Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The eavesdropping child was startled. She opened her minibeast-like eyes wide but remained silent. It was Xiao Dao. She looked fearlessly into Yuan Zhaoxu's eyes, which evoked an inward praise from Meng Fuyao. Meng Fuyao understood the power of Yuan Zhaoxu's gaze and was pleasantly surprised by Xiao Dao's indifference.
Yuan Zhaoxu looked at her, a meaningful gaze brushing across his eyes. He shut them slightly as if searching for something within his head. After a short while, he opened them up and smiled.
Upon seeing him smile, Meng Fuyao couldn't help the curl that formed on her lips as well. 'Aye, what an actor.'
She had expected a remark from Yuan Zhaoxu, but he said nothing. Instead, he released the child and asked Meng Fuyao, in a man-of-the-house manner, "The house by the garden is quite alright, shall I get the servants to tidy it?"
"Oh," Meng Fuyao uttered blankly, and Yuan Zhaoxu comfortably called for servants to get to work. He had even added an additional instruction. "The mayor is moving next door. Yes, change it for him."
Meng Fuyao looked on as the servants in the garden ran about, very obediently following his orders and changing her accommodation. "Why change?" she asked.
"I need to keep you within my line of sight," Yuan Zhaoxu answered before holding her hand and walking over. "Or you might just vanish again."
Melancholy was evident in his tone. Embarrassed, Meng Fuyao looked left and right, mumbling, "I just left without saying goodbye, and I didn't even step out of Wuji... how petty."
Yuan Zhaoxu smiled without commenting, while Meng Fuyao recalled the corpse lying in her prison. Unable to suppress her worry she asked him for advice, and both ended up before the corpse a short while later. After a brief silence he laughed, "Easy. Aren't there human skin masks around?"
Meng Fuyao looked at him, speechless. 'He's an official of Wuji Nation, also your subordinate. How heartless must you be to suggest making a mask out of his skin? Even I can't do it.'
Understanding her thoughts, he cast her a smiling glance. "If you're so full of conscience, leave his corpse as it is. Whatever happens at the festival is none of our concern. When the sky falls, you'll be here to keep it in place."
Aggrieved, Meng Fuyao stared at the mind-reader before her. Despite finding his solution drastic, she proceeded to arrange for Yao Xun to find a man with similar appearance to Ah Shina. Yuan Zhaoxu closed the door and handed her a box half an hour later. "Air-dry it for a few days and it will be ready for use."
Meng Fuyao opened it and asked, "Is there anything in this world that you won't do?"
"Yes," he answered quickly.
"Yeah?" Meng Fuyao threw him a surprised glance. She hadn't expected such a simple reply.
"What I won't do," he started, gazing at her in a way that made her body feel, "is not bidding farewell before leaving someone I care about behind."
Meng Fuyao let out an inward cry.
'Mother, I'm not going to offend this man ever again.'
The December night in the southern border contained moisture that was bone-piercingly chilly. A layer of thin frost gathered on the window paper screen, which was instantly melted from the heat inside.
Lying on her bed and biting on a corner of her quilt, Meng Fuyao could think of nothing but a certain someone, whom she had heard was taking a bath.
The swishing of water and the beam of light seeped in through a crack on the wall.
'Cracks on the wall... yeah...'
The room she rested in was slightly more special. The mayor's house was half Han and half Rong inspired, and the partition walls were made by assembling logs, some with bigger cracks than others. Basically, if she were to look through all the gaps quick enough, she would be able to gather a wholesome naked image of the person on the other end.
Meng Fuyao's bed happened to be facing a log with a bigger crack. She sat upright and still, using every ounce of determination to stop her eyes from going where they shouldn't be.
'No sore eyes for you... you're a decent being.'
The decent being lowered her head and started cultivating her skills while listening to the water sounds.
Energy yet to flow to her pubic region, Meng Fuyao's eyes slipped to the biggest log, through which a white figure could be seen. 'Strange, it wasn't there earlier. What was it?'
Curiosity was a good excuse for Meng Fuyao to peep openly.
She sprung off her bed and walked on tiptoe to the log. Before she could get a clear look, a white hair pricked her eyelid.
She stared blankly as a white fur ball spread itself behind the crack and covering it. The white figure was him.
Sensing someone approaching, Lord Yuan Bao had turned and caught sight of two pearly black pupils looking right in, his face immediately filled with disdain.
'I knew you would peek!'
As such, Lord Yuan Bao had sacrificed his own fat body to protect his master's dignity by blocking out the crack that one could most easily peep through.
'He's only mine to see!'
