Illusions, Lies, Truth Volume 3: In the Name of God, Part One
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 1: College Life Part 3—It Was Destined—translated by lucathia (proofread by Trespasserby)
Lu Yang put away his cell phone and looked toward the person on the other side of the dining table, a bit happy and a bit frustrated.
“Is Classmate Jiang okay?” the man asked in concern.
“Yeah, he’s beyond okay. He even joined a supernatural studies society. I can’t believe him. Does he feel that there hasn’t been enough ‘supernatural’ stuff happening to him?”
The man smiled a bit, his green eyes and foreign face making him look rather charismatic, with features that were startling similar to Lu Yang’s, who sat across from him.
“Dad, tell me the truth. Will Mom really be able to return in the next few days?”
Lewis, whose Chinese name was Liu Yishi, was apologetic as he smiled and said, “Most likely not. I hear that the coffins in the tomb aren’t in good condition. Your mom will have to spend a lot of time just going over how to deal with that with the team on site. That’s not even considering how to actually solve the problem.”
Lu Yang stared at the roasted duck he had reserved as it sat on the table. Frustration simmered underneath his skin. He had originally thought that they would have a nice meal together as a whole family, so he had specifically made a reservation for a booth at this famous restaurant. He had been afraid they would sell out on the roasted duck, so he had reserved an entire duck, a huge one! And yet, his mom had not returned, and his grandpa had left in a fuss because of her ditching them, and his grandma could only follow after him to calm him down. He couldn’t return the duck he had already ordered, so now they could only eat an entire fat duck with just the two of them, filling his stomach with duck grease.
“Sorry, sweetheart, your mom really wants to return to see you too. But the case was just too urgent. I hear that several lives have already been lost. It can’t wait.”
Lu Yang viciously tore into a duck leg and said, “Don’t call your son sweetheart here in Taiwan. That’s just too disgusting!”
Besides, when are the cases ever not urgent? They’re always urgent. If Mom doesn’t have an urgent case, then Dad does. When will we ever be able to have a meal together as a whole family?
“Yes, my baby boy,” Liu Yishi said to express that he knew his error and would change.
You’re doing it on purpose! Lu Yang rolled his eyes at his dad, but his mood had unexpectedly grown lighter. He nagged, “Hurry and eat the roasted duck. It won’t taste as good once it grows cold.”
Liu Yishi nodded. After eating several slices of roasted duck, he praised his son in his heart for choosing such a good restaurant. It had been a long time since he had such a good meal. For years on end, the married couple had been out solving stacks of cases that had piled up as tall as a mountain. Often, they didn’t even have time to eat a hot meal.
Halfway through the meal, he slowly said, “That husband and wife who went by the name Jiang must be Jiang Shang and Yang Jiayin. Your mom and I knew them.”
Lu Yang’s chopsticks stilled in the air, but this news was not surprising. Given that they were practitioners that even his grandpa had heard of, they must have been somewhat famous. He asked in return, “You close?”
“Not very.” Liu Yishi honestly said, “That couple kept to themselves. At the time, I didn’t know why. After all, we met at several cases, and we always had a good time chatting then. Besides, we were both married couples, which is rare among our field. So, we wanted to further our cooperation and exchange of information, but they held back. I originally thought that Jiang Shang was just overly cautious, but now that I’ve heard about things from you, I finally understand what was going on.”
Lu Yang’s voice was nearly silent as he whispered, “The truth-see—”
“No!” Liu Yishi’s face darkened and he said, “Never let those words pass through your lips. You must also tell Jiang Ziya this: any and all possibility of his power getting revealed must be completely eradicated.”
Lu Yang shuddered but nodded right away and then asked, “Then, should I not take Ziya with me on missions?”
“No, take him with you.” Liu Yishi instructed in detail, “Your grandpa is right. Jiang Ziya needs to understand this world better. Besides, there are plenty of people who can see through demons and familiars, especially practitioners. As long as he is also a practitioner, that can explain why strange things happen around him. Then, other people would not grow suspicious as easily. After all, practitioners have all sorts of abilities and tools. You see, Jiang Shang and his wife had also clearly declared themselves as practitioners to conceal their innate abilities.”
Lu Yang nodded to show his understanding.
Liu Yishi asked, “I wonder if the ability came from Jiang Shang or Yang Jiayin?”
“Seems to be the mother.”
Liu Yishi nodded. However, his encounters with these two people flashed across his mind. Jiang Shang didn’t seem to be any more ordinary than Yang Jiayin…
Liu Yishi snapped out of it. Seeing that his son was looking at him in confusion, he smiled and said, “Let me see your Slay.”
