Miaomiao couldn’t help but retreat a few steps. She watched the black lotus warily as if she was watching a monster.
“Are you scared now?” He turned around and no longer bothered with her, yet there was a sneering smile on his face.
What magnanimous and lenient? Wasn’t she merely the same as others? How did she stand out from the masses at all?
Not willing to take another two steps, the person behind him chased up to him while gasping for breath: “Wait, stop right there!”
Turning around, he saw that it was the long lashes of Ling Miaomiao: “Just now, what did you stick onto me?” She didn’t have any hope that he’d answer him. Thus, after fiercely questioning him, she extended a hand and the angry expression on her face disappeared immediately, replaced by a shameless smile: “It was very useful, give me one.”
Ling Miaomiao was very calm mentally: You can’t use normal methods to deal with him. If this guy wasn’t blackened all the way down to his skeleton, he wouldn’t be the black lotus.
“…” Mu Sheng’s gaze fell onto her palm. His footsteps slowly down, “I already gave you a scented sachet.”
“Don’t make excuses, didn’t you exchange that with me?”
He harrumphed and lowered his lashes to look at the nonexistent black ash on the ground: “Exchange what?”
In the art of acting unreasonable, Ling Miaomiao could only accept defeat.
After he finally turned the scented sachet that irked him so into ash, Ling Miaomiao could feel that Mu Sheng’s mood was incomparably good. He even took the initiative to speak to her: “Didn’t you say you wanted to talk?”
If you want to talk, then we’ll talk.
Miaomiao felt bored to death as she flipped the talisman in her hands over: “You learnt all of these magic spells when you were young, I think it must’ve been pretty easy yeah?
Ling Miaomiao was extremely sensitive to numbers. Although reciting mnemonics and drawing talismans was somewhat complicated, there was still a rule and order to everything inside. Earlier, Liu Fuyi had taught her for half a day. She had basically already grasped everything. The black lotus was also very intelligent, she thought that he must be the kind of talent that had never experienced bitterness and setbacks before. As long as he had a chance to climb up higher, he would put his all into grasping the chance. At his young age, he had already become somewhat of an expert.
Mu Sheng watched her from the corner of his eye for a while before speaking in a ridiculing tone: “These basic spells are actually extremely difficult to learn. The trick I just played on Miss Ling was one left over from my youth.”
“…” She didn’t think that the black lotus would completely see through her in one glance. “That’s quite a coincidence then.”
“I advise to be frugal with them then.” Mu Sheng shifted his gaze onto the distant Liu Fuyi. His wet, dark pupils contained a cold smile within: “If it’s not yours, it’ll never become yours.”
Hearing his words, Miaomiao directly scrunched up her brows: “Where did your line of thought fly off to? I’m just treating Brother Liu like an older brother.”
Mu Sheng acted as if he had heard something that caught his interest: “I also just call Mu Yao sister…”
They both came to an abrupt pause.
The two stared each other in the eye. Miaomiao tried her best to suppress the shock on her face and Mu Sheng was also in somewhat of a blank daze.
The secret nobody else had known, even he himself was unwilling to admit to this disgraceful intention, was just this simply, basically nonchalantly, blurted out right in front of her face?
Miaomiao endured the pressure and forcibly changed the topic: “Oh right, that day… you had so many scars on your back… was it all caused by the demon?”
Mu Sheng regained his spirits and a layer of dark clouds immediately shrouded his eyes, “Demons won’t leave any traces on my body.”
Miaomiao carefully glanced over at his left-hand, which had been dripping fresh blood in the past. It was spotlessly clean and white. She couldn’t hold back her curiosity: “Then…”
He smiled meaninglessly: “Obviously, it was the masterpiece of humans.”
“Lord, didn’t you say that if he’s here, Yao’er wouldn’t get injured anymore? How could….” A Madam adorned with pearls on her head and scarlet lipstick on her lips, clenched her onto silk cloth as beads of tears continuously fell down her face.
The hall was very dusky, the candlelight was only barely able to light up the room. The brick floor was cold, both cold and hard.
”Our Mu Family is not the same as it was in the past. One more person is one more mouth to feed. It would be strange if it wasn’t difficult for me to raise him. Don’t point at how he protects Yao’er, we can’t let Yao’er protect him…” Her voice seemed to be filled with an endless river of grievances as she spewed them out one by one in accusation.
