With his mood suddenly lightened, Ying Qiao curled up his tails and began to scrutinize his scales. After a while, he concluded that his scales were not shining enough. After transforming back into his human form, he went downstairs and sent a message to Cheng Hua, asking him to do a beauty job for his scales.
After that, he tried to recall how Geng Chen went about seeking his mate. But the only thing he can remember was how all Geng Chen’s efforts at mate-seeking ended in violent failure. He chuckled and decided to figure it out on his own.
The Internet might give him some clues on this question. But all his searches on the phone led him to videos of animals in heat. With furrowed brows, he changed his keywords:
—How to woo the person you love?
—How to make the person you love fall in love with you?
—How to propose?
But the search results were hardly useful. Only an article recommending books caught his eyes. It occurred to him that he had really benefited from the cub raising books he previously ordered. So he ordered those books mentioned in the article.
Jiang Lan had a day off the work after tomorrow, and he went to the detention center in plain clothing in order not to attract much attention.
He wanted to meet Tao Wu to make sure that he wouldn’t utter anything that might expose his true identity.
With his work pass, he had no trouble getting into his ward.
Tao Wu was in a much better shape than he thought. At least he was not left alone to fend for himself. He had been moved into a medical facility in the detention center with his wounds dressed. But he had a magical cuff on his wrist, to prevent his escape.
Jiang Lan’s appearance seemed to energize the otherwise lethargic Tao Wu. He jumped off the bed and seemed ready to fight him.
Jiang Lan hurried forward to restrain him.” Calm down! I am here to talk.”
But Jiang Lan’s hand happened to press against Tao Wu’s wound. Letting out a miserable cry, Tao Wu said in an angry tone.” I am here in this condition only because of you! Why do you still hold a grudge against me after so many years!”
I may be responsible for him getting imprisoned under a magical seal. Because of that, I was struck by lightning. Why can’t he call it even?
Tao Wu was like a fully-blown balloon, a mere poke would trigger his explosion.
He felt he had the worst luck in the world. After his injury, he found a cave and went to sleep trying to recover from his wound. But there was no telling how long he had remained in his sleep. After waking up, he found the world had utterly changed and his food had decided to build a nest above his head.
Yes, his food was Gu Diao and Tu Lou.
He recalled he had collected many Gu Diao eggs and younglings and stashed them in the cave as his reserved food source, to aid his recovery from his wound.
But he didn’t expect to find the eggs had already hatched after opening his eyes. With three generations in the family, those Gu Diaos had become a force to be reckoned with. The Tu Lou youngling had already become fully grown. Despite being a lonely beast, this Tu Lou was no longer edible.
What’s more important, he hadn’t fully recovered from his wound yet. Weakened and starved, he thought his primary concern was to hide and cover his traces, avoiding his food’s attention.
He planned to hide in the tower to recover a bit. After regaining a little strength, he would go out to hunt for a few people to eat.
But who would expect that when he was finally able to venture out, he would run into Tao Tie.
Did the world conspire to bring his downfall?
Perhaps Tao Wu looked so pitiful in the eyes of Jiang Lan. Tao Wu’s miserable look contrasted sharply with the image of a once powerful monster. Jiang Lan softened his tone.” You are the cause of my misfortune at the hands of the Yellow Emperor, but now you are responsible for the death of Gu Diaos and Tu Lous in Three Water Village. Let’s call it even. I am here just to visit you.”
Tao Wu turned to look at him suspiciously.” For real?”
“Yes.” Jiang Lan confirmed him.” As long as you keep your mouth shut about what really happened in the Three Water Village, I will not hold a grudge against you.”
And our fragile friendship might linger on….
Tao Wu snorted in derision.” I see you have grown more clever, but become a coward. What’s the big deal about slaughtering one or two Gu Diao or Tu Lou? You used to kill and eat them for snacks.”
Jiang Lan was not about to confess his real reason. Smiling, he said.” Just remember not to mention my part in the death of Gu Diao and Tu Lou.”
“Ok, Ok.” Tao Wu shook his ear impatiently.” Where is Qiong Qi and Hun Tun? Where am I? Those little monsters wrapped this thing on my wrist. I can’t take it off.”
He then turned his attention to Jiang Lan’s garments.” Those little monsters all dressed in some strange clothing, the same as yours.”
Jiang Lan was surprised.” You don’t know?”
Tao Wu acted impatiently.” I just woke up from a long slumber. What am I supposed to know? How long has I slept? This place is so cursed, I seemed never able to fully recover from my wound.”
“When did you wake?” Jiang Lan asked in a queer tone.
Tao Wu seemed to find this question hard. Counting his figures, he came up with an answer.” Ten days maybe? I was about to find and catch some humans for food when I ran into you.”
He said with an expression that seemed to say what bad luck it is to run into you.
At this, Jiang Lan fell silent. After a while, he found his voice again.” Qiong Qi and Hun Tun were most likely dead. I heard they had fallen during the great catastrophe. Your slumber had probably lasted a few thousands years, during this time, most grand monsters perished. Only a few survivors lingered today. Now the Monster Bureau took charge of all the remaining monsters.”
“and,” He stressed the main point.” Now we live alongside humans. The peaceful coexistence between us means it’s illegal to eat humans.”
“What is the great catastrophe? What’s the Monster Bureau? If eating humans is out of question, I have to become a vegetarian? Why haven’t I recovered from my old wound despite having slept for thousands of years?”
