Lantern: Reflection of the Peach Blossoms Chapter 4

Lantern: Reflection of the Peach Blossoms Info
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Volume 1: Incident of H City’s Earth-born Fetus



Chapter 4 – "Oh, my name is Zhou Yi. Zhou as in the Wuling Emperor of Zhou, Yi as in one (Yi) and only."

According to the protocol among the sorcerers, Chu He should now greet him back in the same manner —— bending slightly forward and sending his regards using the same gesture if his status was lower than the young onmyouji; or if he had a higher status, he should have nodded his appreciation at least.

But Chu He only stared back in a very perplexed and innocent way. After quite some time, he hesitantly held out a hand. “I’m Chu. Hmm…Hello?”

Aida broke into laughter at once, "Lanyu, Mr. Chu is just a normal person. Don't scare him!"

Chu He laughed accordingly. The youth threw several glances at him before he finally stepped down, though suspiciously, and remained silent afterwards.

An accident happened on the construction site where the mayor and the foreign investor were inspecting —— the news soon stirred up the entire police department of the city. Shortly afterwards, about seven or eight police cars blared as they approached from afar. The captain of the Criminal Investigation Detachment and his men rolled off the first one even before the car came to a full stop, and when he saw Mayor Huang, he could barely make himself clear, "Ma-a-a-a-ayor Huang! I'm sorry, I'm so sorry that we're late. Wh-wh-h-here…where did the accident happen?"

The supervisor of the neighboring construction side also hurried over. His legs got weak the instant he saw the situation: "I swear this has nothing to do with us. We fully comply with the Regulations of Safe and Civilized Construction! We don't know anything! We-we-we-we'll definitely cooperate with the investigation! …"

All the noises started to give Mayor Huang a headache. The director of the exhibition center was sensitive enough to snap at the site supervisor to move away, then drag the captain along to look at the splash of body chunks together. A few police officers quickly cordoned off the area. For a moment, everyone was backing away, and those who had witnessed the entire incident were then hooted to the side by the police for inquisitions.

Taking the opportunity that no one was paying attention to them,  Mayor Huang secretly pulled Chu He over. "What should I do? That Japanese dude found out about me! Are they going to hunt me for food?!"

Chu He asked curiously, "Does weasel meat taste good?"

"I don't know if it tastes good or not, but it sure is edible!" Mayor Huang scowled miserably, "What a pity to see my three hundred pounds of divine fat goes to waste! I mean what if they end up on those Japanese dudes' dinner table?! Besides, my dear motherland won't even recognize me as a martyr even if I lay down my life! Boss Chu! Boss Chu you've got to stand up to them this time! If anything happens, you must cover me and let me run first!"

"…" Chu He stormed off. "Stop embarrassing yourself!"

The weasel's enormously large body shivered like a delicate flower, his cheeks streaming with tears. Just as he was about to run after Chu He, someone suddenly patted him on the shoulder. "—— Mayor Huang."

The weasel turned around in a shock and saw Aida Tadashi standing behind him asking politely, "Can I have a moment of your time, please?"

For a second, bolts of lightning and alarm bells exploded madly inside Mayor Huang's head, and every pound of his fat tensed up. "What —— What's the matter?"

However, neither did Aida Tadashi jump up and cast a magic mirror [1] at him, nor did he make a stream of sinister cackles and beat out his monster form with a golden cudgel [2]. None of the one thousand and one theatrical scenes being played in Mayor Huang's head came true. In fact, Aida Tadashi even put on a courteous smile as he explained, "The translator who died was Japanese. According to our tradition, Lanyu would like to pray for him in expiate of his sins at the place where the accident happened. Would it be possible?"

The translator jumped off the unfinished construction site of a floor about ten meters above the ground. Half of it was molded in concrete and cement, while rebar was still exposed on the other side.

