Illusions, Lies, Truth Volume 3: In the Name of God, Part One
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Prologue—translated by lucathia (proofread by Trespasserby & EvlNabiki)
It went like this. On the way to school, just as I was walking in through the campus gate, I saw an angel drifting behind a certain classmate, following him the entire way without leaving. I thought he was up to no good, but in the next moment, the classmate’s face bumped into a ghost that was floating about, and that ghost got so angry that it rushed over and punched him several times. The classmate didn’t feel it, but the angel behind him actually rushed out and sent that ghost flying with one smack!
Yu Shu yawned widely and lazily said, “I thought that you’d seen angels way back?”
Jiang Ziya was chewing bread. As expected, homemade bread was on a whole different level. It was super delicious. Once again, he understood why Yu Shu had summoned House Keeper to life.
“That’s different! I’ve only seen them drifting about before. I thought those were hallucinations. Don’t even mention angels. I often saw UFOs racing in the sky! If I took all of that to be real, I’d have gone crazy a long time ago.”
They’re illusions, not hallucinations. Yu Shu followed his example and took out a cream bun to chew on.
Jiang Ziya immediately took back the bag that held the cream buns. He said protectively, “House Keeper gave these to me. If you want some, why don’t you just tell him to make more?” He was currently forbidden to enter Yu Shu’s apartment. It wasn’t easy for him to order food.
“You think he can produce flour? Huh?” Yu Shu retorted, “This is my flour, my eggs, my sugar, my… Anyway, it’s all mine!” All right, I don’t know what else is necessary to make bread.
Jiang Ziya asked hopefully, “How about I get the ingredients ready and send it over?”
“How about I just have House Keeper marry you? What do you think?”
This time, Jiang Ziya didn’t immediately yell, “No!” like when they had first met. Other than the fact that he was a guy, House Keeper was truly a great wife candidate who practically had no faults… Well, omitting the part of “not being a human.”
Seeing this, Yu Shu cursed and stiffly said, “Can’t say that anymore. If you actually said yes, I’d be in deep trouble and would even need to prepare the dowry.”
What dowry! Jiang Ziya was speechless. Getting stuck with this kind of mom, House Keeper was truly pitiful.
“Oh, I think I can hear the garbage truck?” Yu Shu reminded him. The daily wait for the garbage truck was not a long period. If Jiang Ziya wanted to keep chatting, she didn’t mind.
Jiang Ziya had also heard it. He hurriedly said, “The angel this time actually rushed out to smack a ghost. Do you think there’s anything wrong with my classmate? Could he also be a practitioner?”
After he finished speaking, Yu Shu rolled her eyes at him exaggeratedly. He rubbed his nose and asked, “No?”
“Of course, no!” Yu Shu snapped, “Haven’t you heard of guardian spirits?”
Jiang Ziya hesitated. The term wasn’t unfamiliar, but truthfully, it was all hearsay. He couldn’t at all tell what he should or shouldn’t believe in.
“Before, most guardian spirits were deceased relatives, such as grandpas or grandmas. Nowadays, angels and fairies are all over the place.”
“It can even change… Ah!” Jiang Ziya suddenly remembered something and hurriedly asked, “Before, I often saw Heibai Wuchang at cemeteries and the like, but recently, it’s been death gods. Is this kind of change the same?”
Yu Shu nodded as she said, “So you can be taught. At least you’re not a blockhead.”
That second sentence is unnecessary, okay? Jiang Ziya rolled his eyes at her.
“‘Illusory familiars,’ like the name suggests, come from illusions of the mind, so they have always been changing along with people’s imagination. You don’t have to be too worried about them. They are nearly all harmless. At most, people catch sight of them, resulting in a few ghost stories. Even if a few of them cause harm, that mostly comes about because practitioners take advantage of them to do something bad. Most of the time, it has nothing to do with the illusory familiars themselves.”
Jiang Ziya nodded. Lu Yang had told him before too. Illusory familiars were an existence akin to cockroaches. When a practitioner captures a cockroach to disgust you, can you blame the cockroach?
“Rather, artifact demons are much more dangerous. Even an artifact demon that is still an illusion has the ability to cause harm. Once it becomes a lie, it goes without saying that it can kill a few people. Many unsolved murder cases and stories about evil spirits have come about because of them.”
Jiang Ziya felt awkward. It was like his family was being mocked, but all he could do was pretend he hadn’t heard it. Can anything be done if Sis doesn’t want to give up? It was just that after she brought Xiao Xue back home, Jiang Yu seemed like she forgot everything again. It was like she had really given birth to a pair of twins, and there was nothing strange about either of them—but everything was strange!
