“This humble one is Imperial Censor Guo Xiu from the Ministry of Rites… ugh… I’m very grateful to you heroes for saving me. May I know your names? When we return to Chang An, I must show my great gratitude.”
Last night, the big ole man in a terrible state, who teetered on the edge of life and death, had now dried up in the sun and regained his refined, noble appearance.
Mu Yao thought of his vile actions the night prior that lead to half an entire ship of innocent people losing their lives. As such, her face turned cold. From beginning till the end, she didn’t raise her head the slightest bit: “Killing demons and removing devils is natural for Demon Hunters, there’s no need to express gratitude.”
Liu Fuyi didn’t have a good expression on his face either as he faced him. His reply was neither warm nor cold: “Many thanks for your wonderful intentions. We were originally already heading to Chang An…”
”That’s wonderful then!” A smile was piled on top of Guo Xiu’s face, “This lowly official was also going to enter the palace. I can still help recommend you all and arrange food and room for you all…” He paused, seemingly thinking of something, and lowered his voice: “Dare I ask, if you all are going to Chang An for… His Majesty Duanyang’s matter?”
Mu Yao and Liu Fuyi looked each other in the eye. Mu Yao coldly replied: “Our informer wants their matters to be kept a secret. It’s not convenient to speak about it.”
Guo Xiu touched his nose, feeling a bit embarrassed.
He was a near two meter tall man, both tall and well-built. When he stooped over like that, it was like a dark cloud was right above their heads. No matter how one looked at him, he didn’t look like an official. He looked more like a kidnapping mountain bandit.
Liu Fuyi felt him to be an eyesore. He lifted his sleeve and pointed at a clear path: “This way is to Apricot Town on the edge of the bamboo forest. If you just continue east, you’ll find yourself in Apricot Town. We have an injured person with us and our speed of traversal will be quite tedious. Sir Guo, how about you head on ahead by yourself?”
The clothes hanging off of Guo Xiu’s body were in tatters and his face was also covered in wounds. He had experienced such harrowing dangers, it was already quite good that he didn’t just ignore them completely. He couldn’t even change out of his clothes. He had reached his bearable tolerance levels long ago and now he secretly felt delighted inside. He sneered: “Then, this lowly official will gladly accept your proposal… shall I wait respectfully at Chang An for you honorable figures?”
“Did you have enough fun watching the excitement?”
Miaomiao felt her sleeve getting pulled on by the black lotus, and it was only then that she recovered her senses. However, she was too late in storing away the look of schadenfreude on her face.
Mu Sheng felt very very unhappy inside.
This person’s spirit was just snatched away like that; She became so exhilarated from just listening to them. Perhaps, if he started choking while laying on the ground, she wouldn’t even notice at all! How in the world could there be such a thoughtless person?
“I’m sorry I’m sorry!” Miaomiao’s smile was as lovely as spring sunshine. She raised her hand to touch his forehead, “Where do you feel uncomfortable?”
He tilted his head to the side to dodge her and rapidly blocked her wrist from approaching him any further. His pitch black-pupils stared straight at her: “You really don’t blame me…”
“I don’t blame you, not in the slightest.” Miaomiao’s brows knitted up, “Bringing up such an old topic, isn’t it irritating?”
She took back her arm and patted him on the chest with a force that wasn’t light nor heavy: “I don’t blame you because I’m lenient and magnanimous. I won’t lower myself to your level.”
She paused for a moment, then measured him up with an askance glance. There was once again a smile filled with schadenfreude on her face: “Did you think that your incredible charm would make me fall for you… or perhaps, while Young Noble Mu is in this state, that I’ll try to scheme something?”
”….” Mu Sheng clenched his teeth, his face turning unsightly.
Miaomiao looked at his appearance and realized that she had incautiously poked his wounds.
Ling Miaomiao, can you not be so sarcastic with your words? He’s the one you have to capture, not anger to death…
She felt extremely remorseful as she pondered for a moment before she thought of an exquisite method: “If you’re always so uneasy, I think it must be because I know your secret. Since that’s the case, let me tell you one of my secrets.”
She had wracked her brains for a solution before finally thinking of this method. Excited, she crouched down beside him and moved her body close beside his ear.
Mu Sheng felt strands of her hair brushing over his face and immediately afterwards, her soft but cold lips accidentally brushed his outer ear. As if he had touched a fresh petal, he was caught off guard and trembled all over like he had been struck by lightning.
