Chapter 12: The false world (Part One)
Ouyang Xiaoleng wasn’t angry since he knew anger would achieve nothing but wasting time. Hurriedly, he asked Qianqi, “Tell me what happened. Do you have any clues?”
“From the clues I found, I think Mother Rakshasa kidnapped Xia Qiu. She deceived us disguised as an oracle. But I know she needs to feed on human flesh every few hours, so she can’t go far with Xia Qiu in her hands; besides, she likes to live in caves in the rocky mountains. But I’m not familiar with the terrain around Yongchuan,” Qianqi told him everything he knew.
“Mother Rakshasa again! I know whom I should ask.” After a few seconds of consideration, Ouyang Xiaoleng had an idea. He hurried down the mountain with Qianqi and Xuetu following him closely.
“Brother Xiaoleng, where are we going?” Xuetu asked in puzzlement.
Ouyang Xiaoleng wasn’t in the mood to answer her as his mind was focused on how to rescue Xia Qiu, worried that she’d be killed by Mother Rakshasa before he could find her. He dashed into the Double Life Black Corridor connecting the spirit world and the human world. On both sides of the corridor, the Manzhu Shahua were blooming in their full glory and the blood-like color extended to the horizon which merged with the purple sky.
“Manzhu! Shahua!” Ouyang Xiaoleng yelled the flower spirit sisters’ names.
Soon, bell-like giggles rose as two doll-like sisters strolled out from the ocean of flowers hand in hand. They began to talk with each other, “Lord Xiaoleng seldom calls our names. But he’s calling us so loudly. I’m happy.”
“Yeah. He usually ignores us when he passes us.”
“I only want to ask you if you heard of any news about Mother Rakshasa,” Ouyang Xiaoleng interrupted them.
“Mother Rakshasa.” One of the sisters shivered.
“So horrible.” The other girl got uneasy, too.
“She’ll retaliate if we tell information about her. We’re no match for her.”
“She’ll drain our blood and eat our bodies little by little.”
“Don’t be afraid. I swear I’ll destroy her and won’t allow her to harm you,” Ouyang Xiaoleng soothed them immediately. At this moment, he had forgotten how lowly these flower spirits were; to save Xia Qiu, he must put down his dignity.
“As Ember Dragon King’s son, I swear to you that my soldiers who are stationed in the square not far from here will keep you safe,” Qianqi promised, too.
“Um… We have a small question; if you can answer it, we’ll tell you what we know about Mother Rakshasa.”
“Go ahead.” Ouyang Xiaoleng said humbly.
“We’ll answer your question if you can tell which of us is Manzhu and which is Shahua.”
“Yes. If you can tell us apart, it means Lord Xiaoleng has paid attention to us. And we’d die without regret for you.”
Ouyang Xiaoleng found it was a difficult question. Manzhu and Shahua were twins with the same looks and voices and he had never paid attention as to who was blind during the day. As he hesitated, Xuetu put one hand on his left shoulder. It was a casual move, but he had the feeling that she was giving him a signal. But what did she mean with this signal? Left shoulder meant the left side; maybe she was trying to tell him that the girl standing on the left was Manzhu who couldn’t see and the girl standing on the right was Shahua. He had no choice but to rely on this signal.
“Let me think.” He looked left and right with pretended deliberation and rested his gaze on the girl standing on the left. “You’re Manzhu and she is Shahua.”
The sisters froze for a second and then cheered in excitement, “Lord Xiaoleng is right. He can tell us apart.”
“He truly pays attention to us.”
“Okay. Can you tell me what you know about Mother Rakshasa now?” Ouyang Xiaoleng was impatient.
“Okay… Some time ago, some ghost slaves began moving human bodies into the spirit world stealthily. We saw it from our hiding place.” Manzhu’s voice trembled.
“Yeah. We eavesdropped on their discussions and found they worked for Mother Rakshasa,” Shahua added.
“They complained that Mother Rakshasa had to eat human flesh every few hours, so they had to search for prey in the human world constantly; they didn’t even have time to rest.”
“They said they must carry the bodies to a cave on a barren mountain to the east of the capital city.”
“Yeah. To avoid people’s attention, they have to make a long detour and walk through a rocky mountain which is extremely difficult to climb.”
“If they don’t deliver human flesh to Mother Rakshasa in time, she’d eat them.”
“The barren mountain in the east. It seems we must go there,” Qianqi looked towards the east and said.(read on noodletowntranslated dot com to support the actual translators)
“Yeah. Thank you.” Ouyang Xiaoleng nodded in agreement and thanked Manzhu and Shahua, which astonished Xuetu. In the past, her Brother Xiaoleng never thanked anyone, not even Ouyang Hongye or Grandpa Yong, not to mention the lowly flower spirits. But he did it for that human girl. Xuetu felt a bit jealous but didn’t show it. She nodded with a smile and said, “I know a short-cut to that place. Follow me!”(read on noodletowntranslated dot com to support the actual translators)
Ouyang Xiaoleng and Qianqi flew up into the sky after Xuetu until they came to the barren mountain to the east of Yongchuan. Soaring in the air, they studied the mountain and saw many caves in different sizes and shapes, but they couldn’t determine which was Mother Rakshasa’s cave.
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