Illusions, Lies, Truth Volume 2: Human Doll Contract Part Two
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 5: Contract Between Human and Doll… Part 1—Under the Starry Sky—translated by lucathia (proofread by Trespasserby)
Xiao Xue tried her best to keep her face expressionless as she walked toward the abandoned plot filled with cargo containers.
Whether or not they could rescue him, she would face the same result—she had to leave that home for Jiang Jiang to successfully grow up into a real person, but the person who had been kidnapped was Jiang Ziya. He was her Yaya-gēge who had always treated her with kindness. Xiao Xue was still willing to rescue him.
Actually, there was some selfishness on her part as well. Perhaps Jiang Ziya would speak up for her. Maybe, I can stay…
Even if in the end, there really is no other way, and I have to go to Yu Shu’s home, then at least Yaya-gēge would come and visit me every day, right?
With this kind of idea in mind, Xiao Xue walked toward the abandoned plot step by step. The vacant plot only had a lopsided wooden fence surrounding it. Even a little girl could easily find a gap in it to squeeze through. She zeroed in on a hole that didn’t have as many wires tangled around it. Xiao Xue squeezed right through it.
When she lifted her head, she was faced with brightness.
The dirty and messy plot of land, the randomly placed cargo containers—all of it had disappeared without a trace. All that was left was the starry sky and the swaying grass below it, a beautiful sight.
Xiao Xue stared dazedly at the sky full of stars, but not because she was mesmerized by the beautiful, starry sky. Rather, she felt like she had seen this sight before. But how is that possible?
Ever since XX took her out of the box, she had always been in the city. She had never before seen a night sky filled with stars like this. The lights in the city were too strong. At best, she could barely make out a few stars…
Xiao Xue abruptly realized she couldn’t remember the name. It should be Jiang Jiang, right?
But that’s not important right now! Xiao Xue shook her head hard. She had to save Yaya-gēge.
“Is anyone there? Master, didn’t you call me over?” She shouted. She didn’t care who heard her. The kidnapper, Yaya-gēge, or Yu Shu; of course, if it were Fu Taiyi, that would be even better.
“You’ve gotten caught in a barrier dimension.”
Xiao Xue jumped in shock. Then, she remembered and looked down at her chest. There was a necklace there. The pendant was a small, foreign soldier—on the outside. On the inside, it was something that was the same as her.
The illusory familiar was called Hold Keeper. Before they left, Yu Shu had him occupy the necklace, and then had her wear the necklace on her neck.
“I know.” Xiao Xue pouted. “But I can’t do anything about it.”
“You can’t? Then, what can you do?” Hold Keeper asked.
“I can shapeshift! I can shift into lots of different appearances!”
“Then, can you break the barrier dimension?”
“I can’t!” Xiao Xue complained, “It’s not like I have the kind of eyes Yaya-gēge has. How could I break a barrier dimension? I’m just an artifact demon that hasn’t even become a lie yet. How could I be that strong?”
“What kind of eyes are those?”
Xiao Xue abruptly stopped. She stared at the necklace in front of her chest, feeling that something was wrong. It was true that she didn’t know whether or not Hold Keeper knew that Jiang Ziya’s left eye was odd, but the other person was clearly fishing for information. Is this really Hold Keeper’s voice?
“Why did you suddenly stop in the middle?”
Xiao Xue said without batting an eye, “You know how Yaya-gēge likes to play detective games. His eyes are really good. He often notices a lot of details. Hold Keeper, you’re so strange. How did you forget that?”
“Oh, I thought you were talking about something else.”
“Hold Keeper, how do I get out? Why aren’t you telling me yet?” Xiao Xue purposely asked, “Aren’t you more familiar with this? Master said so and told me to listen to you. Where do we go now?”
“I was still figuring it out just now. I’ve got it now. Look toward the left. Do you see a star that’s very bright? It’s not all that high up from the horizon. That’s the North Star.”
“I see it.”
“Just walk in the direction of the North Star.”
Hearing that, Xiao Xue obediently headed that way. However, she knew in her heart that this had to be a trap, as Hold Keeper couldn’t possibly know how to get out. His power level didn’t even reach hers!
But Xiao Xue didn’t plan to expose him. Rather, she was going to follow what he said because her goal was to meet the person who had kidnapped Ziya-gēge. That was what Yu Shu had told her, that all she had to do was meet the person. She could leave the rest to Yu Shu.
