Illusions, Lies, Truth V5C4: Home, Part 1—Reunion Dinner

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Illusions, Lies, Truth Volume 5: The Fallen, Jiu Ge, Part One

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

Chapter 4: Home, Part 1—Reunion Dinner—translated by lucathia

“Lu Le came here with me back then.”

The moment Master Ah Lu spoke, everyone’s attention was drawn back.

Lu Le wasn’t surprised to hear this. When she was young, she had gone everywhere with Master Ah Lu to slay demons. Countless places. She couldn’t remember them all.

Later on, she had met Liu Yishi and learned of many strange and dangerous cases abroad. She had accompanied him in solving several major cases. Finally, she consulted Lao Jun and thus began her long stay out of the country.

Taiwan was a relatively safe country. Even when there were spirits acting up, most Taoists could easily get rid of them. However, since the Lu family had Lao Jun’s favor, they should go above and beyond.

Recently, the cases her son ran into were getting more and more dangerous. Is this the result of incidents exploding after accumulating for too long, or is someone stirring up trouble?

Lu Le frowned. At first, she had wanted to quickly unravel what was happening around her son so she could leave the country and continue solving cases. Each and every case she had accumulated was appalling.

Now, her plan remained the same, but it might take longer.

“Were we the ones who solved the case?”

Lu Le didn’t have much of a recollection of the apartment, but if Master Ah Lu were to tell her how the case had been solved, she would definitely be able to remember. If we were the ones who got rid of something huge like that, then could the devil have specifically targeted my son for revenge?

“No, both of us were out of town at the time. When we hurried back after receivin’ the news, the case was already solved. The entire room was charred black, yet the fire hadn’t spread outside the room. The woman who survived said that their daughter was burned to death within’ and a great master hadn’t exited either, sacrificin’ themselves.”

Hearing about the great master’s sacrifice, Lu Le remembered the incident. Back then, she had admired that person. For the sake of getting rid of the spirit, they had sacrificed themselves. Even though the rescue hadn’t been successful, the situation had been extremely dire. Being able to perish together with the spirit showed how strong the master was!

“Practitioners have a guess that the great master who sacrificed themselves was Lin Yi. I heard people say that when the incident happened, spiritual energy spiked. Practitioners who could deal with it were few in number. Afterwards, Lin Yi no longer appeared again. It was probably him.”

Master Ah Lu thought back to that time. He regretfully said, “I never met Lin Yi, but I heard he was only in his twenties at the time. He was a good lad. After his shifu passed away, that youngster was never greedy. He honestly took on cases and solved them. What a pity that the gods loved him too much and took him early.”

Lu Le sighed. “It was no wonder Master Lin had to sacrifice himself. The spirit was actually a rarely seen devil in Taiwan. The level must have been high, and talismans would have had limited effectiveness. Normal methods wouldn’t have been able to deal any damage to the devil.”

That ain’t right. Master Ah Lu wanted to clarify. Even though he didn’t know Lin Yi, he had met Lin Yi’s shifu a few times before the man had passed away, and the other person had possessed a—

The car suddenly braked. Lu Yang, who was sitting in the back seat, immediately shot his hand out to stop Xiao Chun-sǎo from flying forward and getting restrained by the seat belt.

“SHIT!” Liu Yishi cursed out of surprise. A figure had suddenly rushed out into the middle of the road. If they hadn’t been in an urban alley driving slowly, he wouldn’t have been able to brake in time.

The figure ran off after almost causing an accident. Liu Yishi was so frustrated that he wanted to gift them a talisman he referred to as “the talisman of bad luck,” produced by Lu Le. The quality was guaranteed. Misfortune would come rolling in!

He looked at Master Ah Lu who was in the seat next to him and asked in concern, “Dad, are you okay?”

Master Ah Lu was frowning as he looked ahead and slowly said, “Fine.” He didn’t say anything else. Liu Yishi turned to check on how everyone was in the backseat. Fortunately, his son was dependable and had supported Xiao Chun-sǎo in time.

Seeing that everyone was fine, he relaxed and continued driving. He just drove even slower.

“Dad, we’re here. This is the place!”

Soon, Lu Yang quickly had his dad pull over and park. He had made a reservation at the roast duck restaurant from last time when Lu Le had stood them up. Master Ah Lu had been so angry that he had left, leaving only Lu Yang and his dad to eat a stomach full of roast duck. At least it had tasted delicious.

