Book 4 Chapter 18 - Fu Bo's Pen Name
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don't read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
The dinner dragged itself slowly toward a slow and embarrassing conclusion. Li Yiming was escorted to the door by Ying Mei. Ji Xiaoqin, who trailed behind her, gazed at Li Yiming with eyes that spoke of sadness, frustration, and guilt.
Li Yiming felt his last ounce of strength being sapped as he looked at the door being closed shut. He passed over his face with his hand. ‘This… this was so tiring. As soon as I get to the bottom of this Qing He, I’ll move out of here.’
Li Yiming took out his keys when he noticed a bag of fruits on the ground. ‘Some grapes and a few pears? Who could it be? I don’t see any message... With only Ji Xiaoqin and I living here, it’s impossible that someone forgot it here. Is it Fu Bo?’
Li Yiming brought the bag of fruits into his apartment and walked to the study. The domain had vanished. He put down the bag right next to the bed and sent a text message to Fu Bo. “You left me a bag of fruits?”
“Yeah. You’re home? I went out to eat earlier, and I bought some stuff on the way back. Is there a problem?”
“Thanks. I love pears. I also went to eat out. Sorry I didn’t call you.”
“It’s okay. I was busy working on my novel. I wouldn’t have heard you even if you yelled at my door. It’s been a long day, good night.”
“Yeah, sure. Good night.”
Li Yiming put down his phone and picked up a pear from the bag. He wiped it with his hand and took a bite. ‘Sweet. Fu Bo… can we be friends?’ Li Yiming stared at the floor and pondered. ‘Well, first things first. I’ll pay back the favor and go have a look at his novel.’ Li Yiming took out his tablet and searched up Fu Bo’s novel
The moment Li Yiming opened the page, a sudden dizziness grasped his mind.
“Adventure to the East. Author: Qing He.”
‘It was him all along? He’s the one Mr. Kong wanted me to protect? But that would make perfect sense. This domain, the mysteriousness, and…’ Li Yiming could barely contain his excitement. He had to stop himself from knocking at Fu Bo’s door to seek answers to his questions, but he quickly composed himself. ‘Mr. Kong asked me to protect him, but Fu Bo doesn’t even know about his own situation. This has to be part of Mr. Kong’s plan. I just need to fulfill my end of the bargain.’
Li Yiming was finally able to put his mind at ease and rest on his bed. He had finally found the person that Mr. Kong that sent him to find, and it ended up being someone he was already on good terms with. ‘Well, since I’ve found his website, I might as well take a look at his novel.’
Li Yiming did not know that this would become a task that would last eleven days, uninterrupted by eating, drinking, or even sleeping.
* * *
“Your conjecture was correct. Li Yiming is indeed a representative.” Ying Mei lowered her head with reverence and reported her investigation in Bing Shuai’s study.
“What’s your take on this?” Bing Shuai was at the window and cast down his stare at the swimming pool. It was rare to see Tian Yan there, peddling around in the water like a child. ‘It has been a long time since I’ve seen this kind of child-like playfulness from her… I often forget about her age.’ Bing Shuai sighed; for the first time in a while, he felt a sliver of guilt for treating Tian Yan as nothing more than a cog in his schemes.
“The money he used to buy the apartment comes from an unknown source. He made up an excuse, but that turned out to be a lie. I tried to lure him with the promise of an ideal job, but he refused right away. There’s something suspicious about him and Ji Xiaoqin. Usually, there is no way a man would treat a woman who has betrayed him with such magnanimity. It almost reminds me of… us and Guo Xiang.” As Ying Mei narrated the information she had gathered, her eyes naturally followed Bing Shuai’s. The sight of Tian Yan playing by the pool surprised her at first, but also made her feel somewhat envious.
“Completely spoiled?” Bing Shuai turned around slowly and sat down in his wooden chair.
“Yes, and I have reasons to believe that they’re still in a relationship. I could read the lust in Ji Xiaoqin’s eyes when she looked at him. I wouldn’t be surprised if they spent last night in the same bed. Ji Xiaoqin herself may be unaware of her own situation, but a girl with a character like that… Does she have no shame?” Ying Mei voice’s suggested that she despised Ji Xiaoqin’s actions, especially when she recalled her countenance when she visited her early in the morning. ‘Could it be some kind of physical need?’
“Young women these days. They seek money when they have love, and then they desire love when they’re rich. That’s nothing to be surprised of. Well, it has been a long day. You should rest. Let me think about this.” Bing Shuai waved his hand and dismissed Ying Mei.
