Chapter 7: I’m Freezing
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
This laughter took her fear away. Whether it was a human or a ghost, it seemed harmless. Meng Fuyao let her guard down and simply sat down, closing her eyes to rest.
She even waved casually to get its attention. “Hey, you seem bored. Please keep a lookout for me if you really have nothing to do.”
Yet another gentle laughter filled the air. It was pleasantly deep and refreshing. Even the collision of each syllable possessed a unique charm, reminding her of the sounds made by breeze grazing past the majestic trees above the northernmost parts of Di Region’s mountain chains.
Amid the silent night, the scent of early autumn greens scattered over the sky, producing a distinctive fragrance much purer and nobler than ordinary flowers.
However, Meng Fuyao seemed not to have heard or smelled anything. She simply continued resting.
A third wave of laughter rang, close to her ears this time. Simultaneously, a bang was heard as a flame ignited from the ground in front of her. The orange ball of fire danced enthusiastically, but all she could see while secretly sneaking a peek through her semi-closed eyes, was a sheet of warm red.
Near the flame stood a lone pine tree and a man in loose clothes resting on it. His light-colored garment hung loose, its golden threaded embroidery turning vague under the darkness and flickering along with his every movement.
He reclined on the edge of a fine, brittle branch. Despite having a tall build, he appeared as light as a ball of cloud – leisure yet admirable and mighty.
He broke off a few gently swaying branches and threw them, one by one, into the fire with accuracy. As the branches stacked up, they gradually formed a triangular pile that fed the vigorous flames.
Between each movement of his fingers, a small mark could be seen on his right palm. It was slightly darker than his skin color, but because she was seated too far away, she was unable to make its shape out.
Meng Fuyao swept her eyes across the scene and ultimately set them upon the perfectly constructed fire heap. She secretly placed both palms on the ground.
There was no need to think. She identified this fellow as the ghost from earlier. Just by looking at the way he was skillfully casting the branches, she knew that her short legs wouldn’t get her anywhere safe if he suddenly developed evil intentions.
Before she could shift her bum; however, that man spoke up. “Lady, it’s cold out here, and I’m wearing too little. I’m freezing.”
Meng Fuyao almost spat out the herbs that she had been keeping in her mouth.
It was barely autumn, and they were on southern grounds so while the wind was intense, it couldn’t be bone-piercing. Plus, there was such a big fire burning right before them.
‘Only a fool would believe your words,’ she thought.
As Meng Fuyao saw that man idling on the tree, resting his chin on his hands, and letting his gaze drift all over her body, she figured that he wanted to practice the most primitive method of gaining warmth. Thus, she slowly retreated further away from the fire.
Although this man seemed honorable and looked nothing like a rapist, there was no certainty that it was all goodness within his heart. Just like… Pei Yuan.
Her raven black-colored eyes sparkled under the burning flames as she looked warily at that man. Her thick lashes cast a faint shadow down onto her palace face, which gave her the appearance of a kind of small animal that was nervously waiting for a battle.
As the man’s interest was piqued, he asked, “Are you cold, lady?”
‘Great. Everything’s going according to plan.’
Meng Fuyao shifted a side of her bum backward once more while replying in a rebellious tone, “It’s so hot.”
The man curled his lips a little before casually suggesting, with poise, “Get naked then.”
Already a meter away, Fuyao shot up and did a somersault, getting ready to flee to the opposite cliff.
The man chuckled, calmly pressing down on his clothes and observing her.
Following his movements, the thread on the front of his clothes opened up as a fire-red fruit rolled out.
Mid-flip, Meng Fuyao’s eyes lit up.
‘This… this… warm luster and refreshing aroma… doesn’t it resemble the sacred healing fruit Red Kirin?’
Fuyao managed to catch a clear view of the fruit as it rolled over. It was indeed a sacred fruit that could only be found on the snow valleys and mountains of Dizhou. Ordinary people wouldn’t be able to reach those areas.
Fuyao tumbled down halfway, but immediately rose and stepped on the fruit. She snuck a glance over at the man. His indifferent demeanor gave her the confidence to reach down to grab it.
A white light shot out like a flash of lightning as small pockets of wind swept over and knocked the fruit out of Fuyao’s loosened grip, causing her to cry out in pain. The white light then made a soaring leap, as if doing a split, before striking her nose.
The white object made another flip and extended all four claws up toward the sky, successfully catching the falling fruit.
Everything happened in a split second – all Meng Fuyao felt was a gush of wind, a sharp pain on her nose, a faint fruit fragrance filling the air and the sacred fruit changing spots.
Amid her confusion, she felt something tickling her nose. Reaching for it and taking it down, she noticed that it was a strand of white hair that was as long as a finger. What was it?
