Chapter 13: Bamboo Forest and Green Apricot(1)

The river’s water was boundless and tremendous. Above the mist-covered water, Liu Fuyi swayed gently. People came and went on the docks: A scholar in a rush, lively people carrying packs on their backs, and a government official’s young lady bringing two or three maids carrying bags of clothes. Cheer and laughter abounded in this place.

The Wan River disaster had already ended. Taicang County had already returned to its peaceful prosperity. All kinds of boats came and went on the river. The river’s water charged at the embankment, causing a slight drizzle and the sky to darken from the vapor.

The large wooden ship left the embankment with a loud ‘huala’ and at the same time, carved out two long ripples on the water’s surface. The hull of the ship buoyed up and down with the waves.

Ling Miaomiao’s legs immediately turned soft and her entire body clung onto the thin railing on the deck of the ship.

“Beloved child — be careful on the road —” Her mayor of a father on the shore grew further and further away until she could no longer clearly see his face. She could only see his exaggerated actions of waving his arms about wildly.

Story translated by Second Life Translations

”Ey—-” Several curious gazes from strangers fell onto her body as Ling Miaomiao endured her rolling stomach to reply in a loud voice.

Her hair was blown into a disheveled mess by the sea breeze carrying water vapor. They were separated by such a long distance but she saw his figure take a few steps forward while being supported by a subordinate beside him. Stepping to the edge of the shore, he wiped his tears without any care of his image. He shouted in a sobbing tone, even though his voice was already very small from the distance between then: “My beloved daughter— don’t forget to send letters—”

Miaomiao felt a twinge of sourness fill her heart. Half of her body was over the railing as she waved her arm with a lot of force, indicating for him to return.

“Careful.” Liu Fuyi grabbed onto her sleeve and pulled her back onto the deck. “The railing isn’t secure.”

Miaomiao turned around, filled with disappointment.

The boat was already headed for the heart of the river. All the other ships that had set off together with them, whether they were beautiful or simple, all disappeared from view. All that was left in all directions was the boundless volume of water.

They were on the most comfortable passenger ship on the Wan River. It was enormously long, even the most narrow dimensions were 5-6 meters wide. The ship’s hold was divided into a series of small rooms, and could hold a total of 20 to 30 people. The passengers were mostly people who wanted to see the world and travel long distances and were now resting in their rooms. There were windows embedded on each side of their rooms. Some were half-open, revealing the figures of people inside bending down to tidy up their bedding.

At the current moment, there weren’t many people on the deck. Mu Yao and Mu Sheng weren’t there either. Liu Fuyi and Ling Miaomiao stared at each other; Her small and his large eyes focused on one another.

After a long time, Miaomiao finally spoke out in disappointment: “I’m sorry Brother Liu…”

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“What use is saying that?” A helpless expression flashed through Liu Fuyi’s face. He lightly smiled and followed up with: “Let’s go. I’ll bring you to take a look at your room.”

The two of them entered the hold, one in the front and one in the back. Before they reached the little cabin that belonged to Miaomiao, they came face to face with the cold-faced Mu Yao.

Miaomiao restrained herself and didn’t dare breath as she furtively stole a glance at Liu Fuyi.

Mu Yao was wearing a dark yellow jacket and a moonlight white muslin skirt. Her sash was lightly tied around her lower abdomen. Even if she casually assembled her wardrobe, others could still notice her cold jade-like temperament leaking through. Mu Yao was stunned for a moment before her pair of cold eyes flitted past Liu Fuyi to land on Miaomiao.

“Miss Ling, your countenance doesn’t look too good. Are you seasick?” There was still a pebble of care within her cold and indifferent tone.

“Oh… A little…” Miaomiao felt overwhelmed by the situation only to hear Liu Fuyi naturally follow with: “Seasick? I still have scented sachets here…”

Before the sound of his voice had left the air, Mu Yao’s expression had already changed. She nodded her head at flying speed and brushed past Liu Fuyi without a word, leaving behind Liu Fuyi to enjoy the river breeze with half of his words still in his mouth.