“This place has amazing roast duck. You’ll love it!”

Lu Yang helped Xiao Chun-sǎo out of the car and walk to the restaurant. He smiled as he made this guarantee, and then Lu Le rubbed his head hard.

“It’s becoming a bird nest!” Lu Yang protested.

“Who cares? It’s not like you found me a daughter-in-law after all that fuss with your hair. What a waste that you were born so handsome!”

Yu Shu lazily walked into the living room. Just as she was about to flop over, switching from the bed to the sofa, she discovered that someone had already taken the sofa.


What in the world?

Yu Shu was flabbergasted. Why is Jiang Ziya sleeping on my sofa? Isn’t his place just across from mine? Is he drunk and opened the wrong door? But this guy doesn’t drink at all…

“Toss him back.” Yu Shu called House Keeper over.

However, House Keeper made a quiet shushing gesture and pointed toward the study. Haha, you’re even afraid of waking him up—do you know whose living room this is?!

House Keeper looked at her beseechingly. The temptation of a beautiful man—no, the plea of a beautiful man. Yu Shu could only squash down her anger and walk to the study in frustration, in order to avoid waking up the lord sleeping on the sofa!

After walking into the study, House Keeper immediately explained, “Jiang Ziya didn’t sleep at all last night.”

Yu Shu exploded in anger on the spot and shouted, “What does that have to do with my sofa? If he wants to sleep, scram home to sleep! That’s right across from here! Three meters! Even if he can’t walk, you can haul him there!”

“He is afraid to go home. Can you wait until he wakes up for the details?”

House Keeper had listened to Jiang Ziya explain the general situation, but he believed it was better for Jiang Ziya to explain it himself. Mistress might be able to figure more out from that.

Afraid? Yu Shu frowned then laughed. She mocked delightedly, “Haha, something happened to Xiao Xue, I bet? I told him he should have burned that doll. Burn it! He just wouldn’t listen. Now he doesn’t even dare to go home. Serves him right! Who allowed him to come and sleep on my sofa? He reaps what he sows! House Keeper, carry him downstairs for the garbage truck to collect!”

“It seems not to be Xiao Xue,” House Keeper said softly.

Not Xiao Xue? Then what—Oh, shit. Yu Shu collapsed onto the computer chair, wishing she was a dead, salted fish hung up high without a care in the world.

“Something happened to the ‘truth?’” Receiving a nod from House Keeper, Yu Shu didn’t want to throw Jiang Ziya into the garbage truck anymore. She would rather toss him directly into the incinerator!

Seeing that Mistress was actually feeling murderous, he quickly explained, “That ‘truth’ has nothing to do with Jiang Ziya. He does not know how Jiang Jiang appeared at all.”

Yu Shu looked at her own son and barked a laugh before asking, “Do you want to pick a gift for Jiang Ziya this Father’s Day?”

House Keeper’s eyes lit up, but he immediately knew it was wrong and dropped his gaze. He lightly said, “Mistress is joking. How could I have a father?”

Look at how pitiful you’re acting! Yu Shu clenched her teeth. Do I owe you a father or what?

“You’re bullying House Keeper again! Just because he’s honest, you’re having fun at his expense?”

Hold Keeper ran into the study angrily. Who knew how long he had been eavesdropping outside?

Yu Shu looked at her younger son with misgivings. As for House Keeper, how can you call him honest? Those pretty blue eyes of yours are so blind! Even you’re a lot more honest than he is, okay?

She suddenly missed the Hold Keeper who had just been born and always had it out for House Keeper.

“How can we even choose?” Hold Keeper clenched his fists and angrily spit out his grievance. “You are the one we saw when we opened our eyes, but he is the one who made us lies with his eye. Other than mother and father, what other terms of address show enough importance?”

Her sons stood in a row in front of her aggrievedly. Yu Shu held her forehead and waved her hand, weakly saying, “Go and tidy the living room. Your father will probably stay the night.”

“Yes!” House Keeper and Hold Keeper glanced at each other, joy evident in each other’s eyes.

Seeing how happy her two sons were, as if the family was being reunited during new years, Yu Shu became even more of a salted fish. She nevertheless reminded them, “Don’t actually call him Dad. If he becomes the father of someone else’s kids at the mere age of twenty, and his sons look older than him, he’ll really get scared to death by the two of you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“Yes,” House Keeper promised with a smile.

