T/N: Merry Christmas everyone! ^^ This early upload is a present for you guys. Any further edits will be done in the next few days since I only have time to edit and proofread it once today. May you all have an awesome Christmas! ~~
The sun gradually rose, the dazzling rays blinding. A group of people left the main road and turned onto a rugged path flanked by lush green trees.
The carriage was very bumpy, causing Huang Dan’s butt to feel incredibly painful. With red eyes, he went to sit on Liu Chu’s legs, but that seemed to hurt more, so he sat back to his original position. Shaking from side to side, it was like floating on water, making him very dizzy.
Liu Chu took his cushion seat and stuffed it to Huang Dan.
With an extra cushion under the Huang Dan’s butt, the seat became softer, and it didn’t hurt as much anymore. “How long will it take to reach the county?”
Liu Chu, “Very fast. About two to three days.”
Huang Dan, “…”
Liu Chu rested his chin on his shoulder and blew onto his white neck. “With me accompanying you, it won’t be tiring.”
Huang Dan, “It’s more tiring.”
Liu Chu’s face went dark, and he pressed the young man against the carriage wall to kiss him.
Huang Dan ate a lot of man’s saliva, and his words were indistinct, “It hurts, kiss gentler.”
Liu Chu’s mind rumbled, and he held the back of the young man’s head and kissed the two soft lips even harder.
Huang Dan grabbed the man’s shoulder, trying to push him away, but he failed to even after several pushes. He couldn’t stop crying from the pain and could only beg for mercy.
To Liu Chu, that sound was like a thin pointy leaf had fallen into his heart, spun around and made his whole heart itchy. His mouth was dry, and his whole body was hot. “Say, are you seducing me?”
Huang Dan, “…”
While heavily breathing, Liu Chu showed an understanding gaze. “You must be.”
Huang Dan covered his mouth and cried, his voice muffled, “I don’t want to talk to you.”
With every breath, the desire slowly spread from the bottom of Liu Chu’s eyes to his face. He hugged the young man’s waist and pulled him into his embrace, then pressed his lips up.
Huang Dan couldn’t escape and was kissed all over.
The coachman outside looked back again. The curtain was still in the same position; nothing had changed. He scratched his head, then went back to concentrate on driving the carriage.
Huang Dan’s mouth was a little swollen, and his lower lip had a cut with a little blood oozing out. He stretched out his tongue to lick it off, and the fishy smell increased.
Liu Chu stared at him, his eyes red from restraining himself. “Still say you aren’t seducing me!”
Huang Dan didn’t want to bother with him and threw a peach to the man.
Liu Chu caught it, then his eyes presumptuously wandered around the young man’s body like a rogue. He gulped. He didn’t want to eat peaches, he wanted to eat something else. “My young master, why do you like to cry so much?”
Huang Dan sniffed. His eyes and nose were red, and there were tear marks on his face. His voice came out nasally when he spoke, “It’s not that I like crying, but that I’m afraid of pain.”
Liu Chu glanced sideways, “Isn’t that the same thing?”
Huang Dan closed his eyes and couldn’t be bothered with him anymore.
His face was pinched by rough hands, and then a piece of peach landed in his mouth, sweet and juicy.
Liu Chu endured the rampant desire in his body. “When I see you cry, I want you to hurt you and make you cry even fiercer. Say, why am I like this?”
Huang Dan, “There’s something wrong with your brain.”
Liu Chu kissed the young man’s eyes. “Nonsense. It’s obviously because I like you too much.”
He sighed, feeling very troubled. “Tell me, why do I like you so much?”
Huang Dan took a snack to eat, and he heard the man continue, “We must have known each other in our previous lives. You were definitely my wife.”
The snack in his mouth melted. It was too sweet.
Liu Chu suddenly remembered something, “By the way, there’s a wishing tree in Ping An Temple. Do you want to see it?” 
Huang Dan swallowed the snack. “No.”
He continued, “Only children believe in that kind of thing.”
Liu Chu raised a corner of his lips, a touch of amusement in his eyes. “In my eyes, you’re a child.”
Huang Dan, “I’m already twenty-five.”
Liu Chu ruffled his hair. “Well, still very young.”
Huang Dan, “…”
To say that a two to three days journey was fast and that the age of twenty-five was very young, he felt that this man’s mathematics was self-taught.
Liu Chu insisted on taking Huang Dan to see the wishing tree. Huang Dan was kissed till he was wet and uncomfortable all over, so he ended up agreeing to accompany him.
A faint wind brushed through the gaps of the curtain and entered the carriage, wildly dancing around.
Huang Dan couldn’t stop fidgeting around on the cushion seat. One moment he was leaning against the carriage’s wall, the next moment he lifted his legs to sit cross-legged, and when he felt uncomfortable, he slumped onto the man’s lap, adjusted his posture and started sleeping.
Liu Chu’s voice was hoarse, “Young master, can you lie down somewhere else?”
