reached both arms forward and squeezed them in the small space between them and gave a little push to free himself from Su Yi Mo, “Release me, I’m tired, I want to go and sleep.”
Instead of listening to him and letting Ran Feng Ge go, Su Yi Mo instead tightened his grip and pulled Ran Feng Ge even closer to him, if it weren’t for Ran Feng Ge’s arms between them, the two men would have been plastered together without any space left in between.
Ran Feng Ge frowned as he stared up at Su Yi Mo, he did not want others to dig into his problems – especially not Su Yi Mo.
Su Yi Mo however, was staring intently at Ran Feng Ge, slowly inching forward until he finally captured Ran Feng Ge’s lips with his own!
Ran Feng Ge could not help but widen his eyes at the sudden kiss, his first reaction was to evade and escape! However, it was as though Su Yi Mo was desperate, he chased after Ran Feng Ge’s lips, recapturing them easily.
Ran Feng Ge started to struggle, but all Su Yi Mo had to do was to squeeze his right leg that had been trapped between Ran Feng Ge’s thighs and push him back against the bookcase, thereby successfully trapping Ran Feng Ge in his arms.
Sensing the desperate fiery need of the lips on his, Ran Feng Ge turned his gaze onto Su Yi Mo before finally slowly closing his eyes. He stopped struggling, leaned back onto the bookcase and allowed Su Yi Mo full access of his body
Su Yi Mo felt the change in the person opposite him and the arm that had been encircled around Ran Feng Ge’s waist tightened as his other arm started to wander along Ran Feng Ge’s back. Instead of calming down after his sudden bout of rashness, Su Yi Mo felt even more crazed, becoming even more unwilling to stop.
for a fact that the person he was kissing right now was Ran Feng Ge; and though he had on the face of Jing Qiu Han, the person Su Yi Mo wanted to kiss so badly was Ran Feng Ge! Forcibly kiss him to no end! And if he could, Su Yi Mo would want to absorb Ran Feng Ge into his entire being!
UPDATE: Taffygirl13 has translated all of volume 4 and has it on her site. https://taffygirl13.wordpress.com/
[TN] Warning! This is an incomplete translation. There are 4 more pages in this chapter but unfortunately we do not have any volunteer translators that are interested in this work :(. It’s sad I know, If I could translate I would but I’m a humble proofreader. This and chapter 5 have been sitting around for a couple of years now and I hate that’s it’s just being wasted so decided to upload them. If you’re interested in joining us as a volunteer translator then drop us an email. Note: The pages are pictures from a hard copy book so machine translating most likely won’t work.
“I want to quickly learn how to write the Eastern City’s language so that I can actually take notes in class.” – Yue Tui
“I hope that you can quickly learn how to write the Eastern City’s language as well, so that I can pass notes during class.” – Fan Tong
On their way back to the dorm, Zhu Sha decided to go and get some of the public food rations and told both Fan Tong and Yue Tui to head back first. Because the two of them realized they didn’t particularly want to eat any of the public rations while walking, they opened their Fu Zhou communication devices to tell Zhu Sha not to bring back their portions. However, they also ended up being attacked upon opening the group conversation and overhearing Yin Shi and Bi Rou talking.
“Yin Shi! Does it hurt? I’m so worried about you!”
“Ah, Xiao Rou, I really miss you. Whenever I think about how it’s already been three hours since we last saw each other, my wound starts to hurt a bit…”
“His injury is already completely recovered without a visible trace.” Fortunately, Ling Shi’s blunt words broke the lovey-dovey air in the middle of the conversation.
“Huh? It’s already healed?”
“Yes. Ying brought him back to her room to heal it.”
Bi Rou fell silent for a while after hearing this.
“Ah! Xiao Rou! Why aren’t you speaking anymore? Don’t listen to that damn old man’s words. It was just a healing!”
“Oh? Just a healing~…” Ling Shi repeated with a very strange intonation.
[End of chapter 4, part 1]
Proofreaders: Charlotte Grey
Chapter 5: Martial Arts Competition; this time it’s an actual martial arts competition, not one competing over a marriage partner
“….Has he really done a martial arts competition to win over someone’s hand before?” – Luo Shi
“Ah, yeah, of course. Didn’t we just do one?” – Yin Shi
“So, since you beat Wei Shi, you can bring him home as your marriage partner now. Congrats.” – Ling Shi
Watching a demonstration match was fine, Fan Tong would obviously feel relaxed doing that. But the reality before him now was that he’d most definitely been registered for the upcoming grand martial arts competition, which was impossible to run away from.
