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Rice (SP)
Sprite-Rice (SP)


Fondness Story

Long Bao Chibi 1 This story has not been released yet! More details will be added once it has.
I.
Background Music
Story BGM-Dawn
My name is Rice and, I'm a useless Food Soul. No matter how hard I try and try, It's still...
Story Bg-106
Portrait-Rice
Rice
MASTER ATTENDANT, WATCH OUT !!!!

Ugh!!

Portrait-Master Attendant
Master Attendant
RICE?!
.................

.........

......

Portrait-Master Attendant
Master Attendant
RICE?!
.................

.........

......

Portrait-Rice
Rice
(And its like this again.......)
As I saw that collapsing boulder crashing straight toward us, I was only fast enough to use my body to protect Master Attendant. During then, the first thought that came to my mind was this disappointment.
Portrait-Master Attendant
Master Attendant
Rice, are you alright!
I heard Master Attendant's anxious calls. I wanted to reply, but in that brief moment, I didn't even have the strength to open my mouth.
Portrait-Master Attendant
Master Attendant
Don't be afraid, RIce. I'll get you out of here!
I felt myself being carried by warm arms. It's Master Attendant's familiar and comforting scent.

If this was like any other ordinary day, I wouldn't be able to contain my giggles with this kind of embrace. But the present me, instead tightly closed my eyes, not wanting to let any tears fall.

Portrait-Rice
Rice
(Already, it isn't, the time to cry.)
Master Attendant ran, carrying me to hide below a boulder. My shoulder's injuries were given prompt treatment.

I looked out, and saw that the outside world had already been overtaken by Fallen Angels. All around, there were black shadows, covetously seeking us.

Portrait-Rice
Rice
Master Attendant...quickly go...don't worry about me...
Portrait-Master Attendant
Master Attendant
No, I'll definitely won't abandon you!
Portrait-Rice
Rice
But there's...too many...Fallen Angels...
Portrait-Master Attendant
Master Attendant
Don't worry, I have a plan.
Master Attendant consoled me, forcing a smile as they wiped away the dust on my face.
Portrait-Rice
Rice
Master Attendant....what are you planning?
Master Attendant strenuously moved the boulder, creating a safe space around me. And then, they picked up several stone fragments and put them into their pocket. Suddenly, I had a bad feeling about this.
Portrait-Master Attendant
Master Attendant
Rice, first, I'll selfishly hide you here. Take note, wait a moment for those Fallen Angels to move further away, and then go and find Peking Duck and the others, they'll protect you.
Portrait-Rice
Rice
...No...NO! COME BACK! COME BACK MASTER ATTENDANT!!
MASTER ATTENDANT --!!!!!

I shouted with all my might, but Master Attendant still rushed out without hesitation. Those Fallen Angels quickly shifted their attention and one by one, they changed the direction of their attacks.

I couldn't move due to my shoulder's injuries, all I could do was unconsciously bite my lips, and look and look with my wide opened eyes.

Looking at the collapsing ground blocking Master Attendant from their escape route.

Looking at those accursed Fallen Angels heading towards Master Attendant, ready to strike.

Looking at the chaotic dust and smoke covering my vision.

Portrait-Rice
Rice
(Is this the end?)

(Although I was already determined to...although, I've already swore to...although, I've told myself to definitely stay strong, to definitely protect Master Attendant...)

(After all, I am still unable to do anything?)

If so, God, why, did you bestow me life as a Food Soul?!

My heart could no longer take the pain that was rearing up. An unprecedented feeling of grief spread throughout my body.

And at this moment, I heard a voice.

Background Music
Story BGM-Fate
Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
My spirit, don't weep. As illusion and reality are at equilibrium in this world, are you willing to reset the order of time as an empty vessel?
Portrait-Rice
Rice
Reset, time? Are you saying, there is a way to return back to a time where all this disaster has not yet occurred?

If I can prevent all of this, then no matter what, let me, achieve something...I beg of thee!

Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
...My spirit, from now on, you shall share the same dream as everything in this world. You will not have anything in possession, and neither will you be dead or alive.
Portrait-Rice
Rice
……………………

Neither dead...or alive...?

Suddenly, all sounds receded like a wave. I could no longer hear my voice.

I felt as if I've grown taller.

I've become as tall as Master Attendant.

I've become as tall as a tree.

I've become as tall as a rooftop, a mountain and the sky...

Story Bg-172
I opened my eyes anew and the world before me, was different.
Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
So this is...the power of time reset?
II.
Story Bg-87
Background Music
Story BGM-Dawn
This place looks like a temple.

From a strangle angle, I looked at myself and the extremely upset young man standing in the shadows below the terrace.

Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
My spirit, why have you caught yourself in your own trap.
Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
My god, your people are pleading with you. I'm willing to pay any price in exchange for Arfia's life!
Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
Arfia is already no more.
Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
You are an unparalleled god, so please, have mercy and let her return to my side!
Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
The time you had with her around has already ended. Arfia now belongs to an eternal past.
Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
As long as you agree, you'll be able to grant her the chance to reborn!
Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
My spirit, what conditions to you have to bargain with me?
Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
I'm willing to offer everything I have!
Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
Please look back. Regardless of whether it's you, Arfia, or all of Tierra, they all belong to me.
Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
Your everything?

............

No, just as how I love you, the same can be said for Arfia.

Because I love and respect you, I'm willing to offer everything I have. And because I love Arfia, I'm more than happy to offer and return everything that belongs to you just for her. That's why, I don't belong to anybody. My existence and choice, is mine.

Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
My spirit, your heart has already been clouded. But I forgive you for your arrogance, because your mistake is my mistake and your malicious intentions are also mine.

Leave at once.

Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
............
The young man didn't say anything else and hid within the darkness.
Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
...Why has my spirit repeatedly wandered off the purity of eternity...I shall summon the Wheel Of Time And Space and fix the world and my mistakes.
...I don't know how much time has passed.

Until the darkness that veiled my eyes was broken open by the spinning of the ground and sky.

Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
I WON'T LET YOU RESTART THE WORLD!
When I opened my eyes, I merely saw the back of the young man as he ran away.
Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
What just happened?
Story Bg-164
I was taken aback as my field of vision changed once more. That young man had something sparkling in his hands. It was as if I was being dragged by an invisible string and I flew away into the open air.

The spectacle before me continuously changed: white snowflakes fell, patches of flowers wilted, waterfalls seeped into the ocean, seas froze into ice, whales jumped into the sky...

Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
The people of the land are weeping. The Wheel Of Space And Time has left its original spot, the world has became chaotic.
III.
Story Bg-19
Background Music
Story BGM-Strange

When I awoke once more, the spectacle before me had changed yet again.

Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice

( It’s a little cold here, and a little dark... )

( It feels as though I've reached a certain place somewhere underground... )

Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
Hey——You!
Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
Eh? You're able to see me?
Portrait-NPC Male 12
???

Can you hear me? Can you?

Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
......
Portrait-NPC Male 12
???

Hahahaha! I’ve probably gone mad, thinking that the Wheel of Time and Space would actually have its own consciousness!

The young man before me was leaning in the corner atop of a boulder, his laughter echoing in the darkness.

Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice

( Turns out he’s only talking to himself... However, for him to say that, it seems that I'm attached to the Wheel of Time and Space. )

( But, what exactly is the Wheel of Time and Space? )

Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
After all ——

The young man suddenly leaned forward, startling me.

Portrait-NPC Male 12
???

Although you are the most powerful artifact of this world, you’re only but a tool that'll just be used.

Hmph, without consciousness of your own, even if you have the ability to reverse time and space... You’re not even considered alive... Tell me!

Why —— our world!! To be controlled by a thing like you huh!!

He grabbed me in between his hands, his teeth gritting as he asked angrily.

The distance between us was very close, I could even see the veins around his flushed red neck, his bloodshot eyes. I'm not sure why, his features were hazy under a veil of dark mist.

I felt that his voice and eyes were a bit familiar somehow, but I can’t seem to remember who he resembled.

He was very angry, so much so that his hands trembled from rage as he grabbed me, and it seems that he’ll throw me to the ground at any second.

Strangely, I wasn’t afraid, rather, I even felt a sudden rush of sadness.

Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice

Can you, try not to be, sad?

Although I knew he wouldn’t hear me, I couldn’t help but say it nevertheless.

Unexpectedly, a moment later, his anger filled eyes flickered for a second.

Letting go of me, I levitated by his side once again. He covered his face, curled up like a child, and from the animal-like wailing sounds, I faintly heard a few syllables.

Portrait-NPC Male 12
???

Arfia....

Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
......
Portrait-Unknown
Elf A

Hey hey, are you certain that this is the underground palace where the evil god lives? Didn’t you say that demons gathered here? How come there’s not even a single ghost in sight?

Portrait-Unknown
Elf B

Shh —— quiet down! The Wheel of Time and Space is in his hands, how could he not take any precautions? Be careful of an ambush.

Portrait-Unknown
Elf C
 Hmph, what’s there to be afraid of? There's so many of us. Besides, the God of Beginnings is on our side! Even if the evil god had wings attached, there'll be no escape!

The young man was listening to the distant echoes from outside the cave, suddenly let out a sneer.

Portrait-NPC Male 12
???

Tell me, if they knew the truth, that it was God himself who wants to restart the world, would they still be this relentless?

I lifted my head and looked at him calmly, as if the person who broke down moments ago wasn't him.

Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
It wouldn't even matter. It's just an excuse anyways.

This world needs an evil god. I just so happened to appear at the right time, that’s all there is.

Say, your master, did he had everything planned out?

He laughed lowly.

Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
...But still, you shouldn't underestimate me...
Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
( What...are you going to do? )

The young man stood up from the boulder, holding me in his palms, heading outside.

Portrait-NPC Male 12
???

Since I've been given this kind of role, then... I should play my part with him till the end.

IV.
Story Bg-16
Background Music
Story BGM-Fate
战争,诸神之间的战争。

我没见过的,却又似曾相识的面庞不断闪现在我面前,他们攻打的正是我身边的他——夺走这个世界的时空之轮的邪神。

Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
他们打不过你,你要赢了。
Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
真正的决斗还没开始呢。
Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
咦?
Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
……该死,为什么我总是觉得你在说话?
Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
嗯……
Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
你真的有意识吗?如果有的话,能不能把肇始之神叫出来?我已经等她很久了。
Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
我不是……
Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
算了,如果你知道这个世界究竟发生了什么,也不会留在我这里帮我了。
Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
......
他说得没错,我的确不知道现在发生的这一切算是怎么回事。

究竟谁是对的,谁是错的呢?别说这个,甚至我连自己为什么在这里都不明白。

我唯一的想法是,如果,没有这场战争,就好了。

如果没有战争,就不会有死亡,不会有害怕,不会有悲伤。所有人一起开开心心地生活着该有多好呢?

但是战争已经开始了,所以总要有一种结束的方式。

Story Bg-17
肇始之神终于降临的那一天,年轻人正带着我坐在一处滚着岩浆的,炙热的旷野中央,他在试图利用我的力量,在这一片因时空紊乱而冒着地火的平原上降下一场暴雨,让这里变成重新可以居住的地方。

这是一件好事,我很想帮到他,但是,我们之间实在是太没有默契了。

Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
可恶——又错了!
Story Bg-164
看着从我们脚下迅速延伸开的冰层,他将落了满头满脸的雪花甩走,瞪了我一眼。

像刀一样好像有实质性的目光落在我身上,如果我现在可以自由活动,应该已经赶紧躲得远远的了。

Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
对,对不起……
但是我现在在他看来只是一个除了乱放技能之外,只会在半空中无聊自转的倒霉神器而已。

他当然没有理会听不见的道歉,而是低下头焦躁地重新研究改变气候的魔法阵。

然而风暴就在这时候到来了。

Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
!!!
Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
吾灵……"
眼前的人和我有着相同的容貌。那不是我,却是我的样子,这个认知让我别扭极了。
Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
………终于来了。
Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
你扰乱了吾的花园,它此时应该已经翻出了新的叶芽,但你却让旧土里无用的荆棘肆意生长,因此你将背负永远的罪,被吾无限流放。
Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
哈哈哈哈,真可笑啊!

流、放……就因为你创造了我,创造了这个世界,就可以将我们当做花草肆意安排吗??

况且就算花草,也有选择要不要活下去的权利吧???

Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
吾必将收回一切给予你的智识与力量。
Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
……给我了,就是我的。

你想要拿回去?那就各凭本事吧!

V.
Story Bg-164
Background Music
Story BGM-Opera
大雪下了好久好久。

我不知道该怎么让它停下,因为写出那个魔法阵的人已经倒下了。

而我只是一个神器而已,没有人管,就什么用就没有。

Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
又是这种……无能为力的感觉啊……不喜欢……

嗯?可是,为什么 我要说“又”呢?

总觉得忘记了什么事情……

不知道是不是因为这里太冷了,我的意识也渐渐被冻僵,我对周遭的反应变得十分迟钝。

恍惚间,一只手托住了我。

Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
荆棘已经除去,未来的树,要从你这里结第一颗种。
Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
咦,是在,和我说话吗?
Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
你之所想,即我所思。
Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
…………我不明白。
Story Bg-11
她没有再说话,而是带着我离开了雪地。

我们越飞越高,我往下看去,看见原来的平地不知何时已经升做高原,那片原本是岩浆的地方,现在伫立着八座披着皑皑白雪的雪浪一样高的山峰。

我又想起了那个在热浪里思索着修改魔法阵的年轻人。他消失的时候,似乎什么愿望都没有实现。

他没有等到可以熄灭火焰的降雨。

他没有找回让他悲泣的爱尔芙。

他没有赢得他的决斗。

他没有……

Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
世界重启。
Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
…………什么?等等……!!!!!
我越飞越高,恍惚间,一切声息自我耳边退去,
Story Bg-173
我看见宇宙里,有一颗鱼形的星星正围绕着两颗恒星有条不紊地游动着,忽然,它停下了前进,开始逆行——————

有些熟悉的情景像是重复了一千遍一万遍,开始放映。

我看见年轻人倒下前,睁着眼流下了一滴泪…………

我看见岩浆之下,被魔法阵保护着的人们,正在数着日子,等待天灾结束,重返家园…………

我看见有一片大陆被大海倾覆,半个缇尔菈世界沉没在海水之中…………

Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
……可是……他没有……他们还没有……………………!!
Portrait-NPC Male 12
???
——虽然你是这个世界最厉害的神器,但是你也不过是一个被利用的工具而已。

——哼,没有自己的意识,就算有扭转时空的本事……连活着都不算……你说!

凭什么!!!我们的世界!!要、被、你、这、种、东、西、控、制啊!!!!

Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
——没有得到过,“自由”啊!
…………………

……………

………逆行,停止了。

我听见一声叹息。

Background Music
Story BGM-Fate
Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
肇始之神?
Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
无论多少次重来,你还是做了这样的选择。

即使这片旧土已经长出了诸多欲望和恶果,你却总是选择让他们继续生长。

Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
是我,停下了重启?我以为……我只是一个执行命令的神器。
Portrait-Unknown
The God of Beginnings
你之所想,即我所思……反之亦同。

吾灵,我等待你的……下一次选择。

Portrait-Rice (SP)
Rice
…………诶?
Story Bg-108
希雷纳 – 餐厅
Portrait-Master Attendant
Master Attendant
米饭?米饭?
Portrait-Rice
Rice
嗯?嗯?
Portrait-Master Attendant
Master Attendant
你在镜子前发呆什么?
Portrait-Rice
Rice
嗯……

刚才好像,看见了,自己,变成,大人以后的样子……

Portrait-Master Attendant
Master Attendant
啊?

啊,哈哈哈,原来我们米饭也开始在意自己的形象了呀~

Portrait-Rice
Rice
诶诶?
Portrait-Master Attendant
Master Attendant
我想,如果米饭长大了,一定会非常漂亮!

不过我们米饭,就算一直是小朋友,也没有关系哦!

Master Attendant 牵起米饭的手,带她出门了。

阳光从空无一人的镜子上折射过,在窗上投射出的影影绰绰,像极了星空之中,一尾游荡的鱼……

UR

A - S

 
Select UR Backstory
 
Apple Pie
Sprite-Apple Pie
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by T.B.Yonat. Official translations will be added when they become available.

I. Little Guitar

Going for a walk in the forest, I came upon a group of people. They surrounded someone who claimed to be a travelling singer from an island, and they used the guitar in their hands to play beautiful melodies, gently singing.

When I regained my senses, I found myself hiding behind the tree, holding my hands on my chest. I didn't know why I had this expression of enjoyment. The song was already finished and the people have dispersed. But I couldn't forget the feeling of the strummed strings.

"What a beautiful melody! I want to hear it again!"

But that traveling singer is already gone. They were always wandering around; it wasn't easy to find them.

If I had some friends, I'll definitely talk with them about how regretful I felt about encountering something I like but can’t enjoy again.

I have no more interest in going for a walk. I sat down where the traveling singer had just sung. I put both of my hands in the air and began to imagine how they played that guitar.

“EH!!!”

Looking at my hands fiddling in the air, my heart suddenly had an idea - if I could play it myself, couldn’t I listen to it every day?

This strange idea swept away the regrets from just now. I always had nothing to do, so I immediately made up my mind. I began to count on my fingers to calculate the songs I could learn to write or sing myself. I was born with a nice human body- it’d be a waste if I didn’t use it!

But the biggest problem is the guitar.

"Guitar, huh? If I have to buy it, then I can go to any music store. But the biggest issue is..."

It's money...

I don't have to worry about money since I don't eat anything, but now, it’s become a big problem. I was so excited to learn how to play and sing like a travelling singer, but now, almost gave up halfway through.

Until I passed a small town, and my attention was drawn to something small and cyan.

“It’s a guitar!”

It was buried under a pile of abandoned old furniture. Although only a small part was visible, it was clearly the strings of a guitar.

I dug it out from the pile of furniture and wiped it down a little bit. Then, I compared it with my body. It matched with my height. It was a very cute little guitar. As long as the tone’s good, it’s perfect.

I gently plucked the strings.

“SNAP!”

The guitar’s neck suddenly broke. Its body also rose into the air. There were only a few strings that connected from top to bottom.

II. Mr. Drunkard

No wonder it was thrown into the pile of abandoned furniture. Now I know what's going on – this is a broken little guitar.

I really don't know how the original owner treated it for it to break. But right now, I can’t play this thing, unless I find someone who can fix it.

In order to prevent the little guitar from losing any parts, I carefully wrapped it with a picnic cloth and held it in my arms. Now I need to find someone who can fix this thing.

The truth is, after asking around everywhere, I found a guitar crafter who claimed he was able to repair the guitar. But he didn't look as reliable as he was supposed to be. And... he reeked of alcohol.

"Hic…huh? You said you want to fix the guitar?"

"...You, can you really fix it?"

"Funny, is there a thing I can't fix? The question is, how much do you plan to pay?"

Sure enough, there’s no free lunches in this world.

"No… none...

What--?"

"I have no money......"

My voice was so soft that I can't even hear it. But Mr. Craftsman seemed to hear it very clearly.

"Do you think I’m a servant who can freely serve you? No money, no repair. Beat it, now!"

"Please, please help me. This guitar is very small. It shouldn’t be too troublesome to repair it… probably."

"Tch, I really don't know how a Food Soul like you loves strumming the guitar so much. I wanna help you because of your lovely looks, but I won’t do it if there’s no reward."

He grabbed his messy and greasy hair as if he’d just thought of something.

"Well, if you can give me good wine to drink, then I’ll help you."

"Huh?"

"Do you know the nearby town’s winery? It is a good place to brew gin. If I can go there and get some good drink, repairing hundred guitars for you won’t be a problem, but... I heard that they’re worried about the Fallen Angel that suddenly appeared. If you can solve this, they will surely give good gin as a thank you gift."

"Is that the case... Wait… You mean, you want me to?"

"Ain’t you a Food Soul? Wiping out the Fallen Angel is an easy job for you. If you solve this, I‘ll have an endless supply of booze to drink, and of course, your guitar!"

III. Impostor Attendant

I’ve never heard about eliminating a Fallen Angel in exchange for liquor from a winery. And then use it for the repairing fee...

Before the owner of the winery arrived, Mr. Craftsman and I sat in the reception room and waited. I lifted the picnic cloth a little and stroked the dirty guitar...

"If there really is something that’s made me decide to challenge a Fallen Angel, then it must be you! My little baby!"

Finally, the owner came to the reception room. He said he originally wanted to go to the Chef Union and hire a professional Cooking Attendant to deal with this.

"But… If I knew that there was a Cooking Attendant in town, then I don’t have to trouble myself and run around anymore!"

The owner seems to have misunderstood something.

"Thank you, but we're not..."

I just wanted to explain. But I was immediately held down by the guitar craftsman.

"Hey, don’t reveal your identity for now. Help first, then you can explain it later."

"What? What!"

The owner didn't seem surprised at seeing me growing mad. Instead, he continued to inquire this drunkard, posing as my Master Attendant.

"It happened so suddenly. That Fallen Angel’s now occupying the underground cellar. My workers couldn’t flee in time and no one knows what will happen now. Can you still manage this?"

"Don't worry, my Food Soul is a girl who can solve anything~!"

I hope that your conscience hurt when you patted your chest and promised that…

"That's great. Within these 2 days, my customers’ orders have been delayed; we can’t drag on anymore. I’ll take you to the underground cellar!”

So, this fake attendant took me, the Food Soul who didn’t belong to him, to the underground wine cellar with the owner of the winery.

"I’ll leave whatever’s behind there to you guys!"

The owner opened the door and politely invited us inside. Then, tightly shut the door behind us.

"Ah? I need to come too?"

"This is part of the job of a Cooking Attendant too!”

Looking at his panicked appearance, I feel like I got a little bit of revenge. But it seems that this "Master Attendant" still felt the need to show some "backbone."

"Looking down on me now? Back in my heyday, I’ve eaten so many things, seen so many people; this little thing is… hmph...!"

Suddenly, there was a loud noise in the underground cellar.

“Thump! Thump! Growl!!!”

I was shocked. But when I looked back, "Master Attendant" had already sneaked into an empty barrel, trembling inside of it.

“This kind of behavior can make anybody look down on you.”

I don't care about him anymore. I followed the sound and fumbled forward.

The wine cellar was very dark. The oil lamp, originally hanging at the door, had a weak flame from burning so long. Its dim light only let me barely see a small ladder.

When the last glimmer of light slowly faded away, I came to a room that seemed to be empty.

Then, with the sound of heavy breathing, I can almost predict how terrible the next battle will be. I clearly don't have this kind of experience.

“Uwaaaa!! Who’s there?”

The slightly hoarse voice sounded drunk. Was is the Fallen Angel who just talked? Just as I hesitated in my answer, an oil lamp in the other side of the room was lit up. It was a person with white hair and red horns; it wore a smirking face as it sat upon a stack of barrels. Perhaps calling it a Fallen Angel is better.

IV. Songstress of the Future

"Ahahaha! Lucky me! I’m Aizen, you wanna drink?" This Fallen Angel, who’d caused all this trouble to the winery’s owner, was now introducing itself and inviting me to join its private cocktail party. But...

"This isn’t right? Why are you here?"

"Why? Obviously because there’s good liquor here. I’ve had a hard journey from a faraway place. It’s not easy to find a place like this. I won’t quit my drinking until I’ve had enough!"

It seems this guy is enjoying its discovery. But that brings trouble to the owner. Fortunately, it seems to be a talkative Fallen Angel. Maybe I can persuade it to stop.

“What? You want me to leave?”

"I’m really not a fighting expert. But I have to do this to help the winery’s owner. Please, I’m begging you!"

"Ah? Based on what I heard from you, can you find me a place with more wine?"

"I can’t...but if you need something, then I’ll try my best. As long as I can do it!"

“Give me some wine.”

"...why do all of the people I meet love drinking so much! Do you have nothing else to do but this?"

"Oh ho, what you say is very interesting. What I seek is, of course, to always keep on drinking. Besides, what else can you give me to pursue other than this? Do you have it?"

"Me...? Uh… I want to be a singer. That's why I came..."

"Singer? Is it a person who can drink without worry?"

"It isn't!"

I don’t know why- when I mentioned the singer, I couldn’t help but start talking about my dream with this Fallen Angel. From how I suddenly had this whimsical dream to why I worked hard because of that. For a time, I forgot that I came here to chase this guy away, not chat with it.

"Singer, huh? How powerful is it?"

"Know that singing is a voice that can pierce people’s hearts. I dare say that even if you just listen, you’ll definitely understand that feeling!"

"Oh? Then can you sing a song for me?"

"Huh?"

Aizen’s sudden proposal stunned me.

"I said I want you to sing a song for me. Let me hear it. If it’s good as you said, then I’ll agree to leave. How’s that?"

Singing... Of course, I can. But I don’t have a little guitar with me now. Will it work if I just sing?

Looking at Aizen’s expectant expression, I finally decided to give it a try. Although this is my first time singing, as long as I can sing like the traveling singer, it definitely won’t be a problem!

"Spring, spring is coming~ flowers are blooming~ birds are flying happily~ rivers, rivers... la la la la la la la la la ~".

I clapped my hands to the rhythm and tried to remember the way the traveling singer sang. Although it didn't feel right, it was my first time. It’s not bad that I can sing like this... maybe…

I comforted myself a lot. Then I secretly took a peek at Aizen. It just quietly stared as I sang. In the end, my voice got softer and softer, because I didn't really know how to continue singing.

"H… how is it?"

I put my hand down and waited for Aizen’s reaction. For a while, it was silently rubbing its chin.

"Finished already?"

"Yep!"

"Well... just like you said, it seems like there’s a bit of feeling... but it’s quite fun to watch you sing!"

"Fun? You should say it’s ‘pleasant’ to listen to!"

"Hey - looking at how hard you’ve worked, I was too embarrassed to say no. Anyways, now that I’ve had enough booze, I’ll find a new place to sleep.”

"Really!?"

Aizen confirmed. Then, it slammed the ceiling with its drunken body and immediately drilled out, disappearing in no time.

“…you should at least use the door.”

Anyways, I succeeded. The noise created by Aizen down in the wine cellar when it left shocked the winery’s owner. After they found out that the wine cellar was now completely safe, he was really overjoyed and thanked me many times.

After all, in their opinion, I used brute force to defeat the Fallen Angel.

Even the guitar craftsman now looked at me with different eyes. He received a reward from the owner as my "Master Attendant," and was invited to go to the winery and have a good drink. Of course, before this, he promised to fix my little guitar. In this way, I can really sing and perform like a traveling singer!

V. Apple Pie

“Master Attendant! Mas-Ter-At-Ten-Dant!” A small figure, wearing a straw hat and holding a cute little guitar, looked everywhere in the restaurant.

"Really, why do you want to hide from me? I worked so hard to write a song for you. Is this how little you appreciate?"

This little girl shouted out her questions. But the restaurant was still quiet.

"...sigh. Hey, how did someone drop a hundred gold coin here?"

"Oh, that's mine!"

The one suddenly popping out from the counter and claiming the coin was the Cooking Attendant the little girl had been looking for.

“Oh, Master Attendant! You finally want to hear my singing now?”

"No, no, Apple Pie. You misunderstood me- I came here to find my money.”

“What? Is there anything bad in my song?”

“Bad or not, have you ever asked someone else?”

"Let me tell you this. My voice can even vanquish the Fallen Angel from before. And there’s a guitar maker who appreciates it!"

"Yes, using it to deal with the Fallen Angel is good... What about the guitar craftsman? What did he say after listening to it?"

"After that? Well, he quickly escaped. I don't know where he went...Why are you asking these kinds of things? Come here, take a seat.”

Apple Pie brought out a picnic cloth and made it into a rope shape. She forcefully tied her Master Attendant and pinned him to the stool.

"Come and appreciate the new song I created for you, Master Attendant. I named it, 'The Soul-Piercing Melody'!"

“NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

B-52
Sprite-B-52
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by Asureiko. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. Startup

Contract invalid. Connection failed.

Confirming cessation of Master Attendant’s vitals. Reason: unknown.

Confirming Master Attendant’s position: error.

Startup negated.


There was a time when I wouldn’t go anywhere or do anything without an order from Master Attendant.

I’d stay on standby, waiting for him to start an operation.

I didn’t need to think, nor did I need to stress.

But at that moment, my slain Master Attendant no longer told me what I needed to do.

This was a bit of a hassle for me.

My mechanical body lags and creaks if I don’t move for a while.

I didn’t know what to do next. To me, there was no need for a machine to act on its own.

I was still a machine back then.

And machines need to be activated before they can start working.

I heard an unfamiliar voice and a flurry of footsteps draw near.

“Yep. Find the safe and take the gem."

The owner of that voice noticed me and approached me.

“Oh? What’s this?"

He was a red-haired, lavishly dressed Food Soul. His human companion, on the other hand, was dressed like a thief.

"Oh, that’s his Food Soul. He hardly talks to others and only listens to his Master Attendant. Now that his Master Attendant is dead, he’s just a pile of scrap metal."

"You sure know a lot. If I hadn't known you were a thief, I’d have thought you were a detective."

"Thanks for the compliment-- I got it, let's go."

I stared at him, motionless.

He reached out and touched my arm, my face, my eyepatch, and my mechanical wings.

My eyes followed his hand, but every other part of my body stayed still.

"Wait. I want to take him with us."

He lowered his hand and sized me up, interested.

"Now that his owner is dead, I wonder: is he a scrap machine, or a wonderful toy? -- Sit, Food Soul."


Command received. Source: Food Soul.

Confirm command: ‘sit’.

Target action retrieved. Execute.


Even though that person wasn’t my Master Attendant, he gave me an order. I sat down obediently.

He gave me a few more commands, such as lie down, stand up, turn around, and jump.

After making sure I’d follow through with each one, he gave one that made the thief watching in amusement go pale.

--Kill his thief companion and hand the Azure Stone over.

As he escaped, the thief spat curses at Spaghetti for betraying him while begging me to spare him.

But I’ve already been ordered to kill him.

I don’t get to choose between conflicting commands. The first command always takes priority. And the first command was given by that red-haired Food Soul.

I killed the thief and gave him the gem.

His excitement was reminiscent of a child on Christmas Eve, but with a dash of lunacy in the mix.

"Hahahaha, what a good toy! Tell me your name and come with me. I’ll be sure to make the best use out of you!"

Amidst his disturbing laughter, I calmly stated my name.

"I am...B-52."

II. Change

My body...is lagging. My arms and wings can’t function properly.

My nimble opponent covered up his tracks so well, there were times I couldn’t detect his oncoming sneak attack. By the time I spun around to defend myself, it was too late.

My mechanical wings creaked in protest as I flew. I gave up on flying and chose to walk back to the villa Spaghetti --the red-haired Food Soul who took me away-- lived in.

In the hustle of this prosperous town, no one will pay attention to me and my lag.

The sound of a carriage approaching in the distance immediately dispersed the crowd on the street, leaving me and a little girl who tripped in the middle of the road.

"Save her! Won’t somebody save her?"

A voice cried out for help.

Before I'd realized it, I spread my wings and flew to the girl in the middle of the road, carrying her into the air. Without an order.

The carriage barely passed under our feet.

The danger had passed, but it was then my barely-functioning mechanical wings stopped functioning altogether. I hugged the girl as we fell.

Judging that the girl in my arms took priority, I leaned back and let myself cushion her fall.

The impact made my vision flash white. My blue flames dissipated and my right arm dropped to the ground limply.


Decision confirmation--why save her?

Searching for command… Command = false.


--I have to save her.

After I heard that cry, my body broke through the system’s control.

"...-san, Nii-san!"

Something pulled me back to reality. A tender voice echoed in my ear.

"Nii-san, are you okay?"

"...I’m fine."

The girl climbed off of me. I pushed off the ground and slowly got up, trying to move my mechanical wings. They creaked in protest again.

"Thank you, Nii-san... Are your wings broken?"

The girl clutched my broken right arm and looked up at me.

"Nii-san’s wings look just like those clocks Papa makes...Nii-san, why don’t you let Papa fix it for you!”

As things stand, I won’t have enough strength to defend myself if I run into something on the way back.

I just saved her. She said that she can help me repair my parts.

It can’t hurt to try.

"Nii-san?"

"Alright, take me there."

III. Dreams and Reality

The girl took me to her house.

Her father was a well-known clocksmith in town. He thought the reason my mechanical wing was malfunctioning was because saving his daughter piled even more damage onto it, already near-broken. He was exuberant, although I didn’t know if it was out of gratitude to me or if it was out of interest in my mechanical wings.

I sat on a chair and silently waited for the clocksmith to replace the damaged parts.

"Nii-san, your wings look really broken. Doesn't it hurt?"

"No."

"Really? Nii-san is just like a clock. When he’s hurt, he can't feel it at all. Lucky! It always hurts when I trip and fall.”

"..."

The clocksmith’s voice rang out from behind me, breaking the silence caused by my aloofness.

"Stupid child. Living humans aren’t clocks. Of course it hurts. Nii-san is actually in a lot of pain,but he just doesn’t want to make you worried. That’s why he won’t admit it."

False. It’s just as that girl said. It doesn’t hurt.

How can a machine feel pain?

But I kept quiet.

The conversation continued, but my memory started to blur.

"Not everyone starts crying and wailing when they get a little scrape like you.”

"Hey! No fair, Papa! I don’t cry! I didn't shed a single tear when I tripped today!"

The girl jumped up and made a face at her father. I couldn’t hear what they said afterward, but they both laughed.

She pinched the corners of my mouth, trying to make me smile...

A shrill scream woke me up from my memories.

I was no longer in a shop full of clocks, but a beautifully decorated merchant's house. The bodies on the ground were still warm.

My task was to get rid of the merchant and bring the Azure Stone back to Nevras.

The merchant's wife had a Food Soul who wasn’t suited to battle.

However, they dealt a heavy blow to me before dissipating.

I didn't notice it while I was fighting. It was only when I caught the merchant's daughter that I realized my parts were broken.

She thought she could escape my killing spree by hiding under that bed.

I expected her to put up a fight, but she seemed to be afraid of my flames. Her stiff body was shivering.

I don't understand. Why would I remember something like that while carrying out my task?

Was it because of the terrified girl in front of me?

Or because I discovered my mechanical wings had failed again after I caught her?

There’s a force inside me stopping me from taking her life.

Perhaps it’s this same force that just decided to remind me of the past.

This never happened before. I was shaken.

Unable to make a decision, unable to move.

I didn’t chase the girl when she broke away from me.

Gazing in the direction she fled, I thought, "Spaghetti doesn’t need to know about this.”

The sizzling azure flames were out of control. I lost too much soul power. Fire, licking the rug, formed a circle around me.

A girl whose face I couldn’t make out appeared behind me. When I turned toward her, her face began morphing into those of others.

A man, a woman, an old lady, a kid...

Finally, it morphed into the face of that girl I saved. She clutched my arm.

“Nii-san, you can’t hurt because you’re not human.”

Then it morphed into my deceased Master Attendant. His voice was filled with disappointment.

“You’re not even a Food Soul. You’re just a war machine.”

No...I’m not...I want to be human, I want to feel pain, I WANT TO BE HUMAN!

I don't know what I’m screaming about, nor do I know why I’m struggling.

Something’s not right, but I can’t tell what.

Her face was still morphing. A mixture of voices lingered in my ear.

In this chaos, I heard a familiar roar.

- B-52...B-52 Cocktail! Wake the hell up!

IV. Answer

I woke up from my sleep. As soon as I opened my eyes and saw Spaghetti, I knew it was just a dream.

Why did I have that dream?

Why did I say something like that in that dream?

I didn’t know nor did I have time to think about it before Spaghetti exploded in anger.

"You dare disobey my orders! Do you have any idea of what you just did?!"

"..."

"Aren’t you going to explain why you let that girl go?!"

"..."

Spaghetti lifted his chin and peered at me with contempt.

"You’re my toy, and toys should listen to their owner’s orders! Unless you want to be abandoned and crushed like worthless garbage!"

What Spaghetti meant by “crushing” was death.

Death is the disappearance of biological activity.

Most people will experience great pain in the process of dying.

Pain...

Is that proof of being a "person"?

"Spaghetti, do you feel pain?"

"Hah? Trying to change the topic, are you?”

"No."

I watched Spaghetti get more and more impatient, yet the words that left my mouth put a surprised look on his face.

"I want to understand how humans feel. Death, pain..."

I wanted to confirm that I wasn’t a machine, but a living, breathing Food Soul. A conscious, human-- Food Soul.

A Food Soul who can feel pain, as the father of that girl said.

I couldn't describe the look on Spaghetti’s face, nor could I describe my uncertainty.

But that didn't stop me from speaking out about my doubts. I wanted to understand the feelings that told humans they were alive - including pain.

"You want to know? Okay, fine, then get crushed like worthless garbage!"

After Spaghetti left, I set off for the Catacombs.

He told me this was where I’d find my answer before he left.

The Catacombs are treacherous.

Battling with Fallen Angels is different from battling with Food Souls.

Fallen Angels obey their killing instinct without mercy or hesitation.

As they group up and fire attack after attack, my flames will run out sooner or later.

I’m almost certain that I will die there.

Outside the Catacombs, there was a Food Soul who tried to stop me from looking for certain death.

But I refused.

Only pain can give me the answer I need.

And pain...did give me the answer.

The battle was tireless. My skin constantly tore fresh wounds.

Even as I overexerted myself and burned through all my Soul Power...I couldn’t give up without reaching my goal.

My wish, my reality, my existence...

I have to prove that I can feel pain too. The same kind of pain humans feel.

I’m a living, breathing Food Soul too!

A pain I’ve never felt before seared through my body as I dealt out attack after attack.

At that moment, I wanted to go back and say to that girl “I can hurt too. I’m just like you.”

But perhaps it was too late.

It hurts, everything hurts.

Can't move.

I lay on the ground, surrounded by an unrelenting mob of Fallen Angels.

I knew no one was coming to save me.

I could feel my Soul Power dissipating.

But I wasn’t sad. On the contrary, I felt relieved.

Because I knew I was a living, breathing Food Soul. A living, breathing--“person”.

V. B-52

B-52 was no ordinary Food Soul when he was born.

His Master Attendant was an airship designer who wanted to summon an assistant but summoned a machine instead.

Yes, a machine, as his Master Attendant called him.

One who couldn’t act or draw conclusions on his own, who could only do the tasks he’d been given.

Of course, there was an exception-- battle.

In an age plagued by Fallen Angels, not just the land, but even the sky and the ocean were occupied by them.

B-52, known to others as a bomber, did an outstanding job in airship escorts and was even called the perfect war machine by a pilot on the airship.

Food Souls have a sense of self when they’re summoned.

Although they’re more or less influenced by their Master Attendants and learn new things in the process, they all know from the very start what kind of existences they are.

As he interacted with his Master Attendant and other humans, B-52 “corrected” the perceptions in his mind. He no longer considered himself a “Food Soul” but a cold, numb, and inexhaustible “machine”.

But B-52’s Master Attendant wasn’t always on an airship. When drawing design drafts at home, he’d put B-52 on standby in the library, only letting him run some errands every now and then.

Someone commissioned a private airship design from his Master Attendant. The front of the airship would be adorned with a sculpture of a "beautiful bride", and the necklace on her chest would be inlaid with a beautiful blue gem.

Therefore, the Azure Stone was kept at the home of B-52’s Master Attendant.

The Azure Stone was a cursed gem. Its previous owners had all fallen prey to ill fates.

But a gorgeous 10,000-carat gem will always have its suitors.

Little did they know, however, that the curse wasn’t real. It was just a legend some Food Soul intentionally created by combining a few coincidences.

Every few years, the Food Soul would hand off the Azure Stone before killing the owner and taking it back.

B-52’s Master Attendant was one of his unlucky victims.

But it was this that kickstarted B-52’s shift from a machine to a “human”.

When his Master Attendant died, B-52 was still a machine that required orders to do anything.

Over time, as B-52 performed more and more tasks, he witnessed more and more sadness and joy.

As more human emotions gradually surrounded him, he began to think about the rationality of orders.

He didn’t refuse the orders given to him, but the first seeds had already taken root and would sprout at any moment.

B-52 didn’t know if it was the Azure Stone that caused his Master Attendant’s death.

He didn’t realize it at first.

It wasn’t until the second time he went to take the gem back that he started to connect the dots.

And when he performed the same task for the third time, he let a girl go.

Did B-52 not want to kill Spaghetti and avenge his Master Attendant?

He didn’t know.

Before he had free will, Spaghetti’s orders gave him his thoughts and existence.

This internal conflict sped up the development of his critical thinking and transformation.

Why didn’t he kill Spaghetti immediately after everything was laid bare? Because the pull of his wish--the first wish he’d ever had--was so intense it took up all his focus. The thought hadn’t even crossed his mind at that time.

The truth was, B-52 wasn’t actually numb to pain but thought of himself as a machine. That belief sealed the feeling off.

What made him feel pain, in the end, was not death, but his desire to finally break the seal.

He was convinced that pain could tell him whether he truly was a machine or not.

By chasing death, he confirmed that he wasn’t a cold, numb, inexhaustible “machine”.

In the Catacombs, B-52 could feel his consciousness slipping away.

Just as everything was about to go dark, he heard a voice.

"Phew, just in time. Good thing he’s not gone yet... Brownie, hurry and pick him up! We’ll treat him when we get back, but for now--retreat!"

Bamboo Rice
Sprite-Bamboo Rice
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by Sarshles. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. Guarding

“ReeeeeEEEEE——”

A terrible screech echoes through the forest.

The Fallen Angel roars as it disappears in front of me, a machete still stuck in its back. This is the edge of the forest, and also my line of defense. Not far behind me is the bamboo forest I watch over. Just as I was about to pick up my machete and get ready to go home, something scratches at my legs, and I hear squeaks coming beneath me.

“Oh? Big Ah, Little Ah?”

Unsurprisingly, two familiar rats are circling around my feet. Bending down, I rub their heads affectionately.

“What are you two doing here?”

“Squeak!”

The two little creatures whine and call desperately, talking to me in a fashion that only I understand.

There are some people that shouldn’t be here on the other side of the forest, again.

“Leave this place! I’ll kill ya if you don’t!”

Standing on a giant boulder, I put on a vicious facade and wave my machete around, yelling at the humans in front of me.

“Run run run!!!”

“He's going to kill people?!”

“Didn’t they say that Food Souls are supposed to be harmless to humans!? It’s all fake!”

They shout, hurrying towards the bottom of the mountain.

Although my yelling doesn’t pause, I never planned to actually chase them.

The only things worthy of being killed are the Fallens. As for these greedy poachers, simply scaring them away is enough.

Watching their silhouettes fade into the distance, for whatever reason, I suddenly remember that woman.

That very special woman.

Along with the memories, two faces appear in my mind. The same appearance, yet opposite expressions.

Each with a content and angry tone, saying two phrases that I still cannot understand.

“The forest is living, the animals are living, you must try to understand them.”

“Your kind shouldn’t exist. Just like Fallen Angels, you should all just die!”

Grabbing at my now aching head, I jump off the boulder and start walking home.

I’m just not fit for thinking about complicated questions.

Compared to those fancy words, fighting is much easier.

II. Calling

“Squeak squeak!"

Big Ah and little Ah’s annoying chirps awake me from my sleep.

“So noisy… Whaddya want.” Rubbing at my eyes, I tiredly mumble.

“SQUEAK SQUEAK!!”

Hearing my complaints, not only did they refuse to quiet down, their voices actually got louder.

“Black mist?!” Understanding their message, I suddenly sit up, now fully awake. I grab my clothes and follow them outside.

All along the way, I feel my stomach slowly tying into a knot.

Other than nervousness, there’s something else.

Arriving at the destination, I stop and look at the bamboo forest in front of me with furrowed brows.

This part of the forest is shrouded in a cloud of dark mist, in complete contrast to the places I just ran past.

The originally emerald green bamboo is ashen and dying, trembling in the wind, flowing with a feeling of unease.

“Disease…” I spit out the word, deep memories coming along with it.

Immediately, my feet begin moving and I run into the ruined forest with no hesitation.

“Who’s here!? Come out!”

The machete swings across, clearing out the surrounding bamboo in a circle. I look around, yet I can’t seem the find anything else wrong besides the withering bamboo.

I chop down a few other spots of darkened forest, but there is nothing new.

The black mist is still spreading.

I can’t stop and just stand here, the more important thing is to stop the mist’s advance.

Thinking this, I turn around and dash towards the other end of the forest.

There’s someone who can fix this over there.

The forest slowly thins out, I slow down my pace slightly.

Emerging from the last column of bamboo, I arrive in front of a beautiful house

A plaque hangs on top of the house, marking it as the Bamboo Mist Pawn Shop.

“Plum Juice!”

Banging on the door forcefully, I call out someone’s name.

“Quiet.”

A white-haired man with glasses peeks out of the window, frowning, motions for me to shut up.

“I’m coming, don’t be so loud.”

III. Familiar

Dragging Plum Juice with me as I ran, I explain to him what happened.

“Just like before?” Plum Juice pushed up his glasses with a heavy expression.

“Yeah…” For some reason, hearing his response, my voice dropped in its volume.

“Just like that time…”

Ah… Just like that time.

My vision starts to blur, and I unknowingly began to reminisce.

“Hey! Come down here, It’s fine now!” within the forest, I yelled at the top of some tall tree.

At the top sat a human.

She climbed up there when she was being chased by Fallen Angels.

I’ve never seen any human remain so calm in front of Fallen Angels, much less escape.

Out of the nature of us Food Souls (and curiosity), I helped her get rid of the Fallen Angel chasing her.

“You’re a… Food Soul?” That person looked at me from above, and finally decided to carefully come down after a bit of uncertainty.

“Yeah! I’m Bamboo Rice, and you???” I excitedly grab at her hand, shaking it up and down aggressively.

“...I’m Anna.” The woman almost seems shocked by my excitement, backing up with a frown on her face. “I’m a plants and animals specialist.”

“What’s that?”

“...”

Anna and I quickly became familiar with each other. From her, I learned a lot of new things.

Such as Anna’s other job- Adventurer. I like this job better compared to the other one. It’s easier to say, and it sounds so cool!

Anna knows a lot about nature and she loves animals. She wants to traverse every bit of Light Kingdom, and write a book about every type of plant and animal.

Apparently, being chased by Fallen Angels isn’t even anything new to her.

She helped me see many things that I never noticed before.

I never knew that the nature I live with every day held so many secrets.

Other than these, Anna also told me many things about humans.

Originally, I wasn’t very familiar with humans compared to animals. The only ones that I see a lot of are the ones that carry giant backpacks and hold weapons. They always sneak into the forest to hunt while I’m not looking, or to chop down the bamboo forest.

