Illusions, Lies, Truth Volume 5: The Fallen, Jiu Ge, Part One
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 3: Inheritance, Part 3—Lu Le—translated by lucathia (proofread by null)
After Lu Yang finished placing the incense, he walked down from the temple’s steps with a heavy heart and stared at the smoke beside the incense burner.
“What is it, darling? Did Laojun say something to you? Why do you look unhappy?”
Having just walked to the front hall, Liu Yishi saw that his son seemed off and immediately grew a bit worried. Could Laojun have given him some sort of hint? Lu Yang looks anxious, so it probably isn’t anything good.
“No, it’s Ziya.” Lu Yang lifted his head and said, “He seems spooked by yesterday’s case and says he has a headache, so he needs to rest for a few days.”
He was beginning to doubt whether it was a good or bad thing to drag Ziya into solving cases. Even though Jiang Ziya kept saying he wanted to help, he might be forcing himself? Slaying demons, which often also included getting mentally battered by all sorts of illusions, wasn’t something regular people would want to face.
But was the black shadow at the apartment really that scary?
Lu Yang was in slight disbelief. Out of all the cases he had handled before, Lu Yang couldn’t even come up with a more ridiculous one than the case Xu Xikai had caused at the library to manifest resurrection. The deceased had all died under gruesome circumstances, and all sorts of ridiculous illusions had appeared in that barrier dimension.
Jiang Ziya had personally experienced such a case, and Lu Yang hadn’t heard him say anything about not wanting to continue afterwards. Yet now, he had been so frightened by the black shadow at the apartment that his head hurt so he didn’t want any cases?
Lu Yang, as the person who had gotten wrapped up by the shadow, hadn’t even felt it was all that scary. He was just a bit tired. Although he had slept for three hours in the car, when he got home, he had immediately disconnected and fallen asleep the moment he hit his bed.
“He was so frightened that he says he has a headache and needs rest?” Liu Yishi was taken aback. He had indeed felt that Jiang Ziya’s reaction to the black shadow was concerning. The black shadow had imprisoned Lu Yang, so Liu Yishi had wanted Jiang Ziya to call him and give him more details about it. But to think that Jiang Ziya was so scared that he was asking for time off? This was truly serious.
“How about throwing poe to ask Laojun?” Liu Yishi suggested and immediately drew a quick cross over his chest to apologize to the Lord.
Right. Lu Yang felt that he was a big idiot for worrying by himself when he had Laojun to depend on. He quickly fetched the poe blocks from the altar and clasped the poe blocks with his hands as he began to give voice to his doubts.
“Laojun above, please listen to disciple Lu Yang’s worries. Last night, I solved a case at an apartment. May I ask Laojun, is the black shadow from the apartment a major threat?”
He threw the poe. Both were face down. Yin. Disagreement.
It’s not? Lu Yang frowned. Did I ask the wrong way? No matter how frightening the black shadow was, of course it wasn’t a huge threat to Laojun.
“Will the black shadow cause great harm to people?”
He threw the poe again. Still yin…
“Will the black shadow be harmful to Jiang Ziya?”
Having received three negatives in a row, Lu Yang had the feeling that the answer to his questions wasn’t a denial but that Laojun didn’t want him to touch this case.
Frowning, he picked up the poe, hesitated for a moment, but still decided to throw them.
“Should your disciple’s friend Jiang Ziya continue to solve cases with your disciple?”
One yin, one yang. Holy. Agreement.
Lu Yang let out a sigh of relief but worriedly asked again, “But, does Jiang Ziya not want to solve any more cases?” It was a bit silly asking Laojun such a question, but Lu Yang was spoiled. He often asked random questions and sometimes even asked Laojun what kinds of offerings He currently wanted to eat.
He threw the two poe pieces. He had clearly used the same force as earlier, yet the poe pieces were so far off course that they flew below the altar, so he couldn’t tell what the result was at all.
Laojun had grown tired of his antics. Lu Yang didn’t dare to fool around anymore. He obediently lay down and found the poe pieces under the table. After expressing his utmost gratitude, he placed the poe pieces back on the altar.
Lu Yang tossed his worries to the back of his mind. Since Laojun had agreed with the poe, then Lu Yang will let Jiang Ziya take it easy for a few days before having him come back to solve cases diligently!
Liu Yishi suddenly thought of something and asked in high spirits, “How about not taking any cases for the next few days? It just so happens that your mother is coming back. Why don’t we bring your grandpa and grandma on a family trip?”
Lu Yang’s eyes lit up, but he asked doubtfully, “Would Mom be willing?”