Because many people had signed up for it, there were still a few days before it would be their turn. After competing, they’d have to wait another few days for the next round, which could be seen as some time to struggle while on death’s door. But as the competition progressed, the rounds would increase in number as the number of participants decreased.
This was what Fan Tong had inwardly struggled and hesitated about after he had learned that it was knock-out competition.
If I concede defeat the moment I jump on stage, would the be acceptable? That should be a proper way to drop out of the competition, right?
If this looks too unseemly, then technically losing the fight would be fine; with Yue Tui there, we should at least be able to withdraw the competition with our lives intact.
But if I think about it more closely, if killing a person results in ten strings, isn’t this a rare opportunity to get money?
If we just kill ten people, the debt can be fully repaid, with extra profit leftover! And if we keep winning after, we’d have other benefits!
As Fan Tong thought of human lives as money, he inwardly imagined of the great riches that could be earned and started to drool.
However, it was impossible for him to kill someone. Such a task was more suited for Yue Tui, or even Zhu Sha, if he was willing.
“Yue Tui, since each life is worth ten strings, please help me kill a bunch so that I can settle my debt…” These kinds of words are honestly to shameful to say. Even someone as thick-skinned as Fan Tong couldn’t bring himself to voice such a thing after much hesitation.
However, just because he wasn’t able to do it didn’t mean others couldn’t.
“Killing someone gives ten strings of earnings! Should we think about how we should spend this money?” As soon as Zhu Sha finished reading the competition’s rules, he brought this topic up without the slightest hint of hesitation.
Fan Tong didn’t think that Zhu Sha would actually be thinking the same thing as him. He wasn’t sure if he should be feeling happy or depressed about this.
“…Using this kind of method to earn money isn’t very good, right…?”
Yue Tui was still the obedient child, and clearly hesitated at this proposal.
“This method seems pretty effective. I think everyone would feel the same, so if we don’t kill them, they will definitely try to kill us.” Simply put, Zhu Sha was advocating the method of striking first to gain the advantage. He probably didn’t have any issues with personal morals. From what Fan Tong could tell, Zhu Sha was actually pretty self-centered.
“That’s…” Yue Tui stood by the principle of not harming others if others did not harm him. Asking him to suddenly change this principle seemed to be a bit difficult.
Fan Tong began to do some mental calculations. If they agreed to divide evenly, then he would only be able to win ten strings after killing three people. This was a lot lower than his original thoughts. That would mean earning enough to settle his debt would result in a literal river of blood on stage…I wonder how many people drew the fortune of “bleeding a river” this year?
But…Yue Tui’s portion can probably be counted as mine as well, right? Anyways, Yue Tui doesn’t really need any money, so I can at least borrow it from him. Plus, the number of lives taken under my name would decrease a bit, and the burden on my heart would’t be as heavy.
“Yue Tui, are you against killing others?” Zhua Sha simply decided to confirm this point. When Yue Tui heard this question, he froze momentarily before shaking his head.
“Then isn’t it fine? Just kill them off like chickens; either way, they’ll be resurrected.”
Zhu Sha’s words were simple, but Yue Tui still bitterly smiled.
“That will just incur hatred, Zhu Sha.”
“That only matters if they have the ability to get revenge.”
Fan Tong really didn’t know where Zhu Sha’s confidence came from. Was it that Zhu Sha was truly super strong? Or was it that Zhu Sha also felt that Yue Tui alone was enough?
Lord Yin Shi, Lord Ling Shi, and Luo Shi won’t possibly be able to support us from behind, so we definitely need to consider the issue of suffering any retaliations.
“I won’t take the initiative to kill anyone on stage. If you guys want to do it, I just won’t try to stop you.”
Yue Tui conceded slightly, basically planning to not meddle with Zhu Sha’s actions. As for Fan Tong, he would just go on stage to enjoy the cool air, a fact that all of them knew.
Although Zhu Sha didn’t seem very satisfied with this answer, he didn’t press any further. Tomorrow would be their first fight. In order to ensure they were in their best conditions, they decided to go to bed early.
The grand martial arts competition had both group and solo battles being held. They weren’t separated in any way, there were just special rules for soloists going up against groups.
Eastern City had three arts: Shu Fa, Fu Zhou, and Wu Shu. In 1 vs 1 battles and 3 vs 3 battles, they were allowed to use any art they wanted. Even additional personal skills could be brought into the fight. But in 1 vs 3 battles, they would have to draw lots beforehand to determine which art would be allowed in battle.