Lu Yang blinked, suddenly feeling a bit guilty, but he still complied and summoned Slay.
The moment he saw Slay, Liu Yishi flinched in shock.
It was actually so distinct, practically like a real sword, just that it was surrounded by faint fog.
Lu Yang himself knew that Slay wasn’t in good condition… Well, “good” was the wrong way to put it, as he should say Slay was in “super good” condition, but it was excessively good, so much that he was alarmed!
Uneasy, he said, “Ever since Ziya looked at Slay, Slay’s shape has become clearer and clearer. It’s become more and more shocking the more time passes. When Gramps saw it, his complexion was terrible too. I asked him what was going on, and he only told me the three words, ‘It was destined.’ I really don’t understand, but Dad, you know how Gramps can’t reveal too much.”
“It was destined?” Liu Yishi’s face darkened.
Does it mean it’s bad? Lu Yang thought of how his grandpa and his dad both had terrible expressions. Neither reaction seems good.
Liu Yishi thought about it for a long while before he finally said, “You have an innate familiar spirit. This is quite rare. It’s probably only second to Classmate Jiang’s power.”
Lu Yang nodded. He had known. Had he been born to a normal family and not Qing Wei Gong, he would probably have been kidnapped by some practitioner a long time ago. Luckily, these powers were usually hereditary, or else kidnapping cases would occur a lot more than they did already.
Liu Yishi frowned and said, “You two both have rare abilities, yet you met and drifted together. I’m afraid that the result will either be great fortune or great misfortune.”
Hearing that, Lu Yang’s head began to hurt. He would rather they ended up in the middle. He didn’t want to gamble on it turning out to be great fortune or great misfortune. Unfortunately, there was never a choice with these matters.
Liu Yishi seriously said, “Xiao Yang, what if I told you to stop hanging out with him?”
Getting asked such a question, Lu Yang froze. Stop hanging out with Ziya?
He frowned in consideration. Truthfully speaking, he and Jiang Ziya were classmates who had only gotten to know each other in high school. They were merely second years in college right now and had only known each other for no more than five years. Of course, their friendship was strong, but now that they were faced with great fortune or great misfortune that could endanger their lives, wasn’t this question actually asking if he would be willing to give his life for Jiang Ziya?
At this time, Lu Yang recalled what had happened already and abruptly felt that he was being stupid. He had already made such a decision! All the recent things that had happened had been out of his depth. If it weren’t for other people butting in to help, he’d have kicked the bucket. And only now was he wondering if he would be willing to give his life for Ziya? He was being too stupid.
Lu Yang scratched his face and calmly said, “I don’t want to tell Ziya that I’m not going to be his friend anymore. Is there no other way?”
Liu Yishi blinked his green eyes and admitted, “There is. Don’t listen to me. I was just asking.”
“…” What should I do? I suddenly have the urge to beat my dad up?
Liu Yishi admitted, “If staying together means you will meet great fortune or great misfortune, then staying apart might mean going down the paths of great misfortune or great fortune. What difference does choosing make?”
Lu Yang frowned. Were Ziya and I destined to meet? It feels so disturbing, as if it were arranged. I hate this feeling.
“Can you explain it a bit more?”
“Of course, I’m not your grandpa, but since I’m not him, my words won’t necessarily be accurate. I’m just making a guess based on my experiences. You must make your judgments based on your own situation.”
Lu Yang nodded. Gramps saw too clearly, which meant he could not easily reveal what he knew, or else he himself would be pulled into the fray, and he would cause things to change. Even if originally the options were great fortune or great misfortune, once the situation spun out of control, with alterations added, only one option might be left. Moreover, what one feared was what would come true—more often than not, the result left would be great misfortune.
“You have Slay, and you have martial talent. If not for barrier dimensions, there would be few practitioners who could be your equal. Moreover, Jiang Ziya has helped strengthen your Slay. He himself is an expert at dismantling barrier dimensions. If the two of you partner up, you would have no weaknesses.”
Liu Yishi gave his own conjectures, “This is most likely what your grandpa meant by ‘it was destined.’”
Lu Yang nodded. This should indeed be the case. “Then by great fortune and great misfortune, it should mean whether I can protect him, so both of us will survive, or whether we’ll die together, right?”
“I don’t know, son. I really don’t know.”
Liu Yishi looked at his son yet was unwilling to say more.
A destined meeting between the truth-seeing eye and an innate familiar spirit—is this only for the sake of surviving or perishing together?
There must be something even larger than that, an even heavier burden, an ordeal with unknown results still awaiting these two young men.
“Following this, your mom and I will try our best to take turns staying in Taiwan, at least one of us.”