Even though his mom didn’t look like it, she was a workaholic. If she were to see the cases he had accumulated, she would take over and solve them without a second thought.
Liu Yishi looked all around, as if afraid his wife would suddenly appear out of nowhere, and told his son in a whisper, “Get your grandma to help. Bring it up at mealtime. If she objects, have your grandma try her hand while you make yourself look pitiful. It’ll definitely succeed!”
This scene had happened countless times during Lu Yang’s childhood, only that he hadn’t colluded with his grandma, and everything had been his true feelings. From what he recalled, the few times they had gone out together had all happened under these circumstances.
“You know what, what if we bring along our luggage when we pick her up from the airport? After we share a meal to celebrate her return, we can depart right away!”
Liu Yishi spoke in high spirits. The more he thought about it, the more he felt it was a great idea. What should we do about Qing Wei Gong being vacant?
It’s not a problem! There are so many elders helping around here. If worse comes to worst, we have Taishang Laojun. Laojun was no pushover. While other temples mostly only had a portion of the deity’s power, they often had Laojun Himself descend. Cough cough! Oh Lord, please forgive me. You are the only true God…
Seeing his old man madly drawing a cross, Lu Yang almost burst into laughter. His dad looked proper on the outside, while the one who looked crazy…
Cough cough. His mom, who was difficult to explain, was actually the exact opposite of her appearance. Mom was the one dragging Dad along the path of a workaholic. Other people had it all wrong. Every time something went wrong, they went to beg his dad, but anyone who knew them well would know that contacting his mom was more useful!
Lu Yang smiled at his dad. He knew inside his heart that this plan wouldn’t succeed, but he still didn’t say anything to stop Liu Yishi. It was probably because he still couldn’t help but bear a teeny tiny bit of hope that his whole family could go on a trip together…
When it was nearly evening, Lu Yang’s entire family was already waiting at the airport for the flight. Lu Le was always quick to take action once she made her decision.
The flight was delayed as usual. With a displeased face, Master Ah Lu complained, “If she’s comin’ back, she’s comin’ back. Why should a father be waitin’ on his daughter?”
Xiao Chun-sǎo said while smiling, “Nothin’ wrong with that. Comin’ to the airport is great. Seein’ our daughter is more important than anything!”
Liu Yishi and Lu Yang didn’t speak up on Lu Le’s behalf. Both of them could tell that even though Master Ah Lu was outwardly complaining, he was really happy!
When Lu Le walked out of customs, the Lu family saw her right away. She was wearing a black shirt and long pants. She had short hair in a neat fashion. Even though her son was already in university, she didn’t look old at all. She could pass for being in her thirties. She walked over while dragging a huge, silver, metal suitcase. A bunch of talismans had been slapped on the suitcase in plain sight, attracting raised eyebrows and shaking heads from passersby who thought the people nowadays were too ridiculous, even making luggage stickers and straps in the style of warding talismans. How unlucky!
Lu Yang looked at the talismans on the suitcase speechlessly. Does this mean she’s dragged a bunch of cursed items home? It seems like Qing Wei Gong’s basement “collection” is about to grow again.
“Dad, Mom,” Lu Le greeted first.
Master Ah Lu harrumphed. “You still know to come back?”
Lu Le didn’t mind getting told that. When she was younger, she had been more defiant and would speak back against Master Ah Lu, but now that her son was already in university and she was always overseas, she felt guilty. She didn’t have it in her to fight with her parents. At most, she would give her dad a hard time to tease him.
“It’s so rare for your daughter to be back. Why are you havin’ it out for her? You’ll be cryin’ when she runs off!” Xiao Chun-sǎo stepped forward to hold her daughter and patted her hand. “Don’t go listenin’ to your dad’s nonsense. It’s great you’re back.”
Master Ah Lu harrumphed but didn’t say anything else that was mean.
“Dearest, I’ve missed you!” Liu Yishi’s position had been taken by his mother-in-law, but he didn’t dare to complain. He could only stand to the side pitifully.
Arm in arm with her mom, Lu Le paid no attention to her husband. She looked toward her son and swept her eyes up and down several times before she cried out in surprise, “You’re actually so tall! You’re no shorter than your old man!”
Lu Yang felt like coughing up blood. His mom didn’t even know how tall her son was. See, that was how long she had been gone for!
“Haven’t we been sending photos to you all this time?” The very tall son said through clenched teeth.
“You don’t look tall in them. You’re so much shorter than Jiang Ziya.”
Lu Yang was so angry his face was fuming. That was because not only was Jiang Ziya tall, he was also slim, so he looked extremely tall. It wasn’t that Lu Yang was short!