‘So Ji Xiaoqin is an experiment, and Li Yiming a representative? I’m almost sure of it. Now the question is, who exactly is behind them?’ Bing Shuai walked back to the window. The pool was empty: Tian Yan had returned inside with the help of the maid. The moonlight shone to the bottom of the pool and created a broken mirror of dancing luminous shards on the surface of the water. But amidst all of the glittering, a certain danger was awaiting.
* * *
The smoothness of the velvet quilt in her hand brought a rare smile to Tian Yan. She stared blankly at the ceiling and tried her best to remember the silhouette she saw, the young man that was enveloped by white, almost holy-like light. She raised her hand, and it was almost as if she could touch his cheeks, his lips, and his eyes. Tian Yan felt a warmness climb into her own ears, and then her heart. Her cheeks became gradually colored by a healthy flush.
Were this to happen to someone that had not been raised for a single purpose since birth, to someone who had not been born blind and alone in this world, the meaning of this would have been obvious.
Tian Yan had fallen in love.
* * *
Inside Li Ping Consulting’s headquarters in the office tower of the Capital, the ancient furniture had all been emptied. Lines were drawn on the floor tiles, forming a complex ritual circle. Instead of simply alive, the birds painted onto the windows had become alive, flying merrily under the silvery moonlight.
Stargaze stood at the middle of the ritual circle and slowly loosened her clothes. Her robe fell to the ground, revealing a body sculpted out of white jade and limpid flesh had colors like the water from the rivers in autumn. Her hair touched the ground as she performed a seal and a ring of light spread out from where she stood. The light around her intensified until her body resembled more that of a phantom or a lowing crystal statue. 
In the sky, one of the stars that had been shining brightly suddenly gained a purple tinge, as if the eye of a cyclop was suddenly opened. The violet rays it cast down on the world penetrated through all veils of hidden
Stargaze could see a blue sphere in utter darkness. She would momentarily stop there every day to admire its beauty. However, the number shown near her heart did not wait for her; it decreased at a breakneck speed. This was Stargaze’s lifemark count, and, although she had a very healthy reserve, it would not take long for it to come to an end.
The blue sphere grew bigger. First, Stargaze could see the mountains, the rivers, the valleys, and the ocean. Then came the shards of light, the cities that embodied human civilization. Stargaze focused in on one city in particular: the tall skyscrapers, the neatly arranged roads, the sight of a bustling city with vibrant nightlife, Stargaze could see it all.
Stargaze had hoped for the best when she began, but once again, a fog befell Hangzhou. A thick, grey fog covered the city completely and shielded it from prying eyes, much like a dutiful guard that protected his holy monarch. Stagarzed frowned. Her pride as a sage was piqued by so many fruitless attempts. She persisted on focusing on a specific part of the city in particular; she had pinpointed the source of the mysterious fog after a few attempts.
Her gaze penetrated the layers of fog until she arrived at a residential neighborhood. A little more effort brought her to a residential tower in particular. She descended from the rooftop…’Floor fifteen… twelve… ten… nine… eight…’
‘Something’s wrong.’ Stargaze’s attention shifted back to the ninth floor. There, she found a young man on his bed, focused on reading his tablet. He wore a checkered shirt and gym shorts. His features reminded Stargaze of Li Huaibei, with the same kind of mixture between elegance and masculinity.
‘This kid...?’ Stargaze did not recognize the young man. There was nothing particularly eye-catching about him, but this aroused her suspicions. ‘I didn’t even notice that someone lived on the ninth floor on my first pass… I would have missed him completely if it wasn’t for how small my scope is.’
Stargaze suddenly spat out a mouthful of blood and fell down. The celestial light receded, and the sight of the interior of her office came back to her eyes. The shining lines and glyphs traced on the ground dimmed.
Despite his pale countenance, Stargaze rushed to her desk and waved her hand. A piece of drawing paper came flying to her. She dipped the weasel hair brush in ink and began working. A few moments later, a caricature of what she saw earlier — the young man on his bed, appeared.
The drawing was finely done, or could even be said to be a masterpiece, but Stargaze did not have time to admire her own work. She folded her drawing and beckoned at her window. One of the songbirds drawn on it flew out of the portrait that contained it and landed near her.
“I want everything you can find about this man. As soon as possible.”
That's one fancy way to describe a talent used for stalking people. Or Google Earth.
- The river in autumn thing is an old saying in China. Since ancient times, for some unknown reason, people have started to use "water in autumn" to describe pretty women's eyes. (I guess it's the transparency and prettiness?) This expression is seen in many poems/old texts. There's even an expression translated literally as "stare through the water of autumn" for when you wait for someone for a long time.