The illusion demon languidly sat back on her seat while trimming her nails. There was bright red fingernail polish on all ten fingers of her petite little hands. Along with her crimson lips and a tyrannical aura emanating from between her brows, she looked a bit out of sorts.
It was not that she loved this body of a little girl but rather, as a naturally born illusion demon, her only shortcoming was that she couldn’t take human form. She could only use this ready-made body. Because of this, she had hibernated for so long. Reaching this point in her thoughts, she couldn’t help but feel a little sullen.
She was going to take out her sullenness on these exorcists that had overestimated themselves, and had fallen into her trap.
“Brother Liu….” Her eyelid slightly raised as she lazily called out, “I’m a little hungry.”
Liu Fuyi stood beside her just like a loyal and devoted servant. When he heard her words, he immediately asked in a deferential manner: “I’ll go to the kitchen and bring you something to eat.”
The illusion demon uttered an ‘Mhm’ and her face twisted into a strange smile, “Alright.”
Liu Fuyi walked a decent distance away, pace neither fast nor slow. Even from his back, he exuded a very strong independent temperament of someone distanced from mortal life.
The illusion demon extended her fingers to admire the nails she cut herself: Actually, this underground palace was just an empty shell. There was absolutely no food within the kitchen. As for all the liveliness down there, it was all just an imitation of the daily lifestyle within the Li residence.
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Liu Fuyi let out a breath of air. He had thought it was something important yet it was actually something trivial as this.
He was about to straighten out his waist when Ling Miaomiao suddenly pulled out the arm she had hidden behind her back. She had the porcelain pitcher that was originally from the main hall and contained a red plum flower, in her hand, ‘Bang Shatter!’ She slammed it into the back of his head.
The shattered shards suddenly flew in all directions. Bits of blood and red plum petals blossomed all over the shards. Liu Fuyi’s body slid down the side of the stove onto the ground, falling over.
“Brother Liu, I-… I’m sorry. You can hit me back later….”
Ling Miaomiao’s heart was leaping at the speed of light. Both of her legs had cramped unconsciously and so she could only use an extremely twisted posture to pull his body with clenched teeth. After moving him a short distance, she leaned him back against the edge of the stove.
Several strands of his long hair covered his face. Miaomiao helped tidy up his appearance and straighten out his hair. Now, he looked like he had just decided to take a break by sitting on the ground.
The aftermath of her actions on the ground was swept into a corner with her feet. She pulled out five talismans from her sleeve but because her hand shook too greatly, she had to attempt it three times before she succeeded. Her palms were completely moist.
She followed the formation Mu Yao had taught her, circling Liu Fuyi while sticking talismans onto the ground. At the same time, she had her ears perked up, trying to catch the slightest sound that came from outside. She was deathly afraid that once she was a little distracted, the illusion demon would hear something suspicious going on, come over and then break her neck.
Once the last talisman was stuck in place, the words on them started to light up. As they triggered one another, they indicated that the positions she placed the talismans were not off and immediately took effect.
Ling Miaomiao patted her skirt and stood back up. She retreated out of the effective range of the talisman circle. When she reached the entrance of the room, she suddenly pulled violently on the bamboo pole and earthenware pots next to the door, pushing all of the pottery and ceramics onto the ground and causing a resounding and ear-piercing clap of breaking and shattering.
She tossed aside the bamboo pole, turned around and ran out of the room as fast as she could. The corridor had no light brightening it and it was nearly pitch black. She could only depend on the six-sided lanterns hanging from the ceiling to find her way. She picked up her skirt to agilely make her way forward. The wind blew the six sided lanterns askew, causing the tassels hanging below it to twirl and spin.
She rushed into the main hall and hid behind the massive screen. Looking past the small gaps in the screen, she could see the illusion demon, who had still been pruning her nails, toss aside the scissors and leap down her seat. She started walking towards the kitchen with suspicion. The little girl’s pace was just like a cat’s, completely silent, “Brother Liu? What happened?”
The illusion demon walked quite a distance.
Behind the screen, the door of the room that had been locked all this time suddenly creaked open a slit. Through the slit in the doorframe, Miaomiao could see Mu Yao’s clear, brilliant eyes. She nodded towards Miaomiao and soon after, silently closed the door.
The six sided lanterns slowly stopped swaying from the ceiling. The unhurriedly red light shining down no longer fluctuated. Everyone had returned to calm. Ling Miaomiao’s drenched back was stuck onto the cold, cold wall. She felt like she had basically become a pillar.