That was why she just had to follow along. She would definitely be captured, and then she would be able to see the person who had caught Ziya-gēge.
Walking toward the North Star, Xiao Xue’s sight was continuously filled with a sky full of stars. It made her feel uncomfortable, but she didn’t know why. There seemed to be some strange, distant sounds drifting to her ears, but she was certain that she wasn’t hearing anything.
Just like that, she gazed at the stars as she walked, her eyes full of stars. Even if she closed her eyes, she would still see those dots of starry light. She didn’t know how long she walked, but she didn’t feel tired…
“Xiao Xue, Xiao Xue!”
Xiao Xue slowly opened her eyes. A familiar face appeared before her gaze. She jumped in shock and shouted, “Yaya-gēge!”
Jiang Ziya forced a smile. From a distance, he had seen Xiao Xue walk over in a daze and felt that something was wrong. He had purposely used his feet to thump the ground, but Xiao Xue hadn’t responded at all. She walked all the way up to him and kept walking. If he hadn’t caught her, he really didn’t know if she would have hit the wall and fallen, or if her body would have kept on walking against the wall.
For some reason, Jiang Ziya felt that it would be the latter. Xiao Xue would keep on walking like this. If she were human, she might even walk until she died.
I found Yaya-gēge! Xiao Xue looked around but only saw several people who were tied up just like Jiang Ziya. She didn’t find anyone that looked like the kidnapper.
This troubled Xiao Xue. I didn’t meet the kidnapper. I directly found Yaya-gēge. Is this okay?
Yu Shu had said that all she had to do was meet the kidnapper. But she didn’t tell her, what should she do when she found Jiang Ziya?
Xiao Xue hugged Jiang Ziya tightly, not wanting to let him out of her sight again. She just had to wait for Yu Shu and the others to save them.
After thinking it over, Xiao Xue removed the necklace Hold Keeper was in and placed it around Jiang Ziya’s neck. Only then did she pounce back into his arms, hugging onto him tightly without letting go.
“Xiao Xue, who is coming to save me?”
“Everyone is coming to save you. There’s Lu Yang-gē, Yu Shu, and even the God of the Eastern Sky, Taiyi! They will definitely be able to save you—Ah!”
An abrupt squeeze, and Xiao Xue cried out in pain. She raised her head in confusion at Jiang Ziya. The other person was staring right at her, eyes wide, as if he didn’t understand what she had just said.
Xiao Xue froze, overcome with shock. Could this Yaya-gēge be fake, too?
Frantic, she grabbed onto the necklace that Hold Keeper was in. This was her only hope. If this Jiang Ziya before her wasn’t real, then she had to hurry and retrieve the necklace. However, what felt like electricity suddenly ran through the necklace, and pain prickled across her body. She reflexively shut her eyes and cried out in pain.
The necklace stopped responding after that shock. Xiao Xue was confused, but she didn’t dare put the necklace down. When she opened her eyes again, it was like a layer of fog had been dispelled before her. Only then did she understand that what she had seen just now wasn’t real. It had all been hidden from her view!
Now that she could see clearly, Xiao Xue actually discovered that the Jiang Ziya before her had tape over his mouth. It wasn’t like he could speak.
Xiao Xue was shocked. She had thought that Jiang Ziya had been the one asking the questions. Was the kidnapper the one who asked everything?
“The God of the Eastern Sky, Taiyi? You damn brat. You’re actually in cahoots with Jiu Ge? Hahaha. Like I thought, you’re a super big catch. Too bad you’re too big a fish. I might choke if I try to swallow this down.”
Xiao Xue was so frightened by this voice that she shrank into Jiang Ziya’s arms. The kidnapper didn’t seem to be present. There were probably speakers or the like around them that were projecting his voice.
Why is everything different from what Yu Shu said? I can’t see the kidnapper like this!
Jiang Ziya kept on going “mmph mmph.” Seeing no response from Xiao Xue, he glanced around, looking for something, but in the end could only use his face to nudge her.
Only then did Xiao Xue respond. She rushed to rip the tape off of Jiang Ziya’s mouth. The latter took in a deep breath, finally understanding why that woman and kid had used such beseeching eyes to look at him. Even knowing that they would get a face full of saliva, they had still wanted him to use his mouth to rip the tape off of their mouths.
It really was a terrible feeling having your mouth sealed with tape.
