“Drawing talismans is extremely complicated, it’s extremely difficult for beginners to grasp onto. I’ll gift you some already prepared talismans. Carry them with you in case of emergencies.” Liu Fuyi’s long, slender fingers tidied up a pile of yellow talismans and split them into several stacks. They were covered with complicated symbols and characters; He pointed at the characters and explained: “This is the Warding
Talisman, wear it. This is the Transmission Talisman, you’ve seen me use it before.”
Miaomiao nodded her head and took a glimpse out the corner of her eye to see Mu Yao staring at them continuously with a cold face. She didn’t even hear a single word Mu Sheng was saying to her.
”Brother Liu, how should I use this?” Her eyes flew open, filled with ignorance, as she neared Liu Fuyi even further.
The scented sachet Liu Fuyi always carried on him was filled with mugwort and daylily. The combination was just right and when the scents mixed together, it was elegant and not bleak in the slightest. It was an incredibly charming odor.
“Let me demonstrate for you.” He started making actions with his hand, starting off slow before gaining speed. The several simple movements were performed as harsh as a gust of wind, his fingers seemed to carry sand and dirt along with them.
“I’ve taught you the mnemonic chant already so why don’t you go ahead and try it?” Fuyi handed the talisman over to her.
Miaomiao muttered to herself and extended her arms out and started clawing about in a comical manner. Her actions were both stiff and shaky, just like a little girl playing Cat’s Cradle1 Cat’s cradle: A game where you pass a string back and forth. Confusing I know. Basically, you have to form shapes with the string by shifting your fingers around… while trying to avoid reaching a dead end (being unable to make any more shapes). or also a Lama2Lama: A title for a Dharma of Tibetan Buddhism. It’s apparently similar to the sanskrit ‘Guru’. dancing and leaping about to a shamanistic ritual.
“Not like that…” Liu Fuyi’s brows scrunched up as he looked at the helpless expression on her face; He could only smile in this situation.
She clearly looked extremely intelligent, how did he fail to teach her well?
The green bamboo forest wasn’t all just bamboo. Indistinctly visible behind the bamboo forest, was a pond of water with water so clean one could see the bottom. The main leads set up camp here and comfortably washed away all of the sorry states they had been in. Then, they could finally hurry along.
A portion of Ling Miaomiao’s hair was sticking up left and right. With a dark green hairband, she tied up her hair and it looked just like a child’s style. This sort of underage girl’s hairstyle surprisingly didn’t look out of place on her. On top of the dash of blackness the light blue skirt brought about with the two raw flowery dimples, she appeared like a tender little sprout crawling out of a branch when spring finally arrived.
It was completely different from the always insipid Mu Yao. Girls who deliberately dressed up were simply too obviously charming. It was to the extent that she was especially eye-catching when she drilled back and forth beside the silk-clothed Liu Fuyi. Not only was Mu Yao unable to remove her stare from them all the way down the road, even Mu Sheng was unconsciously staring at them absentmindedly again and again.
After recovering from his absentmindedness, an unclear surge of rage from an unknown reason suddenly charged through him. This kind of emotion was very dangerous, it was a vile desire to destroy everything.
“It’s so difficult, I can’t learn it.” Ling Miaomiao stared at her hand, feeling defeated. Mentally, she was drowning Ling Yu in a torrent of curses.[System, systemmmm! Enough, have you had enough yet?!]
In the original book, after Ling Yu experienced a night of drinking together with Liu Fuyi, she was like a little girl that fell in love with her wishful thinking. Not only did she dress up like a little flower butterfly flitting about, she even pretended to be unable to learn his skills. She tricked Liu Fuyi into continuously teaching her with his hand motions while traveling, irritating Mu Yao to the point that her anger seemed to reach the ozone layer.
“Put on the Warding
Talisman.” Liu Fuyi sighed as he swallowed some saliva to cool his chafing throat. “Rest a bit before we continue learning.”
After the four had officially started traveling, Ling Miaomiao had stuck closely together to Liu Fuyi’s side with the excuse of learning magic. Mu Yao continually turned her gaze to stare at her while she wrapped him up for half a day already.
Even after half a day, Liu Fuyi was still as patient as before. It was only her who felt that her retarted act was making her feel exhausted mentally.
The system didn’t reply to her. This world’s system was extremely cold. Other than bossing her around, it would only stuff a bunch of rewards she had no idea how to use to her. It was simply despair inducing.
She couldn’t help herself and looked at Mu Sheng with despair. She couldn’t even finish Mission 1, how could she possibly finish Mission 2?
Mu Yao and Mu Sheng were walking shoulder to shoulder.