Meng Fuyao stared speechlessly, inwardly amazed by Lord Yuan Bao's possessive and perverse attitude.
She decided to turn her amazement into action, and to communicate with her role model.
She let out a generous smile and extended her hand to pry the crack open before grabbing hold on him.
Meng Fuyao's sudden attack left Lord Yuan Bao squeaking frantically while attempting to struggle free. He was determined to defend himself and his owner's glory.
Meng Fuyao smirked. "Don't worry, I won't look at him. I just want to have a talk with you."
As she was about to drag him away, gentle laughter erupted from within.
"You said you don't want to look but what were your eyes searching for when you grabbed him?"
Meng Fuyao rubbed her nose, answering loudly, "I saw a bedbug sliding in. I'll help you find it."
"Oh yeah?" the man laughed lightly. Shortly after he let out a small cry, his voice extremely alluring. "There's really a bug. So itchy. Come to help me scratch my back, Fuyao."
A strange odor shot out from within the cracks, toward the bathtub by the wall.
At the same time, a certain man's murderous cry rose.
"Insecticide balls, buy 1 get 1 free. Effectiveness guaranteed. Take them down in one try! An essential item for all households!"
"Eh, Lord Yuan Bao, you didn't have to do that. Look at yourself, you're so fat and heavy. Wasn't it tiring for you?"
Lord Yuan Bao spun slowly, facing his bum toward Meng Fuyao, clearly uninterested in cooperating, to which she reached a hand out to turn him around again.
"I think there's a misunderstanding between us. We don't have to keep it within ourselves. Let's talk it out. Tell me all about your obsessive attachment and improper love for your owner!"
Lord Yuan Bao extended his claw to cover his face, embarrassed by Meng Fuyao's lack of restrain. 'What does Master see in her...'
"If you're not going to share, I'll go first?" Meng Fuyao suggested, biting her lips tightly and conveniently grabbing a pot of wine from under her bed.
"I feel frustrated and want to speak but have no one to speak to. We have a brotherly relationship, and I'm not afraid that you'll divulge my secrets. Come, let's toast..."
Unable to contain his anger, Lord Yuan Bao almost plucked his own fur out. 'Who's your brother. I come by only once in a hundred years but you? Ten months is all it takes.'
"...vexed..." Meng Fuyao slapped her chest, gobbling down the wine before her. "Conflicted..." A few more smacks to the chest and a few more mouthfuls of wine later, she added, "I don't know what to do... huu..."
Lord Yuan Bao opened his mouth wide, his eyes fixed on the madwoman in front of him. 'What's going on? Isn't this cockroach even more resilient than most? What's with her today? Is she really upset about not seeing Master take a bath?'
Kindhearted Yuan Bao couldn't bear it anymore and started seriously considering allowing her a quick peek.
'Hmm... just a quick glance... should be alright? Master should be done by now.'
Meng Fuyao had no idea that they were going at a different frequency. She really was feeling suffocated by everything that had happened since her arrival. The anger and self-blame she felt from the death of the Han family, and the responsibility of bringing the city up were simply too exhausting that she had no time to think about other matters. Luckily, Yuan Zhaoxu's sudden appearance had lifted a huge rock off her heart. First, she was shy, then somewhat joyful and at peace. However, suddenly, she was about to drown in the gloom she was feeling.
Meng Fuyao was dizzy and about to faint, her limbs heating up. She was also feeling jittery, her heart fighting a huge, conflicting wave of joy and worry. Meng Fuyao was on the verge to indulge in her own shouts and to admonish her rationality. It was messy and unbreakable.
"Aye, is the poison taking effect?" Meng Fuyao mumbled while patting her face. She turned to see Lord Yuan Bao staring curiously at her bright and black pearl-like eyes. They were like a good quality pair of cornelians.
"Aye, I know you understand human language, but you can't read, can you?" Meng Fuyao asked craftily, extending her hand to caress Lord Yuan Bao's head. Not caring for it, the latter hurriedly shunned. Meng Fuyao did not mind it either, as she rested distractedly on the table, dipping her finger into tea and writing on it.
Lord Yuan Bao shifted his bum, ready to walk away when he lowered his head and caught sight of the words on the table. He paused midway, sitting down and facing her after some thought. He then retrieved a fruit from his pouch and chewed appreciatively on it.
Upon seeing that he was ready to listen to her words, Meng Fuyao started laughing involuntarily. A guinea pig was just a guinea pig, and she shouldn't treat it as a being with high intelligence. Perhaps that spot was cooler for him? But no matter what, even if he was a guinea pig sitting opposite of herself, Meng Fuyao couldn't contain herself.
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