Jiang Ziya used a raspy voice to say, “Xiao Xue, go and rip off the tape from the other people’s mouths.”
Xiao Xue nodded quickly and went to work. However, when she finished, she immediately ran back to Jiang Ziya’s side and held onto him without letting go. This was all she could do now.
“Looks like your artifact demon is not too far from becoming a lie,” Zhang Dongqi said in high spirits.
At first, he had thought that it was just an artifact demon and wasn’t worth the effort. But earlier, he had heard her say that she had the ability to shapeshift and was almost a lie. An artifact demon with the ability to shapeshift becoming a lie—that would so useful!
Jiang Ziya frowned and advised, “You best let us go. The people coming to rescue me are no joke. You won’t be able to win against them.”
Truthfully, he didn’t know the abilities on his own side himself. All he knew was that Lu Yang had a sword. As for the other two, it’s Yu Shu and the boss… right? I think Xiao Xue said “The God of the Eastern Sky, Taiyi” just now, but there’s Taiyi in that name, so she should be talking about the boss, right?
Jiang Ziya found that he wasn’t even sure if it was his boss, yet he was trying to threaten the other party with their strength. This really made him feel unconfident.
Zhang Dongqi snorted and proudly said, “We, the Zhang family, aren’t scared of Jiu Ge.”
He even said the Zhang family! Jiang Ziya wondered just how he had gotten involved in what seemed like a fight between entire families. As someone from a family that only had five members and two of those members weren’t even human, he completely didn’t have what it took to fight family to family with Zhang Dongqi.
“Since you killed Zhang Dongping, you won’t be left off the hook! Even if you have Jiu Ge to back you up!”
I really wasn’t the one who killed him…
Jiang Ziya wanted to cry but had no tears. However, he had no intentions to shove the blame onto the boss either. After all, the boss had called to save him. All in all, even though Jiang Ziya hadn’t dealt the killing blow, it was because of him that the guy had died.
But really, didn’t that guy get killed by his own familiars…
Truthfully, Jiang Ziya wasn’t sure how that guy could have gotten killed by his own familiars. Even though he wanted to explain it away as the boss having the ability to command those familiars to kill the guy, he had been present and had clearly heard the boss. The boss hadn’t instigated those familiars to kill him. He had only said:
In the name of the God of the Eastern Sky, pledged by the word of the God of the Eastern Sky, thou spirits and familiars art free, thou shalt not serve under any master, from this moment henceforth!
Even if this went to court, no one could accuse the boss of murder, right? He had only given the familiars their freedom. That they had immediately turned and murdered their master after gaining their freedom wasn’t his problem, right?
Zhang Dongping had to have abused his familiars for no reason. That was why those familiars would take revenge on their previous owner the moment they gained their freedom!
If his family’s Xiao Xue became free, she wouldn’t kill him. Jiang Ziya was confident in that.
“But if you’re able to compensate, then there is still room for negotiation.”
“…” Jiang Ziya was a bit speechless. This person must have had a rotten, super duper, terrible relationship with his cousin. “How much do you want?”
Jiang Ziya felt defeated. He didn’t have the means to fight family to family, so he could only see if he was able to foot the compensation. But it was for a human life. He felt that the money involved would cost him his entire lifetime to pay.
“That artifact demon, the familiar in your necklace, and you must promise me three things.”
Zhang Dongqi’s final condition was quite despicable. Right now, he still didn’t know the guy’s background. Earlier, from the result of their digging, they learned that he was just a normal university student. But look at him now—just how is he normal, huh?
Since he still wasn’t sure of the guy’s true background, he had just gone with “three things,” this kind of unclear request. Later, he would observe the guy’s condition and make his actual requests, like letting him borrow his power or handing over more familiars.
Hearing this kind of demand, Jiang Ziya’s face darkened. He wasn’t willing to hand Xiao Xue over as a bargaining piece again, and the other guy had said that there was a familiar in the necklace too. He didn’t even know what the necklace was, but it was probably Yu Shu’s, Lu Yang’s, or the boss’s. He couldn’t make the decision to hand it over.
And those “three things,” no matter how much of an idiot Jiang Ziya was, he would never agree to such a compensation. That would practically be giving up his future!
“How’s that?” Zhang Dongqi coldly said, “Why hesitate? Agree, and you’ll escape with your life. If you don’t agree, you’re dead meat!”
Jiang Ziya blanched.