If nothing goes wrong with their luck, the moment the illusion demon approaches the dazed Liu Fuyi, the five talismans on the ground would immediately entrap her. Mu Yao wanted to take this opportunity to rush into the illusion demon’s room and steal Liu Fuyi’s heart.
According to what they had discussed, Miaomiao would stand at the doorway to keep watch. The moment the situation changed, she would immediately knock on the door thrice to inform Mu Yao.
She stood by herself behind the screen, anxiously staring at the corner in the corridor. Several times, she felt her eyes going unfocused, overly fearful that she’d see the corner of the illusion demon’s clothes at any moment.
The room was quite large and just the simple bamboo screen was enough to split the room into two. Near the door was the large bed where Madam Shi and Li Zhun slept. The past few days, the illusion demon had ordered Liu Fuyi to sleep here so that he could be ready to serve her at any time.
The canopy was nicely placed over the bed. The quilts were tidily piled on top of one another with not a single crease or wrinkle on the bed.
…… Truly Liu Fuyi’s style. Mu Yao smiled slightly.
Originally, the room was only lit up by a single candle. Along with the screen blocking off a great portion, the room seemed to be extremely dim. Mu Yao’s gaze spun around the room hesitantly but didn’t discover anything strange. Her back was tightly drawn as she made her way past the screen.
Behind the screen was a small bed. There were a few disemboweled dolls made of cotton beside the pillow. There were baby tigers and dolls all placed beside the puffy pillow.
——To a five year old little girl, the pillow was clearly far too tall. Mu Yao slowly approached and reached out with her long fingers. She pulled up one corner of the pillow.
Without any surprises, there was a pitch black box the size of an adult’s palm below the pillow. Her heart started to beat rapidly as she pulled the box away. There was a crude, clumsy drawing of a lock on the top of the box, clearly made by a young child. The box was, however, tightly shut and despite using both of her hands, she couldn’t open it.
This drawing of a lock was actually the illusion demon’s sealing formation.
The sweat on her back drenched her clothes. With one hand, she held on tightly to the hard object and with the other, she quickly took out a talisman, putting it over the lock. The instant the talisman was placed over, it curled up and started wrinkling. Then, it burst into flames for a moment, then ash.
She didn’t believe it and stuck another talisman on. Once again, the talisman immediately turned into a pile of ash. As the ash slid off the top of the box, Mu Yao noticed that the lock on top of the box had disappeared.
She felt a burst of joy in her heart. Then, she pried open the box with trembling hands.
Her eyes suddenly widened —— The box was empty.
Absent-minded, a sudden breeze could be felt blowing past the top of her head. The candlelight flickered strangely and the room was thrown into a confusing dance of murkiness. She suddenly raised her head. Liu Fuyi, whose face was as pale as ash, had silently appeared in the window, sitting there while watching her with absolutely no expression on his face.
She retreated two steps with her skirt swaying. Several spots of light suddenly appeared on the ground and converged into a ball, just like a metal cage, waiting for her to fall into the net.
The underground palace suddenly shook. For a moment, it could cause those caught in its influence to feel like they were standing on water. Immediately after, bright moonlight came pouring down like water. Immediately, a long silver belt of light appeared. The places that the moonlight lit up even somewhat took on illusory painting that looked like they were painted with ink and brush, extremely clear and concise.
The fissure had opened up!
Ling Miaomiao could not believe her own eyes. According to the original plot, only once the illusion demon was facing off with Mu Yao did they need to open the fissure to borrow the power of the heavens and the earth. But now, they hadn’t even done anything yet, the plot was still going smoothly, the illusion demon had gone and hadn’t returned yet. She was the only one in the main hall. So why would the fissure suddenly reopen?!
She hurriedly stared rigidly at the tightly shut door: Could it be that even under my watch, something happened to Mu Yao?
A shadow suddenly whooshed past her, carrying a mix of flowery and sweet fragrances. She pushed her back a few steps and she stumbled into the darkness. Soon after, she was pressed into the wall.
Suddenly sensing the cold wall on her back, her initial reaction was to escape. However, the person had already stuck close to her, using their body to stiffly suppress her against the wall. Before she could scream, they also used a hand to cover her mouth.
Ling Miaomiao opened her eyes and saw that the illusion demon had slowly made her way back to the main hall, still dressed in red. The little girl was walking back in a gloomy manner. She swooped her gaze around in a circle and didn’t discover them. Then, she walked away.
The moment Ling Miaomiao felt the weight of the illusion demon, she started to tremble. Her eyelashes trembled terribly and so she lowered her head. In the darkness, she couldn’t even see the fingers on her hand. No matter how hard she looked, it was all in vain.