He hesitated for a moment but still decided to ask, “Yu Shu, do you think my sis knows about Jiang Jiang?”
Yu Shu asked, bewildered, “What about Jiang Jiang?”
Jiang Ziya froze, confused. Is Yu Shu pretending or does she really not remember?
“Wait, what’s with that look? Is there something wrong with Jiang Jiang, too?” Yu Shu frowned, but she couldn’t at all remember what was wrong with Jiang Jiang.
She really doesn’t remember! Jiang Ziya hurriedly said, “N-nothing, pretend I didn’t say anything.”
Yu Shu opened her mouth but closed it again. In any case, she would understand once she was home. She didn’t need to ask right now.
“I hate going out!” She complained, “You better just come over to my place in the future. Call me beforehand. I’ll just get those two to avoid you.”
Jiang Ziya immediately nodded in agreement. He didn’t want to see Yu Shu show this kind of confused expression again. It would make him suspect whether he was the only one who still remembered.
Yu Shu wished she could turn and leave just like that, but she had already stepped out, so she should diligently finish her task. “The garbage truck is already at the intersection. Anything else you want to ask?”
Jiang Ziya thought about it and asked, “Other than illusory familiars and artifact demons, are there any other classifications?”
Hearing that question, Yu Shu hesitated. She was reluctant to answer, but she still bit the bullet and said, “Some apparitions are too powerful or incredible, so they might have some other names, but all in all, they belong to those two types.”
“I can understand being too powerful, but what do you mean by too incredible?”
Yu Shu wasn’t quite smiling when she asked, “Are you sure you really understand what ‘too powerful’ means?”
Jiang Ziya didn’t dare to overestimate himself and hurriedly changed his answer. “No, what does too powerful mean?”
The garbage truck had already stopped. Because the contents of their conversation was too frightening, and they couldn’t let themselves be overheard, they had stood in a corner that was a bit remote. If they didn’t head over now, they would not make it.
Yu Shu took a step forward and stuffed the garbage bags she held in Jiang Ziya’s hand. As she turned to leave, she tossed him the following words. “They’re powerful to the point of you picking up incense to pray to them.”
Jiang Ziya’s eyes widened. Picking up incense to pray to them… Gods?
“Boy, the garbage truck left. Aren’t you throwing those?” An old person looked curiously at the young man whose hands were full with garbage bags.
Jiang Ziya immediately turned his head and saw that the garbage truck was already at the next intersection. After that was a stoplight, and then it would drive straight away. He immediately ran after it.
“Wait for me!”
I don’t want to carry four huge bags of garbage home!
The moment she closed the door to her apartment, Yu Shu gave a snort.
Jiang Jiang, that “truth!”
Forgetting and remembering like this, it won’t be strange if my brain gets fried one day! She grabbed her head hard, hating this kind of feeling yet unable to do anything about it. It wasn’t like she really could never leave her apartment. She’d have to wait for House Keeper to become a truth before she could possibly do that.
“Mistress.” House Keeper offered a pot.
Just from smelling it Yu Shu could tell it wasn’t coffee. She asked helplessly, “What the heck is this?”
“Is lemonade out of season already?”
“No, but you are unwilling to drink warm lemonade. Drinking too much iced lemonade is not good for you, so you may only drink one glass a day. At all other times, the beverage will depend on your needs. Recently, you have partaken in too many inflammatory foods, so chrysanthemum tea is best.”
“Stop watching the Health Encyclopedia show so much. I’m begging you!”
“Last time, you told me to stop watching the news. Last last time, you told me to stop watching variety shows. Now, you are telling me I cannot watch Health Encyclopedia.” House Keeper asked, troubled, “Then, what can I watch?”
Yu Shu held her forehead. She didn’t know either what kind of show was suitable for a one year old child who was able to talk and cook.
“Forget it, you can watch whatever you want.”
“Understood.” House Keeper smiled a bit and said, “Then, please drink your tea now.”
Yu Shu looked at the warm chrysanthemum tea. What else can I say? It’s my son’s care for me, so I can only swallow it down.
“While you took out the trash, I followed your orders and researched the Jiang family’s situation.”
Yu Shu frowned, quietly listening as she drank her chrysanthemum tea.
“The Jiang family has lived across the hall for a long time, but they do not interact with others much. Therefore, the neighbors on the floors above and below all do not have much familiarity with them. At most, they know that there is a sister and brother pair. Older neighbors mentioned having seen a middle aged man before, but it has been a long time since he was last seen. I believe that that person must be the Jiang family’s father. The neighbor on the floor below, on the other hand, indicated often seeing Jiang Qibing and knows that he is the current head of the family.”