She used her hand to block them and lowered her voice, deathly afraid of others hearing: “I… I only started having my period this year, slower than other girls by 4-5 years. The night my period came, I started crying from joy. I thought that I was a fake female in the past….”
Her voice beside his ear rustled and shook. His ear, neck and even half his body turned numb from the sensation.
The last few years he traveled the lands, there were many that had thrown themselves at him. They had meticulously adorned themselves with jade and perfume, and as such, before they’d even near him, the greasy smell of cosmetics would hit him first in the face.
The first shy girls that first fell in love with him, in his eyes, were all just putting on pretenses. It was too shameful and disgraceful for them to leave the house.
Yet, the girl in front of him was completely oblivious to it all. She had been unintentional, and so those intimate actions had turned hard to predict. It was like walking on a road when one’s leg suddenly swept past a rose. A bead of morning dew in between the petals slips down one’s leg suddenly and one’s heart feels pierced through with cold. And afterwards, one couldn’t help but recall such a thing over and over again.
He repeatedly recalled that stimulating moment of his heart beating fiercely.
Miaomiao suddenly felt that Mu Sheng’s body was drawn taut. She slightly leaned backwards to see him turn his head over. His face jumped from red to white and his ears were slightly red. His tone was considerably unhappy, “Tell me, why did you say such a thing to me?”
“Is this not considered a secret? I feel like it’s very secret-y—-” She then knit her brows, half out of doubt and half out of caution. “… Do you know what a period is?”
”I know, don’t say anymore!” He turned back over to look at her, his pair of bottomless black eyes were surprisingly filled with a few strands of helpless resentment.
Ling Miaomiao felt at ease now. She stretched before also laying down on the grass, “Alright, secret exchange completed. Now, if I ever reveal a single word of your secrets, you can go and tell the whole world of mine… now you can be at ease….”
Mu Sheng felt his patience tearing at its seams and thus closed his eyes. Still, she kept being long-winded beside his ear, “Oh right, speaking of periods…” Her voice suddenly paused, and the rustling noises of a paper bag started to enter his ear instead. He opened his eyes a meager amount to a shadow looming over him. Immediately after, something was stuffed into his mouth.
“Don’t, don’t spit it out…” As if she could feel his resistance, her cold fingertips carried the object further into his mouth and straightforwardly sealed up his mouth without hesitation.
A sweet flavor started to spread in his mouth.
He was stunned for a moment: What was this?
“Gold silk candied jujube.1  Gold Silk Candied Jujube: Just like a normal candied jujube, but it has ‘gold silk’-like threads going from one end to the other. Which, from my research, is just light reflecting off of the folds and crannies. They’re specially used to supplement blood.” She cupped her face as she smiled, “My dad used to say, if one eats candied jujubes everyday, you’ll look healthy and won’t look old.”
“Remove your hand.” His voice was rather unclear. He waited for Ling Miaomiao to take back her hand before starting to slowly chew then swallow it. The pit of the candied jujube had already been removed. Its gelatin-like texture and sweetness from having been simmered in cane sugar for a while caused every bite to release a strong sweetness.
Why does she have so many sweet things on her person?
The number of sweet things he had eaten the last few days had already surpassed the number of sweet things he’d eaten from a young age till now.
”It’s too sweet.” He subconsciously licked his lips, the flavor was both familiar and unfamiliar. Because it had been so long, it felt somewhat unreal in his mouth.
“What’s wrong with sweetness?” Ling Miaomiao raised her hand to block the sunlight. Her tone was somewhat disdainful, “Being alive is already so bitter. We have to give ourselves a bit of sugar whenever we can.”
Mu Sheng was slightly stunned. Like an instant skill, the girl sitting beside him had already taken out a paper bag and stuffed it into his chest. She even familiarly helped him close his lapels and hide the package: “Save it to eat in the future.”
…I don’t want it.
There was a voice in his head that repeatedly reminded him but he was late in raising his hands for some unknown reason. Return it to her, return it to her… I don’t need anyone’s goodwill…
“Miaomiao…” Someone called out from far away.
“Ai! Brother Liu!” Her voice turned lively and vigorous in a split second as she lifted her skirt and ran away without the slightest bit of hesitation.
He opened his eyes and turned around to take a look, only to see her chasing after Liu Fuyi’s back in great spirits. The place where she had sat before, a ring of grass was still crumpled and pressed down. The marks on the grass were still there, but the person had gone far away already.
“Ah Sheng.” Mu Yao’s voice came from beside his ear. To his left was Mu Yao’s cyan skirt. She crouched down, lowered her head and investigated the condition of his wounds.