”Yi Rong, speak a few less words, will you?” Sitting above her was a white robed woman with her hair combed into a concise bun. Horizontally inserted into her hair was a lotus white jade hairpin. There were thin crows feet at the corners of her eyes. She was supporting her forehead with her palm as she reminded in an irked tone: “Yao’er just fell asleep. Don’t cause such a fuss and cause her to wake up.”
”Hmph. You’re not your elder sister’s kin after all, how could you possibly feel any pain…” The madam’s sobs grew even more wild. She took at glance out of the corner of her eye to look at the male beside the white clothed female and upon seeing his brow-knitted appearance, one of complete impatience, immediately stopped her wails. Then, she turned around to face the boy kneeling on the ground. The extreme ferocity in her eyes scared him into shivering, “You little animal! You better properly kneel there! It’s all because of you… because of you that Yao’er was injured!”
The servants had twisted his arms behind his back as they rigidly pressed him down onto the ground. In those grape-like black eyes of his, terror reflected the woman fiercely slapping her jade-clad fingers onto his face.
”Pa—–” He closed his eyes and heard a boom in his ears. A five fingered palm print quickly swelled up on his face as a severe burning pain erupted.
“Enough. Yi Rong.” The white clothed woman’s face was somewhat like melted wax, appearing very exhausted. However, she had no intention to stop her, she only slowly enunciated: “He’s still young and his spells are weak. Seeing that kind of intimidating demon, of course he would subconsciously want to hide….”
“Hide?” The woman’s scarlet eyes went wide, “He wanted to hide, hide where? Hide behind Yao’er?”
Another palm lifted into the air and the air was filled with another crisp clap. The young boy’s lip was now broken as blood started to flow out. He was completely silent, without making a single noise as he opened his eyes wide. His thin and weak body started to slightly tremble.
The woman paused for a moment, looked at her hand, and let out a revulsed expression, “Even the smell of his blood makes one feel disgusted.”
The white clothed woman let out a sigh: “Ah Sheng, hurry and admit your wrongs to Concubine Rong.”
What use is admitting wrongs?” The woman clutched his face hatefully, “If some unfortunate fate were to befall Yao’er, you would’ve had to pay with your life!”
“Wuu…” Tears welled up in his eyes due to the pain yet there was still some blankness in his eyes. Stars that could move people flickered through his eyes, he didn’t know why he gained the loathing of everyone.
“Speak, you gremlin!”
“… I’m sorry… sister…”
The woman was so furious she took a few steps back, “Say it again? Who are you sorry to?”
His pitch black eyes lifted up and in those childish eyes, the malevolent instincts of a little beast flashed through: “Only… sorry to my sister.”
”Ha!” There was a bewildered resentment in her eyes. Her red lips opened and closed, “You tried to turn things around…” She turned around, silk cloth covering her face as she shouted in a wail: “Lord! My life is so bitter—- Even this little child can climb all over my face… please, show some care…”
“Enough.” A low voice came from above and cut her off. The familiar dark brown robed man stood up with his hands in the air, appearing like a god watching from above. There was a stern look in his eyes as he rebuked: “All of you, stop!”
”Lord…” Yi Rong wasn’t going to let the matter go so easily as her tears fell even harder, “Outsiders see us as bright and beautiful, but inside, you know well what it’s like. The Mu Family has lasted for so long, but now it’s only left with Yao’er. She also meets with mishaps practically every day! When we started raising this little animal, I had thought I could relax but who would’ve known that he was actually a god of pestilence… to me, this looks like the heavens wants to destroy our Mu Family…”
She was used to carrying a seductive tone in her voice so even when crying and making complaints, the ends of her words still lifted up like they were hooked, causing no end of headaches for the others: “Lord, I, Yi Rong, put my life on the line help give birth to a daughter for you. If we can’t protect Yao’er, I don’t want to live anymore…”
The white clothed woman coughed twice, her expression extremely unsightly to behold.
The middle aged man sitting in the upper seat walked down with a cold face. Step by step, he walked over the boy kneeling on the floor. He looked down at him from above, his expression was pale but seemed to contain an endless amount of majesty within.
“Mu Sheng, do you recognize your wrongs?”
“I’m sorry… sister…”
The man knit his brows: “I’m talking to you—-”
“I’m sorry, sister…” He raised his little face, tears filled his eyes. The teardrops glistened and shimmered and gave him an out of place charm for his age.
The man was momentarily stunned before his expression grew complicated. He took out a whip from his robes and whipped the young boy into falling over: “Do you not hear me speak?”