Liu Yishi could not bear letting his son face this unknown “destiny.” Even though Gramps was at home, Master Ah Lu had too many restrictions. There was little he could help with.
However, he didn’t dare say too much either. His wife had always been more accepting of unpleasant matters. She might even respond with, “If it’s destined to be, then we’re probably useless anyway.” Or she might say something along the lines of, “Who knows when something will happen? Do you plan on guarding our son his entire life?”
Hearing that, Lu Yang tried his best to keep his giddiness under control. He casually said, “Fine, besides, a bunch of cases have accumulated over here with Gramps. I can’t finish dealing with them all. It’s perfect if you two will be back to help.”
“Taiwan has plenty of practitioners. How have so many cases piled up?”
Lu Yang shrugged and said, “No one wants to accept jobs that require a lot yet pay very little. Even though Qing Wei Gong’s fees aren’t all that cheap, if you want to hire a practitioner on the same level as us, then the fees would probably be at the very least five times our price.”
“Five times?” Liu Yishi was greatly shocked. “Five times your price, or five times your grandpa’s price?”
Lu Yang laughed. His parents had really been away for too long. “Of course, it’s five times Gramps’s price. Dad, don’t you know that I’m even more in demand than Gramps now? It’s because I’m quite a deal for what I ask, and people who know me can use their cell phone to commission me for a job!”
Liu Yishi nodded and said, “You’re still young. Work hard at it and accept more jobs. See if you can lower the price. This price is simply too outrageous. How can normal people afford this? We’re not in this business for the sake of becoming rich. It’s wrong to think that way.”
Lu Yang snapped, “I still need to go to school! I’m so busy at night that I don’t have time to complete my assignments. Even if I want to complete them, I haven’t cracked open my textbooks at all, so there’s a bunch I can’t complete! Recently, I’ve only passed all my exams with the bare minimum score required thanks to Ziya organizing the main points for me to cram. If I take on any more jobs, I’d have to kiss my diploma goodbye!”
Liu Yishi had no response to that, although he did feel that a foreign language diploma gained no advantages for the successor of Qing Wei Gong, unless Lu Yang wanted to go overseas to expand their reach.
However, most likely because of how often he flew around overseas when he was young, Lu Yang grew up hating traveling abroad. After entering college, he no longer traveled outside the country and was determined to remain in Taiwan for university. The married couple could only leave him in his grandparents’ care. Even though they missed their son at times, their son liked to go to school, which shouldn’t be a bad thing, right?
“But sometimes, your Slay is truly very useful…”
Lu Yang rolled his eyes at his father. Slay is more useful than your son. I’m going to grow jealous of a sword at this rate!
At this time, a notification sounded from Lu Yang’s cell phone. When he heard it, he immediately knew it was from Jiang Ziya, and he lowered his head right away to look at his cell phone.
Liu Yishi was not surprised. He went ahead and ate his duck bone porridge. His son had been a serious cell phone addict since a while back, but he and his wife were the cause of that. Back when they were abroad, they had just given their child a cell phone and had him wait for them in all sorts of places—hotels, restaurants, playgrounds, and the like.
It’s a miracle my son hasn’t grown astray! Liu Yishi felt that he had probably done everything by the book for raising a son—everything he was cautioned not to do. For his son to still grow up so proper, he really had to thank his ancestors… However, even if he did grow astray, his grandma and grandpa would’ve most likely hammered him straight, so there was never a possibility for him to grow astray.
Grand Duke Jiang is Fishing: The club says that they’re going to explore school legends in the middle of the night on Thursday. Since it’s on campus, I said I’d go. It should be fine, right?
Lu Yang lifted an eyebrow. Not bad. He knows how to text now.
Slay Teeth Debris: Your home is much more dangerous than the school.
Grand Duke Jiang is Fishing: Shut up! So, do you want to come with?
Slay Teeth Debris: Of course. Sign me up.
Grand Duke Jiang is Fishing: OK.
Seeing a sticker that was shouting “I’ll wait for you” made Lu Yang smile. He’s a pretty fast learner. Caught in the moment, he switched the camera to selfie mode and pulled his dad, who was eating his porridge, over to take a selfie. Then, he immediately texted it over.
Grand Duke Jiang is Fishing: That has to be your older brother, right? You’re twins!
Liu Yishi grinned.
“I like this kid.”
Jiang Ziya looked at the father and son photo, wondering why the mom was not in it, but then he recalled how Lu Yang mentioned that they might not both return. It looked like his mom flaked on them this time. He couldn’t help but feel sorry for Lu Yang, but since Lu Yang was still in the mood to play around with selfies, then it probably wasn’t that big of a deal.