Huang Dan was motionless. He had already met the Duke of Zhou. 
Liu Chu closed his eyes, then bent down and rubbed his face in the young man’s hair. “Don’t sleep, let’s talk a little.”
Huang Dan and the Duke of Zhou had embraced.
Liu Chu listened to the young man’s slow and even breathing and realized he was already asleep. His forehead twitched, his Adam’s apple rolled twice, and he shook his head and smiled bitterly, “Naughty guy, you just left me alone.”
The carriage sunk into silence.
Huang Dan slept, while Liu Chu watched him sleep with a gentle gaze.
A few horses were in front of them, riding them was Si Mao and a few constables. Under the scorching sun, they were drenched in sweat, yet their mouths didn’t stop moving.
“Hey, say, we’re travelling back for proper business, so why did the boss bring the Song Family’s young master with him? If Young Master Song were to get into an accident, it’ll be hard to explain to the Song Family.”
“How could we understand the boss’ thoughts.”
“By the way, the Boss saved Young Master Song twice, so he’s now the Song Family’s great benefactor, right?”
“A life-saving debt is the biggest debt. The long box that the boss carried with him should be a sword given by the Song Family.”
“It must be a treasured sword!”
Si Mao glanced back, and the other constables also followed suit.
The woman in the prison wagon was filthy, with bloodstains on her face and hair strands stuck to it. Her usual appearance and charm were long gone.
Si Mao pulled on the reins and sighed, “Back then at East Avenue, it was really scary. Everyone was acting like lunatics. If we hadn’t stopped them, they would’ve rushed up and devoured the Second Concubine.”
A simple and honest constable wiped his sweat, and his face showed an expression of lingering fear. “I don’t understand. The Second Concubine indeed killed someone, but it isn’t related to them, so why are they so agitated?”
Si Mao, “People’s hearts are unfathomable.”
“Mao’er is right. I would never have thought that Lord Ye’s Second Concubine is involved in the murder.”
“Never underestimate a woman, or you won’t even know how you died.”
“Women are gentle in nature. They only become fierce when they encounter certain people and circumstances. In my opinion, she just has a bad fate.”
The few of them only chatted for a while, but their mouths were already dry, and their throats were burning. Rashes were also about to cover their buttocks.
After travelling for a while, they came across a fork in the road.
Si Mao pulled on the reins and rode to the carriage. “Boss, there’s a hut not far ahead. How about stopping there for a rest?”
Liu Chu’s voice came from the carriage, “Okay.”
The hut was not far from the crossroad. There was herbal tea, flatbread, eggs and dishes.
Si Mao and the others jumped off their horses. They were panting with their tongues out, similar to the other travellers on the road. The pants at their butts were all dark from perspiration.
The simple hut was ventilated on three sides, but it was still sweltering. Six to seven wooden tables were randomly placed around, and they were all filled with people.
When those people saw Huang Dan’s group and the prison wagon, they realised that they were from the government, and their expressions shifted slightly. They didn’t continue looking, neither did they gossip. They just bowed their heads to eat and drink, wanting to be on their way as soon as possible.
The atmosphere in the hut was no longer relaxed.
Liu Chu raised his foot and hooked over a long bench, then he pulled Huang Dan to sit down. He threw the sword on the table and took the teapot to pour tea.
Huang Dan saw a few slices of watermelon on the opposite table. The flesh of the watermelon was bright red, with black seeds unevenly embedded in the flesh. He watched a child eating watermelon, and he swallowed his saliva, wanting to eat it too.
Liu Chu noticed his action, so he called an assistant over to ask. The assistant said there was one more watermelon, so he bought it, cut it open, then asked his people to come over and eat it.
He took two pieces and set them in front of Huang Dan. “Here.”
Huang Dan held a slice of watermelon and took a bite. His mouth bulged, full of sweet watermelon juice, which slid down his throat and fell into his empty stomach. He spat out the seeds and took another bite.
Liu Chu took a sip of herbal tea and glanced at the young man who was quietly eating the watermelon. “Is it delicious?”
Huang Dan’s voice was indistinct, “It’s delicious.”
He didn’t eat both slices of watermelon and instead pushed the remaining slice to the man.
Liu Chu said he didn’t like eating it.
Huang Dan, “Then forget it. I’ll give it to Si Mao.”
Liu Chu quickly pinched the back of the young man’s hand and warned, “No matter what I give you, you are not allowed to give it to other men.”
Huang Dan asked, “So are you eating it or not?”
Liu Chu was angered by his attitude, but he couldn’t think of a comeback. “Eat eat eat, I’ll eat!”
The others did not see this scene. They were all squatting on the ground, speedily wolfing down the watermelon like a passing storm, and soon only the skin of the watermelon was left.
Si Mao wiped his mouth, then walked over and asked, “Boss, what do you and Young Master Song want to eat? I’ll let our comrades know.”
