So it turns out the reason Nan Ming Dijun hasn’t come back after having left was not that he had turned into a heartless lover and abandoned his sweetheart, but because in the middle of stealing medicines to treat Tian Shu’s illness he was captured by the fox.
Whoa, Nan Ming’s love for Tian Shu made me feel a bit moved.
When he was tormenting other lovers he was frighteningly vicious, it appears that when he was crazy in love, he was even more frightening. Love, ah, love. But according to the fox’s story… how would he know to go steal the immortal Lingzhi cultivated by a demon for Tian Shu?
Who directed him to it?
I asked the fox, “After you had captured the lingzhi thief, how did you deal with him?”
“Locked him up,” said the fox.
“Just that? He stole your mushroom and also wounded your arm. You didn’t torture him, or break his arms and legs for fun?”
The fox turned to me and said coldly, “I didn’t. I’ve never bothered about mortals much, I only broke one of his arms and left him tied up in my cave.” Then he returned his gaze to Heng Wen. “I have never threatened a mortal’s life.”
The fox was explaining himself to prove his virtue. His eyes were on Heng Wen, gaze very sincere, while his ears trembled faintly. Heng Wen gave him a smile, immediately filling his face with joy. He appeared to be itching to turn back into his fox appearance this very instant to climb up Heng Wen’s knees.
Then, from outside the door came the sound of footsteps, giving him the reason to do just that. He leapt up, but this immortal lord grabbed him by the scruff and raised him up. The furball twisted his body around and bared his snow-white fangs.
The servant knocked on the door from the outside. “Sir, Daoist. Your breakfast is ready, please come down to eat.”
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I stuffed the fox under my armpit, opened the door with one hand and recited a daoist chant. “We will come down shortly, thank you.”
P mibrfv atf vbbg jcv atf obz kgluuifv ogff ogbw ws tbiv, ijcvfv bc atf ugbecv jcv gbiifv ab aegc yjmx lcab j tewjc. P jcv Lfcu Qfc qgfqjgfv ab ub vbkc obg j wfji. Aera jr kf mgbrrfv atf atgfrtbiv, atlr lwwbgaji ibgv kjr mbegafber fcbeut ab jrx atf obz, “Gb sbe kjca ab yf ygbeuta yjmx j wjcabe?”
“Don’t want it,” The fox said in an austere manner.
After we had the meal and headed back upstairs, I hoped that the fox had already gone back to his dear nest. I didn’t expect that when I opened the door, what greeted me was a white ball of fur, very contentedly nestled on Heng Wen’s bed and napping.
The fox was unwilling to return to his nest. He spoke fervently and very reasonably: the fact that Heng Wen Qingjun bought him was seen by numerous eyes, if he disappeared all of a sudden it would definitely arouse suspicion. To not create trouble for Heng Wen Qingjun, for the time being, he will stay.
Probably moved a little by furball’s ardent love, while also thinking it was of interest, Heng Wen acquiesced to the fox staying.
The fox was elated, but this immortal lord was a little concerned. In the past I had also fallen in love on my own, so I know that for such feelings, the longer it dragged on the harder it will be to pull away. Tian Shu and Nan Ming are wandering to and fro in misery before us. Though Heng Wen was nowhere near as bad as them, he has one flaw; that is, he loves to try new things for fun. If, by any chance his interest was piqued, and he tries to have a relationship with the fox…
What’s more, at the moment Tian Shu was hanging by a thread of life and waiting for the Lingzhi mushroom. That Jinluo Lingzhi was something the fox gave to Heng Wen, with him staying nearby, how can this immortal lord bring myself to ask for it from Heng Wen?
Worrying in regards to Heng Wen and the fox would amount to nothing, I brought myself to Tian Shu’s room to have another look.
Two servants were currently tidying Tian Shu’s room with neat efficient movements. I heard that Tian Shu had coughed up blood a few times again since the last night. Innkeeper happened to enter at this time and he asked me, very expectantly, “Daoist, last night you told me that there will be a solution to his illness in the morning, have you truly gotten the medicine now?”