Anna said these people are called poachers, and they’re also businessmen.

“What are poachers?” I asked her this question before, while exploring the forest with her.

“They hunt animals, and then sell them.” Anna climbed onto the bear’s neck with ease, slicing into its flesh with a knife. Within a few breathes, the beast howled and fell down, and then she answered my question with a calm voice.

I can control large bears, even train them, but I rely on my abilities as a Food Soul.

Anna? She’s only a human.

The more I talk to her, the more curious I am about the way she acts.

“Is it any different from what you’re doing right now?” I ask, helping her dissect the large beast.

For whatever reason, the way Anna acts feels different to me compared to how other humans act. Sometimes, I even feel like that I wouldn’t exactly oppose it if she wanted to chop down a few of my treasured bamboos.

If she doesn’t ask for too many of them.

“It’s greed and the hunger for knowledge, it’s the difference of knowing when to stop or not.”

Anna answers my question, her movement steady and her eyes still staring at the bear.

“...What?”

“If you don’t get it, then come help.”

“Oh…”

It’s very fun being with Anna, although she occasionally says some words that I don’t understand.

I used to think this happiness would continue.

IV. Story

The forest is a place I treasure like a home.

Protecting it is my nature.

I’ve gotten rid of a lot of people hungering for the forest, like wandering Fallen Angels, or greedy humans.

I’ve always thought that as long as I am strong enough, the forest would be safe.

Until today, I came head to head with a problem I can’t solve.

The forest is infected.

It was a strange Fallen Angel, the black mist that it released kept on corrupting and rotting the forest. Even after I defeated it, the black mist still kept spreading.

I automatically thought of Anna, who must be able to think of a solution, since she knows so much about nature.

“I can’t fix it,” Anna says, wearing a mask over her mouth, standing with me in the black mist.

“Why can’t you fix it? Aren’t you an animal plant specialer or whatever???” Having already been ticked off by the Fallen Angel, my words are also laced with an angry tone.

“If it was just a normal infection, then of course I can fix it. But this is completely different from anything I’ve seen.” Anna looks at me with some unknown expression, “From what I know, there isn’t any kind of infection that can cause the bamboo to decay so quickly."

“Then you can’t fix it?” Fists clenching and unclenching, I walk back and forth anxiously.

“I can try, but no promises,” Anna says quietly, putting down her bag.

“...Do it quickly.”

Time is slipping away, but Anna’s research still hasn’t come up with a solution.

“Can you do this or not?” I can’t remember how many times I’ve pushed her to hurry up, but watching the amount of decaying bamboo grow, I’m almost losing control over my mood.

Surprisingly, Anna’s reaction is far more extreme than mine.

“YOU SHUT UP!” Anna suddenly stands up, letting out an unexpected amount of anger.

“...” I’m stunned at the moment, opening my mouth but not making any sound.

“Do you realize that the forest is like this because of your existence?”

“Do you realize nature is supposed to run on its own, that even if some plants get sick, the natural system patches it up?”

“You think I don’t want to save them? They’re like this because of the Fallen Angels, what do you want me, a human to do about it?

“You think that you don’t have any responsibility? I’m telling you, you Food Souls aren’t that different from fallen angels. You’re all things that shouldn’t exist, do you get that!?”

“...”

I was a little reeled back by Anna’s explosive lecture, and although I didn’t understand most of it, I heard two parts very clearly. That we’re not different from Fallen Angels, that we shouldn’t exist.

I understood it very clearly, but also… not at all.

For a moment, I suddenly felt that we got a little further from each other.

Or… maybe, we were never close, in the first place.

The atmosphere got a little awkward. At last, the one who broke the silence was Plum Juice, hurrying to us from all the noise.

Other than me, another group of people also live around this forest- the Bamboo Mist Pawn shop.

After explaining to Plum Juice what happened, he asked Anna if she wanted his help in researching. Anna seemed to forget our previous argument, and fully returned to her work.

Perhaps, the only truly important thing to her is this forest.

Now that Plum Juice worked along with her, their collaborative efforts worked surprisingly well. One provided information about Soul Power, the other gave knowledge regarding plants and the environment. With the two’s hard work, the issue was quickly solved.

Plum Juice let out a sigh of relief, and Anna smiled with contentment.

Except me, who just couldn’t brighten up.

“Bamboo Rice… Bamboo Rice!”

The familiar yelling pulls me out from my memories. Plum Juice is standing in front of me, an expression of resignation on his face.

“What are you zoning out about? We fixed the issue. It’s just an average infection, don’t freak out so much next time…”

“You fixed… it?” Looking around me, I finally realize that the forest has returned to normal under his care.

“Yeah, it’s fine now. Don’t overreact so much next time…” Plum Juice keeps on muttering to himself, but my mind is wandering somewhere else.

I don’t like thinking about complicated things, but right now, all I want is to see Anna again and listen to her talk about those complicated things.

V. Bamboo Rice

Light Kingdom is very vast, with unimaginable beauties and sights within it.

Such as a utopia somewhere in a garden of peaches, or such a secluded and thick bamboo forest.

“Bro, bro!”

The loud voice echoes in the forest, scaring a few birds previously resting on the branches of the bamboo.

A boy with a band in his hair and a pancake in his mouth runs into the forest, occasionally looking around, as if to search for something.

“Here!” A wild call answers him.

A man with a thick head of green hair descends from the sky, holding his machete.

“You finally came.” Just as he lands, the man put away his machete, puts his arms around the boy’s welcomingly and begins walking.

“It’s ‘cause the boss is giving me too much work.” The boy answers, the pancake he’s eating slurring his speech. “I came as soon as I finished, don’t blame me.”

“Fine fine, I’m not blaming you. Thanks for your trouble, Pancake.” Bamboo Rice pats at Pancake’s shoulders, awkwardly saying.

“Anyways, you’ll take care of the west today, as usual.”

“Alright!” Pancake answers. “Just checking on the plants and animals, like usual?”

“Yup! You go check, come tell me if there are any problems.” Bamboo Rice says, letting go and turning around, about to set foot east.

“Oh ok, but can I ask something?”

Pancake suddenly asked while waving his hand, as if he suddenly remembered something.

“Didn’t you only care about the bamboo forest before?”

Bamboo Rice’s silhouette shakes for a moment, but quickly recovers to normal.

“It's 'cause now, I’m stronger than before!”

“Oh! Well, you’re big bro, after all!” Pancake doesn’t question him and leaves without any suspicion.

As Pancake walked away, Bamboo Rice sighed to himself in a voice only he could hear.

“I just… want to say we’re different.”

“I’ll… work hard to protect nature.”

“We’re different from… Fallen Angels…”

On the other end of Light Kingdom, in the city of Jiangsha, a woman and an elder stand in a broken down library.

“You really want to join us?” The elder stares at the woman, asking in a scratchy voice.

“Yes.” She answers without hesitation, with a look of confidence on her face.

“But I heard you seemed to have been quite close with a certain Food Soul?”

The elder looks at the small cluster of bamboo out in the courtyard, thinking about something.

“...” The girl is silent for a minute. A sliver of indecision flashes through her eyes, eventually turning into conviction, as if she let go of some emotions in her heart.

“He only saved me before, it doesn’t get in the way of my thoughts about Food Souls.”

“Well…” The elder shook their head, their tone sentimental, yet also expressive. “As long as you don’t regret it.”

“Then come, step in.”

“Carry your values, accomplish the things you wish for.”

“The world of humans doesn't need Fallen Angels, and it doesn’t need food souls, either.”

Bibimbap
Sprite-Bibimbap

Fondness Story

Long Bao Chibi 4 Contents of this page has been fan-translated and may not be completely accurate.
Official translations will be added whenever it's available.

i. Him and Her

Before Master Attendant summoned me, he was a child who lived a life of hardship.

Devoid of family, devoid of anyone to rely on, he was just a young child who tried his hardest to survive though stubbornness and endurance. 

Almost any information related to Master Attendant came from his boss, who adopted him.

Both of us thought he was piteous, yet resilient.

After I finished talking with the boss on Master Attendant’s past, I was determined to use my identity as a Food Soul to give him a better life, one where he’ll never taste anymore hardship. At the same time, I wanted to repay the boss’s generosity. 

That’s why I immediately carried out my plan after learning about Master Attendant’s unhappy life.

First, I brought him to the local Chef’s Guild to register him as a Cooking Attendant so he can receive monthly subsidies. Afterwards, I took on some requests about Fallen Angels. The bounty earned could then be exchanged for a home for Master Attendant.

Seeing him happy, though a little uneasy, made me overjoyed.

Nothing makes a Food Soul happier than knowing their Master Attendant is so kind and adorable. 

But fate did not wish to let go of Master Attendant, despite all the suffering he’s been through.

One day, he suddenly fell ill.

At first, we weren't worried and treated it as an ordinary cold.

But as time flies, we realized something wasn’t right.

Master Attendant’s health deteriorated. We began looking for a doctor. Yet, all of the doctors we asked to help treat his illness couldn’t identify a cure.

Finally, an experienced doctor told me that when he used to study in Light Kingdom, he witnessed someone cure this persistent illness. But unfortunately, due to one reason or another, he was unable to learn this technique.

I was trapped between a rock and a hard place.

Master Attendant's body is so frail that bringing him along is impossible. What's more, it’s also unfeasible to leave Master Attendant on his own and travel to Light Kingdom to seek medical help.

It was during this time that Doenjang-Jjigae appeared.

I was confused, so she explained to me what happened.

It turns out that Master Attendant actually saw me running around, trying to find a doctor.

He also saw the doctors sigh and leave.

He knew he didn’t have much time left.

After all, he’s just a kid. Not only does he have nothing else to think of, he also doesn’t know how to talk with me on this subject. As a result, he could only reach a conclusion through his simple expressions. 

When Master Attendant came to the conclusion to summon Doenjang Jjigae, the first thing he thought of wasn’t himself, but me.

He fears that I would be alone once he’s gone, because he knows what it’s like to be without a family.

Therefore, he decided to summon a Food Soul, so we could rely on one another.

This simple and pure idea left my heart aching.

ii. Request

"Even though Master Attendant likes spicy things, his meals can’t have any chili or sesame oil from now on. Understand?"

As I prepared tonight’s dinner in the kitchen, I reminded Doenjang-Jjigae what to take note of when making meals.

“Though we can’t determine Master Attendant’s primary illness, the doctor has already prescribed a list of things Master Attendant cannot eat. You must remain firm even if he throws a tantrum.”

As I spoke, I took some cans of homemade Doenjang from the stove and explained to her in a serious voice: “Also, all these cans of Doenjang made by Master Attendant cannot be used. I hope you understand that I’m not against you or anything.”

"I understand, you don't need to feel that way." Doenjang-Jjigae warmly replied and took the cans and bottles in my hands. Thereafter, she placed them orderly in a wooden box and carefully locked them up.

“Their recipes’ ingredients don’t follow the doctor’s list, right? Rest assured, I can handle this properly.”

Upon hearing Doenjang-Jjigae’s words, I exhaled and turned around. With my eyes shut, I gently pressed my temples, trying to dispel the dizziness in my head.

Is there anything more to tell her?

I dug through my memories, trying to think of anything that I might’ve left out.

It was at this moment that a warm sensation covered my forehead. In an instant, all the worries of my heart were eradicated.

When I opened my eyes, Doenjang-Jjigae worriedly looked at me. A pair of hands covered and gently rubbed against my forehead.

"Do you feel more comfortable?"

There was a tinge of warm concern in her voice. I quivered with bewilderment. 

It was like a lonely traveler suddenly finding a companion who would share the heavy weight on his back.

"I'm.......fine."

Softly thanking her, I raised my hand to stop Doenjang-Jjigae's movements.

"You don't need to worry. Thank you."

Surprisingly, Doenjang-Jjigae immediately moved her hands away after hearing this. Then, she pulled me into her arms.

She slowly patted my back, almost as if she's trying to comfort me.

She moved her head downwards, near my ears, and whispered to me:

"Rest assured sister, I'll take good care of Master Attendant."

Her warm words had a sort of calming magic to them. I leaned on her shoulders and my eyes slowly closed.

"Alright.......I believe you."

As I said this with a gradually softening voice, I gripped her sleeves. Slowly, I lost consciousness as I slipped into a deep sleep.

iii. A Journey Accident

After carefully checking over the things in my bag one more time, I strapped it behind my back and looked up at Doenjang-Jjigae, standing on the side.

Almost as if she knew what I was thinking inside my heart, she opened her mouth first.

I saw her slightly bow as she spoke in that soft voice: 

"You don't need to worry sister, I've written down the Doenjang-Jjigae that you told me to prepare. I'll take good care of Master Attendant so you can go without any worries."

I looked at her. Though my heart was overflowing with millions of words, what came out of my mouth was merely a simple reminder:

"Take care of Master Attendant and yourself. I'll be back soon."

Doenjang-Jjigae promised with that delicate voice of hers. I turned and walked towards the horse-drawn carriage.

As the wheels started to spin, the carriage started to bump and jolt.

I poked my head out and looked back. Her figure grew smaller in the sand until it eventually disappeared.

"I'll bring back the best doctor in Light Kingdom!"

I silently chanted this in my heart. Those words were for me, yet they also felt like they were for Master Attendant, somewhere faraway, and for Doenjang Jjigae, who sent me off.

Time passed by and I’ve been inside this carriage for a week. Finally, I arrived to a row of mountains. The driver told me that all we need to do is cross them and then we’ll reach Light Kingdom.

I couldn't contain the excitement in my heart, and urged the driver to go faster.

Unfortunately, as we were traversing the mountain, thunder crackled through the sky.

I had no time to ask what was going on before I felt the ground tremble alarmingly.

In a split second, the carriage overturned and tumbled down the mountains.

Upon realizing what had just happened, I quickly fell unconscious.

When I woke up again, I noticed I was lying on a clean bed.

I immediately sat up and scanned my surroundings. I realized I was inside a neat and elegant room with lots of ancient furniture. On the wall, there were two scrolls of calligraphy, written in black ink.

One of them had the words, "Tai Yun Guan" etched on it.

The other was filled with a black and white circle, with 5 different colored rings crossing one another. 

At that moment, I froze, a man clad in Taoist robes opened the door and entered with a water pan in his hand. He stilled upon discovering that I had awakened. Then, he used a warm, somewhat amused voice to speak: 

 "Oh, so you've awakened?"

iv. Recuperation

My every movement was restricted, as the people of this Taoist temple wouldn’t let me leave regardless of circumstance, even after discovering the purpose of my journey.

"Your injuries are too serious. If you don't rest properly, how are you going to recover?"

“In this state, even if you forced yourself to travel, you wouldn’t make it back home.”

At this moment, the male Food Soul, who’d entered the room to deliver water, sat by my side and warned me tirelessly.

"But this is an urgent matter. I need to quickly locate the doctor for treating his illness."

I was planning on going my own way, yet my body continually shook. In actuality, I’m aware that even if I found the doctor, my body wouldn’t be able to support me on my journey home. 

"Do you still remember the symptoms of the illness?" Suddenly, the young Food Soul interrupted me and opened his mouth.

“Perhaps you’re unaware that a Taoist temple is actually somewhere people can recieve medical treatment.”

After he voiced this quick question, I responded, explaining everything. Then, I got a very shocking answer.

"Ah, I know this. I can cure it. Such an illness isn't serious, and there's still time."

Seeing the sincerity in his eyes, I felt relief, and chose to believe him.

"Take good care of yourself first. I'll teach you the technique to cure it afterwards, so you don't need to worry."

As he spoke, he suddenly tilted his head and sheepishly told me:

"Anyways, can I carry you into the room? You can’t sit here for too long."

"Right, I'm Huangshan Maofeng. What about you?"

Through my hard work, I managed to learn all of the medical knowledge in just one month. 

I smiled, and couldn’t stop thanking them for their suggestions on cultivating my skills. I rushed back home without stopping. 

"Wait for me, Master Attendant."

I subtly sensed a tenuous contact between Master Attendant and I; in my heart, I repeated an earnest chant.

Through the method Huangshan Maofeng taught me, I tried to console myself. 

"I'll definitely cure you."

v. Bibimbap

A long time ago, there was a child who lived a bitter life in this city. From a young age, he had no parents and lived alone in the most dilapidated shack of the slums. 

The other children would cry and whine to their parents when they got injured or couldn’t get a toy.

Unfortunately for him, he can only rely on himself.

What can a child do? All he could do was stay put at the market and scavenge unwanted trash, turning them into edibles. Another thing he could do was menial labor, given by some generous folks, and eat whatever leftovers they paid him with.

After a while, a small restaurant owner in the city saw how pitiful he was. Unlike the miscreants in the slums, the owner adopted him and provided him with long-term work. 

Even now, he saw only small improvements in his life. It may not be blissful, but at least it was stable.

One day, Master Attendant caught wind of a Food Soul summoning method somewhere. After receiving the boss's permission, he used some unwanted ingredients, nearing their expiration date, to practice summoning Food Souls.

Those who knew found it ridiculous, saying the salary the Chef’s Guild paid Cooking Attendants must’ve messed up his head, or that he was a mere child raving about some wildly unrealistic dream.

How could Food Souls be that easy to summon? If so, humanity would’ve vanquished the Fallen Angels long ago. 

Just looking at the Chef’s Guild, and the Food Souls of those exalted Cooking Attendants, which Food Souls don’t require the most valuable ingredients, the most exquisitely prepared dishes, and the most profound devotion?

What about him? What's he worth?

Regardless, Master Attendant never gave up.

Whenever someone mockingly asked him if he had summoned a Food Soul, he never got angry. Rather, he would happily reply:

"Not yet~ but it's almost there! Thank you for your concern!"

And so, this went on for a long time. Until one day, the boy finally heard the voice he’d dreamed of.

"Are you my Master Attendant?"

The boy finally summoned his own food soul.

To this day, Bibimbap could still remember the boy’s overjoyed face.

He summoned Bibimbap using the simplest ingredients and the sincerest heart.

No, it wasn't for strength, or to join the Chef's Guild and amass wealth.

Master Attendant looked at Bibimbap. His eyes were filled with happiness and serenity. 

"Yes! It's me! From today onwards, we’re a family. Let me take care of you!"

All he simply wanted was a family to fill and accompany his lonely heart.

Long Bao Chibi 4 Contents of this page has been fan-translated by Google Translate and may not be completely accurate.
Official translations will be added whenever it's available.

I He and she

  Before calling me, Master Yushi was a very hard-working child.

  No family, no reliance, a young child, stubborn and strong, struggling to survive alone.

  Regarding Master Yushi, basically everything he heard from his boss who adopted him.

  Very poor, but also very strong, we all think so.

  After chatting with the boss about the experience of the Lord Yushi, I secretly resolved to bring a better life to the Lord Yushi as a spirit, never let him suffer any more, and at the same time repay the kind boss.

  So after getting acquainted with the life situation of Master Yushi, I moved quickly.

  I first took him to register as a registered culinary chef of the local chefs union. I can receive a certain amount of subsidies every month, and then I started to deal with some commissions related to fallen gods. I used the reward to change the residence of the celebrity chef .

  I'm glad to see him looking a little happy and awkward.

  Nothing is more worthy of the spirit than Master Yushi is a kind and lovely person.

  But Destiny doesn't seem to intend to let go of my Lord Maid, even if he has already suffered enough.

  Suddenly one day, Lord Master Shi became ill.

  At the beginning we weren't too nervous, but just treated it as an ordinary wind chill.

  But over time, we all found out that it was wrong.

  Lord Yushi's body is getting worse and worse, and I started to seek medical treatments everywhere, but even the doctors who have visited the city have not found a way to heal Lord Yushi.

  Finally, an experienced veteran doctor told me that when he was studying in Yaozhou before, he had witnessed some people treat this kind of stubborn disease. However, at that time, he could not learn this skill for various reasons.

  I am in a dilemma.

  Master Yu Shi is so weak that it is impossible to take him on the road. But leaving him alone at home, it is also unrealistic for me to go to Yaozhou for medical treatment.

  Just as I had a headache, miso soup appeared.

  Miso Soup explained to me the cause and effect of her appearance.

  It turned out that I was looking for a doctor for Master Yushi, and he saw it all.

  And the doctors sighed, and he finally saw the last move.

  Master Yushi felt that he might not live long.

  After all, he was just a child. He couldn't think of more things, and he didn't know how to talk to me about this aspect, so he had to draw conclusions through simple appearances.

  But the adult who came to this conclusion waited for the master, and it wasn't me who thought of it for the first time.

  He was afraid that I would be lonely when he was gone, because he knew that there was no family feeling.

  That's why he wanted to summon another spirit to rely on me.

  The idea is simple and clean and distressing.

II Entrust

  "Although Master Yushi usually likes spicy food, but in the future, you can't put peppers and sesame oil, okay?" In the

  kitchen, I ordered the miso soup to pay attention to cooking while preparing dinner.

  "Although I can't figure out the specific symptoms of Lord Yusuke, the doctor has already made a list of taboos. I can't relax because he is coquettish."

  I said, and I got a few cans of homemade miso on the stove In front of her, explained to her seriously.

  "Also, Master Yushu made these pots of miso, all of them can't be used, I hope you can understand, this is not for you."

  "I understand, you don't have to." The miso soup responded gently, took the bottles and jars in my hand, put them neatly in a wooden box aside, and carefully locked them.

  "Their ingredients are not exactly in accordance with the doctor's order, right? I will handle it properly, please rest assured."

  After listening to the miso soup's answer, I was slightly relieved, closed my eyes immediately, stretched out my hands gently Pressed on the temples, trying to ease the dizziness of Shangxiao mind.

  Is there anything else left unexplained?

  Having recollected memories over and over again, I carefully thought about what might be missing.

  At this moment, the gentle touch covered my forehead and quietly dissipated the anxiety breeding in my heart.

  Opening his eyes, Miso Soup was looking at me with anxiety, and a pair of soft buns covered my forehead, rubbing gently.

  "Is this comfortable?" The

  mischievous voice in my voice warmed me, making me inexplicable.

  Like a lone traveler who was carrying a heavy load, he suddenly found a companion willing to help him share.

  "I ... okay."

  Raising my hand, I stopped the miso soup and thanked her softly.

  "Don't worry, thank you."

  But when miso soup heard it, he suddenly shook his hands and held me in his arms.

Her palms slapped slowly behind me, as if calming me.

  Miso soup bowed his head and murmured in my ear.

  "Reassurance, sister, I will take good care of Master Yushi."

  Wen Yan softly seemed to have the calming magic, I closed her eyes slowly against her shoulders.

  "Well ... I believe in you."

  Holding her placket, I lost my consciousness by reading this sentence with a gradual slight voice, and fell asleep deeply.

III Accidents during a long journey

  I counted the contents of the package again, and I carried it behind me, looking up at the miso soup standing aside.

  As if to understand what I was thinking, the miso soup started first.

  I saw her bow slightly towards me, softly.

  "Sister don't have to worry, you have all the miso soup you accounted for, I will take care of Master Yushu, please feel relieved."

  I looked at her, and a thousand words rushed into my heart. Simple call.

  "Take care of Master Yushou, take care of myself, I will be back soon."

  Miso Soup promised softly, and I turned on the carriage.

  The wheels rolled up and the body began to bump.

  The probe looked back, and the miso soup became smaller and smaller in the sand until it disappeared.

  "I will bring back the best doctor

  in Yaozhi ." I meditated in my heart, as if to myself, and to the prince in the distance, and the miso soup that watched me leave.


  Time passed, and I spent a week on the carriage like this. With all my heart in mind, I finally came to a stretch of mountains. The groom told me that as long as I crossed this stretch of mountains, I would reach the boundary of Yaozhou.

  I couldn't hold back my excitement and urged the groom to speed up.

  But as we walked among the mountains, the sky suddenly burst into a thunder.

  In the carriage, before I could ask what happened, I felt a terrible shaking.

  The next second, the carriage fell, and the endless rock fell.

  Suddenly, I lost consciousness.


  When I woke up again, I found myself lying on a clean bed.

  I sat up suddenly and looked around. I saw a simple and elegant room, simple furnishings, and two paintings on the walls.

  A letter on Taiyunguan with three large characters.

  A picture depicts a black and white circle, and a ring of five colors interlaced.

  Just as I was stunned, a man in a robe pushed into the door holding the basin. I saw that I woke up and paused, then whispered softly with a slightly warm voice.

  "Ah, are you awake?"

IV Recuperate =

  I was stumped. The Taoist people were unwilling to let me leave this place, even if they already knew the purpose of my trip.

  "Your injuries were too heavy, not how to restore a good rest?"

  "You now sadly altered, even if forced to hit the road, it can not return home."

  Who in the door when I woke water to satisfy the spirit of man, at the moment Sitting next to me, comfortingly.

  "But he's really anxious. I need to find a doctor as soon as possible to go back to see a doctor."

  I tried to fight for something, but my body was trembling. In fact, I understand that even if I find a doctor now, my physical condition is not enough. In support of my return home.

  "Do you remember the specific illness?" The young Wu Ling suddenly interrupted my words, and said babblefully.

  "Maybe you don't know. Taoism is actually a place to heal people and save people."

  I explained everything in solitude, and then I got an answer that surprised me a lot.

  "Ah, I know this, I can cure it, it is not too late for acute illness."

  Looking at the sincere eyes of the male Ling Ling in front of me, I couldn't help but relax and choose to believe.

  "Take care of yourself first, and then I will teach you how to treat, so that you can feel at ease."

  Then, he scratched his head suddenly, and said to me with a little embarrassment.

  "Say I can hug you back to your room? You can't sit here all the time."

  "Yes, my name is Huangshan Maofeng, how about you?"


  With my hard work, it took me a month to get all the Medical knowledge is written down.

  Gently declined their proposal to rest more, and I hurried to the house nonstop.

  "Wait for me, Lord Royal Servant." I

  felt that there was no trace of connection with Lord Royal Servant in the midst of meditation, and I said earnestly in my heart.

  Use the method taught by Huangshan Maofeng to soothe my heart.

  "I will definitely heal you."

VI Bibimbap

  A long time ago, there was a bitter child in this city. When he was very young, he lost his parents and lived alone in the slum's most broken wooden house.

  Other children can cry to their parents because they can't get the toys, or wherever they touch them.

  But he can't, he can only rely on himself.

  But what can a child do? All he can do is squat in the vegetable market every day to find other people's unwanted discards, barely put together a meal to fill the hunger, or do odd jobs for the good-hearted people to get some leftovers.

  Later, the owner of a small restaurant in the city saw him as poor and not as bad in character as the others in the slum, so he accepted him as a long-time worker in the store.

  Until this time, his life was better, not to mention happiness, at least stable.

  One day, Master Yushou didn't know where to hear the method of calling the spirits. After getting the permission of the boss, he began to use some of the ingredients that were about to expire and not in the store to practice the dishes of the spirits.

  Anyone who knows it is ridiculous, saying that he must have been stunned by the high salary of the chefs' union who recruited the chefs, or he was an unrealistic heroic dream that children often hang around.

  Where can the spirit be summoned so easily? If summoning the spirits is so simple, human beings would have completely destroyed the fallen gods.

  Look at the chefs union, those noble culinary masters who are hordes of spirits, which is not the most precious ingredients, the best cooking table carefully cooked dishes, in order to evoke the favorite spirit.

  And he? What is he?

  Nevertheless, Master Yushi did not give up.

  Whenever someone asks ridiculously or asks ridiculously, he will not be angry, but will answer with a happy voice:

  "Not yet ~ but soon! Thank you for your attention!"

  It ’s been a long, long time until there is One day, the little boy finally waited for his dream.

  "Are you my lord?"

  The little boy called out his own spirit.

  To this day, Bibimbap still remembers his happy face.

  The little boy summoned the bibimbap, using the simplest ingredients and the most sincere heart.

  It's not about getting stronger, or getting rich by joining the chefs union.

  Master Yushi looked at the bibimbap in the stone pot, and his eyes filled with joy and peace of mind.

  "Yes! I am! In the future, we will be family members. Will I take care of you?"

  He just wanted a family member who could accompany and fill his inner loneliness.

Blue Cheese
Sprite-Blue Cheese


Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. Introduction

The inspiration for all immortal masterpieces.

There are only two sources,

the composer's past,

and the composer's life.

——From the creation of "Introduction and Fantasy Rondo" by Blue Cheese.

Master Attendant, have you ever thought about keeping time?

Let the delicate morning glory never fade in the morning sun.

Let the newborn calf no longer lose their innocent eyes covered with watery mist.

Even the dust flying in the sky without any sustenance will obtain their eternal position as the stars in the sky.

Such an abundance of desires lingers in me all the time, and whenever I think of it, I can't feel the thrill of physical and mental pleasure.

For the sake of the soul, if I have to name a symbol for the so-called ''dream'' of humans or a symbol that represents the direction of the heart, such as the direction of life and destination of travel, Blue Cheese will tell you this. 

However, there are still subtle but fundamental differences between the two.

For human beings, those verses that expresses the fleeting youth and the difficulty to return back in time are just a helpless sigh; but for me, keeping time is an unfulfilled yet cherished wish that will eventually come true.

Yes, Blue Cheese is doing just that.

Master Attendant, please don't worry about saying you can't understand. I will set up the strings and give you this time-honored score from the heart.

It all began at the place where I was born.

About three hundred years ago, I was summoned for the first time in a village during the wet rainy season. More precisely, it was a deep cave next to this village where residents used to ferment and store blue cheese.

The residents who lived there called the village, "Mora". After a long time, I came to know that the word, "Mora", meant "exiled from the mainland" in their local language.

Later, I learned that it wasn't humans who lived here but another race, the elven, who had long disappeared from the legend of Tierra.

But that's for another story. 

For the ignorant Blue Cheese that was just born on this land at that time, everything was as natural as it could be. The familiar feeling of being born in my hometown has overshadowed many traces of what seems to be a clumsy concealment. It makes me feel immersed in the small world around me, believing that the boundaries of life should be like this.

Even Jackie, who had first summoned me, didn't pay attention to the obvious differences between her and the other residents of Mora.

Jackie is a human girl. In my long collection of memories, I have divided Jackie's image into three categories.

Among them, the most shining and numerous was when she wore various evening dresses and played the violin under the stage lights when she was an adult.

Another was the one that I couldn’t bear to remember, yet was the most artistic, was when she sat motionless in her wheelchair for the rest of her life. 

It's a pity that neither the beauty that withered on the sickbed nor the beauty that bloomed on the stage belonged to her.

Jackie's most authentic appearance, the ordinary but vivid image unknown to the world, stayed in Mora. The short, wandering time of her maiden life that was unknown to outsiders.

II. Skylark

Who favors canaries and who prefers nightingales,

what does this have to do with me?

As long as I listen to the little skylark and hear its wings tremble in the air, I understand the relationship between nature and freedom.

——From the postscript of Blue Cheese’s "Skylark E String".

Jackie was a genius. She was born for the violin.

People still mention her at the very beginning of the mourning. 

I have never been able to refute this. Even if I don’t want to use this word as a representation of her life, I also can’t deny her unparalleled brilliance in this art invented by humans. 

Everyone who has heard her play must be fascinated by her music.

Her unusual life began at an ordinary violin show in Midgar, which I learned about from newspapers, journalists' digests, and biographers’ notes.

She was four years old and fell in love with the violin at first sight.

This art reached some kind of tacit comprehension with her that no one else could understand, but ten years later, at the age of 14, she became world-renowned with the violin in her hand and the youngest performer to ever play solo at the Midgar Royal Theatre. 

However, when I was summoned by her, I didn't know these terms. I just thought she was an ordinary person with a skill.

At that time, she was wearing the same long-sleeved robe as the people of Mora, and no one told me that those clothes were given to her by the good-hearted Morian residents.

Every morning, she would play at Mora's bazaar. She would use her violin in exchange for applause and praise from the Morian residents. After the performance, some residents would send her beautiful morning glories, sweet cheese, freshly-baked croissants, and hot tea.

She was able to feed herself and passed on the extra food and gifts to the landlord in exchange for permission to continue living there, day after day, unchanged.

That year, Jackie was only sixteen years old and had short, frizzy red hair. It was a long time before I knew she had cut it when she arrived in Mora.

She didn’t have eyebrows. The eyebrows on the left were naturally a bit smaller than those on the right. Mora's sunlight wasn’t too hot, and she especially liked chasing the small fluff on her lips that reflected on her brown pupils. [1]

She was so happy to play in such light, and there was a noticeable splinter under her right hand’s index finger on the string. 

I reminded her that she should at least deal with the barbs, but she saw them as the sudden arrival of young, divine birds, for fear of disturbing them, and even carefully took care of them like treasures. 

I saw that she was happy and couldn’t blame her.

Now when I look back at that time in Mora, I always feel like I’m blindfolded and listening to a conch. I think that the sea is in front of me, but it was actually thousands of miles away.

III. Wanderer

Pity not the wanderers, for the pitiful dare not wander. 

——Excerpted from the creation notes of Blue Cheese’s "Song of the Wanderer".

I don't know how long Jackie and I have stayed in Mora. But after we left, she and I would always disagree.

She told me that it was just a short season of three months.

But I insisted that time has passed more than that. At the end of the argument, she took out the ticket for the show and reminded me that it was written very clearly on it. The performance that she had run away from was scheduled three months ago.

In the face of this solid evidence, I can only surrender and admit that there was an error in my memory. 

But at that point, I also carefully thought about it later. Perhaps the time flow of Mora and the outside world was different, but I haven't found any evidence.

Jackie escaped during a performance in Midgar.

It was an outdoor concert originally intended for civilians. Unfortunately, it happened to rain on that day. Because of the "kindness" of some nobles, the venue was temporarily changed to indoors.

When Jackie reached the lounge prepared for her by the nobles, she learned that the civilians had been stopped outside the venue.

"They got tickets for this show, didn't they?"

Jackie confronted her manager.

"Yes, you’re not wrong, they are indeed qualified to watch this show." The manager said while trying to placate the young Jackie.

"But they’re all outside the venue now!"

"Because the performance will now be held in Duke Bell’s Concert Hall. In addition to the tickets, they must also have permission to enter and exit the concert hall. You know, civilians can’t enter aristocratic territory. It's really a shame."

"What the hell is that! They have tickets to the show, but they can't enter the venue?"

Jackie widened her eyes in disbelief.

"Dear, don't get angry at me." The manager sighed.

"It’s not my decision. I have no complaints toward your audience."

Jackie shook off the manager's hand on her shoulder and threw herself onto the wide sofa.

"Jackie, they're at the door. I mean, they can still hear your performance too, can't they? You should learn to accept that the world is not fair, that not everyone is as good as you, and have the opportunity to climb up classes."

"Well, now you need to change into your costume as soon as possible. Both the king and queen will be here tonight. This performance is very important. If you perform well, you may win your title. For a moment on stage, it's time for you to put away those vulgar words. " The manager left the lounge, which should have been one of his last regrets.

If he had waited at the door for Jackie to change into her clothes, instead of going out to the corridor for a cigarette break, or taking away Jackie's violin when he left, or to put it simply, if he was a little wiser, Jackie wouldn’t have had the chance to escape.

Jackie was a straightforward girl. She left only a note that read:

"According to the law, Jackie, a civilian, is unable to enter the venue for tonight's performance. Jackie herself expresses her regrets. "

Jackie and I talked about her fleeing frequently. When it comes to fun, she would improvise a play with the violin.

I heard the high-heeled shoes that she kicked aside, the spiraling stairs that she tiptoed quietly up, as well as her strong heartbeat and the thunder in the sky resonating exactly.

It seemed as if all the rain in the world was falling down, becoming a stage curtain outside the gates of the Duke's mansion. Jackie bravely passed through it. In an instant, the Vientiane was changing. She turned around and noticed that there were a thousand forests behind her. In front of it was a quiet, star-lit cave. 

Go to the nobles’ concert in Midgar.

Jackie decided to keep going, even if she didn't know what was going to be there.

Every time she told me about this experience, she asked me to swear to her that I believed she wasn’t afraid at that time.

I do it every time, so it's not difficult for me.

Moreover, I would imitate the courageous expressions of those noble princes who are always courting her in the banquet or backstage to praise her courage. She would be teased by my exaggerated performance every time, and then pretend to play her violin with disgust. 

In fact, I would like to have had such an interaction, because later, Jackie would have very little time to laugh because of the sudden, unreasonable illness. And it was because of that illness that the time of my separation from her came cruelly ahead.

IV. Sick Love

I think the saddest thing about human beings is that they make mistakes when they don't love each other. But in the end, they blame innocent love.

——From the writing notes of Blue Cheese, "The Sorrow of Love".

Jackie's illness didn't come without warning.

The first time, she grabbed the strings uncontrollably while she was standing on the terrace practicing a certain set of finger placements.

At that time, she and I didn't know what it meant. Her violin [2] had fallen down the second floor along the hollow railing, hit the balcony downstairs, and knocked over the palette of a young painter who was sketching.

Later, the young painter whose paint tray was accidentally knocked over became her husband.

At the wedding, Jackie wore a white wedding dress to distribute gifts to the guests. In the beautiful gift boxes were the nougats she made herself. How sweet and mellow was her mood at that time, so that day, she summoned her second Food Soul, Nougat. 

When people praised the passionate love of two people, no one paid close attention to what kind of danger was hidden behind the couple’s first beautiful accident when they had first met. 

This rare disease had no name, and the doctors didn’t know anything about it. But one day, when Jackie and I had nothing to do, we decided to amuse ourselves by giving it the name, "time sickness".

How similar it is with time, little by little, unconsciously yet gradually paralyzing the body and mind without sense.

It’s just like time. It offends our lives with tact and makes people more and more rigid.

Once you get this terminal illness, no matter who it is, you can't escape the final result.

In the first few years of her illness, Jackie's symptoms weren’t very obvious. The audience had still praised her violin’s sound like a sound of nature. Only Jackie herself knew that her hands weren’t as flexible as before.

Once, I heard her ask her husband, ‘’Honey, if I can't play the violin one day, will you still love me?’’

Her husband said, ‘’Then it's not you, Jackie.’’ 

And as he said that, during the last few years of Jackie's illness, he kept their marriage in the media, but he never came back home. 

The sketching balcony was empty, and the violin's sheet music was also grayed out.

Jackie was in a wheelchair. I pushed her out onto the terrace to see the empty horizon. She said to me, ‘’Blue Cheese, I miss Mora a little.’’ 

Nougat was puzzled by the fragility of Jackie's marriage. 

Born out of love, she couldn’t understand why the solemn and vowing man from the wedding had become so ugly in only a few years.

She came to me and asked me this question--

"Is love in the world really so easy to deteriorate? Doesn’t eternal love between human beings last forever?"

My dear innocent little sister asked me for a while.

"It's not that love can't last forever, it's just that it's infected with time."

I thought about it, so I had to answer her like this.

"I just knew it wasn't the fault of love, it was the fault of time." 

After getting the answer in mind, Nougat left with satisfaction.

But why do all people take the mistake of time for granted?

Why can't the world leave anything in the end?

Why is everything beautiful gone?

I cannot resign to it.

I finally picked up the crystal and hung it on my chest. The people of Mora gave me the crystal when we parted. 

I made the first and only wish for it--

Mora, my birthplace, your child Blue Cheese is confused and he needs your guidance.

I knew I had to go back there, and I would finally have the answer to beat time.

V. Blue Cheese

Even in the strange world of Tierra, the birthplace of Blue Cheese, Mora, can be regarded as one of the most amazing places.

This is a land where only thunderstorms can open the entrance. The people who live here are the elves, a race of Tierra’s mystery.

The Master Attendant of Blue Cheese, who was a sixteen-year-old girl named Jackie, discovered this magical land.

She passed by. The green starlit caves that connect the two spaces are actually places where Mora's residents fermented blue cheese.

In Mora's legends, the invention of blue cheese was said to be related to a young elf from Mora.

One day, this young man was going to the ranch to bring his father food. When he passed the foot of the mountain, he saw a beautiful human girl who he had never seen before by the stream. He was deeply attracted by her and forgot his own task. He went to the girl.

But the strange girl seemed to be frightened. When she saw someone coming, she turned and fled. The young man chased her all the way, shouting loudly, and wanted to express his kindness, but the girl couldn’t understand his language.

In the end, the panicked girl fled into a cave on the mountainside where no one else had ever been before. The young man waited for a long time and saw that she was afraid to come out. He didn’t want to disturb her, but he was afraid that she was thirsty and hungry. The goat's milk curd and black bread, which was supposed to be brought to his father, were left in the cave to express his goodwill before leaving reluctantly. 

From that day on, the young man often visited the cave, but he never saw the mysterious girl again.

And the bag of bread and cheese he put there had never been eaten.

A few months later, the young man once again missed the girl who was in their one-sided relationship. When he came to the cave, he found that the cheese he had left had been fermented by the cave’s bacteria. It turned into a kind of cheese with beautiful patterns of blue-green and had a spicy, unique taste.

Probably because of this legend, Jackie came to Mora through that cave, not only was she not rejected, but she also received a warm welcome.

Although they didn’t speak each other’s languages, the people here regarded her as a distinguished guest from a different world. The last girl who appeared like this brought the unique blue cheese to Mora. This time, Jackie's arrival brought them wonderful music that they had never heard before.

Blue Cheese was born in Mora due to Jackie's desire for freedom and simplicity, and this was where he had spent his most joyful and carefree time. He was regarded by Mora's elves as a connection with the outside world. On the day Jackie returned, Mora's residents gave a unique crystal to Blue Cheese.

Mora’s people told Blue Cheese, ‘’Your existence is different from humans after all. In the process of getting along with humans, you will encounter many confusions. If, at some point, you find that you cannot solve the confusion with your own strength, you can make a wish to the crystal to receive the help of the elves.’’ 

”However, we can only help you once, so please cherish the opportunity and use it at the right time.”

Blue Cheese remembers this sentence.

He once thought innocently that as a Food Soul, there would be no trouble for him in this world.

But when he saw with his own eyes that his Master Attendant, a young girl full of vitality, had been re-shaped by life’s changes and saw that all the freedom and love around her had been deprived, he was determined to change all this.

He made a wish for the crystal, and returned to his birthplace in a thunderstorm.

But what he didn't expect was that when the elves of Mora heard that his wishes were related to time, they all showed their embarrassed expressions.

"It's a happy thing to be able to live in an orderly time. Blue Cheese, going back to the past won’t be better."

They said restlessly and finally just patted him on the shoulder, giving him endless advice.

"Sorry, we can't help you with time. But we hope Jackie will have a long and healthy life just like you. How beautiful and lovely she was then. This is a map of the 'Dark Forest’ that has a very dangerous but also very effective plant. If you can get its seeds, then Jackie will be saved.’’ 

"Dark Forest? Where is it?"

"It's in every corner of the world, but when you really want to go there, it will appear. But it's a very, very dangerous place. Good luck.’’ 

"Thank you."

But things in the world are always imperfect. When Blue Cheese took a wound, dealt with all the accidents, and finally brought back the blue seeds from the dangerous jungle, he opened the door and saw Nougat with swollen eyes.

There are some places in the world where time flows differently.

Jackie couldn't wait for Blue Cheese to come back.

Jackie left, leaving a huge legacy for Blue Cheese and Nougat, but both of them were not interested in business. So they left the property to professional managers, and had them establish Jackie's Charitable Music Fund for Music Arts to help the poor children learn music. 

After that, Blue Cheese bid farewell to Nougat, and he left Midgar with the violin left by Jackie, and he started wandering.

He traveled around the world, recording all the good things in the world onto sheet music with a violin, hoping to make up for Jackie's life bound by stage and disease. Although he didn't want to admit it, his regret and sorrow for Jackie gradually calmed down during the long journey.

One day, when he finally reached the edge of a cliff, he looked down and realized that he had not seen the entrance to the dark forest that he had dreamed about for a long time.

Blue Cheese told himself that it was time to go home.

He returned to a long-lost, rainy night in Midgar.

With thunder and lightning in the sky, Blue Cheese stood on the terrace and played the violin, admiring the heavy rain. In the room, the long-time-no-see Nougat was running in her strangely-tailored clothes.

Blue Cheese had came back, so she added a garden to the large house for this purpose. In order to show her swift and violent artistic taste over the years, insisting that he shouldn’t help, she directed the workers to put the newly added furniture. 

Listening to the vibrant voice of Nougat, Blue Cheese smiled, remembering the day that Jackie mentioned to him countless times. It was also in such a heavy rain that the brave Jackie, 16 years old, was about to flee barefoot and ran into the heavy rain to Mora, and then opened her life...

"Wait, was it my imagination? Blue Cheese blinked and looked through the terrace towards the garden path that was supposed to be empty.

And then the barefoot guy in the garden, who didn't know where he had come from, was also looking around and spotted him.

"--Hello--I'm Mousse--I'm sorry, I seem to be lost. Excuse me--what is this place?" The man in the rain looked up, with the confusion and sincerity unique to the youth in his eyes.  

At this moment, Blue Cheese didn’t know yet. The moment they met turned out to be the beginning of a new journey.


Notes

  1. Not completely sure what this phrase means, but it could refer to the dust particles under sunlight or keeping her natural beauty.
  2. The raw translation says it was a string or a stringed instrument.
Boston Lobster
Sprite-Boston Lobster
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by Asureiko.
Official translations are available but are poorly done.


I. Creation

I finally killed my enemy.

“Hah...Hah...I...killed a Fallen Angel...Amazing!”

“...”

I almost forgot. I already escaped the laboratory… For as long as I could remember, I didn’t even know who I was. When they told me I carried the fate of humanity on my shoulders, I firmly believed that was my purpose as a Food Soul. But before anything, in order for more of my brothers and sisters to be born, I had to be experimented on to make sure we could get along with humans.

The process was agonizing, but I endured it. More and more of my brothers and sisters were born in the laboratory.

That day, for the final experiment, we were taken into a large yet hidden room. The test was...for us to kill each other.

“Huh? W-why? Aren’t we supposed to kill Fallen Angels…?”

For the first time in my life, I disobeyed human orders. This was one test I was not willing to endure. Confused, I instead tore down the room’s double doors, and that was when I heard humans shouting from outside.

“Initiate emergency protocol! Drain their soul power! Hurry!”

“...The subject has started resisting. It’s as we feared...they’ve developed emotions.”

A strange sound rang throughout the room. Suddenly, I lost all my strength and collapsed. The experiment was put on hold, and I was dragged back to my room. I could see the disappointment in their eyes as they took me away.

Will humanity be disappointed in me if I don’t kill my brothers and sisters? Why?

