Lin Mu looked at the gentle expression on his father’s face, and felt that this wasn’t the case.
He pinched Milky’s face, and whispered “really?”
Even if you used your feet to think, you would know that it wasn’t real.
Who liked getting beaten up — even if Yan Gui’s interests was a little strange, but the things that happened within their chambers really wasn’t beating, okay?
One couldn’t tell from Di Xiu’s gentle and considerate manner, but his heart was actually quite dark.
Yan Xuanjing fell silent for quite a while and thought about it, then nodded against his conscience.
Yan Gui’s the one who’ll die, not Yan Xuanjing.
No matter how Yan Gui was, how would it concern him, Yan Xuanjing!
Lin Mu nodded suspiciously, greeted his father, looked at the small ball letting out meows, then turned while carrying Milky and walked to the greenhouse to sort out the goods that needed to be delivered tomorrow.
While observing how Yan Xuanjing moved the flowerpot using his monstrous energy, and trying to learn how he did it, the little monsters in the house came over with empty flowerpots and stared at Lin Mu.
Lin Mu passed and looked at the fresh soil in the flowerpots, “what’s the matter?”
“We…… We want that too!” The little Mimosa’s voice was like a mosquito, and her face turned red after speaking, pinched the corner of her clothes and looked down, not daring to look at Lin Mu.
These little monsters, other than Lin Ginseng, almost never asked Lin Mu for anything.
They were even timid when communicating, let alone trying to ask for something.
Whenever there’s anything, most of the time, it was the little Ginseng who represented them.
Lin Mu sometimes thought of the little monsters who always hid in the greenhouse, and got the illusion of being extremely fierce and vicious.
Otherwise, why would these little monsters always hide away from him?
To be precise, it wasn’t only him who was avoided, but Di Xiu and Milky too.
But Qin Chuan played along quite well with these little monsters.
Maybe it’s because he wasn’t childish enough.
Lin Mu thought, looked at the flower pots in the little monster’s hands, slightly bent down and patted the shy little mimosa’s head.
“Do you want the water babies?” Lin Mu asked.
The little mimosa paused, and didn’t understand what a water baby was.
“It’s that little ball.”
“Ah……” The little mimosa answered, and gave a slight nod, “yes.”
Lin Mu placed the pot in the little mimosa’s hand on the ground, and held her hand as they went into the house, and gave all the various coloured water babies that he had accumulated to her.
Lin Mu said, “you just need to soak these in water, generally half an hour is enough. If you soak them for too long, they’ll deform and give birth to little babies.”
The little mimosa froze for some time, “little…… little babies?
Lin Mu nodded, “en.”
The little mimosa’s face was full of amazement, and carefully holding those bags of little balls, turned and ran down the stairs.
Lin Mu looked at the little mimosa’s back, fell into a trance for some time, then showed a small smile.
This saying that a water baby would give birth to little babies was originally told to him by his mother.
At that time, his reaction was almost exactly the same as the little mimosa’s.
Lin Mu sat up, looked at the photo standing on the nightstand, thought for a bit, then opened the photo frame to take out the photo of him and his mother and placed it into the album. Next, he took out a photo of himself when he was a child, and reached into the drawers to retrieve a pair of scissors.
He cut himself out, took out all the albums, searched through them for a long time, before picking out a photo of his father and mother and stuck himself in.
Lin Mu didn’t like taking photos, so every time his mother wanted to take a photo of him, he agreed very reluctantly, until the point where in almost every picture, his expression was unwilling and unhappy.
Behind, his father was looking at his mother gently and attentively, and his mother was smiling brilliantly and brightly at the camera.
Lin Mu carefully glued himself in. Looking at himself after sticking his picture in, he felt that his unhappy face was quite jarring, no matter how he looked at it.
Just like a third party who stepped in between his father and mother.
Well that was fine.
In this picture, this third party looked like an unhappy vinegar tank that drank too much vinegar.
