Illusions, Lies, Truth V4C2: Xiang Shui Pan, Part 2—Dustfall

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Illusions, Lies, Truth Volume 4: In the Name of God, Part Two

Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)

Chapter 2: Xiang Shui Pan, Part 2—Dustfall—translated by lucathia (proofread by Taffygirl13 & Trespasserby)

“Dear head honchos, if you all want to divvy up your territories, you don’t need to include my humble self. I’m content with my hermit shell of an apartment. Oh, and don’t you dare lay a hand on my sons!”

Yu Shu stood by the door, frowning as she took in the sight of the room.

A priest, a Taoist, and a deity were all present. What the hell?!

Since ancient times, there were only ever two underlying reasons for war: religion or pillage, or both of them together, spreading the gospel and plundering at the same time.

Shit, I should have brought my sword, not because I’m in danger, but because I feel like I’ve lost against them.

Yu Shu walked up to the remaining spot at the low table. After she sat down, she glared at the neighbor across from her.

“Um, I got you involved again. I’m really sorry,” Jiang Ziya could only apologize awkwardly.

Ever since he had hidden at this neighbor’s place to hide from Xiao Xue, he had been getting Yu Shu involved again and again. He had even leveled up her son without her permission.

Yu Shu said with an ugly expression, “You can totally show more sincerity by deleting both my number and my messaging info and swear that you’ll never knock on my door again!”

Jiang Ziya really did not dare to do any of that. If not for House Keeper and Hold Keeper this time, a lot of their classmates would probably have died!

“Don’t blame Ziya.” Lu Yang frowned and declared, “Blame what happened this time on me. It has nothing to do with him.”

Yu Shu rolled her eyes and snapped, “I’m blaming both of you, okay? You’re both at fault! Remember this: you all owe me a lot of favors!”

Owing favors was no small matter to a practitioner; however, Lu Yang gave it some consideration. Last time when Jiang Ziya owed her a favor, it had only resulted in errands, and this had been despite the fact that Yu Shu had known that Jiang Ziya possessed the truth-seeing eye. I don’t think we need to worry too much about owing her favors?

“Lady Yu Shu.” Liu Yishi diverted the topic, not wishing for his son to owe more and more favors. “My utmost gratitude for your time.”

“Ugh, getting called ‘lady’ makes my head hurt. Just call me Yu Shu.”

So, I’m not the only one whose face twitches involuntarily from hearing that! Jiang Ziya inwardly agreed.

Liu Yishi nodded. “Then, call me Liu Yishi. Let’s head into the main topic. Why don’t you start us off?”

He looked at Fu Taiyi with a smile.

“Perhaps you can explain to us why you were in that barrier dimension.”

The God of the Eastern Sky, Dong Huang Taiyi, put his cup down and lifted his head with a smile. Jiang Ziya abruptly felt that this was a super familiar sight. Isn’t this the smile the boss has every time he’s about to run away?

Fu Taiyi smilingly replied, “I actually feel that I should be the one asking you two why you both appeared in that barrier dimension. Why you were even slaying spirits in there? Are you not aware that the barrier dimension in question belongs to spirits?”

We really didn’t know! Three faces paled.

“What barrier dimension?” Yu Shu was entirely confused.

Jiang Ziya explained in detail to her, “It’s a barrier dimension that closely resembles the actual world, but a lot of ash falls in there, making the entire barrier dimension foggy and dusty.”

“The Dustfall World?” Yu Shu’s expression changed. She faced Fu Taiyi with a wry smile and asked, “Since when did that barrier dimension belong to spirits? Just because you say so?”

Seeing someone who seemed to be in the know, Fu Taiyi was shocked and immediately backtracked. “Fine, that barrier dimension does not belong to spirits, and I, of course, cannot decide that either. However, that barrier dimension has existed for a long time. Ziya and Lu Yang have entered it before. I was there that time, too. This time was much the same in that I felt an entrance being used, so I headed inside to take a look.”

When she heard that, Yu Shu snorted and looked smugly toward Lu Yang and Jiang Ziya, her face indicating that they owed her another favor.

Lu Yang rubbed his nose and accepted it. If Yu Shu weren’t present, they really could only let Fu Taiyi pull one over them.

“Then, why did you stop us from killing that female student?” Liu Yishi pressed further, “It goes without saying that she was definitely an imposter because the real her has long since been murdered.”

“Then, why did you so easily allow me to stop you?”

Both of them wore bright smiles, making Jiang Ziya and Lu Yang itch to rush forward and punch the smiles off of their boss’s and dad’s faces respectively.

Crunch, crunch…

Everyone looked at the source of that sound. Yu Shu was currently crunching on potato chips. Her eyes shone as she watched the duel between a present day priest and an ancient deity. How can I not gather material from such a rare sight that only happens once in a thousand years?

“Where’d your chips come from?”

Jiang Ziya’s eyes widened. Chen-yí wouldn’t serve something like potato chips.

“I bought some when I passed by the supermarket on my way here.”

Yu Shu continued crunching, her action just as annoying as the smiling faces.