...I probably wouldn’t have found an answer if I stayed there. Because after that, no one ever stopped by my room again. It became eerily quiet.

II. Escape

I escaped from the laboratory. From then on, a desolate forest became my shelter, and a damp cave my new home. Whenever I ran into a Fallen Angel, I’d kill them before realizing it. I still remembered that was my purpose. At first, I’d count each day of my freedom, but eventually grew bored and stopped.

The only remarkable thing that happened during that time was when I came across a young human adult from the outside world and befriended him. Sometime after that, his descendant paid me a visit. Only then did I learn that man had died more than two hundred years ago.

Time never stopped. Only my aimlessness remained the same.

His descendant told me what era it was and what was going on in the outside world. My siblings and I had been named “Food Souls”, and thanks to some sort of restraint they’ve become as tame as possible. Completely obedient, even. More and more people could summon a Food Soul to combat Fallen Angels, and they formed an organization dedicated to them too. It seemed as though humans finally had a hope of escaping extinction—which meant that they went through with that final experiment anyways.

“It’s been more than two hundred years since my ancestor first met you, hasn’t it? Have you never thought about leaving?”

“I…”

I didn’t know how to reply. This world wasn’t mine. It didn’t belong to us Food Souls, so going anywhere would be useless. It didn’t sound like a bad idea to stay in this forest until I disappeared someday.

“Don’t say that! You’re our family friend!”

Friend, huh... I don’t know what that means, but it for some reason it makes me feel kind of happy. Perhaps there’s a lot more to living than I thought. I don’t know.

III. Friendship

After that, he’d send people to bring books for me to read, and I learned a lot. We eventually became close friends. Unfortunately, good times never last. Something happened. I knew he was from an aristocratic family of a country named Gloriville, but he was in danger.

“The king is a cruel tyrant. I thought I could change him, but he put a death sentence on my head. I’m afraid...I won’t be alive for much longer.”

“Aren’t you going to rebel?”

“This is my fate. If my death can help the king realize what he’s doing, it will be worth it.”

There was no way I’d let anyone hurt my friend. I promised I would protect him and let him stay at my place, despite his insistence we were just stalling for time.

It didn’t take long for the king to find this place and send people after us.

Even though I prepared myself, when push came to shove, it still pained me to no end---the ones I was fighting were my brothers and sisters.

“What are you doing? Why must you obey their orders and kill?”

I tried to reason with them but got no straight answers. The only words that came out of their mouths was a flat “According to the contract, he must die.”

Contract? Was that the “restraint” my friend told me about?

“Whatever that is, can’t you stop and think about what you’re doing?”

No matter what I said, I couldn’t get to them. The Food Souls, whom I saw as my dear brothers and sisters, were already attacking.

I...killed them.

I escaped from the laboratory to avoid this. I swore to quietly disappear and say goodbye to this world forever. But cruel fate made my deepest fear come true. I killed everyone who attacked us. It didn’t matter if they were human or Food Soul, I killed them all…

I was livid. Food Souls had given humans the hope of survival, but what did humans ever do for us? Holding back the fire raging in my chest, I saw him quietly arrive at my side.

“....” “Boston...you shouldn’t do this much for me…” “Shut up...at least...at least tell me it was worth it…” “You could never imagine the obsession humans have with fighting. You may have protected me this time, but the next, they’ll come back even stronger.” “So I did that for nothing?!” “Take me, for instance. I was born to carry out my fate--to bring peace to Gloriville. That’s what I fight for. If you want something to fight for, it cannot be me. But when you finally decide on something, my descendants shall aid you in your conquest.”

He thanked me but decided to return to Gloriville. In his eyes, only his life could end it all. I desperately wanted to do more for him, but when his son brought news of his death, my heart began to turn cold.

“My family shed blood, tears, and sweat for our kingdom. It’s all thanks to that idiot king that things turned out this way. But I won’t be as nice as my dad was. I was hoping you could lend me a hand!”

The year after, his son sent a messenger to tell me that his family staged an uprising and dethroned the king. I followed through with my end of the deal and finished the king’s son and his squad off while they were out hunting in the forest. Evil disappeared from this world without a sound.

Upon learning that his family supported the new king onto the throne and completely took power, I finally realized my own mission.

IV. Fate

The next time I saw one of my friend’s descendants was almost three hundred years later. “Are you Boston Lobster? The rumors are one thing, but seeing you in person is quite another. Our family is truly in your debt.”

“Are you that man’s descendant? It’s been so long that I almost forgot about you all.”

“No, I’m a relative of that man’s descendants, but part of the family all the same...I came looking for you because of a plan I’d like to ask your help with.”

“Is that so? What a coincidence, I have something I need your help with too.”

“Wonderful. My ancestor passed down an instruction: as long as you’ve found a something to fight for, our family will do everything in our power to help you.”

Yes, that was our oath.

For hundreds of years, humans have thought of nothing but themselves. To them, my brothers and sisters are just tools, sacrifices. I must change this reality. That is my true purpose.

“If I may ask, is there something you want to accomplish?”

“Heheheh, nothing big, it’ll just take a bit of time…”

V. Boston Lobster

Year 24: Fallen Angel weapon “Boston Lobster” escapes laboratory, fate unknown.

Year 31: The “Contract” finishes development and moves into the testing phase. A food with a milder temperament has been chosen as subject 2. “Contract” implementation was a success and completed every aspect of the original objective.

Year 44: Subject 2’s form began to collapse due to continuous experimentation. As the objective was completed, it has been proposed that the subject is destroyed.

Year 56: The weapons have officially been named “Food Souls”, and a board has been elected to regulate them.

Year 233: An uprising occurs in Gloriville. King Karl VII is dethroned, and his descendant was mysteriously killed in Secret Forest. A survivor said he saw a red Food Soul on site.

… …

Humanity held high hopes for him, yet he brought them endless pain for that same reason. That year, thanks to his friend, he was no longer aimless. He was no longer content with hiding in the forest, curled up in a damp cave. His fate and what he fought for was finally clear.

If humans couldn’t give Food Souls a wonderful world, he’d carve it out with his own hands.

Braised Noodles
Sprite-Braised Noodles
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by Revelery. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. Awaken

It hurts.

It really hurts.

Under the direct glare of white light, I could hardly open my eyes.

The sense of paralysis all over my body gradually faded, replaced by a feeling of bone seeping pain.

I couldn't even tell where the pain came from. It just felt like my whole body had been ripped apart. 

Or, have I already been ripped apart?

I was fastened to a hard board. I couldn't even turn my neck, like a fish nailed to a board for slaughter.

Where is this place?

I don't know. I can’t see my surroundings and my field of vision only contained a single lamp. Behind it was the ceiling. 

There was paint peeling off the ceiling, exposing an abrupt grey colour. Moreover, there was mildew irregularly scattered all over it.

It’s just so old, and gave me a sense of nostalgia.

Nostalgia.

Why?

I squinted as my mind went blank.

Where did I live to see such similar scenes?

No... I can't remember.

If someone appears, it’d be great if I could ask them.

Soon, a moving figure appeared at the edge of my vision.

Somebody else is here! Great!

My heart was overjoyed, and I opened my mouth to speak to him. But when I tried to force the words out of my throat, to the point of pain, I couldn’t make a sound.

But strangely, that man felt my call.

In the next second, people dressed in white came over. 

I suddenly broke into a cold sweat. Filled with aversion, I instinctively resisted them.

It was only then that I was able to react.

Since I woke up, the world has been surprisingly quiet.

They talked anxiously, but I couldn't hear anything, even when their lips were moving.

I want to leave.

But I have nowhere to run.

A cold feeling spread from my arms, and a familiar sense of paralysis invaded my limbs as blood flowed.

It was as if my body was slowly sinking into water, even the pain spreading all over my body has become distant. It’s a wonderful feeling. 

I wasn't tired, but my body seemed to be cut off from any power supply; I lost my strength bit by bit, and even my thoughts slowed to a crawl.

As everything became a blur, I could vaguely see the red light of an alarm flashing constantly. The people dressed in white put down the strange-looking instruments in their hands, and fled in all directions with fear on their faces.

One by one, they escaped from my field of vision, but one of them stayed beside me. 

Unlike those people, she didn't wear the white clothes that made me so uncomfortable.

I remarked something about it, instinctively spitting out syllables from my lips.

Under the "gaze" of those eyes, my consciousness gradually faded away.

II. Saved

When I woke up again, two concerned faces came into sight.

A blue-eyed girl, pen and book in hand, recorded something as she circled around me.

And the other spoke a few words from time to time- it’s her. I felt eased.

I laid on a soft bed, with a fluffy pillow behind my head and a blanket gently wrapped around my body.

Even though my body still felt pain here and there, there’s no doubt I’ve recovered a lot.

So I sat up, wanting to see if I could move my body smoothly. In the process, it seemed that I’d knocked over some equipment and caused the blue-eyed girl to frantically rush towards them.

"Ah, sorry!"

Oh dear, I don't know if I said it correctly because I couldn't hear.

The blue-eyed girl seemed to be frightened by me. Her hand shook, and everything fell to the ground.

She picked up the book and the tip of her pen slid across the paper.

She handed the book to me with a sentence on it.

"When you lose your hearing, you can't control the volume of your speech, so don't speak up."

Okay.

Seeing me nod, she went on writing.

''First of all, don't worry. You're safe. This is the Perigord Institute of Magic Research. Next to me is Miss White Truffle, the owner of the institute."

"I'm Waffle, a researcher here."

"If there's anything you want to ask, you can write it down. Teacher and I will try our best to answer it for you. "

Waffle handed me the pen and paper. White Truffle also approached the bed and sat beside me.

So first of all...

"Who am I?"

Waffle became shocked and repeatedly spoke to White Truffle. Their eyebrows were increasingly furrowed during the conversation.

"Maybe you lost your memory in their experiments. Do you remember what they did to you?"

''I don't remember. I only know myself as Braised Noodles. Who are they?"

"They were an underground laboratory running illegal research on Food Souls. It was also where Teacher and the Grace Army found you."

"They were trying to do something with a part of your body, but the Silius hypothesis they used in the process is very old. Twenty years ago, Tarima, a Gloriville scholar, pointed out the loopholes in this theory."

"I don't understand."

"In short... You lost your hearing because they removed your ears."

I touched where my ears were supposed to be, and they really were gone. The wound seemed to have been treated by them and was covered with thick bandages.

"When can I hear again?"

Waffle tilted her head for a moment, deep in thought. As she hesitated, White Truffle took a pen and paper from her hands.

"You can think of a way."

III. Voice

I shook my head.

Waffle touched the machine on my head again and doubtfully tilted her head. She also placed a ballpoint pen in her mouth and chewed on it.

The pages of the notebook atop the rubik cube gently flipped open. At the same time, the tip of her pencil slid across it, almost as if it’s confirming… whether or not there’s an error in the formula.

But in a few minutes, as Waffle paced back and forth in front of me, I suddenly heard a pop, pop, pop sound.

It wasn’t very loud, but it reverbated in the silence, shaking my heart again and again.

At this moment, it seems like every sound has returned to my world, little by little. 

I heard the sound of my breathing, Waffle's footsteps, and her murmuring.

"Strange, there should be no flaws. There's also no problem with the introduction of spiritual power - is there a mistake in the cycle formula?"

Summer cicadas chirped outside the window as the night wind gently touched the leaves, causing them to shake with a rustle.

I grabbed Waffle's shoulders and hugged her. Hearing her exclamation, my heart was full of joy.

"I can hear, Waffle!"

Waffle was stunned.

"You... I beg your pardon? Really?"

"Let's go find White Truffle!"

As if summoned by me, White Truffle coincidentally pushed the door open. In her arms, she was hugging her assistant, Cherub, who made a barking sound. 

"White Truffle!!" 

In the next second, I tightly embraced them.

"Wow." 

After a brief shock, White Truffle patted me on the back.

"Teacher, listen to me-- " 

Waffle pulled White Truffle off me and presented the months of research to her most beloved teacher, almost as if she's offering White Truffle precious treasure.

"The Canofen formula was indeed the best choice. We’ve succeeded!"

"Well, that's why I said I wanted to try. After all, Waffle is highly proficient in this field. This wasn't difficult, right?''

Waffle's cheeks were red as she was praised.

She wanted to say something, but White Truffle was one step ahead.

"Say something, Braised Noodles,"

"I'm here!"

"Your ears have worked and your wounds have already healed. It's time to consider what's next for you."

White Truffle spoke in a faint tone. But, every single word and sentence was akin to hail striking my heart.

"I..."

I thought about it carefully.

From what I remember during my time here, only the people in the Institute actually came into contact with me.

If I leave here, where should I go?

"Can I stay here?"

"Stay."

I spoke at almost the same time as White Truffle.

"Really? Can I? But I can't live here for free; I'll plant something in the space behind here. Do you like coriander?"

"That can't be done."

White Truffle raised the corners of her mouth; it seemed like she didn't want me touching her experimental field.

"Ah..."

"Of course, I’ll arrange for you a suitable job."

IV. Partner

With a turn of the heel, bending at my waist, the top of my head almost kissed the earth. Only then did the cool breeze, wrapped in dark air, was able to slide past my abdomen and vanish. 

I rolled sideways; a stack of dead leaves on the ground made a crackling sound when they scratched my cheeks, but the situation was too urgent for it to matter.

Raising my scythe with both hands, the cold light of the blade poured out of the Fallen Angel’s back, like cutting through silk. Its dark body split down the middle, and fell into two pieces before my feet. 

"Braised Noodles, you!"

I’d just solved the problem of the Fallen Angel, but before I could catch my breath, I was slammed against the wall by my neck.

Hesitating for a second, she moved her hands down a bit to grab at my collar, knocked her forehead against my own, and tensely stared at me.

She spoke in a cold voice:

"Next time you dare to not listen to command and rush up to the enemy by yourself, I’ll kill you before the enemy does.”

"But it would’ve been terrible if you got hit just then."

Hearing my answer, her eyebrows squeezed together.

"You should understand that you need to listen to me!"

Her expression made me uncomfortable, so I stretched out my finger and drew a circle below her eyebrows. 

"Don't frown, it doesn't look good!"

At that time, I was the only member of the Security Department.

It's my job to hunt down Fallen Angels and ensure the safety of the research institutes, which work on expanding to new areas.

But for some reason, without my knowing, White Truffle recruited a second member, Hardtack Biscuit.

I like working with people, and I didn’t hate it when she suddenly became my supervisor, commanding my every action. 

But she’s always worried about me, and I prefer happy expressions on people

So I gave in to her.

"I'll listen to you, but if it's really dangerous, I'll block anything for you."

Looking at her eyebrows slowly relaxing, my mood cleared up. 

Hardtack Biscuit sighed. As she released me, she also kicked my leg, as a way to vent her anger.

"...Let's go."

"Okay--"

V. Braised Noodles

Braised Noodles originally lived in a destitute village.

There were several peasant families. Yet, harvests were poor for three years due to disasters falling upon terrible times. 

The seeds were buried in barren soil, and from spring to autumn, many fruit-bearing plants did not grow.

Braised Noodles looked back on the bodies of the man and his family, becoming thinner and thinner as the days passed; she felt troubled in the face of those desolate fields.

What can she do to make them happy?

The withered grass twisted between her fingers, and in a few moments, she folded it into the shape of a five-leaf flower.

Would they be happy if she gave this to them? Can she see their smiles again?

However, when Braised Noodles handed the flower to the man, the baby in his arms opened its mouth and took a bite.

The man’s face turned pale and he opened the baby’s mouth with his boney hand; he threw the withered grass on the ground.

He tightly hugged his child and lowered his head; she couldn't see his expression clearly.

"Tomorrow... follow me somewhere."

The next day, in front of Braised Noodles was a dark carriage. The man who got out of the carriage put a small bag in her Master Attendant’s hand and grabbed Braised Noodles's wrist.

"Master Attendant...?"

"I’m sorry, Braised Noodles. Go with him."

"Why?"

"I'm sorry... I'm sorry..."

As the carriage bumped and jolted, she saw Master Attendant's crying face. As his figure shrank, his remorseful voice gradually faded away. 

''Braised Noodles, Braised Noodles! Wake up! You're late!" 

Hardtack Biscuits patted Braised Noodles's face.

"Oh... It felt like a long dream." 

Braised Noodles slowly opened her eyes, and Hardtack Biscuit’s face came into the view of her bleary eyes. She raised the corners of Hardtack’s mouth with two index fingers. 

"What are you doing?"

"I think, people look the best when they’re smiling."

Hardtack Biscuit smacked Braised Noodle's hands away, and pulled her by the wrist off the bed.

"It’s time to do some tasks, let’s go."

Buddha's Temptation
Sprite-Buddha's Temptation
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by ff-translations. Official translations will be added when they become available.

I. Mysterious Invitation

"Do you wish to accept this invitation?"

The gold-foiled letter has enormous value to it, but the sender remains unknown.

Master carefully held it in his hand, greedily reading the contents of it multiple times before making a decision.

"Of course I’ll go. If even this invitation letter is this valuable, then there must be something profitable from this."

Looking at Master Attendant’s expression of excitement, I am unable to make a comment, so I decided to judge whether or not to trust the sender after I attend the meeting with him.

My Master is a successful businessman; just like any other businessman on this earth, he loves money as much as his life, and can do anything for money and riches.

Compared to Master’s profit seeking ideologies, I admire much more how he studies how to take on the family business: laying down foundations with trust, being kind to others, and never going back on your word.

Nighttime, I followed Master to the arranged location.

It is an abandoned house; in the garden there is a eucalyptus tree and a dried up well. The sounds of the wind are like the cries of ghosts. Master uncomfortably looked around his surroundings.

Two men wearing black robes and masks of wild beasts suddenly appeared, and they were dressed exactly like the one who delivered the invitation. Once they came close, they requested for our eyes to be covered, and only then will they bring us to the actual meet-up place.

Master uneasily muttered "Since we’re here, might as well do as we’re told", then let the black robed men cover his eyes.

I am not opposed to this entire situation. Instead, I feel even more curious about this entire mysterious meeting.

Covering my eyes and getting on a sedan chair that seemed to appear from nowhere, I felt the bumps of the road, up and down, up and down. We sat for a long time. But aside from the footsteps of the chair carriers, there’s no other sound.

Once we heard the sound of the wind again, we had already arrived at our destination. Taking off our blindfolds, Master and I found ourselves in front of a high court which we’ve never seen before in the city. There wasn’t even enough time to look around our surroundings before we were led into a building by the black robed men. 

The decorations in the court were intricately beautiful, the space was huge, and there were many black-robed men wearing the same masks sitting in two rows; only Master and I had our faces bare for all to see.

Even though I couldn’t see where their sights were focused on, I could feel as if they were looking at me while whispering amongst themselves, making me feel very discomfited.

Facing this situation, Master felt a bit uncomfortable, so much so that he ended up hiding behind me.

"Welcome to Chengtian Association."

The black-robed man sitting in the front opened both his arms, as if welcoming our arrival. Master Attendant and I sat in the seats that weren’t filled, listening to why we were invited.

Chengtian Association, a secret institution that maintains the regular operations of this country; they’re the ones who control the finances of the country in the dark, even the changing of the throne could be affected by them.

They are always searching for talented people to join them so that the country can become stronger.

Master’s power in fortune, that would be the biggest helping hand to them. In their case, they would give Master the best form of repayment– elevating him from a commoner to a noble.

Fame and fortune, those are things everyone pursues, I like them too.

This sort of proposition really moved me, but the exaggerated descriptions of the black-robed man made me furrow my eyebrows.

What I like is using my own power to get everything, not relying on their favors, and getting what I want without lifting a finger.

The country I’m in has been controlled by a “Family” since its birth, and even the emperor who built this country owed it to them to make peace from the chaos of war.

Of the gentrymen serving in the court’s central positions, very few are officials who rose from commoner status, and commoners would have a very hard time changing their status. I am deeply familiar with this fact, and all I want is for Master to be able to make it big in a short amount of time, and consider how he’d be able to overcome this high threshold.

Even though I don’t know the faces under those masks, judging from what they’re saying, this association must have ties with the “Family.”

The thing is, why would they choose Master, who built himself up from nothing? Maybe it’s just as they said, it’s because of the wealth that he has now has opened these doors to this world of the upper class. But……

I looked back at the crazed expression on Master’s face.

He actually believed what that person said.

I let out a silent sigh in my heart.

Sure enough……greedy people are the easiest to be deluded.

II. Dangerous Secrets

Master said yes to the proposal incessantly, and I didn’t even have time to advise him against it, so I had to swallow my warnings back down.

Chengtian Association let Master do his first task, which is to give up the shops under his name. Not a lot, just a few would be enough.

I’m not the least bit surprised by their request, because this is just a test anyways. I’m just a little bit shocked; they actually requested for Master to give up the things that he built himself up with. If they’re requesting for something like this now, then what would the requests in the future be like and how far would they go?

If this is only a test, then what is it that they really want?

Master hesitated for a few days before deciding to give the few shops that don’t have great business to the Chengtian Association. The Young Master of the family, who would inherit the business, quickly found out about this, and came to Master with his account books, asking for an explanation.

I stopped the Young Master’s hurried footsteps, but Master let me step aside. I gave Master a glance, obeyed his order to close the study’s doors, and listened to him explain everything to the Young Master about the Chengtian Association.

I have never seen the Young Master with such a surprised expression, until Master voiced that he only made this sacrifice for the sake of his future status. All the Young Master did was quiver his lips, unable to steady his mental state.

"Buddha’s Temptation, is this all real?"

"Just as you’ve heard."

The Young Master tried to verify this unthinkable situation with me, and I affirmed, but it didn’t seem to alleviate his worries. 

I observed the Young Master, slowly calming down; he looked like he already accepted Master’s actions, but the tightly clenched fists gave away his internal thoughts.

Based on my understanding of him, I’m afraid he’ll do something neither of us can expect.

As expected, the Young Master really took action.

A few days after this "father-son talk", I unintentionally noticed the Young Master’s Food Soul suspiciously exiting from the mansion’s back door, so I started to pay more attention to this situation, and followed him silently the next time he left.

The place where he went to was very secluded, and he was very careful as to not be followed while on the roads, but he couldn’t do anything to a stalker who was already prepared. Even though I wasn’t able to hear what was being said between him and his contact, seeing the envelope that he passed over, I’m afraid Chengtian Association is no longer a secret.

"Steamed Wuchang Fish, what are you and the Young Master planning?"

Once the contact left, Wuchang Fish traced his footsteps to go back. I stopped him halfway through and asked straightforwardly.

It seemed as if Wuchang Fish was shocked by my presence, but he remained calm even in danger. Like me, he didn’t waste any time to fabricate a reason.

"The Young Master and I want to save this country being manipulated——Don’t tell anyone, Buddha’s Temptation, that would be best for everyone."

"Being manipulated……"

This may be the best way to describe it, I couldn’t agree more.

If even the passing of power was controlled by someone else, then isn’t the fate of this country being controlled by someone else too?

Master and I now are also chess pieces that will be used unpredictably.

How extremely sad.

"What you’re doing is very dangerous."

"Young Master and I have realized we’re ready to sacrifice our lives for this. "

"Ah, know this too, that if anything happens, it’s not just going to be you two, but Master’s entire family will be dragged into this. Do you two realise that this is the risk that you’re taking on?"

"……"

"If I can notice you doing this, then obviously the organisation with 『Hands and Eyes in the Sky』will notice. Stop while you can, or else do it with even more caution and be more thorough. This time I won’t tell anyone, but I won’t go into the grave one day because of you two. "

"I understand. We will be careful."

After my advice, Wuchang Fish really did act more secretively.

It’s just that none of us realised that before I even figured out what they were doing, Chengtian Association had already found out about their motives, and every single one of us have already become chess pieces not within our control.

III. This is Your Favor

"Move away Buddha’s Temptation! I want to take Master away! "

"Calm down first!"

"Calm down?! Master is about to be given to Chengtian Association, how can I calm down!"

"If you don’t calm down, neither you nor the Young Master can leave!"

Wuchang Fish, trying to rush into the Young Master’s room, had a face full of rage. I blocked him from the garden, striking his vital points.

I can understand his anger, and I’m also shocked that Chengtian Association would request for Master to give up the Young Master to them. Then Master actually locked the Young Master up, ordering me to guard over him until the people from Chengtian Association came.

"Don’t let your emotions get to your brain! Think about this, if the situation has developed the way it is now, that means that your men have been exposed long ago, what will you do next then?"

Under my strong words, Wuchang Fish, who seemed like he lost all thinking abilities from impulse, finally calmed down.

"……Our work will not stop, other people will automatically turn around to us, all I need to do now is to bring Master away, then we will have a chance to take back everything in the days to come. "

"Hehe…..work? Let me guess, the so called plan of yours to save the country should involve the Emperor. You both have never even heard of the existence of Chengtian Association before, and what you’re doing is only based on the assumption that the “Family” are forcing things along with the Emperor, so you don’t really have any plans that could really profit the people and the country, am I right?"

"……"

"Both of you must have guessed that Chengtian Association is tied to the “Family”, but during the process of transferring information, somewhere along the line, the fact that both of you knew about this organization was leaked. Maybe it was me, maybe it was the people around the emperor, or more likely……it was someone from the inside. "

"That’s impossible!"

"Hehe, it seems that I was right. But why didn’t they take action before, and wait until now to go against the Young Master?"

"……I don’t know."

I let out a sigh, patting his arm.

"I’m really curious about this too, I even suspect they especially solicited Master just for the Young Master…You can go back first, come back after midnight. Don’t just stand there anymore, go, when the time comes, things will go as you wish. "

Sending off Wuchang Fish, I took out my pocket watch to check the time, then waved my finger at a direction after I kept time.

Before they leave, I’ll help them just one more time……

After midnight, Wuchang Fish came as agreed.

The small courtyard I was guarding does not have a second guard; I led Wuchang Fish to Young Master, who had already packed up his bags. Seeing his Young Master, he dashed over to give him a hug, and I hastened their departure.

"The money for the journey is all in the bundle, I have also given the map to get out of the country to Young Master. The few hiding places on the road are also very well concealed, they are friends I made from when I was helping Master take care of business, they’re very willing to provide help. I have already solved the problem of Chengtian Association monitoring the Food Souls here, rest assured, you can leave……wait until you have enough power to change this country, then come back. "

Young Master and Wuchang Fish both revealed a shocked expression, Wuchang Fish grabbed my arm and faced me.

"Why are you helping us? We don’t even know how great their power is. If you do this, not only will the Master, even you will– "

"If this person can sell out his own family just for personal gain, then what is there that he won’t do. Maybe one day, I’ll be the one paying the price for his greed!" I cut off Wuchang Fish and waved him off.

"What we know of Chengtian Association is really little, I may be able to help you for now, but I can’t keep helping you. In the end, you need to rely on your own strength to change this country. But……anyways, the thing I seek, it will not happen in this country. If you can really change this country, then that’s not bad too."

"The thing you seek?"

"Hehe, that’s not something you need to know. Don’t stall any longer, hurry up and go."

"……Thank you, we owe you a favor."

"No need to thank me, someday I will ask for this favor back. "

IV. The Third Requirement

The Young Master and Wuchang Fish have both left. Master went into a fit of rage, but there was nothing he could do, except to hide this matter for now.

But a secret can’t be kept forever,[1]Chengtian Association quickly found out about the Young Master and Wuchang Fish’s escape. What they did was bring Master news of the Young Master’s death, and then told him their third request was for him to dissolve his contract with me and hand me over, or else he wouldn’t be able to own any property, bringing disaster upon himself.

Looking at Master, gazing at me with teary eyes, I controlled my emotions and didn’t ridicule him. Instead, I calmly asked him.

"Where’s Wuchang FIsh? Seeing as Young Master has been killed, has Wuchang Fish died with him as well?"

"Wu-Wuchang Fish? I don’t know, they never said anything, perhaps he ran off on his own!"

Wuchang Fish is someone who would never run away on his own, unless he got into some sort of accident too.

A thought suddenly floated into my head.

Is it possible that…..eradicating the Young Master, participating in conspiracy, was just something they did in passing, and their final goal was actually to obtain Steamed Wuchang Fish and I, both Food Souls?

This gutsy thought troubled me, what’s the use of obtaining Food Souls unwilling to submit their lives to them?

"Buddha’s Temptation, you must save me, if I didn’t summon you, you wouldn’t have even appeared on the face of this earth……"

"Okay, I will go."

I no longer wished to listen to Master using past deeds to plead with me, so I cut his words off, agreeing to his request.

Master’s treachery has locked his dismal future into place, so I might as well take this chance to dissolve our contract, and after I obtain the answer in the confusion, I’ll save Wuchang Fish and leave this place.

While leaving the mansion, I felt no nostalgia, and showed no signs of resisting. I was very cooperative from start to finish.

The people at Chengtian Association probably didn’t expect me to come so willingly, so they even sent a Food Soul responsible for detaining me while escorting me. At first, the Food Soul had their guard up, worried that I would cause a ruckus at any time, only slowly letting their guard down when we were on the grounds of the Chengtian Association.

I heard that this place was called “Drink Water Stage”, and it seems like it is primarily used to perform experiments.

Entering “Drink Water Stage” and going deeper, the transaction was about to take place at the checkpoint.

I used this opportunity to cause a scene and launched a surprise attack on the Food Soul, who’d relaxed their vigilance. The Food Soul meant to receive us was stunned, but then immediately after, threw down every other human in the tunnel!

"You……who are you?"

"I am Jinhua Ham, and I would like you to come rescue Steamed Wuchang Fish."

"Wuchang Fish is here?"

"Yes, follow me."

At a critical time like this, I can only choose to trust this Food Soul that helped me.

Jinhua Ham and Chengtian Association must have some deep connection. He was very familiar with the layout of “Drink Ice Stage”, and no one suspected anything as he brought me through the tunnels. Extremely convenient for our surprise attack on a guard on our way.

Very soon, he led me to Wuchang Fish’s room. The unconscious Wuchang Fish was locked to a table, surrounded by tools made of crystal and unidentifiable metals.

"……These are?"

"These are the tools used to perform experiments……they’re always looking for methods to force Food Souls into contracts with them."

"What?!"

"Having more Food Souls would mean having greater power. At that time, not only will they be able to control this country, other countries……even the entirety of Light Kingdom would be in their hands. "

"……So this is their motive."

"Wuchang Fish helped me before, so I am returning this favor to him. Please take him away."

Loosening Wuchang Fish’s shackles, I carried him on my back and followed Jinhua Ham towards the most concealed passageway, and tried to ask him about his life.

Jinhua Ham did not let on about his story, and only said that he doesn’t wish to see Chengtian Association harming any more people.

"Won’t you leave with us?"

"No……My issues can only be resolved here. I have already prepared your safehouse, if you trust me, then bring Wuchang Fish there and let him properly tend to his wounds, then come back and fight with his original strength. If I’m still here at that time, then I can be his greatest help."

"……Take care.  "

Seeing as Jinhua Ham has already made up his mind, I didn’t think to advise him further and brought Wuchang Fish away from this place.

Everyone has things that they want to pursue, and thus, will receive the rewards or pay the price from their choices.

There’s nothing in this country that causes me to be nostalgic, so I will leave here and start anew somewhere else.

But the people I know, they are all here.

In the future, no matter what they choose, I will always be somewhere in the corner, watching them make their final decision.

V. Buddha's Temptation

Once Buddha’s Temptation left the country, his Master was punished for assisting wanted criminals. Even before Buddha’s Temptation chose to leave, he had already predicted this ending for his Master. To Buddha’s Temptation, this was a well deserved ending for someone who discarded his friends.

When Buddha’s Temptation found out that Master was going to give his only son to Chengtian Association, he’d already begun planning ahead for his future. Rather than travelling through land, where he could be easily followed, Buddha’s Temptation chose to go through the dangerous but hard to track ocean.

Through the savings he earned when he was helping Master with his business, he requested help from some of his reliable acquaintances to obtain a merchant ship, so he could leave and set sail whenever.

Just like this, Buddha’s Temptation brought Steamed Wuchang Fish to the safehouse that Jinhua Ham had prepared, and Steamed Wuchang Fish received careful treatment from Cloud Tea.

Buddha’s Temptation told Steamed Wuchang Fish about the fact that Jinhua Ham helped them escape but didn’t leave with them.

Steamed Wuchang Fish was quiet for a moment, then let out a soft sigh, not saying anything else. Buddha’s Temptation didn’t ask further questions, he just took out his pocket watch to look at the time, then went to the back kitchen to get the medicine being boiled for Steamed Wuchang Fish.

Buddha’s Temptation didn’t wait for Steamed Wuchang Fish’s injuries to completely heal and left; he knew Wuchang Fish would return to their home country, to exact revenge on that organization that controlled the nation and killed his Master.

Buddha’s Temptation has no interest in Chengtian Association, and his intentions do not belong here. Early on, he already knew that outside of this country, there are broader skies, enough power for him to expend at his whims, letting more people know of his name, allowing for more wealth to accumulate under his name. All he needs to do is think, and he’ll be able to obtain all that he wanted.

Buddha’s Temptation chose to leave the land of nowhere on his own, with a single boat. He went through many troubles doing simple tasks like transporting and escorting, up until he returned to land to build his own business.

On this journey, he got to know many brothers he could trust, found a dependable partner, formed a tough team and grew his business.

While Buddha’s Temptation was focused on managing his business, he never once forgot about the friend who returned to their motherland for revenge, and was always paying close attention to the news, even lending a bit of help when it was most needed.

For example, when Steamed Wuchang Fish had his identity exposed and was chased down by the enemy, Buddha’s Temptation brought him on to the boat, allowing him to temporarily hide.

Every time, Buddha’s Temptation would remind Steamed Wuchang Fish that he owed him an extra favour and that he would want to ask for it back one day, telling him that Steamed Wuchang Fish should just do his best, he shouldn’t lose his life for revenge.

The thing is, Buddha’s Temptation never asked for these favors back from Steamed Wuchang Fish, he would just joke like this to Steamed Wuchang Fish every time.

Notes

  1. Not completely sure what this phrase means, but it could refer to the dust particles under sunlight or keeping her natural beauty.
  2. The raw translation says it was a string or a stringed instrument.
Butter Tea
Sprite-Butter Tea
Long Bao Chibi 1 This story has not been released yet! More details will be added once it has.


I. Miss Dong

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II. Likes

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III. Troublesome

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IV. Sincerity

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V. Butter Tea

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Canele
Sprite-Canele
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by Revelery. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. For the Love of God

From the beginning of my birth, my Master Attendant told me.

I am a saint, a gift from God. 

In this turbulent era, in order to pass on the will of God, to exist in order to save the suffering people. 

God responded to his prayers and brought me to his side, bringing the will, the voice and the gift of God. 

God, mercy, and kindness in Master Attendant's people, like the same beam of light, will generally repel all darkness, embracing all the people who suffer in his warm embrace. I come from God and exist because of God's choice. Take away the pain and bring light to them. 

Our town is a place that is not prosperous, but it is exceptionally calm. 

Without the turmoil of the outside world, the villagers are mostly kind, and we are self-sufficient in our own labor. 

We pray to our God devoutly and humbly pray for peace. 

And our great God has mercifully blessed our little land. 

We have plenty of sunshine, rain, and a mild and suitable environment that allows us to settle in this land with peace of mind. 

The beautiful song of birds in the morning, the little fish at the bottom of streams, the lovely creatures in the mountains and forests, all of which come from God's gift. All we need to do is pray, and we can easily get enough for our rich life. 

Master Attendant exhausted his life savings and built this church, which might be a little crude for God. 

But our loving God did not reject our prayers. 

He will follow God's will to help everyone who comes to ask for help, and guide the lost lambs back to the path of light. 

His words and deeds are faithful to God's teachings. He is God's most devout believer and God's most loyal agent. 

I was born in the world because of the gift of God. I stood before the image of one thousandth of the love that could not be traced in the eyes of God. I pleaded God to agree with my little request.

God, I will always dedicate my most devout faith as a offering, and pray that you can look at me with your eyes. 

Even if it is a small moment, I pray that you will listen to my most sincere call, so that I can guard God and guard the town.

II. Saint

Thanks to God's blessing, Master Attendant has lived to an age that was long enough for human beings.

With a smile, he was taken back by God. 

God's side will no longer have suffering and sickness. Master Attendant will henceforth serve God's right and left without any trouble. 

The only concern before he left was this small church. 

Even though it's not eye-catching, with the statues being a bit rudimentary, it is the only place in the town where people can listen to the voice of God. They are the ones who can seek a bright light when they are lost. 

He handed this little church to me. I held the bronze key in my hand tightly, and I looked at the Master Attendant who had left safely. I made a promise to God in my heart. 

I will do everything I can to protect and sing the faiths of my heart. 

Because I am not a human being born of God, I will not grow old like human beings. I will praise God's mercy, praise his gifts, and guard this faith which is never allowed to be defiled. 

From spring to winter, the toddlers in the town grow up, go to school, work, get married, and grow old. 

I follow God's will to appease the wounded body with the power of God, and sing praises of God to soothe the wounded soul. 

The clear bells echoed in the church, washing away the inner sins and fatigue, and the ethereal hymns appease the fragile soul. 

Gradually, because only the spirit that will appear before me when I sing has the power to heal people's wounds, and because I will not grow old, I am called a saint by the people of the town. 

Great God, please forgive me for this little joy in my heart. 

This title seems to have enabled me to take a little step closer to you. Forgive me for not stopping them from addressing me so selfishly. 

I will work harder.

III. Anger

When there are no ceremonies in the church, I like to walk around town.

Sunny weather is the best time to walk. Close your eyes and feel the gentle breeze. Slow down your breathing. When you integrate yourself into the world, you will feel how kind God is.

With a touch of grassy aroma, the neighbors’ cordial greetings, the street vendors’ enthusiastic barking, the laughing and joking children, and the yawning cats on the street corners.  

All of this is given by God. 

Suddenly, a melodious song that was sweet and different from the hymn came from a familiar street. 

I slowly opened my eyes and followed the song. 

A man in a robe sat with a group of children with a bright sunny smile. There were several white pigeons beside him who were also attracted by his singing. His hair under the sunshine seemed to be coated with gold. 

His voice is very pleasant, like a spring breeze, gentle and smiling. 

I believe that no matter how noisy the child is, he can gradually quiet them down under his song. 

He was surrounded by a group of children, and even the busy adults not far away looked sideways at him from time to time. 

Different from the sacredness of the hymn, he can make people feel the countless scenery he has walked through from his singing. 

The cold winds on the snowy plain, sometimes magnificent and sometimes calm as a mirror of the sea, and endless wheat fields. 

Following his song seemed like he can travel all over the places of the land and see the beautiful scenery that he has never seen before. 

"Brother, brother, you have been to many places. Can you tell us what the other places are like? I haven't been out of town yet!" 

After the song was finished, the quiet children gradually recovered their usual liveliness. The daring boy grabbed the man's clothes and looked up at the man who laughed gently. 

The man touched his chin and meditated for a while, then patted the child on the top of his head. 

"Okay, let me tell a story about the rain." As the story progresses, the story from the man's mouth becomes more and more absurd. 

How could there be other gods in this world? 

Everything about us! It was brought by our great Father and God! 

But it's all absurd delusions! How dare we call ourselves God! 

"Stop your nonsense. Our God is always merciful. How could it be possible for a small argument to send tens of thousands of people to die in the devastating floods?" 

I went into the crowd and glared at the man who had denigrated God's prestige, but his eyes were still clear and unshaken. 

He looked up at me, reflecting in his clear pupils my face twisted by anger, and his expression was apologetic, but without regret. 

"Sorry, I shouldn't have said that in front of you. " 

"...Your God does not exist...It doesn't exist!" 

"Hey, don't get angry. It's just a legend." 

"You're such a person... How can a man like you understand how kind God is, that he is our only God! You are that kind of person! You'll be punished!" 

I don't remember how I got back to church. I just remember how sorry the man was for annoying me. 

He quickly left after apologizing to me, while I was still immature at that time, but I was still muddled by his story.

IV. The Meaning of Gift

I know that man is still in the town, because there are some words that shouldn't have appeared in the mouths of children who had only prayed to our Father and God.

They no longer appreciate God's reward. They no longer believe that Father is the only faith.

They turned their backs on the gods, and they betrayed the Father who gave them light. 

God, I ask you to let these people know who is giving them such a peaceful life, and who they should believe in. 

The horrific tragedy that followed, for me at that time, was like the punishment that the Father sent to them after their wrath.  

The rich and fertile land splitted into a huge gap from the center of the town, swallowing the existence of life like a monster with a large opening in hell.  

Buildings that collapsed because of the huge turbulence, along with the tongues of fire from the overturned stoves, engulfed the people who had not been able to escape. 

The tragic screams and cries for help came from every corner of the town, and in every direction there were countless lambs who fell into the darkness and needed to be saved. 

Standing in the center of the town, I watched in horror as the collapsed buildings swallowed up the children I was running to. Faced with the town that suddenly turned into ruins, all the townspeople put their hands together and prayed terribly to God and Father for forgiveness and prayed that God and Father would stop the terrible disaster. 

I hugged my head and cried, asking for the care of Father, praying for his forgiveness, and praying for the retraction of what I had said before as a curse. 

However, it was another hand that pulled me up from the ground. 

The intense pain on my face made me wake up. I covered my painful and feverish cheek and looked at the man who frowned. 

"There will be time to pray after you save people!"  

"This is God's punishment... No one will be saved. Everyone's going to die. It's a punishment... It's all my fault... It's all my fault... " 

"Wake up! Isn't your God merciful? It can't be the disaster he gave! Think about it for me! He gives you strength! What on earth is it used for? Now only you can save those people!" 

The brain, which had been chaotic because of the tragic situation, became gradually clear. Even at this time, my palms were still shaking slightly, and my eyes were still a little swelled. 

"... Yes... Now... Only me... Only then can we save everyone... " 

Thank God for his power. 

But at the same time, thanking him for extending his hand to me in the dark vortex and for letting me understand the meaning of the power that God has given me. 

Like chanting in the church, under the brilliant power to bring out the light, the strength in the body was gradually pulled away and cleaned, shaking to falling down, but didn't touch the mottled land again. I was caught by the man and leaned on him. 

"Look, isn't this done?" 

I looked up at the man who was gray-faced because he helped the townspeople. His face was as bright as I had ever seen it. 

V. Canele

A long time ago, there was a self-sufficient town.

The location of the town is very good, with fertile land, plenty of rain, and a warm and suitable climate. 

The townspeople didn't need to use too much labor to acquire enough assets for their well-off life. 

Their biggest festival of the year is to pray to their Father for good weather in the coming year. 

There is also a devout priest in the town. The priest is sincere and gentle. He will meet every one of the townspeople who come to pray and will solve their doubts. The priest firmly believes that their benevolent gods will protect their small town. 

Perhaps it was true that one day, the devout priest touched his god, and a spirit like a saint was summoned by him. 

Canele, who has the appearance and the voice of a pure soul like a saint. Her singing is enough to wash away all sins. Her singing can make any sin invisible. 

Canele, who was sent to the priest by the gods, was able to use a special force when she sang. This power can heal the wounds and even save the dying when they reached their limit. 

The priest regarded her as a gift from the gods, and he gave his church to her after his death. 

But Canele did not live up to her name as a saint, and her pious faith worshiped the gods in their hearts. 

However, after a small dispute, the natural disaster left the villagers who were used to praying at a loss, and this natural disaster became the reason why Canele was regarded as a saint by the world. 

A town that was so tragic that all the buildings collapsed, even under her singing, only a few people were injured, and those who were seriously injured also stopped bleeding in time to save their lives. 

"Oh, my lady!" 

Beer, with his gentle voice and beaming expression, stood at the entrance of the town that was being gradually rebuilt, and raised his hand to wave at Canele, who was telling stories to the children. 

"Mr. Beer, long time no see."

Canele put down her storybook and coaxed the children who were still pestering her to listen to the story back home, and she went to Beer.

"Yeah, I'm here again. What story are you telling them?"

"What you told them before, the story that hasn't been finished yet. At that time, I interrupted this story, and I should make up for it. "

" ....Ok. " 

"Why did you come to me all of a sudden? What about the boy who has been following you all the time?" 

"... I didn't know why he was angry with me. I came to find him and happened to pass by you and see if everything was all right for you. " 

"What kind of world have you seen this time?" 

"... Ah... That's why I came to talk to you. Oyster, that child.... " 

Beer didn't care about her problem. 

"This is a matter between you. It is a test that God has given you. It shouldn't be told by other people." 

"Ah... What should I do then?" 

Beer watched Canele walk away in light footsteps and grabbed her hair that got messy as she ran. 

Beer, who was traveling all over the world may never know that the person who made Canele stop blindly believing in the gods but further strengthen her beliefs, was the one who hadn't found anything about his belief.  

The man who always laughed hilariously told her with his own actions. 

Her god, who kindly gave her strength, did not allow her to pray. 

He is her only god, and doesn't need to worry about other people's beliefs. In her mind, he was the only belief. 

In the end, she will always be proud of her God she believes in and appreciate his gift.

Candy Cane
Sprite-Candy Cane
Long Bao Chibi 1 This Story has not been released yet! More details will be added once it has.


I. TBA

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II. TBA

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III. TBA

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IV. TBA

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V. TBA

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Caviar
Sprite-Caviar

Long Bao Chibi 4 Contents of this page has been fan-translated by cakerollkarol and may not be completely accurate.
Official translations will be added whenever it's available.


I. Void God

I, the one blessed by the Void God.

My right eye was blessed by the great Void God since the moment of my birth.

Though it cannot see properly, it allows me to see certain visions.

These visions are mostly heart breaking and filled with despair. It’s as if I am being entangled in a thick sea of darkness, unable to break free.

During that time, I thought it was a curse.

I’ve told others about this ability before, but they never believed me.

Except for one person.

“I’m serious, I swear by the power bestowed on my right eye! The you from another universe got hurt after he went out! Which is why! Don’t go!”

“….okay, okay, you’re right, but before that, can you please let go of my sleeve? I need to go buy ingredients for tonight’s dinner, Mr. Caviar. Didn’t you say you wanted to have strawberry milkshakes yesterday?”

“I’m not joking.”

“Okay, okay. You saw this from the parallel universe, right?”

“That’s right.”

“Ah… Mr. Caviar, you’re too cute.”

“Huh, what’s going on?”

I can never understand other people’s smiles.

“Ah, storekeeper! Mr. Caviar is talking about the other universe again, he says something will happen to me if I go out.”

“Oh….. Is that so. Then don’t leave today, how about we eat some curry rice!”