This should’ve been how things went.
He closed his eyes as Mu Yao’s familiar smell surrounded him. This was the smell he yearned for day and night for the last decade.
“You’ve recovered some?” Her hand brushed over his chest, “I’ll take a look at your wounds.”
Before he even realized it himself, he had already swapped out the paper bag in his clothes and hit it in his sleeves.
His heart was beating wildly and he hadn’t felt such panic in a very long time. Immediately after, he fell into a heavy daze: What in the world was he doing?
“Sis…” He stared at Mu Yao’s calm face that sadly didn’t have any worry on it. Out of habit, he put on a wronged expression: “It hurts…”
Distress flashed through Mu Yao’s face and she immediately turned serious: “Ah Sheng, you’ve caused a huge blunder this time. In the future, you can’t be this headstrong anymore.”
“Sis, I understand.” He gazed at her with a face full of obedience, yet his heart was completely filled with sour bitterness.
Does his sister know of that matter? Those things that he couldn’t remember, does sis remember?
No, Mu Yao and the Mu Family were completely different existences. Everytime he was whipped and locked in the firewood shed, Mu Yao would let him out in the middle of the night and help him apply medicine… he would feel drops of something warm on his back: Her tears.
He could only have his sister to put his entire trust onto.
“Alright, I won’t criticize you anymore. Rest properly, let your body recover.” Mu Yao supported herself on her knee as she got up. Suddenly, her expression grew heavier, “Ah Sheng, the aura around you grew thicker did it not? You…”
He had used his demonic skills twice in the past three days, obviously there would be traces left behind. Mu Sheng felt like a bolt of lightning landed on his head; He felt his heart beating like a drum.
“Sister Mu, Brother Liu is calling you over.”
Miaomiao suddenly appeared behind Mu Yao. There was a dense fragrance around her, which was the smell of the unique hair combing water the Taicang County Mayor’s Residence had: The air around her was completely filled with the fragrance of jasmine.
Mu Yao was completely pulled off track by Miaomiao.
Miaomiao grabbed onto Mu Yao and walked away together. Yet, she seemed to have eyes on the back of her head as she threw a scented sachet behind her back towards Mu Sheng: The Scented sachet drew an arc through the air before landing on his hand.
He opened it to take a look. There was a bunch of soft cloth freshly ripped off of her skirt. It had just been soaked in the hair combing water.
The scent was extremely intense. It was enough to make people take glances at it, definitely enough to disturb one’s sense of smell.
Liu Fuyi used a rock to draw out a simple map on the ground: “We’ll stay here another night to wait for Ah Sheng to be able to walk. Then we can start heading towards Apricot Town. It should take about 2 days and two nights before we arrive. If we rent a carriage there and take the main road, we’ll need another day to reach Chang An.”
He turned quiet for a moment before involuntarily laughing: “What smell is this that’s so strong?”
“Oh, it’s my hair combing water…” Miaomiao smiled, “Does it smell nice?”
Mu Yao knitted her brows tightly yet managed to stay quiet with extreme self-control.
Wind blew through the bamboo forest, causing the leaves to tremble with a rather desolate noise. Ling Miaomiao felt very anxious inside.
According to the original plot, Ling Yu survived the confiscation of property and escaped with her life. Together with the impoverished main lead group, they walked on foot all the way to the green bamboo forest.
In this world, Miaomiao’s father was extremely worried about her being wronged so he extravagantly sent her on a luxurious passenger ship— Never would he have expected that they would meet a water demon calamity in the middle and the entire ship would sink. They had taken the long way around but in the end, still could not avoid the green bamboo forest.
There were two reasons why Ling Miaomiao didn’t like the green bamboo forest: 1. Inside the green bamboo forest, Ling Yu, who thought there were some ambiguous feelings between her and the main lead, stuck onto Liu Fuyi like an octopus: Causing Mu Yao to feel uncontrollably fed up. In this stretch of the plot, she had to unceasingly stick very closely to Liu Fuyi to gain enough intimacy points.
2.In this green bamboo forest, Ling Yu was going to meet with an extremely dangerous situation.
Being cannon fodder was also an excruciatingly bitter matter eh?
 Gold Silk Candied Jujube: Just like a normal candied jujube, but it has ‘gold silk’-like threads going from one end to the other. Which, from my research, is just light reflecting off of the folds and crannies.
TLN: Yoho everyone. Kinda dying hoho. Sorry about the late chapters, completely slipped my mind that I hadn’t scheduled them. Had to ask a favor from liltato :0