The teams could choose a representative to go up and engage in battle. Thus, there was a disadvantage for the soloist side: if they drew an art that was not the soloist’s strong point, there was a high chance that one of three people in the team would have one person excelling in the art. There was very little chance the soloist could win.
It was precisely because of this rule that most of the teams would have people with different strengths selected as members, while soloists were normally not fighting on luck, and typically had extreme confidence in their ability with all the arts. Or…it was because they didn’t have any good relationships and couldn’t find any others to register together with them.
The opponent for Fan Tong’s team today was a soloist.
According to the competition rules, they had to draw lots to choose on the competition subject. The opponent extremely generously allowed them to draw the lot. Since neither Yue Tui nor Zhu Sha had any interest in drawing the lot, Fan Tong was the representative chosen to do it.
The selected bamboo stick was to be directly given to the staff to openly announce. Fan Tong randomly chose one of the three sticks and handed it over, and they soon heard through the broadcast announcement: “The subject of this competition is—Fu Zhou!”
When the words “Fu Zhou” were loudly broadcast, Fan Tong didn’t think much of it at first. But when he turned around, he saw Zhu Sha looking at him with an expression of reproach. Yue Tui also seemed like he was struggling to say something but couldn’t. Fan Tong was momentarily confused.
“Fan Tong, you really have such bad luck. How can even your ability to draw lots be so horrible?” Zhu Sha rebuked with furrowed brows. Yue Tui also helplessly patted his shoulders.
“I’m powerless. It seems like you’ll have to go up yourself…”
Fan Tong finally understood the situation. No matter what, it seemed like he was in an extremely unfavorable situation. He hadn’t imagined that drawing Fu Zhou would lead to him having to personally go up.
Yue Tui! Aaaaaaaaah, Yue Tui! We always went to Fu Zhou Pavilion together for class, yet I completely forgot that he can’t learn Fu Zhou—there’s no way he can read out any charm. The Heavens are surely punishing me—
But what about Zhu Sha? Zhu Sha is pretty hardworking, don’t tell me he can’t use Fu Zhou either?
“Zhu Sha, can you use Fu Zhou?”
Please say you can, I beg of you!
“I dropped out of Fu Zhou Pavilion’s class after going once. I’ve been using the spare time to increase my Wu Shu and Shu Fa class time.”
How could this be? How could such a thing happen? Why would you stop going after a single class? Is Fu Zhou that unattractive to you? With how the Fu Zhou Pavilion’s teacher is, he would probably say you have no future with the Fu Zhou art upon first glance—
“You’re the only one able to use Fu Zhou, so you should go up.” Zhu Sha pointed towards the stage in a bored manner, his tone also expressing his disinterest.
“Fan Tong, it’s fine even if you lose. Just try your best, we’ll wait for you to return.” Yue Tui could only say this because he still didn’t understand Fan Tong’s speech issues. In reality, there was no way Fan Tong could succeed even if he tried his best.
Anyways, the group had already decided for him to be the representative. Even if he wasn’t willing, it was 2 vs 1; his opinion didn’t make a difference.
Before the competition began, they were given fifteen minutes to prepare, and could grab Fu Zhou paper to draw the charms as they pleased. The fifteen minutes were spent as a struggle to survive. It was neither too long or too short of a time. In order to not distract him, Yue Tui and Zhu Sha left Fan Tong in the resting room alone so that he could clear his mind. His opponent was in another newly built resting area. Just thinking about what his opponent was doing to prepare made Fan Tong extremely restless.
“Phew…Good morning. I slept really well today.”
While Fan Tong was distraught with anxiety, Puhahaha’s voice suddenly floated out to greet him. This made it impossible for him to reply cordially.
“What ‘good morning’! Its clearly evening! I’m about to die, and you’re still in the mood to say ‘good morning’!”
“Ah? Liar, it’s still bright outside, how could it be evening?”
I meant to say afternoon but my curse reversed it! And why did you only take notice of the word ‘evening’? There were much more important words following that—
Fan Tong truly felt that it was too difficult for him to form a spiritual connection with this lazy and ruthless mop. It was probably impossible in this lifetime.
How despicable! Once this matter is over with, I’m definitely going to properly train Yue Tui and force him to learn the Eastern City language! Yue Tui, just you wait; within a month, I will make sure you are able to take a brush and smoothly write any words! You must learn Fu Zhou—
“Didn’t you say you were about to die? But my horsetail whisk senses don’t seem to detect any danger.”
So you did hear it after all, that’s great…
“I’m about to go up stage to fight a battle in Fu Zhou. The chances of the audience dying is very high!”