Mu Yao was a good person who clearly defined good and evil. She wouldn’t blame Miaomiao’s naivety and immaturity. She could only spew her belly full of anger onto the main culprit for inviting this little missy on this adventure.

She was angry. Angry at his brash responsibility and angry at him for carelessly making promises.

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She was angry. Angry at what else? Even she wasn’t clear herself.

The river breeze blew Liu Fuyi’s clothes about; A shocked and helpless expression appeared on his handsome and gentle face for the very first time. It actually looked somewhat cute.

Mu Yao had left with empty hands but behind her followed a black lotus toting a rolled up roll of bedding.

Behind the cotton quilt, an amused expression appeared in Mu Sheng’s black pupils. He was in very good spirits as he greeted Ling Miaomiao: “It’s all thanks to Miss Ling’s fortune that we’ve boarded such a luxurious passenger ship.”

Finished speaking, he blindly chased after Mu Yao: “Sis, let me help you make your bed…”

The pressure on Miaomiao’s head made her feel like she was unable to breath as she blankly stood in place. Fuyi smiled and asked: “Do you know how to lay your bedding…”

“Oh? I…”

Was the male lead going to even help her lay and make her bed?!

Miaomiao heard the system send wave after wave of alarms at her. Then, she remembered the mission she hadn’t completed yet. She immediately changed her words: “I don’t…”

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”Let’s go then. We’ll be traveling to all sorts of places. This is a very important skill. I’ll teach you.” His expression was indifferent as he entered her cabin with an irrefusable stance.

Mu Yao’s footsteps slowed down and she slightly turned her head around, as if waiting for something.

However, it was Mu Sheng who had caught up to her: “Sis, why did you stop?” He was hugging the roll of bed covers. His face was filled with an innocent and pure expression as he blocked her line of sight. “Young Noble Liu is helping Miaomiao lay her bedding.” There was a sweet smile in the corner of his mouth, “Let’s go in.”

Mu Yao’s expression congealed as she took her own bedding and left by herself.

“Sigh, Sis…”

“Ah Sheng.”

Mu Yao stopped her movements and turned around to stare at him in a serious manner. The teardrop birthmark below her eye made her seem both charming and cold at the same time. Yet, what she said was a completely different matter: “Your body’s essence seems off, did you…”

“I didn’t.” Mu Sheng’s eyes flashed as he rapidly replied. In the end, he still assuaged her with: “The matters sis has reminded me of so many times before, how could I forget them?”

”That’s for the best.” Mu Yao lowered her lashes, pulled open the door to her cabin and walked in. Before she entered, she turned around to look at him profoundly, “You have to remember your identity. You are the hope of the Mu family.”

Mu Sheng stood in the corridor as he attentively watched Mu Yao’s fair and beautiful back figure. From the carved windows, rays of sunlight reflected off of the river’s water onto his side profile.

His pitch-black stillwater-like eyes were filled with a complicated combination of vexation and annoyance.

“Why is there a grass mat underneath the cotton mattress?” Miaomiao leaned on the wall as she watched Fuyi busy himself bent over the bed. His black hair was draped over his shoulder but there were some that fell down and swayed in the air.

She was thinking that the black lotus always had his hair tied up high; Showing off an abundance of youthfulness and vitality. But he really looked like he had never tasted the bitterness of life before. It was no wonder that Mu Yao never looked at him as anything other than a little brother that never grew up.

To be honest, if he were to also drape his hair over his shoulder with that face of his… he would definitely become a rare beauty.

“The humidity aboard the ship is high. The grass mat is there to help ward off the moisture.” Liu Fuyi answered in a light tone.

“Oh, you’re so clever.” Ling Miaomiao exclaimed out of sincere admiration. She rubbed the cotton mattress and discovered that it indeed carried with it some moisture.

