FXDL V2C2

Translated by: TaffyGirl13

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Chapter 2: Inclined to enter a haunted house while clearly knowing the house has a ghost

After all the homerooms were dismissed at the same time on Friday afternoon, Fu Xing immediately returned to the dorms to set up for hotpot night.

He pushed the living room sofa into the bedroom and cleared away the space. Then he pulled several short coffee tables into the centre of the area and placed the black metal stove on top. Afterwards, he quickly prepared cups and eating utensils while laying out napkins near the coffee tables.

Throughout the entire process, Leon simply stood off on the side.

“It’ll start around eight or so.” Fu Xing continued arranging things while he said, “Emerald went to invite people, so not sure how many people will come. In a bit, I’ll have to go with Rocort to the dining hall kitchens to grab some prepared ingredients. Although the chef, Uncle Ethan, looks quite fierce, he’s quite a good person and gave me a bunch of things…”

As Leon watched Fu Xing busily run about, he flatly asked, “Why do these things?”

“Because it’s interesting!” Fu Xing struggled to move the long marble table placed in the living room, his face flushing from his efforts. “Gathering with friends to eat and drink together is a really happy [event]!”

So heavy!

Fu Xing let go and shook his hurting hands. He stared at the long table that he had barely moved five centimetres before letting out a helpless sigh as a proclamation that he would give up.

I’ll just ask Rocort to help me later.

Leon did not say a word. After staring at Fu Xing for a moment, he silently turned to return to his own bed area.

Once the room was mostly tidied, Fu Xing grabbed some shopping bags and prepared to head out to Rocort’s room.

“If people come later, help me take care of them for a bit,” Fu Xing called out to the room before he left. Leon did not respond.

 

“Rocort! Time to head to the kitchens.”

He pushed open the door to see Rocort currently nestled in the corner of the bed area, making rustling noises while doing who knew what.

“Rocort?”

Upon being called, Rocort stuck out his head. He wore a depressed expression, his handsome face carrying a dejected and slightly upset air. It looked as if he would start reciting Xu Zhimo’s poems at any moment.

“Um, is something the matter?” Fu Xing curiously walked over to Rocort’s bed area only to see the ground covered in junk, with emptied suitcases and purchased baskets laid open on the side.

Rocort let out a long sigh. “It’s gone.”

“What is?”

Seeing how anxious Rocort looked, Fu Xing figured it must be something extremely important. A precious belonging? It shouldn’t be a love letter or lover’s gift, right?

Rocort bitterly replied, “The chocolate cookie I bought at the bus stop is gone…”

“Oh.” Fu Xing’s lips twitched in exasperation. “And here I thought you had lost something important.”

“It’s not just the chocolate cookie!” Rocort emotionally counted aloud, “There’s also the bacon pie, honey rolls, rabbit toffee…”

“Could it be that you forgot you ate them?” It was not something that hadn’t happened before.

Rocort scratched his head. “From what I remember, no…”

“Have you asked your roommate?”

“I don’t have a roommate; I live here alone. The instructor said it was because there just happened to be short of one person for a pairing.”

“I see…”

While it was a single person taking up double the space, being in such a large room without a companion was probably very boring. It was no wonder that Rocort would constantly run over looking for Fu Xing.

Rocort picked up his suitcase and shook it upside down. He then lifted it up so that it was level with his eyes and stuck his head inside.

“Huh?” Rocort let out a muffled cry through the bag. “The suitcase seems to have a hole in it?”

Fu Xing pulled the suitcase off from Rocort’s head and casually tossed it to the side. “Since you can’t find it, then just forget about it. There’s hotpot to eat tonight anyways.”

“But, those snacks were really delicious…”

“Hotpot is also very delicious.” Fu Xing tugged Rocort out of the room while consoling him. “You can cook anything you like to eat in the pot.”

“Really?” Rocort curiously asked, his attention shifting over.

“Yeah!” He had never known he possessed the ability to coax children.

Rocort grinned. “I like blueberry jam. Can I add that in?”

Fu Xing smiled brightly. “You can add it in your own bowl.”