“Who would actually call him father?!” Hold Keeper was stubborn about it.

The stepfather Jiang Ziya was dead asleep on the sofa without even a twitch. He had no idea that the two easily acquired sons frequently sneaked over to watch him sleep.

It wasn’t until a rich aroma of beef woke him up that Jiang Ziya rubbed his face and got up. He sleepily asked, “Sis, what time is it?”

“Seven, just in time for dinner. Congratulations on completing the achievement of eating right after sleeping your fill.”

This isn’t my sister’s voice! The tone is wrong too! Jiang Ziya was shocked awake on the spot. He twisted his head. Yu Shu was sprawled across the armchair, her legs propped on the armrest. It didn’t look very comfortable.

Jiang Ziya recalled that he had returned after eating the lunch Si Ming had made at Jiu Ge Bookstore. But after eating, he became sleepy. He was so sleepy, but he didn’t dare return home to sleep. Who knew if he would get choked awake again?

If it happened again, Jiang Ziya suspected that he would gain a fear of “getting choked awake,” so he could only knock on the neighbors’ door and borrow the sofa to nap for a bit.

“Have you told your sister where you are?” Yu Shu didn’t want Jiang Yu to come knocking on her door in the middle of the night for help.

“I’ve told Jiěfū that I was heading out with Lu Yang.”

Yu Shu nodded and said, “Eat first. We’ll talk later.”

Jiang Ziya suddenly felt awkward. He had slept on the neighbor’s sofa and was now also eating the neighbor’s food. Even though he owed her so much that he didn’t worry about it anymore, he still felt embarrassed. He quickly said, “No, no need, I’ll eat somewhere else.”

Yu Shu scowled and said, “When House Keeper heard that you’re staying for dinner, he filled the entire table. If you don’t stay and eat, do you want me to cry, or do you want him to cry?”

It’s a reunion dinner! Yu Shu suspected that if Jiang Ziya left, her two sons really would cry.

Hearing that, Jiang Ziya could only obediently say, “Thanks for everything.”

Sitting down at the table, Jiang Ziya discovered that Yu Shu wasn’t exaggerating. The entire table was full of dishes, and they all looked fancy, the type that his sis could never make. The presentation of the food was just like a landscape painting.

Jiang Ziya felt that he needed to take on more cases to earn money. He wouldn’t be able to repay his debt to her any time soon, but he could at least treat them to dinner a few times. If he was going out of his way to invite them to dinner, then it couldn’t be for something worse than House Keeper’s handiwork. How many stars would the restaurant need to be enough?

“House Keeper cooked the entire afternoon.”

Yu Shu wasn’t a salted fish. She was an entire banquet. She had smelled these dishes all afternoon. Her entire body gave off the savory scent of food. Yu Shu was impressed Jiang Ziya had been able to sleep so deeply.

Jiang Ziya praised, “House Keeper is so amazing.”

“You flatter me.” House Keeper’s eyes were smiling.

“I also helped,” Hold Keeper muttered but didn’t dare to speak louder. He had only helped wash the vegetables. He didn’t know how to do anything else, but he had tidied up the living room!

“Thank you.” Jiang Ziya didn’t leave Hold Keeper out of the praise. During the library incident, Hold Keeper had been a great help several times in succession.

It was necessary to go all out to praise House Keeper and Hold Keeper. After all, expressing his gratitude was all he could do at the moment.

Yu Shu watched how her two stupid sons brightened with joy. She was both angry and amused. She could only chomp down on the beef stewed in red wine. Yummy…

Jiang Ziya’s taste buds were blessed by the meal, and he ate with a feeling of relaxation. He didn’t have to worry about accidentally spilling any secrets while sharing the table with one person and two lies.

After eating his fill, Jiang Ziya wanted to take the initiative to wash the dishes, but Yu Shu waved him off, indicating for him to head to the living room.

“Tell me.” Yu Shu was finally able to sprawl over the sofa as she wished.

Jiang Ziya had held it in for a long time. He immediately divulged everything that had happened with Jiang Jiang choking him last night.

Yu Shu immediately narrowed in on a key point and asked, “Did you come in contact with the demonic aura during the case with Lu Yang? Tell me more about that.”