The storekeeper suddenly appeared, and looked at me, as if deep in thought, but ultimately, spoke those few words so casually.

“Hey!”

No matter how absurd my words are, my Master Attendant will always believe me.

It was also him who saved me from deep despair.

He told me this:

“So it’s like that, huh! Then you should thank your right eye! It’s definitely not cursed, it’s actually been blessed. Because you have it, you can prevent all those bad things for those you want to protect. Isn’t that a good thing?”

Although others don’t believe that I have this power, I still have to thank the great Void God.

Thank him for giving me this power.

Even if it cannot be understood by others, and even if it’s often misconstrued, as long as I can use it to protect those dear to me, that’s enough.

My power exists so it could protect those important to me.

No matter how people misunderstand my power, I’m okay with it.

I only hope that those horrible visions in my right eye will never manifest in the world where my left eye resides.

II. Sudden Change

In the midst of chaos, the once ever-smiling man, who always wanted to take off my eye patch and peek beneath at my eye, fell before me.

Bright scarlet blood spilled over his lips. I reached out in blind panic to catch him and held him close.

Looking at him in my arms, those warm eyes, strong enough to dispel all darkness, have long lost their shine.

I suddenly awaken from my dream.

The slight coolness on my forehead and back caused me to realize it was all a dream.

That vision has never appeared in my right eye before.

Every night when I sleep, my soul would always have a chance of leaving my body and go to another universe, where I witness that universe’s scenery through my right eye.

The clammy warm feeling of my palm has not ceased. There’s a darkness akin to a beast swallowing all my courage, but no matter what, I can never allow this vision come to fruition, I must prevent it from happening in my left eye.

Because he is dear to me….

I tried going back to sleep again, whilst asking the great Void God to give me more information, even the tiniest clue would do. I want to save him, I want to protect him….

Oh great Void God, thank you for letting me meet him. As your devout believer, I beg of you to give me a way to save him.

I’ve tried so many times, but every time I’d be abruptly awakened from deep slumber.

Every time, that person would fall before me, just like that.

Except this time, I saw someone.

It was a masked man dressed in a kariginu [2].

Upon closer look, there’s a girl dressed in white by his side.  

I couldn’t see their faces clearly, but I will remember you two.

Searching for an entire night used up a lot of energy.

I forced myself to get up so I could go tell him, so he’d watch out for a kariginu wearing man and a girl in white.

But once I met him, a bone-chilling cold began to spread from the soles of my feet to my entire body.

She’s here.

“Caviar! Look! This here’s our new friend! She’s called Milt Shirako, little white, a very fitting name, don’t you think? You’re her senior, so take good care of her!”

Master Attendant happily waved at me as he said that.

He’s the sort of person to bring in pitiful, homeless Food Souls to his restaurants and help them settle down.

He’s just like a ray of sunlight. He saved me from the unbearable world of my right eye.

No, I can’t tell him now, that’d put her on alert. I must keep watch over her while she hasn’t yet torn away her disguise.

Besides, what worries me even more is what I saw from last night’s dream….

She was crying….

III. Overseeing

That girl is very strange.

Unlike other girls, she didn’t like vibrantly colored clothes, she’d only wear those pure white robes of hers.

Unlike other girls, she doesn’t like eating cute treats, nor does she beg Master Attendant to get her the latest picture book.

When other girls come find her to play with them, she’d don her signature smile as she stared with malicious eyes. The girls would quickly run away in fear. Only then does she go back to sitting in her previous spot.

And so, aside from hanging out with Master Attendant, she’s mostly alone.

What I see her most often do is cup her chin, and silently stare off into the distance, as if in a trance.

Nobody knows what she’s thinking, and nobody knows what she wants to do.

Aside from drawing talismans, her only other hobby appears to be nurturing dying plants that Master Attendant, never quite the green thumb, had tossed away.

Those yard plants, originally wilting, continued to bloom under her care.

During those times, her eyes would bring out smiles that didn’t look strange.

Under the sunlight, that pure smile looked great.

I could hardly believe that someone with a smile like that, someone who had such patience while tending plants, was capable of doing what I saw in my vision.

Today, when Master Attendant went out, he was attacked by a Fallen Angel.

He said he was only going to get some spices, that the journey would be brief, and he wouldn’t need us by his side.

Luckily, the Fallen that attacked him was so drunk that it didn’t even know what year it was.

Master Attendant told the Fallen Angel that he’d go back to get it even better booze, and that’s how he successfully escaped.

Although his tone was relaxed as ever, we, the listeners, didn’t feel calm at all.

Everyone is worried about him, and I also blame myself. Lately, I’ve been paying too much attention to Milt instead of doing my best to protect him.

However, I noticed Milt was standing behind the crowd of people. I had no idea what made her show such a guilty expression.

Though it lasted only for a moment, she turned and left afterwards.

Where…. Is she going?

Soon enough, I found out what she went to do, because she came back with a bowl of strangely colored porridge.

The porridge was a purplish greenish color, along with some other indescribable shades. It was emitting a terrible smell.

She brought the bowl of porridge close to Master Attendant, causing everyone nearby to turn blue. She brought a spoon near his horrified face.

“I added something extra to it, you must finish it all! Only then can I let you play with me!”

At the time, her expression was simply too frightening that not even I dared to rescue Master Attendant, who was screaming miserably.

I don’t know why, but for her to reveal such a guilty expression, I believe she’d never hurt Master Attendant.

It’s definitely not because I also don’t dare to go near her.

IV. Determination

Much to everyone’s surprise, Milt’s bowl of porridge, which smelled as bad as it looked, (and probably tasted equally terrible, judging by Master Attendant’s expression after he finished) seems to have brought some good results.

What should have taken a month of proper rest and care needed only less than a week before he had fully recovered.

I’m starting to question what I saw in my right eye.

Thus, I’ve decided to be more careful as I look again

That night, I once more sought out help from the Void God.

But it was the same as my previous visions, the world has not changed its course.

With the fallen, motionless body still warm in my arms, I tried my best to calm my mind, in hopes of seeing more, searching for even the tiniest clue that might let me save him.

It was then that I saw her– Milt walking alone, towards that man. He raised his hand to ruffle her hair.

“Milt, you’ve done well. You’ve greatly contributed this time. Were it not for the message you passed, we wouldn’t have been able to grasp such a perfect chance.”

“Sir… Didn’t you say…won’t…won’t…”

“Ah? What was that, Milt?”

“……No……It’s nothing.”

I woke up from my vision once more.

Why, it was definitely her… But she… No, I need to find her and get a direct answer!

I didn’t even have the time to put on my shoes as I ran over to Milt’s quarters, but she wasn’t inside.

I suddenly recalled how recently, she’s been staying up late to cook the porridge, which she claims contains a unique secret ingredient. I immediately switched directions and sped over to the kitchen.

I didn’t dare to believe the scene I came across.

Milt was biting onto her sleeve, her expression numb as she sliced a piece of flesh from her arm and added it to the boiling porridge.

At that very moment, I recalled her words from that day. It turns out, those extra things that she mentioned…were…her own flesh and blood?

My unintentional movements accidentally shifted a pile of supplies behind me. I heard her cry in alarm; she had an expression of suspicion, which I’d never seen before.

“Who’s there?! Come out!”

I had no choice but to leave my hiding spot, all the while watching Milt’s daily disguise fade away. In a calm voice I didn’t even know I was capable of, I asked her:

“So this is it, your secret ingredient?”

As predicted, this struck a chord somewhere inside her. Her original expression of wariness turned into fury.

“This has nothing to do with you! Don’t interfere!”

“Then I’ll tell Master Attendant.”

“You! You can’t do that!”

“Unless you tell me who that masked guy wearing a kariginu really is.”

“How do you know?!”

V. Caviar

Caviar is a strange Food Soul. In the eyes of other Food Souls, he’s like a child yet to grow up.

Even the youngest of Food Souls have already passed their age of delusional and wishful thoughts, and they’d often laugh at Caviar, still clinging onto this entity called ‘the Void God.’

According to him, his eye patch is a type of seal. He can see visions from an alternative world through his sealed eye.

Of course, only people as oblivious and happy-go-lucky as the Master Attendant would believe this.

But apart from that bit, he’s well liked by everyone.

This is despite not speaking much, not knowing a lot about the outside world, and often, speaking strange things out of the blue.

But undoubtedly, everyone can feel his concern for them.

That’s why they’d only snicker good-naturedly, even occasionally indulging his prattling with a few words here and there.

While it’s true that Caviar’s personality is a bit on the weird side, he always tries his best to treat everyone with gentle kindness.

He’s always earnestly helping people, despite them never asking for his assistance. He’d hide his face beneath his scarf and go red faced after they gave him their thanks.

This kind of boy is always well liked.

Caviar actually doesn’t know how someone so gloomy and somber like himself could be so popular among girls.

However, ever since the arrival of that Food Soul named Milt Shirako, the once imaginative and idle Caviar suddenly began acting more serious and grim.

He no longer shows that shy smile of his, instead, constantly furrows his brows.

He may not have realized this himself, but for other people, they can tell that he’s paying an unprecedented amount of attention towards this Milt.

Ever since Master Attendant got himself injured from going out alone, Caviar, who’d used to only ever stick by Master Attendant’s side, began trailing after Milt one day.

That girl named Little White seemed very annoyed about it, but there was nothing she could do about it.

“Why are you helping him?!”

“I did it out of my own volition!”

“It hurts, doesn’t it?!”

“What’s it to you?!”

“If it hurts, you have to tell! How am I supposed to help you if you don’t?!”

“I don’t need your help!”

“Then don’t help him!”

“……I’m begging you, please let me go……”

“Absolutely not! You have to tell me! Or else I’m telling everyone!”

“……”

The girl clad in white, who used to be able to scare people into scrambling away, now showed an expression that no one has ever seen before to this man in black.

All the while, a certain trouble-seeking Master Attendant, completely oblivious to the fact that he was the source of the problem, used his elbow to nudge at a nearby server.

“Those two match, don’t you think? One black and one white, their personalities are similar too. Huh, I’ve never seen Milt act like this before? Hey hey hey! I’m just babbling! Don’t smash my shop! Milt, stop that! Caviar, you’re still not holding her back?!”

Translator's Notes

  1. Original text said “paper cannot keep fire at bay,” which is a way of saying that means a secret cannot be kept forever.
  2. A kariginu originated as casual hunting wear for Japanese nobility, but became everyday wear for Japan’s ruling class.

Long Bao Chibi 4 Contents of this page has been fan-translated by T.B.Yonat and may not be completely accurate.
Official translations will be added whenever it's available.


I. The Void God

I am the one who is blessed by the void god.

My right eye has been blessed by the mighty god of the void since I was born.

Although it can’t see anything normally, it allows me to see some scenes. Most of those scenes are extremely sad and desperate, make me seem to be entangled in thick darkness and unable to break free.

At that time, I thought it was a curse.

I talked to other people about this ability, but they didn't believe me. Except for one person.

"It’s true! I swear by the power of my sealed right eye! You in another world are really injured after you go out! So! Don't go!"

"...yeah, yeah, you are right, but before that, can you let go of my sleeves first? I have to go out and buy the ingredients for dinner. Master Caviar, didn’t you say that you want to have a strawberry milkshake yesterday? "

" I am not kidding you. Really." "…Right, you see it in a parallel world?" “Yes.” "Oh... master Caviar, you are so cute." "what’s wrong?"

I can't always understand the smile of others.

"Ah, the store manager! Master caviar is starting to say about the parallel world again. He said that something will happen to me if I go out from this door." "Well... then don't go out today. How about we eat curry rice!" Suddenly he looked at me, seems like he was thinking about something very serious, but he just said it in understatement.

“Eh.”

No matter how absurd I say, my master attendant will always believe me.

It was him that saved me from that heavy despair.

He said "It’s something like this! You should thank your right eye! It is not cursed, it’s the blessed, and with it, you can protect the people you want from those bad things. Right?"

Although they don’t believe that I really have such ability, I still want to thank the almighty void god for he gives me such a great ability.

Even if it can't be understood by others, even if it is often misunderstood, it is good as long as I can use it to protect someone I wanted to.

My ability exists to protect my important person. No matter how the others misunderstood it, I have no concern with this. I only hope that the undetailed scenes in my right eye will never appear in this world for the left eye to see.I am the one who is blessed by the void god.

My right eye has been blessed by the mighty god of the void since I was born.

Although it can’t see anything normally, it allows me to see some scenes. Most of those scenes are extremely sad and desperate, make me seem to be entangled in thick darkness and unable to break free.

At that time, I thought it was a curse.

I talked to other people about this ability, but they didn't believe me. Except for one person.

"It’s true! I swear by the power of my sealed right eye! You in another world are really injured after you go out! So! Don't go!"

"...yeah, yeah, you are right, but before that, can you let go of my sleeves first? I have to go out and buy the ingredients for dinner. Master Caviar, didn’t you say that you want to have a strawberry milkshake yesterday? "

" I am not kidding you. Really." "…Right, you see it in a parallel world?" “Yes.” "Oh... master Caviar, you are so cute." "what’s wrong?"

I can't always understand the smile of others.

"Ah, the store manager! Master caviar is starting to say about the parallel world again. He said that something will happen to me if I go out from this door." "Well... then don't go out today. How about we eat curry rice!" Suddenly he looked at me, seems like he was thinking about something very serious, but he just said it in understatement.

“Eh.”

No matter how absurd I say, my master attendant will always believe me.

It was him that saved me from that heavy despair.

He said "It’s something like this! You should thank your right eye! It is not cursed, it’s the blessed, and with it, you can protect the people you want from those bad things. Right?"

Although they don’t believe that I really have such ability, I still want to thank the almighty void god for he gives me such a great ability.

Even if it can't be understood by others, even if it is often misunderstood, it is good as long as I can use it to protect someone I wanted to.

My ability exists to protect my important person. No matter how the others misunderstood it, I have no concern with this. I only hope that the undetailed scenes in my right eye will never appear in this world for the left eye to see.

II. Sudden and Unexpected Change

The person who was grinning and want to take my eyepatch off, in the midst of chaos, fell in front of me.

Flourishing fresh blood overflowed from his mouth. My hand reached out in a panic and held him.

Looking at him in his arms, the pair of the eyes that used to have the warmth that can break up the darkness has already lost its brilliance.

I suddenly woke up from my sleep. The slight coolness at my forehead and back makes me realize that it all is just a dream. The scene like this has never appeared in my right eye before.

Every night when I sleep, my soul has the opportunity to leave my body, go to another world, and see the sight in the world of my right eye.

The sticky and warm touch in my hand has not receded. The darkness is like a beast engulfing my brave soul, but I can't let this happen in any way. I have to stop it from happening before my left eye.

Because he is my important person.

I tried to go to sleep again, asking the almighty void god to give me more information. Even if it is a small clue, I want to save him, I want to protect him...

Almighty void god, thank you for letting me meet him. Your sincere follower requests you, give me the way to save him.

I tried it many times, and every time I was shockingly awakened from sleep. Every time that important person is like this, he falls in front of me.

But this time, I saw another person.

A man in a Kariginu (Clothes in Japanese Hei’an period for nobility) with a mask. When I look closely, there is a white girl next to him. I can't see their faces, but I remember them all now.

Repeatedly search for one night made me consume too much energy. I barely propped up and wanted to tell him to take precautions against a man in a Kariginu and a white girl.

But when I walked to where he was, a kind of icy cold that can penetrate to the bone began to spread from my feet to my whole body.

That girl. She already appeared here.

"Caviar! Look! This is our new partner! Her name is Milt, the white child. What a good name! You are her Senpai, you must take care of her!"

Master attendant was happily waving his hand to me and said that.

He is such a person, he will bring those homeless food souls back to his restaurant to help them settle down. Like a beam of sunshine, he saved me from the dark world in my right eye.

No, I can't say it now, it will alert her. I will monitor her, tearing her disguise when she let her guard down.

Moreover, what I am more concerned about is the scene that I saw in my dream last night...

She was crying...

III. Surveillance

That girl is very strange.

Unlike other girls, she doesn't like colorful clothes. She always wears her white one. She also doesn't like the cute desserts or the latest picture book that my master madly wants.

When other girls were looking for her to play with, she always raised her signature smile and use the eyes that harbor malicious intentions to size them up until they run away because of fear. Then she returned to hen own place and sit down.

So, except with my master attendant, she is always stay alone.

The most frequently thing that I’ve seen she did was holding her chin and watching in the far distance quietly. No one knows what she is thinking, and no one knows what she wants to do.

In addition to drawing her own charms, her only hobby seems to be to take care of flowers and plants, which my master is not good at it and left them to ‘be more dead than alive’ state. The flowers and plants that had been withered away in the yard are now successfully blossom under her utmost care.

At that time, her eyes will bring some less eerie and mysterious smiles. Under the sunlight, the smile is very clean and so nice to look at it.

I can't believe it. The girl with such a smile, the one who is so patience with flowers and plants, will do some terrible things.

On this day, master attendant got some injury from a surprise attacked by the fallen angel when he went out. He said that he only went to get some spices, and the journey was very short. So he didn't let us stay with him.

Fortunately, the one that attack him is the drunkard Aizen who is too intoxicate to do anything. My master tactfully told him that he would go back and get a better liquor for him, and successfully escape.

Although he always uses a relaxed tone, listen to these words made us feels uneasy. We all are very worried about him, and I am also very self-blaming. I have recently paid too much attention to Milt. And I haven’t properly protected him.

But I found that Milt, who standing behind the crowd, I didn’t know why she showed an extremely self-blaming expression. Although this expression was only showed for a short moment, she turned and left.

She went... to do something?

Soon I knew what she was doing. She brought a bowl of porridge with an eerie color. Its color is mixed with purple green and some unspeakable colors, also emitted a wave of an unacceptable taste.

She carried the bowl of porridge that anyone who smell it will change the color on the face close to my master, holding a spoon near his frightened expression.

"I give you an additional something, be sure to drink it well! Then you can play with me~"

At that time, her expression was too horrible, and I dare not to go to save the master who was shouting in a miserable manner.

But I don't know why. I just believe that she, who showed such a heavily self-blame expression, will not hurt my master.

Absolutely, definitely not because I dare not to approach her.

IV. Determined

To everyone's surprise, the porridge from Milt that terrible in both look and smell, judging from the master’s expression after he drank it all, it’s unexpectedly good results.

My master originally had to take a month to recover from the injury. Now It is unexpectedly taking him less than a week, and it was almost fine.

I began to question the scenes that I saw in my right eye. So I decided to take a careful look again.

That night, I sought the help of the void god once again. But the scenes are still the same, the direction of the world has not changed.

The body that fell in my arms still has his temperature. I try to stabilize my heart and want to see more. Even the slightest clues may be my chance to save him.

However, I saw Milt, she went to the man in Kariginu, he raised his hand and rubbed her hair.

"Milt, you did a good job. This time you made a great contribution. If it wasn't for the information you delivered, we couldn't grab this good chance." "Sir... aren’t you saying... no... no..." "Hmm? What do you say?" “No… nothing…”

I shockingly woke up again from that scene. Why? It really is her... but she... No, I must ask her about this

I didn't even have time to put on my shoes and ran all the way to the small yard, but Milt wasn't staying there. I suddenly remembered that she seemed to stay up late to cook the porridge that she said she had a unique recipe, and immediately go to the kitchen. Then I saw a scene that made me dare not to believe.

Milt bit her own sleeve, her face numbly cut a piece of meat from her back of her hand and put it into the billow porridge.

At that moment, I suddenly remembered what she said that day. It turned out that...the additional thing she said...is...her own flesh and blood...

My inadvertent movement accidentally moved some debris behind me. The noise that transmitted from here disturbed her, revealing the vigilance expression that had never been shown up before.

"Who’s there! Come out!"

I didn’t come out from where I was hiding. Looking at Milt who had faded away from the usual disguise, and asked with a calm voice that even I didn't expect this.

"So, this is the secret recipe you talking about?"

Just as I expect, this sentence stabbed her mind, the expression that was originally on guard became very angry.

"It has nothing to do with you! Don't poke your nose into my affair!" "Then I will tell my master about this." “You…. you must not” "Unless you tell me, who is the man in Kariginu and a mask." "How did you know this!"

V. Caviar

Caviar is a very strange food soul. In the eyes of other food souls, he is like a child who has not grown up. Even the smallest soul, they have passed the age of delusion. Unlike Caviar that everyone laughs at him, always called the void god as the god of the world.

According to him, his eyepatch is a seal. And he can see the scenes from the parallel world through his sealed right eye. But only the thick-skinned people like his master attendant will believe that kind of thing.

But apart from this, everyone likes him very much. Although he doesn't speak much and doesn't know anything about the world. He often suddenly burst out with some mysterious words.

But his concern for everyone, anyone can feel it. So everyone will only smile in secret with goodwill and even cooperate with him, ask for a few words, let him speak a few more.

Although his character is somewhat weird, he always tries his best to be gentle to everyone.

He always seriously helps someone, even if they didn’t ask him for help. He will hide his shyly red face in his scarf whenever some people thank him.

Everybody loves such a boy like this.

In fact, Caviar, who always has such a gloomy look on himself, is very popular among girls.

However, since the day when the food soul called Milt arrived, Caviar that had always been “visiting another world” suddenly began to be extremely serious.

He no longer showed the shy smile, he kept his tight eyebrows instead.

Maybe he even didn't feel it himself, but everyone can see it. He had an unprecedented attention to the girl named Milt.

After the day that his master attendant injured when he went out alone, Caviar who was only followed the master began to follow the girl named Milt as well. She seems to be very impatient with this, but she is utterly hopeless.

“Why do you want to help him.” “Because I want to.” “Aren’t you hurt?” “No need to care about this!” "If you hurt, you have to say it! How I can help you if you don’t tell me!" “But I don’t want your help.” “Then you don’t have to help HIM!” “……I beg you. Let me go of this.” “I can’t! Unless you tell me about HIM! Or I’ll tell everyone about this!” “………………………………”

The white-haired girl who could scare away other people in the past, at this time, showed someone behind the black boy a look that other people had never seen before.

A certain master attendant who has no fears that the world will be a chaotic place but doesn’t know that he is the center of the problem is using his elbow to poke the waiter near him.

"You see, do they both match? One black and one white, the character is similar. I have never seen my Milt like this before. Whoa whoa whoa!! I babbling nonsense!! Don't smash the shop!!!! Milt, stop this!!! Ah!!!! Caviar, you must hold her quick!"

Champagne
Sprite-Champagne
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by Revelery. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. Suspicion

Master Attendant said that my arrival was as delightful as the congratulations on his victory.

My Master Attendant had been defending this country for more than a few decades, and he has won far more battles against those who have attempted to invade the land than they can imagine. 

When he was a teenager, he joined the army and became a glorious soldier, guarding this originally weak country, one battle after another, with countless scars on his body, and his heroic warfare has recorded his years and carries his glory.  

Nowadays, his temples are already white, but the age when he should have enjoyed his time is still the same. Only I am the one who accompanies him. 

He always laughs and tells me that this country is like his child. He has guarded it in its best years and watched it grow little by little to become a powerful country. 

Whenever he saw the crowd cheering on the street because of his triumph, he would tell me that he had never regretted giving his life to the people on this land. 

However, the emperor who sat high above the throne disappointed his efforts. 

Master Attendant, who holds the military power, has become the object of suspicious by the emperor. 

No one could have imagined that a simple palace banquet had became the scene for Master Attendant to go to the gallows. 

Other relatives have long been dead, and there are no other offspring. 

Master Attendant regarded me as his brother. He was a man who wasn't very gentle but devotes himself to the efforts of those who value him. I couldn't stand watching him walk step by step onto the inexplicable guillotine. 

I couldn't let the soldiers he personally brought out bear the scolding of treason with me, and I broke into the heavily guarded prison. 

The energetic old man who was originally full of spirit, was like the old and weak elderly people in the hospital at this time, but he always manages to clean his hair and let it loose.  

He looked up at me in a trance, opened his mouth and muttered something. 

"Hurry... Go away..."

When I heard his words, countless officers and soldiers had already rushed into the empty cell with weapons in their hands.

The gun in my hand dexterously spun out as a circle-shaped shadow on my finger. I laughed and looked up at the guards with weapons in their hands who were too late to come forward, raising their chins slightly. 

"Do you want to be clear? You are enemies with me, and you are enemies of victory." 

Spiritualized bullets poured out from the muzzle of the gun, and the bullets sparkled on the stone walls of the prison. The soldiers who went forward and succeeded fell down one by one, but their support came one after another without stopping. 

Spiritual power, like water, is squeezed out of the dying plants drop by drop, and the scene before me was becoming somewhat dazed, except for Master Attendant behind me, who roared with grief. 

No... I can never...fail...

II. Reinforcements

The exhaustion of my spiritual power had made me feel a little empty, and my legs had lost enough strength to support my body.

In order to protect Master Attendant behind me, I was forced to take a bullet. The pain caused by the bullet is now somewhat numb.

The faith that we mustn't lose sustains our shaky bodies, but the scene in front of me is gradually tinged with scarlet.

I tried to keep my eyes open, but I eventually slipped and fell forward.

Just when I thought I was going to fail, a familiar figure stood in front of me, holding my fallen body.

"Champagne, you are a symbol of our victory. How can you fall down? Hold on!"

The dizziness that made my brain unable to think had gradually passed, and my consciousness slowly recovered. I could barely see the guy who was supporting my body.

"You guys...Why are you here...?"

"The general is not yours alone, and we have been taught by him to grow up to what we are today. The general is like a father to us. We have long seen that the fellow sitting on the throne isn't satisfied. If it weren't for the general, there wouldn't be such a peaceful life!"

Looking at the comrades who suddenly rushed in, they nodded and supported their weak bodies by the shoulders of the people around them.

"Wherever I am, I am victorious!"

With support, Master Attendant was saved quickly and safely, and I gradually lost consciousness after a peace of mind.

When I woke up again, I saw Master Attendant sitting on the edge of the bed worriedly. His hand still had the scars left by his torture sentence.

He shook his hand slightly and rubbed my cheek with a calloused thumb.

"Champagne, it's hard for you."

The look of Master Attendant's worries only revealed for a moment, and soon resumed to its usual chill. The killing in his eyes became richer and more powerful.

"It doesn't matter if they hurt me, but I will never allow them to hurt my soldiers."

I stood on the field, looking at the dead companions lying on the ground, who had clenched their fists in order to rescue Master Attendant.

I looked back at Master Attendant, and the hesitation in his eyes had already dispersed, leaving only a firm decision. I raised the corner of my mouth and raised the flag in my hand.

As long as you think, there is a place where I am, and it is victory.

Wherever my gun is pointing, it is your kingdom.

III. Refute

Human beings often have something I can't understand, and the most incomprehensible is that they can sell everything for their power and their interests, ignoring all the suffering people around them.

Not everyone can agree with my change to the country. They have opposed my orders more than once for their own sake, even though the country is rebounding at a visible rate.

If we want to continue the reforms, those neighboring countries who don't know how to invade at this time become my best chess pieces.

The change of dynasty is bound to bring about war and turmoil. The neighbors who heard of the death of Master Attendant will seize the right opportunity to plunder more from the land that had suffered.

Only then will the nobles, who need me to bring victory to them, will faithfully implement the laws I promulgated and carry out my orders.

War, enactment of decrees, turmoil, and decision-making are all carried out in my plan.

I know that this is not a long-term solution, but it is enough to temporarily stabilize the current chaotic situation.

Isn't this the most commonly used trick among humans?

Finally, when all the neighboring countries realized that my country wasn't as weak as they had imagined, the turmoil had stabilized with the end of the last war.

The coronation ceremony that was put on hold during the war campaign was once again put on the agenda.

After the coronation ceremony, I was able to become the true monarch of this country.

Opponents even raised theocracy, which had long been forgotten by the country, as a reason to oppose me.

In the end, I don't care whether my throne is right or not. What I really want to do isn't to become the king of this country.

Those anxious ministers kept urging me that. As long as they have the approval of the saint, those who are constantly opposed to me would have nothing to say.

They persuaded me more than once that I was a natural king and should be sitting here.

The seemingly undulating underwater tide is surging, and everyone is making a big fuss about it, trying to debate it.

No one thought that the saint would take the initiative to come to the door on their own.

To my surprise, she turned out to be the same as me.

I sat on the throne and watched her bow respectfully. The respectful and polite figure gradually coincided with the girl standing in front of the church in my memory.

At this time, I realized that this girl's clothes are familiar.

When she looked up, I suddenly remembered when I had passed through a small city.

When the horse kicked open the gate, it was she who stood in front of the city people in an attempt to protect them all by herself.

I held my chin with great interest and looked at her carefully.

"Your Majesty, I have a small appeal, I hope Your Majesty will consider it."

I thought she would make some requests when I asked her.

Who could have thought she would propose a rebuttal to me?

"No, Your Majesty, I just want to pray that your law can be more gentle. Although strict law is the foundation of governing the country, there are too many sensible things. It's too impersonal to break it all at once."

I looked at this fellow, and I suddenly remembered those who offered me a request to restore the power of the aristocracy through various excuses. The inner dissatisfaction and anxiety made their tone unsatisfactory.

The subsequent quarrel left the minister who brought her somewhat at a loss, and I gradually changed my view of this girl during the quarrel.

This girl also has Master Attendant's tolerance and gentleness towards human beings.

At the end of the dispute, I couldn’t suppress my sudden inexplicable emotions and couldn’t help but burst into laughter.

Looking at her smile, I opened my mouth.

"If this is the case, then you will stay here and let me see if you can persuade me or if I'll persuade you!"

IV. Country

The rebel forces, guided by generals loyal to the country for ten years, strengthened the anti-flag, which no one had thought of, but it seems to be expected.

Master Attendant had been tortured and ruined by the life in prison. He gave the command to me after the expedition.

The officials and men who were extremely trusting with Master Attendant also trusted me. For them, I am synonymous with victory.

Every war I have been in has never failed. Even at the point where it looks like a desperate situation, I always have a way of leading everyone to victory.

I am Champagne, I am victory.

The rebel forces are as sharp as a blade.

Citizens who could not endure the exploitation of nobility for a long time opened the door and we all entered the city of the king.

The melancholy, greedy, and weak emperor fell off his throne and shivered.

The gunshots sounded, and the bright red blood stained the red carpet like a dark layer. I turned and looked at Master Attendant standing at the door of the hall.

His body was weakening and becoming more vulnerable than the average old man.

I reach out my hand to help him sit down and rest on the throne.

However, he didn't hold my hand, and as his withered hand missed my palm, it stretched out to my shoulder, clasping it and gave me a hard push.

Unguarded, I was pushed to the throne by him. I frowned and looked at Master Attendant's increasingly old face.

"I'm old, half of my body is in the soil, probably not long, but unlike you, Champagne, I can see that you're a man with the power of emperor. I know you don't have much affection for human beings, but even if it's for my promise, keep this country for me, okay?"

I was somewhat surprised by this remark. I always thought that my indifference to human beings was well concealed. Even to those obnoxious nobles, I could show a smile that could make girls blush.

Master Attendant looked at my surprised expression and stretched out his hand to mess up my long hair.

''Don't worry. You hide it well. I know that you have been depressed for a long time.''

"Then you're not worried that I might ruin the country you value?"

"You won't."

"Why?"

"Because I believe in you. Only you can protect this country for me."

I looked at Master Attendant's tired eyes and took a deep breath. The air had a strong bloody smell that wasn't pleasant, but it was enough to calm me down.

I agreed to Master Attendant's request to be the new king of this country.

Master Attendant quickly passed away because of excessive fatigue and old injuries.

The rebels then split into two factions, with the imperial guards firmly supporting my succession, while the other group fighting for the throne.

Unlike human beings, Food Souls have an unchanging appearance, great power, and a time that is meaningless to us.

I have followed him since he was a young Master Attendant. He was a child at that time. I have been like this. Now he has been buried in loess, but I am still like this.

I couldn't help laughing when I looked at those who have no good intentions.

This is the country you want to protect.

But that's your last request to me. I'll do it for you.

I have enough time to change all this, to change the country that has disappointed you.

With such determination, I began to reform the country.

Unlike Master Attendant, my comrades-in-arms who had stood on the same battlefield had a feeling of inseparability for him. I am familiar with those people, but I don't have those superfluous feelings.

So I punished some nobles who ignored the decrees, dealt with the nobles who gave the judges a headache, and cleaned up the tangled forces between the royal cities.

Ordinary civilians, who had survived between various powers, were able to live with their heads up and lift their chest.

I stood on the wall of the kingdom and looked at the smiles on the faces of the civilians. I thought that this should be the country he wanted.

V. Champagne

Champagne is a very arrogant guy.

It was not long before he was summoned as the general's Food Soul, and his Master Attendant felt Champagne's indifference to mankind.

Except for being a general's Food Soul, no human being can enter his eyes. Even the general himself, if he didn't have his Master Attendant's identity, he wouldn't be able to make Champagne treat him differently.

Champagne soon felt the problem of his attitude. He covered his indifference with a smile. Almost everyone was deceived by him.

His Master Attendant knows that Champagne has more outstanding military talent than himself, and has more talents that he doesn't have.

Champagne can always make decisive decisions in a war situation than he can, and rationally chooses more effective but cruel methods when others hesitate.

So when he was forced to raise the flag of rebellion, he thought of the first person to sit on the throne in the future, not himself.

He cunningly handed over the responsibility he should have shouldered to Champagne, to the man who would not grow old, as if he had infinite strength and represented victory.

Only by handing it to him, this country will have a monarch who will not become fatuous because of old age.

Only by handing the country to the Champagne he trusted can he leave the world with a peace of mind.

In the worries of countless people, Champagne sat on the throne, which made everyone eager to show off the amazing skills that no one had ever thought of, and a military genius beyond the reach of all previous emperors.

Champagne is worthy of the symbol of victory, as long as he is in battle on the battlefield, he is invincible.

Champagne is more suitable for this position than any emperor in the history of the country.

This country, which has suffered the brutality of the nobles, can no longer afford another chaos.

Old ministers who know this well are more reluctant to give up the man who can finally save the country from fire.

If not for self-esteem, some of them even want to hold on to the legs of a fellow who wants to leave the throne all the time and travel freely, asking him to stay in a country that can no longer experience another turbulence.

Champagne was forced to stay in this country.

The old ministers who knew the truth were even more worried about losing Champagne from the loss of the his Master Attendant, and there was nothing left for him except the promise between him and his Master Attendant.

Watching the self-esteemed nobles provoke the authority of the king more than once, the old ministers can only pray with trepidation for the coronation ceremony to proceed smoothly.

The arrival of the saint gave them a surprise.

As the last excuse for the opposition, with the instruction of the saint, Champagne's succession is no longer a rebellion against God, but the will of God.

Although...

The relationship between the saint and His Majesty the King doesn't look so good.

"Champagne! I told you! Relieving the disasters in these territories is the highest priority! Why do you want to give money to the army?!"

"You woman! It is unreasonable! If the soldiers do not strengthen their defense, will not the people in the city be spared from the disaster without arrogance?"

"You--! "

What's wrong with me?!"

"I'm going to -- ow -- why did you hit me!?"

"No swearing! As the head of a country, you have to have your own manners! What if this hooliganism is learned by children?"

The old minister standing by the side watched the noisiness between the two of them, and touched his beard satisfactorily.

They believe that with the joint efforts of the saint and the King, the country will get better and better.

Cloud Tea
Sprite-Cloud Tea
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by MoonlightSelenia. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. Mountain Stream

When I opened my eyes, an elderly man with a gentle smile stood before me.
He patted my hands gently, and said,

"Thank you for coming.
Please accompany this old man here."

A room full of medical related books. Simple blue clothes that smells of medicinal herbs, which refuses to disappear even after the clothes are washed off. The owner of all of these is my Master Attendant.
Master Attendant is a godly doctor living hidden deep in the mountain. Many people had offered him golds, silvers, and even lands, wanting him to work solely for them.

As Master Attendant has no interest in such things, he decided to live in retirement in this area to avoid the complicated earthly life.
There is neither disputes nor fighting here. Only faint tea and herb scent wafting in the air.

Lovely animals also live here, in the depth of the mountain. Once they got accustomed to our presence, they often come approaching us to ask for some snacks.
They're also pretty clever. If they got hurt, they will wait patiently by our side, as if asking us to treat their wounds.

I usually relieve myself from boredom by reading Master Attendant's medical books, learning bit by bit from them.
Seeing that, Master Attendant eventually taught me the art of medicine.

Every mid-month, Master Attendant would take me with him going down the mountain, to exchange medicinal herbs with daily necessities.

Once, when we're heading back home, we heard a dreadful scream and the voice of people panicking from within a small hut along the road.

"The, the baby won't come out!"

Master Attendant, who usually is always walking leisurely, suddenly hastened his footsteps when he heard this, and he entered the unlocked hut.
Then, after pushing his way through the crowd of bewildered people, he pulled out the silver needle that he always kept around his waist belt.

When he pierced the correct acupuncture point with the silver needle, the screaming woman began to calm down, and she breathed more easily.

"Boil the water for her."

Master Attendant and I then left the room.
Before long, we can hear the high-pitched cries of a baby from within the room.
Master Attendant finally looked relieved, and he took me to leave the place.

"Master Attendant, weren't you saying that you don't wish to involve yourself with the earthly life?"

"That's a different matter altogether with helping others.
We don't need reasons to help others.
Cloud, do you understand what I mean?"

"Yes."

"Do you really understand?"

"... I do."

II. Involvement with the Earthly Life

As the moon sank behind the ravines, I helped Master Attendant walking a step at a time, climbing up the stone steps covered in mosses.
The clouds are playfully riding on the gentle breeze, bringing a fresh air to the the valley after the rain.

After helping Master Attendant getting into the house, I let him sit under the roof overhang, and poured a cup of tea for him.

The enshrouding mist slowly cleared away, and both the comfortable scent of tea and the scent of medicines in the room feels comfortable to our exhausted body.

"Cloud, don't you ever feel like seeing the earthly life?"

Master Attendant looked at me as he hesitantly asked.

I lightly shook my head, then draped the coat that I took from inside the room over his shoulders.

"Master Attendant, it's already time for evening dew to form, so please take cafe of yourself.
I'm not fond of the superficial earthly life.
This Cloud much prefers serving and staying by your side over that."

"I see... but this old man is thinking of letting you leave for the outside world.
Right now, my knowledge of medicine has come pale in comparison to yours.
However, you've only ever heard about the world from me.
The world isn't actually all that bad, you see."

"This Cloud wishes to continue to stay here.
To think of going to places where there are people whose heart I can't fathom is..."

"Cloud, it would be better if you reach your conclusion after seeing it with your own eyes."

"... But this Cloud truly wishes to stay behind in this mountain."

"Alright, alright, do what you want then."

As I lead a quiet life in the mountain, aside from reading the medical books, playing the flute becomes an activity that I enjoyed the most.
Master Attendant also loved the sound of my flute, and so I would often played a carefree tune among the winds.

"The singing voice of a mermaid is probably the only thing that can counterbalance these sounds."

"Mermaid?"

"Come here, let me show you."

In the ancient document placed between medical books, is written countless articles about medicines, with its characteristics and use drawn along with the texts.

Master Attendant flipped it open to one of the pages.
On the page, a beautiful woman with her lower half resembling a fish's tail is drawn.

"This is a mermaid. A humanoid creature with a fish tail.
According to the legend, a mermaid has a beautiful singing voice likened to the whisper of nature. There are also rumors that a human who heard them singing a whole song will soon meet their own end, or that eating mermaid's flesh will grant one an eternal life, or that it works as a medicine that can cure all kind of illness.
In this world, there are many people who dreams of meeting a mermaid, but I've never heard of anyone meeting a real one."

"Do you wish to meet one, Master Attendant?"

"Me?
I do want to hear one singing.
Though I'm sure I won't be able to meet any."

"And why is that?"

"There are many people who believed in the rumor that "their flesh can grant one an eternal life" and so wished to kill a mermaid and consume their flesh.
And if it's true that such thing as medicine that can cure all kind of illness exists, doctors like us will have nothing to do, right?
Besides, if those mermaids truly have beautiful singing voice, it would be better to let them live happily in their homeland."

Master Attendant lived out his allotted life span.
For a human's standard, he had managed to live a long life.

At his last moments, Master Attendant said this to me.

"Cloud, what do you plan to do after this?"

"... I will travel around the world, looking for mermaid, and try to have a joint performance with them at least once."

"That's wonderful."

That was the last thing Master Attendant said, before he laughed, and left this world.

After giving Master Attendant a proper burial, I left our small hut and traveled all around the world.
Then I came to see the downfall of villages, the change of ruling sovereigns, and the death-like stillness and sadness reflected in the eyes of Food Souls who involved themselves with the earthly life.

I once asked to one who served a child that will succeed the throne.

"What kind of meaning does your job holds?
Why would you throw away your freedom and protect this child?"

"I won't answer. Someday, Miss Cloud, I'm sure you'll come to understand, after you find someone who can make you feel that way toward them."

At other times, I met a Food Soul who watched quietly as their Master Attendant is put on the guillotine.

"You have the power to help them.
But why are you only watching as they receive their punishment?"

"Because Master Attendant doesn't wish for my help."

Is this the "world" that Master Attendant spoke of?
I've tried to see it with my own eyes, but as I've thought, I don't think I should stay here.

In the end, I couldn't feel the positive side of it that Master Attendant spoke of.

III. Reunion

I returned to the small hut and started living in seclusion.
Food Soul doesn't need to eat.
There's no need for me to leave the forested mountain.
I only went down the mountain when I almost ran out of my favorite tea leaves.

The season for peach flowers to bloom has arrived once again.
The dried petals of peach flowers are good ingredients to make medicines.
Lately, I found out that there is a peach forest at the foot of the mountain where I lived.

Long ago, this place is supposedly a mere empty land run to waste. Before I realized, it has been turned into a wonderful peach forest.

When I reached the peach forest, I found an unexpected figure sitting on the gazebo that has been built here since long ago.

"Cloud? I didn't expect that I can meet you here."

"You are... Why did you leave?"

The name of that Food Soul, who always have a gentle smile on his mien, is Wonton.
He left the Master Attendant who binds him and came to this land. This paradise is changing its form little by little into the form that he desired.

According to him, the child he protected had grown so much that he now can let go of Wonton.

I can feel it.
His eyes reflected a fraction of loneliness, but more than that, they are brimming with pride for his Master Attendant.

"Putting aside my story, how about you?
Ever since the first time we met, you looks like you've been looking for something.
A long time has passed since then, but have you found what you're looking for?"

"I'm still... looking for it..."

"Still, huh?
Well, we have all the time in the world.
You can take your time looking for it."

"... Mermaid."

"Hm?"

"I'd like to find the singing voice of a mermaid."

That day, I conversed all day long with him.
Seeing how his eyes looked as he gazed toward the direction of the royal palace, I suddenly came to think, what my Master Attendant said might be true after all.

The earthly life isn't only filled with things that can make us feel despair.
No matter what kind of hardships fill this world, there will always be something that can make us think that the world is beautiful.

Let's go. To find the mermaid.
And as I do it, let's try to see the world again.

The reason I could only find sadness back then might be because I only saw a tiny part of this world.

IV. A Wish Granted

Ever since then, I traveled through many lands.

I've came to see all kind of human emotions.
The whole time, I was only watching quietly as a spectator.
Sometimes, just like my Master Attendant, I would lend a helping hand for people who needs to get treated back to health.

Many times the situation is as despairing as the ones I saw during my early years of traveling, but before I gave up completely, there would always be warm hands that wrapped itself around my cold hands.

Spring, summer, fall, and winter passed. Plum blossoms, orchids, bamboos, and chrysanthemums are blooming and scattering.
Both the pavilion standing still in the middle of light drizzle and the lonely mist slowly raising in the vast desert, are completely different from the view that I can see in the mountain. Thanks to these scenery, the thought of regretting my decision to leave the small hut is driven away from my mind.

Each time a certain amount of time has passed, I would return to my starting point.

Sometimes I would go to Master Attendant's grave, talking about the scenery I saw and my observations, and then I would go to the gazebo at the foothills, meeting that drunkard.

One day, the Ton spirit whom I had just said a good bye to suddenly fly to the back of the mountain where I stayed, appearing to be panicked. It pulled at my clothes and dragged me to the foothills.

The stench of blood heavily hangs in the air of the peach forest.
Seeing my arrival, Wonton's expression changed into that of a relief.

"Cloud, please save this person!"

The unconscious person leaning against him is terribly wounded.
I did my best, staying awake all night long, and finally the condition of this man, whose body is rampant with malice, settled down.

It doesn't shows on my face, but exhaustion is gradually piling up in my body, and when I realized, the sun has risen high.
I took a deep breath, heading toward the riverside near the peach forest, and started playing my flute.

The slow notes of flute has the power to comfort one's heart.
I used to play my flute in many riversides and beaches, in hope of one day finding traces of a mermaid.

A long time has passed and I still couldn't find it, so I thought of giving up.
However, when I saw her emerging from the waters and looking at me hesitantly, I couldn't help but widen my eyes.

The joy from finally having my wish granted assaulted my whole being.

"Come, come closer to me.
If you do, you'll be able to hear much better notes."

After hesitating for awhile, she, who gazed at me hesitantly, finally swam to my side.

To think that the mermaid that I thought is a mere product of legends actually existed...

At the end of my long journey, I finally found her.

V. Cloud Tea

In the depth of the mountain in Light Kingdom, there is a garden that is neither large nor small.

"Long Bao, stop! How many times has it been now!?
That's good tea leaves that we received from Cloud, you know!!?"

The thunderous yelling that sounded like it could flip the roofs over echoed throughout the place.
A boy with a smile plastered on his face and holding a tea cup in his hands, leaped through the door, running toward the garden.
The one who chased after him is actually the master of said garden.

Wonton leaned against the frame of the door, glaring at the back of the running away Long Bao as he was out of breath.
Veins can be clearly seen popping out on the back of his hand, which was holding onto the frame of the door.

"Don't come back again!
... No, I can't do that.
Ton spirit, go catch him!"

Cloud Tea, who came to visit the Forgotten Yard, heaved a sigh as if she's thinking that this situation is hopeless.
She poured a new cup of tea for Wonton, whose tongue is numbing because he accidentally drank vinegar earlier.

"You don't have to be so angry.
We can just brew another pot of tea."

With one hand holding the tea cup and the other hand massaging his temple, Wonton heaved a tired sigh.

"Every time you brought good tea leaves for us, he would end up spoiling it."

"Don't mind it. I can always bring you new ones."