They returned to [Fu Xing’s] room with bags of various sizes. Most people had already arrived; there were unexpectedly around thirty present. What surprised Fu Xing even more was the fact that the large and heavy marble table had already been moved to the empty space on the balcony.

“How about it, not bad, right?” Emerald proudly declared, “I have an amazing ability to gather supporters.”

Fu Xing squinted suspiciously. “You’re didn’t gain profit from it, did you?” Based on his understanding of Emerald, this money-grabbing elf would never work this hard without any benefit.

“Just accepted some service and cleaning charges.” Emerald shrugged in denial. “Two euros per person. I’ll divide it with you after the meal.”

“You…” Fu Xing shot Emerald an exasperated glare. “Oh right, were you the one that moved the table?”

“No, when we arrived, the table was already there.”

“I see…”

So then, Leon moved it? Fu Xing turned his head to glance towards Leon, who was inside his own bed area. That proud back was sitting in front of the desk, separated from the noisy living room to create a quiet, closed-off space.

Perhaps Leon was not as cold as he appeared and was simply not skilled at expressing it.

 

At half past eight, Room 305 in the male dorms was filled with a rich aroma and loud clamour.

Everyone was sitting around the coffee tables, almost completely filling the small living room. It was lively and noisy.

“What are you spacing out for!” Brad whacked the back of Fu Xing’s head. “Hurry up and cook! You were the one that brought this thing – only you can use it. Go faster!”

“I thought there would only be five or six people!” Now it had increased by threefold, so he could no longer support in a timely manner!

“You don’t welcome us, Fu Xing?” Momiji flashed a look with her charming eyes and leaned into Fu Xing’s ear to say in an alluring, low voice, “I’ll properly repay you.”

“Are you going to make your fur into a coat for him?” The cat spirit Class B representative, Flora, coldly asked.

“That’s something a crane would do!”

“I thought the male dorms prohibited female visitors,” Fu Xing blankly stated.

“We applied for the visit per the rules.” Rachel lifted her hand to flash the small copper chain on her wrist.

In order to enter the dorm of the opposite gender, Shalom students had to sign in at the front and wear a bracelet as a symbol of their pass.

“Rocort told us about the hotpot and invited us to come together.” Zhu Yue warmly said, “He also said that because you had prepared a limited amount, everyone had to bring food to have enough to eat.”

Fu Xing glanced over at the table and the ground that were piled with food. So this was the reason their room had turned into a night market?

Fu Xing shifted his gaze towards Rocort. That handsome face was currently completely focused on the cheesy mochi bread that Flora had brought.

“Get a move on it! The soup’s hot, now what?” Emerald impatiently urged.

“Throw in what you want to eat…”

“Oh. Understood.” Emerald lifted the plate of vegetables and dumped it all into the soup in a single breath.

“Aaah, no!” Fu Xing frantically moved the nearly spilling out vegetables to the centre of the pot. “If you do that, it’ll overflow!”

“I only did as you said.”

“If you put only vegetables, there won’t be any room left to cook other things!”

“You can just scoop it out. So noisy…”

“You’ll splash the soup out like that.” Dan Juan furrowed his brows and loudly asserted to Emerald, “You should push all the vegetables to one side to make space for meat.”

Emerald frowned. “If you knew, why didn’t you do it yourself?”

“I don’t want to dirty my hands.” Dan Juan crossed his arms in front of his chest and said matter-of-factly, “You took a two euro service charge; naturally, I should enjoy it as much as possible.”

“Oh!”

“Since you have nothing to do, help give me some tea.” Dan Juan leisurely waved his cup. “Remember to boil it first, then add cold water to lower the temperature so that it won’t burn the mouth.”

For an instant, Fu Xing saw that Emerald’s expression looked as if he had just been shot. Fu Xing couldn’t help but inwardly snigger to himself.

Looks like the shark has encountered a troublesome customer…

“We want to drink sweet fruit juice.” The fairy twins that had the appearance of elementary school students, Vicki and Venn, chorused together in pure voices that were impossible to refuse.

Fu Xing’s ears seemed to melt as he dumbly smiled at them. “Alright, I’ll help you guys get it in a bit.” So-so adorable!