Lin Mu muttered a bit in a low voice, let the glue dry, snapped the photo back into the frame and closed it gently.
“Anyways, there’s no way to return the goods, so just accept this third party.” Lin Mu placed the photo frame next to the bed, appreciated it for a while, then went downstairs, satisfied.
One of Di Xiu’s branched lightly landed on the windowsill. Di Xiu, who was currently standing next to the swing and talking to Qin Chuan, lower his eyes and revealed an extremely faint yet gentle smile.
It was as if there was a layer of water over the glow in his eyes, which seemed like a shattered diamond in the sun.
The wind swept over the yard and brushed over the top of the trees, and the sound of a sigh could vaguely be heard amidst the rustling.
Qin Chuan looked up at Di Xiu, shook the swing and said, “smiling so brightly, do you have intentions towards me?”
Di Xiu heard his words and gave him a slight glance.
Qin Chuan heard a few weak meows, glanced at the branches which had been turned into a ball, then raised his hand to pinch his mouth.
Amidst the red of September, the autumn tiger arrives fiercely.1金秋九月，秋老虎来势汹汹. September is where autumn generally starts in China, aka where all the leaves turn red/yellow. Autumn tiger refers to how the weather could be as overbearing as a tiger. Usually occurs between august to September, the short-term heat around 35C would hover around.
The human side dawdled over the matter for two months, and in the end, decided to accept Yan Gui’s suggestion, and released the announcement video.
Lin Mu picked and chose, and finally transferred out several pots of autumn chrysanthemums that were growing well and sent them to old customers.
Finally, he hesitated again and again, the discussed it with his father, and also gave two pots to his two uncles, which could be considered as a bit of human interaction.
There were also a few common varieties that couldn’t be sold for much, so Lin Mu simply moved a few pots to the office.
After he had gotten Wu Gui’s and Da Hei’s opinions, he had added a flower stand to the office, and several pots of hanging green plants were placed outside the windowsill. After a month, the plants bloomed, and draped down as a vibrant fringe.
“I brought a few pots of autumn chrysanthemums today!”
Lin Mu opened the office door and said at the same time, and just as he had moved several pots of autumn chrysanthemums from the fabric bag and was preparing to place them on the flower stand next to the windowsill, he heard a knock on the door.
Wu Gui had been in a good mood recently, because his son who had been injured for many years was finally showing some signs of recovery. Every day, he was always humming some tunes that Lin Mu couldn’t recognise. He had a healthy glow around him, and one didn’t even need the ability to read a person’s future, and could see that something good had happened.
Wu Gui went up to open the door, and after seeing the young lady outside the door, he paused.
The young lady looked extremely nervous. She was holding a pen, and with some fear, gave Wu Gui a careful look, and quickly took back her line of sight and said, “I, I, I…… I am here for the routine investigation.”
“For the investigation?” Da Hei said, probed out to take a look at the young lady who was frightened by his sudden voice, and muttered, “why did they send such a timid one here this time?”
Wu Gui checked the young lady’s work permit, and thought that since she was so timid, why not let Lin Mu go.
Lin Mu, who had just finished placing the flowerpots on the flower stand, turned his head around, “what’s the matter?”
Wu Gui waved at him, “come over. Accompany this young lady to go do an investigation.”
“Investigation?” Lin Mu was at a loss for a moment, “what investigation?”
“An annual thing, the investigation of all the hills in the vicinity. Mainly, it’s to check out those that hadn’t integrated into human society, which ones are hiding in the mountains, and record down those who hadn’t registered. The ones who have registered but are missing would be treated as a missing person, and count how many there were.”
Lin Mu nodded and understood.
This was actually to count how many monsters needed to cancel their registration.
After all, it was necessary to manage the households, but when monsters died, most of them were caught off guard, and basically almost all of them were eaten, so naturally, it was impossible for them to do anything to cancel their registration.