It was probably a buffer floor, for the space was unusually narrow and low raised. Chu He surveyed around after crouching his way in, thinking it must have been hard for the translator to climb all the way through the rebar and scaffolding just to commit suicide —— if it had been someone who was slightly taller, they couldn't even have crammed in here, let alone precipitate themselves.

Mayor Huang pasted himself to a corner and gasped for breath. "So, have you found anything at last?"

Holding a few packages of evidences in his hand, the captain wiped away his sweat as he shook his head, "The ground was covered in dust, and the only footprints present were left behind by a man from entering. We can also rule out the possibility of any climbing or pulley-work. In addition to the statements from around seven to eight eye-witnesses, we can pretty much conclude for now that it was a suicide."

Mayor Huang let out a sigh of relief, "Suicide is good. Suicide is good."

It was such an inappropriate speech that the captain would have probably laughed out loud at some other time. But standing on the very spot at this very moment, it was exactly what came up in everyone's mind. SUICIDE IS GOOD.

Lanyu, who hadn't said a word since he came in, drew a Five Element Yin-Yang Circle on the ground, its spells radiating outwards from the center. He then asked everyone, including the police officers, to back off while he himself sat down at the center of it. Now, the only four people left in the buffer space were Mayor Huang, Chu He, Aida Tadashi, and Lanyu himself. Lanyu mumbled something, and the circle rose abruptly from the dust with an iridescent glimmer.

The radiance flowed and circulated like solar prominences. It seemed awfully gorgeous and magnificent at first, but after staring at it for a while, a sense of terror started to creep in. Mayor Huang felt some slight discomforts in his eyes. While rubbing them, he whispered to Chu He, "Can you make out what it is?"

Chu He didn't answer. A faint, ghostly weeping sound came within the circle, and soon, a bloody male ghost struggled to thrust his head out, his blood-dripping hand reaching right towards Aida!

Lanyu didn't even bend his eyebrows. He immediately raised his hand and popped a talisman onto the ghost's forehead. The wailing stopped at once, and an invisible flame rose out of the talisman, burning the soul of the ferocious ghost to dust within just a few seconds!

"AHHHHHHH——"

The last note of the scream vanished in air together with the dispersed dust. The multi-colored radiance immediately brightened up by several folds, almost entirely engulfing the onmyouji in the array!

"This isn't a prayer, is it?" Mayor Huang was struck dumb. "He just tore up that soul to nourish its core… This is a fucking Exorcism Array!"

Just as he was talking, the circular array unexpectedly transformed into a giant hand! Glowing in white, the hand appeared withered and wrinkled with long, curling nails at its tips. As if it could see, the hand patrolled the narrow space and,  like a viper locking onto its target, it suddenly stopped in front of Mayor Huang!

Quick as a lightning, Chu He pulled the weasel behind him ——

It was done so fast that it didn't look like he was hauling a three hundred pounds at that particular second, and still in the same moment, the giant hand came crashing down from above and halted in front of Chu He!

Its sharp nail which was formed from light was less than five centimeters away from the space between Chu He's eyebrows. Just one step further and it could pierce straight into his eye sockets.

However, Chu He didn't even move an eyelash.

A few seconds later, the giant hand slowly withdrew, its glow fading and dissipating at a speed visible to the naked eye. After another ten seconds or so, it gradually faded into the fluttering dust which filled the air.

"I'm very sorry!" Aida Tadashi jumped to his feet at once, looking extremely remorseful. "I forgot that this array is only harmless for sorcerers and ordinary humans. It might cause some minor damages to monsters' Inner Cores though —— Mayor Huang, are you alright? Did it scare you? Lanyu, go take a look at Mayor Huang!"

Chu He stopped him with a hand.

Mayor Huang was already nowhere to be seen, and what replaced him was a plump yellow weasel. It had completely collapsed onto the the ground and was now shivering out of extreme fear —— a posture which made him look like he was kneeling to and worshiping the Japanese. But because his legs had become limp, it took him quite a while to get on his feet, despite trembling still, and resume its human shape.