“Are you done or not?!” Brad whacked the back of Fu Xing’s head. “I rushed over here as soon as I finished taking Physical Limitations [class]! And I’ve sat here for twenty minutes already without getting to eat a single piece of meat! I didn’t come here to experience hunger for thirty!”

“Yes, yes, yes, this lowly one will prepare immediately…” Fu Xing hurriedly picked up a ladle to scoop up contents from the pot but was intercepted mid-way by Dan Juan.

“Sorry, this is mine.”

“Eh, it’s fine—”

“Fu Xing, I want to eat sticky rice cake,” Rocort began to urge.

“Alright, I’ll help cook it for you in a bit—Brad, what are you doing! That’s raw meat!”

“I know.” Brad picked up a piece of beef and tossed in in his mouth in annoyance. “You’re too slow.”

With everyone talking at once, the noise was making Fu Xing’s head feel about to explode. As he was explaining things, he was scrambling around to help others cook meat, mix sauces, and distribute food.

Only Flora – who was also from Taiwan – along with Momiji and Taeharu, were leisurely carrying their bowls to enjoy their food without getting involved. As for Leon, although he still stayed in the dorm under Fu Xing’s “soft threats”, he sat off to the side to coldly watch the mess with furrowed brows.

“Delicious! But it’s missing something,” Momiji chuckled in response.

“What?”

Momiji smiled then put on an air of mysteriousness as she reached her hand into the cloth bag she had brought. “Moments like these need this to be truly satisfying!”

Her jade arm pulled out with a sturdy bottle made of dark-green glass. The bottle was labelled with large letters that read: “Dewazakura”.

“Yamagata prefecture’s Dewazakura! A striking scent, as sweet as honey.” Momiji flashed a charming grin. “It took quite a bit of effort for me to get it. Security systems these days are getting harder and harder to deal with, hehe.”

The originally stoic-faced Dan Juan that had been directing Fu Xing on the side immediately lifted his head to look at Momiji when she said these words.

“That’s alcohol?”

“Yes, what about it?” Momiji provocatively replied with a glare. She had never gotten along well with the very strict and slightly mysophobic Dan Juan.

“I thought you were just tasteless and brainless fool.” Dan Juan pushed his glasses up. “I hadn’t imagined you to have such good taste in this respect.”

As he spoke, he pulled out another glass bottle from his backpack and grandiosely placed it down. “First-rate Luzhou Laojiao’s specialty! A rich fragrance, clean and refreshing!”

Momiji was speechless for a moment. Her lips then curled up into a smirk. “In light of your famed alcohol, I won’t hold a grudge against the crap coming out of your rotten mouth.” She elegantly waved a hand and the bottle opened with a pop. “Taeharu! Give everyone here a cup.”

“Yes.” The little tanuki [spirit] Taeharu quickly passed out cups. Like an alcohol spirit, she lifted the bottle with practiced movements and filled the paper cups with alcohol.

“Drink up, I brought two bottles.”

“I still have a box of it hidden in my room,” Dan Juan added smugly.

Momiji looked at Dan Juan and smiled in admiration. “Nice job.”

“This doesn’t seem like the best idea?” Fu Xing watched his room about to turn into a pub and rushed to dissuade them. “We’re all students and not of age.”

“Aside from you, every person here is seven times older than the legal age.” Emerald accepted a paper cup and took a sip. “Oi, the vegetables are about to be overcooked. Hurry up and take them out.”

“Oh-oh, right.”

“Fu Xing drink too!”

“I’m not of age yet—” Eh, is it below eighteen or below twenty that’s prohibited from drinking? Forget it, it’s not like I want to drink something bitter and burning anyways!

“It’s not like you’re a human. That’s a human law.”

“But—mph!”

Before he could even finish speaking, Brad picked up the alcohol bottle and directly shoved it into Fu Xing’s mouth.

“We’re telling you to drink, so drink.”

The bitter, ice-cold liquid poured into his mouth and slid down his throat.

“Mmph! Don’t do that…” Fu Xing struggled and forcefully pushed Brad’s bottle-holding hand away. “It really hurts!”

“Tch, so noisy.” Brad chuckled and poured the alcohol into his own cup, draining it in one gulp.