Liu Chu raised an eyebrow. “I’m fine with anything. What about you, Young Master Song?”
Huang Dan, “Same. Anything.”
Si Mao, “…”
Fine, anything right? Then he would order whatever he wanted to eat.
to the hut, an old man and his wife were killing chickens on the grass. One held the chicken’s wings, while the other held a knife and ground it on the stone several times, before slicing it across the chicken’s neck once.
Bright red blood spurted out and flowed into a basin, with a few drops of it splashing on the grass blades.
Huang Dan, “A chicken has a lot of blood.”
Liu Chu’s movement of caressing the scabbard stopped. “If it’s a person, then there must be a barrel of it, right?”
Huang Dan, “Depends on how big the barrel is.”
“Take that basin of chicken blood as an example. If the bloodletting weren’t done a chicken but on a human instead, there’ll probably be three or four basins of blood.”
Liu Chu placed down his sword, patted the young man’s arm, and motioned for him to sit still and not run about. He got up and walked to the prison wagon. “Second Concubine, why didn’t you leave behind a drop of blood when you murdered the cook?”
In the prison wagon, Baiying was motionless.
Liu Chu approached the railing and repeated, “Did you take it away? Or did you hide it somewhere?”
He began to soliloquize, “I’ve searched the cook’s house, but there wasn’t any blood found. Second Concubine, I’m very curious. How did you leave no traces at all?”
Baiying’s eyes shook when she heard him, and her emotions couldn’t help going out of control.
Since she was a child, she followed her parents out to kill pigs and cut meat. Baiying was accustomed to it and even enjoyed the process. In her opinion, there was no difference between killing people and killing pigs.
With one move of the knife, a chunk of meat and bone would be cut out. With another move, the meat would be separated from the bone.
That night, Baiying brought a butcher knife and entered the house with the ladder. First, she knocked out the cook, then drained the blood out and chopped the body into two parts, and lastly, wiped off all the bloodstains on the ground. She was very calm and made no mistake.
Because there was a courtyard between the cook and his mother’s house, adding on to the fact that she was getting on in years and would be deeply asleep – and not as alert as youngsters – Baiying wasn’t worried about getting discovered. Everything went without a hitch.
But when Baiying was about to leave, she encountered a tricky problem.
The bucket of blood was not easy to carry up the ladder and over the wall. On the off chance that she was inattentive and shook her hand, the bucket would fall, and the blood would spill onto the grass.
Once the cook’s corpse was discovered, the constables’ investigation would definitely be very strict and would not miss any nook or cranny. It was impossible to guarantee that this clue would not be discovered.
Just as Baiying was considering whether to take the risk and carry the bucket of blood out or to look for something to dig a hole and bury it, she vaguely felt a shadow passing by. She looked back. The bucket was still in the same spot, but the blood in it was gone.
At that time, Baiying’s face had turned white. Her hand trembled as she touched the inside of the bucket. There was not a trace of blood remaining.
She was so frightened that her legs softened, and she staggered and sat on the ground.
The barrel was very dry, without even the slightest wetness when she felt it, as though a huge tongue had repeatedly licked clean all the blood inside.
When everyone in the town was talking about the demon, she wasn’t afraid. Now the demon was somewhere close by, standing somewhere she couldn’t see, having witnessed her kill the cook.
That feeling made Baiying break out in goosebumps. She didn’t know when she would die; maybe it would be in the next moment.
When killing someone and cutting the corpse, Baiying was not afraid at all, just like how she was not afraid of ghosts. But she was afraid of demons.
People eat rice and drink water, while demons eat human meat and drink human blood.
The voice beside her suddenly pulled Baiying’s thoughts back, and she felt shocked to find that she was drenched in a cold sweat.
There was scrutiny in Liu Chu’s eyes. “You don’t know either?”
Baiying didn’t speak.
Liu Chu leaned forward and pressed against the prison wagon. “Second Concubine, when we reach the county, you’ll definitely lose your head. As for me, I can say a few words to Lord Ye for you.”
He chuckled, “I’m sure Second Concubine is very concerned about her child.”
Baiying closed her eyes, then spoke with difficulty, “It’s… it’s the demon…”
Hearing the word demon, Liu Chu was very calm. “So, you met it?”
Baiying shook her head with a pale face. “No.”
After that incident, Baiying didn’t want to – and didn’t dare to – think too deeply about it. She was awakened by nightmares at night while being on tenterhooks during the day. She passed every day tormented, it was worse than death.
Many times, she had considered killing herself and end all the suffering.
But she was afraid of death. She wanted to live.
Baiying sometimes felt that the demon had a grasp on people’s minds. It knew that she had no courage to die, so it deliberately did not eat her, purposely frightening her to see her suffer, panic and struggle to prolong her existence.
When rumours about the cook and herself suddenly appeared in the town, Baiying began to have suspicions. When the constable took out the small box and revealed the black clothes that had been disposed of, yet returned, her suspicions became reality.