Jiang Ziya put away his cell phone, opened the door, and casually said, “I’m home.”
Jiang Qibing was the only one in the living room. He lifted his head to take measure of Jiang Ziya and said, “You’re so early today. Weren’t you supposed to be at the bookstore?”
“I spoke with the boss. I’ll only be working there on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in the future. I’ll be helping Lu Yang on all the other days.”
Upon hearing that, Jiang Qibing frowned.
Jiang Ziya hurriedly said, “But I wasn’t helping him today. I was just attending club activities.”
Jiang Qibing nodded and said, “That’s what you should be doing. A college student should enjoy college life. What club did you sign up for?”
“The Supernatural Phenomena Studies Society,” Jiang Ziya forced himself to answer.
When he heard the name of the club, Jiang Qibing looked at his brother-in-law and didn’t know what he should say.
“I thought it was a films studies society and went to watch a scary movie…”
Jiang Ziya told him what had happened in detail.
Jiang Qibing chuckled. This sister and brother pair was so silly he really didn’t know where to start with them. He said in a relaxed manner, “From what you’re telling me, I don’t think it will be too big of a problem. It should mostly just be students playing around. Since you’re joining the club, you can even keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t overdo it.”
“Lu Yang also joined,” Jiang Ziya deliberately mentioned.
“Then, there’s even less of a problem.” Jiang Qibing still found it hard to believe when he said, “I never thought that Lu Yang would be the practitioner going by the name of ‘Slay.’ He’s very famous, and his fees are fair. It’s just that if you don’t have a way in, he is unable to be contacted. I hear that Slay is picky about jobs, frequently taking on fewer than ten a month, and most are located only within the city. He’s quite unwilling to venture far.”
“He just needs to go to school.”
Lu Yang was a good student who obediently attended school. He just really had no way to complete his assignments. If he spent more time on his assignments, he wouldn’t have time to sleep.
“I know.” Jiang Qibing smiled wryly. “I never thought it would be because of school.”
“Besides, he takes more than ten jobs a month. Some of them are pro bono, and some are cases from the police. I don’t think those have been publicized. That’s why he’s so busy that he can’t even complete his assignments.”
Jiang Ziya thought of how Lu Yang would often come and laze around Jiu Ge Bookstore without leaving. He had probably been exhausted, lazing around there to rest, and finally leaving unwillingly. Most of those times must have been to “subdue demons,” I bet?
“I see.” Jiang Qibing nodded as he said, “He has it tough. This profession is not easy, and there’s a lot…” He sighed and continued, “that a child should not have to know. I hear that Slay has been taking on cases for many years already.”
“Yeah, he said that by the time he was ten, he was already killing demons with a casual flick of his hand.” Jiang Ziya offhandedly tossed his backpack on the sofa and sat down. He asked, “Have they gone to sleep?”
“Yes, your sister headed in just now to coax Jiang Jiang… to coax both girls to sleep.” Jiang Qibing stilled for a moment and changed what he was about to say.
The two of them glanced at each other but did not say anything.
At the present, Jiang Qibing had already learned of Xiao Xue’s true identity. Before, Xiao Xue had disappeared for a period of time before being brought back by Jiang Yu again. This discrepancy was too big to keep under wraps. Therefore, after Jiang Ziya consulted Lu Yang, he decided to explain it to his brother-in-law once and for all. However, the two of them hadn’t discussed it with Jiang Yu. Every time they brought it up with her, she seemed like she didn’t understand what they were saying and only treated Xiao Xue as her own daughter.
This situation worried both of them. Jiang Yu had forgotten so completely. Was that good or bad?
The neighbor across from them claimed that that was how things should be.
If not for one of you having that eye, and the other working at a demon-busting job, then originally both of you should have followed suit and forgotten. Who knows, maybe one day, Xiao Xue would become a truth! After all, a truth appeared among you out of the blue. It wouldn’t be strange if another one appeared some day.
Of course, she had only said that to Jiang Ziya. Jiang Qibing did not know that there was something wrong with Jiang Jiang too.
On his end, Lu Yang had returned home and asked Master Ah Lu, who only said, “Not a big deal.”
This answer made both Jiang Ziya and Jiang Qibing sweat. If having a doll become a daughter wasn’t a big deal, then for Master Ah Lu, just what needed to happen for it to be considered a big deal?
At this time, a notification sounded. Jiang Ziya could now tell that it was a notification from his own cell phone.
Jiang Ziya looked at the notification on his cell phone, speechless.
Detective Exorcist wishes to add you as a friend.
…Can someone come and tell me that this is definitely not Lu Yang’s dad?