Fu Xing coughed lightly and used a napkin to wipe the drink from his face and clothes.

“Don’t just suddenly shove it in! Everything’s wet now!” Fu Xing rubbed the pained corners of his mouth. “Ah, you’re so rough that it’s bleeding!”

“Pfft!” Zhu Yue, who had been quietly sitting off to the side, spat out the water from her mouth without warning.

“What’s the matter? Are you alright?” Fu Xing quickly passed her a napkin as he asked about her condition.

Zhu Yue had one hand covering her mouth and another covering her heart, her thin and frail body shaking intermittently from the coughing. Her fragile stature really incited pity from others.

“Fu Xing…” Zhu Yue raised her hand, the corners of her lips lifting up at an odd angle to form an unusual smile. “You naughty child…”

Fu Xing was taken aback. “What?” He did not understand what Zhu Yue meant. However, her expression was slightly familiar.

“Nothing.” Zhu Yue’s face returned to how it usually looked as she elegantly wiped her mouth. “I think I might be a bit drunk.”

“Leon, come and drink too.” Momiji smiled and waved a bottle at Leon sitting in the corner.

“Leon doesn’t drink alcohol,” Rachel explained with a faint grin.

“I see.” How unexpected. That guy looks like a character that would sit next to a fireplace sipping on red wine. Who would’ve thought that he doesn’t touch a drop of alcohol?

In the lively and energetic atmosphere, the piles of food on the floor decreased bit by bit as it entered their stomachs. After eating and drinking their fill, everyone went back to sitting in their original positions in satisfaction and began to chat.

“The taste isn’t bad.”

“We can do it again.”

“Don’t come looking for me…” Fu Xing weakly collapsed on the side. Throughout the entire activity, he had maintained the status of a single waiter serving all customers.

“Want to go out and take a walk?” Zhu Yue kindly suggested. “We might disturb others by staying in the dorms, and there are more restrictions here. Might as well go outside.”

“Sure. Where to go? The central gardens?”

“To the professor’s dorms!” Rocort stated.

“What for?”

“To find Samu!”

“Samu? You mean Samukawa?” Dan Juan raised a brow. “You’ve been to Samukawa’s room before?”

“Here, drink some tea, Rocort!” Fu Xing quickly used a glass of water to block off Rocort’s words.

Because of a certain accident last semester, he and Rocort had “accidentally” entered the living quarters of the special ability teacher, Professor Samukawa, and discovered some small secrets.

Samukawa had not punished Fu Xing because of this, and Fu Xing had not spoken of it either. The two had maintained a terrifying state of equilibrium. However, if one side broke the rules, the conclusion would not be pretty.

Fu Xing had told Rocort to keep the secret before. It was clear that the guy had forgotten.

Just as they were about to be asked further, Momiji suddenly cried out.

“Me-me-me-me!” Momiji raised her hand tipsily. “Let’s go to Sunset Forest!”

This topic successfully drew everyone’s attention and dispelled Fu Xing’s crisis.

“Everyone says that it’s dangerous, but nobody knows what’s there.”

“That’s right!” The extremely adventurous Brad was clearly very interested. “I’m really curious about what kind of things could pose a danger to special animate beings.”

“Isn’t that a forbidden area?” Taeharu asked.

“Yeah, it is. It’s still best if we don’t break the rules,” Fu Xing quickly added.

He was just an amateur bat spirit that was weaker than weak. He did not have the strength to challenge his limits against a heroic master…

“But the rules don’t state we cannot go.” Momiji reached out to stroke Fu Xing’s cheek as she chuckled coquettishly, “The vague ambiguity is very baiting.”

“That’s because anyone with a brain won’t actively go near.” Dan Juan coldly stated, “It’s not just Countess Lee Kirst – Sunset Forest also has other dark forces concealed. Going at night is not safe.”

Fu Xing immediately nodded in agreement. “It’s already past eleven, it’s very late!”

Momiji stared at Dan Juan, her lips curling upwards into a charming smile. “If you’re scared, you can go back to your dorm and sleep, little spider.”

