“If you detest me so, why did you speak falsehoods earlier?” Mu Sheng had a sparkle of incomprehension in his eyes.
Ling Miaomiao felt weird: Was this still the black lotus?
“That was for the greater picture. I didn’t want disagreement to sprout up between you all — so I sacrificed myself for the benefit of the multitudes… understand? “
The black lotus kept his silence before turning around and lowering his eyes: “Liu Fuyi’s scent on his cloak is making my head hurt.”
Ling Miaomiao had been holding in a bellyful of anger for far too long already: “You have too many problems, stay away from me. That way, it’ll be more peaceful for us both.”
The instant Mu Sheng extended his hand to grab her cloak, she shot out her hand and struck it: “Don’t touch.”
This time, she was truly enraged. She had been completely ruthless and slapped his palm until fiery pain shot through his hand, causing him to subconsciously withdraw his hand. The way she tightly clutched the cloak made her look like an angry hen. The fire burning in her eyes was so strong, it seemed to be spilling out, scalding him and making him take a few steps back as she spat out the words: “I’m cold.”
Mu Sheng raised his hands and was about to untie his own cloak when he heard her cold sneering voice: “I don’t want Young Noble Mu’s cloak. I only want Brother Liu’s.”
The darkness in his pitch black pupils immediately turned darker as his mouth drew taut. His voice was very low as he spoke: “Am I that inferior to Liu Fuyi?”
Miaomiao replied sarcastically: “After all, the one who’s teaching me spells is Brother Liu. The one who came to save me is Brother Liu as well. What you did, you know yourself very well.”
Mu Sheng watched her for a while: “… I gave you my scented sachet.”
With him bringing this matter up again, Miaomiao became pissed off: “Brother Liu’s scented sachet can at least intimidate the small demons but what can your sachet do?!”
The black lotus’s expression immediately changed, as if he was trying extremely hard to hold back his rage.
She unwrapped the cloak around her, “Who’d want your scented sachet, I’m returning it to you!”
She tried to tug it off but even after pulling at it for a long period of time, it still didn’t budge. Her hands had gone red from chafing when she discovered that the scented sachet had been attached to her with magic. It floated by her waist and followed her around wherever she went. She simply couldn’t get rid of it.
Mu Sheng watched her with cold eyes, seemingly as if he wanted to say something. Yet, in the end, he didn’t say a single word. After watching her for a while, he twisted his head over: “Miss Ling, you’ve seen it for yourself. You and us are people who walk different paths. If you choose to withdraw and return right now, we can still help safely send you to your home. Then, from now on forward, we’ll go our separate paths; Under the soaring skies and water….
“Oh.” Ling Miaomiao abruptly interrupted him.
She had a sudden understanding, “You’re purposely trying to make me feel awkward because you want me to leave out of awkwardness?”
With her arrival, she had destroyed the subtle balance between the three of them. This sense of chaos didn’t just affect Liu Fuyi, it also affected an unperturbed black lotus at the side.
At first he had let her stay to deal with Liu Fuyi yet somehow she started to grow more familiar with him. He wasn’t used to it and entered a panic. He started to have evil designs on her, to remove this trouble at the roots. Even if she didn’t die, she should’ve at least been mighty terrified. If she had been replaced with any other normal official’s daughter, if they weren’t scared till they screamed for their mommy and cried for their father to take them home, they would at least try their very best to stay far far away from the main leads.
Heh, this guy’s getting worse.
Her competitive heart was suddenly stirred thirty meters high.
Her hair was suffused with the soft glossy maroon of the sunlight. They softly fell down her face at the sides, framing her furious eyes that slowly lost their anger. She smiled then: “I must’ve disappointed you greatly. I want to go with you all to Chang An and go with you all till the end.”
I even have to save your life in the final conclusion, you idiot.
The two were like two ferocious beasts in a standoff as they silently watched each other: If my opponent won’t move, I won’t move.
Mu Sheng’s gaze on her seemed like there truly were several degrees of confusion within: “Why are you so fixated on going down this path?”
Miaomiao sighed: “Mu Sheng. I treat you like a friend. I don’t ask that you always return the favor but at least stop constantly trampling on others’ sincerity.”
“…sincerity?” He ruminated on this word in his mouth for a moment. He seemed to tremble for a moment before immediately refuting it. The contempt in his eyes suddenly became more clear to see: “Where could sincerity possibly exist?”
Ling Miaomiao covered her own abdomen with anger written all over her face: “Young Noble Mu, you’re currently trampling on it right now.”
“…” He calmly turned around, “If you meet danger in the future, don’t blame me for not warning you.”
Ling Miaomiao put her hands on her waist and purposely raised her voice. She looked just like a rich woman bullying others: “As long as Brother Liu protects me, what do I have to fear?”
On this journey, I don’t even fear you, Mu Sheng. Why would I be scared of some grave danger far off down the road.
Mu Sheng’s back turned rigid and his footsteps increased in speed.
”Ding— Mission Reminder: Mission 1 Phase One complete. Phase Completion reward [Memory Fragment]. Using it will help the contestant grasp the main plot.”