To be honest, ever since the independent main leads joined together, he had never gotten the chance to walk together with his sister. The bright sunshine and towering bamboo shoots in of the bamboo forest in front of him cut the azure sky into countless little strips. Liu Fuyi’s voice was both deep and pleasing to the ear. He repeatedly recited the familiar phrases and these words slowly matched up to the voices in his memories.
“Ah Sheng, this is the Warding talisman. It’s not very complicated, you just need to put it on your person.” The nine year old Mu Yao helped him put it on. She then picked up another one, “This is the Transmission Talisman. You’re still young so you don’t need to use it for now…”
“Sister…” His gaze was bright, “I’ve seen father use Transmission Talismans, I also want to learn now. Can you teach me?”
Mu Yao was distracted: Why do you want to use Transmission Talismans?”
“Ah Sheng, do you remember? When you were young you kicked up a fuss trying to learn how to draw Transmission Talismans.” A cool smile appeared on Mu Yao’s face. The sunlight shone on her porcelain-like skin and the teardrop shaped birthmark beneath her eye became more indistinct.
Mu Sheng didn’t think that she would also fall into memories herself and a smile inadvertently surfaced on his face, “Yep. Sister, you asked me why I wanted to learn to draw Transmission Talismans.”
“At the time, I thought Ah Sheng had finally grown up, and knew to not hide from responsibility…” She smiled, “I didn’t think that you’d say you wanted to be able to talk with me when father and I were out catching demons… I got really furious then.”
Mu Sheng lightly smiled, unconsciously letting out a profound darkness in his eyes: “Actually, sis I—-”
Liu Fuyi and Ling Miaomiao were standing beneath a banyan tree resting while facing one another. This was the first time Fuyi was unable to teach a student in his life. While he was doubting himself, he noticed her repeatedly turning around to look at Mu Sheng with a rather fervent expression.
He cleared up his feelings and rapidly turned his brain and seemed to realize something. He suddenly blurted out: “Miaomiao!”
Ling Miaomiao nearly jumped. She immediately regained her wits about her to see an expression that said: “I know everything you’re thinking” on his face as he fixedly stared at her: “Are you doing it on purpose?”
Oh no, was she discovered?
Liu Fuyi extended a finger and stopped her frantic explanation. A meaningful smile colored his lips: “I want to let Ah Sheng come teach you himself.”
No, wait wait! He seemed to have misunderstood something…
Miaomiao was dumbstruck: “No, that’s not…”
She was too late in stopping him as he had already waved at them as he shouted happily: “Ah Sheng, come over here!”
Ling Miaomiao watched with her own eyes as the black lotus, who had been ready to commence on the path of deep love with his sister, suddenly got interrupted. Then, Liu Fuyi stiffly ripped him from Mu Yao’s side and brought him to her. It was already too forgiving to describe his face as gloomy with how it seemed to be completely made up of dark clouds.
“I’ve already given the talisman paper to her. Teach Miaomiao some spells to defend herself.” Afterwards, Liu Fuyi took a look at her with a smile in his eyes. However, no matter how she looked at that smile, it looked weird, “You can be more serious now.”
Finished speaking, he walked away full of confidence and ease. ‘Brother Liu can only help you to this point.’ Was written all over his back.
Miaomiao and the black lotus were rigidly standing face to face. He looked at her and his gaze seemed to darken. There seemed to be a shred of ridicule on his smile as he stood there without a word. He was like a black cloud on the verge of crashing down a city wall.
“I’m sorry…” Miaomiao pulled a near-crying embarrassed smile onto her face, “It’s all because I’m too stupid. I even made Brother Liu… leave out of anger.”
She looked at a glimpse at the black lotus’s expression while she spoke and her voice grew quieter as she spoke. Just at that time, there was a gust of wind that blew past, blowing up her two bundles of hair tied up with greenish blue hair bands.
Ling Miaomiao was never the type of cold beauty that Mu Yao was; The type to only show warmth once in a blue moon. Her jaw was sharp and her face was as white a powder. Her cheeks were flushed in a fresh red color; She was just like a fresh fruit sitting on a platter. If one didn’t pluck her, she would eventually turn shriveled in the blink of an eye.
…Was this what a normal girl is like?
Other than his sister, other than ‘her’ in the mirror, that kind of beautiful eternal snow at the summit of a frozen mountain, was a secular yet delicate beauty.
“What have you learnt?” He was silent for a moment but there wasn’t a single clue as to his thoughts on his face.
Ling Miaomiao forced herself to open up a talisman paper that Liu Fuyi had given her, speaking rapidly: “Teach me again, I promise I will learn quickly.”