“But I did a good job giving birth! You’re handsome!” Lu Le rubbed her son’s head. Even though he had grown taller than her, he was still her son. If she wanted to rub his head, she would rub his head.
Lu Yang’s lips twitched. For the sake of meeting her at the airport, he had spent a full half hour combing his hair before he was satisfied, yet his mom ruined it in a mere second.
Since Mom complimented me on my looks, I’ll let her continue for a bit longer! Lu Yang endured it and didn’t duck away. He just glared at Liu Yishi, who was smiling at him from the side.
“What’s in there? Such a huge suitcase.” Master Ah Lu glanced at the suitcase.
“A bunch of stuff that needs to be thrown in the basement, as well as a specialized cross.” Lu Le shoved the suitcase at her husband and focused on walking arm in arm with Xiao Chun-sǎo.
“Nonsense!” Master Ah Lu’s face was ugly. What nonsense! Bringin’ a cross back? Where are we goin’ to put it?
Aren’t you afraid Taishang Laojun will get mad if we bring it back to the temple?
Ah, she really might be unafraid. Seeing how secure Lu Le felt, Master Ah Lu recalled how much Laojun had favored his daughter and grandson ever since they were young. He really might turn a blind eye to it.
“I heard that devils have appeared, so I thought I’d bring back a cross to try. If it’s useful, I’ll add the cross to my Taoist tools.”
Master Ah Lu almost choked. What kind of Taoist tool is a cross?
Liu Yishi also didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He reminded her, “Lele, a cross probably isn’t very effective for Lu Yang, not more than drawing talismans.”
Without belief in the Lord, a cross probably didn’t even have thirty percent of its effectiveness.
“It’s just for the sake of trying.” Lu Le didn’t mind it much. She had solved all sorts of weird cases overseas over the years. She had come to accept it. Anything effective was a good thing. Who cared if it was a Taoist tool, a Buddhist tool, or a Catholic one?
Even if Taishang Laojun learned of it, He wouldn’t blame her. At most, He would give her a few more yin results from poe divination, or immediately burn through the incense to express displeasure. But as long as the tool was effective in helping her solve the case, then Lu Le was certain that Laojun wouldn’t blame her much.
From that, it was easy to see that it was a continued tradition that the Lu daughter and grandson were secure in their backing, knowing they were favored.
“Let’s go directly to that apartment to take a look.” After getting in the car, Lu Le said this to Liu Yishi, who was driving. Then, she shouted in the direction of the passenger seat, “Dad, just play on your phone later in the car. You don’t need to get out.”
Master Ah Lu harrumphed. “What’s fun about a phone! You treatin’ me like I’m a kid like you all?”
Lu Yang inwardly thought “hehe.” Just who had played on the cell phone all night the first time he was taught by his grandson how to play mahjong on it? And was even scolded by his wife to go to sleep?
Even though Master Ah Lu had scolded her, he was satisfied that she was going to deal with her son’s problems the moment she returned. This mother who was always roaming around did still care about her son.
In order to avoid trouble, Lu Yang called Hu Lican on the way there so they wouldn’t get the police called on them again.
When Hu Lican received the call, he was happy to come over. Normally, he had to beg for Lu Yang to be willing to take on a case. Now, he was taking the initiative to solve one. Hu Lican was definitely willing to show up at any time and would even bring drinks paid out of his own pocket to quench Master Lu’s thirst.
In the end, when he arrived, he discovered that the entire Qing Wei Gong was present. He was so frightened that he dropped the drinks in his hands.
“I-is this a major case?”
Hu Lican paled. Even with the case of the library, only the father and son had shown up. Now, even the grandpa and wife were present. Don’t tell me everyone in the apartment has been killed?
“Don’t overthink it. We went to get my mom from the airport and just stopped by to take a look. The things in this apartment are fairly odd. My parents are better at handling these kinds of cases than me.”
Hearing that, Hu Lican immediately presented his business card to Lu Le.
Lu Le didn’t take it. “Keep it, my husband has already texted your number to me.”
Seeing how restless Hu Lican was, like he wanted to head to the car and give his business card to Gramps, Lu Yang quickly said, “Let’s head up! We’ve made a reservation at the restaurant for a family dinner tonight. If we run out of time, we’re not taking a look!”
Hu Lican could only regretfully give up on making Master Ah Lu’s acquaintance. In any case, the other person didn’t seem like he planned on getting out of the car at all, so he most likely didn’t want to get to know Hu Lican.