It’s that demon!
When she was mentally tortured until she was half-dead and finally almost succeeded in forgetting the past and the fear and was going to start anew, the demon decided it wasn’t interesting anymore and felt bored and disappointed, so it came up with such a play.
Just like that, the demon was in the town, hiding in a certain corner or transformed into someone else, indifferently observing everyone.
The seller, Boss Zhang, the cook… the disgusting people and things in the town, the ignorance, the nativity and the ridiculous thoughts, everything was seen by it.
Did the demon simply pass by the town and want to punish the criminals and tease them for fun, or did it come with an objective?
Baiying shivered, hoping it was the former.
By now, they were quite a distance from the town, and she couldn’t see the outline of Ye Mansion anymore no matter how hard she tried. She couldn’t help but worry about her child.
No matter how dark the hearts of the townspeople were or how many outrageous things they had done, those were not related to the child. The child was innocent and had no blood on his hands.
A flat voice sounded by Baiying’s ear. “Second Concubine, you seem to be very afraid.”
She gave a forced smile, making an ugly expression, “Commander Liu, I’m going to be executed. Anyone in my shoes will be scared too.”
“That’s true. However,” Liu Chu smiled. “To kill someone and separate the corpse, let alone women, even most men wouldn’t dare to do it. I can’t even do it when I’m a constable. But you, Second Concubine, had done it. This courage and ability are incomparable to ordinary people.”
Baiying heard the mockery in his words, and her smile stiffened.
Liu Chu looked very curious. “Second Concubine, since you didn’t meet the demon, then why would it help you destroy the traces of your murder?”
Baiying ridiculed, it wasn’t helping her. Her gaze passed by Liu Chu and fell behind.
Liu Chu turned his head and saw the young man standing not far behind him.
Without questioning further, Liu Chu asked his men to give Baiying two sips of water, then he walked over to the young man. “Have you heard everything?”
Huang Dan nodded. “Are there really demons in the world?”
Liu Chu, “Maybe.”
Huang Dan asked another question, “Being a demon means they would definitely eat people?”
Liu Chu’s answer was similar to the previous one, very vague. “Not necessarily.”
Huang Dan pondered. What he was looking for in this mission was a demon who ate people, but it wasn’t mentioned that the people the demon ate were killed by it.
According to Baiying’s words, she implied that while people killed each other for their own interests, the demon happily watched the show, and then joyfully took the corpses to eat. After that, it used the leftover corpse remains and other objects to play tricks.
What an intricate scheme.
“Was the demon scheming against Baiying?”
Huang Dan, “Boss Zhang disappeared from the restaurant, appeared in the mountains later, and was then treated as a demon and beaten to death when he came down the mountain and returned to the town. Was it all planned?”
Liu Chu shook his head and said, “I don’t know.”
Huang Dan was thoughtful. The original owner lived in the town only for a short time. Most of the time, he was abroad. He wasn’t familiar with the townspeople, neither was he involved in anything that would cause grudges.
ly, when he was kidnapped to the pit, he returned without much trouble, indicating that the demon didn’t want to harm him.
As for the inexplicable coma, the rumour that circulated saying he had Demon Qi, the witch appearing and her wanting to cook him alive, these four things should all be the intentions of the patriarch and just the Song Family’s inner strives.
Liu Chu suddenly said, “Are you very interested in demons?”
Huang Dan, “Just wondering.”
Liu Chu stared at him, then curled his lips up into a grin after a moment. “Go and sit in the hut. The sun is too fierce outside.”
Soon, the shop assistant served up a plate of boiled Chinese cabbage and a plate of boiled green beans, each seasoned with a large amount of chilli oil. There was also a bowl of rice per person.
Liu Chu showed distaste. “Si Mao, what are these dishes? Are you trying to feed pigs?!”
Huang Dan who had already taken a green pea and had just bitten open the pod, “…”
Liu Chu glanced at him. “You’re better than pigs.”
Huang Dan spit out the bean pod and chewed the green beans in his mouth. “Just eat whatever there is. Don’t be picky.”
Si Mao, who had come over, agreed, saying that they were in the middle of nowhere. There was only a hut, and it was already good enough to have food.
Liu Chu glared at him.
Si Mao felt wronged. “Boss, I’ve asked you guys just now, and you all said anything was fine…it’s my fault.”
He took a bowl and joined the others.
The old man’s wife saw that Baiying was quite pitiful, so she went to get her water to drink. After learning that she was imprisoned for murder, she didn’t approach the prison wagon anymore, the same went for the others in the hut. It’s better to stay further away, in case they were tainted by bad luck.
After everyone ate and drank enough, they continued their journey.
In the afternoon, heavy rain fell without warning, drenching everyone.
The wheels of the carriage were stuck in a mire, causing them to be unable to move forward. The horses adamantly refused to move. The coachman shouted to the back, “Commander Liu, we can’t move any further!”