"See!
Cloud said that she's fine with it!"

Since who knows when, the running away Long Bao had returned and is now peeking his head through the door, showing them a silly expression.
Wonton ended up getting provoked and commanded his Ton spirit to once again chase after Long Bao.

Cloud heaved out another sigh, and as she shook her head, she took her flute. She then headed toward the gazebo by the lakeside.
As soon as the rising and falling slow notes of her flute starts playing out, gentle ripples soon formed on the surface of the waters, as if drawn toward the sound of the flute.

Sweet & Sour Fish, despite has become well acquainted with everyone here, is still appearing hesitant.
She carefully seated herself on the chair situated at the bank of the lake, that everyone prepared for her.

"C, Cloud... do you want to hear me singing?"

"Why do you think so?
Do you wish to sing?"

"I heard from Wonton...
The reason you've been looking for a mermaid all this time is because you wanted to hear a mermaid singing.
And I'd like to thank you..."

"What about it?"

"But...
But singing is the only thing that I..."

"Don't tell me, you thought that I saved you so that I can hear you sing?"

"... A, am I wrong?"

"You don't have to sing if you don't want to.
I healed you just because I wanted to, and not for the sake of hearing you sing.
Even though you're not a mermaid, I'm sure I would still save you back then.
However, if you wish to sing, then let me accompany you with my music."

"Why...?"

"Because I'd like to let you know as well.
That this earthly life isn't only filled with sadness and grief.
Someone taught me that.
That's why, I'd like to let everyone know about it as well."

When Cloud Tea first went to experience earthly life, she passed by Light Kingdom's royal palace in the process.
There, she saw a falsely charged, honest government official who, in order to protect the dignity of their law, went to the gallows on his own will.
She also saw the imperial prince, who got cornered by his own father and brothers, ended up tainting his hands with blood in order to protect the justice within his heart.

Due to witnessing events that caused her heart to freeze up, she rejected the world and returned to where her Master Attendant used to live in seclusion deep in the mountain, and decided to never again leave the area.

After that, Wonton's arrival to the area allowed her to learn about a truth which is different from the thing that she saw, and she finally, once again, stepped into the earthly life, and began to be able to feel the small warmth that exists among the cold world.

She gradually feels that finding mermaid is no longer an important objective, and instead ended up thinking that working as a healer is her life's calling.

As if to reward her good conducts, one day a beautiful woman with a fin finally appeared in her life.

Crab Long Bao
Sprite-Crab Long Bao
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by Asureiko. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. Revolt

You could say the situation around me was quite a mess when I was first summoned.

The girl supposed to be my Master Attendant grabbed my hand, her face filled with delight.

"You must be my food soul! Help me!"

"Huh?"

"Those mobsters are trying to take me to be their boss’s wife! Help!"

"Huh? Okay!"

"Grab her!! Don't let her get away!!"

I looked back at the people mobbing after us before glancing at her reluctant face beside me. Banishing any trace of hesitation from my mind, I took her soft hand and ran.

It took a long time for us to escape the mob as they chased after us with torches in hand.

Staring at this happy, disheveled girl lying on the ground, I nudged her arm with my foot.

"Hey, tell me the truth. Why’d a girl like you run away from home all by yourself? Are they really trying to take you to be some mobster’s wife?"

Master Attendant rolled over and sat up, letting out a laugh unbefitting of someone from such a high-class family.

"Ah, I was running away from a marriage! My family wants me to marry someone I’ve never even met before! I’ve never, ever met him before, you know? But they wanna marry me off to him anyway."

"Uh...."

"No fair, right? So I escaped!"

I couldn’t help but laugh as I looked at her bright smile. Reaching out, I brushed a few fallen leaves off of her hair and helped her up from the ground.

"Get up. Careful not to catch a chill!”

"Okay!"

"What do you plan to do next?"

"Uh..."

"Why are you looking at me like that?!"

"I don't really know! I guess it’s up to you, then!”

“Huh?”

Just like that, I took this girl, who didn’t even pack her bags when she ran away from home, and embarked on a life of travelling around the world.

She walked out of the carriage compartment and sat next to me. Twirling around the green foxtail I picked for her earlier, she watched the scenery shrink into the distance.

"How is this world so big, Crab Long Bao?”

I quietly listened to her complain about her past.

She said that she’d never left the house before.

She said that where she came from, girls weren’t allowed to leave the house before marriage and had to listen to their family.

She said that she envied girls who lived out of a suitcase, even though they had no choice if they wanted to make a living.

One day, as she listened in on a few little girls from ordinary families kicking shuttlecocks, playing cat’s cradle, and jumping hopscotch, she had an epiphany.

I want to leave.

And that’s what lead up to our meeting.

A ridiculous start, but one we’ve never regretted.

She suddenly stood up from the bumpy carriage. Facing her palms to the wind, she happily enjoyed the caress of the spring breeze.

"Careful, don't trip!"

"Haha, I won’t! You’ll definitely catch me before I do! Thank you for showing me this world!"

I looked at the smile on her face and couldn't help but laugh.

In actuality, it was I who wanted to say “thank you” to her.

It was you who taught me that you can do anything as long as you stay strong and work hard.

II. Trust and Promises

I took her to many places. We went to the beach and saw the endless sea; visited an ancient city and witnessed its history of a thousand years.

A few days ago, I heard that there was a royal chef who had returned to his hometown and opened a small restaurant there.

Rain was drizzling steadily the day we arrived, caressing her cheeks as willows swayed in the wind.

It was a town very similar to her hometown, but without the red tape.

When we first entered town, she laughed when she saw the girls on the street.

I couldn't help but poke the side of her face.

"What’s so funny?"

"I just feel happy for them. They don't need to leave their homes and families like I did to be free.”

I took her hand and walked to the rumored restaurant.

"What will ya two have for today~?"

A brisk voice caught our attention. If my eyes didn’t deceive me, the guy bustling around the restaurant was a food soul too.

I sat down at a table with Master Attendant, planning to inquire about their signature dishes. However, it didn't take long for extraordinarily exquisite meals we never ordered to be sent up.

An old man came over. Dragging along his slightly squirming food soul, he smiled and said to me:

"Would’ya make friends with this here kiddo?"

Before I could say anything, the punk beside me agreed in my place. I looked at her a bit helplessly and sighed as I pulled a pair of chopsticks out of the chopstick holder.

Contrary to its exquisite appearance, the dish had a flavor so overpowering it left an ache in my throat.

The food soul, who went by the name of Long Bao, quickly sent the old man away.

He told us that this old man has lost most of his taste, and that Long Bao had asked everyone in the village to pretend nothing was wrong.

Back then, I couldn’t understand why he did that.

I just knew that it definitely wasn’t the right thing to do.

However, Master Attendant stopped me before I could criticize the already awkward guy in front of me any further.

We left the little restaurant after we finished eating. Before we left, I couldn’t help but look back.

Master Attendant suddenly took a peek at my face. I saw two tiny reflections of myself in those eyes, eyes that were almost always shut in laughter.

"Crab Long Bao, what would you do if you were Long Bao?”

"...I would tell him the truth. No matter how cruel it is, he has a right to know. I wouldn’t leave; I’d face it with him.”

"Really? Then what if I was that old man?"

"I wouldn’t lie to you either! I swear on my heart I would never lie to you!"

"Hahaha! Why so serious? Okay, okay, I get it~ Let's go. We should come back to visit them if we ever get the chance.”

Back then, I had no idea how naive I was to say that.

I didn't know how desperate a situation would have to become for someone to decide to deceive their loved ones.

III. Peach Blossoms

We visited many places after we left that little town. Fine snow melted on eaves as buds sprouted from tree branches. Spring was here again.

I took her to see flowers that bloomed all year round and we tasted food from all sorts of different places.

Finally, on the day winter had completely disappeared without a trace, we found a forest of the peach blossoms she had always been longing to see.

We’d seen countless types of flowers, but her favorite was always the peach blossoms that bloomed into a beautiful sea of flowers.

I found a beautiful patch, and we admired the flowers and enjoyed some wine under the drifting petals.

But some things are too good to be true.

I caught her in my arms as she turned pale and collapsed.

I called her name, but didn't get a response.

I sent her to the medical center in a panic, but the old, bearded doctor shook his head in regret.

"Her body...she must have been born with this illness. She’s lucky to have even lasted this long. If she still has things left on her bucket list, you should help her tick them off soon so she can leave without regrets.”

"Then she..."

"She probably...won’t live to see next year... Her illness will gradually steal her strength and all her senses too… Just stay by her side.”

Later, she fell into a coma.

When she woke up, it was already autumn.

The peach blossoms in the peach forest had long since withered away.

I hesitated for a long while before telling her what the doctor said.

But what I didn't expect as she looked at me apologetically was for the one who should have been comforted, be the one to comfort me.

"I always knew I’d never live as long as others, but I wanted to live a life as colorful as the peach blossoms that were in bloom the day I was born. So I escaped. I’m already very satisfied with the life I’ve lived since then...sorry. I scared you, didn’t I?”

She was so frank, it left me at a loss for words.

I thought that she’d go hysterical, unable to accept reality, but never would I have imagined she’d accept such a sad ending so calmly.

In the days that followed, it was as if nothing had ever happened. Her smile was as soft as ever as she followed the treatment the doctor prescribed for her.

But one late night, I heard a choked sob as I passed by her room.

That night, on the other side of the door, she lamented her situation and her fear of a future where she’d lose all her senses one by one.

And all I could do was listen quietly by the door.

IV. Wish

​ I insisted she tell me one wish after another.

I didn’t know if it was to alleviate the guilt in my heart, or if it was so I didn’t have to watch her pretend to be strong.

I just wanted to see her smile.

So, I worked hard to fulfill every wish she had.

However, I hit a roadblock with her final wish.

She hoped to sit under that splendid peach tree again.

Drinking wine and admiring flowers with me, just like the days before she collapsed.

As of today, winter, in all its cold glory, would arrive soon.

However, she...wouldn’t be able to wait until the next spring.

I searched high and low to find this house built near the forest of peach blossoms. The owner of this house is a bit strange. He has a little friend named Wanton.

After discussing it over with the owner, we decided to stay here. The owner called it the Courtyard of Forgotten Sorrows.

He had a friend who was skilled in healing come treat her. However, the woman, who donned a large-brimmed rain hat, shook her head apologetically at me after taking her pulse.

That day, Cloud Tea had told me.

Her eyes...had already gone blind...

Little by little, she’d lose her sense of smell, too…

After that, on the days she’d feel better, I’d take her on a walk through the peach forest.

I swore to her many times that I'd definitely fulfill her wish.

It was on one of these walks that we picked up Long Bao, who had then recently lost his Master Attendant and with him his spirit.

Day after day flew by. I started leaving the house as soon as day broke, searching high and low for a way to make peach blossoms bloom in winter.

Fortunately, Long Bao took it upon himself to look after that girl.

This put my mind at ease when I travelled outside.

But soon, I found that she lost not just her sight and smell, but she could no longer hear my voice either.

Eventually, she lost her sense of taste.

Returning to the Courtyard, I heard her speak.

For some reason, I didn't dare enter, listening to the murmur of her clear and weak voice.

"Why does this tea taste so light?”

Long Bao, having heard the same words out of someone else’s mouth before, tipped his hand and added a good amount of vinegar into the tea before handing it to her. It emanated a sourness so strong you could smell it from a mile away.

Taking a gentle sip of the tea, she froze before lifting her head and smiling at Long Bao.

"It’s good. Thank you."

I smiled bitterly as I stared at the sour tea in her hand.

The food soul I’d come to know as Cloud Tea had told me that when her sense of taste started to fade, her time was almost up.

She wouldn’t be able to wait for me much longer.

One day, I ran into Cloud Tea standing outside our courtyard. She handed me a small medicine bottle with only one pill in it.

"This will temporarily recover her five senses. However, curses may arise out of blessings, and blessings out of curses. Heed caution.”

I finally made a decision. After she fell asleep, I took two wine jars and called out to Long Bao as he was about to go rest.

"Hey, come have a drink with me."

We sat side by side under a peach tree, flowerless at the moment. I tore the cover off the jar and took a big swig.

"I once told you that your Master Attendant had a right to know the truth.”

Long Bao, who was hugging his wine jar and looking a little absentminded, dropped his carefree facade as soon as he heard me get straight to the point. Smiling bitterly, he took a sip of wine before speaking.

"Yeah...you said I would regret it, and I do regret it...but...it’s too late..."

"I did say that...but for some reason, I suddenly understood why you did what you did when she started getting worse.”

"...What?"

I knew the smile on my lips was a little helpless. Taking one sip too big and spilling almost half the wine in the jar on my collar, I wiped my mouth on my sleeve.

"I shouldn't have said that to you."

"What?"

"Nothing. I know you’re still worried your Master Attendant died blaming you, right?”

I stood up and gazed at the moon. The moon tonight was unusually clear, glazing everything in a layer of silver moonlight.

"I don’t think you need to worry. Like how she knows real peach blossoms don’t bloom in fall, your Master Attendant most likely never blamed you for lying to him. You know, she hasn’t completely lost her sense of taste just yet.”

" Huh?"

"Yep. She told me that the tea you brewed is sour, incredibly sour, but it’s the best tea she’s ever had."

"Why..."

"Because your thoughtfulness can make any flavor of tea the sweetest in the world. She told me that your old Master Attendant must have wanted to have another cup of this tea before he left. No matter where you look, you can never find this tea anywhere else.”

"But he became a laughingstock because of me. His reputation became a total joke!"

"He won't hold something this silly against you. But, either way, you still owe him an apology."

I saw the look in Long Bao’s eyes as he stared at me. Those eyes were clear, determined, no longer lost, as if he’d reached a decision.

"You haven't paid your respects yet. You should go. Cloud Tea said she can make a medicine that can temporarily bring her senses back. In ten days, I’ll bring her here to admire the peach blossoms. You must come, my friend!”

Thank you, my friend. If it weren’t for you, I never would’ve thought of this.

Although it is a bit too late now.

However, I finally know what you were trying so hard to protect that time.

It was someone important to you, and their heartfelt smile.

V. Crab Long Bao

It took Crab Long Bao ten days, with the help of his friends from the Courtyard, to stick fake peach blossoms on every tree in the peach forest.

Cloud Tea spent a long time developing a medicine that could temporarily restore that resilient girl’s senses.

When everything was ready, Crab Long Bao fed her Cloud Tea’s medicine himself.

The focus her eyes had regained when she opened them again told them that Cloud Tea’s efforts had succeeded.

Crab Long Bao helped her to the place Tortoise Jelly had prepared for them. The ground was covered with a lightly scented blanket, and sitting on the blanket was pot after pot of warm wine.

Long Bao, who had just rushed back with his own tea, chased Wanton around trying to get him to taste it.

It was as perfect as it got.

The girl, who by this point was so sick she could no longer sit upright by herself, wore a smile even brighter and more dazzling than the peach blossoms. Her weak hands trembled as she poured her friends cup after cup of wine.

Together, they smiled and laughed. Their fun didn’t stop even as the sun went down and the moon took its place.

The girl, slightly tired, leaned on her food soul’s shoulder.

"Thank you, Crab Long Bao..."

Crab Long Bao, who had betrayed his own promise, suddenly burst into tears. Perhaps it was because of the contract, perhaps it was some sort of connection—but somehow, he knew his Master Attendant was about to leave.

He grabbed his Master Attendant’s slender hand and lowered his head. Tears hit the back of her hand one by one.

"I'm sorry...I'm sorry..."

I’m sorry...I couldn’t keep my promise...I still lied to you...

"It's okay... I know...you did your best...don't cry..."

"I'm sorry...I’m so sorry..."

"It’s okay, really… From now on, when you miss me...come drink wine under the peach trees...I’ll become one with the peach blossoms and stay by your side…”

Another season of peach blossoms had arrived, and the peach blossoms outside the Courtyard of Forgotten Sorrows bloomed brilliantly. A young boy sat underneath one of the trees. Lifting his head, he watched a petal drift into his wine jar, murmuring.

"Is that you…? I came to see you..."

Croissant
Sprite-Croissant
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by collaborative effort. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. Past

Following the afternoon sunlight streaming through the tree leaves, the temperature had become just right for a nap.

I leaned against the tree trunk and yawned. The warm sunlight and slowly approaching breeze made my eyelids heavy.

Unconsciously, the scene before me became pitch black.

"Ah----achoo!"

The light itch on my nose made me sneeze uncontrollably. I rubbed the tip of my nose and looked at the guy slyly smiling before me.

Lamb Chops was still pinching his "Criminal Tool." I annoyedly smacked him and stretched out my hands afterwards.

Standing up on his own, he then wrapped his hands around my arms before I got a chance to speak.

"Did you have a sweet dream, Croissant? You were smiling just now."

I batted away his hands, continually messing up my hair. Subsequently, I poked at a wound on his shoulder which had yet to fully recover.

"What are you doing? Didn't teacher and Weisswurst tell you to properly rest!?"

"Ouch----stop it, stop it! Those two always make a fuss over nothing. It's just a small injury."

I couldn't help but feel worried seeing a small trace of blood on his bandage. However, the fellow before me wasn't concerned about it.

Suddenly, my eyes caught a glimpse of a black bump on his neck that seemed to resemble blood vessels.

"What's that?"

"Ah? Oh this, Master Attendant said that this is just some Soul Power blockage. He’s already treated it, so I'll be fine in a few days."

"Hey! You're messing up my hair again!"

"Hahaha!!! Why are you getting all worked up? Scared you won't grow any taller? Don't forget! Beer told us that once a Food Soul is born, their form won’t change anymore! You'll never be taller than me! Hahaha!"

"You! Stop running--!"

Lamb Chops made some funny faces as he ran away. As he turned his head to look back at me, he accidentally bumped into someone we were all very familiar with.

"Lamb Chops, have your injuries healed? Did you make Croissant mad again?"

"Ouch ouch ouch. Beer, are your bones made of steel?"

Feeling somewhat helpless, I extended my hand and pulled up Lamb Chops, sitting helplessly on the ground. Then, I turned my head and looked at our teacher-- Beer.

As a friend of the school's principal, Beer is regularly invited over to give talks on history for everyone. 

After he discovered there were some Food Souls studying alongside their Master Attendants in the school, he became our mentor on his own accord.

Apart from telling us how we can use our power, Beer also sternly advises us.

As beings not of this world, we possess power that shouldn't be used to commit heinous acts.

This power is granted by God so we can protect the world.

Beer was more of a friend to us than a teacher. As an elder, he thoughtfully told us everything about this world. As the beholder of a different kind of strength, he also told us how we should make use of ourselves, how to better use the power we have to protect even more people.

It was a time of despair.

Fallen Angels grew in number and the boundaries of life grew smaller and smaller.

But it was also because of these times that the existence of people such as Beer became far more precious.

I looked forward to the beautiful world he imagined after humans and Food Souls joined hands to expel all Fallen Angels.

This world is already considered beautiful. But it'll certainly become better under everyone's hard work.

Just as I about to tell Beer that Lamb Chops was ignoring his warnings and hellbent on not resting, a few chatting students passed by. What they were talking about caused me to freeze.

"Did you hear, did you hear?!"

"Huh? What?"

"A village in the countryside was massacred by Fallen Angels and there wasn't a single survivor left."

"...Haa. Luckily, there are many Cooking Attendants in this city; otherwise, I guess that we'll also have to deal with these crises."

Lamb Chops noticed my hands were tightly clenched, so he gently patted the back of my hand.

"Croissant?"

"...Another village..."

"..."

Seeing Lamb Chops and I despondent, Beer patted our shoulders.

"Alright, this isn't within your control."

"But..."

"And it's because such things keep on happening that we should find a way to solve this, isn't that right?"

Looking at Beer's warm smile, my originally troubled heart gradually returned to normal.

II. Pope

"If that's the case then, we'll arrange some Food Souls in the Holy See to clear any Fallen Angel nests near the village at regular intervals."

"However, the number of Food Souls in the Holy See is currently very low. Although everyone is more than happy to fight and protect this world, there really are too few people here.”

"...Oh..."

"What are you two doing?"

The sudden voice shocked us. When we turned around, we saw Beer behind us; his tilted head had a curious expression.

"We're considering how we can protect those villages and towns without any Cooking Attendants."

"Oh… How about you guys ask those like-minded companions of yours whether they want to join the Holy See? That way, their Master Attendants will be protected by the Holy See and there will be more Food Souls free to protect even more people."

With Beer's assistance, Lamb Chops and I slowly constructed the framework of the Holy See we know today.

The many members of the Holy See spread around Tierra are no longer the same as before; they shall no longer lament and weep under the destruction and pain brought forth by Fallen Angels.

"What...What did you say?"

Upon hearing Master Attendant's edict, I stared at him, as if in a daze.

With a warm smile, that benign old man walked down the throne and patted my shoulders.

"Did you know, Croissant? Ever since we ignored any opposition and persisted with Beer's arrangements, there haven't been any tragedies occurring in the outskirts ever since. I believe that one day, the Holy See will be able to protect all the children in Tierra under his leadership."

"But! But you're..."

"Child, I understand that you're confused why I'm abdicating. I'm already old and both God and I don't wish to see more and more people dying because of Fallen Angels."

"I can protect you till the very end!"

"I'm old. I don't know how long I will be of clear mind. Perhaps in the future, I may lose myself as pope due to old age and sickness. But Beer won't… He's immortal. And, there's also you, someone I trust very much. You'll help him and the Holy See, yes? Then, I shall pass the Holy See and the whole of Tierra to you all."

His old hands completely covered my hand. That warm smile of his caused my eyes to grow hot, and I trembled as I gripped the edict in my hands.

"He's the most suitable candidate. Go child, I believe all of you can usher in a more beautiful future for Tierra."

I know, Beer is the best candidate.

As a pope, one must be sufficiently magnanimous, be extremely knowledgeable, keep a collected head...

And have a sincere heart that fervently loves all life in the world.

And Beer, he loves humans a lot, and this land even more. By far, he is the most suitable candidate.

If not for him, the Holy See would have never achieved the results it has today under Lamb Chops and I’s hard work.   "Ah?!!!! What?! Me me me? Po-Pope?!!!"

"Yes...You have to help me, teacher. You're the only person I can think of."

"But...isn't the candidate chosen by the pope you? Even if you’re not fit, can't Lamb Chops do it?"

"I'm afraid not. Other than you, no one can do this job."

Looking at his frantic appearance, I passed the edict in my hands to him.

"No no no no!! I'm a lazy person! How can I do such an important job ?!!! No no!"

"..."

"Even if my adorable students give me puppy eyes, I'm still not up for it --!!"

III. Path of Change

Beer couldn't accept the edict. So, he took advantage of the late night and left the capital, leaving a letter behind; he temporarily handed everything over to me to manage.

I was overwhelmed with all of the busy tasks, but Lamb Chops is always by my side to help out.

Everything seems to be progressing well.

As the Holy See's saint, Fondant Cake's healing power brought light to people harmed by Fallen Angels in these times of despair.

Although she's always bickering with Lamb Chops, I know that even if the two of them didn't say it, they greatly cared about each other. Just like how they cared about me.

We're the best of companions, with many allies that share a common goal. 

"Croissant! That bastard Lamb Chops went out even though he's covered in injuries! Why didn't you keep an eye on him!"

“If you're worried, why don't you tell him yourself."

"Who would get worried about him! That dummy! If he dies out there, I'm not gonna save him! Moreover… he won’t listen to anyone other than you."

I supported my chin using my hand and looked at Fondant Cake, her face filled with fury. I couldn't help but sigh and pushed the documents in my hands to Fondant Cake.

"Alright, I get it. I'll go and advise him. I would like you to distribute all of these to the others."

"You can let me handle it. But, you need to rest, it's been a long time since you got a good night’s sleep."

"I'm fine."   As Fondant Cake was about to turn around and leave, I suddenly called out to her:

"Fondant Cake."

"Hmm? What's wrong?"

"I want to thank all of you for believing in me. If all of you weren't here, I don't know what I would do."

"...What's there to thank. More importantly, the person you should be thanking isn’t me."

I knew what she meant.

That person who had always stayed by my side, gave his all to help me, and has always trusted me from the very beginning, he’s the one I should thank the most.

I gently opened the door. Lamb Chops was sound asleep on the bed and didn’t have his usual stubborn look. Instead, it was much more gentle.

His neck, arms, and almost everywhere else were wrapped in thick bandages.

To a Food Soul, our injuries heal quickly, but even with this recovery rate, there were still innumerable scars all over his body that didn’t fully heal in time.

Just before I could feel sad about this, this fellow, who can’t even sleep properly, kicked the blanket on him, causing half of it to fall onto the ground.

I helplessly picked up the kicked blanket, and helped cover him with it. But the instant I moved closer, he tightly clasped my hand.

"Who's there?!"

Upon opening his eyes, the worry in them scanned over me. I've never seen him look so perturbed.

"It's me, Croissant. What's with you?"

Once he saw that it was me, he quickly hid his emotions and revealed his usual irksome smile.

"Ah, so it's you. I thought it was one of my secret admirers."

"Are you really ok?"

"Why would I have any issues?"

It was a long time afterwards that I came to regret not scrutinizing him further.

IV. Leave

Lamb Chops’s transformation into a Fallen Angel was unexpected.

I didn't believe what they said and rushed to where he was.

In the past, he used to smile every time. But now, a ferocious expression appeared on his face. His once warm and happy eyes now invoked a sense of bone-piercing cold.

His lips exposed jagged monster teeth, and he seemed as if he were about to tear apart the enemies before him. As for his enemies… they were us.

"What's wrong with you, Lamb Chops! Wake up!"   But now, Lamb Chops failed to recognize us. His bloodshot eyes sent shock waves to me. In front of me, Fish and Chips and Pretzel blocked me and their expressions were rather serious. Cold sweat dripped down their brows from the intense fear.

"Back off, Croissant. He no longer recognizes us."

"..."

We managed to save Lamb Chops's Master Attendant and shielded him behind us. His body was drenched in fresh blood, and the ground was littered with the corpses of nuns and priests.

Lamb Chops vengefully gazed at us with an unfamiliar look.

"Lamb Chops! Do you still recognize us?"

I tried to wake him up. However, it was almost as if he couldn't hear my voice. The expression on his face was more of a Fallen Angel’s than a human’s.

"Croissant, Lamb Chops has already completely turned into a Fallen Angel. He can't recognize us...we can only…"

I looked at his Master Attendant and suddenly couldn't react after hearing his words.

"He… why did he.."

"Perhaps a Fallen Angel transformation seed was left behind in his injuries when he was attacked by Fallen Angels back then…"

The grim scene in front of me gave me a strange sense of despair. Dark purple flames, burning with an uncanny light, erupted all around him. His body exuded a terrible aura that caused everyone to move a step back.

"Croissant! You can't hesitate any longer!"

My bitten lips welcomed a sharp pain; I turned back after regaining my senses. I looked at Lamb Chops, whose body was burning with Soul Power, standing in front of me, and before I could open my mouth…

"Croi...sant..."

Lamb Chops, who’s already lost himself completely, struggled to face me. Stumbling, he walked towards me.

Fish and Chips looked at him with surprise. He hastened his footsteps and ran towards the bloodstained Lamb Chops. Even Pretzel looks more relaxed.

To both them and I, not having to fight Lamb Chops is the best ending…

"Don't...believe...them…"

Fish and Chips supported the staggering Lamb Chops, on the verge of kneeling over on the ground. Lamb Chops was murmuring something, bewildering us.

It's just...

"AHHHH--"

All of a sudden, Lamb Chops broke free from Fish and Chips and exploded into thick flames. The purple flames devouring his Soul Power flared up with a terrifying black color, before attacking the bishop behind me -- Lamb Chops's Master Attendant.

Pretzel, standing near the bishop and responsible for protection, clearly didn't expect that his former best companion would actually do something like this. Unprepared, he raised his hand and planned to absorb the damage.

"PRETZEL!"

Under everyone's frightened eyes, Fish and Chips fell onto the ground.

He helped Pretzel to absorb a large portion of the flames.

"KILL HIM! KILL HIM !!! KILL HIM AHAHAHAH--"

"Croissant... Lamb Chops has already...only you can stop him...please, attack him."

I saw the sadness within Lamb Chop's eyes. Behind me, I shielded my injured companions and those I wanted to protect.

V. Croissant

"HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE!! ANYONE COULD BETRAY THE HOLY SEE!! BUT HE'S THE ONLY PERSON THAT WOULDN'T! WHAT ARE YOU SAYING CROISSANT!"

Distressed, Fondant Cake's grabbed Croissant’s collar. Though she's usually stubborn, her eyes were now swollen.

On her table, she still had a small stick figure Lamb Chops drew to prank her.

It was only a few days.

It was only a few days of going outside.

That guy, who cared about the Holy See and Croissant the most... why would he betray them.

Silently, Croissant let Fondant Cake vent her anger. Her hands were already causing bruises as she tightly clenched his collar.

"Anyone can not believe him, but how can you not...Why didn't you believe him...why didn't you...why didn't you…"

Fondant Cake slowly kneeled down and her shoulders sagged in disappointment.

"Everyone was looking at me. He hurt Fish and Chips and killed many people. If I didn't attack him, the others definitely wouldn’t have had a chance to escape."

Though Croissant’s voice is always cold, there were some signs of affirmation within it now.

"I don't believe he'd turn his back on us. He wouldn't. Never."

Fondant Cake looked and froze as she saw Croissant tighten his brows.

"You're...you're saying..."

"I suspect that somewhere in the Holy See, something terrifying is happening...in some places we don't know about."

Fondant Cake wiped away the tears left in her eyes. She stood up and took a deep breath.

"Indeed, now that the Holy See has become bigger, I've heard some strange rumors when I went out."

Croissant slammed his fist on the table. The blood veins in his neck bulged from him tightly gritting his teeth.

"I'll never let those bastards go scot-free. Fondant Cake, I need you to help me."

"Yes."

Not long after, the Holy See's saint became dissatisfied with the current pope and had an intense argument with him. She then left the central Holy See and headed towards another branch in a developing kingdom.

Meanwhile, the current pope took on a new, more tender saint from elsewhere.

In the deep night, a figure draped in dark robes hurriedly entered a not so large church.

Standing before a statue of God, Croissant looked at it, somewhat lost in it. He only came back to his senses when the person behind him patted his shoulder.

"Croissant, I've uncovered their tracks."

Croissant looked at Fondant Cake as she passed some intel to him. His breathing suddenly stopped and he tightly clenched the intel in his hands. He then stiffly smiled.

"Finally...found it…"

"They were very careful in hiding themselves. Coupled with Champagne's help, if I didn't leave the central branch of the Holy See and let them lower their guard to me, I don't think I could’ve uncovered their tracks."

"It must be hard on you. As for what's next, that's my job."

Croissant donned a large and wide robe and turned behind to leave the Holy See via the backdoor. At that moment, Fondant Cake hesitatingly called out to him.

"Croissant…"

"...Hmm?"

"You'll bring him back right? The Holy See will return to the way it was before, right?"

Croissant didn't reply to her. He raised his hand to cover himself with the large hood of the robe, shrouding his entire face in shadows.

He exited the church, looking up at the murky color of the sky as the wind and rain came.

He didn't dare tell Fondant Cake; even if he tried his hardest to dig up the truth, there's no way to fix what’s already been broken, and return back to those beautiful times.

"I'll definitely make them pay for what they’ve done."

Double Scoop
Sprite-Double Scoop


I. Mountain Life

Nevras.

A region long covered with ice and snow, with the daunting snow-capped mountain towering overhead.

The environment is so severe that most people choose to settle as far away as possible.

However, as far as we're concerned it's a lovely place to live.

My brother and I arrived here three weeks after Master Attendant passed away, and we decided to make a new life on this snow-capped mountain.

On such a large mountain, we weren't the only ones with this idea, and sometimes when I went for a stroll I would discover signs of other Food Souls.

Sometimes I would even smell the scent of a Fallen Angel.

However, there was no communication between the various creatures that chose to make their home on this mountain that was covered with an eternal blizzard.

In a cave on the mountain we made a paradise that belonged to us alone. However, because my brother enjoys a bit of excitement, sometimes we go down the mountain and visit the human market to purchase some amusing trinkets, or to take part in different festivals.

But time flies, and soon several decades had passed.

II. Lost Silhouette

"Strawberry~"

"Strawberry~~"

"Oh, that's strange..."

I searched everywhere in the cave but Strawberry was nowhere to be found.

"Oh were did he get off to now?"

He's always telling me off for running around, so when I find him I'm really going to give him a piece of my mind.

"But where could he be..."

I mumble to myself as I leave the cave.

As always the snow lays thick on the ground; when I step on the snow, I often have trouble getting my feet back out again.

"He wouldn't sneak down the mountain, would he?"

"No, no... Strawberry's not like me..."

My imagination began to run wild while I searched for some sign of Strawberry.

It was just then that--

BOOM--

There was a loud noise not too far away.

"What was that? Could it..."

I rush to the spot where the noise came from, and I found just what I was looking for.

"Strawberry!"

I excitedly called out his name before I noticed the huge shadow behind him.

III. Accident Occurs

"Don't come any closer!"

My brother's voice came from behind me, and I turned my head to see the figure I least wanted to see.

The Fallen Angel in front of me continued to let out a terrifying roar that felt like it must have made the very mountain tremble.

"Dammit, if that keeps up it's going to cause an avalanche!"

I turned my head back and began to gather my spiritual energy, hoping to control its onslaught. However, the monster seemed completely unaffected and rushed at me instead.

"Strawberry!!!"

Suddenly, I felt someone forcefully grab my collar, and I used the inertia to dodge away from the Fallen Angel's surely fatal attack, and continued rolling end over end for several seconds before I came to a stop.

"Cough cough... Do you think maybe... next time you could..."

"Careful! It's coming back!"

My brother shouted urgently from my side and I straightened up, intending to help my brother drive the monster off... until I realized my spiritual energy was nearly depleted.

As though he felt my weakness, he stepped in front of me, reaching behind to hold my hand.

"Brother..."

"It's fine!"

I could tell he was very afraid because the hand that held mine was trembling. But he kept up a brave face in front of me.

He really can be an idiot.

"Waaagh!"

It launched another attack at us. Faced with its overwhelming strength, I couldn't help but tightly squeeze my brother's hand.

Was this really how it all ends?

IV. Last Wish

For a moment I seemed to hear the cry of an eagle, then we were swallowed up by a sudden avalanche.

"No one can resist and angry mountain,"

I faintly heard someone say.

However, when I opened my eyes all I could see was snow everywhere, and us lying among it; there was no sign of anyone else. Even the Fallen Angel who had attacked us was gone, vanished into thin air.

My brother was lying beside me, unconcious for the time being but otherwise unhurt...That other person nearby could...

Not long ago I was alone and on my way to visit the village at the foot of the mountain to buy my brother his favorite snack, then suddenly I was attacked by a Fallen Angel.

This was the first time I had encountered one in all the time we'd lived on the mountain. If my brother had been with me the monster never would have come at me.

But it was just me and I was a little anxious.

I held the monster off for a long time, but gradually I found myself losing ground, and with my physical strength waning I accidently got my foot stuck in the snow; watching the vicious Fallen Angel close in for an attack, I unconsciously closed my eyes.

"Be careful!'

When I thought I would never see my brother again, suddenly I was wrapped in a warm embrace.

"Thank...'

I wanted to raise my head up and thank whoever it was rescuing me, but I discovered that the Fallen Angel's attack had pierced his body straight through.

The snow beneath him was stained blood-red, as were my hands.

I looked toward the Cooking Attendant who, like us, had been saved from the avalanche by an unknown force.

His breathing was already very weak.

"Moon...I want to see you..."

He seemed to be whispering, but his voice was too weak, it was immediately drowned out by the roar of the storm.

I managed to make out his final wish though.

I summoned up my last ounce of spiritual energy and froze him into a block of ice as he breathed his last.

I know there's no way to save him, but I can feel he still carries a contract with another Food Soul.

So at least I hope his Food Soul might return to see him one last time.

I hope.

V. Double Scoop

After the death of their Master Attendant in the year 290 of the King's Calendar, Two Scoops, tired of obeying humans and mechanically carrying out tasks, decided they would live in the remote land of Nevras.

Living in isolation upon the snow-covered mountain could be dull, but they were never lonely.

Because they had each other for company.

The days passed one after another, and just when the two were beginning (to think) they would be able to live together surrounded by snow and ice forever, a Cooking Attendant appeared and ruined all that.

This Cooking Attendant had become lost and seperated from his companions during a blizzard when he saw Strawberry on the verge of being attacked by a Fallen Angel.

Without any hesitation or regard for his own safety he threw himself in front of the wounded Food Soul.

He sacrificed his own life in doing so.

As he breathed his last, the Food Soul he had rescued, Strawberry, froze him in a block of ice and brought him back to his home.

He hoped to extend the life of his rescuer long enough to be found by the Food Soul he himself was bound to.

When Vanilla, his brother, learned what had happened he converted Strawberry and used his own power to help protect the frozen Cooking Attendant. And so, even though he should have died, he was preserved in the ice.

Two little Food Souls living in a cave protected a dying man's last wish.

Until eventually, one day a haggard figure appeared on the snow-capped mountain, barefoot and struggling to move forward through the ice and snow.

"Strawberry, am I imagining things or does the man in the ice look like he's smiling?"

"It must just be a trick of the light."

"That must be it...Anyway, shouldn't we go out today?"

"Good idea, it wouldn't be very good if his Food Soul can't find the path to the cave."

"But will his Food Soul come? We go out every day and there's been no sign..."

"They'll come,"

Strawberry said with determination, looking at his brother.

"Uh-huh, I'm sure you're right!"

Vanilla nodded and took Strawberry's hand, then the two Food Souls left the cave together.

Dragon & Phoenix
Sprite-Dragon & Phoenix
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by cakerollkarol. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. Return of Spring

I brought Realgar Wine back to that lake side courtyard. Standing, motionless, for the longest time besides the lake, the courtyard was still quiet and peaceful as ever.

Realgar Wine looked somewhat tentative as he stood at the gate of the courtyard. Even after hesitating for so long, he couldn’t take a step forward and walk inside.

I internally let out a sigh, seeing Realgar Wine in his doubtful state. I extended an arm to push Realgar Wine into the courtyard.

“Relax, they’re all great people.”

Realgar’s feet tripped on the door frame, one of which staggered. As he was about to fall, Zitui Bun just so happened to push the door open and come out from the house. The willow branch in his hand was unexpectedly long, and gently propped up Realgar Wine, who’d almost fallen down.

As Zitui Bun grew confused over Realgar Wine’s sudden appearance, I reached out my arm to grab Realgar Wine’s back collar and pulled him upright. I roughly patted Realgar Wine’s shoulder and then introduced him to Zitui Bun.

“He’s Realgar Wine, he’s a… member of that cult. Just like us, he’s got nowhere else to go, so I brought him back here.”

Zitui Bun nodded continuously as he listened to my explanation. He walked to Realgar Wine’s front, bringing along his ever present gentle and soft smile.

“Come then, I’ll help you find a room to settle down in.”

After suffering through the harsh treatment from before, Realgar Wine was a little spoiled in his friendship with Zitui Bun. He turned to look at me, and after I nodded, Realgar Wine contently left with Zitui Bun.

Faced with an empty courtyard, I squinted my eyes and rubbed at my chin, thinking.

That fella Dragon Beard Candy mostly hides inside the house, reading those hard to understand books, and Longjing Tea… He’s probably hiding in his cave at the bottom of the lake again!  

Every time I thought about the exasperated look on that guy’s face whenever I dragged him out from the lake’s bottom, the corner of my lips couldn’t help but slightly curl up.

Walking at a brisk and lively pace, I came strolling into the lakeside. Sucking in a deep breath, and with both my hands at the sides of my mouth, I loudly yelled at the surface of the peaceful and quiet lake:

“Longjing!!!!!! Come out for a drink!!!!! I’m back!!!!!!!”

A nearby lovey-dovey couple at the lakeside looked at me in consternation. I carelessly smiled at them, and then turned back to look at the center of the lake, where Longjing’s cave is located.

Small waves appeared on that undisturbed lake surface from a swaying breeze. However, not long after, the quiet was restored.  

I furrowed my eyebrows, then yelled loudly a few more times, and the couple just covered their ears and fled. I squinted my eyes as I watched the still calm and quiet surface of the lake.

“Longjing, hey Longjing. If you still won’t come out, don’t blame me for being rude.”

I muttered as I ducked down my head, searching around the gravel at the lakeside. I found a rock as big as a head, then brutally flung it into the center of the lake.

Splash--

After the rock dropped into the water, the ripples on the water surface didn’t settle down over time.  The lake water slowly parted towards two sides, and the silhouette of a person gradually emerged from the center of the lake. He trod on steps formed from lake water, and took step after step to me, his face full of exasperation.

“Dragon & Phoenix. I’ve told you this many times before, do not throw any rocks towards my cave, especially one as big as that.”

“Hehe, if I don’t do it like that, how else would I get you to come up! I brought back some good wine this time! I even brought in a companion to introduce to you guys! Just in time for everyone to drink and moon watch together later in the evening!”

“…Just for this?”

“How can you say ‘just for this’? Moon watching and drinking with your fellow brothers is an absolute delight! How can you not show up?!”

“…”

“Let’s go, let’s go!”

II. Story of Summer

Speaking of my Master Attendant, he was an important figure in the small nation that I used to live in.

He was the youngest general in the country, only a mere teenager. The monarch he served was a laudable and wise ruler. Never was the lord jealous of his military powers, they grew up together like brothers, holding mutual trust towards one another.

Apart from stirring up the occasional commotion through stealing horses at the border, even foreign enemies were so fearful of the Master Attendant’s formidable reputation that they fell into line. This also gave this coveted piece of land time to recover. [1]

Each day, the Master Attendant spent most of his time training the new recruits. He’d occasionally bring the new soldiers downtown to aid helpless and lonely elderly people, fixing their houses and delivering vegetables to them.

He was obviously a general with a highly illustrious reputation, but he hadn’t the slightest bit of arrogance. It also made everyone love and respect him very much. Compared to a general, everyone preferred to see him as the earnest boy next door. He was their charming nephew and grandson, he was the good brother that grew up together with them.

Most of all, he loved telling stories. So during a rare break, he’d pull over a few brethren, who were also resting, and sit together on the spacious school field beneath the bright moonlight, laughing heartily and carelessly.  They’d share a toast together and drink to their heart’s content, even occasionally rising to sing a few ballad verses to liven things up.

Freely working up a sweat; laughing loudly and joyously with his companions; drinking and toasting as he wished.

To him, life should always be treated care-freely and brashly, not leaving a shred of regret.

My Master Attendant was exactly like his appearance. An extremely cheerful fellow, there was practically nothing that could bring him down.

His smile, brimming with sunlight, could always make the people have faith in overcoming difficulties.

He always said, if even he no longer had a confident smile, then where would the people he’s supposed to help get their hope from?

But… there was one situation that would make him morose whenever he thought about it, it was a surprise he cared so much.

I remembered that it was a strange evening. The sunset did not reflect a warm orange-red like before, but rather, a translucent and eerie blood red color.

I was making my way up the lookout tower when I noticed that somewhere, in the far distance, was a mountain peak burning up surges of thick smoke.

The next moment, a staggering and flustered figure came tumbling in at the checkpoint.

“G-General… hurry and save them…”

Seeing his nearly breathless state, I jumped down from the lookout tower and extended my arms to hold up this male stranger who’d suddenly arrived.

He had ran until he could no longer catch his breath, and I wanted to bring him to rest for a bit, but the stranger shook his head continuously as he pleaded non-stop:

“Let me meet the general! Hurry and let me meet the general!”

The surrounding soldiers and I hesitated for a bit, but we still brought him to the Master Attendant.

Who would’ve thought he’d kneel down crying and begging before the Master Attendant, just after he entered.

“General, I have brought you your apprentice’s final letter. I beg of you… please save us…”

He slowly revealed the sins below the seemingly tranquil surface in front of us.

III. Regrets in Autumn

The cult’s acts shocked everyone listening. Filled with righteous indignation, they all turned to Master Attendant. Even someone as cheerful as Master Attendant looked especially grim at the moment.

Everyone was willing to do their best to eradicate such evil, but Master Attendant couldn’t be as impulsive as they were.

I understood that he shouldered the nation’s peace. Although no one else wanted to head out and save his disciples from the land of savages more than he did, if he sent out troops, we would be declaring war on our neighbor nation.  

As his Food Soul, I could feel his uneasiness, but couldn’t do anything.  

Our neighbor country was rich, our military strong, the people intelligent and friendly. Even their monarch was a loyal ally of our own monarch.

But our neighboring country’s territory was so vast that their monarch didn’t necessarily understand what was happening everywhere.

I watched my Master Attendant quash his emotions, and use his hands, trembling from rage, to write a report and send it to the imperial city, informing the monarch of the cult-caused tragedy. We all naively thought this could help those pleading for help.

But what my Master and I didn’t expect was for the monarch, after learning of the tragedy, to stand by. He didn’t want to be misunderstood to be spying on our neighbor, so he felt pressured to not to do anything. He’d tried to pass the situation off to his allies, but he got the same refutation from all sides.  

After receiving such an answer, we had no choice but to repress our anger.

We couldn’t allow our impulsiveness to ruin our hard-fought peace and ruin so many of the common folks’ tranquil lives.

Everything about this situation: I couldn’t blame those who begged for Master Attendant to save them, I couldn’t blame the overworked emperor, I definitely couldn’t blame Master Attendant who was forced to choose refrainment for the people he should be protecting.

I grabbed his shoulders, intending to pass my consolation to Master through my palms. Master turned around and revealed the same reassuring smile.

Only, I noticed that since the day Master received a reply, he didn’t smile as much as before. He’d often sit before the battalion, his head tilted back as he watched the far away clouds, blanking out.

I thought that there would be a day where Master could forget all that happened.

Of course, he didn’t let me down, and slowly, regained his old sunny disposition.

Master Attendant embraced his fellow brothers by the neck and laughed, still so simpleminded. I let out a relieved sigh, then handed the wine to Master.

However, it was from that day onward that those old civil officials, who used to harp on him, talk over his words, and warn him against rash action, would simply sigh in exasperation whenever they see the general’s felicitous smile; they all said that the general had grown up.

I did not understand what this was all about, only laughing at how mischievous he used to be; this only made those elders worry more.

But by the time I finally understood those old men’s words, it was already far too late.

A few more years passed again, and Master Attendant became enamored with a girl.