Sluggishly turning her gaze to the ground, Fuyao saw a powderish-white creature moving on tiptoe. It was merrily dragging the red fruit away before getting into a single-legged rear kick position, classic ballet style, ready to throw a high pass.
Fuyao kept her eyes on that palm-sized creature. A rabbit? But it was smaller. A squirrel? But it was lighter in color. A guinea pig? But it was chubbier. It had shiny black eyes, long snow-white fur, and an indistinguishable figure, much like Hamtaro. Such a cute little creature would definitely have been adored by pet lovers if it had been in the past.
To intercept the pass by picking it up; however, seemed a little too cruel.
As the guinea pig sensed Meng Fuyao’s gaze, it instantly turned its head to reveal its pearly whites. Under the bright flames, its incisors appeared like two glistening blades.
Meng Fuyao couldn’t help but feel angry after such a threatening glare. How unlucky of her! From getting betrayed and interrogated to being pushed off the cliff and looked down upon by a lowly, fat creature, she had had enough.
Displeased, she returned the courtesy by baring her teeth – they were bigger anyway!
Just like that, a human and a guinea pig engaged in a teeth-clenching cum staring contest before the fiery flames.
“Pfff~” the man, who had been observing the unfolding of events, let out. He looked at Meng Fuyao with much interest and then he ordered with a wave of his hand, “Yuan Bao.”
The guinea pig ignored him, and it simply swayed its bum.
“Lord Yuan Bao!”
With its little claws still holding onto the fruit, Lord Yuan Bao immediately sprung up and passed it over to the man.
He shook his head and pointed to where Meng Fuyao was standing.
‘Was that a protesting squeak?’
Full of reluctance, Lord Yuan Bao lifted its head up and turned toward her in slow motion.
The guinea pig fixed its sorrowful eyes on the fruit as if it was a final farewell for them.
The bereaved guinea pig was a great mood lifter for Meng Fuyao. Possessing zero empathy for it, she extended her hand out to snatch the fruit.
In passing, she also plucked a strand of hair off its bum.
‘Revenge is always sweet.’
Enraged, Lord Yuan Bao hopped into the air and made a 360-degree turn, seemingly in an attempt to display its barani flip 1 .
In no universe would Meng Fuyao allow a guinea pig to step on her face again. With a simple twist of her body, she dodged its attack.
When it realized that its plan was about to fall short, Lord Yuan Bao quickly changed its battle strategy. It jumped onto the fruit and generously spat on it.
Meng Fuyao grabbed its fat body without hesitation and threw it away. A split second and a flash of a blade later, a long strip of fruit skin contaminated by saliva, came slipping down. With a forward fling, she tossed the skin onto the guinea pig’s head, effectively turning it into an oversized hat before the poor creature crashed right into its owner’s embrace.
After three rounds of battle, Meng Fuyao emerged as the final victor.
As if driven to insanity, the guinea pig jumped all over the man’s body while chewing on his clothes and squeaking incessantly. In response to its indignant cries the man, still resting on the tree, merely pinched its little nose and reasoned with it, “Who asked you to be a bully first…”
“You didn’t lose anything. You stepped on her in fact…”
“Squeak, squeak!” Determined to seek justice, Lord Yuan Bao exposed his bum for the man to see.
“You have thousands of strands of hair! How am I to tell the number you’re missing on your bum?”
“Squeak, squeak!” Sir Yuan Bao whined while effortfully trying to reach for the bald spot.
Running out of patience, the man grabbed its neck, forcing it to stay still. “Speak properly. You didn’t wash your bum yesterday!”
“Alright, alright. It’s just a snack. Let her have this one, and I’ll compensate you the next time round.”
“Your temper’s getting worse, and it’s their fault for spoiling you,” the man commented calmly, without the least bit of ire. He then fumbled for something in his clothes, adding, “Ooh… so many snacks. It’s tiring for me to hold them. Let’s throw them all, shall we?”
As if raising a white flag, Lord Yuan Bao proceeded to a corner to soak in his defeat. The man patted its head. As he was about to speak to Fuyao, he caught a side glimpse of her bulging mouth.
In shock, he stuttered, “You… you finished it?”
A few chews were all it took for her to swallow it full. “Yup, I’m done with it.”
‘Your squabbling time was my eating time. Should I have waited for you to come and snatch it from me, then?’
The man stared and laughed at her for a long time before shaking his head.
“Looks like you’re unaware of it, but when in contact with frost, the fruit becomes poisonous when more than half is consumed.”
“Wha…!” Meng Fuyao was flabbergasted.
Following a swift leap, the cloud-like man was no longer on the tree. Without any fancy movements, he arrived before her, smiling. “Seeing that you’re shivering, lady, you must be very cold. Let’s… get warm…”
‘What rubbish!’ Meng Fuyao glared at him. ‘I was winning!’