“The chances of the audience dying is very high? What, you think your Fu Zhou skills are so powerful that if you tossed one out, you would wipe out the entire audience….”
Your comprehension is going in the direction of the mistake, Puhahaha. I’m not laughing because I’ve given up in despair, I’m just saying your name, you mop. I definitely have to clear this up, even though my attempts are always so exhausting.
“I’ll be killed!”
“This horsetail whisk cannot help you.”
Don’t push me to curse you. I was able to properly say something for once, yet you chose to ignore it!
“I really need your help!”
Whoa, wait a minute. I wasn’t saying that I need your help. You’ve already turned me down so many times, and I have my own pride. Why were my words reversed to sound like begging again?!
“Mm…if you’re saying it like that, then you must really need me. I’ll have to seriously consider it then. So you understand the mightiness of this horsetail whisk now?”
…No way, didn’t your attitude change too quickly? Look at how you’ve changed, you clearly just like being on the receiving end of others’ requests!
“I always felt that you were an affectionate and kind-hearted horsetail whisk, so I’m very happy.”
“Mm, if it weren’t for your foresight, I wouldn’t have intentionally let you buy me either.”
Don’t act smug so quickly. I originally wanted to say that “I’ve always felt you were an inhuman, ruthless mop, so I have nothing to say.” Heaven knows how that turned into a sentence of overflowing praise.
“Just hold me in your hand. That will boost the effects of Fu Zhou, which I think is good enough in your case.”
The method that Puhahaha was suggesting sounded simple but was actually hard to do.
Or rather, while it was a fairly simple action, it was still something that Fan Tong mentally couldn’t accept.
I…do I have to really hold onto this mop to appear in a public competition…
Do I not have any other choice? No alternatives at all? I was originally planning to hide it; I really don’t want everyone to see it!
If I end up actually winning, wouldn’t that be the first step to becoming the Mop Warrior? Can I just not? Can I opt out?
As he continued his internal battle, the competition’s start time drew closer. Compared to bringing Puhahaha out in public, figuring out how to use Fu Zhou was a bigger problem.
With gritted teeth, Fan Tong finally thought of a compromise.
Thus, he picked up both his brush and charm paper, and spent the remaining time furiously drawing Fu Zhou.
Even up until the break time ended and he had to go up on stage to formally start the competition, Fan Tong was unable to truly accept this was reality.
With the written charms in hand, he got up on the stage, his mind still off in another world. The only point worth rejoicing was that since this was the very beginning of the knock-out tournament, their tassel colors weren’t worth looking at. Therefore, there weren’t many spectators watching, which slightly lightened the pressure he was under.
Intellectuals don’t fight at close quarters, businessmen don’t have the courage to participate in fierce battles. I’m clearly just an honest person that did fortune-telling as a business, so why am I standing here now—bloody acts like murder have nothing to do with me! I like peace…
Even though Fan Tong was inwardly crying this with all his heart, the competition still had to start.
Competing with Fu Zhou and Shu Fa skills was different from doing so with Wu Shu. One could choose to compete by either choosing turn-based attacks or directly engaging in combat. Alternating turns to attack meant that each person had a set time limit they could attack. During this period, the other party would only be able to defend or evade. Once time was up, it would be the other party’s turn to attack. This continued until a victor was decided. On the other hand, direct combat didn’t have any rules; one could fight as they pleased. Since Fan Tong had chosen the competition subject, the opponent would be able to decide the battle method.
Fan Tong didn’t actually know whether he preferred turn-based, or free combat. Even with Puhahaha’s boost, he didn’t know how many attacks would really have any effect…
However, the turn-based attack method needed to have lots drawn again to determine which side would start…Fan Tong felt that with his luck, he would surely choose himself as the one that started second. In that case, there was no way he’d be able to last past the first round of attacks, right?
Fortunately, his male opponent chose the free combat option without any hesitation. He most likely didn’t like the roundabout turn-based method. Before the battle officially began, the two sides shook hands. The male opponent had an expression of self-confidence, and clearly didn’t see Fan Tong as an opponent. After all, Fan Tong was just a panic-stricken grass green tassel leveled commoner. No matter what angle one looked at the situation, Fan Tong was clearly an easy opponent to deal with.
Moreover, the male opponent’s gaze at Fan Tong during the handshake was enough for him to feel his stomach tighten.
That’s clearly the look one would have when looking at ten strings!