“Not clever.” Liu Fuyi smiled, “Having traveled a lot, I’ve also gained a lot of experience.”

”How many places have you guys been to?” The contrast between the white and black of Miaomiao’s eyes were very clear to see. Her eyes were filled with the joy of encountering new things. Like the fragrant and sweet smell of fresh oranges, as long as one saw her all of their exhaustion would get swept out in a dustbin.

“Many places…” Liu Fuyi sunk into his memories, “At the very beginning, I was by myself. It wasn’t until I was injured and then met Yao’er….”

There was a faint reminiscent expression in his eyes. His mouth had also curled up into a light smile.

“Don’t you feel that… you and her need to have a good talk?”

Miaomiao felt nervous for the two of them. She didn’t trust the system either. Where’s the feeling of pain from watching others stumble for so long?

How many days have they been having a cold war?

“Talk about what?

“A heart-to-heart talk!!” Miaomiao felt let down, “You keep your silence and she won’t speak up either. Are you guys going to just sulk like this?”

“Yao’er she’s…” A strange joy suddenly surfaced in his eyes, “…angry?”

Miaomiao was about to fall over laughing her butt off. So he was actually a steel-headed male.

In the original book, Liu Fuyi was just like this. Whether it be the pity-selling Ling Yu or the passionate as fire, willing to take losses just to stick by his side Duanyang Diji. He didn’t understand how to refuse them. He was always lukewarm and vague, and acceded to their every request. As such, he gained the nickname: “Fuyi that does much for everyone but hides his name and deeds.” He was a model citizen just like Lei Feng.1[1] Lei Feng: An exemplary model of selflessness. Used as propaganda to inspire chinese citizens to act the same. To quote wikipedia: ‘even the historicity of Lei Feng is sometimes questioned.’ It was just unfortunate that he lit up the dreams of love for many young girls but never thought about it deeply before.

But now, she understood. Liu Fuyi just didn’t understand. He would only become sharp when it came to matters of demon hunting. It was sad that he was just like a little kid taking his first steps when it came to sentiment. As such, he had to take many winding roads.

The curtain of night gradually fell to the earth. The lead-colored clouds turned a purplish red. The deck of the ship slowly grew more and more lively. Many people were leaning on the railing as they pointed and gestured at the setting sun on the horizon.

Ever since they crashed into each other at noon, Mu Yao and Mu Sheng locked themselves up in their rooms without making a peep. Miaomiao was so hungry she felt like she couldn’t endure anymore so they took a big bag of rations her father had given to her.

As soon as she opened it to take a look, she saw at least 20 round white flour steamed buns in there. There were slices of carrots arranged into the shape of a five petal plum blossom. A rosy color penetrated through the white and looked exceedingly exquisite.

Miaomiao took one out. The chef clearly spent a lot of effort on these: They didn’t even grow hard after losing their warmth. She took one bite and felt the soft white wheat break under her teeth, sweetness washing over her mouth.

Lowering her head, she saw that these steamed buns were surprisingly stuffed with molasses. The halo of dusk seemed to throw everything a new warm color palette.

The tip of her nose soured as she held back the acid rushing up to her throat and forcefully swallowed it down.  

Outside was the cold river and above her was the evening sky. This water, this set up and this boat. They were all cold acquaintances one would meet on a long journey away from home. Other than the bit of sweetness in her hand, what else could be truly considered hers?

A small little boat stood anchored in the middle of the river. It’s unfamiliar appearance seemed to be in a haste. The road ahead was still vast and obscure.

Ling Miaomiao felt that she herself was quite petty. She thought that there was no place as good as home.

For the sake of chasing a man, Ling Yu was willing to leave her home without any hesitation and travel over mountains and atop rivers to a faraway place. Did she ever feel regret?

Ling Miaomiao watched the boundless river water. Her voice was low as she spoke up: “Brother Liu. Let me tell you something interesting. In my hometown, there’s a legend of a female demon called a siren. When the sailors aboard a ship hear her beautiful song, they become enchanted. Following that, their boat would hit a snag and subsequently sink.” 