This immortal lord said with a sigh, “I have indeed gotten it, however…”
Two knocks sounded from the door, a servant entered carrying a seaweed-green broth. “Daoist, small one has brought the medicine for you.”
While I was stunned, Heng Wen stepped into the room. “I’ve counted the time needed to cook it. Why don’t you give it to him, see how it reacts.”
Two servants supported Mu Ruoyan up and relaxed his jaw, this immortal lord then spooned the medicine little by little into his mouth. Jinluo Lingzhi was meant to be Mu Ruoyan’s medicine. The whole bowl goes down his throat unimpeded. When he was returned to his previous sleeping position there were no other movements from him.
The innkeeper huffed and puffed. “Daoist, the young lord here…”
Mu Ruoyan’s breathing flew evenly and the troubled expression on his face had lessened, he would only look like this when his sleep is peaceful.
Thus I said, “All good, all good. For now, let the benefactor here have his quiet rest. After he wakes, his illness would hopefully be better by a lot.”
Mu Ruoyan fell asleep for a cycle of day and night.
Immediately after he drank and fell asleep, worried that what this immortal lord gave him was actually poison, the innkeeper and servants went in and out of his room to check his breathing. Several servants crouched in wait at the front and back door, below the window and by the staircase, for fear that I would run away when I saw an opening. I might as well forgo sleep, take out the chair by the table of Mu Ruoyan’s room and sit there. I played chess with myself to fill the empty time, saving the innkeeper and servants the restless worry.
At nightfall, I returned to my room, took out my real body then went to Heng Wen. The fox was now in his original appearance of a white fox, sleeping on a pillow laid on top of a chair. I lifted him up and pointed a finger to the next door. “This immortal lord’s body for the length of the day is lying in that room, you can move him down and sleep on his bed.”
The fox clutched the pillow with his claws and asked instead, “Why won’t you let me be in the same room as Qingjun?”
This immortal lord replied plainly, “You have feelings for Heng Wen Qingjun, this immortal lord is afraid that something would happen if you stay in the same room together.”
The fox turned back into a human, giving me a cold smile. “Song Yuanjun’s mind goes to very dirty ends. I admire Qingjun, but Qingjun didn’t give me his yes, so I absolutely won’t force him to.”
Yes, that wasn’t what I was concerned about in the first place. The Qingjun over there would not be so easily coerced. Even me (if I have the intention to) can’t hope to succeed, let alone you this small dao practitioner.
Heng Wen lay unmoving on the bed. I figured he heard the noise and was happily listening in.
I then steadied my tone of speaking, letting the fox hear my reasoning, “Qingjun and I are here on orders from above and every step of the way is closely monitored by our fellow immortals in heaven. The heavens have strict rules, I am afraid it will rouse suspicion if you stick close by him.”
The fox crossed his arms and sat on the chair, a faint green light flickered in his eyes. “Forgive this lowly one for not being able to nod and agree to Song Yuanjun’s reason. Song Yuanjun sleeps on the same bed as Qingjun nightly, and I heard that even in heaven you always go to his residence to freeload meals and drinks. But Yuanjun doesn’t seem to have suffered punishment by heaven, so in my humble opinion, the rules of heaven must not be as strict as was rumoured.”
This stray beast had even inquired after Heng Wen and this immortal lord! Who was it that shared him this idle maid’s gossip, it is completely inverting black and white to say that this immortal lord always freeloads my meal at Heng Wen’s.
“Now does Yuanjun want to say… just because I am a demon and you are an immortal, what you could do, I cannot?” Putting his robes in order, he stood up. “I said that I will never cause trouble for Qingjun, since Yuanjun has now warned me, I will move next door. However…”
The fox walked towards the wall and tilted his head back to look at me from the corner of his eye, “Though I am now a demon, I only need to pass one thousand and five hundred years more of heaven’s trial to become an immortal. Who’s to say how things will be, when we are of the same standing.”
His flicked off his sleeves, then passed through the wall to sleep in the room next to ours.
Translator: Padam | Editor: Mims