“Who’s gonna be dead meat, we don’t know that yet—Attack, strike!”
A familiar, angry voice shouted, and noise erupted. The light bulb no more than three meters from Jiang Ziya exploded, but that was only the start. The room began splitting apart from the top, the crack spreading downward and downward, from the wall to the floor, forming an entire circle. Then, a “bang” resounded boomingly again, and the room before his eyes actually split in two, falling apart to the left and right.
Jiang Ziya stared at the night sky outside.
Only then did he realize that they had been confined in a cargo container. It was just that the inside walls had been lined with sound-absorbing foam. The metal walls hadn’t been directly exposed to them, so he hadn’t been able to discover that they were actually in a cargo container.
Even though knowing that didn’t help much either.
In the sky, House Keeper had a gigantic pair of bat wings on his back. He carried Yu Shu, elegantly landing not too far from Jiang Ziya, making Jiang Ziya feel like Yu Shu was just like a queen making her entrance. Furthermore, this queen had even used a single strike to cleave apart a room—no, this wasn’t a queen. This was practically a monster!
Yu Shu stood there, seemingly with a sword in her hand. Because the sword glowed brightly, Jiang Ziya couldn’t see it clearly. But as the glow slowly dissipated, the true form of the sword was revealed… to be plastic, toy sword.
And it even broke.
Yu Shu lowered her head to look. She offhandedly tossed the toy sword that had broken in half, shrugged, and said, “Uh huh, I’ve used up my powers. This has nothing to do with me anymore. I’m heading home to work on my manuscript. Bye bye!”
“Ah, I can’t leave yet.”
So you know you can’t leave yet!
Yu Shu walked over and snagged the necklace that lay against Jiang Ziya’s chest. She gave a “bye” and turned to leave just like that.
Jiang Ziya stared as Yu Shu swaggered over and fell back against House Keeper, who gave Jiang Ziya an apologetic smile. After that, he extended his wings and flew away with his mistress.
However, halfway through their flight, a streak of black suddenly shot toward House Keeper and Yu Shu, who were in midair.
Jiang Ziya didn’t have time to see what it was. He immediately yelled, “Yu Shu, watch out—”
The large bat wings in the air elegantly served, easily dodging the streak of black. Then, Yu Shu even guffawed arrogantly.
“Missed me! Hahaha—”
From below came Zhang Dongqi’s angry scream, “Just you wait, the Zhang family isn’t going to overlook this!”
“Fine, I’ll be waiting at home for you!” Yu Shu retorted with quite a despicable exclamation. Come to my place if you dare. No matter how many people come, you won’t survive!
Of course, asking her to leave the apartment was impossible.
Where Jiang Ziya was currently located was neither high in the air nor close to the ground. He seemed to be on the “second floor,” likely because two cargo containers were stacked on top of each other, and he was in the top cargo container.
Curious, he looked down. That streak of black that had shot toward Yu Shu had landed on the ground. It was actually something like a beast, but it wasn’t truly a beast. It was a mess of deep black, the shape like a leopard or tiger. He couldn’t really say what kind of beast it was, but whatever it was, it appeared undeniably ferocious. If he got any closer, he felt that he would get torn to shreds by those claws!
Zhang Dongqi was actually riding on top of that beast.
Jiang Ziya abruptly had some understanding of how terrifying these “practitioners” were. No wonder Zhang Dongqi had little care for guns. There were powers like Yu Shu’s and powers like that shadowy beast. A mere gun really didn’t cut it…
Can we really safely retreat after catching the attention of someone like this? That Zhang Dongqi even said that the entire Zhang family wouldn’t overlook this. If the Zhang family has a lot of people with this kind of power, then I’m dead meat.
Jiang Ziya freaked out. It was fine if it was just him, but he might even endanger his sister and brother-in-law—
“Sigh, who would have thought that Zhongxiang City had a woman like this around? Looks like I still don’t know my own place of residence well enough.”
Hearing this voice that sounded like it was echoing in a valley, Zhang Dongqi knew that the most famous person he had heard about today had arrived.
“God of the Eastern Sky, Taiyi!”
Jiang Ziya stared, his jaw dropping. The person who had appeared before his eyes was extremely familiar.
That person was dressed in a very elaborate Chinese robe. It was black-based with a golden trim. His hair was even tied into a bun, and he was wearing a similarly styled, black-based coronet lined with gold. He even wore a mask on his face, a golden mask. It had designs on it as though it was mottled, and the nose was especially sharp, like a crow’s beak.