Fu Xing swiftly tried to help. “Erm, calm down, it seems like everyone’s drunk too much and gotten a bit excited. Let’s just go back and rest!”

Dan Juan was angered. He frowned and pushed his glasses up. “I’m not scared, I just don’t want to take risks, dumb fox!”

“How could we get drunk from drinking so little!” Brad heavily slammed a palm against Fu Xing’s back. “You aren’t already lightheaded, are you?”

Fu Xing coughed hard for a moment. “If you keep hitting me, I’ll get lightheaded…”

“If you’re not scared, then let’s go!” Momiji smiled provocatively.

“Everyone, calm down a bit!” Fu Xing was stuck in the middle as he weakly tried to stop them.

“You think I don’t dare?!” Dan Juan furiously stood up. “I’m not like some people, who only talk without having the guts to act!”

“Who doesn’t have the guts?!” Momiji slammed the table and shot up. “Meet in the courtyard in twenty minutes!”

“Since you’ve all set your minds already, I won’t say anything more.” Fu Xing quietly hid in a corner. “Have fun, I won’t be seeing you off.”

Just as he was about to turn to slip into the bathroom and pee as a method to escape, a strong force pulled Fu Xing from behind.

“How can the host be absent!” Brad said as he dragged Fu Xing towards the hallway.

“I was only responsible for the hotpot part…” Fu Xing protested resentfully.

“If you don’t attend, then it’s no fun.”

“Really?” Fu Xing looked up in overwhelmed surprise.

“Your performance during the new student trials was too outstanding that it makes others reminisce about it.” Brad grinned in glee. “Work hard later to keep us properly entertained!”

“What?!”

 

Twenty minutes later, the dorms courtyard. A small group of people were gathered in the empty courtyard.

Aside from Leon and the elf twins, Vicki and Venn, everyone had arrived. Moreover, they were all fully armed.

Emerald had a large, strange necklace around his neck and multiple protective talismans hanging from his wrist. His backpack was so full that it was bulging too. Fu Xing guessed that whatever Emerald was wearing was likely to be used for selling off later as opposed to using it himself.

Rocort was holding a large cup of black tea from the dining hall with one hand, and a plastic bag full of cookies in the other hand, as if he was about to go on a casual outing.

Rachel had a rapier, Dan Juan had a book, Zhu Yue had a dagger and some medical supplies.

Momiji and Taeharu had come empty-handed, but they both had evil-warding jade pendants on their neck.

Flora had a camera, recording device, and a flashlight, as well as a construction helmet she had mysteriously gotten from somewhere – all standard equipment for a haunted house exploration!

“Oh? Fu Xing, you’re going to come empty-handed like that? How brave,” Momiji chuckled.

“Eh, that’s not it…” Fu Xing scratched his face in embarrassment.

He had been dragged over by Brad with absolutely no time to make preparations. Besides, he had no idea what to bring anyways.

He had originally felt quite terrified, but upon seeing so many people all together in on place, his courage also increased.

With such powerful comrades, how was there a need to prepare anything?

“As for you,” Momiji shot Dan Juan a look of disdain. “Do you plan on telling me that knowledge is power?”

“Stop being a smart-ass, you female fox.” Dan Juan raised his book to show the words on top. “Exploring the Secrets of Abnormal Spaces, written by Professor Glen. It has notes about Sunset Forest’s circumstances, including the life forms that may appear there.”

He pushed his glasses up and smugly declared, “Only platinum-level readers can borrow this book collection. Currently, only four students on campus have this privilege.”

“Wow, how amazing,” Momiji coldly replied. “I’ll be waiting to see how you’ll use this book to read the Countess to sleep.”

After some discussion, the group of travelers entered the forest.

There were no changes along the first kilometer of the journey. Both sides of the road were filled with densely-packed trees. After passing over a wooden bridge over a dried-up stream, the scenery began to transform.

The straight and flat road gradually twisted, as well as moved up and down randomly due to the boulders and unknown building fragments on the way. The forest grew sparse, sprinkled between the abandoned buildings from various countries and time periods.