It was comforting to know that the girl had long dedicated her feelings to the skilled and heroic, yet kind and gentle, Master Attendant.

She really was a cute girl, and she nicely complemented Master Attendant.

They had become acquainted before flowers, and met up beneath the moon.

Ten miles of red make up [2], handsome white horses brought back a flower-like beauty.

Staying together, getting to know each other, even having a few filial and sensible children.

The eldest son was well read, and he assisted the emperor’s heir in the country’s governance.​ 

The middle son was skilled in martial arts, and protected the country for the emperor.

The daughter was famed across the land, and she had an endless stream of marriage proposals.

They’d even affectionately call me ‘uncle’. It was when that child, round as a gluttonous rice ball, grabbed onto my finger and beamed as they looked up at me that I understood the meaning of happiness.

Everything was like the happily ever after of a fairytale- there was no distrust from the emperor, no disputes between brothers-in-arms, his wife was virtuous, and his children were devoted.

I stayed with Master Attendant from when he was a high spirited and vigorous young boy, to when he was an old and greying man.

Humans all head towards an inevitable conclusion through the passage of time.

I stood next to this brother of mine, who I’d been with for a lifetime. I watched my elderly Master Attendant reach out a hand as he muttered something.

I initially thought Master couldn’t have had regrets in his full life, but before he passed, he tightly grabbed my hand.

His face was full of remorse and reluctance.

“Dragon & Phoenix, my teacher’s disciples are still alive. No matter where they are, if someone in the same house has an unfulfilled wish, one must give their all in completing it. My life is blessed and beautiful, but there is one thing that if you do not promise me… I fear I will die unable to close my eyes.”

I looked at Master’s quivering hand, full of wrinkles, as he brought out that dust-laden letter, from several decades past, out from his arms.

It was only at that moment did I realize, it wasn’t because Master forgot…

IV. Winter Journey

Master Attendant had always regarded me as a blood brother ever since I was summoned.

I was born and killed time and time again. Regardless of how many times, even if I knew that Food Souls like me didn’t die easily, I never hesitated to use my own body to protect humans from attacks that are surely lethal for their kind. 

Master’s desires gave meaning to my existence.

To the disappointment of my niece and nephews, I bid them farewell, taking with me keepsake gifts from the emperor and travel money as I began my journey.

I came across the ever-expanding cults more than once in this journey, and almost came to an end on one occasion.

Fortunately, I was soon saved by Longjing Tea and Zitui Bun. Afterwards, I stayed at their little courtyard.

Aside from Longjing Tea, there were others in the courtyard, all former victims of the cults.

One day, I finally received information on their stronghold. I didn’t tell anyone, and with the sole goal of taking those bastards down with me, I set off alone.

That gal, Dragon Beard Candy, was more of a softie than she let on; she wasn’t suited to fight those skilled in the art of manipulating hearts.

Zitui Bun did so much to escape their shadows, not to mention Longjing Tea, who’d been dragged into this by me and the others.​ I couldn’t allow them to face tragedy again from the growing cults, all because me and Master Attendant let them grow in the first place.

In this courtyard where one can feel satisfied through merely watching the moon, this was the life they were most suited for.

Before I reached my destination, I met a Food Soul on the way. His clothes were in tatters, and he seemed to be in dire straits.

His whole body was covered in scars, and the state of his face so dreadful that I thought he’d dissipate at any moment. Besides him was a female Food Soul, supporting him by the arm.

We only brushed past each other on the road, but he called out to me:

“Are… you going to Sin City…”

I halted in my steps, and turned my head around, slightly astounded. I looked at the guy, coated with injuries.

“…Why? You’re from Sin City?”

He didn’t pay any mind to the alarm in my words.

He was a very interesting fellow. Although his face held a touch of gentleness on first glance, his eyes revealed a more haughty air.

“I’d like to ask something of you.”

“…What is it? I can’t not go to Sin City.”

“Sin City has already been destroyed. If you’re willing, I was hoping you could go somewhere and save someone…”  

I stood in front of the wreckage, looking at the Food Soul on the ground, along with the evidently high ranking cult members beside him. In my mind, I recalled the villages I saw on my journey, destroyed by them. The innocent common folk, met with only a wretched end. The believers, repenting through drugs.

I turned, intent on leaving. But after a few steps, I berated myself for being unable to harden my heart. I turned back around, filled with heavy repudiation as I took away the Food Soul, lying on the ground, on their last gasps of breath, away from this scorched land.

V. Dragon & Phoenix

After Dragon & Phoenix brought Realgar Wine back from Sin City, they found temporary shelter at a nearby tavern.

He repeatedly pondered over the meaning of Peking Duck’s words.

It was only when Realgar Wine awoke and Dragon & Phoenix saw the clueless look on his face, that he had to suppress his anger. Years of resentment against the cults erupted in an instant.

Dragon & Phoenix, who’d managed to maintain a friendly demeanor up to this point, now donned a ferocious expression. He grabbed Realgar’s shirt collar, interrogating his actions, questioning his beliefs.

But Realgar Wine’s bewildered look exasperated him. He loosened his grip, dispirited, and let go of Realgar Wine’s shirt collar.

At that instant, he finally understood Peking Duck’s words.

“He is a very pitiful fellow…”

He looked at Realgar Wine, feeling a complicated mixture of emotions. He took a deep breath, but ultimately, couldn’t stand it, so he left with a slam of the door.

The next day, when Dragon & Phoenix returned to Realgar Wine’s room, he was still recovering from his serious injuries and had the same demeanor from before. The lost and helpless look on his face caused Dragon & Phoenix to slump in frustration.

He brought Realgar Wine to those villages, ruined by the cults, then brought out a book that he’d hidden in his chest.

“Granny Xi from the western village had a family of four. The grand daughter was chosen for sacrifice, her parents were killed by a mob for resisting. Granny Xi had no one to turn to, thus, committed suicide.”

“……”

“Uncle Luo’s family from the north, all burned to death by the order of believers because they refused to worship. The youngest was a grandson born not long ago, not even a month old.”

“……”

“Tofu lil’ sis,[3] of an eastern city, stabbed to death because she wouldn’t follow the mob’s orders to become the cult leader’s wife.”

“…I…”

“Do you see now? This is what the drugs you made brought forth.”

“I-I…I’m sorry…”

Realgar Wine’s head was so low it was almost on the ground. Dragon & Phoenix furrowed his brows as he looked at Realgar Wine, undoubtedly feeling remorse, yet unsure on how to fix anything.  

As a Food Soul, no one else can better understand how important a Master Attendants is to them. Master Attendants, who are like family to them, guide Food Souls, new to the world.

If one were to say Dragon & Phoenix’s Master Attendant was a bright sun, illuminating Dragon & Phoenix’s entire world,

then Realgar Wine’s Master Attendant was like a firefly, dancing around a cliff in the night so pitch dark that you can’t see your hand in front of you.

Gradually leading Realgar Wine to a dead end as he sought after that weak ray of light.

He also finally understood why Peking Duck, who’d faced much of the suffering the cults inflicted, chose to spare him, who’d been working for the cults for some time.

Dragon & Phoenix brought Realgar Wine to many places, to every village that once fell victim. Realgar Wine would always sincerely apologize to everyone there, under Dragon & Phoenix’s guidance.  

This was even though no one accepted his words, and there were many survivors who would hurl rocks at him.

But Realgar Wine silently endured it all. He made great efforts to use his abilities  and do everything that he thought of to try and help the survivors’ situations.

Dragon & Phoenix stood by the side, watching as a sharp rock pelted Realgar Wine. Realgar Wine did not dodge. But even if Food Souls could not die at the hands of humans, when they are attacked, they still feel pain, they still bleed the same blood of a human.  

Maybe the villagers were tired of flinging stones, or maybe they lost interest because Realgar Wine wouldn’t make even one cry of pain, they slowly left, one after another.  

Dragon & Phoenix walked to Realgar Wine’s side, helping him pick up the Dan medicine that he’d developed, which could scatter Fallen Angels. He reached out a hand to sweep away the rotten vegetable leaves and egg shells hanging from Realgar Wine’s head, and using his sleeve, wiped away the blood on his forehead.

“Come on, let’s go home.”

Notes

Note: Citations are usually indicated by the [#] hovering near the sentence.

  1. Translator's Note: 休养生息 [ recovery; usually used to describe a nation (its finance or its army) recuperating from war and building strength. Here in the story it may mean all three.]
  2. Translator's Note: 十里红妆 [ “Red Dowry”; this is a tradition of the east Zhejiang custom where daughters are married off with a large dowry to show off the wealth of her family. The bride would be sent in a grand wedding procession to her husband’s home, carried in a carriage and followed by attendants and gifts. The procession could be quite long, which is why it’s also called the “Ten Mile Red Dowry”]
  3. Translator's Note: "Tofu lil sis" means this young girl probably sold tofu as a living
Dragon's Beard Candy
Sprite-Dragon's Beard Candy
Long Bao Chibi 1 This story has not been released yet! More details will be added once it has.


I. TBA

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II. TBA

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III. TBA

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IV. TBA

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V. TBA

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Foie Gras
Sprite-Foie Gras


I. Jailhouse

A four-walled room with only one window from which to look upon the landscape. Even with azure skies and starry nights, the scene is made imperfect; it is cut into pieces by long, thin images that just cross it.

There were iron bars installed on the window.

If I want to walk a few steps, the echo from the noise of the iron chains being dragged along the ground can be heard in the quiet room.

I spend long days living with no purpose; I'm not even aware of the passage of time in this cold room.

If I sink into depression, I will just ponder the reason of my imprisonment over and over again.

"It was so utterly stupid."

Every time I think of it, I look upon my own self with contemptuousness.

It was an experience that complicated my mood all the more.

When I was summoned to this world for the first time, what appeared to me at the time was a chef on call who worked in the castle.

He seemed particularly surprised to see me. He just kept muttering on and on to himself, "How could this be," and "I have so much potential," which just grated on my nerves.

I wasn't sure why, but from the time I realized he was a chef, I began to have a strange feeling of aversion towards him build up in my heart.

So, I had the utmost negative impression of him from our very first meeting.

By rights I should address him in a proper way as "Master Attendant". But I really didn't want to do that..

Apparently, he did not care how he was addressed. People around him always called him "Cook" this "Cook" that.

But I just called him "guy" instead.

II. Prison Break

The atmosphere in the castle has been a bit peculiar as of late.

Whenever I've gone around with Cook, I've noticed someone watching us from some shadowy corner.

Cook, an workaholic didn't think anyone would find this an unpleasant sight.

I had a bad feeling, and I got the answer to my hunch within a few days.

"What the heck is going on here?"

It was amusing to see Cook scratching his head, scowling impatiently and pacing back and forth in his cell.

"How could I be a rebel? I have so much work to do every day that I have no time to finish it all."

"I've been wronged!"

No matter how much of a commotion he raised there in his prison cell, no one would open the heavy iron gate for him.

The rebel thing was just a pretext for the blood royals to detain him.

Perhaps the real reason was that the proud royals could not accept the idea that one little insignificant chef could summon a Food Soul.

"Hey, guy."

He stopped when he heard me calling him.

"I can't take this claustrophobic environment. I need to get out of here."

"What? How can you leave? Your feet are chained down."

His words trailed off as he saw that I had frozen the chains on my bare feet and smashed it to bits.

I walked to the window and broke the iron bars.

All the while Cook just stood there dumbfounded watching what I did. He was shocked to the core and absolutely speechless.

But when I went to step out of the window, he pulled me back in. And as I turned around I was confronted by his anxious expression.

"Miss... Miss Foie Gras, please take me with you!"

He is a man devoid of principles.

But like this, I was touched for the first time by his humanity.

Even now, it seems I haven't been able to wipe that cold temperature from my fingers.

III. Separation

I knew from the beginning that he was a weak man.

He sweated and toiled in his filthy kitchen every day. On account of his poor and ignoble birth, he would always be made the butt of the self-important nobles' jokes. Meanwhile, his own buck-passing colleagues around him dumped their tiring and tedious work on him.

Yet he just seemed to take it all with a smirk and a smile.

But provided it has something to do with cuisine, he will trade in that flippant expression of his for a near nest one.

If he fails at making a certain dish, he would be extraordinarily broken up about it, and then will be even stricter with himself the next day.

When I asked him why he did this, he answered,

"If I don't take cooking seriously, then isn't this a tremendous disrespect to the souls of the ingredients?"

Maybe it's because of how he answered my question, maybe it was that serious expression, or the matter-of-fact swagger in his tone, but at that moment I started looking at the man differently.

So that brings us up to today. In running away from being exposed, I ran into a mass of black-clad soldiers that the royal family, who had long ago prepared for such contingencies to perform an ambush. Surrounded on all sides, I stood my ground facing these enemies; so multitudinous that they looked like vast fields of wheat, not wanting anyone to hurt him. Thinking that, provided he just gave the order, I would carry him out of here even if his hands were stained with blood.

But I heard from behind the thing I did not want to hear the most at the moment.

"Foie Gras, forget it, leave me here."

His voice sounded calm and relaxed, as if he was telling me that the weather was on very clear day.

"I have no friends no family, and I have been with you every day. I am truly content."

I didn't say anything, and I didn't want to look back at the expression on his face. I just had an icy cold feeling in my heart."

"It's good that I came here. After I die, you will be free."

Just the thought of that phrase, one that I would absolutely never say; my body went stiff.

Yet, I had to listen to it anyway.

"Foie Gras, get out of here."

"That's an order from your master attendant."

IV. Oath

In a heavily fortified castle a shrill buzzing sound suddenly rang out penetrating the thick cold walls and into my ears, pulling me out of pondering past memories and snapping me back into the present.

"What happened?"

I could vaguely hear the shouts of soldiers.

"Could it be an enemy invasion?"

I sat on the chair in the middle of the room, lost in thought.

"Perhaps someone will come to send me out to battle."

"Clang."

The sound of the iron door behind me being unlocked reverberated throughout the room.

"They're already here?"

I turned around, and at the same moment the door opened. And who stood before me was not an armored soldier, but a blond teenager with an expression of passive indolence.

Without even waiting for the inevitable inquiry he simply gave the information.

"He's dead."

My body froze in shock. Though it was the first time I had ever met this young chap, I knew which person the "he" referred to.

"I am here to pick you up."

I could feel my eyes grow wet with tears.

"Let's leave together."

Thirty years ago.

"This is the cooking attendants orders."

"So what?"

I answered with an air of complete indifference, and I never turned around to see his expression.

I had expected such an outcome, because my cooking attendant was a weak man.

He would not order me to take him out of here and kill everyone.

I realized it long ago.

Without waiting for him to say the next sentence, I used my psychic powers to build a safety net around him to both protect him and trap him in the same place.

I took flight, and soared directly to the enemy stronghold, the place where the King lived.

After freezing all the soldiers around the King, I stared down the King, whose expression told me, "I've been waiting for you for a long time", then, I said,

"Guarantee he will live in safety. Let him leave this country and I will stay here and serve you."

The King promised repeatedly. Naturally he knew that if it weren't for the covenant between Cook and I, nothing could contain me.

But this was exactly how the cunning King figured things would turn out from the beginning.

When I got back, Cook was sitting in the safety net crying to the point that his eyes were red.

I waved my hand and the net came off. He wanted to rush to me but was immediately stopped by the soldiers standing by awaiting orders.

He clenched his teeth and his cheeks flushed red, he stared at me with an expression I'd never seen before and kept silent.

"Go."

After saying this, I turned around as I didn't see him, so I would be ready to return to the King.

But then he shouted for me to stop.

His voice rang out with such deep-seated raw emotional power that I stopped dead in my tracks.

"Wait for me!"

"I will come back for you."

"Okay."

I turned around and smiled at him.

V. Foie Gras

When Foie Gras had just been summoned to the human world, she hid a deep sense of revulsion with the chef deep down in the recesses of her heart.

Even Foie Gras herself did not understand where such strong emotions came from.

She couldn't understand yet was powerless to resist, so she just chalked it up to "fate".

However, as a food soul, she had to accompany her cooking attendant, so she had to endure such a sense of deep disgust every day to complete her mission.

After spending some time with her cooking attendant, she came to the conclusion,

"He is a useless good-for-nothing."

He is a talentless hack, and his culinary arts are nothing special at all.
People take him for an ignoramus who was always buried in work that wasn't even his to begin with.

However, he was the only one in the stony castle with a respect for food.
And he treated each and every ingredient with the utmost care.

Seeing him like this, for some strange reason the disgust in her heart gradually began to dissipate.

"Maybe someday he can be a great chef."
Foie Gras couldn't help thinking this.

She thought that her "destiny" had basically been destroyed by his very existence.

So ultimately, in the face of a malicious world, Foie Gras chose to bide her time and change his "fate" that brought him near death.

"Wait for me, I will come get you."

This sentence became the only consolation that Foie Gras would ever give in 30 long years.

She never really expected that the cooking attendant would keep his promise, because it was a miracle that such a mediocre man could even summon a food soul in the first place.

Without the help of a food soul, who would have the power to save her?

But the promise of the cooking attendant had been echoing within the recesses of her heart.

Then the blond teenager has appeared out of nowhere and reached his hand out to her, claiming that he would take her away.

Foie Gras turned and eyed her cooking attendant who, wearing that patented silly grin of his and scratching the back of his head, said sheepishly,

"Sorry I kept you waiting."

"It's ok,"
She replied.

"I knew you would come back."

Note: The story above has been grammatically edited by UnknownPeep. Some of the original wording may have been altered to make the story easier to understand, but the story remains unchanged.

Fruit Tart
Sprite-Fruit Tart


Fondness Story

Long Bao Chibi 4 Contents of this page has been fan-translated by cakerollkarol and may not be completely accurate.
Official translations will be added whenever it's available.


i. Bloodthirsty Butterfly

Tick tock—Tick tock--

The clock moves precisely, without error.

The four walls of the room held books from top to bottom. Aside from a few precious book collections, this was also where Master Attendant’s ‘beloved’ Mistress Lilia’s ‘readings’ were kept.

When I was summoned by the Master Attendant, the Madam’s body was already weak.

And so, to replace the Madam who was unable to accompany the Grand Duke to various social occasions, I was brought into this world.

For humans, this desire to maintain appearances was the reason for their arrogance.

Fortunately, I found the two humans quite compelling.

A Master Attendant so greedy as that he seems intent on bringing his power into the grave, and his ‘Bloodthirsty Butterfly’ wife, always smiling tenderly; truly an interesting combination.

‘Bloodthirsty Butterfly’

That is what the Madam christened herself in her social circle of nobles.

At first, I thought this might’ve been a boring form of address to coordinate with Master Attendant’s status and style.

Aside from her daily regimen, this Madam wasn’t that different from most other nobles.

Until I discovered the story of the ‘Bloodthirsty Butterfly’ witch, and only then did I really hold a little fondness for these two humans.

They should rejoice, for they are humans that will not bore me.

There was only one thing that I could not understand, and that is the old storybook I’m currently reading in my hands.

It’s a story about a nameless monster.

It’s the same as any other fairy tale. There will be a righteous knight who kills the monster, and in the end, the world welcomes a peaceful ending.

It’s clearly a story not worth mentioning, but I’m always reading this fairy tale storybook.

What exactly is hidden inside?

At first, I was very interested in it, but after discovering the witch’s story, it seems I’ve come to understand some things.

“You still like reading that book?”

Following the sound of footsteps approaching the door, the library door was quickly thrust open.

Upon lifting my eyes, I see who’s leaning against the bookcase next to the door— my ‘servant’.

“And you still like barging in without knocking, Soufflé.”

“What about it?”

Soufflé said as he knocked the door besides him. His eyes showed not even the least bit of fear towards me.

“You’ve seen the coward do this before, is it still not enough?”

“Heh, you have a point there. I can always better endure your typical stray dog demeanor.”

I couldn’t help being derisive as I replied.


“Why have you returned, aren’t you supposed to be at the Viscount’s mansion?”

“Why Madame Duchess, I’m here to tell you some interesting things, obviously.”

“Yesterday, when the Viscount and I went to visit that Gambling Duke, I discovered…”

“A Food Soul called Sandwich, right? …. Heh, a child who only knows how to play little tricks, what can he do?”

“You really did use your ‘butterfly’ to observe the Duke.”

“Anyone who dares to oppose the Duke, how could I ever let them go?”

“Then, you should know the other news already.”

“Hmm?”

“That person has arrived.”

The person Souffle speaks of, I naturally knew him all too well.

If you were to ask, how did I know of his existence?

Maybe that’s thanks to the story about the ‘Bloodthirsty Butterfly’ that the Madam wrote.

In the story, the kings getting replaced one after another could’ve been said to be quite sudden.

But compared to the kings, the queen, the ‘Bloodthirsty Butterfly’, remained, and her death by stabbing in the high tower wasn’t sudden; that abruptness cannot be used as a coincidental cover up.

​After having understood a few things, I came to the realization that the Madam’s story was not just a simple daydream she wrote down.

And it was exactly from those stories of the Madam that I became interested in him.

Ever since then, I would send out my ‘butterfly’ to find traces of that person while having my afternoon tea.

I would tell the Madam all matters related to the man, and the Madam would write them into her story once more.

This story of the distant past has already passed, but the tale composed by the Madam never once stopped.

“He’ll come eventually. I’m looking forward to seeing what face he’ll make upon seeing me…”

ii. Witch of Time

When the clock chimes four times, it’s the time when I allow no one to disturb me.

The House of Time where I dwell is such a place where I shan’t be bothered.

Once it’s time for afternoon tea, the chimes ringing through the mansion warn everyone inside not to step into the garden. The forbidden land, barring all from entering as they please.

This was the Eden that the Grand Duke specially built for his ‘Madam Duchess’.

But aside from occasional cumbersome social events, I rarely see the Duke.

Even before the Madam passed away, it seemed the Madam and I spent more time with each other than anyone else.

Likely because of the Madam’s unusual physique, when she got sick, her body quickly turned weak.

Not long after, she couldn’t even enter the garden the Duke had built for her, and she spent her final days on the sickbed.

(1) Translator’s Note: The original text was closer to couch, but sickbed was used instead because it was more appropriate.

Back then, her stories were an amusing way for me to kill time, and it was the only thing she could offer in exchange for my intel.

“The witch spilled her lover’s blood after following the demon’s instructions, but at that moment, her heart held no love.

When the dagger in her hands pierced through her lover’s heart, it was then that she understood she’d become lonely again.

Afterwards, her lover’s final words became her damnation.

No one in the world would love her again, as the only person who loved her was already dead under the people’s judgement.

And so, the witch shed tears and lost her magical powers.

The witch’s body became unbearably ugly, even the blood butterfly also began to fragment, turning to ash with her, and vanished at the final dawn.”

“The witch just died after shedding tears?”

Upon hearing the end of the witch’s story, I couldn’t help but sneer at the woman before me, so thin and pallid, just like a skeleton.

“For her, death is the best ending.”

The Madam looked at me as if she were yearning for someone else in me, choking down a sob.

“Had I not left her behind at that time, leaving the tower alone, were my elder sister still alive, would our ending been any different?”

“I cannot know of things that never happened.”

“That’s right, just treat them as my ravings. Every time I look at you, I always feel like I’m facing the past me. The more I reminisce, the more I feel that everything now is my punishment.”

“From how I see it, I feel it’s quite profound. After all, I can’t even see myself die.”

“Is that also the ending that that man looks forward to? Heh… that’s true, he never intended to let me go from the very beginning.”

“You’re talking about… Whiskey, yes?”

“After I escaped from there, I kept thinking, why didn’t he kill me then? I’ve ran for a long, long time, until I later discovered that even after leaving hell, the outside world… is still my purgatory.”

“But you met the Duke, did you not?”

“Yes, that’s right… Back then I was just an unbearably dirty fugitive. But he said he liked my eyes, because they were filled with cruelty and despair.

Of course, I didn’t believe his words so easily.

Back then, I had nothing to lose, so I took the bet.

I wanted to use this noble’s sudden interest in me to get rid of the curse that the demon gave me.

It’s just that I never once thought of my arrogance that almost got me killed back then. In the end, my shell of a body was my only surviving asset.”

(2) Translator’s Note: The original text for the last sentence (变成了那时我唯一活下去的资本) means like “I was the only surviving capital” which means that only her body survived, but none of her internal self, like her ambitions and higher goals, survived.

The Madam did not continue.

Because at that moment, the ‘butterfly’ that I sent out to search for information fluttered down from the window. The Madam naturally understands that it has brought new findings.

“Since you’ve already finished telling your story, naturally, I will also tell you what you want to know. Whiskey has already left that kingdom. However, before leaving, he went to another place.”

I then presented all the information that the ‘butterfly’ retrieved to the Madam.

“This is… my sister’s… grave?”

The Madam’s tone revealed a shred of disbelief.

“Who would’ve thought he also had a heart. However, if one worships the deceased, they would clearly follow in his steps, offering strelitzias to lost loved ones, yes?” (2)

(3) Translator’s Note: The more common name for Strelitzias is Bird-of-Paradise flowers but Strelitzias was used to avoid wordiness and mixing it up with the actual bird.

“Strelitzias, huh…”

Upon hearing this, the Madam mouthed the flower’s name and suddenly teared up.

“It’s a place where monsters cannot go, right?…”

Upon finished saying that, the Madam did not wake up again.


Afterwards, I became the ‘Bloodthirsty Butterfly’ Madam.

No one would be suspicious of me. Besides myself, no one had ever seen how the Madam looked on her deathbed.

Even that Duke, once so ‘deeply in love’ with her, abandoned the Madam when she couldn’t get up from her bed.

That day, all our stories entered a new chapter.

Whether it’s to me, or to Whiskey…

Tick tock—Tick tock--

Time passed by in minutes and seconds.

I sat in the study, waiting for the Duke’s arrival to our appointment. ​ “Madam, you’re here. Wanting to see me so urgently, did something happen?”

The Duke took his time in pushing the study room’s door open, and walked in.

“Naturally, I’m here to tell you some interesting things.”

And so, I told the Duke all I knew about the Gambling Duke’s daughter and Sandwich planning to use a wager to make the Gambling Duke to lose everything.

Such an overconfident plan, even if the Duke had much to gain and nothing to lose, it still made that man, whose eyes see only power, laugh the loudest he had in a long time.

Humans are foolishly self-righteous, and I’ve seen too many.

However, my goal was not to help that child cause silly mischief to her father, and my goal was certainly not to facilitate the cover up of the Grand Duke transferring the Gambling Duke’s wealth to himself.

I want to see that man, as dark as the void, no longer simply in the Madam’s story, or from inside my ‘butterfly’.

I want him to stand before me, even more clearly and vividly. I want to know from him whether that pure white flower of the abyss really was a glimmer in the dark night.

And so, I proposed to the Grand Duke we host a banquet at his private villa.

Likely, the joke I just told him lightened his mood, so he didn’t hesitate to agree to my suggestion.

Now then, this sequel surely won’t disappoint me.

iii. Amber Dreams

With the Duke’s power, he quickly invited many renowned nobles.

Sure enough, the Gambling Duke, relying on a Food Soul’s little tricks to reach the zenith in a single leap, also came, to no one’s surprise. ​ Of course, that man would never let go of an opportunity like this.

After all, in the pursuit of his goals, he’d already gotten quite close to that Viscount Pell. His persistent cajoling could truly sicken anyone.

The Gambling Duke is a close confidante of Viscount Pell, but the Viscount has become displeased with the Gambling Duke from his heedless plundering through gambling.

Now, when you give someone like that a chance for higher and bigger connections, he won’t hesitate to take up this chance for peace. (1)

(1) Translator’s Note: original text said “tossed out olive branch” which just means an attempt to make peace so “chance for peace” was used to reduce wordiness while communicating the same information.


There was no more need for me to do anything else, for all the Gambling Duke’s power and secondary connections have been revealed crystal clear by the man set on obtaining the Duke’s favor.

The dark night served as the narrator of the story’s opening, and my eyes linger on the last remaining warm lights of the night.

This banquet was meant to end the dull game of power between this clique of nobles.

But for me, this will be a joyous first encounter.

Or rather…. Would ‘reunion’ be more appropriate?


“Good evening, Madame Duchess.”

Viscount Pell took off his hat, greeting me with the man behind him.

In regards to his appearance, I wasn’t surprised.

“Good evening, Viscount Pell.”

“You look forever beautiful, to the point where it’s almost moving, esteemed Madame.”

“Viscount, you’re just saying that.”

Such pleasantries hold no value whatsoever, and I’ve always liked cutting straight to the chase.

“Then Viscount, won’t you introduce me to the mister beside you?”

“This is Mr. Vita, whom I mentioned to Lord Grand Duke before, and this time, I decided to present him to Madame Duchess too.”


Standing in front of me, the man named Whiskey only looked at me somewhat startled, but very quickly, he seemed like he found an answer again, and used a smile to restrain hidden malevolence.

“My sincerest apologies, Madame Duchess. There wasn’t enough time for me to introduce myself just now. My name is Aqua Vita, just an ordinary traveling merchant. I’m fortunate to have received Viscount Pell’s recognition, that’s the only way I was able to come here.”

I could never get the reaction I want from this ever-unchanging smiling face, as if he were truly here without any ulterior motive.

A gentle and hypocritical smiling face, with decently elegant manners. It was the first time I personally witnessed those blood red eyes that the Madam described countless times before.


“Hmm? Merchant? I heard from the Duke before that you’re very knowledgeable in medicine, I thought you were a rich and accomplished doctor.”

“A doctor practicing medicine is but working for money; I do it through trading, and there’s nothing wrong with that, no? Not to mention, not all doctors heal the wounded and save the dying; I believe Madame Duchess must know this much better than I do.”


Ah, that’s right, there was also that tactful probing.

Every sign was telling something to me—As expected, this was the kind of man I hated most.


“Please rest assured, Madame Duchess. Mr. Vita will not disappoint Lord Duke.”

Viscount Pell promptly chimed in, as if trying to soothe the atmosphere.

“What Mr. Vita said is actually quite meaningful.”

I smoothly took a cocktail glass from a passing servant’s plate.

It’s the madam’s most favorite drink, even if its preparation is somewhat troublesome, it’s still a well-kept tradition of the Duke’s banquets.

“M-Madame Duchess…”

I used my eyes to hint at the fool asking for trouble to shut up.

“Though I’d like to chat more with Mr. Vita for a while longer, Viscount Pell looks very exhausted. Why not have a slight rest in the drawing room? I think the Duke will have good news for you after the banquet ends.”

“In that case, please rest properly in the drawing room, Lord Viscount. I’ll come find you later.”

“Uh… yes, then I shan’t disturb you anymore, Madame…”

It seems that to Whiskey, Viscount Pell is worth only so much.


They waited for the Viscount to leave, and then, as if he were humoring me, Whiskey, too, picked up a cocktail glass, holding the same drink as my own.

“’Amber Dreams,’ right?”

He lightly swayed the glass, but showed no intention of tasting it.

“Hard to find at banquets such as this…”

“It was specially prepared for me by the Duke.” ​ “Is it because of the beautiful color of the amber? But before turning into ‘amber’, it was a ‘gemstone,’ which originally had magnificently gorgeous colors.”

He carefully looked at the alcohol in his hand, like he was a gem appraiser.

“Vermouth​ symbolizes ruby, Chartreuse symbolizes emerald, and Gin symbolizes diamond. In my opinion, having these liquors layered in the proper order, creating the rainbow drink ‘Precious Stone’, wouldn’t it be better suited for you, Madame?”

“Aside from medicine, Mr. Vita is unexpectedly well informed about winery. Truly surprising. Many would treat ‘Amber Dreams’ and ‘Precious Stone’ as the same kind of drink.”

“Heh, when all is said and done, ‘Amber Dreams’ and ‘Precious Stone’ have completely different colors and lusters.”

“Well now I’m curious, does Mr. Vita like ‘Amber Dreams’ or ‘Precious Stone,’ then?”

“From a merchant’s point of view, as long as the goods have value, they’re all worthy of love.”

“What a sly way to phrase it, Mr. Vita.”

“Then, Madame, what do you wish to keep?”

“I once had an old friend who told me she’d like time to be preserved, frozen in amber, whether it was her memories or body, to never erode.”

“It would seem your old friend has memories worth preserving?”

“That’s right. Are you intrigued, Mr. Vita?”


If Whiskey were willing to admit his answer right now, perhaps I could occasionally chat with Whiskey about the memories of the past.

Only, what a shame that he’s a terrible man who treats lies as the norm.


“I care only for what can bring profit, if those memories can raise a commodity’s value, that’s good, obviously. (2) Otherwise, even if memories of eternity (3) are attained, that can only hold death back for just a moment- just like how your old friend wants those illusory memories to remain in this drink. Emptiness has no meaning.”

(2) Translator’s Note: original text said that if it can raise a “commodity’s value history” which isn’t a term used in economics as far as we know? So yeah history was taken out for better understanding.

(3) Translator’s Note: original text did not say memories of eternity but just eternity, memories was added in to better connect it with the preceding sentence and convey what Whiskey means as a whole- that holding onto unprofitable memories is pointless.

Whiskey downed the glass of alcohol, facing me as he lifted a completely empty glass, revealing a flawless ‘smile’.

iv. Waltz

“How unexpected of you to make such an assertion, Mr. Vita. I would’ve thought you were more akin to someone who meticulously studies every situation.”

“Then Madame, you worry too much, for I am only a merchant and my observations are but a business instinct.”

As Whiskey said that, his gaze floated over to the other side of the room, and then respectfully said to me:

“Such as right now- At this time, I’m bothering Madame. Our surroundings are filled with nobles waiting for a dance from you.”

My eyes swept over my surroundings. Those all too familiar nobles were covetously eyeing the corner that I was in.

Amongst them, there were many who’ve sought my ‘patronage’.

This is only an informal rule that’s gradually became the default in these nobles’ dirty dealings.

During a ball, I would give those nobles wanted intel about their opponents. They must then offer me treasure and money worth equivalent to the intel.

After the Madam’s death and assuming the title of ‘Bloodthirsty Butterfly,’ I found this diversion not too shabby.

Only tonight, I’m in no mood to listen to their ‘requests’.

“Well in that case, please settle these troubles on my behalf, Mr. Vita.”

“Could it be these royals and nobles’ invitations are of no importance to you?”

“I never let others decide my own matters. How about this- I’ll tell you what you want to know, and you must do your part as well.”

“Since it’s the Madame’s proposal, I believe this deal ought to be quite beneficial.”

Whiskey extended his hand towards me, a gesture of invitation.

“Then, let me really take you away this time, Lilia, Madame.”

For him to say this name at a moment like this, was he insinuating something to me?

“You truly make one feel at ease, Mr. Vita.”

I didn’t hesitate to accept his invitation, like a declaration of war.

Could it be that he wanted to see me uneasy?

Heh, truly an adorable thought.

Under the bright lights, the dancing figures around us didn’t stop swaying. ​ This convoluted waltz was a formality that both Whiskey and I knew by heart.

“I would’ve never thought you’d be so skilled at the waltz too, Mr. Vita.”

“To receive the Madam’s praise make me feel quite honored. I learned it in the kingdoms that I occasionally visited in the past, that’s all.”

Whiskey wasn’t looking at me as he said all of this; he hesitated as he searched for a means of escape.

There were only packed crowds here, making a quick and discreet departure was not a simple act.

“It seems trying to leave is no easy task, Madame Duchess.”

“You’re not calling me Madame Lilia this time?”

“You’re not actually Lilia, are you? Just a moment ago, when I called you this name, though you seemed composed, you actually still hesitated.”

Whiskey’s smile gradually developed an icy cold aura, even the atmosphere became heavy.

“If you think I‘m not Lilia, then who am I?”

This kind of psychological coaxing has no effect whatsoever on me.

“Madame, even if an imitation is hidden in amber, it’s still nothing but a worthless counterfeit. This kind of low level mistake is shameful among merchants.”

“Then, if you were to encounter a counterfeit where the authentic is no more, what would you do, Mr. Vita?” ​ “As a merchant, honesty is the best policy, naturally. If it were a counterfeit, I would certainly get rid of it myself.”

“Hahahaha, you’re truly an interesting person, Mr. Vita.”

I couldn’t help but laugh aloud.

It’s truly been a long time since I’ve heard such a contradictory opinion.

How much of this man is actually true?

A fake name, a fake surname, a fake smile, fake words, it’s all but a lie.

“You obviously have only lies left … Did you also use this kind of expression and these kinds of words towards your Lilia? If she could accept a lie like you, then it seems she truly is an innocent child~ Ah, that’s right, only a pure and innocent sheet of white paper is worthy of being stained black, isn’t that right, Whiskey?” ​ Blood red eyes suddenly hardened, and then, steadily drew closer to me with an imposing air.

“Hehe… You’re truly a genius, Madame. For you to use this face while saying such things that make me want to kill you.”

Whiskey moved close to my ear, his smile ice cold and tone near threatening as he said:

“I hope I won’t hear this kind of talk again.”

“Many thanks for your praise, Mr. Vita.”

But for me, I found it quite entertaining.

I did not push away this person, who had ‘threatened’ (1) me, but instead, whispered back into his ear:

(1) Translator’s Note: original text said “used malicious words” instead so threatened replaced it. Wanted to make note of that as reference!

“But the fact is, you actually just hoped Lilia could always remain the same. Otherwise, you wouldn’t look at me with eyes filled with such loathing.”

There is nothing more amusing than making this man tear off his mask of hypocrisy.

“If this isn’t a confession, this sort of talk might cause me to misunderstand, Madame Duchess.”

“Hehe~ my mistake then.”

He and I moved back to our original distance.

“Speaking of which, my old friend liked to constantly read a fairy tale storybook. The tale was about a nameless monster. I don’t know if someone who’s travelled and studied so far and wide would’ve ever heard of it before?”

“How unfortunate, I’ve never read those stories. The fairy tales that we see were mostly created by humans with something to hide.”

As he said that, his face finally revealed rare signs of ridicule and disdain; but once more, it quickly disappeared without a trace.

After recovering his usual smile, he said:

“Fairy tales cannot redeem anyone.”

When he finished, Whiskey stopped his dancing, and released his hands. He gave his regards to me.

“Now then, I’ve already done what I promised to you. As for you, Madame…”

“You may ask me a question, I will tell you what you want to know.”

“Where is that person who I’m looking for?”

“The monster has already disappeared, neither slayed by a prince or a knight, and she died before my eyes.”

Upon hearing this, Whiskey’s smile deepened, but it contained no sign of happiness.

“Truly mournful news. In that case, please allow my respects (2) to be brought to her grave.”

(2) Translator’s Note: the original text used is “心意,” which has a variety of meanings, like one’s feelings, purpose, intention, regards, affection. And like a magician, Whiskey produced a cluster of small white flowers from his cuff, dropping it to the floor.

“Now then, please look forward to our next meeting, Madame Duchess.”

Upon stopping, he then bowed to me and left, leaving behind those Umbellifers.


Parsley flowers, huh…

Victory, joy, and also… death.

Heh, he’s certainly a vile man. ​ A scarlet red butterfly fluttered in the darkness, gently landing on the tip of my finger.

Soon afterwards, it followed in the direction of Whiskey’s departure, vanishing into the night.

Thinking through it, it’s quite laughable.

At first, I was only interested in the black snake of the abyss in that story and the twins’ joke of a fate; but I didn’t know when I began to be slowly drawn to that pure, white flower, always fixated on the abyss.

What exactly does that flower’s soul look like, for him to resort to so many immoral acts?

Whether it’s vengeance or obsession, it all makes me ever so curious on how far he and I, the flower, Lilia, will go.

Though this story has lost its heroine, worry not, my Madame.

I shall write it down in your place, until the day comes that we welcome the story’s final chapter.

I very much look forward to it, Whiskey.

v. Fruit Tart

Legend has it, a long time ago, there was a nameless monster.

It had the head of a lion, the body of a mountain goat, and the tail of a boa.

It could spray scarlet red fire, burning everything that it came across, and thus, all was barren wherever it went.

In a little kingdom, there lived a nameless young girl.

She was locked in a tiny tower, and no one knew of her existence.

She had a beautiful elder sister, who had the same appearance as her, but a smile that she didn’t have.

If she, too, had a healthy body, the love of her parents, and the blessing of the people, she would definitely be able to smile like her sister,

The young girl thought.


Every day, she prayed in her tiny prison tower, hoping that the busy god would hear her prayers.

Back then, she didn’t know why she was there, why she was always sick; she also didn’t think her half brown, half white body was anything strange.

Her clothes looked no different from those of the soldiers and servants who came and went to the tower.

But no one was willing to go near her, even her parents, who kept on saying they love her; they, too, would always look at her strangely.

Very soon, even this tower was forgotten by all. The only person who accepted her was her doctor.

The doctor told her, the king only wanted to protect her frail and ailing body, that’s why he arranged for her to stay here.

Then, the doctor promised that he would cure her, and let her leave the tower.

She firmly believed this.

Later, there came another person to this tower.

Upon seeing someone nearly identical to herself, the young girl understood that this was the sister she never met before.

The sister tightly hugged her the moment she entered through the door, continuously apologizing to her, saying she’d never known of her younger sister’s existence.

She looked at her sister’s tearful face. It seemed like she really had done something irredeemably heinous.

For some reason, the king keeping her existence a secret from the public was not a great blow to the young girl.

It was only then that she realized that her existence wasn’t needed.

As if she were being reminded of this fact, every time her gentle and kind sister came to visit, she’d gift her with the king’s presents.

To the young girl, these were only scraps her elder sister no longer needed.

The days slowly passed by, and the tiny tower was stuffed full of presents that never belonged to the girl.

And in the eyes of the girl, it was as if they were mocking her useless existence.

But it’s okay, she told herself, there was still the trustworthy doctor’s assurance.

The young girl’s sister would always make time in her packed schedule to visit the girl and talk to her, reading all kinds of stories to her.

Even if the people in the stories met a scary witch or monster, they could wait for someone to ultimately save them.

The young girl believed the doctor was like that, her savior.

She sought out an answer from the doctor on when she could wait for her happy ending.

The doctor told her, of course she could, as long as she was willing to leave this cage, that the king had built in the name of ‘protection’.

And so, the young girl tricked her elder sister. She put in a sedative, which she got from the doctor, into her sister’s tea.

The young girl donned clothes that never belonged to her, and then left her sister there.

That day, the nameless young girl acquired her elder sister’s name.

–Lilia.

For the first time, she relied on her own determination to leave the tower, and her trusted doctor was waiting outside for her.

“Doctor, I did it…”

The young girl happily rushed towards the doctor, desiring his praise.

“Shh—As heiress to the throne, you should pay attention to your every word and action now.”

The doctor interrupted the young girl; naturally, having substituted her as the kingdom’s heir.

“Well then, welcome back, your Royal Highness Lilia.”

It was also that day, when the young girl gained new life, that she met that man behind the doctor, smiling so gently and gracefully.

“Whiskey, after this, you are to take care of that beloved princess in the tower in my place.”

“Yes, Attendant.”

His smiling eyes didn’t have a shred of warmth, but they harbored a breathtaking emptiness. Only one glance could entrap someone in the blood red abyss buried in those eyes.

“Doctor, is he your friend?”

The young girl asked.

“Yes, a very thoughtful friend.”

The doctor laughed as he said that, and then took the girl away from there. ​ The young girl’s departing steps didn’t stop, but she couldn’t help but turn her head around to look at that man named Whiskey.

From then on, many things began to quietly change. The king suddenly died of illness, and the queen was quick to follow.

The new heir, preparing to ascend the throne, began ordering artisans to renovate the entire palace.

Intricately carved murals, luxurious and expensive furniture, and even the bone china, usually used for drinking afternoon tea, was inlaid with gold gilding.

Her loved ones had just passed, but one could not feel any sorrow from her.

Along with the rise of an atrocious dictatorship upon the heir’s ascension to the throne, the whole kingdom was filled with rumors for some time.

No one knew that the new monarch’s decisions were all actually made from her most trusted ‘doctor’.

Even the young girl didn’t know that the king and queen’s sudden deaths were because of him.

Life inside the palace was quiet and happy. Every day, when the clock chimes four times, the young girl would go sit in the palace garden. She enjoyed her afternoon tea with a storybook in one hand and a teacup in the other.

She’d occasionally stare at that not-too-distant tall tower, distracted, before sneering.

She didn’t know about the citizens’ dreadful conditions, nor did she know about the gradually coalescing fury of the people, already closing in on the palace gates.

It wasn’t until she was awakened from her beautiful dream and brought out of the palace that she began to understand. The doctor pulled her away in a panic, telling her that the sight of approaching enemies at the gates was choking with smoke. Only then did she realize the fact that there were people outside the royal capital who wanted to kill her.

This name, which the young girl had done so much to acquire, had become a symbol of the ‘witch’ that the people sought to punish. It was also only then that she realized she’d already gained a new title—‘Bloodthirsty Butterfly’.

She was still suffering from shock when she was rushed out of the capital with the doctor by Whiskey, but at that time, she wasn’t too shaken.

Even in the past she only had the doctor by her side. Even if the whole world wanted to kill her, it was alright. Having the doctor here was good enough.

She thought that as she settled down.

Because even with circumstances like this, the doctor hadn’t thrown her away. That was enough.

“Hehe… Do you really think so?”

Whiskey, who’d just returned from an outing, chuckled as he asked her. It was almost as if he heard the girl’s inner thoughts.

“What do you mean?”

The girl watched how his eyes, brimming with smiles, still held no warmth whatsoever, but they were unexpectedly gravitating to her.

“It’s nothing, I just feel he’ll be very happy if you think that way.”

For the first time, the young girl saw a shred of hollow emotions- it looked like sorrow, but also hatred, or more so, mockery.

The escape involved a long journey that didn’t stop once to rest.

Finally, they managed to find a wealthy household that would give them lodging. However, it was then that the weak girl began to show symptoms from before.

The young girl, with an unceasing high fever, climbed out of her bed in a daze. She went to go find the doctor, but then, heard his conversation with Whiskey from behind the door.

“Seriously, at first, I thought selling this kind of pure, blueblood body to those weird hobbyist upstarts could get a decent price.”

“Hehe… Did you not only bring along because you wanted to use her as a test subject, Attendant?”

“Staying behind in that kingdom would’ve resulted in death anyways, not like she’ll live a good life even in the hands of those buyers. I tried my damnedest to cure her, are you now telling me that even these experiments were failures? Had it not been for those experiments, she would’ve never lived to now! Now that I can’t find a buyer, she’s become a burden…”

On the other side of the door, the young girl couldn’t believe how the doctor, saying all these cruel things, had suddenly become so unfamiliar.