Lin Mu cleaned his hands, took the information Da Hei passed to him, turned and went out of the office, then greeted the young lady sent by the human side to monitor the statistics.
“Hello, my surname is Lin, I’m a half-monster.”
“Ay?” The young lady paused, nodded, and shook Lin Mu’s hand. Still very nervous, she said, “hello, hello, my surname is Chen.”
Lin Mu gave her a smile, and turned to hail a cab.
A drive from the office to the mountains took more than 40 minutes, Lin Mu looked at the young lady carrying a large bag, and knew that this kind of statistical work was as difficult and tiring as going out into the field.
“Why are you guys entering the mountains at this time?” The taxi driver asked strangely, “there’s been fog these couple of days, it’s unsafe.”
Lin Mu paused, took out the map from the sub-district office, looked at it, and found out that the mark representing Nie Shen was in City A.
He kept the map and said, “it’s because there’s fog, that’s why it looks good.”
The driver muttered some stuff about young people, and was called by Lin Mu to stop.
Lin Mu got off the car to buy a watermelon.
Just like the taxi driver said, as soon as they got off the car, the moment they looked up, all they saw was a heavy fog.
The array that was set up by Da Hei and the rest at the start hadn’t been withdrawn, because there were many monsters in the mountains, and even after hearing that the Great Wilderness was safe, they didn’t intend to return, and were planning to settle directly in the Central Plains.
The number of monsters exceeded the standard amount, and since they array had already been set up, it simply wasn’t recovered.
Now, when they went in and out, they needed to find the guard to register, and enter from the array’s entrance.
Lin Mu placed all the things in his hand into his small fabric bag and lead the way while the young lady followed behind him and pulled out a pile of messy equipment from her backpack. As soon as she turned them on, the equipment let out a loud siren.
Lin Mu was startled and turned to look at her, pointed at the equipment, “what’s going on?”
The young lady turned off the instrument in a panic, and wanted to cry but didn’t have the tears to do so, “it’s a danger alarm — there’s something wrong with this fog.”
“En.” Lin Mu nodded and asked her, “is this your first time in the field?”
The young lady looked extremely frightened and nodded, “……yes.”
“No problem.” Lin Mu comforted her, then turned his head to look at the fog. Through the sparse forest, saw a very simple forest hut.
Both of them went in to register.
The human guarding the array said, “the fog in the mountains suddenly appeared two days ago. At present, there’s nothing abnormal, and no monster ran out from the mountains to ask for help, but it’s still unknown. Be careful.”
Lin Mu nodded, turned and glanced at the nervous young lady, and suggested, “why not…… I go alone?”
The young lady paused, hesitated for a moment, and still shook her head.
Lin Mu turned back to pour her a cup of warm water, “then you should calm down a little first…… It’s not good that you’re afraid now, some little monsters like to scare timid humans.”
The young lady took this cup of water, froze for a long time, and seemed to have really calmed down.
She finished drinking the water and took up her bag again.
They walked up the mountains for a while, and when a few little monsters that knew Lin Mu saw him from afar, they ran over happily.
Lin Mu took out the documents with information that needed to be counted, and asked them what had happened in the mountains recently.
When he finished asking, he gave each of them a candy.
The young lady was shocked by his series of actions, and asked him in a whisper, “are all monsters like this?”
Lin Mu crossed out a name, wrote a note, and asked at the same time, “what did you think it was like?”
“The seniors who came out in the field before said that the monsters here were very proud and unfriendly towards humans, but I think that this is okay……”
“En.” Lin Mu nodded, “that’s also true.”
It’s just that with him, it’s different. Many of the little monsters here had benefited from him through the little Ginseng — during the time when they had just planted the spiritual medication, the little Ginseng would take them into the mountains every once in a while to help his little friends and old tree friends.
And those who had never received any favours, knew about him through Yan Xuanjing.
“Because humans don’t treat monsters that well either.” Lin Mu said.