Liu Chu jumped out of the carriage and asked Si Mao and a few others to push the carriage from behind.
The rain was so heavy that they couldn’t open their eyes.
It was still sunny when they set off in the morning, who knew the weather would change in the afternoon without the slightest indication.
A constable quickly suggested to Liu Chu, “Boss, ask Young Master Song to come down. It’s hard for us to push while he’s still on it.”
Liu Chu wiped his face and yelled, “Come down my ass. He’s just a scholar that’s frail and weak, what strength can he have. Just hurry up!”
Several people shouted ‘one, two, three’ in the rain, and simultaneously exerted force to push the wheels out of the mire.
There were many mires on this road. The most troublesome thing was the road didn’t have much shelter from the rain, so they could only take a detour.
Liu Chu threw his cloak to the front of the carriage and stooped into the carriage.
Huang Dan, “I wanted to go down with you, but you didn’t let me, and insisted that I stay in the carriage.”
Liu Chu took off the outer layer of his clothes and hugged the young man. “The rain is too heavy. If you go down, I’m afraid you will fall into the mud.”
Huang Dan, “…”
He asked, “How’s the Second Concubine?”
“She’s already going to die, yet you still care if she’s getting rained on?”
Liu Chu placed the sword that was in his hand against the carriage curtain. “If the rain doesn’t stop, the road will be too difficult to travel on and we’ll need to take a detour. It’ll then take at least three to five days to reach the county.”
Huang Dan was in no mood to talk anymore.
The heavy rain was sly, doing its best to block their vision. Si Mao and the others couldn’t see the road ahead and the horse didn’t want to move, only taking a few steps with every whip. They could only blindly head forward, enter a mountain stream and somehow ended up at a village.
By then, the sky was already dark.
The carriage stopped. Huang Dan was supported by Liu Chu while he jumped to the ground. He had sat for a long time, and his back and thighs hurt. As soon as his feet touched the ground, he stretched.
Liu Chu also moved his legs and feet about while telling the coachman to pull the carriage to the back.
Several people stood at the entrance of the village and looked at them. In the darkness, there was a faint light, like a will-o-wisp.
Si Mao and a few others walked in the direction of the light and soon returned, saying that a household had agreed to let them stay overnight.
Everyone had travelled to Yueshan Town numerous times, but they had never taken this road before. They had passed by many villages along the way but had never seen this small village that probably only comprised of less than ten households. 
The small village was tightly surrounded by mountains and forests. If it weren’t for the heavy rain, they would have just passed by the mountain stream. It was impossible for them to blindly enter while not having a single clue what was ahead.
That household consisted of only one married woman, who had a pockmarked face.
When Huang Dan entered the room, he saw a kerosene lamp on the table and a sewing basket containing a worn-out garment next to it. He turned to look at the woman’s appearance; coarse clothes, dirty black cloth shoes and face covered with the vicissitudes of life. There was nothing out of the norm, just an ordinary peasant woman.
Probably from suddenly seeing a large group of people, who were also dressed in official uniforms and had a prison wagon with them, the pockmarked-face woman seemed to be very uneasy and nervous.
Liu Chu stated his identity. “Sister, we’ve troubled you.”
The pockmarked-face woman hurriedly said, “Sir Constable, I have a few rooms here. You can all stay as you like. It’s okay.”
Liu Chu thanked her.
The pockmarked-face woman said she would sleep at a close sister’s house, then she left with the sewing basket.
Liu Chu and Huang Dan shared a room, while the others stayed in the main hall to guard the prison wagon. They were all adults and were used to travelling and camping in the wild, so as long as there was a roof over their heads to block out the rain, it was good enough.
Not long after, Si Mao and the others discussed the order of watch duty, then casually lay on the benches and chatted for a while before falling asleep.
On the other side, in a small thatched hut, everyone in the village was gathered there. There were men and women, all aged thirty to forty and older. Some of them had scars on their faces, all located at different parts, but all were as hideous looking.
A moment later, a brawny man who went to probe for information returned.
“That group of people came from Yueshan Town and are headed to the county. There’s a man named Liu Chu, who is a commander constable from the government. All the people around him are constables. They’re not people from the town.”
The brawny man continued, “The young man next to the commander is the young master of the Song Family.”
The others spoke up in unison, “The old lady is still not dead yet?”
Everyone fell silent.
The brawny man asked, “But who is the woman in the prison wagon? Her back was turned towards me, so I couldn’t see her face.”
The pockmarked-faced woman who had been silent this whole time raised her head, and a section of her neck was exposed under the neckline. A scar could be seen, looking like she was once pierced by a sharp weapon. “She is the Second Concubine of the Ye Mansion, Baiying. I saw her in West Street when I was selling cosmetics there before. I can recognise her even if she were to turn to ashes.”
Everyone was silent again. The room was deadly quiet.
