|“||Avoiding disasters to ease your mind will not bring peace. Face them head on and overcome them.||”|
Double-Ninth cake comes off as indifferent and cold to everything around her. However, due to her ability to forsee disaster, she often avoids others altogether. If asked what lies ahead, she will not reveal the future, believing that everyone should face their destiny head on.
This pastry has been around since the Southern Dynasty and has been said to have been eaten at the Double Ninth Festival. Since then, many legends have sprung up around the cake. Today people use Double-Ninth cake to people able to connect to their heritage.
How to Acquire
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|Contract||Your my Master Attendant? I hope our meeting will not bring misfortune.|
|Log In||You've returned. Where did you go today? Something's hovering around you. Drink some chrysanthemum wine to dispel it.|
|Ice Arena||Colorless, transparent ice looks so much more comfortable than those umbrageous things.|
|Ascend||This blurry world has become clearer.|
|Fatigue||My eyes are tired. Let me rest a spell.|
|Recovering||I'm much better. Is there something I can do?|
|Team Formation||As the world turns, in the bigger picture, fighting... doesn't really mean much.|
|Knockout||Calamity... has struck.|
|Notice||The food is ready. It may be a little bland. I hope you don't mind.|
|Idle 1||How about growing some chrysanthemums in the courtyard?|
|Idle 2||Attendant? Am I the only one? I wonder, when was it that I grew accustomed to having someone accompany me?|
|Idle 3||Always running about in dangerous places. I've prepared some cornel for the children to wear.|
|Interaction 1||People can be happy because their sight is limited.|
|Interaction 2||Calamity and good fortune are two sides to the same coin. So is it really such a good thing to help someone avoid misfortune?|
|Interaction 3||My eyes? Don't worry. It's not an illness.|
|Pledge||I thought I'd never feel a thrill again... Wonderful. From now on, let me watch over you. I will keep you safe, free from misfortune, and happy for all of your days.|
|Intimacy 1||I wish you long life, yet I don't wish you to lose your passion for life. Truly a predicament.|
|Intimacy 2||Look into my eyes. Do you feel fear? I can see there is no fear in your heart, just a contagious love.|
|Intimacy 3||Oh? Is something troubling you? Let's go for a hike. They say, your heart becomes clear when you're looking out from the top of a mountain.|
|Victory||Just like that, we've won?|
|Defeat||*Sigh* ...I have no will to fight...|
|Feeding||Thank you for taking the trouble.|
This Story has been fan-translatedby Asureiko.. Official translations will be added when they become available.
I. The World Through These Eyes
A violent sea of jet black fog raged on, nearly swallowing up the man sitting in front of me.
It was as though it were that day again…
The same impenetrable darkness, the same feeling of suffocation.
Something stirred in my slumbering heart. My fingers tapped the armrest with unease.
It was then that a voice pulled me back to reality.
“God? Do you hear me, God?”
The man hunched over, despair etched deep into his eyes.
He spat out cough after cough into his hand, as though he were afraid of disturbing me.
Ah, it seems I’ve gotten confused. He’s not him…
The person standing in front of me was but your everyday man, one among the many who sought out my aid.
What was it that brought him here again?
“...Is there still hope for me, God?” The man asked timidly.
Ah… I remember now. He spoke of a life of misfortune and a terminal illness--a death sentence, according to the doctor.
Upon word of my abilities, he sought me out as his last hope.
“I’m not God.” The world in front of me returned to normal as the soul power left my eyes.
“I am but a food soul able to see misfortune…” Lowering my head, I refused to meet his gaze.
Was I scared? Or was I simply unwilling?
One way or the other, I knew there was nothing I could do for him.
Just like how there was nothing I could do for that man.
“Return home. Spend time with your family. Leave…”
My voice trailed to a halt. After some ruminating, I sighed once more and gave my answer.
“Leave with no regrets...”
Sorrow was prominent on his face as he limped away.
I sensed not just woe, but also fury emanating from him as well.
Who were these feelings directed towards?
Me, or the world?
It did not matter, as it was far from the first time something like this had happened.
I shouldn’t be lingering over what had taken place.
Was it because it reminded me of long ago?
I closed the door. My gaze shifted, falling on a portrait hung on the wall.
“Was this what you meant...when you said to leave others to their own path?
That I won’t be able to help, and I’ll only become unhappier as time goes on?”
There was no reply. The man in the portrait continued to grin, as still as a rock. There was a slight part to his lips, as though he were mouthing some words to me.
“You were always like that…
Mouthing off just whatever, then going away without a single hint as to what you were talking about.