It’s actually the mottled mask guy from the supermarket!
Wait, didn’t Zhang Dongqi just call him…
God of the Eastern Sky, Taiyi?!
Could the mottled mask guy be—Fu Taiyi?!
Seeing that the God of the Eastern Sky had shown up, Zhang Dongqi was actually at a loss. There were plenty of rumors about Jiu Ge’s boss. However, most of them were about how he had good relations with demons and familiars, and how his personality and actions were odd. Some even claimed he wasn’t human at all, that he was one of the strongest spirits!
As for his abilities, there wasn’t a single rumor around. It was said that he had little interest in matters related to practitioners, so he rarely interfered. However, it went without question that he had to be very strong. After all, Jiu Ge had several others that were said to be extremely powerful. Therefore, their leader couldn’t possibly be a weakling!
Even though he was up against a powerful opponent, Zhang Dongqi thought of Zhang Nanzhu. She was well hidden, responsible for maintaining this barrier dimension. No one should be able to find her. As long as the barrier dimension was still up, he couldn’t possibly lose!
As for Liu Jing, he had no hopes of depending on him. The moment that woman sliced the cargo container apart, that guy had been scared shitless. He had lost all his nerves, unable to fight, and who knew if he had fled already.
However, that woman couldn’t be that strong. She probably had a special ability. Zhang Dongqi bet that she had left in such a hurry because she actually didn’t have any combative power!
Zhang Dongqi abruptly felt more confident again. If he could defeat the boss of Jiu Ge here, even if it was because of the barrier dimension, he would become famous… He was kind of eager to try.
“Even if Jiu Ge’s boss is here, inside my barrier dimension, you’re nothing!”
“That is true,” Fu Taiyi sincerely agreed. The eyes under the mask glanced toward Fu Jun, who was hiding in the dark. If his Dong Jun were a bit bigger, and the “inheritance” was a bit more complete, wouldn’t destroying this barrier dimension be as simple as a snap of the fingers?
It was a pity that Dong Jun was too small, and the inheritance wasn’t complete enough. He couldn’t even activate a tiny bit of the power of “spiritual words.”
“Sigh!” Fu Taiyi despondently let out a breath. What can I do about my son being too small still? It’s not like I can give him growth hormone injections, right?
“So Jiu Ge is intent on clashing with the Zhang family today?” Zhang Dongqi pretended to scowl, using that to cover up his own guilty conscience. Even though he was pretty high up in the Zhang family, provoking Jiu Ge right off the bat was enough for him to catch a lot of flak once he returned.
“Nothing of the sort.” Fu Taiyi said lightly, “It’s just that you’ve captured a little friend of mine. Of course I would come over to take a look.”
“He killed my cousin! What’s wrong with taking revenge—”
“Oh, sorry, I was the one who killed him.”
Jiang Ziya listened to the contents of their conversation, his heart thumping faster and faster the more he heard. Just who exactly is the boss? Why does the bad guy look like he fears the boss a lot?
“Ziya, don’t look back.”
Jiang Ziya stilled but figured out right away that the voice definitely belonged to Lu Yang!
He was hidden in the darkness behind Jiang Ziya. He gave pointers in the dark, “Use your left eye to look at that beast. It’s not real. It’s just a lie.”
“It’s not real?” Jiang Ziya felt that it looked real enough.
“Yeah, it’s not real. That person set up a barrier dimension here. Only in his own barrier dimension would that kind of thing be that powerful. It’s like the guy who captured me last time. His female corpse, scarecrow, and crawling corpse, once the barrier dimension was destroyed, was just a plastic model, scarecrow, and broken burlap sack.
“Even though this lie is much, much stronger than those three illusions, it’s definitely nothing all that dangerous. He’s only powerful because of the barrier dimension.”
When Jiang Ziya heard that, he slowly began to feel that that should be the case. Otherwise, if that kind of shadowy beast were to run outside, wouldn’t that throw the entire world into disarray?
“Ziya, observe the surroundings. There has to be someone maintaining this barrier dimension. Try to figure out who it is and tell me where he is. Then, I can destroy this barrier dimension!”
Hearing that, Jiang Ziya calmed down. Just as he was about to say “okay,” he heard the soft sound of the nylon rope around his hands being sliced apart.
After that, Lu Yang jumped out. In front of him was that shadowy beast.