“This is Rasputin’s mansion.” Dan Juan stood before a European-style manor with his book in both hands as he checked it and explained, “A Russian clergy called ‘Demonic Monk’, skilled in astrology, witchcraft. Poisoned to death during the Second Revolution and was tossed into the Nyeva River.”

“Oh!”

They continued onwards. There was a simple, low, Chinese-style house with the outer walls a mottled grey, with two windows opened like empty sockets to reveal an endless darkness.

“This is the residence of Zhang Yang Cheng, an inauspicious abode from the familicide that occurred in Beijing during the first year of the Qianlong Emperor’s reign. The houseowner suspected his wife and younger brother were having a private affair, so he killed his brother, wife, and his mother together. At the time, people criticised Zhang Yang Cheng as an ‘evil demon that was worse than a beast’.” Dan Juan furrowed his brows. “Beasts wouldn’t do such a thing – only humans would.”

“Yes, yes, yes.”

“This is the place of judgment in Italy during the witch-hunt period. There are torture rooms and stake execution grounds inside. This structure preserves the art style back then, with the white external appearance signifying purity and solemnity.”

“Oh!”

Click! Flora immediately took a photo.

“We’ve walked for a while, let’s take a rest,” Emerald suggested.

“Alright. Then we’ll continue east after twenty minutes.”

Flora took pictures around the area. Rocort sat on the steps of a hall and ripped open his second bag of cookies to eat. The others hung around nearby.

Fu Xing sat next to Rocort, thinking about how amazing the scene in front of him was.

The area packed with trees seemed to have turned into a tourist attraction now. The only thing missing was a peddler wandering around to peddle souvenirs—

“Anyone thirsty? I have three bottles of soda water; each water is 3 euros.” Emerald flipped his bag open to pull out items from inside. “Also crackers and handkerchiefs. Discount if you buy three.”

Eh, now there’s a peddler too.

Twenty minutes later, they continued their journey again. The party proceeded east. The ruins and trees along the road dwindled more, and all the eyes could see was vast and endless black.

As they went forwards down the pebbled path, a shockingly massive ancient castle appeared at the end. It stood up tall and majestic and seemed to have instantly appeared, seizing everyone’s attention.

“We’re here.” Dan Juan stopped walking.

The ancient castle had a gorgeous and refined external appearance, with delicately carved sculptures interweaved with rich colours to give a respectable yet luxurious [look]. Yet surrounded by the night sky, the ancient castle was like a man-eating flower in full bloom amidst the darkness, giving off a fatal and arrogant beauty.

Fu Xing uneasily swallowed. “Do we have to go in?”

He felt like he had turned into a character in a B-grade horror film – inclined to enter a haunted house while clearly knowing the house had a ghost. And someone as inferior as him would always die with a bang for the sake of the movie.

“Of course!” Brad immediately walked forwards first to pass the outer walls and arrive before the main bailey. Everyone else followed behind.

His palm had only just touched the doorknob when the heavy door immediately opened.

Brad chuckled. “Does this mean ‘welcome’?”

“Or it could mean ‘you’re welcome to become my bath water’.” Momiji smiled and replied, “This countess bathes in human blood.”

“What a waste.” Rachel snorted in disapproval to show her disdain towards the Bloody Countess.

When their group walked into the castle, the door did not close dramatically. The inside of the castle was significantly lacking compared to the outside. Most of the decor was covered in dust and unsteadily askew. Some rooms were even damaged, the doors split and the furniture sliced apart.

Flora took photos everywhere as soon as she entered. The others had originally kept their guards up, but after walking around for five minutes and [seeing] no signs of movement, they switched back to their casual viewing style.

“Hella boring.” Brad took measure of the Countess’s master bedroom in disinterest. “Sure enough, legends really are only legends.”

“Indeed.” Momiji casually sat in a chair. “Oi, little spider, did you bring us the wrong way? Is this place really the Bloody Countess’s castle?”

“There is no mistake, this truly is the place.” Dan Juan flipped a page. “That’s judging from the outer structure and the position, which completely match the records.”

“Looks pretty normal,” Rachel chimed in.

“So dull.”

Everyone’s relaxed attitudes were contagious, causing Fu Xing’s courage to increase too. He wandered around the spacious room randomly, interested by every single thing.