Because of the high fever, her tears wouldn’t stop flowing out. She could only harshly bite down her lips, not daring to make even the slightest of sounds.

“I’m not skilled enough to deal with her this time.”

Ah, she understood now. From the very beginning, no one was willing to stay by her side.

When the girl realized she was going to be cast aside like this, another voice faintly spoke up.

“Since that’s the case, leave it to me then.”

“You?”

“Yes, I’ve recently compiled those research notes of yours, and after putting them into practice, little by little, there appears to be some results.”

“As expected, it’s you who understands me the most.”

That voice did not continue, it only laughed softly. The sound of that laughter shook the girl’s heart.

At the time, Whiskey knew there was a tiny body trembling from outside the door; he also knew she fled, utterly panicked.

And so, as he pushed open the girl’s bedroom door, his voice was surprisingly warm.

“You’re only starting to feel afraid now?”

The girl looked at the man before her, speechless.

“Do you want to escape from here?”

Whiskey’s smile deepened (1) a bit more; just like how that deep blackness made her hold her breath in fixation, unable to look away.

(1) Translator’s Note: The original Chinese character used here was actually really clever- it can mean deepening, or darkening, matching with the succeeding sentence about darkness.

And in the next moment, once more that suffocating feeling disappeared without a trace.

“I can help you.”

“R-Really?”

The ceaseless fever and the all-consuming dread started to make her voice wobble.

The young girl was unable to truly believe in the words of the person before her—No, it was because she was afraid to believe, but it was her only choice right now.

“I will of course cure you, and then arrange for you to leave here.”

“The doctor would not allow it…”

“That’s in a situation where he could stop you… Isn’t that right?”

Whiskey did not carry on; there was only the hint of an icy cold arc to his lips.

“I…will kill… the doctor?”

…………

A week later, that once peaceful little village came to extremely shocking news.

The four members of a wealthy family were all killed off; additionally, a middle aged man, a guest at their home, was also killed.

But what made people unconvinced beyond disbelief was how an eyewitness reported that the perpetrator was a girl who appeared to be still quite young.

The whole village was flooded with portraits of the eyewitnesses’ descriptions: a beautiful, blood-stained face with an aberrant, crazed smile.

“Because you have been a nameless monster since the beginning.”

These were the final words of the girl’s once trusted confidante, right before she killed him.

You are correct, doctor.

The young girl ultimately accepted everything, thus becoming a true ‘monster’.

One afternoon, inside the garden of House of Time.

“The story has reached here; do you find it interesting, Fruit Tart?”

As she said those words, a woman with the same appearance as Fruit Tart elegantly drank her afternoon tea, book in hand.

“Though it’s quite different from your previous story, it’ll suffice for today’s afternoon tea.”

Fruit Tart said, gently sipping the cup of black tea in her hand.

“Now then, the butterfly should be returning soon. Once tea time is over, I shall tell you matters about that man.”

Long Bao Chibi 4 Contents of this page has been fan-translated by Revelery and may not be completely accurate.
Official translations will be added whenever it's available.


I. Bloodthirsty Butterfly

"Tick-tock--"

The clock was running correctly.

The four walls are spaces filled with books. In addition to some precious books, there are also the "works" of Mrs. Lilia, who is the "love" of my Master Attendant.

When I was summoned by Master Attendant, the lady's health wasn't very good.

So I was born to replace the lady who couldn't attend various social occasions with Master Attendant, the Grand Duke.

For humans, this is an arrogant excuse. Fortunately, I found two interesting aspects in the two of them.

Master Attendant and his "bloodthirsty butterfly" lady make an interesting combination. The former was so greedy to the point he seemingly wants to bring his power to the grave, while the latter can be seen smiling tenderly most of the time.

"Bloodthirsty Butterfly"

In this social circle of nobles, this was the name she chose to call herself.

At first I thought it might just be a silly title to match the status and style of Master Attendant.

There isn't much difference between this lady and most aristocrats other than their daily life. It wasn't until I discovered the story of the witch named "Bloodthirsty Butterfly" that I really had some affection for these two humans.

They should feel honored for they weren't humans that I'll get bored of.

There's only one thing I don't quite understand. That's the old story book I'm looking at in my hand right now.

This is the story of a nameless monster.

Like all fairy tales, there will be a righteous knight on a horse who would subdue the monster, and finally the world will usher in a peaceful ending.

Obviously it's a story not worth mentioning, but she's always reading that book. What exactly is hidden here?

At first I was very interested in it, but after discovering the story of the witch, I seemed to understand something.

"Do you really like reading that book?"

With the gradual footsteps outside the door getting closer, the door of the library was quickly pushed open mercilessly.

As soon as I looked up, I saw my "servant" leaning against the bookshelf at the door. "You always like to come in without knocking, Souffle."

"Like this?"

He said, knocking on the side door, but there was not even the slightest of fear in his eyes. "You've seen that coward do it many times. Don't tell me it's not enough?"

"Heh, yes, it's better than having me to bear and look at that everyday appearance of yours, like a stray dog."

I couldn’t help but smile in a mocking manner.

"Why did you came back? Shouldn't you be at the Viscount's residence?"

"Of course, I have come to tell you some interesting things, Duchess."

"When I paid a visit to that gambling Count with the Duke yesterday, I found that... "

"Is it that Food Soul called Sandwich? Heh...all that child does is play little tricks, what else can he do?"

"So you really did observe the Count with your "Butterfly."

"How can I let go of a man who dare to go against the Viscount leave?"

"Then, you should be aware of that another message."

"Oh?" "That man is here."

Of course, I naturally knew who that person Souffle spoke of was. Want to know how I'm aware of that person's existence?

Perhaps it's all thanks to the story of the "Bloodthirsty Butterfly" written by the Lady. In the story, the change of a kingdom may be treated as something abrupt.

But for the death of the queen, the one called "Bloodthirsty butterfly" in the story who was stabbed in the attic of a tower, to be treated as an accident is not enough of an excuse to cover up this coincidence.

Just by having a small understanding of the story, will lead to a revelation that the Lady's story is not a simple compilation of some sleep-talking. And it was from my Lady's stories that I developed some interest in him. Since then, I will send "Butterfly" to find the tracks of that person when I have afternoon tea. And the lady would write in her story the things I told her about that man again.

Although a long time had passed, but the story written by the lady has never ceased to stop.

"He will come sooner or later, I am very much looking forward to it. What kind of look will be on his face when he present himself in front of me?"

II. Time of the Witch

When the bell strikes 4:00, it's the time when I would never allow others to disturb me. This is how the House of Time, where I live in, is like.

Once it's afternoon tea time, bells will ring in every nook and cranny of the public hall, warning everyone in the House of Time not to step into the Forbidden Garden as they please.

This is the Eden that the Grand Duke specially built for his Duchess.

But apart from the occasional tedious social engagements, I seldom see the Duke.

Even before the Lady died, I seemed to spend more time with her.

Maybe it's because of the unique trait of the lady's body, it deteriorated very quickly after she caught that illness.

Not long after, she could no longer walk into the garden that the Duke had prepared for her, and was forced to spend her days in a bed-ridden state.

At that time, her story was a pleasure I used to pass the time and was the only bargaining chip she could use to exchange information with me.

"Obeying the devil's instruction, the witch dyed herself with the blood of her lover. At that point, there was not even a single trace of love in her heart.

Once the dagger in her hand pierced her lover's heart, she knew that she had once again become alone.

Afterwards, her lover's final words became her curse.

There'll no longer be anyone in the world who would love her. The only person who had feelings for her has died under the people's trial.

The witch shed tears and lost her magic. Her body was so hideous that even the blood-colored butterfly began to break apart. Together with her, she was reduced to ashes and disappeared at the end of the dawn."

"That's how the witch, who teared up, died?"

After hearing the end of the story, I couldn't help laughing in a taunting manner, and asked the woman who was already haggard as a bone.

"For her, death is the best ending." Looking at my Lady, she sobbed almost as if she saw through me and knew who she was missing.

"If I hadn't left her in the attic and ran away by myself at that time, would our ending be different if my sister was still alive?"

"It's impossible for me to know something that didn't happen."

"True, you can take it as nonsense babbled by me. Every time I look at you, I feel like I'm facing my past self, face to face. But the more I recall the past, the more I feel that all this is now my punishment."

"This interest me as I look into it. After all, I can't see how I would meet my demise." "Is that the end that man was expecting? Heh... Yeah, I knew he didn't intend to let me go from the very beginning. "

"Are you talking about...Whiskey?"

"After I escaped from there, I kept on thinking, why didn't he end my life at that time? I fled for a long time, until I found out that even if I left Hell, the outside world was still purgatory for me... "

"But you met the Duke didn't you?"

"Yes... I was a dirty fugitive back then. But he said he liked my eyes because they were full of cruelty and despair. Of course, I did not simply believe his words.

Yet, at that point, I've got nothing to lose. So, I had to make a gamble.

I want to make use of this sudden fondness that aristocrat had on me to break free of the evil curse the demon placed on me.

But I never thought that the arrogance that almost lead to my death in the past had become the only thing I possessed which allowed me to survive at that time."

The Lady didn't continue.

Because at the moment, the "butterfly" that I sent out had settled down on the window, my Lady naturally knew whose news it will bring.

"Since you have finished the story, I will naturally tell you what you want to know. Whiskey has left the kingdom. But before leaving, he went to another place."

I showed her all the information collected by the "Butterfly".

"This is...my sister's...grave?" The lady's tone revealed her immense astonishment. "I didn't expect him to have a heart. But, when humans send respect to the deceased, do they also send birds of paradise like him?"

"Birds of paradise..."

The lady who heard this sentence was reading the name of the flower silently. Tears were suddenly welling up in her eyes.

"It's the place where monsters can't go..."

After that, the Lady never woke up again. As such, I became Mrs. Bloodthirsty Butterfly. No one doubted my identity. Not even a single person, other than me, had seen the Lady's appearance before she left the world.

Even the Duke who had "loved" her so deeply abandoned her after she was bedridden. On that day, all the story has entered a new chapter.

Whether it’s for me or for Whisky...

"Tick–tock––"

Time passes by minute by minute.

I was sitting in the study room, waiting for the Duke to come for his appointment.

"Madam, you're here. So anxious to find me, what happened?" The Duke pushed open the door of the study calmly and walked in.

"Naturally, I want to share something interesting with you." So I told the Duke about what I had known about the Count's daughter and Sandwich's plan to make the Count lose everything by gambling.

This kind of overconfident scheme was not only harmless, but extremely beneficial to the Duke. This makes the man, who only covetously yearn for power, to laugh for a long time. I have seen too much of the foolishness of human's ignorance.

However, my purpose isn't to help the child's carry out his silly prank against her father, nor to make the all-powerful Grand Duke better secure the wealth that can be easily delivered to his doorstep.

I want to see the man who was as dark as the abyss. Not from from the Lady's story, or from my own "butterfly".

I want him to truly stand in front of me as well as to know from him whether the pure white flower living in the abyss is really the glimmering light in the dark.

So, I proposed to the Grand Duke to hold a banquet in his private villa.

Maybe the joke I just told him had uplifted his mood, which is why he unhesitatingly agreed to my proposal. In that case, I'm sure the next story will not be a downer.

III. Amber Dream

With the power of the Duke, he was able to quickly invite many famous nobles to the banquet.

Unexpectedly, the Count of Gamblers, who hoped to gain a high status by relying on his little Food Souls' tricks, came.

Of course, that man will not let this opportunity run away. After all, he had gotten closer to Viscount Pell because of this. This was the disgusting style that man use every time.

Viscount Pell was a close friend of the gambling viscount, but he had long been unhappy of being repeatedly robbed when he played card with the Gambling viscount.

Now, once someone like him is given the opportunity to gain greater power, he will take the olive branch that is thrown without thinking twice.

There's nothing more I need to do. All the gambling viscount's power and relationships with outsiders were revealed completely by the man who sought to win Duke's favor.

The dark night is going to narrate the synopsis of the story that's going to unfold.

Meanwhile, I'll linger in the warmth of the lamp that exist within this darkness.

Tonight's banquet was meant to end the boring game of power between the nobles. But for me, this will be a delightful first encounter.

Or perhaps...is it more appropriate to use the word "farewell" to describe it? "Good evening, Duchess."

Viscount Pell took off his hat and greeted me alongside the man behind him. His appearance wasn't much of a surprise to me.

"Good evening, Viscount Pell."

"You always look so beautiful and touching, my honorable duchess."

"As always, you're still good with words, Viscount."

Such greetings have no value. I always liked to go straight to the subject.

"Then, can the Viscount introduce the gentleman next to you?"

"This is Mr. Vita, whom I mentioned to the Duke before. This time, I would also like to introduce him to you."

The man standing in front of me, named Whiskey, just looked at me with dismay. But soon , he seemed to have an answer. He smiled to conceal the hidden malice.

"I'm very sorry, Duchess. I just didn't have time to introduce myself. My name is Aqua Vita, an ordinary traveling businessman. Fortunately, I have been acknowledged by Viscount Pell which is why I was able to come here."

I couldn't get the response I wanted from the unchanging smile on his face. It seems he had no aim for coming here.

With a gentle, hypocritical smile and graceful movements, it was the first time I personally witnessed the blood-colored eyes that my lady described countless times.

"Oh? A businessman? I've heard from the Duke before that you are familiar with medicine. I thought you would be an experienced doctor."

"Doctors who practice medicine are only just collecting money after conducting their business. As a businessman, who say I can't try this? Besides, not all doctors save lives and treat injuries, which I think the Duchess is certainly more familiar than I do. "

Ah, yes, trying to advance and retreat to a certain degree...

Everything is telling me this man is the type of people I hate the most.

"You may rest assured, Duchess. Mr. Vita will not disappoint the Duke."

As if to ease the atmosphere, Viscount Pell quickly spoke.

"Mr. Vita's remark is very interesting."

I grabbed a cocktail from the waiter's plate. This is the Lady's favorite wine. Although it's a little tedious to prepare, but it's still better to keep this as a tradition in the Duke's banquet.

"Duchess, Duchess…" I hinted with my eyes to make this ignorant and foolish fool to shut up.

"Although I wish to chat with Mr. Vita for a little longer, but from the looks of it, you look quite tired. I believe that you should go to the living room for a rest. I'm sure the Duke would have good news for you after the banquet. "

"In that case, Lord Viscount, please have a good rest in the reception room. I'll come to see you later."

"Er... Yes, then I won't disturb you, Madam... It seems that for Whiskey, Viscount Pell's value is just that."

When the Viscount left, as if to cater to me, Whisky also picked up the same cocktail I had. "Amber Dream?"

He swayed his glass gently, but he had no intention of tasting it.

"It's not very common at such a banquet..."

"This was specially prepared by the Duke for me."

"Is it because of the beautiful amber color? But before it became the "Amber Dream", it was a "jewel" with a brilliant color."

He looked carefully at the wine in his hand like a treasurer.

"Vermouth symbolizes ruby, Riesling symbolizes emerald, and Gin symbolizes diamond. In my opinion, separating the layers of wine into a rainbow "gem" is more suitable for you, Madam?" "In addition to medicine, Mr. Vita knows something about wine too, which really surprises me. Many people regard "Amber Dream" and "Gemstone" as the same kind of wine."

"Ah, after all, "Amber Dream" and "Gemstone" have completely different colors and luster." "I'm curious, does Mr. Vita like the "Gemstone" or "Amber Dream"?"

"To businessmen, as long as they are valuable goods, they are worthy of love."

"That's a sly statement, Mr. Vita."

"So, what do you want to keep, Madam?"

"There was once an old friend of mine who said that she liked to stay in the time of an amber. Neither memory nor life would be corrupted."

"It seems that your old friend had any memories worth preserving?"

"Yes, is Mr. Vita very interested?"

If Whisky had admit it at that moment, maybe I would have talked to him about old times on a whim.

Unfortunately, he's a terrible man who treats lying as a routine.

"I only care about the things that can bring benefits. Those memories are good if they can enhance the value of the commodities' history. Otherwise, even if they are eternal, they will just keep the moment of death, just like your old friend who wants to leave those illusion memories in this wine, empty and meaningless."

Whisky drank the glass of wine and held up the empty glass to me, showing a flawless smile.

IV. Circling Waltz

"Mr. Vita unexpectedly made such an assertion. I thought you would be a better judge of the situation." "The lady must be overthinking it. I am just a businessman. Observing and seeing things are just instincts gained from conducting business. "

Whisky said, eyes drifting to the other side. Thereafter, he said to me respectfully.

"Just like now, during the period when I disturbed you, there are already many surrounding nobles who wish to dance with you."

I scanned around with my eyes, and realized that the nobles are looking at my spot with a covetous pair of eyes.

Among them, many of them are "guests" who had request for me.

This is just an unwritten rule which is gradually accepted in the dirty trades of these nobles. In the ball, I give these aristocrats information about their opponents. In turns, they must offer me money and treasures of equal value.

This is a nice pleasure I found after the lady's death under the alias of "bloodthirsty butterfly".

It's just that I don't have the focus to listen to their "requests" tonight.

"If that's the case, I would like to ask Mr. Vita to solve these troubles for me."

"Aren't these princes' and nobles' invitations unimportant to you?"

"I don't allow others to make decisions for me. How about this, I will tell you what you want to know, and you'll do your job well."

"Since it's your request, Madam, I think this should be a good deal."

Whisky extended his hand to me and made an invitation gesture.

"Now, let me take you away this time, madam Lilia. "

What are you playing at when you said that name at this moment?

"How reassuring, Mr. Vita. "

I didn't hesitate to accept his invitation which was akin to a "war book."

Do you want to see the uncomfortable expression on my face?

Heh, what a lovely thought.

Under the bright lights, the dancing figures sway.

This round of waltz is a play that I and he both know full well.

"I didn't expect Mr. Vita to dance the waltz so well."

"It's a great honor to receive your praise, Madam. I only learned it in the past when i passed by other kingdoms I passed by by chance."

Whisky didn't look at me. He hesitated and looked for the suitable foothold.

The place was packed like sardines which made it difficult to escape without being noticed.

"It seems that it's not easy to leave, Duchess."  

"You didn't call me Mrs. Lilia this time?"

"You're not Lilia, are you? When I called this name just now, you looked calm, but hesitated in reality."

Whisky's smile has gradually acquired a real sense of coldness, and even the surrounding atmosphere has become somewhat heavy.

"Then if you think that I'm not Lilia, who am I really?"

This kind of psychological bait has no effect on me.

"Madam, fake things, even hidden in amber, are just worthless counterfeits. This kind of low-level mistakes are a great taboo for businessmen."

"So, what will Mr. Vita do if he meets a counterfeit that has no real counterpart?"

"As a businessman, honesty is the foundation. As long as it is a counterfeit, I will personally eliminate it by myself."

"Ha ha ha ha, Mr. Vita is really an interesting person."

I couldn't help laughing.

It's really been a long time since I heard such contradictory remarks.

How much of this man is real?

False names, false surnames, false smiles, false words, everything is a lie.

"Clearly, there is only lies left... Do you talk to Lilia with that expression? If she can accept such a lie, it seems that she's really are a pure child~ Yes, pure and flawless white paper is worth being stained with blackness, isn't it, Whisky?"

His blood-red pupils were dilated. Afterwards he and the heavy air inched closer towards me at a slow speed.

"Oh...you are a genius, Madam. You really dare to use such an expression and say something that makes me want to kill you."

Whisky came to my ear. With a cold smile, he jeered at me in a near-threatening tone. "I hope I won't hear it again from you a second time."

"Thank you for your compliment, Mr. Vita."

But this is a pleasure for me.

I didn't push this man away who said "words harbored with malice to me". Instead, I too whispered in his.

"But you actually hoped that Lilia would remain the same. Otherwise, you wouldn't have looked at me with such disgusting eyes."

Nothing is more interesting than to see this man tear off his mask of hypocrisy.

"If this wasn't words from your heart , I would have misunderstood it, Duchess." "Hehe, that would be rude of me."

He and I recovered the original distance between us.

"Speaking of which, my old friend had always enjoyed reading a fairy tale. It was a story about an unnamed monster. I wonder if Mr. Vita, who has been traveling around, has heard of it?"

"Unfortunately, I've never read that. Most fairy tales in the world are mostly fabricated by human beings in order to hide something."

There was a rare scoffed and disdained look on his face when he said this sentence, but it soon disappeared without a trace.

Then his usual smile appeared and he said.

"Fairy tales can't save anyone."

With that, Whisky stopped dancing and let go of my hand. He slowly thanked me politely. "Well, I've done what I promised you. Then, Madam...."

"You can ask me a question and I will answer you."

"Where's the person I'm looking for?"

"The monster has disappeared. She died in front of me, not killed by a prince or a knight." After listening to this sentence, Whisky smile deepened, but there was no feeling of happiness. "That's really sad news. Then, please take this little gift to her grave."

Like a magician, Whisky took out a cluster of small white flowers under his sleeve which fell onto the ground.

"Then, Duchess, please look forward to our next encounter."

After that, he bowed and left, leaving only the pile of parsley in his place. Parsley...?

Victory, joy...and death.

Heh, he really is a bad man.

Fluttering in the darkness, the scarlet butterfly fell gently onto my fingertips.

Then it disappeared into the night in the direction of Whisky's departure.

Thinking about it deeply, I found it ridiculous.

At first, I was only interested in the fate of the black snake, who lived in the abyss as well as the twins who were seemingly treated as a joke in that story. But unknowingly, I was gradually attracted by the pure white flower that had been watching the abyss.

What is the soul of the flower that led to him recklessly commit so many things?

Whether it is for revenge or for a fixation, I'm very curious where he and she can go. Although this story has lost the heroine, don't worry, my lady.

I'll write it down for you until the story is ready for a conclusion.

I'm looking forward to it, Whisky.

V. Fruit Tart

Legend has it that a long tine ago, there was a monster without a name.

It has the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a python.

Everywhere it go, It would spew out a crimson flame which burn everything. Hence, these places became barren.

In a small kingdom, there is a girl without a name.

She was locked in a small attic, and no one knew about her existence.

She has a beautiful sister who shared a similar appearance with her. But her sister has a smile which she doesn't have.

If she has a healthy body, parents' love, and the people's blessings, she would be able to smile like her sister.

That's what the girl thought. Every day she prays in her little attic, and hoped that the busy God can hear her prayers. At that time, she didn't know why she was here, why she was always sick, nor did she felt it strange that her body is half-brown and half-white.

The clothes she wore were no different from those of the soldiers and servants who were entered and left the attic.

But no one wanted to be close to her, and even the parents who say they "love" her are always looking at her in a strange manner.

Soon, even this attic was forgotten. The only person who accepted her was her doctor.

The doctor told her that the king had placed her here to protect her from being sick.

Moreover, the doctor promised her that she would be cured and let out of the attic. She was fully believed this.

Later, another person came to the attic.

Looking at the similar face, the girl realized that it was her sister whom she had never met before.

As soon as she entered the door, she hugged her tightly and apologized to her profusely, saying that she wasn't aware of her sister's existence. She looked at her sister's tearful face as if she had really done something heinous.

Unknowingly, the fact that the king didn't make her presence known to the public didn't impacted the girl too much. Only then did she realize that she was really not needed.

As a reminder to her, every time the gentle and kind sister visits the girl, she would give her a gift.

But for the girl, these are just trash that her sister no longer needs. As the days passed, the little attic was filled with gifts that didn't belong to the girl.

In the eyes of the young girl, they seem to be mocking her that she has nothing in her life.

But it doesn't matter, she told herself that she had a trustworthy doctor to rely on.

The girl’s sister would always squeeze out some time out of her packed scheduled to read stories for the girl and converse with her. People in the story, even if they encounter a terrible witch or a monster, were able to survive until someone could save them in the end. The girl thinks that the doctor is such an existence.

She asked the doctor for an answer. Can she wait for such an ending?

The doctor told her, of course, as long as she could leave the cage which the king had built to "protect" her.

Then, the girl deceived her sister and put a sedative she obtained from the doctor in her sister's tea.

The girl put on a dress that was not her's, and left her sister there.

That day, the girl with no name got the name of her sister-- Lilia. For the first time, she left the attic at her own will and the doctor she trusted was waiting for her outside. "Doctor, I succeeded..." The girl ran happily to the doctor for his praise.

"Shh - as crown Princess, you should pay attention to your words and actions now."

The doctor interrupted the girl's sentence and naturally have her be replaced as the Crown Princess of the kingdom. Then, welcome back, Your Highness, Lilia. "

It was also on that day that the girl, who had gained a new life, met the man who laughed gently behind the doctor. "Whiskey, from now on, you'll take care of the pitiful princess in the attic for me."

"Yes, Master Attendant."

The smile in his eyes can't sense a trace of temperature, but within it was a look that can shoot into the heart of a person. Just a glance is enough for anyone to fall into the abyss of his bloody and deep pupil.

"Doctor, is he your friend?" asked the girl.

"Yes, a very understanding friend." The doctor said with a smile and took the girl away.

The girl didn't stop in her tracks, but she couldn't help but look back at the man named Whiskey.

Since then, many things have changed quietly. Suddenly the king died, and the queen followed him soon after.

The new Crown Princess, who was ready to take the throne, ordered the craftsmen to renovate the entire palace.

The intricately carved murals, luxurious and extravagant furniture, even the white china cups usually used for afternoon tea are to be encrusted with gold rims.

Clearly, all her loved ones had passed away. Yet, she can't feel the slightest grief.

In addition, after the succession of the Crown Princess led to an unfair governance which wasn't the same as the past. In an instant, rumors began circulating in the whole kingdom.

No one knows that all the decisions made by the new queen originated from her most trusted "doctor".

Even the girl herself didn't know that the sudden death of the king and queen was also thanks to him.

Life in the kingdom was quiet and beautiful. Every day when the clock strikes four, the girl would sit in the garden of the kingdom with a story book in one hand and a tea cup in the other.

Occasionally, she would look at the tall tower not far away in a daze, and then laugh in a mocking manner.

She didn't know the suffering of the people outside, nor did she knew that the anger of the people were gradually accumulating and are directed towards the gate of the kingdom.

It was not until she was awakened from her sweet dream, brought out of the palace, pulled away in a panic by the doctor, and was told by him about the danger and the smoke in the city did she realized that she was the one those outside the city wanted to kill.

Thereafter, the girl's name, which she struggled to obtain, became the symbol of the "witch" criticized by everyone. That time was also when she realized that she had a new title - "bloodthirsty butterfly". The frightened girl and doctor was soon led out of the city by Whiskey, but she wasn't too shocked at that time.

In the past, the doctor was the only one by her side. So, even if the whole world wanted to kill her, it didn't matter, as long as the doctor was there.

The girl, who had just settled down in the residence peacefully, thought so.

Because even under in this situation, the doctor didn't abandon her. This is alright for her. "Hehe... That's really what you think?" Whiskey, who had just returned, smiled almost as if he heard the girl's thought. "What do you mean?"

The girl looked at the pupils which has some sense of mockery. There was still no sign of any temperature in her eyes, but they had an unexpected allure. "Nothing, he'll be very happy if that's what you think."

For the first time, the girl saw empty emotions in his eyes, like sadness and hatred, more like a scoff.

The long journey of escape has never stopped.

It was not easy for them to finally found a wealthy family who could provide accommodations for them, but the weak girl suddenly began to show signs of the previous illness.

The girl, with a high fever that did not subside, got up from her bed blearily. She wanted to see the doctor, but she heard the conversation between the doctor and Whisky outside the door.

"I can't believe it. At first, I thought I could fetch a good price by selling a pure-blooded noble with such a body to those who had sudden wealth and strange kinks."

"Hehe...Master Attendant, didn't you brought her to your side because you said she was your test subject initially?"

"Anyway, death awaits her even if she stayed in that kingdom. Moreover, her years ahead wouldn't be great once she falls into the hands of those buyers. I am trying my best to treat her with all my soul and heart. Can't I at least do some experiments on her? Besides, she wouldn't have lived up to now without those experiment. But now that I can't find any buyers, she has became quite a burden... "

The girl couldn't believe that person on the other side of the door was the doctor. Spewing out all this cruel words have certainly made him feel like a stranger her.

Tears couldn’t stop flowing, and because of the high fever, she could only bite her covered lips, daring not to make a sound.

"There' nothing else I can do to deal with her this time."

Ah, so it seems that from the very beginning, no one was willing to stay by her side.

When the girl thought she would be abandoned like this, another voice sounded quietly.

"If that's the case, then leave it to me."

"You?"

"Yes, I've recently sorted out the research records of Master Attendant and carried them out. It seems that some results have been achieved."

"You really know my mind the best."

The voice didn't continue to answer, just smiled faintly. But his laughter shook the girl's heart.

Whisky was aware of that little body shaking outside the door at that time, and he knew that things was difficult for her when was she fleeing.

Hence, as he pushed open the door of the girl's room, his voice had a rare warmth.

"Are you beginning to feel afraid?"

The girl looked at the man in front of her, and she didn't even know what to say.

"Do you want to escape from here?"

Whisky's smile deepened a little further, such as the deep darkness that captured all the focus of any person, preventing them from looking away.

In the next moment, the feeling of suffocation disappeared without a trace.

"I can help you."

"Really... Really?"

The constant heat and the fear that pervaded her whole body made her words begin to mix with tremors.

The girl can't fully believe the person's words in front of her. No, she dare not believe it. However, it was her only choice now. "Of course, I will cure you, then I will arrange for you to leave."

"The doctor will not agree..."

"That's only when he still has the ability to stop you... Isn't it?"

Whisky didn't go on, but there was a cold arc in the corner of his mouth.

"I'll kill...Doctor?"

...

A week later, there was shocking news in the once peaceful town.

Four members of the town's wealthy family were killed alongside a middle-aged man, who happened to visit the wealthy family was also a victim.

But what made it unbelievable was that eyewitness claimed to have seen a seemingly underage girl commit this.

The whole town was covered with the portrait of the girl described by the witness, with a beautiful face stained with blood and an insane smile.

"Because you were a monster without a name from the beginning."

This is the last sentence that the girl heard before she killed the person she fully trusted in.

You're right, doctor.

The girl finally admitted all of this and became a real "monster"

One afternoon, in the garden of the House of Time.

"That's the end of the story. Did you find it interesting, Fruit Tart?"

A woman, who shared the same face as Fruit Tart, was drinking afternoon tea gracefully and speaking to Fruit Tart at the same time with a book in her hand.

"Although it's kinda different from your previous story, Madam, it's enough for us to pass the afternoon tea time."

Fruit Tart said, gently sipping the black tea in her hand.

"Well, it's almost time for "Butterfly" to come back. When tea time is over, I will tell you something about that person."

Gingerbread
Sprite-Gingerbread
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by SDMayo. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. A Good Person

In the town I was born in, there was a longstanding tradition of holding a festival on the coldest day of winter. The young men and women would prepare gingerbread to give to each other as gifts, a not-so-secret invitation to their intended partner to join them for a dance at the end of the festival.

“How I wish I could attend the dance with the man of my dreams! That’s right, Gingerbread, have you heard about the legend about waiting at Mechelen Plaza? It’s sooo romantic!”

The girl whom I acknowledged as my Master did a small pirouette as she said this. I merely frowned, keeping silent behind her and attempting to channel my dissatisfaction at her constant delays into my gaze.

“You’ve already told me last year. Once you’re done with the shopping, we should hurry home. Master Attendant will be coming home this evening and there are still many things we need to prepare.”

“I want to buy a gift for father though – Hey! Gingerbread! Look over there! Quick, stop them!”

I looked in the direction she was frantically pointing at. A group of hoodlums had surrounded a flower girl. They had snatched the flower basket out of her hands and seemed intent on dragging her into the alleyway.

“I’m carrying too many things. If you want to be a good person, do it yourself.”

“Don’t give me lip now! You’re my Food Soul, quickly go and help her!”

“I’m not even your Food Soul to begin with though…. Oh, very well, stop glaring at me, I’ll do what you ask this time.”

A handful of human beings were no match for me. Within moments, I had them beaten and on the run. The flower girl had collapsed in a heap on the group and was shaking fearfully. I turned to leave, expressing my displeasure toward my busybody master.

“You’re too good of a person, I swear. You keep looking for trouble like this even though you know you won’t get anything in retu--.”

I had not finished my sentence when the flower girl, who had regained her senses, suddenly leapt towards me. I dodged, but she continued to approach me, undeterred.

“Thank you for saving me. Would you mind telling me your name”

“Her name is Gingerbread. She’s my father’s Food Soul.”

“Oh, so she’s Mr. Place’s Food Soul! That explains why she’s got so much power despite being so small and cute. We’re all in Mr. Place’s debt. For someone as noble as him to summon a Food Soul like Gingerbread, well, they do say that good things come to good people!”

“Haha, I’ll be relying on you to give any other hoodlums a lesson, Gingerbread!”

The townsfolk surrounded me, praising me and my Master Attendant, who was still out of town on business. I was at a loss on what to do.

When the crowds finally dispersed, my master looked at me and smiled brightly.

“Doesn’t it make you happy that everybody’s accepted you? And so many people still need your help! One day, when I’m no longer around, you must continue to help the powerless and the weak on my behalf, Gingerbread!”

“…Don’t want to.”

All I need to do is keep you safe.

II. Violence

My Master was not my Master Attendant.

“Since she was summoned using a gingerbread you made as a catalyst, then let’s have her stay by your side.”

Just like that, my Master Attendant had given me to his daughter, my Master. When my Master Attendant’s merchant caravan left for other kingdoms, I would look after her and keep her company. The happiest 10 years in my memory were spent by her side.

However, Master Attendant was cheated, and his business collapsed under the weight of towering debt.

The once wealthy merchant family was now destitute. Master Attendant’s days were now spent at home with wine to numb the sense of failure and loss, leaving his own daughter to face his debtors.

“Scram. I’ll gut you if you dare show up again…”

I stood alone at the door, slamming my sword into the ground as I issued a final warning to the debtor’s thugs.

“Don’t get conceited. You’re nothing but a servant of trash, you have nothing to be proud of!”

The thugs I’d beaten to a pulp could only curse and swear at me as they crawled to their feet and fled.

I watched them leave with a disinterested gaze, watching the path for any fools who might have tried a surprise attack. The sound of breaking glass made me turn to face the house. The sound of a male voice cursing and screaming, and a female voice begging for mercy spilled from the half open door.

“Hehe… I bet you think I’m trash too, don’t you? … What kind of expression is that? Are you regretting you weren’t married off sooner? Even now you dare to think about leaving me!?”

“No, I wasn’t thinking anything like that! Father, I wasn’t!”

“Don’t give me any of that crap! And don’t you dare stare at me like that! I bet you think you can fool me by putting on a sad and miserable act?! You’re disrespecting me! Don’t you dare think about leaving me! I raised you, fed you, gave you the very best things in your life! I’ve given you all my love, yet you’re still not satisfied? A dog would have shown more gratitude than trash like you!”

The kind and gentle father no longer existed. The alcoholic drunk that remained vented his anger on his daughter. I once tried to stop him with words. My Master Attendant had used that incident as a reason to cruelly and violently beat her.

Nobody could refuse him.

“You always asked me to help those in need, and always asked me to strive to be a good person. Why won’t you let me help you leave? Master Attendant has—”

“This is my choice, Gingerbread.”

She interrupted me, attempting to console me with a soft smile. However, the bruises on her lips and around her mouth caused her to agonizingly draw breath instead, and it was some time before she could continue.

“Don’t blame father. This isn’t his fault…”

“Are you having a pleasant conversation with Gingerbread, daughter of mine?”

An ominous voice sounded from behind me. I did not need to turn around, the fear and terror in her eyes told me everything I needed to know.

How much had he heard!?

He should be asleep!

A horrible wave of unease washed over me, and a strange feeling awoke in my heart. My hands would not stop trembling, as if straining to smash the shackles of the Contract and draw my sword against the man who had summoned me, so I could finally take my Master away from him.

But there was no defying him.

“Get lost, Gingerbread.”

The door was locked behind me. But violence doesn’t stay locked up, and I clearly heard every cruel and vile thing act.

“I’m so sorry…”

Never in my life had I ever cursed the power of the Contract as I did then.

III. Contract

“Excuse me, I’ve come to deliver a letter to Mr. Steak? Leader of the Knights of the Holy Sword?”

I knocked on the door of a room in the inn and passed the letter to a Food Soul with horns growing from his head.

As she had instructed, I did not leave immediately after delivering the letter. As I waited for the Food Soul to give me his reply to her letter, I could not help wondering what my Master had meant by “It will all end soon”.

The Food Soul finished reading the letter and seemed to size me up with a puzzled expression. I could sense no hostility in his expression, but I was nevertheless unnerved by his gaze.

“What do you think you’re looking at? If you’re not going to reply, I’m going to leave.”

“Wait, you’re Gingerbread right? Your Master Attendant has asked you to stay here- You bastard, what the hell do you think you’re doing?”

He had not finished speaking when a second Food Soul suddenly appeared, snatching away the letter in his hands. The new Food Soul glared at me once, then shoved me out of the room and closed the door. From within, I could hear the sounds of a heated argument.

Those bastards… It pissed me off they had just ignored me like that.

I had no real interest in the contents of their argument, though it was easy to discern the general gist and tone of the dispute from certain words – “Purpose” “No other choice” “Trust” and “Dumbass” - which lodged themselves in my mind of their own volition.

Still, I couldn’t just leave town. As long as Master Attendant was here, there was no way I could do as I please. And she was here too.

Why did she have to write a letter posing as Master Attendant?

Ah, I’m getting more pissed now.

Nobody seemed to want to listen to my opinion, and they all thought they could decide what to do with me. What exactly did they take me for…?

…What?

“The Contract…”

Time seemed to stop and accelerate at the same time. I began to run, my surroundings melting into a blur. All I could hear was the furious beating of my heart and the wind in my ears.

The contract was gone, and the feeling of unease had grown into full on terror. Home… Something’s gone terribly wrong at home!

I rushed into the house, silent as a tomb.

Where?

Where were they?

The sound of shattering glass came from Master Attendant’s room. I rushed up the stairs, charging into the room I had in recent years come to dread entering. I saw my master hugging a bottle of wine to her chest, the tears streaming down her face as she sat next to the corpse of my Master Attendant.

“I’m sorry, Gingerbread.”

Her voice began to break.

“Father and I… we have no right to bind you anymore. Please, leave this place…”

She coughed twice, then raised the wine bottle to her lips and drained it, before flashing me one last smile.

“I hope you can leave this place and live freely from here onward.”

IV. Freedom

I couldn’t protect her and could not stop her from dying. By the time I had realized that the wine she had imbibed had been poisoned, I was too late to do anything.

I held her soft body in my hands, my eyes red with tears as I tried to encourage her to throw up the wine she had drunk. However, she merely laughed weakly at my request, and did not give me a reply.

I left her in the room, sprinting to the nearest pharmacy to buy some ipecac. However, she had stopped breathing long before I returned to the house.

…and so I was abandoned.

Two days after I buried my Master Attendant and his daughter, the town seemed like a completely different place. Rumors spread fast in a town like this, and I went from a praiseworthy Food Soul to a cursed bringer of disaster.

The thugs, who scowled at me as I passed, and the townspeople who had always greeted me with wide smiles now regarded me as an object of terror. All the good I had done was forgotten in an instant.

I was not needed anymore.


“A Bringer of Disaster? Seems more like a little injured kitten to me.”

Sometime after Dusk, the Food Soul who had started arguing with Steak barged into the house uninvited. His condescending voice pissed me off. I hugged my shoulders and huddled closer to the fireplace, glaring at him.

“You’re trespassing. You have one minute. If you don’t leave, I will personally throw you out.”

“Good grief, you and he are just as uncouth as each other. Even when you have nowhere left to go, you still refuse to ask for help. I suppose introductions are in order. I am Red Wine, of the Order of Canaan. The reason I’ve come today is that I’ve received a request to recruit you into our Order.”

“I don’t need your sympathy or your aid… Also, weren’t you a part of the Knights of the Something or Other?”

“Hmph, the “Knights” are nothing more than the fanciful creation of a long-horned idiot. Now, I’m not the type of person to do things without good reason. Of course, you don’t need my sympathy, still, you’re not the type to refuse my kindness.”

“…Has anybody ever told you that if you get too cocky, they’ll punch you in the face?”

“Cute. Anyway, your Master Attendant requested that we bring her most valuable gem with us when we leave this town. I’m here to asses whether you’re of any value to our Order.”

Liar. If I were really important she wouldn’t have abandoned me and committed suicide with Master Attendant.

Red Wine smiled.

“ ‘I hope you can give her the chance to find something she truly believes in.’ was what she had written”

Belief?

What exactly do I believe in.

Apart from my initial orders, my desire to protect her had always been genuine. I was willing to do as she asked, and always strove to become the “good person” she always thought I could become. And yet… I had felt so much relief when she had finally killed the torturous bastard of a Master Attendant.

If she had not committed suicide, I would have abandoned the rules and laws of society just to stay by her side, even though she had committed the irredeemable sin of patricide. Would that have made me a good person?

I remembered her last words, and senselessly asked Red Wine a question.

“Are you a good person?”

“That’s nothing more than a term that society gives to people who conform to their expectations. Whether or not I am a good person is something you have to decide for yourself.”

“Then you had better not disappoint me.”

And so, I reached out and grabbed the hand he had extended towards me.

V. Gingerbread

One winter, the girl's father took the gem called the magic crystal back to a town that even Fallen Angels wouldn’t pay visit to. With a gingerbread he made himself, he summoned the first and only Food Soul in town, and made her accompany his daughter to protect her. Gingerbread’s Master Attendant was more of a skilled businessman rather than a proper cooking attendant. And, of course, he was a gentle father. Because his wife had died due to childbirth, he and his daughter depended on each other. He never thought of getting married again, and rarely said no to his daughter. Apart from being a bit too dependent on her father, the girl was well educated in all aspects. Gingerbread grew up with the girl since the day she was summoned. She took care of her when Master Attendant went out to do business. She watched her grow from a girl as tall as her to a beautiful young woman, and gradually understood her mind. Although the most unbreakable relationship for Gingerbread in the world was the one she had with her Master Attendant, as they were connected by a contract, in Gingerbread's heart, the depth of her bond with the girl had already long exceeded the one she had with him, who rarely came back home. Gingerbread’s Master Attendant was a well-known kindhearted man in the town. The girl was also like that. Whenever she went out on the street, she always commanded Gingerbread to help the weak. Although Gingerbread protested every time, she never actually refused any of her orders. Gingerbread thought that life could just keep on going like that, but reality would never have allowed that. Those happy times only lasted for ten years. In the eleventh year, the Food Soul learned that humans can change in more ways than just appearance. The first change were threats. Master Attendant’s business failed. Once he lost his gentleness, he became a drunkard who used domestic violence to prove his self-worth to himself. He would always come up with an excise to “punish” the girl. Even just hearing her voice became a reason for him to act. At that time, he would order Gingerbread to leave, or dragged the girl into his room, so that he could "educate" her. Then, it was the girl’s turn.

"Gingerbread, don't try to help me anymore. You intervening will only make my father angrier."

"Do you really want me to just stay out of it? Even if he is my Master Attendant --"

“He’s your Master Attendant! He’s your real Master! Gingerbread, that’s enough… not everyone needs your help.”

After the girl had interrupted Gingerbread, they went silent for a while. Gingerbread felt a fire burning in her chest, which made her heart ache.

“I chose my father. Since I decided to stay with him, I won’t reject him. Even if… even if everything’s over, I won’t leave him alone.”

A month later, the girl executed her premeditated crime. She killed her father and then poisoned herself in front of Gingerbread. The news of the death of the Presley family spread rapidly in the town. People who had been beaten up by Gingerbread and hated her took this opportunity to spread rumors, intending to drive her away from the town. When she walked down the streets, she couldn’t even help children who fell down to get up from the ground.

“Stay away from my child!”

“What do you mean?”

"There's never been family members killing each other in this town! It was you who brought misfortune! I don't want to curse my children too! "

“Are you even listening to yourself?”

"Of course I am! I’ll get you thrown out of our town! "

“Yeah! Get out of here!”

"We won't believe you like Mr. and Miss Presley did! "

The townspeople’s malicious voices came from all directions. Angry, sad, gloating, proud... everyone's expressions were revolving around her. Gingerbread couldn't stand the dizziness any more. She drew her sword and pointed it towards the villagers.

“I've had enough of your gossip. If anyone dares to say a single other word about me, then don't blame me for considering them my enemy and killing them.”

Humans can change. A gentle father can become a cruel drunkard, a kind daughter can kill his beloved father, and thankful townspeople can expel those who have once helped them. Gingerbread understood that in this world, good people will become bad people, and good people will be treated as bad people. But why? To Gingerbread, that still didn't make any sense. Red Wine scoffed at Gingerbread’s questions, simply replying with “how boring”.

“Is good and bad really that important?”

Gingerbread pondered over Red Wine’s words, finally shaking her own head as a reply.

"If it’s not important, then, why do you even care about it?"

Gingerbread suddenly realized that. She now understood that there was no right or wrong when it came to protect something important. As long as she thinks that person is worth it, whether it is to cross a sea of thorns and blood, or to do something that's considered taboo, she is willing to fight for them to the end.

Notes

  • Chapters I, II, III and IV were translated by SDMayo
  • Chapter V was translated by BasilCosmo
Hishi Mochi
Sprite-Hishi Mochi
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by collaborative effort. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. Life

"Master Attendant, look at the garden. It's so gorgeous!"

I ran along the spiraling cobblestone path, headed towards the yard. When I was running on the stone bridge with a doll in my hands, I turned around and waved at Master Attendant, slowly walking towards me.

"This is our new home, Hishi Mochi."

"Yes!!"

I smiled sweetly at Master Attendant, hoping that it’d spread to her and make her relax. 

Master Attendant showed a smile, but it had lost its sweetness and purity. She raised her hand and rubbed my head.

I looked at her eyes. Gone was the former light within them and instead, her deep eyes were overflowing with growing loneliness.

After that uprising, Master Attendant's mental state wasn't great.

Now, the dust has already settled. It turned out our most trusted general has emerged as the new authority of the country.

But Master Attendant's identity remained the same; she's still a princess worshiped by the people in her country. However, she didn't want to remain in the palace, which held most of her memories.

Her father, brothers, sisters, and even her other half are gone.

She's all alone, alone for the rest of her life. That's why she chose to stay in a heavily guarded hunting ground, deep within the palace.

Perhaps the reason why the general took pity on her was because she shared a similar fate like him. He permitted Master Attendant to leave the palace and had her properly accommodated in a mansion once owned by a noble.

