”Don’t touch me… if you come closer… if you get any closer…” Miaomiao had already shrunk into a corner. In front of her was a field of grey-ish green that locked down her path out.
Earlier, when she was being dragged along, she grabbed a rather sharp rock with her hands. Now, she was trying to drag on for time while also trying to cut the vines tying her up. The vine itself only had a few fibers left attaching it together and had already become loose.
…Hmph, you little demons. Even though I only just learnt Exploding Sparks, I have Liu Fuyi’s talismans; I want to see if you all can hold on against them.
Finding the optimal moment to act, Miaomiao rapidly ripped off the vines and searched her clothes yet came up empty.
She felt all the blood in her body flow backwards… Where… where were the talismans?
She felt her brain turn stiff as she recalled the period of time Mu Sheng was teaching her Exploding Sparks. His posture behind her back as he lectured her, the multitude of times he seemingly lightly brushed over her clothes: She had thought it was strange at the time.
It must’ve been at that period of time, he didn’t even let go of Liu Fuyi’s talismans on her.
“Ah, she actually broke free!”
“Quick, capture her!”
The shouts of the little demons pierced into her ears. In a moment of desperation, Ling Miaomiao shot an Exploding Spark towards the sea of gloomy green: “Just die!”
The little demons instinctually retreated backwards, the sea of green creating a gap.
—Several awkward seconds of silence passed and there wasn’t the sound of an explosion.
She fired another Exploding Sparks — Still no explosion. She was like a stunned player of Cat’s Cradle: With her maintaining her twisted arm stiffly in the air.
She couldn’t help but mock herself in cold ridicule: You idiot child, Exploding Sparks is the unique spell of the Mu Family… how could it be so easily taught to an outsider?
She knew two of his heavy secrets: Knowing how to draw Reversed Talismans and being secretly in love with his sister. Mu Sheng, from beginning till the end, never trusted her, this dangerous stranger, nor planned to let her live.
The cold water on the roof dripped down onto her face. One by one.
Was it raining?
Can there even be rain in this kind of sealed area?
She closed her eyes and raised her face. She could feel droplets of rain landing on her hair and the cold texture of rain running down her cheeks.
The earthy scent here was mixed with a slight bloody aftertone. It was the gloomy, and wet smell that couldn’t be washed away from this cave.
”She’s tricking us! She doesn’t know any spells!” A group of small demons charged over completed enraged. The first thing they did was stretch out their arms and strike her.
When bamboo demons striked, they used their split but hollow hands like they were clapperboards1 Clapperboard 快板: Basically a bunch of wood/bamboo boards strung together that ‘claps’. Lolol, terrible explanation I know. I can’t think of a better way to describe it though.. One strike would land first, then the other. Not only was the sound crisp and clear, the wounds they caused were also very clear to see at a glance.
”Hit her!” With a precursor right in front of their eyes, the swarm of bamboo demons fought amongst themselves to hit her first.
Ling Miaomiao started to ponder while being buried under a rain of blows: If the system really disconnected, should I explode myself and die together with this squad of clapperboards?
This is too painful ok?!
“Enough!” A nasally voice penetrated through their ears, the bamboo demon she saw earlier had spoken up, “You’re all idiots! Get out of the way.”
The little demons’ bodies creaked and groaned as they rushed to make an open path.
Ling Miaomiao had fallen on the ground, her clothes were already ripped to an unbearable state. Other than her face, countless red marks had been struck onto her skin. She shrunk even more into the corner as she raised her head to look at the bamboo demon.
The girl’s eyes were clearly visible even in the dim light: There was some unease but the fear in them wasn’t to the point of having lost all courage.
”Since they can’t deal with you, I’ll have to lower myself to make a pair of clothes myself.” Behind the bamboo demon, the giant awl-like bamboo floated. It lifted the bamboo awl and pressed it against Ling Miaomiao’s stomach.
Ling Miaomiao lowered her head to watch this bamboo that was as sharp as a knife before calming her mind: Normally, villains act as if they’ve never had the chance to speak to someone before, but now it’s clear that it doesn’t plan to speak nonstop all the way till tomorrow… don’t tell me that by the time the main leads arrive and save her, she’d have already become a corpse more dead than alive?
No way! She fiercely shook: I better still self-explode. I don’t want to become some beautiful girl fertilizer for plants…
The sharp head pushed forward an inch and an itchy feeling spread over her chest. In the blink of an eye, a scorching flame appeared on her skin. In the next moment, a thin thread of smoke started to drift up.
“She’s smoking…” The little demons had their jaws drop to the ground.