Jiang Ziya thought it over and simply told her about everything that had happened in the last few days, including things about the angel, Lin Zhixiang, and meeting Si Ming. After saying everything, he felt even better than getting enough sleep. The stifled feeling in his heart was completely gone.

“An angel roams everywhere, devils aren’t absent, and deities are taking care of family. Why does this sound so much like the novels I’m writing?”

Yu Shu frowned. The outside world is getting more and more dangerous. How am I even supposed to leave the apartment?

Jiang Ziya suddenly remembered his own misgivings. The more he knew, the less he dared to go out. At the time, he had despaired that this sounded a lot like what the eternal shut-in Yu Shu would always say.

However, Jiang Ziya’s place wasn’t like Yu Shu’s that could shut everything dangerous outside. In fact, there was a secret that couldn’t be solved at his place.

Just what is Jiang Jiang?

Jiang Ziya had always been convincing himself. Jiang Jiang is real. She is his sister’s precious daughter. But he couldn’t help thinking at times: How did Jiang Jiang come to exist?

Even though he felt sorry for Yu Shu, Jiang Ziya was beyond grateful that he had rushed into Yu Shu’s home back then.

There were so many secrets at home. He had the truth-seeing eye, yet he didn’t know how to deal with things. Nothing good would come out of his carelessness. Even though I’m not much better off right now.

Jiang Ziya couldn’t help but feel dejected. Just what can I do to make it better at home?

He didn’t need the truth, but he couldn’t leave danger alone. His sister was always with Jiang Jiang. He only dared to still leave his sister and brother-in-law at home because they didn’t seem to be affected by everything. As long as they didn’t find out, they would be fine.

Yu Shu lightly patted Jiang Ziya’s cheek and said, “Jiang Jiang is your niece. Give it some time, and she’ll grow up into a young lady. Kids are all like that! You have to spend some time teaching them! Look at my Hold Keeper. He was so mischievous when he was born! He was always fighting with his brother, yet now he has a brother complex. If I even say a bad word against House Keeper, he’ll be jumping around out of worry.”

I don’t have a brother complex! Hold Keeper was so angry that he pushed House Keeper, demonstrating that he didn’t have a brother complex. He was a bad little brother who would hit his older brother! The latter chuckled, making Hold Keeper’s face flush red. He spun around. The door slammed shut with a bang. Unfortunately, everyone knew that he was a sesame cake that was dark on the outside but soft on the inside.

“Your Jiang Jiang just sounds like she isn’t happy you came into contact with devils.” Yu Shu pondered over it. “This reason means she isn’t trying to harm you. If my two sons also came into contact with devils, I might want to choke them, too.”

Hearing that, Jiang Ziya didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The worry that Jiang Jiang might harm his family, a feeling he hadn’t dared to express, dissipated just a bit.

He couldn’t help but confirm, “Jiang Jiang choked me because she is just angry that I came into contact with demons, so things are actually fine?”

Fine… as if!

Yu Shu cautiously said, “Show me the bruises.”

Jiang Ziya unfastened the buttons.

Purple handprints. Looks pretty serious? Yu Shu thought it over and cautiously asked, “Does it hurt?”

Jiang Ziya was taken aback and felt something was wrong. He touched his neck and said, “It doesn’t hurt. I haven’t noticed.”

“Such a dark bruise means even your speech should be affected, yet your voice sounds completely normal. That bruise looks serious. Think back. When Jiang Jiang choked you, did it actually hurt?”

Jiang Ziya thought back. Getting Jiang Jiang’s hands off of him hadn’t actually been difficult. The other person hadn’t been very strong, maybe just a bit stronger than a three year old girl, but just about that.

How could such weak strength create dark bruises on his neck?

While feeling puzzled, House Keeper passed over a mirror. Jiang Ziya blinked and took the mirror. The bruise is gone! Jiang Ziya jumped up and shouted, “Thanks, Yu Shu, I knew seeking you out was the right decision!”

No, it wasn’t right at all. Don’t show up here again! Yu Shu really wanted to make the choke marks appear again.

2 Responses

  1. Kamui

    Yu Shu is really just a good hypnotist, which is probably what Jiang Ziya really needs. “Nah, don’t worry, the stuff you saw while driving? Heat haze hallucinations. Sister choking you? Come on, she is just a sweet little (potentially demonic doll of dubious origins) girl that was overly emotional. Didn’t actually hurt you. Purely your imagination.”

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