The young lady followed behind Lin Mu, and also took out the files she needed for registration, and asked curiously as she ticked, “just now, you said you were a half-monster.”
Lin Mu nodded, “yeah.”
“I heard my seniors say that half-monsters wouldn’t be tolerated by both humans and monsters.”
“This…… depends on luck.” Lin Mu said, “my luck is good, but I know one who has bad luck.”
“Did you see this fog?” Lin Mu asked.
The young lady nodded.
“This mist is that unlucky fella.” Just as Lin Mu finished speaking, he yelled, “Nie Shen!”
The mist in the forest suddenly surged, and after a couple of seconds, made a path for them.
Even the twigs and gravel on the road was cleaned up, not to mention the fallen bramble or plants with fine thorns.
Lin Mu looked at this path, and was a little shocked.
Nie Shen hadn’t returned since he ran away the last time. During this time, he had done many things. Not only did he prevent disputes, but occasionally, they could catch his traces in places where there were natural disasters.
Perhaps he had discovered the benefits of merits, because after the organisation that was created for him was published, he also started to consciously leave a trail that belonged to him, to prove that he did those things.
Lin Mu had no real sense of such things, nor did he consider what changes he would see when he met Nie Shen again.
Because Yan Gui had said at the beginning, Nie Shen, this half-monster, was just like a donkey; stubborn and didn’t know how to change his opinions at all. If the power of merits and virtues couldn’t get him to remember anything, then this half-monster was probably useless
But now, the situation didn’t seem to the case.
Lin Mu stepped forward, and the young lady followed him, watching this magical picture in astonishment.
Lin Mu followed along the path made by the fog and found Nie Shen at the edge of a cliff.
Nie Shen was sitting on the edge of cliff, daydreaming while staring at the gentle sloping field shrouded in mist below.
He sensed that Lin Mu had arrived and turned his head. First, he looked at Lin Mu, then his eyes lightly glanced across the human behind him.
His eyes were empty and cold, as if he was looking at a worthless ant.
The young lady took a couple of steps back and didn’t dare to go further. She simply found a place far away from Nie Shen that seemed safe and sat down.
Lin Mu didn’t say anything, and felt that Nie Shen had improved a lot.
— This was good, and the gloom that made people feel uncomfortable around had dissipated quite a bit.
He still seemed a little out of place with the world.
But compared to that gloomy air that would cause others to avoid him, the sense of alienation was much better now.
Lin Mu walked up to Nie Shen’s side, took the watermelon he had bought on the way out of a fabric bag, opened it with his bare hands and took two spoons, then passed half of it to Nie Shen.
Lin Mu dug up a spoonful, and watched as Nie Shen followed him and dug a spoonful, and asked as he ate the melon, “seems like you’ve profited quite a bit?”
Nie Shen paused, nodded, and looked away from the watermelon to the misty forest mountains below.
The white fog rolled into a continuous stretch, and was gently pushed by the wind. The greens of the mountain forest could vaguely be seen through the shallow fog, and occasionally, traces of bodies of water could be found.
“I remembered some things.”
He looked at the image below the cliff, unblinkingly.
“Remembered some things I shouldn’t have forgotten.”
He finally remembered, when sometimes, he tried to recall something and was blocked by layers and layers of blood, what the gentle and beautiful colours were.
He remembered that the sky and water within the Marsh of Dreams were the same clear colours.
He remembered the luan phoenixes passing through the sky, and their burning tail feathers would accidentally scratch the misty fog and fall into the water, turning into a flame amidst the water, quiet, magnificent, and always moving.
He remembered skipping along behind his mother, and how he would fall into a soft white fog after being tripped by a naughty vine.
Then, there would be someone who gently patted him on the head, humming a soft song.
It doesn’t hurt, doesn’t hurt.
The translator has this to add:
Water babies giving birth to little babies, Lin Mu, these little gel balls aren’t the expandable animals/dinosaur toys that grow in water.