Fatty Huang was flushing crimson. Although he tried to shrink back as much as possible, the faint smell of urine still came across rather distinctly —— it peed in its pants.

"I, I'm fine." The weasel fell back, feeling too ashamed to even show his face. "I'm going to change, to change my pants. You, you guys can talk first…"

He staggered out absent-mindedly and almost tripped himself at the entrance of the lift. Luckily, he was able to find the wall and stable himself in a fluster.

It was in fact a quite ridiculous scene, and Aida broke into a rather distinct snigger —— it was unclear whether Mayor Huang heard it or not. He just left quickly with hunched shoulders and a head buried in his chest.

Lanyu panted slightly and suddenly bowed deeply to Chu He. "I'm sorry. It was my fault…"

"Because he looks way too human." Aida took over the sentence with a laugh, "So I forgot it all at once. Actually, this array can even completely destroy a monster's Inner Core sometimes, which, if you think about it, Mr. Huang is a pretty lucky man! Hahahaha!"

Chu He turned back and casted Aida a rather placid glance.

"Well, please don't mind it, Mr. Chu. It's true that we would sometimes play some little tricks on the monsters, but time has changed. We won't hurt their lives easily…"

Before Aida could finish his sentence, Chu He had already left.

Aida’s laughter ended abruptly. A moment later, he gave a light snorted, "A lowly monster like him actually has the fortune to guard this treasure land."

Lanyu sighed, "Uncle [3] Aida…"

"What?"

"Sect leader asked me to assist you," Lanyu hesitated for a second, then slowly continued. "But he didn't say that you could order me around to kill others. Therefore, I would suggest that you do as much by yourself as possible in the following week."

Aida strided over and grabbed him by the hair: "What do you mean by that?!"

The youth didn't back down. Aida glared at him for a long time. In the end, he clenched his teeth and his voice softened, "You know that an earth-born fetus needs seven living souls as sacrifices. We're already here, how can we give up? Besides, the first one who died was our men. Having a handle like this in our hand, Huang dare not act against us!"

"But…"

"Are you afraid of Chu? He's just an ordinary human!"

"An ordinary human who's about to cultivate into a demon." The young onmyouji shook his head with a heavy heart. "It's already hard enough for a monster to become a demon, let along a living person? I'm afraid he's got a powerful demon supporting him from behind, and that will further complicate the matter."

Aida couldn't care less. He asked back, "Even if it does, are you worried of us not being able to get away with it? Onmyoudou of the Han-Tang Dynasty is already lost. Nowadays, apart from Zhou Hui, who can’t leave the capital easily, who else in China can compete against our Mitsushumon [4]?"

The young onmyouji hesitated for a moment and heaved a sigh at last.

"You have no idea," He said, his voice almost indistinct, "How many people in this world we can't afford to offend…"

*****

When Chu He left the construction site, he saw Mayor Huang had already changed his pants and was now sitting alone on the stairs.

It was already dusk. The sun was glowing its last, and twilight closed upon the field. Swarms of birds which could hardly be seen in cities passed through the sky and flapped off into the distant. The weasel was propping his big, round head with one hand, his shoulders sagged, as he stared at the flying birds in a trance, seemingly immersed in his own thoughts.

Chu He walked to his side and sat with him on the curb.

"Say," The weasel's muffled voice came through, "Am I not good enough at being a human?"

Chu He replied, "You've already done a good job."

"Then how come no one sees me as a human?"

Even Chu He found the question hard to answer. He thought for a long time, so long that Mayor Huang thought he was probably not going to answer before he suddenly heard him saying, "Maybe, you just haven't done enough."

"Huh?"

"Try to do a little more, and a little better. Then you should be about there."

Fatty Huang's beady eyes blinked. After quite some debates in his mind, he finally accepted this explanation reluctantly, "Oh—— I can work a little harder then if that's the case…"

Chu He nodded in appreciation, but Fatty Huang suddenly poked him with a finger, "——Ay, Boss Chu."