“There’s no similar demon here.” Liu Fuyi had long grown used to talking about bizarre creatures. His tone was calm and serene, “The heart of the river very likely has water demons that try to enchant humans. They usually come about from people who die tragically. There is one type of demon called Enchantresses. They can sing and dance very well. Legends say that they’re more beautiful beyond comparison and can enchant and confuse people.”

Miaomiao chewed on these words for a while. Then, she let out a gossipy smile: “Beautiful beyond comparison… have you seen them before?”

“Liu Fuyi smiled: “I’ve seen many water demons before but I’ve yet to see a single Enchantress. These demons are rarely seen and they like to hide in the mountains and forests. The day they decide to come to the human world, a disaster will descend.”

“Why?”

Liu Fuyi thought for a while: “The last generation of Demon Hunters said that Enchantresses

are down to earth. Their demonic power is tremendous but they won’t take the initiative to harm others. However, if they’re ever betrayed, a different demonic soul would be birthed in their body. Called ‘Resentful Banshee’, their outer appearance might look the same but its personality was extremely evil. The two of them lived in one body and was a calamity for the surroundings. This Resentful Banshee is what all Demon Hunters treat as a taboo.”

Ling Miaomiao was shocked upon hearing of this: “Split… split personality?”

This truly was <Demon Hunter>. The settings of the demons of this world were really unique. She had only flipped over a small corner of this world filled with countless strange and fantastic oddities of all sorts of appearances.

Ling Miaomiao finished her steamed bun before packing up a few more, prepared to send them to Mu Yao and company.

The boat entered an eddy and started swaying about lightly. Ling Miaomiao felt discomfort in her stomach again so she clenched onto the railing with half of her body splayed out, sticking close to it.

The moonlight that had just come out was half-covered up by a dark cloud. The surroundings turned dark. It was a gloomy night.

Mu Yao’s door was tightly closed. Ling Miaomiao saw a familiar corner of clothing.

It was Mu Sheng’s goose yellow clothing. Ling Miaomiao didn’t dare to move from her spot. Sneakily looking over, she saw him sitting at Mu Yao’s door entrance. His sleeves were tightly tucked under, resting on his knees. He was half-squinting and looked somewhat tired. But, his face was drawn tightly, like a little beast ready to spring out after accumulating power.

Ling Miaomiao was frightened: The black lotus was going so far as to protect Mu Yao?

In the next second, she heard a ‘hualala’ like something was charging out of the river.

She turned around to take a look and didn’t see anything outside of the sides of the ship. The night wind howled as it rushed in, bringing with it a cold and wet water vapor.

Eh? When was the window opened?

Ling Miaomiao opened her eyes wide open. She suddenly felt as if there was a barely discernible layer of black fog on the ground. It slowly started gathering together, congealing into a strange human figure. It was on four legs like a lizard as it rapidly leaped onto and past Miaomiao’s leg.

She felt the back of her leg grow warm for a second. She looked down to see that she was soaked all the way from her skirt to her shoes.

What the hell was this?

This thing that was just like a ball of black air speedily passed through the plank wall like it entered an uninhabited land. Many layers of dark orange water stains immediately showed up on the wall.

It was heading straight for Mu Yao’s room.


[1] Lei Feng: An exemplary model of selflessness. Used as propaganda to inspire chinese citizens to act the same. To quote wikipedia: ‘even the historicity of Lei Feng is sometimes questioned.’


TLN: So, it’s finally the holidays here (Mid-Autumn Festival) and I finally have some time to catch up on translations lol. Hope everyone is doing marvelous :). I think I’m gonna spend all day sitting at my desk; I even prepared lunch and dinner already.

Anyways… a bit on this chapter in general: Even after I got to the end of the chapter, I still didn’t understand a lot of what was happening here…. hopefully its not too confusing to read for y’all xD.

Entropy

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