“But I don’t feel like teaching right now.” He took a sidelong glance at her, his tone rather faint. Other than his calm and composed manner, hidden within everything else was vile emotions.
Ling Miaomiao felt extremely ashamed.
She carefully recalled the original plot and realized that this point in the plot where brother and sister recall their childhood, it was before Mu Yao and Mu Sheng became enemies and was the only time they were rather warm towards one another.
Even this miniscule drop of warmth was completely wiped away by her actions.
“If you don’t want to teach, then don’t.” She admitted defeat as she muttered to herself, “It’s fine even if I learn it later.”
In any case, the things that aren’t supposed to occur in this world won’t occur and the things that are supposed to happen, well, she can’t escape from anyways.
Mu Sheng was silent the rest of the way, as if he was pondering matters of the heart. His high, Qiling embroidered boots stepped through the underbrush, emitting crunching and rustling noises.
“Ai, Mu Sheng.” Miaomiao summoned her courage to speak up, “Why don’t we have a conversation?”
Since he couldn’t recall his childhood together with Mu Yao, she could only bite the bullet and try to continue the plot.
“What do you want to say?” Mu Sheng’s line of sight was still on the road ahead. He didn’t even blink.
”Well…” She was still thinking of a better preamble to begin with when she saw him knit his brows and turn around. He pulled her collar and completely ungentlemanly pulled her to his front: “The scent on your body makes my head hurt.”
Scent? Ling Miaomiao thought over his words for a moment, “… hair combing water?”
This was completely unreasonable. By this time, the scent of jasmine should’ve long become very faint. On top of that, Mu Sheng, you took the cloth for the sake of saving your skin. What face do you have to say that to me?
“No.” His pupils were pitch black as he extended a hand out, “Liu Fuyi’s scented sachet.”
“…” Miaomiao unconsciously turned around to look at Liu Fuyi. She saw that he and Mu Yao both took one side of the road, without paying any attention to one another. It was very awkward indeed.
Yet, she wouldn’t have expected this action of her to infuriate the black lotus. He was still smiling but his tone turned clearly displeased, “Don’t want to give it to me?” He took out a scented sachet from his sleeve, “Want to make a trade with me?”
“No need…” Ling Miaomiao started hesitating, “I’ve used this already, I’ll give you a new one….”
Miaomiao had completely forgotten. Counting the last time they were in the front hall, this was the second time she had refused him due to a scented sachet.
The matter she had completely not bothered with, he had completely remembered each and every little bit.
Mu Sheng’s pupils were very dark; Unknowingly, a paranoid look flashed through them: “You’re not willing?”
Miaomiao was a little angered now: “That’s not it. Brother Liu gifted it to me so It’s mine. You don’t like its smell so it’s fine as long as I stay further away from you. Why do you have to force me…”
”Oh…” His eyes were completely filled with bubbling darkness. A talisman very quickly flew over and stuck onto her back, “What you said is right.”
Miaomiao opened her mouth wide as a numb feeling started to extend from her fingertips to her torse. She suddenly felt completely unable to move any part of herself, she was only left with her swiveling eyes that were capable of looking in all directions. She was absolutely terrified.
Mu Sheng lowered his eyes and his fingers brushed past her lapel. With a few rapid movements, the scented sachet was already in his palm. He pinched it in his hand before unhurriedly putting his own Autumn Fragrance scented sachet into the original position and tightening it in place. Immediately afterwards, he skewed his head to the side and watched her, as if checking if her face matched the new scented sachet.
Then, he looked at the scented sachet in his palm. Suddenly, he flipped out a talisman. The edges of the talism curled up and a flame with the color of azure waters was born out of it. This flame was completely silent and scentless. With a “Shu”, it completely turned the sachet into ashes in the blink of an eye.
The ashes were blown away and the air was completely filled with the scent of burnt mugwort. He patted his hands and ripped off the talisman on Miaomiao’s back with a single smooth motion. Dark ripples appeared in his eyes as his gaze gathered on her. He lightly smiled at her: “Now, this is much better.”
Footnotes: Cat’s cradle: A game where you pass a string back and forth. Confusing I know. Basically, you have to form shapes with the string by shifting your fingers around… while trying to avoid reaching a dead end (being unable to make any more shapes).  Lama: A title for a Dharma of Tibetan Buddhism. It’s apparently similar to the sanskrit ‘Guru’.
T/N: Little Potato here, posting again on behalf of Entropy. Poor boy’s being worked to the bone in his internship that his stockpile of chapters is running low and he can’t even muster any energy to translate/post. Please pray for him~