The brawny man said, “I overheard a few constables talking. They said the woman had an affair with a restaurant’s cook. Not only did she collude with the cook to kill a salesman, but she also killed the cook and is now being escorted to the county to be beheaded.”
Sitting in the middle, a hunchbacked old man with grey hair laughed when he heard those words. “God didn’t have eyes ten years ago, but they grew after ten years.”
The pockmarked-face woman grinned. “It’s not that there’s no retribution, but that it just wasn’t yet time.”
A middle-aged man without arms asked, “What about the others in the town?”
The old man’s voice was aged, suffused with reminiscing and curses. “Should be soon too.”
Everyone laughed in delight. “That’s good.”
At the foot of the wall, Huang Dan left lightly and quickly.
A slight noise came from the grass, and Liu Chu walked out, looking at the young man’s leaving figure. It was unknown what he was thinking.
In the middle of the night, a white light struck down, and the windows wailed and howled.
Huang Dan was shocked awake.
Liu Chu patted the back of the person in his arms. “A nightmare?”
Huang Dan exhaled. “Yeah.”
Liu Chu turned sideways and brought the person deeper into his embrace. “What did you dream of?”
Huang Dan dreamt that corpses were everywhere in Yueshan Town and blood flowed like rivers. He also saw himself.
Liu Chu didn’t hear the young man speak, and he didn’t ask anymore. He just tightened his arms and kissed the young man’s sweaty face. “Don’t be afraid, go to sleep. I’ll protect you.”
Huang Dan couldn’t fall asleep.
Dripping sounds could be heard from outside the door; it was the raindrops under the eaves falling to the ground. The sound made the people who heard it feel irritable.
Huang Dan turned over and faced the wall with his back against the man. He opened his eyes, “Mr System, are you asleep?”
System, “The time on this humble one’s side is different from yours.”
Huang Dan recounted his dream and repeated the words he had overheard to the system. “I originally suspected Father Ye and old man Zhao and excluded everyone else. Now, I am not so sure.”
If it involved something more than ten years ago, then everyone’s age matches.
“Is the figure Ye Lan had seen back then the demon?”
System, “The truth will come to light sooner or later. What Mr Huang has to do is to wait for that day’s arrival.”
That sentence was equivalent to having not said anything.
Huang Dan gave an empty smile. “Goodnight, Mr System.”
Two days later, the group of travel-worn people arrived in the county.
After Liu Chu dragged Baiying to the government and locked her in prison, he went to the County Lord to report the case’s details.
After learning of the Ye Family’s stance, the County Lord had fewer scruples and said that he would deal with it according to the law.
After the official business was done, the County Lord wanted to talk to Liu Chu about personal matters. His precious daughter was about to demolish the roof because of lovesickness. “Little Liu, leave the cases aside for the next two days and accompany my daughter for a bit.”
Liu Chu patted the dust off his clothes. “I already have a wife.”
The County Lord spit out the water in his mouth. “What?”
He placed down the teacup and sternly said, “Little Liu, my family’s young lady has her heart set on you. You can’t let her down.”
Liu Chu ridiculed, “The young lady and I have never been together before. How is it possible for me to let her down?”
The County Lord had no valid reasons, so he simply pressured him. “Commander, I don’t care which lady you are together with. You should send that person away as soon as possible. Don’t let the young lady find out.”
Liu Chu continued smiling, but his tone was cold. “No.”
The County Lord frowned. Why no? In this entire county, who else had a daughter who was comparable to his daughter? “Which family’s young lady is pestering you?”
Liu Chu said that wasn’t it. “I’m the one who’s pestering him.” 
County Lord, “…”
He wiped the sweat from his forehead. It was over. His family’s girl would definitely go crazy. It seemed that it would be hard for their mansion’s roof to stay intact.
Liu Chu bid farewell and left.
On the street next to the government, Huang Dan was eating the sweet roasted chestnuts he bought. There was the sound of a horse approaching, so he shifted aside, but the expected sound of the horse passing by did not appear. Instead, it stopped beside him.
Huang Dan turned his head and saw the man on the horse, having changed out of his official uniform and now looked like a knight.
Liu Chu kicked the horse into a canter. “Let’s go.”
Huang Dan took out his hand from the paper bag. “To where?”
Liu Chu looked down at him, his lips curling up wickedly. “My house.”
Huang Dan backed off. “Not going.”
Liu Chu’s tone was domineering, “You have to go no matter what. How could the wife not go to their man’s house.”
As he spoke, he pulled the young man onto his horse.
The horse was not as comfortable as the carriage. It kept thumping. The chestnuts Huang Dan ate had already rushed up to his throat, and he quickly squeezed his mouth shut tightly. He felt that he would vomit if he opened his mouth.
Around noon, Huang Dan heard a voice by his ear, sounding like a kid who was showing him a castle, mischievous yet also anticipating. “Welcome to my house.”
However, there was no castle, only mountains and forests.