You were always such a pain, Master Attendant...”
For as long as I can remember, I have been able to see a world others cannot.
When I direct my soul power into these eyes, I bear witness to another side of this world. One where disaster and misfortune follow each soul. Heavy or faint, many or few, I see them all.
Somewhere among my memories, I’m sitting with Master Attendant on a riverbank. He picks up a rock and flings it ahead.
“To see is not always a good thing.”
The rock skips twice or thrice, leaving a trail of ripples in its wake before it finally sinks.
“Why do you say so?” Imitating him, I fling a rock into the lake. It sinks with a ‘plop’. So much for some pretty ripples.
“Once you see it, you’ll want to reshape it. To reshape fate is a grave mistake.”
“But it’s misfortune, not fate.” I stress the difference between the two. “And what’s so bad about averting misfortune?”
“There’s no way to know what will happen after you reshape it.” Master Attendant weighs a rock in his hand. “No matter how skilled I am at skipping stones, I cannot predict where the stones will land.”
“Not even if you practiced a little more?” The next rock I throw manages to skip once.
“Until you’re so skilled that you can handle even a surprise?”
“Misfortune is much, much more complex than a rock. What if you ran into a rock like that?” Master Attendant gestures at a boulder behind us.
“Move the rock?” I arch my eyebrows, pleased with myself.
“I forgot that you’re a food soul.” Master Attendant bursts into laughter. “I suppose you’d be able to skip a boulder like it’s nothing. Then what about water?”
“That’s right. Let’s say misfortune isn’t a rock, but part of a lake.” Master Attendant drags a finger through the water.
“And suppose some of the lake’s water flows into a desert, where it will either evaporate or be absorbed into the ground. How would you stop that?”
“Dam the flow?” Tilting my head and giving it some thought, I asked him a question back.
“Pfft…it’s not that simple.”
My memories came to an abrupt stop as a knock at my door called me back to reality.
Those must be today’s aid-seekers, I mused as I opened the door and greeted a couple.
III. The Usual Misfortune
“I apologize, but I’m just a food soul who can see misfortune…”
After hearing the couple out, I sighed, repeating the stock phrase I’ve uttered so many times before.
Their daughter had been murdered by a bandit who slipped into the city. The authorities had been searching for the bandit for days to no avail.
“...Not a bounty hunter.”
“To us, the fate that befell our daughter is the most hellish of misfortunes.” The man suddenly spoke, standing up and giving me a deep bow.
“I beg you.”
“...I suppose I could give it a try.” The tone of his voice and his earnest nature made me cave.
“Don’t get your hopes up.”
Shaking my head, I used my soul power. The world in front of me changed once more.
Faint black smoke drifted in front of me, so thin it could dissipate at any moment.
As they’re only a bystander in their daughter’s incident, getting the whole picture from this couple will be a challenge.
After a long while, I let the soul power leave my eyes. My eyes closed as I rubbed my temples.
“The culprit should still be in the city.” I told them what I saw. “Somewhere in the east.”
The couple shared a glance before they each gave me a deep bow.
Amidst thanks after thanks, I sent them off.
“Though you said not to, I would like to try anyways.”
My gaze once again rested on the portrait.
“I still blame myself for not being able to change your fate.
I want to prove you wrong.
Even though you’ve never been wrong…”
I sighed. Something stirred in me once again.
I got up to greet the next seeker.
Clang, clang, clang.
Accompanied by the quick, sharp clamor of metal, a knight ran past me.
The city has been like this ever since I advised that couple yesterday.
More and more soldiers have been on patrol.
“Have they still not found them?” The thought crossed my mind before I shrugged it off.
I was used to seeing misfortune. This was but another case among the rest.
It’s not as though it had anything to do with me. I had no cause for concern.
Thinking about what to make for dinner, I casually headed home, grocery basket in hand.
IV. His Warning
Several days passed. One morning, I greeted yet another “special” seeker.
A black robe covered this visitor from head to toe. His face was nearly completely covered in bandages.
His mannerisms betrayed a disquieting panic.
“Before you speak, you must calm down a little.” Having met many in my time doing this, my first reaction was to calm him down. One must be calm if they are to describe their problems in a concise manner.
“Haugh…” After a long sigh, he seemed to settle down.
“They’re out for my blood. I need your help.” His black robe shook. It seemed as though the man was doing his best to suppress his raging emotions.
“Is there any way for me to get out of this mess?”
“Let me see…” My soul power shifted as I furrowed my brow.
I dislike situations where conflict is involved, for there is a high chance I’ll end up getting involved.
But I cannot simply leave him for dead either.