“Do continue on, don’t stop there. I have some new characters who I could base off of you two, the smiling tiger and sly fox types. Hurry and continue facing off. Whether or not I can finish my manuscripts depends on the two of you!”

“Shall we strive to be forthright?” suggested the smiling tiger father, Liu Yishi.

The sly fox, Fu Taiyi, nodded expressionlessly and directly stated, “Although she has the appearance of a female student, she is actually an illusory familiar who was only just born but is already a lie. This is not common. I have a connection with spirits and cannot bear for innocent spirits to be harmed. Of course, if she bears harm to humans, that is a different case, but has she?”

Liu Yishi shook his head. He had personally seen her “birth.” She of course had not had any chance to harm anyone.

“So, why were you inside the barrier dimension?” Fu Taiyi asked in incomprehension. “Although there are many entrances to the barrier dimension, it is still not an easy matter to enter it.” After saying so, he glanced at Yu Shu. This woman seemed to know quite a bit about Dustfall.

It was a long story, but Liu Yishi still retold it quickly. After all, of the four sides around the low table, two sides did not know the entire story. It would be difficult to advance without being in the know.

After listening to the entire story, Fu Taiyi grew so furious that he laughed.

“Each and every one hungers to take advantage of this ancient barrier dimension to commit evil, without ever considering how and why such an immense and realistic barrier dimension came to be. If by mistake a taboo is broken, not only will one be unable to stop the oncoming car and perish in the blink of an eye, but the collateral damage will also be extensive!”

Jiang Ziya looked at his boss. He was not certain if it was because of his boss’s serious expression, but Jiang Ziya felt that whenever his boss spoke in such a genteel fashion, he really did not look like himself.

Liu Yishi sighed. “That is indeed so. Although as a mere world of drifting dust, that barrier dimension does not appear particularly dangerous, it gives people an extremely unsettling feeling. I am afraid that the culprit won’t just exploit it one time. This time, he created the illusory familiar ‘Li Yao.’ I believe that this isn’t his main goal.”

“Indeed,” Fu Taiyi agreed. “I just do not know why he created ‘Li Yao.’ He expended so much effort to create her yet left her untended. Just in case, I have hidden her away already. I guarantee that he won’t be able to find her.”

At the same time, these words were a statement to Liu Yishi that he had no intentions of handing Li Yao over. Fortunately, Liu Yishi did not care about that. Even though she was an illusory familiar that was already a lie, there were plenty of other spirits in the world that were more dangerous than her. He had no need to clash with Jiu Ge over her.

Master Ah Lu had instructed him regarding this. Although Jiu Ge consisted of plenty of strange people, they were mostly trustworthy. If unnecessary, one should not clash with them.

“I bet it was an experiment.”

Yu Shu chewed on the sweet peas pudding, completely unladylike as she squeezed words out through her teeth. She had long since given up on the potato chips. This Chinese dessert was just too yummy! She really should not have underestimated the desserts on the low table. It was just that she had stepped on too many mines in the past. Finding Chinese desserts that tasted good was hard. She bet that many authentic desserts had been lost over time.

Fortunately, Jiang Ziya had told her that these tasted awesome. Good for him!

The two men turned and stared at her.

“What’s with that expression? Don’t underestimate me. I’m an author. I’ve thought of thousands and millions of plots. I can tell right off the bat that this is an experiment!”

Yu Shu was not going to tell these two in front of her that before she had properly created her two sons, she had also done experiments. Of course, her experimental subjects were small insects. It wasn’t like she had no conscience to speak of.

“Earlier, you texted us saying that the culprit wishes to make the Seven Wonders come true?” Liu Yishi asked in detail, “I feel that this is highly possible. Could you elaborate more on your conjectures? Such as why he wishes to do so?”

“After hearing you all tell me what has been going on, I do have some guesses.”

Yu Shu hesitated for a moment, but she still continued, “If Li Yao really is an experiment, going by how she was created, I’m guessing that he wants to use that to ‘revive’ someone else, and not to create a fake illusory familiar. I mean, even a lie cannot walk around in broad daylight.”

The moment she said this, everyone present felt blood drain from their face. At first, they thought it was absurd, but once they considered everything that had happened, they discovered that what Yu Shu had said could actually be right!

“What’s stranger is the legend behind the abandoned campus. The content only details that going up floor by floor will reveal the nonexistent ninth floor, but we’re not told that there’s anything on the ninth floor. What’s more, resurrection is not mentioned at all. I don’t know if it’s because it happened too suddenly, so it was too difficult to fit it in with the other legends, or if there’s some other reason for it.”

Yu Shu scratched her head, as if there was still something wrong with the plot.

“Besides, there’s currently a legend that hasn’t happened at all.”

Lu Yang and Jiang Ziya exchanged a glance and simultaneously chimed, “The thirteenth bookcase of forbidden books in the library!”

Yu Shu nodded. “Resurrection, a fallen angel turning into a devil, and forbidden books. I feel that these phrases have a huge connection. As for what is actually going on, you guys should look into it yourselves. I’m only responsible for making guesses, not for proving them.”

“That is enough.” Liu Yishi sincerely said, “You have helped us tremendously!”

“My two certificates?”

Yu Shu extended a hand for her payment. This was top priority for her, or she would not have touched this huge mess at all otherwise. The culprit clearly wanted to blow things up, while House Keeper and Hold Keeper had disrupted things for them. No matter how she thought about it, it was highly possible that the culprit would want revenge! It was best that she keep her sons close and hide at home to stay safe.

Liu Yishi was naturally going to keep his promise. Debts must be paid. He immediately asked for paper from Fu Taiyi to put his guarantee in writing.

Fu Taiyi thought it over for a moment. The paper he got for them was not plain white paper, but rather aged parchment. It spanned roughly the size of two hands, and on it archaic characters in black ink were already stamped.

“This is Jiu Ge’s stamp,” he explained.

Yu Shu received her certificate. Although it was something that Liu Yishi had penned on the spot, there were three stamps on it: “Lewis Hunter” in fancy English script, “Slay” in simple Chinese, and “Jiu Ge” in archaic Chinese. Western, Eastern, and even ancient gods; this guarantee could not be any more thorough.

Yu Shu was satisfied. She finally decided to say more.

“You’d best think of some way to control the internet. Don’t try to conceal things. Several lives were lost, so it’s completely impossible to hide information. You might as well post about random legends and serial murders, mix the real and fake together, and mess the legends up completely. Don’t let anyone remember the Seven Wonders too clearly.”

Lu Yang felt that this was doable. He immediately noted it down. Not only did he send a message to Hu Lican, he even asked a few of his computer savvy friends to help out.

“Amazing! As expected of an author.” Fu Taiyi’s smile returned. “Add me to your friends list? I’m a fan!”

Yu Shu was speechless as she stared at the deity in front of her decked in ancient robes. The reach of my readership is truly far and wide!

After a nod, a bunch of people appeared on her lackluster friends list: The God of the Eastern Sky, The Lord of the East, Master of Fate, and Lady Xiang.

I didn’t get all nine. Do they not want to reveal their actual numbers, or are the rest simply uninterested in becoming friends? Yu Shu, who was terminally ill with the writing bug, chewed on her lotus seed paste cake as she pondered over the “plot.” Suddenly, a notification sounded from her phone.

Master of Fate: Pleased to meet you. I greatly enjoy your books. Has Taiyi asked for your autograph for me yet?

Yu Shu decided to become good friends with Master of Fate.

Two people were inside the booth. Chen Xiang was preparing liuqing. This drink did not have a very pleasant taste; there was a reason the drink had failed to stand the testament of time. However, to Jiu Ge, drinking it proved particularly nostalgic.

“Just who is Yu Shu?” Fu Taiyi wondered as he drank liuqing. “She even showed a great understanding of Dustfall.”

“Perhaps an even greater understanding than ours.”

Chen Xiang softly said, “She was clearly very curious about the school wonders incident, yet she did not ask a single question about Dustfall, nor did she say anything more about it, purposely dodging the topic.”

When he heard that, Fu Taiyi remained quiet for a long time.

“Should we stay far away from her, or should we approach closer?”

7 Responses

  1. Ori

    Thank you for the chapter!! Oo adding some mystery about Yu Shu? I can’t wait!

  2. Gandire alea

    Yu Shu made experiments before creating her two sons…. Could it be, is her pet Gabi also an illusion??

  3. Kamui

    So it turns out that Yu Shu created a massive barrier dimension in the past, and messed up massively due to her hubris or wacky mind when she wanted to create worlds as she thought they should be. Now, in fear of things that went out of hand, and to prevent herself from forgetting and making the same mistakes again, she hid in her house and wrote as opposed to trying to actually making the worlds of her imagination….or something like that. It reminds me of other authors that have written stories directly reflecting the obsession that they at some point felt towards telling or creating stories. Even the fact that this seems to feature traditional Chinese figures and legends, which likely would have indeed influenced Yu Wo at earlier times, makes me feel like this is something of a cathartic trip for Yu Wo herself. Or not. Either way, despite the fact that I think it is scary, I enjoy this series. Thanks PR!

  4. Andi

    It actually sounds like Taiyi wanted to scare the three of them away from interacting with Dustfall. I can’t think of any other reason he would try to mislead them about it by implying it isn’t a place for humans. Btw, after this description I’m just imagining a less overgrown version of “The Upside Down” world in stranger things.

    I wonder if Yu Shu has been having writer’s block because she has been isolated in her hermit hole- I mean, apartment. I had to laugh at her producing a bag of potato chips while drinking in inspiration. Do you think Ziya pointing out that one of the desserts she was afraid to try was tasty will count as one of the many favors he owes? I’m also glad she had such a good idea. She’s in an interesting place, not being as old as the other experienced practitioners there while also being more experienced than some of the more tech savvy younger folks like Lu Yang. Mixing all the information up is a great idea. Who would remember any one tree when they just saw a forest right?

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