Yu Shu looked at House Keeper in shock. “Your research went so quickly? How is it that I don’t know how friendly these neighbors are? Besides, don’t they find it strange that you have appeared here?”
House Keeper smiled a bit and said, “The cookies and bread I have recently been delivering have been very useful. They have told me that the children love it. At first, they were wary of me, but a few trips familiarized them with me.”
“I’m betting that your looks were more useful!” Yu Shu glanced up and down at House Keeper and cautioned, “I’m warning you, don’t bring back any relationship problems. It’s too troublesome!”
“I am already your ‘boyfriend.’” Although House Keeper still had not grown used to this phrase.
Yu Shu snapped, “You think that in this age, people won’t snatch you just because you’re someone’s boyfriend? Even with a dozen kids, that still might not be enough!”
“Who wants to snatch someone as boring as him?”
The black cardboard box by the wall emitted a faint light. Several thin lines flowed out to draw a door. Following that, someone actually opened the door and walked out. It was a man wearing extravagant, white priest robes, his golden hair so bright that he seemed otherworldly.
“Huh, what kind of special occasion is it for our Hold Keeper to actually grace us with his presence?” Yu Shu said sourly.
Ever since she placed a bunch of illusory familiars in Hold Keeper’s barrier dimension, this guy rarely came out again. Just what’s so good about staying in there and watching a bunch of illusory familiars with insufficient IQ? Even coming out and arguing with House Keeper is better!
Hold Keeper gave a cold snort. “You haven’t gone in for several days. We had a promise. You’re going to give me my companions and a complete world for me to come out and become your son.”
Yu Shu rolled her eyes and snapped, “Give me some time, okay? Even if I go in every day, that’s no use. Those illusory familiars will become more intelligent through the baptism of time! More than me going in, why don’t you pull a few of them out to play? But I’m warning you, don’t bring all of them out at once. Our apartment isn’t that big!”
“Then I’ll take them outside,” Hold Keeper immediately retorted.
He won’t listen no matter what. This brat is not giving his mom any room to breathe! Angered, Yu Shu shouted, “Go for all I care! Once those illusory familiars get hit by the sun, half of them will die on the spot. I’ll be at the side watching you cry!”
Hold Keeper’s face fell. He sat sullenly for a long while, but he still could not hold back the desire within him. In a rare occurrence, he asked submissively, “Can you really not make it faster? I’m really happy just looking at them, but when I speak with them, they can only say the same things over and over again. It makes me feel terrible.”
Yu Shu berated, “Make it fast, my ass! If you like looking so much, go look at your gē! You have a readily available companion that you’re ignoring, and you just want me to make you new ones. Just how spoiled are you trying to be? If you have to have knight companions, why don’t you treat your brother nicer, tell him to wear armor, and carry a sword? There’s your knight, see?”
Hearing that, Hold Keeper twisted to look at House Keeper, his expression conflicted. The other retained his calm expression. Even if Hold Keeper wanted to argue with him, it was likely that no argument would result, but he was definitely better than “companions” who could only say a few words.
A bit unwillingly, he asked, “Are you willing to be a knight?”
House Keeper thought it over and said, “If Mistress finishes two manuscripts, then she should have money to order a set of armor and a sword to be made.”
Of course, he meant doll-sized armor. If they wanted life-sized helmets, they probably couldn’t even find someone to make that.
“After it’s made, would you be willing to wear it and be a knight?” Hold Keeper’s eyes shone, his words never far from the word “knight.”
House Keeper raised another condition and said, “If you don’t go out of your way to argue with me, then wearing armor is not a big deal.”
As for whether he counted as a knight after wearing it, that should not be too important. As long as Hold Keeper was fine with it, it was fine. House Keeper felt no need to look into it. All he wanted was for Hold Keeper to stop bothering him while he was doing his household duties.
“Deal!” Hold Keeper shouted excitedly. He immediately turned and said, “Then, Yu Shu, hurry and write. Write two… no, four books! I want a set of armor and a sword, too!”
Yu Shu could even spit blood by this point. By raising illusions she had ended up raising two editors who directly demanded her manuscript in her very own home every day. Can I be more pitiful than this?
“Ah! Jiang Yu told me to go chat with her whenever. I’m heading over to visit!”
After saying that, she fled right away, completely forgetting that merely ten minutes ago, she had declared that she hated leaving her apartment.
Hold Keeper jumped up and shouted, “Hold it right there, you need to hurry and write!”
“No, I only just turned in a manuscript!”