”Lord…: The white clothed woman was shocked as she stood up coughing. She picked up her handkerchief to half cover her mouth, “He’s still a child, how could you use the family’s laws on him?”
Crack. Crack. The whip brought with it a gale as it landed on the boy’s body. The muffled sound of flesh ripping filled the air: “Next time you meet a demon, are you going to hide?”
The whip cracked on the marble floor and sounded just like firecrackers being set off: “You have to put your life on the line to protect your sister. You can’t let her suffer the slightest injury. Do you understand?”
Ear-piercing sounds were constantly transmitted over, and eventually the sound of something shattering and a little beast-like muffled moan arose. In the end, it became a completely unconscious whimpering.
”Sister. Pft. Which family’s child is he from?” Yi Rong cast a twisted her mouth into a smirk as she coldly looked at the badly mutilated mess on the ground, “Leaving him with his life, isn’t that just a waste?”
The candlelight swayed with the light breeze and vision was rather blurry. Warm fluid flowed into his eyes and intense pain seemed to submerge his mind.
He laid in the moist and gloomy firewood shed. All of his wounds were crying out with pain. In front of his eyes was the edge of the white clothed woman’s skirt. Her eyes were filled with worry and pity as she crouched down. Her ice-cold hand gently caressed his head as she sighed: “Perhaps, at the start, I should’ve never brought you back here…”
Mu Sheng closed eyes, not making a single noise.
She was neither close nor distant, always standing at his side, hesitating to interfere yet unwilling to shield him till the end.
She was just like Mu Yao, giving people the faint illusion of hope and happiness. Just like the mirage a person on their deathbed would see, like a Bodhisattva far off in the horizon, shrouded in a kind halo… yet, for eternity, one would never reach him.
Mu Sheng’s smile was full of derision: “This is the family law of my Mu Family.”
Miaomiao only remembered the original book saying that the Mu Family parents treated him coldly. She never could’ve realized that this ‘coldness’ was this apathetic. She couldn’t help but feel loathing towards them as she muttered: “How ruthless….”
“What did you say?”
“Ai, nothing! I was just thinking…” Miaomiao spoke from her heart, “Just because one is a Demon Hunter family, does that make them righteous? On the matter of demon hunting, they’ve made great contributions for the common people, but that doesn’t mean that they can commit wrongs on other fronts!”
Mu Sheng was left speechless: “What do you mean?”
“What I mean is they went overboard.” Miaomiao looked at him, “That day, I saw your scars. That’s not some normal family laws at all! That’s absolutely not the right way to educate children.”
Family law, more like domestic violence no?
Mu Sheng paid no attention to her as he smiled: “It was I who didn’t properly protect my sister. That’s why I was beaten.”
Miaomiao could only let out a sigh, “Based on what are you always so focused on protecting your sister?” She had asked a question that had been in her heart since she read the original book, “Can’t there be someone to protect you?”
Mu Sheng’s pupils paused for a moment, and at that moment, it was like the heavenly river of stars above suddenly flipped around on its head, simultaneously converging on the origins of the universe.
”That’s not possible.” He hooked up his lips and looked towards the sun in the horizon slowly setting in the west. Then, he calmly followed up: “As long as I can hold on and stay alive, that’s enough.”
Silence started to pervade the atmosphere. Ling Miaomiao coughed a few times and hoisted up the talisman in her hand: “… are you still going to teach me?”
Mu Sheng turned around to look at her: “Don’t use talismans, I’ll teach you Exploding Sparks.”
Just a moment ago, Miaomiao had been feeling terrible all over due to the black lotus’s scars, but now she nearly leaped into the air: “Are you for real?”
The Mu Family’s signature Exploding Sparks! Did she pick up a golden finger somewhere along the way?
The corner of Mu Sheng’s lips curled up into a smile. He pulled her into stance from behind, and after adjusting her posture for a long time, she was kneaded into a twisted stance. His hand had carelessly brushed past her clothes several times, making her feel itchy underneath.
“I’ll only say the chant once.” He lowered his voice and recited it once, let go of her hand and quipped, “You try.”
Ling Miaomiao tightly closed her eyes as she nervously recited the chant. Immediately afterwards, a beautiful fire flower exploded next to her hand with a ‘bang’!
”Wah! Mu Sheng—-” Her eyes had grown exceedingly bright, “You’re too amazing!
Mu Sheng smiled and watched her for a while. Then, a cold light slid through his eyes for a moment before disappearing from existence.
TLN: Hah. Have a Spooky Halloween everyone.