"Hm?"

"We've known each other for so long, yet I still don't know why you want to become a demon while you're doing fine as a human?"

Chu He turned around and stared at him, and the weasel tilted his head with an innocent expression. He tried his best to cover them up, but one could still see the envy and self-inferiority in his eyes.

"…In my case," All feelings welled up to him, and Chu He had to pause several seconds before he forced himself to continue, "Well, I had two sons before…"

Fatty Huang was utterly shocked, "What? When did you marry? You even got kids?!"

"But my eldest son was killed, and my second son was kidnapped. I exhausted all of my primordial spirits [5] but still couldn't save my first son, and ever since that day, I turned to the demonic path."

Mayor Huang stared at him agape. After a while, he pulled up his sleeves and shouted, "Who?! Who destroyed your family?! Tell me who did it, bro, and I'm going to hunt him down!"

“And you may as well save your time on that." Chu He was caught between a laugh and a cry. “If you can lose some weight first and cultivate for another five hundred years or so, then you will probably make a cannon fodder in front of him.”

"Are you fucking kidding me?! Whoever it is, no one is allowed to commit an immoral and ungodly crime like that! Come on, tell me who did it, and I'll make him my goal starting now!"

Fatty Huang jumped to his feet, and just as he was about to cry out, they suddenly heard the rumbling of a vehicle coming from afar. A black sedan was heading this way, its shiny body and its signature round headlights glistened under the setting sun, producing a series of dazzling glares.

It immediately caught Fatty Huang's attention. "Dammit! They can still find their way here?!"

Chu He asked, "Who is it?"

At this time, Aida and that onmyouji named Lanyu had just come out of the construction site behind him. They took half a step back simultaneously as soon as they saw the car. The next second, that fancy Bentley Mulsanne stopped in front of everyone. As its door opened, several people whirled off altogether.

In the front was a woman about thirty in age, graceful and curvy in figure, busty, trim-waisted, swaying in a pair of high heels. Her wavy hair appeared rather flirtatious. She was definitely even more bewitching when she was younger.

Behind her was a young handsome, definitely over 180cm in height, with broad shoulders, narrow waist, and long legs. A pair of Rayban sunglasses rested on his extraordinarily striking face, its pronounced features together with his biker jacket were turning every square inch around him into a Hollywood film set.

Fatty Huang: “…”

Standing next to them, Fatty Huang and Boss Chu immediately looked like two countryside peasant entrepreneurs.

"Morning, everyone! Ah, Mayor Huang, you're here too!" The woman brushed her hair back in a flirtatious manner and smiled as she reached for Aida Tadashi, "My name is Li. I'm the director of the Provincial International Visitors Office. You can call me Li Hu —— Mr. Aida, I really have to apologize for not showing up on your reception dinner last night!"

Aida shook hand with her, but his eyes uncontrollably rose above her to the young man in the back.

His expression became utterly strange in an instant, his facial muscles a little stiff, as if he was trying to conceal the extreme curiosity and astonishment underneath but failed to do so. "May I ask who this gentleman is…"

The young man took down his sunglasses nonchalantly and extended a hand —— however, before Aida could grab it, it turned in midair, reaching for the young onmyouji instead. "Little beauty. What's your name?"

"…" Lan Yu answered, "My last name is Yan, first name Lanyu. May I ask…"

"I'm Zhou Yi. Zhou as in the Wuling Emperor of Zhou," said the young man, with a sloppy smile on his face. "And Yi as in one(Yi) and only."



Translator’s Notes:

[1] magic mirror: A mirror that can reflect a creature’s true form.

[2] golden cudgel: The one used by Sun Wukong, the monkey in A Journey to the West.

[3] uncle: Short for Martial Uncle.

[4] Mitsushumon: The Chinese name literally translates to the Sect of Secret Arts. Since they are from Japan, I used the Japanese pronounciation.

[5] primordial spirits: It’s like a person’s major soul gained through cultivation.


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