Hu Lican took the three of them upstairs and explained along the way, “The woman who survived the domestic abuse went completely crazy. I heard that she was acting up all night long and only calmed down once it was daytime. She could only be taken to the mental hospital. Master Lu, tell me, can people still live in the apartment? A pair of siblings still live on the fifth floor…”
“Don’t call me Master Lu.” Lu Yang rolled his eyes. Whenever he got called Master Lu by someone he knew, he felt like they were mocking him! Please, just call me Lu Yang!
Hu Lican coughed and pleaded, “Lu Yang, can you ascertain whether or not something will happen at this apartment? If something will happen, I’ll think of a way to force all of the residents to move even if I get sued by the owner.”
“We’ll see.” Lu Yang was unable to make any promises.
The three of them entered. Lu Le casually tossed a silver cross to the corner and then looked around the room. She turned all around and didn’t see anything wrong. She turned and asked, “Have you already used the book to clean this place up?”
Liu Yishi nodded.
She thought about it and said, “This five story building might have been a four and a half story building in the past with a large family living here. The top floor was only half as large and was usually used as a temple. The other side was built later. That’s why only this side ran into trouble, while that side is fine.”
Lu Le didn’t have her son’s rule breaking sword, so she was more serious in acquiring knowledge and Taoist techniques. She had plenty of experience as well. Even though she hadn’t solved cases in Taiwan for a long time, she still remembered a lot.
Lu Yang was young and unfamiliar with this kind of old building. Liu Yishi was even more unfamiliar with the problems of this kind of illegal construction. Lu Yang asked in confusion, “If it was a temple, then it should be even less likely to run into trouble. Could it be that they weren’t worshiping gods but something evil?”
Lu Le pondered, “That’s possible. We’d have to check the records from that time. If it’s something evil that has survived up until now, then somethin’ big must’ve happened back then.”
Lu Yang came to a sudden realization about why Jiang Ziya would get so scared that he had a headache and needed to rest. If what had been worshiped really was something evil, then Lu Yang owed it to his partner!
Feeling guilty, Lu Yang walked out of the room and told Hu Lican, “Investigate whether or not something has happened here. Investigate as far back as you can!”
Normally, Lu Yang only requested for him to look up problems that had happened within the last ten years. But this time, he was fueled by anger and wanted everything cleared up, or else wouldn’t Jiang Ziya have suffered for nothing?
Hu Lican accepted.
Inside the room, Lu Le looked all around at least three times and even knocked on the walls. She didn’t find anything wrong and was thinking to herself whether or not too little demonic energy was left. Perhaps Liu Yishi’s bible had been enough to disperse it all?
“Nothin’s left.” For the moment, there was nothing else Lu Le could do.
Hearing that, Liu Yishi walked to the corner and picked up the cross Lu Le had thrown earlier. The silver cross had already rusted, as if it had been thrown there for three years instead of three minutes.
Liu Yishi and Lu Le’s faces fell.
“The child’s eyes were sharp. There is indeed something wrong, only hidden well, so well that we couldn’t spot any oddities.” Since they were in an unlucky place, Lu Le didn’t come out and say “Jiang Ziya” and “the truth-seeing eye.” Unless she was at Qing Wei Gong, she didn’t dare say the words, “truth-seeing eye.”
“Dad, Mom, are you done?” Lu Yang stuck his head in and asked, “It’s almost time. We should head to dinner.”
“Okay!” Lu Le answered. “Let’s go have dinner first. Afterwards, we can head back to Qing Wei Gong and ask Laojun.”
“Lu Yang already asked earlier. Laojun said it wasn’t threatening.”
Lu Le frowned at that but still decided to try asking herself too. Even if Laojun felt annoyed by her, she still needed clues!
After the three of them headed downstairs, Liu Yishi told Hu Lican, “My son got rid of the illusions in the stairwell, and I also cleaned up the fifth floor. The siblings on the fifth floor should be fine especially with Lin Zhixiang’s blessing, but it’s not a sure thing.”
Hu Lican understood that they had put a lot into this, yet he couldn’t even apply for a subsidiary for the Lu family, so there was nothing for him to complain about.
After getting in the car, no one was very happy. If they were worrying for nothing, it was fine, but if something really were to happen, it was troublesome that the problem was so deeply hidden.
Since it was so deeply hidden, nothing would probably happen in the short term. A regular Taoist would have left it alone long ago. It was hard to deal with and wouldn’t pay a lot.
However, Qing Wei Gong’s people didn’t deal with things that way. Leaving hidden dangers alone could mean troubles down the line that could take who knew how many lives!
The worried expression on the three faces of the Lu family members was so similar that no one would doubt that they weren’t family.
At this time, Master Ah Lu suddenly spoke up.
“I’ve been here before.”