A shiny piece of glass suddenly appeared in Ling Miaomiao’s hand. She put it up against the sunlight and looked at it from several angles: “This is the Memory Fragment? Isn’t it a little too half-heartedly made?”
Looking through the piece of glass, the azure sky turned a gloomy ash color. It looked like it had been repeatedly drained of all color by the sun. Mottled ash blue seemed to burst out in a moment, completely covering and submerging Ling Miaomiao within.
“Marquis Qingyi is here!! Marquis Qingyi is here!”
Chang An’s main street interconnected to countless other small paths. Countless carriages of all sorts and manner came and went speedily down the path as the pedestrians dodged them. A long, majestic line of carriages were headed into the palace.
The towering, lofty city walls had the words ‘Anding Gate’ written horizontally. On the sawtooth-like battlements, a line of scarlet banners stretched all the way into the distance as they flapped furiously in the wind.
’Peace’ was only maintained for a few minutes before the hubbub seemed to grow like a wave, rapidly raising up the entire city into a boiling excitement.
The atmosphere in the capital was rather open. Young nobles didn’t like to suppress others with their prestige and as such, when all of the men, women, young and old stood to the sides, they all dared to stick out their necks, and point and gesture with faces full of cheeriness.
Rumor had it that the current Marquis Qingyi was both handsome and beautiful, comparable to Pan An1  Pan An: All ya gotta know is that this dude was famous in chinese history for his good looks.
The horse that pulled the carriage was as white as snow. Its hair flowed like a cloud and it was elegant as it galloped along. It was just like a Horse Deity from heaven. The carriage it was pulling was elaborate, exquisite and lavish. There wasn’t a single spot on it that wasn’t extremely refined. Behind the flowing tassels and heavy curtain, what exactly did the person look like?
“Hey, little beggar… why aren’t you eating anymore?” A supple hand came out, wishing to touch the little boy’s head.
The little boy looked to be at the max, seven years of age. His skin was like falling snow and his pair of dark eyes were wet. His thick hair wasn’t too long and fell to his shoulders. If it wasn’t for his cracked lips and dust on his face, he simply would’ve looked like a little elf.
He blankly dodged the young girl’s hand. There wasn’t the slightest bit of alarm in his eyes, only cold indifference.
“Big sister, why are you bothering with him? He’s a monster.” At the side, another begging child came over with a mouth full of saliva, “He doesn’t eat, how about… giving it to me?”
The young girl was somewhat embarrassed as she unwillingly handed out the desserts in her hand to the group of little beggars. The swarm of little beggars immediately surrounded her like a group of sharks sensing blood.
On her mind however, was still the most beautiful and good-looking little child: “You… what’s your name?”
He acted as if he didn’t hear her and didn’t respond. A child on the side with a wide smile on his face said teasingly: “Young Miss, this motherless bastard, doesn’t have a name.”
“I have a mother.” He suddenly opened his mouth, his voice was as crisp and as clear as a guqin played pizzicato2  Pizzicato: A playing technique where you pluck strings… though I’m not sure if this is already the normal way to play a guqin. .
I just… I’m just… suddenly, his eyes turned dark. This kind of intense hatred that shouldn’t appear on a little child’s body gave his shiny black pupils an extra sheen of brightness.
“Eh, where are you going?” She saw him quickly climb up, turn around and take two steps and miraculously disappear like fog right in front of her eyes. She couldn’t help but rub her eyes a few times to make sure she wasn’t hallucinating.
”You’ve seen it now as well big sister, I told you that he was a monster.” On the beaming smiles of the little faces around them, a cruel, hungry-wolf like indifference suddenly appeared.
Marquis Qingyi’s extravagant train of carriages passed through the Anding Gate. The carriage suddenly came to a pause and the person in the carriage closed the scroll in his hands. He knit his brows and cold eyes beneath his long lashes shot out a cold light: “Was it not already said that this Marquis won’t need to have my Authority Token checked?”
Nobody replied. The only movement within the wide carriage was the slow, upward drift of the spiraling smoke coming out of the censer.
He paused for a moment before his expression grew cold: What demon is it?! Come out!”
The inside of the carriage was pasted with Warding Talismans on every corner and a pixiu tortoise was placed on the long table 3 Pixiu: A mythical beast that’s known for driving away evil spirits and brings luck. At the side, a solemn peach wood sword hung. Treasures from countless sects filled the inside, turning the small carriage into a veritable bucket made of iron.
He doubted that even dust could break in right?
A burst of cold wind brushed past his cheeks and he suddenly retreated a distance. In the blink of an eye, a child had appeared on the table. Beneath his clothes, a pair of slim feet swayed back and forth, revealing his snow-white legs. The cub-like bizarre little child raised his head. The child’s black pupils were filled with a strong and bitter hatred.
“Who are you?” The male could see his own terrified reflection in the dark as night eyes of the person before him, “What do you want?”
A cold, small hand suddenly appeared around his throat: “I’m here… to kill you of course.”
End of Arc One
Footnotes: Pan An: All ya gotta know is that this dude was famous in chinese history for his good looks.  Pizzicato: A playing technique where you pluck strings… though I’m not sure if this is already the normal way to play a guqin.  Pixiu: A mythical beast that’s known for driving away evil spirits and brings luck.