What a big room…This was his first time entering a female’s bedroom…

Fu Xing opened the gorgeous, red sandalwood closet. The inside was full of old formal attire, including some close-fitting items.

He hurriedly closed the closet in embarrassment and nonchalantly walked to the corner of the room.

At the edge of the carpet was a piece of cloth that hung down from the ceiling, covering a portion of the wall.

As if possessed, Fu Xing reached out to pull the hanging curtain open.

A deathly pale face of a woman appeared, meeting his eyes dead-on.

“Ah—!”

Fu Xing cried out in fear, jumping backwards while still gripping onto the curtain. The sudden pull tore the cloth off its hooks, the entire piece of flannel covering Fu Xing completely.

“Ahhh! Help! Help! Countess, no!”

Fu Xing struggled inside the darkness of the cloth, his limbs swinging and kicking everywhere like a fish caught in a net.

“What act are you trying to play, idiot.” Emerald huffed in exasperation as he tore the cloth off.

“Woman!” Fu Xing Fu Xing clutched onto Emerald in terror. “There’s a woman over there!”

“It’s Countess Lee Kirst.” Rachel calmly said, “This is her painting.”

Painting? Fu Xing looked back. At closer look, it was indeed a painting.

The painter had captured the countess’s face in a realistic style. A light, long dress made of white muslin outlined Countess Kirst’s attractive figure. The main features of her snow-white face had a hidden depth and a smile that did not reach her eyes that carried an eerie, bewitching charm.

And in the painting, there were two ugly black holes next to the hem of Countess Kirst’s lovely and elegant dress. Her delicate pale little feet had forcefully vanished into the blasted out dark holes.

“Wow, Fu Xing, you broke Countess Kirst’s feet.” Rocort crouched down to poke at the holes in the painting – the holes that Fu Xing had created from a kick during his struggling earlier.

“Erm…sorry…”

“It’s fine, she’s no longer here anyways.” Rachel smiled placatingly and crossed her arms over her chest as she gazed at the painting. “The dark sorceress of the legends has the appearance of an angel instead, the most perfect disguise. It’s no wonder it took humans so long to notice her evil deeds.”

Fu Xing stared at that unique face in the painting, but only felt his blood run cold instead.

“Hm, although it’s pretty uninteresting, this place is indeed the castle belonging to Countess Lee Kirst.” Momiji stared at the painting and after assessing it for a moment, criticised, “Not that good-looking, huh.”

“Momiji is prettier,” Taeharu giggled.

“Good girl, Taeharu.”

“Should we leave?”

“Sure, no like there’s anything anyways.”

“Wait a moment.” Zhu Yue stopped in her tracks and closed her eyes. “I smell water vapor.”

“Water?”

“There’s someone still using it here?” Zhu Yue’s words drew everyone’s attention.

“I also smelled chocolate cookies,” Rocort solemnly added.

“That’s because you just ate them,” Fu Xing couldn’t help but retort.

“I didn’t bring chocolate cookies!”

Because of Zhu Yue’s words, everyone stopped inside the room for a while to search everywhere. However, they were still unable to find anything.

“Sorry, it was probably just rainwater.” Zhu Yue lowered her head in shame. “I apologise for wasting everyone’s time!”

“It’s no big deal,” Rachel said with a smile. “No need to be so humble all the time.”

“Yes, sorry.”

Rachel studied Zhu Yue for a moment before looking away to continue walking.

When the left the ancient castle, Zhu Yue walked in the back of the group and quietly asked Fu Xing, “Does Rachel dislike me?”

“It’s unlikely?” He thought Rachel was a bit like his older sister, who seemed sharp on the outside but was actually kind on the inside.

“Is that so…” Zhu Yue looked down. “Or maybe I unintentionally offended her?”

“You’re overthinking it.” While he did not understand the hearts of women, he did at least know that the gentle and modest Zhu Yue would absolutely never offend others.

Their party grandiosely journeyed back the way they came, laughing and talking as they returned home.

Their noise gradually grew distant.

No one noticed that as they stepped out of Sunset Forest, a small shadow was quietly spying on them from behind the undergrowth.


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