You probably just see me as some fatty meat already at the tip of your mouth—
There’s no way I’d let you eat me up so easily! Even if I’m a fatty piece of meat, I’m a piece of meat that will struggle to keep my life even after you eat me—no wait, why must I be a fatty piece of meat? I should have some more ambition…
Amid Fan Tong’s nonsensical thoughts, the opening announcement for the competition was made. Fan Tong’s expression twisted as if he had just been sentenced to a death penalty.
Although the Driven Fire spell was the most foundational of the beginner’s level Fu Zhou, it was also easy to use and a basic attack spell. When his opponent used this spell, Fan Tong couldn’t help but recall the painful memory of when he’d been killed by Luo Shi’s Driven Fire spell just after arriving in this world, which had wiped his hopes in having a fresh start. Since he hadn’t written any defensive-type charms earlier, Fan Tong could only turn and run.
With his lack of physical ability, wanting to run away and safely dodge the Fu Zhou attack could be said to be impossible. He did flee, but his clothes were burning slightly from the flames, and the scorching feeling on his back nearly made him curse out loud.
How despicable! It’s so hot!
I can’t say anything out loud, or else I might end up starting with some along the lines of ‘oh what a pleasurable and comfortable feeling’…the important point is, how do I extinguish the flames?
Fan Tong clumsily reached back in attempt to pat down his clothes, but the opponent’s next attack soon followed.
The Solidified Ice spell was also a simple Fu Zhou. It was mostly used to hinder an opponent’s movements and prevent them from escaping by blocking their path. Fan Tong had originally been running around while trying to take the flames out and was immediately tripped by the ice that had suddenly formed in front of him. He then crashed extremely inelegantly onto the ground.
If one had to comment on Fan Tong’s current status, it would probably be summed up to two words: tragic sight.
Watching his prey that was currently wide open, the male opponent immediately used a slightly higher tiered Fu Zhou. As he activated the spell, a blaze even larger than those from the Driven Fire spell earlier immediately exploded in Fan Tong’s direction. This was clearly an attempt at taking his life, which made him turn pale with fright.
Fan Tong had originally wanted to activate a water spell to fight the flames, but he recited the incorrect words as he threw the charm out. It was truly impossible to rely on that mouth of his during such a critical moment. As the flames began to strike his face, he no longer cared about trying to save his reputation, and he immediately rolled to the side to dodge. Fortunately, the opponent didn’t have very good control over their Fu Zhou, and just dodging a bit was enough for Fan Tong to preserve his life.
He’d already been beaten up so miserably. Although Fan Tong had known from the beginning that his innate condition was bad and made it impossible for him to win, Fan Tong still felt extremely mad and unwilling to give up. Thus, he finally pulled out his Fu Zhou, with Puhahaha tightly grasped in his hand.
However, although a typical person only pulled out one Fu Zhou at a time, he had pulled out a huge wad.
In order to ensure he would be able to attack at least once, he quickly started tossing the charm papers in his hands before his opponent could activate another of their Fu Zhou.
“Driven Water, Driven Water, Driven Water, Driven Water, Driven Water, Driven Water…Driven Fire!”
He didn’t bother keeping track of how many charms he threw. Either way, he continuously tossed the same charm and recited the same thing over and over. There was bound to eventually be a point where he’d be able to properly activate the spell before using up all his charms. This kind of extremely wasteful method of using Fu Zhou was probably something that only he would do. Moreover, it was only because the competition supplied the charm paper that he could bear to act this way.
The spectator crowd and his opponent had no idea why he kept reciting the wrong Fu Zhou, resulting in a string of failed attack attempts. However, although stunned by the consecutive calls of “Driven Water”, the successful activation of Driven Fire made them pale in terror.
As the burning paper flew out, it flew across the entire stage, leaving behind an imposing and incomparably fierce wall of flames. Once the Fu Zhou was complete, the raging flames of the burning wall pounced towards his pitiful opponent. The flames passed, seeming like a mirage at first glance. But once the flaming wall disappeared, all that remained in the spot where the male opponent had stood was a scorched corpse.
The turn of events was so dramatic that nobody could even react. Even Fan Tong himself couldn’t register the fact. The person he’d wanted to kill had actually been killed. Theoretically, he should be excited that he had suddenly experienced this good luck and be cheering now that he’d survived past the calamity just now. But even as the staff was announcing him as the victor of this battle, he continued to stare at Puhahaha with a cramped expression, and soundlessly shouted in his mind at the weapon in his hands:
“…Puhahaha, what the hell are youuuuuuuuuu—”
How come every time you come in and take control, it ends with murder? Both last time and this time were the same! Ah, in any case, I didn’t use you to directly attack this time, so they should still be able to return to the rebirth pond right? If you used some kind of soul-purging technique this time, I’ll end up dead for sure!
I guess I should say that there’s some profit from this disaster, since I earned ten strings? But I ended up killing another person…but it’s ten strings…but…
“Hehe, look, did you see that? You won, didn’t you? With me here, it’s a very simple matter.”
Puhahaha was emitting a “praise me praise me praise me” aura. Whenever it showed its innocent and naive side, Fan Tong would feel that its profound and mysterious aura and words from before were just an illusion.
“You did well…”
Ah, how great; every time I want to scold it, the words turn to praise. This is a well-tried fact that has never been proven wrong.
“Keep going, continue on.”
Do you really want to be scolded by me that much?
“You’re really a hard-to-come-by good companion, a gift dropped from the Heavens. To have encountered you is truly a great blessing. If you were not in my life, I really wouldn’t know what to do.”
I can no longer be bothered to explain what I intended to say, it’s just too tiring.
“Really? Is that true? You like me that much?”
What is up with that pleasantly surprised yet bashful hint in your tone?
“Fan Tong, how much longer are you going to affectionately gaze at your mop on stage?” Zhu Sha shouted from off stage. This woke him from his reverie. Feeling that staying onstage and continuing to lose face like this wouldn’t be very smart, he hurriedly got off and began to walk towards Yue Tui and Zhu Sha to meet up with them.
“Fan Tong, you used your Fu Zhou really well.”
On one hand, Yue Tui was telling him these words with a very happy expression. However, Fan Tong’s signature Driven Fire move just now was clearly a result of cheating with Puhahaha, so he found it very difficult to hear Yue Tui’s praise.
“I’ve always thought you were a good-for-nothing; I hadn’t expected you would actually have that kind of real skill.”
It seemed that because Fan Tong had displayed a strength uncharacteristic of him, Zhu Sha’s opinion of him had changed a bit. Fan Tong probably counted as an expert worthy of respect now.
But I’ve never seen him express any form of respect towards Yin Shi before. Perhaps there are just some people that are naturally impossible to respect.
“Then you shouldn’t have any issues if Fu Zhou is drawn from now on, Fan Tong,” Yue Tui said with a relieved expression. This immediately made Fan Tong’s eyes widen.
Wait, wait a minute, it’s not just this time…ah, right, I won, so I’ll advance into the following rounds…
Whoa, wait! Does that mean every time we go up against a soloist and Fu Zhou is drawn, I’ll be going up? That’s not right! I got you guys to come because I don’t want to fight!
That also means that if we go against a soloist and Shu Fa is pulled, Yue Tui would be up, and everyone else might as well just beat it and enjoy the breeze. Getting Wu Shu would probably end up with Yue Tui going up too…Zhu Sha, what exactly did you come here to do? In the end, you really are just a placeholder to make up for the shortage in number!
“Fan Tong, is that ok?”
The curse might as well make me say “just leave it all to me”.
“That’s great, you can temper your battle skills more. You were still very out of practice with combat in the fight just now, so evading was a bit difficult. I believe that if you keep fighting more, you’ll get more and more experienced.”
It’s not a question of being just “out of practice”, that was my normal condition…
Fan Tong was really starting to feel like neither the heavens nor earth would help him. Maybe asking Puhahaha to help would be a bit more useful? But if he always did that, not only would he become the ultimate Mop Warrior, he’d also end up striding forward to become a Bloodthirsty Mop Warrior…
With regards to their victory in the preliminary round, Luo Shi didn’t specially run over to celebrate with them. All he did was deliver a letter to Fan Tong and congratulate him. Most likely, he still hadn’t figured out any outline for the topic of Hui Shi’s notes that they’d discussed last time, so he couldn’t really face them. However, the contents of the letter were enough to stun Fan Tong speechless.
In the beginning, there were a bunch of proper greetings and such, but the contents’ true subject followed. After polite words of commendation, the true nature of the letter showed itself:
“I watched your competition. You really are abnormally unlucky. Your 1/10 chance didn’t appear at all in the first few times, resulting in a correct recitation only after throwing away nine Fu Zhou. Did you actually do something horrible in this lifetime or get karma from something you said…”
Why can’t you hold back even when writing a letter? Do you think I wanted to waste nine charms? Why can’t you just frankly congratulate me even through writing…
“However, where did you learn that Driven Fire spell? That power doesn’t seem very normal. I didn’t even know that the power of a Fu Zhou could transform a Driven Fire spell like that. You didn’t purchase some kind of amplification device or anything, right…”
I did, I am holding an amplification device, a mop that you bought for me. But a typical person would just look at this mop and think a person bringing a mop into battle must’ve rushed to leave while cleaning something, not that it’s an amplification device.
“I’ll watch the next round too, you guys should keep up the effort.”
Actually, Fan Tong hadn’t noticed Luo Shi at the competition site at all. Where exactly had he been secretly watching from?
“What did Luo Shi write?” Yue Tui asked in concern, since he probably couldn’t recognise more than a third of the characters in the letter.
“…I’ll teach you word by word. Starting from tomorrow, I’ll properly teach you how to read, so you can read it yourself!”
I meant starting from today! Starting from today!
Although with my speaking issues, learning the characters from me might be a bit of an issue. But I will definitely overcome this extreme difficulty to teach you, you’d better prepare yourself!
Yue Tui seemed a bit unaccustomed to the sudden imposing air towards him and was stunned for a few seconds.
“Fan Tong…you seem a bit fierce today, it feels different from usual.”
Then how am I usually, very gentle?
“Hurry up and put your brush in, let’s practice.”
I said take your brush out! Take it out…
“Put it in? Put it in where?”
Fan Tong could only groan in response to Yue Tui’s serious question, and he collapsed on the bed, giving up on trying to communicate.
As for the extremely horrible misunderstanding, Fan Tong felt that he really had no energy to face it. Education was really a heavy burden, and a long path to take. Perhaps it would be better to rest first and start tomorrow.
The next round of the martial arts competition would be held in three days. Logically speaking, the start of the second round meant the opponent should be stronger, as it was after one elimination round. However, they heard that their opponent this time was also a team, so Fan Tong didn’t worry at all. If the three of them went up together, all he had to do was stand on one side and shout some support. In addition, he believed that with Yue Tui present, there was no way his life would ever be in danger.
“Yue Tui! Kill them in a flash!”
Fan Tong cheered, glad that these words hadn’t been reversed. If it had become something like “Get killed in a flash”, it would be too disastrous.
“I think this should be a chance to practice combat, Fan Tong. Don’t slack off,” Yue Tui bitterly laughed instead of agreeing to the request to instantly wipe out the opponent.
Are you joking? I’m sticking to my plan on hiding in the back and enjoying the cool air. No matter what, don’t ask me to go out and fight.
“I expended too much to release the Fu Zhou before, and will need dozens of days to recover.”
Eh…. one dozen days turned to dozens of days, does that sound overexaggerated? But I feel that Driven Fire spell was truly over-the-top, so even saying dozens of days could be acceptable. That way, I can properly slack off for longer.
“Eh? That long?”
“So it turns out that it was just a useless, once-in-a-while burst. And here I thought you could be of some use, but it turns out I was mistaken.”
Thus, he was looked down on again.
However, Fan Tong preferred to be looked down on if he didn’t have to temper his combat skills or whatever. As a result, he remained silent, as if silently admitting it was true.
“Zhu Sha, do you want to try fighting then?”
“They don’t look like opponents worth fighting, I’m not interested.”
Zhu Sha’s extremely egotistic and over-confident words made Fan Tong look at him suspiciously. Speaking of which, Fan Tong had never seen Zhu Sha fight before. But Yue Tui doesn’t seem to object, does that mean he agrees that Zhu Sha is indeed stronger than them?
“Alright, I’ll just deal with them then.”
Yay, I’ve been waiting for you to say those words!
Their opponents were three male blue tassels. But before Yue Tui, this level of strength would still collapse at a single blow.
The course of events had nothing worthy to speak of. Yue Tui had no intention of spending much time tangling with those that were not of equal strength. Barely a few seconds passed after the start of the round before it ended. He used a single hand movement to knock them out. With the opponents unconscious, the victors were naturally clear.
“If I killed each person, that would be thirty strings…”
Fan Tong heard Zhu Sha say in a low voice behind him. This also made him feel that this companion was too distant from the definition of a “benevolent person”.
All the subsequent team battles were pretty much the same style. They had also encountered two soloists as opponents. Fan Tong was temporarily free from his misfortunes, as Fu Zhou was not drawn either time. Instead, one of the rounds was Shu Fa, and one was Wu Shu. These obviously had nothing to do with him, who had previously been proclaimed by the Shu Fa Pavilion as an absolutely talentless rotten piece of wood with only third rank physical capabilities.
The one that went up for the Shu Fa round was Yue Tui, who indeed displayed the skills of “a rare genius that only appeared in Shu Fa Pavilion once every century”. His Regression Technique was flawless. All the Shu Fa used by his opponent would be forcibly dissipated and restored to its original state. Moreover, he managed to defeat his opponent by only using simple Shu Fa, since their imaginations were many times weaker than pure imagination, making Yue Tui’s Shu Fa impossible to break. They could only surrender.