Liu Chu dismounted from the horse and walked forward while pulling the reins. “This whole place is my home. It’s also your home now. Do you like it?”
Huang Dan was still on the horse. “I don’t like it.”
Liu Chu widely smiled. “It’s okay. You’ll like it.”
Huang Dan, “…”
Walking up the complex mountain road, a row of cabins appeared in Huang Dan’s sight. He couldn’t help thinking, wasn’t it terrifying to live in the middle of the wilderness?
Liu Chu obviously didn’t think so.
He tied up the horse and threw a handful of grass over. “You stay in the house. I’ll go fetch water.”
Huang Dan observed the cabin. Inside only had a bamboo bed, a table and a chair. There was nothing else. He walked out to look at the other cabins, and they all gave him the same feeling: simple and lonely.
Huang Dan sat down on a tree stump in the courtyard. As a commander in the government, his salary should be quite good. Why did Liu Chu live in such a desolate place?
It was half a day’s ride on a horse to the city from here.
Liu Chu hadn’t come back, so Huang Dan went out to stroll around, and he came across a large bamboo forest.
A clear melody floated out from the bamboo forest. Huang Dan’s figure paused for a moment, then he turned, pushed aside the bamboo leaves and walked in. He saw the man leaning on a bamboo tree, and in his hands was a bamboo leaf which he held between his lips.
He didn’t know what was being blown, but it sounded really nice.
Liu Chu blew the bamboo leaf away, on his face was a faintly amused expression. “Became foolish?” 
Huang Dan, “I like it very much.”
He spoke straightforwardly without any reservations.
Liu Chu was taken aback, and the corners of his lips rose uncontrollably. “I will blow it for you every day from now on.”
Huang Dan also smiled. “Okay.”
Liu Chu was stunned again, and it took him a long time to come back to his senses. He lifted the bucket by his feet. “You must be hungry. I’ll go and cook.”
Huang Dan stretched his hand out.
Liu Chu looked at him with a questioning gaze.
Huang Dan, “I want to hold your hand.”
Liu Chu was stunned for the third time. He shifted the barrel to his other hand and stretched out his free hand. “Young master, you can’t just casually hold this hand. Once you hold it, you’re not allowed to hold anyone else’s hands. You best think carefully.”
Huang Dan took the man’s hand. “I know.”
Liu Chu’s heartbeat sped up. He suppressed the emotions that were running wild and snorted, “I’ll have you know that I have a very good memory. Don’t even think of lying to me.”
“I won’t lie to you.”
Huang Dan asked what he was most concerned about. “Are there vegetables?”
Liu Chu clasped back the young man’s hand and squeezed his fingers. “Of course.”
There was a vegetable field behind the house.
When Liu Chu went to the town to handle the case, he did not water and fertilize them, yet the fruits and vegetables in the vegetable field were still growing well.
Huang Dan dug out a potato, bringing out a silkworm with it.
The little guy probably just woke up and was still drowsy, so it curled up and went back to sleep.
Liu Chu hurled the basket away, his figure had long leapt into the far distance.
Huang Dan, “…”
He calmly sent the baby silkworm into the soil, then continued to dig potatoes and threw them into the basket. “You are so afraid of bugs, so why do you still live in the mountains?”
Liu Chu was still feeling tense. “I don’t like crowds.”
Huang Dan, “There are tigers in the mountains.”
Liu Chu supported his elbows on his knees and took a bite on the tip of the young man’s nose. “The tiger is afraid of me.”
Huang Dan received a bunch of teeth marks on his nose. He cried in pain and directly pushed the man to the ground.
Liu Chu got up and hugged the person while coaxing, “Sorry. You’re too cute, and I couldn’t hold back for a moment. Okay okay, I was wrong.”
Huang Dan rubbed his snot and tears on him.
Liu Chu was skilled in cooking. Using the ingredients from the vegetable field, he cooked a plate of spicy and sour shredded potato, pickled cabbage and stir-fried french beans.
They were all vegetarian.
Liu Chu took a mouthful of rice and sent it to his mouth. “There are game in the mountains. If you want, I’ll bring some back in the afternoon.”
Huang Dan, “I’ll eat whatever you make.”
He evaluated seriously, “These few dishes on the table are delicious. My favourite dish is the shredded potato.”
Liu Chu wiped away the rice grain on the corner of the young man’s mouth. “I will cook it for you at night.”
After the meal, the two lay sideways on a bamboo bed that wasn’t too wide, with their arms and legs stuck close to each other. Their gazes collided, and they moved closer to exchange a kiss.
The window was open. The wind came in, carrying with it a few petals and bamboo leaves, which floated onto the table and the floor. It was a tranquil moment.
A bamboo leaf landed on Huang Dan’s body and was removed by a hand, but the hand didn’t shift away after.
Liu Chu propped himself up with one hand, bowed his head and hugged Huang Dan into his arms to kiss.
As the two kissed each other, it was obvious what would follow next.