Her heart was in chaos. Just now, if she hadn’t hidden here, she would’ve become exposed and became the illusion demon’s live target.
The two of them tightly stuck to one another. Her lashes rapidly swept across the lapels of his front. She had nearly been wrapped up in Mu Sheng’s smell.
It looked like as long as the fissure opened, he would come. The plot hadn’t gone off course because of her oh-so-clever interference.
The boiling heat of his palm spread to her lips. It felt like a hair curler burning her lips.
This guy had a fever. And this was an extremely high temperature fever.
After the illusion demon made a round, she left. Mu Sheng released his hand and retreated a step. He turned around and walked to someplace with light. Miaomiao left the wall and pulled up her skirt to follow him.
Mu Sheng turned around to look at her. His voice was very soft but contained hints of mocking within. It sounded like he was speaking from a different era, “Did you think that just by blocking your face, the illusion demon wouldn’t see you?”
Right… She suddenly realized. Her legs would be visible at the bottom of the screen. She had definitely tunnel-visioned too much and forgot the obvious holes just below her vision. How could she have been so stupid?
He saw that she had turned silent after lowering her head. He pinched her jaw and raised her face, forcing her to meet his gaze.
Ling Miaomiao was stunned as her gaze met his familiar, dark pupils. Soon after, she lowered her eyes slowly, her gaze slowly falling onto the arm he had raised up.
An action with such an invasion of privacy like this one was something he had never done before.
In the original story, someone left Mu Sheng on top of the fissure. He had been resentful that his beloved sister had been so worried about Liu Fuyi that she had jumped down without caring for her life, even willing to sacrifice herself. By the time he jumped down into the fissure, he had already become a blackened lotus.
But now the situation was slightly different, she had pushed forward the plotline and the fissure had also opened up ahead of time. The Mu Sheng that leaped into the fissure ahead of the original timeline was in a far sorrier condition. His face was painfully pale. Deathly pale. It was clear that he had both lost a large amount of blood and suffered a sickness. Now, she was even worried that he would fall over at any moment.
If she were to assume that he had ‘blackened’, he wouldn’t want to appear in front of her while showing this weak side of his. But on the other hand, if he hadn’t ‘blackened’, this kind of reaction was kind of….
Forcing their gazes to meet, she blinked a few times, “You… you have a fever.”
Mu Sheng loosened his hand in an absentminded manner. He was somewhat perplexed as he stared at the girl’s face. He could only feel that his heart seemed to be in an absolute state of chaos. An incomprehensible mess.
They were this far apart yet she could still notice it?
Miaomiao reached out, trying to see if the wound on his shoulder had healed or not. However, as she was still somewhat afraid of hurting him, she very lightly touched the clothes below his shoulder.
It was wet.
Her clear eyes suddenly flashed and she stared fiercely at Mu Sheng, speaking with a bit of anger, “…… Did you hear what I said before?”
“There’s no way you missed what I said. I shouted that loudly, at least half of Jingyang Slope heard it.”
“Didn’t I say that you had to put your safety first? How could you turn yourself into this?”
He watched her, wanting to say something yet hesitated. After a pregnant pause, he lowered his eyes and softly replied, “….. I heard you.”
He heard her. Like an iron nail being pounded into a wooden board. Like a streak of absolute lightning splitting the skies. The dreams he had at midnight returned. Still, the last sentence, sweet as anything and oh so crispy clear, resounded in his head.
However, what use was it?
It was merely a single sentence that had not cost her more than a minute of her time. Yet, this person in front of him had leaped into the fissure for Liu Fuyi’s sake.
His gaze slowly froze over when it fell on her waist. Suddenly he raised his eyes and an alarmed anger flashed through them, “Where’s your spice pouch?”
Miaomiao pointed at her robes with a completely innocent face, “I placed it here.”
This action of hers was filled with ambiguity. It made him suddenly feel as if she was pointing at her own heart.
Miaomiao rubbed the spice pouch through her robes and complained: “This spice pouch of yours really needs to be tied on more tightly. I didn’t do much and it fell. It made me have to look all over the ground for it.”
Several bizarre emotions flashed through his eyes all at once, just like the rocks on the water’s surface, the warm ripples they caused seemed to bounce and expand everywhere. His long lashes trembled slightly and he covered up the feelings about to burst out of his eyes, “Mhm, once we go back I’ll make sure to tie a knot that’ll never fall off.”
TLN: Wow I fell asleep and nearly didn’t post lol. Also, Mu Sheng finally showing his true colors to the rock, no boulder Miaomiao? Lolol enjoy 🙂