In this mansion, our life remained virtually identical to before.

If we lack something, we would just inform Unadon, who’d frequently visit us. The next day, our request will be fulfilled.

Yet, Master Attendant rarely made any requests. Needless to say, we felt an unprecedented sense of despondency.

When Unadon came, he told us that the general hoped Master Attendant could forget his only son, forget those who have passed, stopped holding on to the past and instead, be happier in the future.

Similarly, I too hoped Master Attendant could pull herself together. 

II. Reminisce

Our new life is the same as the past.

There weren't many people in the mansion so it was more desolate than the palace had been.

And because there weren't any of the strict rules of the palace, we felt more free. It's just that, there's no longer anyone to play hide and seek with.

Master Attendant and I both despised the strict rules of the palace.

We would play hide and seek with the older princess, although I hated playing with her.

The older princess wasn't skilled, and she only found us after a long time.

But she still enjoyed the role of a seeker.

Master Attendant said that the older princess wasn't searching for us, but someone else instead.

At the time Master Attendant fell ill, the spring flowers bloomed.

On that day, we would look at sakuras.

I told her, I missed those days when we played together.

Master Attendant didn't promise me anything. She only sadly looked at the trees covered in sakuras.

When I was talking about the older princess, I mentioned Osechi, who played with us once.

Speaking of that game of hide and seek, I was the seeker and had to find everyone.

At sunset, I managed to discover where Osechi was, but I wanted to make it extra spooky before frightening her.

I placed the doll, which looked identical to me, atop the Chinese window, which she can see when she gets up. The setting sun caused the doll' s shadow to elongate.

As there wasn't anyone nearby, I hid in the dark. Coincidentally, there was a gale of wind at the time. I purposely lowered my voice and pretended to be one of those vengeful spirits of folk legend. The cool wind carried the sound of my voice towards Osechi.

When she looked up and saw my doll, she became terrified, as if she thought the doll was a spirit out for her life.

I tried to vividly describe the scene at the time to Master Attendant, but she could only weakly reply.

I thought Master Attendant wasn't interested, so I talked about the only son of the general, who would sneak into the palace to find us. He's the person in Master Attendant's heart and his Food Soul, Kashiwa Mochi, is my favorite playmate.

Before I could even say a few sentences, Master Attendant uttered for me to stop. With an insurmountable amount of anguish, she said:

"They won't come back. What's the point of missing them……"

That night, Master Attendant collapsed due to her illness.

III. Farewell

After half a year of being bed-ridden, Master Attendant silently left the world in the morning, like a maple leaf falling off a tree.

At that time, I was collecting some dew from the garden and was planning to boil them for Master Attendant to drink.

Water can get rid of any misfortune and purify her ill body.

Morning dew, rainwater during a drought, and the river in front of the shrine are all very clean.

Ever since Master Attendant became ill, I've never left her side. Everyday, before the sun rose, I'd collect some morning dew and hope that this was enough to ease her illness.

I've also created many dolls of her, and for every 9 dolls created, I would ask Unadon to bring them to the river.

The little boat holding these dolls will follow the water and float away, bringing away Master Attendant’s misfortune.

But Master Attendant’s condition never improved.

I failed to shield Master Attendant from her misfortune to the very end.

With the boiled water, I walked to Master Attendant's room and softly asked her to wake up. However, she did not respond. A bad feeling gripped my heart.

Not long after, my heart seemed to shatter into smithereens as I descended into a helpless state of pain.

——The contract has broken.

"MASTER ATTENDANT!!!"

I suddenly got up, and my clothes toppled the bowl of water. In a flurry of footsteps, I rushed towards her side. Tearfully, I called out her name.

Yet, she'll never respond for an eternity.

When the princess passed from her sickness, the whole nation was heartbroken.

They said Master Attendant died of sadness.

I hugged my doll and hid in the dark cupboard, crying. I thought- can Food Souls die of sadness?

They consoled me and told me that I wasn't to blame for her death.

I'm only her Food Soul, not her substitute doll.

But don’t Food Souls exist to protect their Attendants?

To absorb any damage inflicted on them, to bear any misfortunes, and to shield them from all danger so they may live well. These is what we should do.

This justifies my existence.

I didn't protect who I should’ve protected. To me, this was truly something sad.

IV. Where to Return

The person who helped organize Master Attendant's funeral was a fellow called Matsutake Dobinmushi.

He claimed to be a friend of Osechi and Unadon.

The commander ordered a grand funeral to be organized for Master Attendant. It will be carried out by his Food Soul who’s triumphed over many battles - Unadon.

Just like me, Unadon wasn’t an expert on this matter.

All Unadon needed to do was attend and host this funeral. The rest was settled by Matsutake Dobinmushi.

We sent off Master Attendant.

When everything ended, Unadon asked me a question before leaving:

"Hishi Mochi, have you thought of where to go?"

"I'm…...unsure."

I've never considered what I would do if Master Attendant is no longer around.

It was only until Unadon asked me that I realized there’s no way for me to return to Master Attendant's side.

I've lost a place to return to.

"If you don't know where to go, you can leave with me. Together, we can see the outside world and find a place that suits you."

Bewildered, I looked at Matsutake Dobinmushi, whom I've known for only a few days.

"Why?"

"I’m a merchant who’s visited the entirety of Sakurajima for business. I've seen many people with all sorts of pasts and experiences, but I myself have yet to consider my own future. I merely thought of conducting even greater business next time. Only today did I decide that this city shall be my sanctuary."

"Is it because the person you wish to be together with is here?"

"Heh, incorrect."

"Then, is it because you treated this place as your home?"

"Also incorrect."

"I don't know……."

I became more and more fascinated by his answer. He, on the other hand, chuckled.

"You will understand once you’ve explored every nook and cranny of Sakurajima, just like I have..."

In the past, the people inside the palace were also like him. They say things that sound correct, but aren't in reality, and thus, no one could understand them. 

I seemed to understand because my mind was still fuzzy. Then again, I still feel like I didn't get anything. But, I was still hesitant on whether or not to accept his suggestion. Unadon hummed and patted my shoulder.

"Don't listen to his nonsense. His words may be unreliable, but at least they’re trustworthy. If you're still unsure on what to do, perhaps you should follow him and look around. Knowing more ain't bad and you can look for Kashiwa Mochi simultaneously. That boy said he went to train but I haven't heard anything from him ever since."

Kashiwa Mochi……

Thinking about that Food Soul who went missing after his Master Attendant's death, I finally decided to follow his suggestion.

Has he found a new place where he belongs?

V. Hishi Mochi

Hishi Mochi's Master Attendant is the princess of a country.

When she was summoned, she received an education provided by those in the palace.

She's the princess’s substitute doll. One who will shield her Master Attendant from any disaster. Those close to them shared this belief, even Hishi Mochi herself believed it.

Perhaps because of Hishi Mochi's existence, Osechi's Master Attendant would then summon Osechi, after the former was chosen as the royal family’s Miko, to take her place.

Osechi only knew about this after some time when she saw Hishi Mochi's Master Attendant. But at that time, she didn't blame Hishi Mochi.

In the palace, Osechi saw Hishi Mochi when she was learning etiquette. Hishi Mochi was a naive and simple-minded child, carrying out some harmless pranks. At the same time, she would personally sew dolls for others.

It just that, all her knowledge of the world was based on the lady-in-court that served the princess...

Before Hishi Mochi and Matsutake Dobinmushi left the capital, they stayed in Osechi’s shrine for two days.

When the imperial family, formerly at the top of the kingdom, declined, the two’s relationship became closer compared to it in the past; they didn't talk much back then.

In the span of two days, Hishi Mochi chatted a lot with Osechi.

The decision to leave the capital with Matsutake Dobinmushi was in actuality, not Hishi Mochi’s decision.

Hishi Mochi remained confused about her future, and the reason why she chose to leave was just because she wanted to look for Kashiwa Mochi, who lost his Master Attendant, just like her.

Kashiwa Mochi was Hishi Mochi's former playmate.

Of course, it was largely because their Master Attendants were star-crossed lovers, and because they admired each other.

The chances they got to play together exceeded all others and their friendship would inevitably would be much deeper.

Currently, Osechi is unable to provide much help for Hishi Mochi. She only wishes this journey would let Hishi Mochi understand that even though she's a Food Soul summoned by humanity, she shouldn't give her life to serve and protect someone. Only then will her life be meaningful.

Huangshan Maofeng Tea
Sprite-Huangshan Maofeng Tea
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by ff-translations. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. Revisiting an Old Place

The scenery on either side of me changes endlessly while I smoothly drove my carriage forward on the official road.

At noon, a delicate hand opened the curtain, Osmanthus Cake left the carriage and came to sit by my side.

She flipped through the book she had in her hand, suddenly speaking without a warning.

"Is what she said true?"

"She? Do you mean Double-Ninth Cake?" I tilted my head and pretended to think.

"If I still am lying to you, then don’t you think this highly famous Double-Ninth Cake would have done so already?"

I took a glance at Osmanthus Cake, whose body is shaking all over, and continued to speak meaningfully.

"So, it’s true that you dragged your Master Attendant down so that they couldn’t accomplish his dream."

Osmanthus Cake slowly closed her book, her body no longer shaking, but the fingers that are grabbing on to her sleeves are curled tight.

I think, since the truth is already right in front of her, she still needs some time to adjust, to think.

No problem……

Pulling out the map and double checking that we’re not going in the wrong direction, I started to drive the carriage faster, thinking to myself.

This time, it’s best that you follow me.

Deep in the night, we stopped in front of a mountain that peaks into the clouds.

I reached my hand to help Osmanthus Cake off the carriage.

"This is the second place that I wanted to bring you to. "

Glancing at the broken rock path below our feet, my speech took on a tinge of nostalgia.

"Where is this?"   

Osmanthus Cake gave a dull reply with an unfocused expression.

It appears that she still hasn’t completely processed her feelings from before.

But that’s okay……

I held on to her hand and stepped onto this familiar yet foreign stone path.

"Taiyun Temple, a place you should come to."

"Eh? Isn’t Taiyun Templeyour……"

Osmanthus Cake slowly came back to her senses, looking a little stunned.

"Why should I……"

II. First Meeting

The sunlight passes through the branches and leaves, soaking on my face. While I was still half asleep, wave after wave of sound surged into my ear.

Rolling over and sitting up, there are about ten young men wearing Taoist clothes in the square by me, all uniformly training martial arts; I let out a deep yawn.

Ah! It’s already this time of the day……

The sight before me made me suddenly awake.

Stepping on the treetop, I leaped onto the roof of the other building, speed running to the book house.

This is Taiyun Temple, a Taoist temple that looks into the clouds and mountains, and it’s located adjacent to a  small country.

I am the temple master’s food soul, but I am also his disciple at the same time; I’m a Taoist who is practicing here, and my Taoist name is Yun Feng.

The young men at the square earlier were all my fellow brothers[1].

But right now I’m……

Right hand tapping fingers together, a coin in my left hand spinning around my fingers.

While I was running on the roof, I was tensely calculating my fortune for today.

Every afternoon, I have to go practice my Taoist Arguments which takes place at about one hour before martial practice.

But when I woke up, my brothers have already started with martial practice……

"Infinite tianzun*……you have to bless me, Don’t let Mast….ah no, Master[2] eat me or skin me alive. "

Coin spinning faster in my hand, I stared intensely at my left hand, hoping for a good result.

I hope that Temple Master’s mood is good today, hope that he didn’t come to supervise on time this day.

I leapt again, landing on the stone landing in front of the book house, and at the same time the result of my fortune came.

"Big Luck?! No……terribly unlucky? Er……That’s not right, how do I make sense of this charm?"

Doubting the strange extremes of the charm, I thought about whether my powers are having problems while peeking my head around corners in the book house,  just have a clear idea of what the situation is inside.

But what made me surprised was that there is no one in the book house.

Right at this time, the sound of a racket came from not too far away.

I climbed up the courtyard wall and looked to the source of the sound, only to see Temple Master leading a group of people into the temple.

Amidst the crowd, a strong, buff man sticks out from the rest.

"Oh? Isn’t that the general?"

I recognize him, the buff guy is a general from the country by the mountain range; he’s known Temple Master for a long time, and he’s been to the temple a few times before.

I didn’t even get the chance to think more when another figure came into my sight.

A soft and feminine dress.

Looking at her, a verse floated into my head, it comes from an ancient book used to describe women.

There once was a woman, who was very beautiful, as she smiles, it seems like the entire world lit up.

III. Disappear

"Ah, Yun Feng, apparently you’re here. " Osmanthus Cake lifted her skirt, came over and called me from below the tree.  

"Why are you here again." Surpressing the excitement from my heart, I leapt down, giving out an expression of impatience.

"Master Attendant came to see Temple Master, so naturally, I came along."

"There’s so many people in the temple, so many for you to go find, but you had to come to me. "

"Because you’re also a food soul, so it can be easier for us to talk."

Looking at the smile on Osmanthus Cake, my mouth suddenly went dry, not knowing what to say even with my mouth open.

Luckily she didn’t notice my strange behavior, tilting her head to look at the courtyard.

"Yun Feng, don’t you get bored? Being in the mountains all the time."

"Maybe?" Reaching and grabbing a Setaria plant, before hanging it in my mouth, l looked over to where her gaze was at the courtyard.

"But I can’t go down the mountains, Temple Master said that my fortune was that I have the ability to do great things, but my heart is not able to match it,  so if I go into the world then a big event would happen. "

"Oh, like this," Osmanthus Cake seemingly understood and responded with a slightly regretful sound.

"There are lots of interesting things at the bottom of the mountains too. " Saying that, as if she thought about something, she let out a sly smile.

"There are also a lot of cute ladies at the bottom of the mountains too, Yun Feng have you seen any cute ladies?"

"Shut up! Of course I have!" As if being taunted, my face turned red, and said in a huff.

Actually, it was just to cover up, once we were talking about cute, I just unconsciously got embarrassed.

Seeing this, Osmanthus Cake held a hand by her lips and started chuckling.


Following the frequent visits from the general to Temple Master, Osmanthus Cake and I got closer to each other, and very soon, we became great friends who could talk about anything under the world.

I would bring her around the mountains when she’s here, looking at scenery that she won’t be able to see from down the mountain.

She would also bring many different cakes when she meets me, telling me about different interesting stories from the cities from down the mountain.

As time moves on, in the blink of an eye summer has passed, and the rains have already stopped.

I met Osmanthus Cake once again.

"Long time no see. " Osmanthus Cake put down the box with the desserts, took out her handkerchief to wipe the stair step, and sat down by me.

Her facial expression looked a little strange.

"You are really too arbitrary. " I stole a glance at where she sat while enjoying desserts.

"What? Do you dislike Jie Jie?" Osmanthus Cake arched her eyebrow, and held up a fighting pose.[3]

"No no……" I quickly begged for forgiveness with a cake in my mouth.

"I just thought that girls would be like how they are in books……"

"Mm….." Osmanthus Cake scrunched her brows, looking like she was deep in thought.

"What you’re saying is…..Ah~ I will feel embarrassed…..like that?"

As if to say that she was embarrassed too, Osmanthus Cake held on to her tummy and laughed.

"Sorry……Jie Jie can’t do that"

"Haha! You’re so strange like this……"

After talking like this for some time, we suddenly went into a deep silence.

At noon, Osmanthus Cake held on to her jaw, looking dazed into the distance.

"Hey……Yun Feng?"

"Ah?"

"It’s going to be QiXi Festival in two days, there will be a temple fair at the bottom of the mountain, will you accompany Jie Jie to go shopping?"[4]

"I can’t go down, it’s not like I’m dismissing you."

"Then when will you be able to go down the mountain. "

"Maybe after two to three years?"

"But then it will be too late……" As Osmanthus Cake was talking, she suddenly muttered in a low voice.

"What?" I didn’t clearly catch what she said.

"Nothing……" Osmanthus Cake quickly changed the topic.

I didn’t think much of it.

IV. It Seemed Like a Reunification At First

"The emperor decreed, the general has started a rebellion, this is clearly a venomous intent, all under the sky can see."

"Taiyun Temple does not accept evil people like these, taking part in protecting the country, first prize reward!"

"Now the leader of these evil people and his accomplices have the death sentence……"

That was the thirty eighth day that Osmanthus Cake did not come, I went to the book house while calculating the days, preparing for today’s discussion.

But I didn’t expect to bump into the emperor’s eunuch leader.

The announcement was loud as thunder, causing my head to go blank.

When I came back to my senses, I have already pinned the head eunuch’s hand onto the wall.

I didn’t care about the army around us, neither did I care about the surprised Temple Master and my brothers.

I glared at the eunuch’s shocked face.

"Where’s Osmanthus Cake?!"

"W-who?"

"I said where is the general’s food soul?!"

"D……Dead……"

"What did you say?!!"

Hearing my angry roar, the eunuch suddenly got so scared that he closed both his eyes and started screaming.

"The Temple Master offered a disaster to the north, leading all the rebelling armies into fallen angel territory, they’re all dead! All dead!"

"What did……you say……"

Throwing the eunuch away, I stumbled over to Temple Master.

"What he said……is it true?"

Temple Master closed his eyes and didn’t say a word, then let out a long sigh after a while.

Understood his meaning.

I pulled out the saber from my waist, turned around to face the army that were charging, and ran straight out of Taiyun Temple.

I held onto Osmanthus Cake and brought her to the book room once again.

The white tiles and black rooftops from my memories, the antique loft is also currently so dilapidated. The rocks are scattered everywhere and cobwebs cover every inch.

"Do you still remember anything?"

Osmanthus Cake scrunched her brows, looking like she was deep in thought.

I smiled and lead her somewhere else.

The temple isn’t big, so we quickly walked around the place.

"What do you think about the scenery?"

Reaching the edge of the courtyard, I brought her to a high point.

"It’s……very pretty?"

Osmanthus Cake hesitantly commented.

She must be curious about my intentions.

"Ah……Indeed, I only wanted to bring you here to look around."

"Is that so…..but it feels like it would have been really beautiful before? Why is it like this now?"

"That is……That would be another long story, do you want to hear?"

"Seeing as you helped my Master Attendant?"

"Haha, okay. "

V. Huangshan Maofeng

That is an inconspicuous little country on the land of Tierra, and because it’s close to Light Kingdom, so the people’s culture there is also quite similar.

After the country was built, the power was divided into three, forming a  stable political situation.

But this balance was disrupted due to a talk between the emperor and the emperor.[5]

The Japanese Emperor lead his students to hide in the mountains, and built a Taoist Temple which is separated from the world at Mount Taiyun.

After getting one hand out of the shackles, the Chinese Emperor’s wild ambitions grew larger and larger, and for power, he started to suppress the military system.

Both parties have a unbreakable conflict because of this, and in the end, when things got so bad until a general couldn’t take it anymore, he started planning out a conspiracy.

As such, the general purposefully used the reason of being a friend to visit the Chinese emperor, in order to work together to form a revolution.

In the end, even after so many useless pieces of advice, the Chinese emperor decided to stand by the side of the Japanese emperor, setting up a trap against the general.

At night, the traitorous general lost his life, and Osmanthus Cake who was trying to protect her Master Attendant died tragically under the hands of a fallen angel.

Once Huangshan Maofeng caught wind of it, he attacked the eunuch by surprise and left Taiyun Temple.

Ever since, Taiyun Temple lost one strong, young Taoist priest.

A few years later, an uninhibited, dissolute man appeared in the midst of humans.

Huangshan Maofeng brought his fly-whisk and sabre, and had a stroll around Light Kingdom, bringing along his powers of fortune telling.

Until one day, in a small bookshop in a small town, he bumped into a thoughtful, absent minded girl food soul.

Notes

  1. Not completely sure what this phrase means, but it could refer to the dust particles under sunlight or keeping her natural beauty.
  2. The raw translation says it was a string or a stringed instrument.
Junmai Daiginjo
Sprite-Junmai Daiginjo
Chibi-Long Bao 2 This story is currently a work in progress! Please stay tuned for its completion.
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by MoonlightSelenia. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. Commodity

The swaying smoke screen enthralls the spectators watching from the other side of the latticed window. They've been fooled by empty love and chose to drown themselves in the morass of honey and poison on their own accord.

Any traces of exhaustion on our face can be hidden by gaudy make ups. However, the bewitching smile hanging on our lips and the fine, rich alcohols can make anyone lost themselves, to the point that they're willing to give out everything that they had.

Here, smiles and love are considered much cheaper than alcohols.

The flower on the highest peak ― that no ordinary men can possibly reach ― that can be met tonight is a woman whose skill in trifling with someone's heart is far superior than others.

Even if they know that everything is just a momentary illusion, they can't stop themselves from getting charmed when they see her, dressed in gorgeous attire.

She would proficiently use her bewitching smile and words capable of titillating a man's heart, easily earning herself "the proof of their love" from men who seeks to be loved.

── All of it is part of the melodramatic, dreamy world.

── There is no truth in this empty, interweaving world, where people fools and getting fooled.

However, it seems even someone like her, who is capable of making men from all over the world dance in the palm of her hand, is unable to confirm the true intention of a certain man.

That man received countless funds and information from her, but there's never anything like ray of light capable of dispersing the darkness appearing in their relationship.


The woman then passed away without any significant change in their relationship. The only person in this world to ever care about me ended up drowning in her own "love".

That moronic adulterer didn't even know that he had killed "someone capable of controlling monster", that he'd sought out for so long, with his own hands... what a laugh.


── You should remember that commodity is, after all, just a commodity.

Even the most expensive things can be replaced if they're broken. Even the finest rarity that we're so proud of, that we displayed at the topmost shelf, can disappear from people's memories in due time.

And now, the men who had sworn their eternal love in front of her are smiling at me. As if they're trying to flatter me. As if they had completely forgotten all about her.

(...... If that's the case,)

I swear that I'll snatch away that "love" of yours.

I'm not so boorish that I'll disregard your feelings, after all.


On a certain long night, where the moon hides itself behind the clouds. That man, who has been numbed by alcohols and his love affairs, will surely return here when night lowers its curtains.

I tilted my head up, gazing at the night sky, where the harvest moon is supposed to hang high.

(Even the beautifully swayed by the wind cherry blossoms at night feels somewhat lacking when there is no moonlight shining upon it, hm.)

"Hey, have you heard!? They said that 'that person' has died a terrible death!"
"Don't call him so respectfully.[6] He's just a bastard who made his way to the top by using the women as his stepping stones..."
"Oh, please. You're the one who have been calling him 'Lord'..."
"Sst! You're too loud!"

There, look. Be it a commodity of the dark night or a commodity of daylight, once broken they'll soon disappear from people's memories.

"Daiginjo, don't you think you're overdoing it? You'll get caught, you know."

When I turned to look at the dark spot where no light touches it, I heard someone there talking to me, sounding a bit fed up.

I averted my gaze, staring up at the sky again as I imagined the shiny moon behind my eyelids.

"I'm just seeking "the proof of love" from him. If he can't give it to me, then it's normal to ask him to give me something else, right?"

"...... Well, that's..."

I couldn't help but laugh, knowing that I've made the other at loss of words.

"Besides, I have you with me. Are you suggesting that I still need something else? If you are, then please tell me what it is... hehe."

II. TBA

TBA

III. TBA

TBA

IV. TBA

TBA

V. Junmai Daiginjo

TBA

Notes

  1. Not completely sure what this phrase means, but it could refer to the dust particles under sunlight or keeping her natural beauty.
  2. The raw translation says it was a string or a stringed instrument.
Longjing Tea
Sprite-Longjing Tea
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by cakerollkarol. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. A Get Together

“Thump—“

“Thump thump—“

“Hey—Longjing! If ya still won’t come out, I’m gonna smash this huge rock!”

I opened my eyes, exasperated. I looked up to see the schools of fish avoiding the ripples of lake water, caused by that noisy fellow lobbing rocks in.

Ever since he found out I would resurface if he threw in rocks, my old peaceful days could never return.

I emerged to the surface of the lake to see no incident, just Dragon & Phoenix with a jug of wine, grinning at me, laughing ever so freely.

“…What is it?”

“I got a good jug of wine from the brewery. Their daughter is getting married so they opened their cellar, that aged ‘red daughter wine’ [7] was just cracked open and the whole cellar smelled so damn good! Let’s all go to the courtyard and try some wine while moon watching!” He looked at the sun in the sky.

“…It’s noon right now, now is the time for afternoon naps.”

“Yep! Zitui Bun and Dragon Beard Candy are all napping! Realgar Wine is still studying his medicine, which is why I came to find you!”

Looking at his utterly confident smile, I felt a bit of a migraine coming on. I pinched my nose bridge, and in the next second, Dragon & Phoenix had his arm hooked around my shoulders, dragging me towards the little house.

After the arrival of Dragon & Phoenix, the little house occasionally becomes quite noisy.

But what I didn’t expect was how unbothered I was by the noisiness. It’s come to a point where it didn’t feel too bad to have all this hustle and bustle.

When we returned to the little house, Dragon Beard Candy and Zitui Bun had already finished their afternoon nap and were preparing the meals and needed tableware for tonight’s courtyard gathering. 

“Ah! Longjing, you’ve also returned!”

It’s like they knew Dragon & Phoenix would be bringing back wine, judging by their busyness. I suspiciously eyed them.  

“Today is the Dragon God’s birthday, the anniversary of settling in this village. You actually forgot.”

“That’s right, Dragon & Phoenix said he wanted to celebrate it for you. He even sent Realgar Wine to buy your favourite treats; looks like he will return in a bit.”

I looked at them, feeling exasperated.

“We’re Food Souls, what’s all this talk about birthdays? We don’t have them.”  

“Well, no matter. It’s rare for there to be something worth celebrating, right!?”

I gazed at Zitui Bun’s smile as I let out a sigh; even though Dragon Beard Candy nagged again and again about the trouble, it was hard for her to hide her excitement. Realgar Wine, too, got dragged out of his alchemy room and into the hubbub. Looking at them, I felt my lips unconsciously curl, just a tiny bit.

When there’s endless time and there’s something worth celebrating every day, that might be a fortunate thing.

II. Bearing Burdens

Everyone was in full swing as we prepared for the banquet. However, the sky did not seem intent on following our wishes. Grey rain clouds covered the entire sky, and the light breeze brought a hint of moisture.

Dragon & Phoenix and the others, caught up in their excitement, didn’t notice these miniscule changes. What surprised me even more was that they even invited those Food Souls from the Bamboo Smoke Pawnshop.

Peking Duck brought in delicate refreshments, Yuxiang and Zitui Bun were discussing the history of unknown customs, the two little ones called Hawthorne and Pancake were quick to start a commotion with Dragon & Phoenix.

I looked at the gradually darkening sky, sighing.

Soon, the continuous pitter-patter of a light shower fell over the entire village, covering it all in a layer of mist.

Before they drooped their shoulders in disappointment, a pale green screen of light wrapped around the entire courtyard, shielding them from the raindrops.

Under their joyful gazes, I turned my eyes away, with slight unease.

“What are you looking at me for, didn’t you want to celebrate?”

Dragon & Phoenix and the others let out a cheer and continued to arrange the decorations for tonight’s banquet. Zitui Bun stood beside me, and the impish smile in his eyes made me wet my lips.

“Thank you, Sir Dragon God.”

“…Zitui Bun, you too…”

“Hmm?”

Looking at his lifted brows, I shook my head, somewhat exasperated. Ever since Dragon & Phoenix came here, even the elegant Zitui Bun and refined Dragon Beard Candy had become slightly cheeky because of him.

Dragon & Phoenix opened the vintage wine he’d brought over [8], and the rich aroma of wine wafted into the courtyard. Along with Dragon Beard Candy’s leisurely pleasant guqin performance, everyone lifted their wine cups. With the intoxicating fragrant wine, the curtain of rain gradually dispersed; everyone was already somewhat tired.

I stood in the messy courtyard as I lifted the barrier in the air. The fresh air left from the rain allowed me to close my eyes and enjoy the gentle breeze on my face.

“Longjing, I’ve found them.”

I opened my eyes. Peking Duck, who’d originally collapsed in a drunken stupor, was now standing behind me. His head was tilted upwards as he stared at the clear and bright moonlight, zoning out. His gaze held slight relief, but it was more resolute, as if he were a man walking towards his death.

“If I cannot return, the Bamboo Smoke…”

“I will go with you all.”

I looked at Peking’s surprised expression, and gazed at the shadows of the courtyard.​

“Not just for the humans, but for them too.”

Peking Duck quickly recovered. He smiled faintly as he looked at my companions behind him, who’d failed to properly conceal their heads, then turned back around.

“Having to shoulder so much, won’t you get tired?”

“They are my companions, there is no burden.”

III. Little House

I don’t know when I began to be called a ‘Dragon God’.

Their wishes were no trouble at all for me.

Over time, I became the ‘Dragon God’ they all awed at.  

I liked having my little breaks at the lake’s bottom, and I’d gotten used to the silence of solitude.

Days like these went by for who knows how long, when one day, the quiet surface of lake began to ripple from falling rocks.

A high-spirited and energetic young boy stood by the lake, holding a small, flat rock for skipping stones.

Besides him was a young girl, her skin pale as snow and dressed in luxurious palace clothes; her face was thoroughly red as she stared at him.

Typically, young love always made one feel sweet, but for me, it wasn’t something worth getting into. What drew my attention was the man draped in red robes standing not too far from them. He had the same aura as me.​ He noticed my gaze, and revealed a gentle smile.

“So you’re him, the rumoured Dragon God.”

When the young boy and girl heard his words, they immediately huddled to my side, curious. They talked all at once, excitedly discussing stories of the Dragon God.

Listening to their words, I was actually a little surprised that my volunteer works actually helped so many.

The innocent princess gently pulled at my sleeve, and her eyes held a bit of tender compassion that I couldn’t really understand.

“Sir Dragon God, you must have it tough: you’re even sleeping at the bottom of the lake, it must be very cold and hard, right!?”

“…It’s tolerable.”

She furrowed her brows. Suddenly, her eyes glinted.

“I’ll have father gift you a little house! We can use my monthly payment and Ah Fu’s official salary!”

“That…”

“Don’t worry, sir! Ah Fu is a champion! His salary as an official is high! Not to mention, by doing this, Sir Dragon God can let any homeless people to temporarily stay at the little house! This also counts as us helping people, right!?”

“……”

“We can definitely do it! Ah Fu can calm the chaos of war, I can convince my father do more charity.

There’ll certainly come a day where the world doesn’t have any more homeless people! Sir Dragon God, you have to help us too!”

Da Hong Pao covered his mouth with a sleeve as he smiled, and used that covered smile to pacify me.

“Just accept it. They have only good intentions.”

I hesitated for a moment, but ultimately nodded, under the two younglings’ expectant gazes.

Not long after the young champion and little princess left, happy news about the two came from the imperial capital.

I asked someone to deliver them my gift, but soon afterwards, news of war at the borders came.

Wars, natural disasters, epidemics; though they are not directly connected, they always come one after another.  

News of constant losses in the war, the sudden explosion of epidemics, and the eerie appearance of black clad men.

Everything about this made me feel unfocused and preoccupied. I was already doing my very best just trying to protect this one village.

The next time I heard news of them again, everything was already over. That Da Hong Pao, always wearing a smile, went to live in the mountains like a hermit, never saying a word of what exactly transpired.

IV. The Night Before

I saved Zitui Bun by accident. That inexplicable fire, spreading at an alarming speed. The great rain that came and put out the huge fire.

I found Zitui Bun unconscious on the ground and saw hastily fleeing people. A guess crossed my mind, but I quickly forgot in all of the commotion.

Zitui Bun’s injuries were severe, and he was lucky to survive through Da Hong Pao’s superb medical skills.

Zitui Bun is someone who can get along with anyone. He’d also subconsciously draw a pattern on rice paper, zoning out.

The next time I saw this pattern again, the cultists were contemplating shoving an unconscious Dragon Beard Candy into a cage.

Following Zitui Bun, Dragon Beard Candy joined us. I could not neglect those things I ignored numerous times before.

That pattern, those black robes, the sudden epidemics, the despairing calamities.

Everything that seemed initially unrelated began to connect as my companions increased in number.

When I went to gather clues at a location, I found Dragon & Phoenix there, covered in injuries.

I recognized Realgar Wine when Dragon & Phoenix brought him here.

When I was investigating those strange cases, I once saw Realgar Wine donned in those black robes as he trailed behind those groups of people.

I hoped everything would turn out as well as Dragon & Phoenix thought it would.

Finally, after a long period of  investigation, we finally caught onto something.

Peking Duck brought forth information about them.

This will inevitably be a hard fight.

They possess means that we know nothing of.

Even Peking Duck was incapable of annihilating all of them. ​But even in such a dangerous situation, no one backed out.

The sweet and mellow alcohol swayed and rocked as the cups collided against one another, and heads were thrown back to finish a drink. Vows that need not be voiced followed the wine into our blood and engraved themselves onto bones.

The wine cups in hands reflected the sky’s bright moonlight, and the amiable song from beside my ear must’ve been a drunken Dragon & Phoenix babbling a little tune. It was inexplicably pleasant to my ears.

If we could still return to this little courtyard for a drink under the moon after all was done, that would be only too good.

V. Longjing Tea

Longjing Tea never thought he’d mean so much to everyone.

Just like how he never considered his voluntary deeds to help so many.

Even though he’s no Dragon God, he’s the same as a true deity; that’s what made the people genuinely believe in him.

For his companions at the lakeside house, as long as a place has him, even if he doesn’t say a word, everyone can loudly play with ease.

Even though he’s always wearing a cold demeanor, even preferring the icy chill of the lake’s bottom, to everyone else, Longjing could not be a warmer person.

For him, saving someone needs no reason; it’s almost instinct, engraved into his very blood and bone.

These actions, which could not be any more normal, saved person after person out from despair.

He unconditionally accepted those he saved, providing them a home where they could be sheltered from rain and wind.  

Even Dragon & Phoenix, who liked playing outside the most, would always declare:

“Aye! Finally home!” as he walked into the little house.

Maybe because of everyone’s past sufferings, the people of the little village loved to find reasons to celebrate anything.

For today, it could be because the back courtyard’s Eupatorium Fortunei has produced twin flowers; for tomorrow, it could be because there’s a famous chef visiting the village. 

Even if they’re always unimportant things, these little pleasures accumulate, bit by bit. They diminish the pain of the past, and create new memories truly worth recollecting.

But no one has ever forgotten that the person who behind it all was their Longjing Tea, who’d always sit quietly in the back, silently watching.

They avoided mentioning their past, out of a desire not to transfer such heavy burdens to Longjing Tea.

He should’ve acted like a real god, leisurely sitting at the bottom of the lake, occasionally coming to the lakeside to watch the scenery, living his quiet and peaceful life, not going through danger like right now. 

It was their own sinful debt, and shouldn’t be shouldered by someone else.

But this seemingly divine fellow doesn’t see it that way.

Peking Duck asked the question that everyone wanted to ask.

–“Having to shoulder so much, don’t you get tired?”

A man who loved silence; after saving those noisy folks, he could not find any more peaceful days.

A sedentary man, who always zoned out while looking at the sky; now he was constantly running about outside for his companions, rarely having the time to return to his favorite lake bed.

A man who disliked trouble; it was for them that he started a feud with the most troublesome of those ‘big annoyances’.

Aren’t you tired? Do you regret it?

The few standing in the shadows hung their heads, their fists tightly clutched. They were afraid of Longjing Tea’s answer, but they also hoped for an answer.

Longjing Tea's astonishing reaction brought everyone to a standstill for a moment.

“They are my companions, what is there to be a burden of?”

Dragon & Phoenix, who’d been hiding in the corner, immediately rushed out from the shadows. He hugged Longjing’s neck, messing up his long hair, that constantly looked tidy.

Longjing’s miffed reprimand echoed through the entire courtyard, eliciting a round of hearty laughter from everyone.

Longjing doesn’t know that his companions aren’t unafraid of those enemies, shrouded in darkness.

But for them, as long as Longjing Tea is around, they have no need to dread all that they once feared.  

Notes

  1. Not completely sure what this phrase means, but it could refer to the dust particles under sunlight or keeping her natural beauty.
  2. The raw translation says it was a string or a stringed instrument.
Matsutake Dobinmushi
Sprite-Matsutake Dobinmushi
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by cakerollkarol. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. School

Before becoming a businessman, I lived at a privately owned school [9] in my village.

That village relied on harvesting matsutake mushrooms as their livelihood.

Matsutake mushrooms are valuable, but their trading price is not much. Their yearly income is just enough to cover the villagers’ living costs for a year.

The villagers aren’t very concerned with the changes in their country; they only know how to pick the mushrooms on the mountain and only care if they can sell off a bit more mushroom this year.

Of course, the villagers don’t know what kinds of people are purchasing the mushrooms, nor do they know that they could smooth talk customers into a higher and higher sale price.

Aside from that, they don’t have many worries, unlike Master Attendant and I. 

The village has a very small private school.

Master is the owner of that school.  

Master is constantly worried about the country’s future.

He came from the imperial capital and used to be a brilliant government official. After he’d resigned from his government duties, he returned to his hometown. The villagers respect people like that.

Master Attendant hoped the villagers could lead a better life outside of mushroom picking. Then, for the sake of allowing the children to leave this piece of land, he allowed the villagers to send their children to study at his school during their free time.

I don’t disagree with this simple kind of village life, there’s no need to change it.

But in my view, this sort of life is a bit too boring.  

The school’s reputation is esteemed, or as I should say, Master Attendant’s reputation is esteemed. Even the residents of neighboring villages, who have a bit of money and status, would all send their children here, requesting him to teach them.

I would usually accompany them home after class. On the way, I’d also buy some goods only available in bigger villages. If some people needed things brought back to the village, I would sell it to them at its ‘original price,’ including errand fees, along with my latest poem.

This ‘original price’ refers to the price that they know.

After all, every time I buy something, I ask for a discount to get the lowest price I can.

This whole bargaining process is always so fascinating; I just can’t refrain from it.

But Master Attendant didn’t like it. He thought these small spats were not practical.

But at a village like this, how else can I expand my business? It’s not like I could leave Master Attendant, who I had to protect, and move to a distant and large city.

II. Chances

Master Attendant’s past students would sometimes visit the school for a variety of purposes: to reminisce, to ask for advice, or to invite him to the mountains.

Aside from the students who remained in school to study with him, Master Attendant always let those guests remain only for one night, before asking them to leave.

But they never once felt disheartened. After periods of time, there would come new people.

Some of them are officials from the imperial court, while others are merchants.

But regardless of status, their hearts belonged to this country.

When they came to visit Master Attendant, they would always bring some novelties from the capital; they were all high end goods that a village like this could never have.

These one-of-a-kind items made me curious about the capital city, my curiosity eventually growing into a sort of yearning.

What was my Master Attendant like in the capital city, when he regards fame and fortune as much?

My curiosity for the capital never ceased until Master Attendant passed of illness.

During his lifetime, the Master cared deeply for the school, but it was as if he knew I had an ambition for goals outside our reach. He did not let me inherit the school, but instead, passed it to one of his students. This allowed him to continue teaching the youth, letting these children not be chained to status or family and one day, even become an official for the country. 

​Master Attendant’s final words to him me only one sentence, he said:

“Do not wait for others to give you opportunity; you must make it yourself, as that’s the only way you can be sure it won’t slip through.’’

At that time, as I sat next to Master’s bed and held his hand, I thought, ‘As expected, Master Attendant knows everything’.​

After I finished handling Master’s affairs, I didn’t leave in a rush. Instead, I stayed in the school, waiting for matsutake mushroom season.

I knew many nobles in the imperial capital loved to eat matsutake mushrooms.

The merchants who came to the village to buy mushrooms sought only to please those nobles.

It was a rare occasion when I’d personally go up the mountains to pick mushrooms.

I also used what little inheritance that Master Attendant left me to buy all matsutake mushrooms that the villagers picked.

When the villagers learned that I wished to go to the imperial capital, they decided to sell me the mushrooms at a price even lower than the price they sold to the merchants.​ It was a good opportunity, but I did not agree.

I promised the villagers I would purchase the mushrooms at an even higher price, but not now. After I made a profit at the imperial capital, I would make up for the gap for them.

From now on, they won’t need to sell the matsutake mushrooms to those merchants; they can make even more money through me and live an even better life in the future.

At this time, I felt that this was a praiseworthy idea, I even wrote a poem about it.

“The mountain is scattered with autumn frost, Ōryōki [10] full of matsutake mushrooms, bartered into gold and silver, joining hands with the monarch.”

Not too shabby of a poem, right?

III. Fame and Fortune

It’s difficult to obtain your desires in this world. The mushrooms that I brought to the capital city did not sell like how I wanted.

Even though my prices were lower than those of other merchants’, the mushrooms couldn’t catch even the slightest glance from the imperial nobles. Because they had no beautiful packaging, they even suspected I was passing off shoddy goods as delicacies instead.

Business in the capital had long been monopolized by a certain breed of entrepreneurs; they spent their entire days trying to please nobles, understanding all too well the life of a noble, and catering to their tastes

I, who came alone to the capital city, did not know any of this. Naturally, I kept hitting dead ends.

For a time, I was angered, yet saw no alternatives.

Since there were no opportunities, I would have to create them and seize the chance.

Luckily, I still had some savings on me.

I used up all the savings I had, putting all of my hopes on this venture, and collected information on the nobles.  Then, I acquired a completely new outlook on those mushrooms laying inside the wooden boxes.

I found a student of Master’s in the capital city and requested him to form connections for me, allowing me to personally promote my mushrooms.  

Everything after that went smoothly.   

Elaborate and delicate packaging, expensive prices, clever words, strikingly vivid descriptions of mountains and forests. These all made the nobles believe me that these mushrooms were grown on a mountain abundant with water and rich soil.

These are the most nutritious, most valuable mushrooms that they can get nowhere else.

When I first brought my goods to the capital, the hubbub and magnitude could definitely be breathtaking and dazzling. However, it made me feel that the capital city was nothing more than that.  

The initial novelty and curiosity gradually disappeared after many days of admiring, but this journey let me find a new direction.

How can I earn even more money?

Aside from matsutake mushrooms, what other business can I do? Aside from the capital city, where else can I go?

The same good in a different place, can they still be sold at such a price? My next destination, will I be able to make even more?

In the process, how much enjoyment can I acquire?

I couldn’t help but want to travel to Sakurajima.

To travel everywhere, to understand each place’s specialty, then my business could flourish everywhere.

I wanted people who lived in different regions to understand what was happening elsewhere through the goods they receive, to understand local customs that are completely different from their own.

The fame and fortune Master Attendant generously doled out (and was subsequently praised for), was a key to upper class society in the capital, causing many to scramble for it.

But I only hoped to succeed in using this fame and fortune to reach my own goal.

What’s more, the path to achieving my goal must be filled with elation.

IV. Yūkaku

The night before I left the capital city, for some reason, I went to the capital city’s most famous location, but most taboo to speak of.

It was a land of fantasy that belonged to the night. It was a dream land where men and women can unite in love. It was a brothel [11] that brought delight.

Walking along a bustling street full of people coming and going, I frequently looked left and right, but there was no flower that could make me stop and admire.

Suddenly, there was a shout from the front. Shortly afterwards, I heard the sound of hand bells, causing people part and make way.

The beauty underneath the umbrella was dressed in gorgeous finery, walking on shockingly tall wooden clogs as they took steps at goldfish’s pace, dignified but not without charm.

It was an Oiran [12]. Like everyone else, I stopped to silently watch the gorgeous Oiran strut through the streets.

I casually asked the man beside me:

“Do you know who she is?”

“She is the most beautiful Oiran on this district.”

“What must one do to meet her?”

The man did not answer my question. Instead, he let out a laugh, lifted the tobacco pipe in his hand, and slowly took a drag.

It’s only then I noticed that he wasn’t dressed much differently from the “tourist girls,” [13] behind him, inside the fences.

White smoke lingered around him. He passed through the smoke to draw closer to me, and spoke in a soft voice:

“If you wish to have her, that would be very difficult. A nobody has no way of pulling down the moon. But if you’re only looking for love, it can be found throughout inside that brothel. Her, her, them, all can provide you with rapturous love.”

For some reason, the man came closer, his tone teasing. I felt he must be feigning it. I couldn’t help but smile as I lifted my eyes, meeting the man’s eyes under the dim moonlight. “Then what about you?”

This was how Junmai Daiginjo and I met.

The Oiran that I saw that day was Daiginjo’s Master Attendant.​ At first, I thought Daiginjo was the same as everyone else in this brothel, every word and every action were to sell their ‘love’.​ But after getting to know Daiginjo for so long, after realizing the feelings between Daiginjo’s Master Attendant and a certain samurai, I had the faint sense that I’d misunderstood Daiginjo back then.​ Perhaps Daiginjo was simply trying to relieve the pressure on his Master Attendant, who’d already promised to elope with her love.

What I wanted from Daiginjo is not the love that he talks about. If one were to ask what I wanted, it’s only hidden, yet sincere, interest that I hold towards Daiginjo.

It was after this that I became Daiginjo’s ‘guest’. I maintained an intimate relationship with Daiginjo. Later, it was through Daiginjo that the brothel’s business became regulated.

I returned to my hometown and honored my promise to the villagers.

The next time I set out on a journey, I’m already a travelling merchant.

I used the mushrooms to build connections between my hometown and the capital city, and after I earned enough funds, I acquired new products and used them to open up new trade routes.  The more I walked, the further I went.

But no matter which trade route I took, in the end, I will always arrive at the capital city.

Within the capital contains fame and fortune. That draws my interest, but the capital also has that person I’m interested in too.

V. Matsutake Dobinmushi

Ever since Matsutake Dobinmushi came into being, there was never a time where he had the same burning desire to wholeheartedly serve the country like his Master Attendant.

This may be because he was summoned in the wild mountains; his heart contains only himself, his Master Attendant, this land, and the people living on the land.

Matsutake considers himself a cosmopolitan Food Soul, but in reality, his pursuit of fame and fortune was more about more interest than ambition.

It doesn’t matter what he does, the more difficult it is to achieve, the more interesting he thinks it is, motivating him more to do it.

His perseverance for poetry was perhaps because not everyone deemed his poetry good.

If one were to say Matsutake was born to do business, then his insight must’ve come from his Master Attendant. Matsutake’s Master understood his Food Soul all too well, just as he did with every one of his students. He knew which road was most suited for them.

He was never explicitly opposed to Matsutake’s little actions, and he knew that Matsutake could do it bigger, better. But as long as he’s still around, