Illusions, Lies, Truth V4C2: Xiang Shui Pan, Part 3—Returning Home

posted in: Illusions-Lies-Truth | 8

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 3—Returning Home—translated by lucathia (proofread by Taffygirl13)

“Come in!”

Yu Shu gestured for Jiang Ziya to enter her apartment. The latter froze before following her in.

With all that had happened, Jiang Ziya should have felt sleepy. Yet he did not despite the fact that he had spent the entire night running around and it was already bright outside. Listening to what Yu Shu had to say was not a bad choice. Perhaps she had some things she wanted to tell him that she couldn’t in front of the others, so she wanted to meet him alone.

The moment she entered, Yu Shu saw a shadow flee into a room, gorgeous white sleeves lined with gold brushing past her.

Meanwhile, House Keeper stood in the living room, his back to the entrance. He soon turned around. As he was about to greet his mistress, he saw Jiang Ziya and stilled for a moment before he said with a smile, “Jiang Ziya, welcome.”

Yu Shu yelled across the room, “Hold Keeper, why are you hiding? Come out!”

Normally, using such a tone to speak to Hold Keeper would result in a hundred quips back from him, but now, he timidly walked out from the study and didn’t dare to say a single word.

Jiang Ziya couldn’t help but feel that there was something off about Hold Keeper. His appearance had not changed, but he felt more like a normal person who could appear in real life beside them, as opposed to being previously like a magazine model who had been edited so much that he might as well be some deity.

This change had happened with House Keeper before, too. Thinking back to what had happened the night before, Jiang Ziya had a bad premonition. His eyes widened as he turned toward Yu Shu.

“Exactly, behold your handiwork.”

Yu Shu couldn’t muster any more energy to mock him. She lazily clapped her hands and said, “Amazing, so amazing. I only sent my two sons over to observe the situation. Who knew that he would return as a lie? This success rate is so high that I can only laugh…”

Hearing that, both House Keeper and Hold Keeper paled. Their heads drooped, and they were even more fearful of saying anything than before.

“Did you two really think I hadn’t noticed?”

Yu Shu’s reaction to the discovery was exasperation, but she knew that Hold Keeper would eventually become a lie, so she was not too shocked. She was just awed by her neighbor’s abilities. Why not open a cram school for “How to Level Up Your Illusion to a Lie with One Hundred Percent Success”? You’ll become filthy rich!

“I’m really sorry!”

Jiang Ziya also felt helpless over how he had successively leveled up her sons, but he couldn’t say that it had not been on purpose, as each time he had done so was to save someone he knew. It was the truth that it had not been intentional though.

“Whatever.” Yu Shu waved her hand, not planning to dither over what would have been an eventuality.

She doubtfully said, “There is something I feel suspicious about, but it’s just conjecture on my part. I didn’t hear anything from the events that could be used as proof, so I’m only bringing it up to you. You decide what you want to do with this information!”

Jiang Ziya nodded.

“That society just happened to get you to join their club right before investigating the school wonders. I feel that it’s too much of a coincidence and too unbelievable. It’s possible that someone already discovered your peculiarity and wanted to take advantage of it.”

Considering how Hold Keeper had also turned into a lie, Jiang Ziya already understood before she finished speaking.

He most likely had a hand in the school wonders coming true one after another.

“Uh, I’m just guessing! You don’t need to look so pained.” Yu Shu hurriedly said, “Besides, the mastermind had so many gimmicks prepared. Even without you, success would have been around the corner. I’m just bringing this to your attention so you can be more aware of it in the future. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you so easily.”

Thinking of how the homicides could have been partially his fault made Jiang Ziya’s heart feel heavy. He said in despair, “Is there a way to get rid of this power? Such as digging out my left eye—”

“Don’t be so foolish!” The two familiars were even more alarmed than Yu Shu.

“Listen to my sons. Don’t be stupid.” Yu Shu frowned. “You may not be able to get rid of your power even if you dig your eyes out. And don’t you underestimate the craziness of many practitioners. They might target your sister instead, or they might kidnap you and make you have tons of kids, betting on you having a kid that would inherit your truth-seeing eye. After all, special abilities often get passed down.”

When he heard that, Jiang Ziya’s face darkened. Why so crazy?!

“Then, what should I do?”

Yu Shu thought it over. Most people who learned of the truth-seeing eye would not blab about it, or else there would be too many people fighting over it with them.

“As long as we find the mastermind, we can leave everything else to Lu Yang’s dad. While there are a bunch of conspicuous spirits that have turned into lies around you, it’s not like people will assume you are the cause even if they discovered this phenomenon. Your Xiao Xue rarely leaves the apartment, and the others don’t have significant connections with you, such as my sons and that Li Yao.”

Jiang Ziya felt she was right. That “Li Yao” had nothing to do with him. He had only learned of what had happened from Lu Yang after the fact.

“Go home and sleep it off.” Yu Shu said seriously, “After you wake up, there will be a hard battle ahead.”

When Jiang Ziya considered that the deadly wonders could possibly happen again, he felt his scalp itch. He could only hope that muddying the truth with rumors like Yu Shu had suggested would work.

“Okay, I’ll head back now.”

After Jiang Ziya waved to House Keeper and Hold Keeper, he turned and dragged his heavy feet, planning to go to bed for a bit. Once he woke up, he would take another look at the situation.

“Wait…”

When he was called, Jiang Ziya turned around to look at Yu Shu. The latter dryly said, “Jiang Ziya, don’t ever step foot into Dustfall again.”

He had not expected to be requested of this, but Jiang Ziya really could not promise her that it would not happen. It was not like it was his choice to enter whatever barrier dimensions he ended up in each time! Either he entered them mysteriously, or he was forced inside. He too wished he could stay on Earth properly!

“I’ll do my best.”

Yu Shu frowned. Jiang Ziya was a little confused and wanted to ask for clarification, but she waved her hands at him in dismissal, hinting for him to “scram.”

Gosh, her eyes ooze with disdain. Jiang Ziya felt that if he stayed any longer, he would die from infuriation. He should just follow the flow and scram home to sleep!

Once she saw Jiang Ziya leave, Yu Shu dropped her scornful look, her gaze turning worried instead.

“What is Dustfall?” Hold Keeper could not help but ask in curiosity.

Yu Shu shut him down right away. “There is no such world. You heard wrong! I’m heading to bed. Help me keep an eye on my cell phone for any updates from the others. Also, gather all popular discussions related to this incident that the two of you see online or on the news. I’ll go over them when I wake up.”

“Mistress, you plan to keep an eye on this situation?” House Keeper was a little surprised. Wasn’t Yu Shu always unwilling to interfere?

Yu Shu was a bit bummed as she replied, “The person behind this has gone too far. I have a bad premonition. It’s better if I keep an eye on it to prevent the fire outside my home from burning so much that it can’t be extinguished. Especially now that Dustfall is involved, who knows how far this fire will burn? No one would be able to escape.”

Hold Keeper glanced at Yu Shu out of the corner of his eye, about to mock her about how she had said “there is no such world,” but House Keeper discreetly jabbed him in the side and made him shut up.

“Before you go to sleep, there is something I must tell you.”

Yu Shu had a terribly bad feeling. She momentarily did not even dare to listen. She immediately covered her ears to escape the great calamity…

House Keeper raised his voice. “Editor Ye Luo wishes for me to relay to you that if you do not hand in your manuscript by next week, she will come and take over your bed, since your only choice would be to sit in your chair and write. You won’t need your bed at all.”

“… I can’t hear anything!”

Jiang Ziya returned home. His sister, Jiang Yu, was feeding the two children. The moment he walked in, the two girls shouted, “Gēge!” “Gēge, you’re back!”

Jiang Yu sighed in relief when she turned and saw Jiang Ziya.

“I can’t believe homicides happened at your school. It has blown up over the news. If I hadn’t seen your text about eating breakfast with Lu Yang, I would have been frantic with worry.”

Jiang Ziya quickly said, “I’m fine. Lu Yang was with me. That guy has trained with his gramps since he was a kid. He is super skilled. If a criminal dares to seek us out, they’d get pummeled black and blue!”

Jiang Yu muttered, “No matter how skilled he is, he can’t win against a knife or gun. Why don’t you take some time off from the university for now? Having so many people die at once is too frightening!”

Jiang Ziya thought about it. Taking some time off wasn’t a bad idea. “How about I take a week off? The homicides are such a big deal that I bet the professor won’t have an easy time teaching the class either. Everyone will probably be talking about what happened the entire time. I might as well go to Jiu Ge for work and read on my own.”

Despite what he said, what he would actually do after taking time off was most likely not going to be up to him.

Jiang Yu was very much in agreement. She had never had to worry about her brother’s academics. Her only concern was that Jiang Ziya would refuse to go to graduate school in consideration of their financial situation. I have two years to do my best and persuade him to go!

“Where is Jiěfū?”

Jiang Ziya was a little surprised not to see his brother-in-law, Jiang Qibing, around. He had his own office and normally did not have to go to work so early. Now that Jiang Ziya had discovered the truth behind the “office,” Jiang Qibing did not even have a need to cover it up anymore. After all, Jiang Yu believed everything her husband said. She never ever doubted him.

Jiang Ziya felt fortunate that his brother-in-law was a good person. Otherwise, considering his sister’s nature, jerks would lead her around in circles.

“He left bright and early.” Jiang Yu really did not seem to think anything of it. “He seems to have a particularly difficult client this time.”

Xiao Xue gulped down the spoonful of food Jiang Yu gave her and extended her hands to Jiang Ziya. “Gēge, I need to pee pee!”

Jiang Ziya didn’t at all think that Xiao Xue, who was a doll, needed to pee, but he lifted the girl up and walked toward the bathroom.

“Gēge, did you do something again?”

Xiao Xue’s eyes were wide and round. Her indignant look was quite cute.

Jiang Ziya rubbed his nose and asked, “Why are you asking?”

“The news showed a video! Those two were clearly the two big brothers who live across from us, and the shrieking before they showed up was so scary. Even Jiang Jiang got scared!”

Jiang Ziya could only admit, “Someone took advantage of the school wonders to kill people. I seem to have gotten involved.”

“You got in trouble again just like I thought. I’ll go out with you for the next few days.” Jiang Xue pouted in anger, “Just leave a fake me at home. Jiang Jiang won’t expose me.”

However, she uneasily added, “At least, she won’t for now. I feel like Jiang Jiang sometimes doesn’t recognize me, but that’s good. She is becoming more and more like a real child.”

Hearing that, Jiang Ziya actually felt relieved. Even though he felt sorry for Xiao Xue, it was a good thing for Jiang Jiang to become more normal.

Xiao Xue put her arms around Jiang Ziya’s neck and pouted. “Bàba said that when Jiang Jiang starts kindergarten, I’ll pretend to be sick and stay home. But once she starts elementary school, there’s nothing he can do.”

Jiang Ziya comforted her, “That is still several years away. Even if you don’t become a truth by then, we’ll definitely be able to think of something else.”

“Yeah!” Xiao Xue nodded hard. Then, she buried her head against Jiang Ziya’s shoulder and shyly said, “I want to sleep with Gēge!”

Xiao Xue seems to be more like a child now, too! Jiang Ziya suddenly felt a lot more relieved. Maybe one day, we really will have a true pair of twins in our family?

After telling Jiang Yu, Jiang Ziya carried Xiao Xue to his room and got in bed. Even though she didn’t feel soft or warm like hugging an actual kid, he somehow felt a strange sense of comfort.

If anyone had told Jiang Ziya a few months ago that he would feel relaxed hugging a talking doll to sleep, he would have thought the other person to be a lunatic.

Now, he felt that the whole world had gone crazy. Just thinking about it gave him a headache. Let’s just sleep!

Yaya…

Jiang Ziya vaguely heard a name. Are they calling me? But no one calls me Yaya. That kind of nickname was only suitable for using on a kid!

If Lu Yang dared to call him that, Jiang Ziya would immediately break off their friendship.

He turned. A woman was looking down at him, her black hair dangling down with a few strands falling by his ear, tickling Jiang Ziya’s face.

Yet he could not make out her appearance, as if there were a layer of mist obscuring her face. He just felt that she was beautiful. But for some reason, her smile was pained. She nudged Jiang Ziya.

“Yaya, don’t go to sleep. Chat with Mommy!”

Jiang Ziya jolted. This is Mom?

He struggled to keep his eyes open to make out her face. They had a few photos of his mother at home, but they were yellowed with age, and none of them were close-ups. He could only approximate her appearance from those and could not truly tell what she looked like.

“Mom?”

The woman’s eyes brightened. In that instant, it was as if the mist concealing her face had been lifted. Her appearance grew clear. She was truly a gentle woman full of smiles. He didn’t know if it was because she was his own mother, but Jiang Ziya felt that she was particularly beautiful!

Yaya, if you’re awake, it’s time to get up—

“Get up!”

A shout by his ear nearly deafened Jiang Ziya. He shot up in shock, his sleepiness vanishing in an instant. He looked up and didn’t see anyone, just the ceiling. Ever since he had hit puberty, there were few people he had to look up to see.

He quickly lowered his head. Xiao Xue was next to him. Her eyes were wide as she said, “Gēge, you were so sound asleep. I called you so many times, but you wouldn’t get up. Your cell phone rang earlier. Mommy told me to wake you up to take the call, but you wouldn’t wake up. Mommy said to let you sleep more and that you could call back later. Then, it rang again, and Mommy told me to wake you up to answer it, and that you could get up and eat after.”

Jiang Ziya rubbed his face and asked, “How long did I sleep for?”

Xiao Xue answered, “It’s time for dinner!”

What? Jiang Ziya was shocked. He looked at his clock. It was indeed six. I slept so long!

He rushed to his desk and picked up his phone. There were a total of five missed calls displayed on the screen. The first four were all from Lu Yang, while the last one was from Liu Yishi.

In the messaging app, Lu Yang even sent a message: I’m coming over.

This was a message from one and a half hours ago. To get from Qing Wei Gong to Jiang Ziya’s residence, it would at most take half an hour by car.

Jiang Ziya returned Lu Yang’s call first, but no one picked up the entire time. In the end, he could only switch to calling Liu Yishi.

“Is this Ziya?”

When the call connected, Liu Yishi’s anxious voice came over the line.

“Is Lu Yang with you? I can’t get in contact with him.”

Jiang Ziya’s face paled.

Lu Yang has gone missing?

8 Responses

  1. 15B

    This poll has actually got me wondering… The thirteenth bookcase is the only one that hasn’t come true (or at least hasn’t been tested). What if that’s the culprit’s main goal? They want even more knowledge for forbidden dark powers and the rest of the wonders are just stepping stones toward getting the bookcase to appear?

    • Jasae+Bushae

      Gasp! What if by voting for it, we are causing it to come true if it wins the poll :o

  2. Gandire alea

    Wait, Jiang Jiang was the more powerful of the twins earlier in the story, right?? Once she becomes a truth, does that mean she will lose all her power due to turning into an actual little girl??

    • Andi

      My understanding is that truths are incredibly powerful. Instead of a doll or whatever made up a familiar (didn’t Ziya see a trash bag or something fashioned into an illusion early on that he laughed at?), truths truly ARE whatever it is they are. This is why Yu Shu freaked out at the prospect of Ziya leveling up House Keeper. If he makes Charles a truth, then Charles truly will be a vampire and those will actually exist in the world now.

      Likewise, Jiang Jiang is a truth but the concept that was made true is that she’s a little girl. Yu Shu has commented that as long as Jiang Jiang is just a pure truth of “there is a daughter here” with nothing else mixed in, then everything’s fine and she shouldn’t hurt anyone. She and the little girls have warned and stopped Ziya as soon as he has begun feeling terrified of Jiang Jiang because his fear and thoughts will actually mix into her concept, it sounded like? If he starts to think of her as a monster child then she will truly become a terrifying monster in the guise of a child. However, it seems like her concept has been relatively stable so she herself is slipping into the form of truly just being a normal little girl who loves her mom. In other words, it sounds like she is still really powerful but it’s better for everyone involved if Jiang Jiang forgets that power.

  3. Andi

    Whoa, what a weird dream. Can you accept an invitation in a dream? How worrying. Also, oh no, I hope it’s just as simple as Lu Yang getting stuck in a random barrier dimension… Although, with everything that happened I don’t get the feeling it will be that easy. I hope Lu Yang is okay!

  4. dollyfishe

    Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa im wrong!!! I shouldn’t have read this midnight 😭😭😭 that mom thingy… She’s not suppose to be familiar too right 😭😭 somehow she’s scary 😭

  5. Jasae Bushae

    I confess im kinda baffled that Xiao Xue hasn’t upgraded yet. I mean given how much she hangs around with Jiang id think it would just kick in

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