”Fwhoosh—–” Fire the color of the ocean burst forth like the most vicious hunting dog one could imagine: Completely swallowing up the bamboo joint without a sound in the blink of an eye.
Ling Miaomiao raised her eyes to take a look and saw that the sharp weapon in the bamboo demon’s hand had already been burnt to a stump. One of the little demons lightly touched it and it simply just fell apart into pieces with a crash.
The bamboo demon looked at the remaining handle in his hand incredulously.
It reached out with its hands and rapidly grew out several bamboo joints then started to attack Ling Miaomiao from a distance. She was cradling her bruised and battered skin, and was prepared to get completely pierced through when the ocean blue flames seemed to leave her like a swimming dragon: Following its hand to rapidly climb towards its body.
The blue flames’ speed was ridiculous, giving the bamboo demon no time to react; It only had the time to scream, “Ahhhhhhhhh——”
The bamboo demon rolled over on the ground like it had been struck by lightning. In order to save its life, it could only bear the excruciating pain and cut off a part of its own bamboo. The part it cut off rapidly turned into ashes on the ground.
Ling Miaomiao felt like she was about to start crying out of joy, was this the system? The system was alive? The system is mighty!
Reasonably, fresh bamboo should be hard to light on fire. However, this bundle of blue flames was like a ghost as it completely gulped down several sections of its body in an instant. It had turned all living organisms into dark ash in an instant.
Each and every creature that could threaten her life were killed in the blink of an eye.
Ling Miaomiao felt so moved, tears came unbidden to her eyes. This kind of arrogant and despotic aura was really too similar to the system’s style!
On that night, the bamboo demon who had cut off one of its own arms didn’t give up on trying to kill Ling Miaomiao: Chopping at her, throwing stones at her, burning her, drowning her, smashing her head in with a pot……
Ling Miaomiao was shrunk into the corner as she watched the piles of ashes appear in front of her one by one. It angered the bamboo to the point that its eyes rolled up into the back of its head. As for the blue flames, it was still as at ease as before. It simply laid down and peacefully slept the night.
The feeling of having a golden finger was simply too awesome.
The morning of the next day, before the sun had even risen into the sky, the cave started to quiver. The escaping bamboo demons were akin to a sea of green as they followed the cracks to slip out.
Liu Fuyi put one foot into the cave, and as he walked towards her, he broke all obstacles with ease. There was a thread of the early morning light following him in, seemingly surrounding him with a brilliant radiance as he came to save her.
Ling Miaomiao muttered to herself: “The original plot wasn’t cheating me.”
“Miaomiao!” Liu Fuyi was indeed anxious. Seeing her shrinking in the corner, he immediately leapt off the ground and appeared right in front of her.
“Brother Liu!” She acted like she had seen her close family, leaping up and throwing herself into Liu Fuyi’s chest. She accidentally touched her wounds and let out a “Yow!’ as the pain caused her to inhale deeply.
”What’s wrong?” Liu Fuyi measured her up from head to toe. Her body was completely covered by bloody marks and for a moment, he wasn’t sure where she was even fine. Guilt filled his face as he spoke from his heart: “It was all my fault, to let you get caught by demons…”
“It’s fine it’s fine. They’re just superficial wounds….” Miaomiao saw the brother sister pair behind Liu Fuyi and her expression turned especially strange. Mu Yao had been chopping down demons all the way in but upon hearing Liu Fuyi’s words, turned around with a strange yet complicated expression on her face.
But Mu Sheng only gave her a glance with a gloomy, unreadable face.
Liu Fuyi took off his cloak and put it over her. He pulled her along as they left the mountain caves. After comforting her for a while, his expression turned serious again: “Miaomiao, why didn’t you use the transmission talisman upon meeting danger?”
Seeing the wounds all over her body, he felt a surge of doubt: “Also, where’s the warding
talismans I picked specifically for you? Did you secretly take it off?”
”Didn’t Ah Sheng teach you Exploding Sparks? When they hurt you, why didn’t you use it? Even if you can only shoot out a single fire flower, it should’ve been enough to deal with these demons?”
“Uhhh….” Miaomiao felt very conflicted within as she was faced with this long strand of questions. She couldn’t just directly tell Liu Fuyi that she didn’t have the talismans on her and the Exploding Sparks was only playing with her right? That it was all the schemes of the black lotus to trying to kill her… right?”
It was unknown when, but Mu Yao and Mu Sheng had already finished dealing with all of the bamboo demons and were standing silently behind Liu Fuyi.