After the round, they heard that the Shu Fa Pavilion teacher had specially waited at the school park entrance to welcome Yue Tui, praising the battle from the day before by saying that he had been so moved to the point where his eyes had been brimming with tears of excitement, and had been unable to fall sleep the following night. Then he had tossed a bunch of extravagant embellishments like “Eastern City’s future Shu Fa will depend on you to bring up to new heights”, and it felt like he wouldn’t give up until he had given Yue Tui all the praise in the world. The scene had drawn a lot of students’ attentions, and Yue Tui himself had felt very awkward. However, the teacher had been extremely passionate, and there had been no way to dampen his enthusiasm, so Yue Tui could only accept it with a smile on his face.
When Fan Tong heard of this matter, he truly felt it was a bit unfair. Even after he had used such a beautiful Driven Fire spell, the Fu Zhou Pavilion teacher hadn’t said anything to him, let alone praise him in public…or was it that Fu Zhou Pavilion was more restrained, and wouldn’t have such clamor, such publicity?
But when Fan Tong thought about it more, it wasn’t really his strength. If he actually were to be praised without restraint, he would probably just end up with a guilty conscience. Thus, he just let the different treatment pass.
The one that had gone up for the Wu Shu round wasn’t Yue Tui, but Zhu Sha.
He had volunteered to go up, in order to “earn some pocket money to spend”.
As a result, Fan Tong was finally able to witness Zhu Sha’s abnormally unfathomable skills. Compared to Yue Tui’s bright and open style, Zhu Sha was more of the “full of darkness” style. Including that round and all the team battles he participated in, him taking action would always result in someone’s death. Fan Tong wasn’t sure if this could be described as working hard to earn money or what, but in general, Fan Tong felt that he wouldn’t want to be Zhu Sha’s enemy. It would be best to not provoke him in the future, so as not to end up being strangled in the middle of the night without knowing.
As long as we don’t end up pulling another Fu Zhou soloist, getting to the top few places could be pretty promising?
Even though Fan Tong knew that he would have absolutely no contribution to such a victory, he still embraced this delusion.
Fan Tong’s Afterword:
God, I don’t want to keep living my days fighting and killing, with my throat always at the tip of a knife’s point. Oh God…even though I’ve never firmly believed in you, I still hope that you can save this lamb that has lost its way, and guide me to safely and tranquilly walk down a broad and open road…
In the end, I’m the only one that really wants to withdraw from the martial arts competition. I constantly worry about whether we’ll encounter another soloist, whether we’ll draw Fu Zhou. Always being on edge in fear is truly too exhausting.
Thanks to the luck entrusted by the competition, I’ve been talking a bit more with Puhahaha. After the incident of the Fu Zhou explosion, I’ve been seriously asking it if it’s a weapon, a Fu Zhou amplification device, or a cleaning tool. In the end, it just replied that it’s a multi-functional horsetail whisk that is fully equipped to do anything aside from cleaning. It can even boost the effects of magic and curses.
Honestly speaking, I find it very hard to believe its words, which are too packed for me to not be suspicious about. Moreover, no matter how I look at it, its mission in life is definitely to clean. The fact that it has deviated from its duty to walk down another path has to be a diversion from an evil spirit, although I use it fine.
Eh…that’s a mistake, a slip of the tongue. There’s no way I’d use it fine. I still need compensation for the huge scare it gave me. I’m really dissatisfied with a lot of things about it, especially its wishful thinking of me really liking it—
As if. I’m not the type of person that would abandon appreciation towards another person’s favor, but it’s not even a person! Moreover, I spent two hundred strings on it! That’s an investment I need to reclaim, alright?
And because of Yue Tui’s threat last time, Mi Zhong really did obediently register for the martial arts competition.
But a person as insincere as him who probably only had a gang of rogues and disreputable comrades wouldn’t have anyone willing to follow him to their deaths. Therefore, he obviously had to participate alone.
At Mi Zhong’s level, he naturally was eliminated in the preliminaries. Of course, I don’t feel apologetic towards him at all. But the fact that he had managed to slip past death is so despicable. It feels like he hasn’t really been punished at all.
Up until this point, our competition advancement could be said to be pretty smooth. I think the blood calamity mater…is something we shouldn’t need to pay much mind to, right?
It’s definitely not accurate! Yue Tui is so strong, there’s no way such a thing would happen.