Huang Dan trembled in pain and clenched his teeth to endure, before finally fainting from the pain.
He opened his eyes and saw the man right in front of him, who tightly hugged him without saying a word.
Huang Dan, “Lighter.”
Liu Chu continuously kissed his sweat-drenched hair, showing unconcealed agitation.
Huang Dan’s tearful voice sounded, “I’m fine. Don’t hold me so tightly.”
Liu Chu loosened his arms, touched the young man’s face and hoarsely said, “Young master, I was almost scared to death by you.”
Before he could do anything more, the person under him tightly closed his eyes and became motionless.
Knowing that the young man was afraid of pain, Liu Chu reminded himself before they did it that he should take his time and not rush.
However, things quickly went out of control.
What ‘take his time and not rush’. When they started doing it, everything just flew out of his head, leaving behind only one big word: more!
As a result, he couldn’t hold himself back and ended up not getting more.
Liu Chu grabbed the young man’s hand and pressed it to his chest, “You feel. Is my heart beating really fast?”
Huang Dan, “It’s very fast.”
“When you fainted, my heart was beating even faster, almost jumping out.”
Liu Chu frowned and sighed, “This pain of yours is too frightening. I will definitely do it gently in the future and not mess around.”
Huang Dan grabbed the man’s hair. He took those words as fart and didn’t believe them.
Liu Chu said he would wipe off Huang Dan’s sweat for him. “You’re sweaty from head to toe. If you don’t change your clothes, you will get sick.”
Huang Dan, “I will clean up and change the clothes myself. Don’t touch me.”
Liu Chu very solemnly said, “I promise not to touch you.”
Huang Dan, “Liar.”
Liu Chu, “…”
He coughed twice and seriously said, “I can go out if you want, but you have to let me check if you’re injured first.”
Huang Dan, “I’m not injured.”
He had used the Chrysanthemum Essence.
Liu Chu’s eyes lit up, and he immediately pounced on Huang Dan.
Huang Dan, “…”
The next day, Liu Chu took Huang Dan to Ping An Temple.
Even though it wasn’t a festive season, there were still many people who came to burn incense and worship the Buddha.
After worshipping the Buddha, Liu Chu and Huang Dan strolled around the temple. When they reached the wishing tree, the sound of bells rang out clearly.
Those who came here to make a wish, some prayed for peace, some prayed for fortune and some prayed for marriage. There were all sorts of prayers.
It also didn’t cost much. Just write on a piece of red paper and throw it up the tree.
Looking at the people making wishes, there was nothing much to see. So Huang Dan and Liu Chu only stayed for a while before going elsewhere.
This Ping An Temple was famous and well-known. Located at the peak of a mountain, it formed a unique scenery. The area was large and had many scenic spots worth seeing.
Huang Dan went to the toilet in the middle of their walk. When he came out, he didn’t see the man. Without thinking, he walked in the direction of the wishing tree and met the man midway.
“Did you make a wish?”
Liu Chu hooked up his lips and smiled, saying no.
Huang Dan silently looked at him.
Liu Chu hugged him around the shoulder. “Young master, you’ve been aboard. Do you think wishing works?”
Huang Dan, “Some do.”
A gust of wind blew, blowing up a red paper that hung at the top of the wishing tree, and a line of beautiful words was faintly visible on it: I hope to be with my wife forever.
When heading down the mountain, it was still the same stone steps, but it wasn’t as easy as walking up. From above, the steps looked like a snake, deliberately twisting itself into a frenzied arc.
Huang Dan looked down at the stone steps and slowly walked down step by step. He turned to look at Liu Chu next to him, who was walking leisurely and even had the mood to enjoy the scenery, not worried at all that he would slip and fall.
After walking for a while, Liu Chu expressed surprise. “Isn’t that Miss Ye?”
Huang Dan looked up. At the bottom of the stone steps, the woman sitting by the side was really Ye Lan.
 : “Ping An” — It means safe and sound / peace. (↑↑)
 : “met the Duke of Zhou” — Means asleep and already dreaming. Duke of Zhou was a very knowledgeable royalty in the early Zhou dynasty, who had many great achievements in politics, education, military, etc. People hope to meet him in their dreams and receive pointers from him or ask for life advice. Therefore, people would jokingly say ‘I’m going to meet the Duke of Zhou’ when they’re going to sleep. (↑↑)
 : “Everyone had travelled to Yueshan Town numerous times” — Liu Chu and the others had been staying in Yueshan Town so often that I totally forgot they were based in the county and not this small town. This note is for anyone who is as confused as I was when reading this sentence…or am I the only blur one? (↑↑)
 : “him” — Him and Her are pronounced the same in Chinese, therefore the County Lord doesn’t know that Liu Chu was referring to a guy. (↑↑)
 : “Became foolish” — Huang Dan blanked out because ML blew on a bamboo leaf in Arc 1 too. It’s in C15 if anyone is wondering. (↑↑)