“The talismans you gave me…” She linked her eyes with Mu Sheng’s ink-black ones and looked at him deeply for a moment before smiling in an embarrassed manner: “I accidentally threw them away…”
Liu Fuyi was so angry he was left speechless. He nearly grabbed her collar: “You could’ve thrown away anything else, but you threw away the lifesaving talismans?! If I had known this earlier, I would’ve just drawn the talisman on your clothes!”
Upon hearing this, both Mu Yao and Mu Sheng’s faces became very hard to watch. However, the reason for this was different for each person.
”I’m sorry Brother Liu… I will definitely hold onto them carefully next time. I absolutely won’t run about willy nilly anymore…” Miaomiao bravely endured the male lead’s precious anger. Her attitude was exceptionally sincere as she only wanted Liu Fuyi to calm himself down and stop irritating the pitiful female lead any more.
Who would’ve thought that the more Miaomiao took a step back figuratively, the more she would’ve aroused Liu Fuyi’s desire to be protective. In his eyes, Miaomiao’s little face was pale and she was covered in wounds. She had been scared all night and now couldn’t even stand up without help. Now she even wanted to apologize to him; He could only put even more blame on himself. His face grew cold: “What about Exploding Sparks? Didn’t Ah Sheng teach you?”
“I…” Miaomiao looked at Liu Fuyi and then looked at the black lotus. She was left bewildered for a while. Liu Fuyi saw that she was hemming and hawing and instantly a third of what was going on. He turned around to look at the cool expressions of the Mu brother and sister as they stood there with ‘this-has-nothing-do-with-me’ attitudes. He didn’t even need to ask a single thing and his whole body started to emit coldness like he had swallowed a bowl of ice sludge: “I understand. How can one possibly learn the Mu Family’s Exploding Sparks so casually?”
His words were cutting and Mu Yao swiveled over to meet his gaze. After a while, a cold smile colored her lips as her eyes filled with obstinacy: “My Mu Family is open and straightforward in our ways. If we don’t teach, we won’t. If we teach, we’ll teach to the best of our ability. How could we possibly use that kind of method?”
“Brother Liu!” Miaomiao grabbed the corner of his clothes and smiled, “Sister Mu is right. Young Noble Mu taught me very seriously. It was I who was too scared by the bamboo demons and completely forgot how to recite the chant.”
Finished speaking, she could feel the black lotus’s heavy gaze landing on her body.
Liu Fuyi’s face was still doubtful: “Is that true?”
Miaomiao nodded: “It’s true! Think about it, I can’t even remember the symbols on talismans, Exploding Sparks’ chant is so difficult it’s totally normal for me to completely forget it….”
Mu Yao turned around and left. Liu Fuyi knit his brows and chased after her: “Yao’er!”
Counting the current day, they had already left for ten days. The bamboo forest here was already more and more sparsely placed. They could already faintly hear the hubbub of sounds over by the town. The swirling wisps of smoke slowly rising from chimneys could be seen from a far distance away. It was a clear sign of the journey within the green bamboo forest coming to an end.
Mu Sheng’s footsteps were extremely quiet just like a cat. Even his shadow was only faintly visible as he very very patiently followed behind Miaomiao.
Miaomiao pulled the cloak around her closer; She hadn’t turned around the entire way and walked with a rapid pace.
“Ling Yu.” Mu Sheng finally couldn’t keep his words down as he opened his to call her full name.
“Didn’t I tell you to stop calling me Ling Yu? I’m Ling Miaomiao.” Miaomiao’s tone was rather unfriendly. Before her voice had left his ears, she had already far passed him.
Mu Sheng used a small amount of effort to catch up and keep up her pace. His hair was swaying in the air and there was a deep probing look in his eyes: “Do you have nothing to say to me?”
Miaomiao’s face was expressionless as she shook her head. Her pace was still as rapid as ever, like she didn’t even deign to waste a single glance at him.
Mu Sheng slid sideways and came to her front. She tried to walk to the left but he extended his left hand to block her. She turned around to the right but he then extended his right hand. The silver lines of the qilin on his sleeves exposed his entire body.
He stood upright in front of her, perfectly in position to see the sun shine off of her glossy black crown of hair. Ling Miaomiao stubbornly refused to make eye contact with him as she stared continuously at his foot. It was to the point that he couldn’t help but suspect that she was about to burst out and stomp on his foot a few times.
Ling Miaomiao was in a position where she couldn’t retreat so she could only raise her head. She smiled coldly: “What words could I possibly have for someone who wholeheartedly wants to commit murder?”
 Clapperboard 快板: Basically a bunch of wood/bamboo boards strung together that ‘claps’. Lolol, terrible explanation I know. I can’t think of a better way to describe it though.