Ten past the hour, I let the soul power leave my eyes and rubbed my temples.
“You are in a dire situation. Dead ends shall greet you at almost every corner you turn.
However, those you fear congregate in the eastside.”
“Thank you.” The visitor tossed me a pouch of coins and fled without so much as a glance back.
Before I could refuse the money, he had already disappeared from my sight.
As I stared after him, a queer feeling emerged in my gut.
But it fell to the back of my mind soon after.
Three days later, the couple from the day before came to me bearing news.
The wandering thief who had killed a young girl in cold blood had escaped through the north city gates.
A witness stated he “was but a blur.” It was hard to tell what he was doing under all that black. His face, wrapped in layer after layer of pasty bandages, made it difficult for the soldiers to identify him at first.
I froze, as though I had been struck by lightning.
As I stared at the furious faces of the couple in front of me, I did not know what to say or do.
They did not lose their temper. After a cold explanation of what had transpired, they merely turned and left.
As I watched their backs shrink into the distance, for some odd reason, the continuation of a certain memory resurfaced in my mind.
“...It’s not that simple.
The flow of the river is all connected, just like the misfortune you see. Lonely misfortunes are few and far between. When you dam the flow, you may have fulfilled the wishes of that particular stream of water, but what about the others?
It’s hard to explain. I’d say to just stay out of it all.”
I felt my fist tighten.
“Misfortune is all connected…
The flow of the river knows not good or evil. Neither does misfortune. But the same cannot be said for humans.
I may be able to avert what misfortune brings, but I cannot predict what will happen. The more I change it, the messier it will get...right?”
I lifted my head to meet the portrait’s gaze. For the first time ever, I spoke what I’d been wondering all along.
“Is that why you forbade me from changing your fate?”
V. Double-Ninth Cake
Somewhere in the Light Kingdom lived a renowned food soul by the name of Double-Ninth Cake.
Double-Ninth Cake had a pair of eyes that could see the strands of fate.
She was famed not just for her abilities and her counsel, but in that she never refused a single soul seeking her aid
Double-Ninth Cake was once a playful, mischievous girl, until the day she watched her Master Attendant die. Plagued by the pain of her loss, her disposition underwent a drastic change. She became more and more aloof with each passing day.
To compensate for the guilt of not being able to save her Master Attendant, she announced her ability to the public and agreed to help anyone who sought out her aid.
When word got out, visitors came in droves.
Anyone would think this would forever be Double-Ninth Cake’s new normal.
However, those days came to an end.
For Double-Ninth Cake’s foresight missed the mark.
A murderer broke through the formation of soldiers she had arranged.
Double-Ninth Cake incurred the wrath of the public.
Though there were many she had helped who stood up for her, there were also those who took this chance to kick her while she was down. Not everyone would listen to reason, and not everyone stood up for her.
Most importantly, if one went purely off the end results, Double-Ninth Cake’s advice was indeed unsound.
She was chased out of the city she had called home for who knew how long.
Later, Double-Ninth Cake would embark on a quest to put that killer to justice.
With the help of two food souls she met on her journey, Double-Ninth Cake was able to fulfill her wish.
After handing the killer over to the victim’s parents, she simply turned and left
Many begged her to stay, but Double-Ninth Cake refused.
Some theorized that incident took away her faith in the world.
No one knew the true reason why Double-Ninth Cake took up a life of travelling.
“Your Master Attendant was a clever one. Back then, he probably said what he said because you were too young to truly understand.
What he really meant to say was that things like misfortune and fate--the things you cannot see but can feel--they’re just like the flow of a river.
You can dam it, thin it, but you cannot control it.
No matter how many times you change its flow, in the end, it’s still the river’s flow that decides its own destination.
Try to change it as you will, but at the end of the day no one will be able to tell where it will end up.
No need to ruminate over the past. Forgive yourself and have a gander at what’s out there. The more you see, the more you’ll understand.”
A fly whisk in one hand and a blade in the other, a male food soul in monk’s clothing rattled on as he sat in front of Double-Ninth Cake.
He had barely finished speaking when he suddenly broke his serious air with a wink and a nudge.
“I’m tellin’ ya, according to your fortune, as long as you leave that town and never look back, your luck will come around. This is a telling you won’t get anywhere else--seeing as you’re a friend, I’ll only charge ya a couple of silvers! Whaddaya say? Just a couple of...Ow! What’re you pinching me for, Osmanthus?”
Double-Ninth Cake silently repeated what he told her in confusion as she watched the two of them start arguing. Thinking back to what her Master Attendant had told her, she decided she would travel.