Shock, anger and confusion flashed across his ignorant beastly eyes. Finally, he mumbled.” I don’t believe you. Why do you still hold the old grudges against me? Do you try to fool me again?”
Jiang Lan watched him with a sympathetic look.
He sighed.” It might take a while before you fully understand what I just told you. Luckily you are not going anywhere right now, you have all the time in the world to learn all the things you need to know.”
Tao Wu fell silent. Jiang Lan’s solemn look made him uncertain. Brooding on his dilemma, he finally said.” When I recover from my wound, I will return to the West Mountain.”
“West Mountain is long gone.” Jiang Lan became more reluctant to tell him the truth.
Tao Wu was shocked.” Who dares to take over my territory?”
Sensing the difficulty of making him understand his situation, Jiang Lan decided to cut his visit short, otherwise he would be stuck in an endless loop.” No one. The detention center has some basic courses designed for monsters like you. After a few lessons, you will get the whole picture.”
He stressed again.” Remember not to mention my part in the whole incident, and I will forget our old grudges. I will visit you again later.”
Tao Wu seemed to have more questions for him but Jiang Lan left the room before Tao Wu had a chance to ask them. Let the Detention Center handle Tao Wu’s endless questions.
After two days’ break, Jiang Lan returned to his office on Friday.
When he entered the office in the morning, he heard Xue Meng describing his frightening experience in Three Water Village.
“That bird has bloodshot eyes, which are almost as big as my head. During the night, its eyes could even emit light. When I saw his eyes close by the window, trying to look inside the room, I thought it was a big red lantern. But on closer look, I realized it was an eye!” Xue Meng pounded his desk, boasting.” Any lesser man would die of shock on the spot.”
Xiao Xiaoyu clapped her hands.” Bravo, you are so brave.”
Xue Meng thought she was just being sarcastic.” Why do you give me this look? You don’t believe me?”
He sought Jiang Lan’s help, who just entered the office.” We both saw it with our own eyes!”
With a fried dough stick in his mouth, Jiang Lan nodded his agreement.” En En.”
With a newfound confidence, Xue Meng said.” Now you will believe me?”
Bringing out her phone, Xiao Xiaoyu showed them the latest trending news.” You can take a look at this.”
On screen was the title of the third trending news: #Poisonous Gas Leaked, Villagers show signs of Hallucinations#
Clicking the title, he read the whole story which happened to be reported by Hua Nation Daily.
The story went like this: In the evening of June 8. While cultivating a field, the villagers in the Three Water Village involuntarily dug up a poisonous gas can left behind by the invading Japanese army during the Second World War and the impact caused the can to leak. Poisoned by the gas, the villagers nearby began to show symptoms of hallucinations. Luckily two civil servants were also in the village when this incident took place. They quickly realized the gravity of the situation and immediately reported this incident to the Government. Armed police were quickly dispatched to the scene to evacuate the villagers and stopped the spread of poisonous gas.
The two civil servants were named Jiang and Xue.
Events took a most dramatic turn after the poisonous can was disposed of by the police. Some hallucinated villagers sought out the police to confess their crimes. After some verifications, their confessions turned out to be true.
Long being isolated and remote, Three Water Village offered a safe haven to some outlawed practices. Under the influence of superstitions, villagers had no interest in farming. Instead, they found a lucrative trade in the abduction of women and corpses sales.
In some remote corners of this country, people still cling to the old practice of performing marriage ceremonies for people who still remain single before their death. For this marriage ceremony to work, they need to find a young corpse of the opposite sex, especially young females which fetch a high price in the underground black market. Under the direction of the Village Secretary, villagers in the Three Water Village had sold many young female corpses.
Reporters had found out during their investigations that this underground market had prospered for many years and when occasionally the corpses was in short supply, the villagers would even go as far as abducting and murdering young women to meet the demands. They would transport their evil commodities under the guise of a burial ceremony with the corpses hidden in the secret compartment of the coffins.
As a part of the police investigation, a thorough search was carried out in the burial ground north of the village and a young corpse who hadn’t been delivered was found.
With the evidence collected and verified, the villagers would be taken into police custody after they were discharged from the hospital. There would be justice waiting for them in the court of law.
The whole internet exploded at the outrage of this crime and the drama of how this crime came to light. Recently the related news would always occupy the top position of the trending news list.
But Xue Meng and Jiang Lan, who personally played a significant part in this drama, haven’t got time to read this story yet.
Xue Meng was shocked by this story.” What a mastery fabrication! It is so convincing and flawless that if I haven’t experienced the whole thing, I would definitely believe every word of it.”
Xiao Xiaoyu voiced her sympathy.” Have you got checked up in the hospital? Looks like you are still under the influence of the poisonous gas.”
Xue Meng rolled his eyes at her and thought to himself that the truth had always been in the possession of a few people. You ordinary mortals only deserved to read these fabricated stories.
Before he returned the phone, a line in the story brought back some memories to his mind. His eyes widened at the line “a corpse was found in the hidden compartment of the coffin in the burial ground.” Finally he let out a miserable cry.
“F….. a corpse was hidden in the coffin. No wonder I felt chilled while I lay inside that coffin.”
He seemed to lose his spirit and dragged his feet back to his desk. He mumbled to Jiang Lan.” Now I think witnessing you biting off those monster bird’s heads is not a big deal compared with lying with a corpse…”
He looked so miserable with a pale face and shaking lips.
Xiao Xiaoyu was worried.” He had hallucinations again? Should we send him to a hospital?”
Jiang Lan was both sympathetic and amused.” Don’t worry, he just needs a little rest.”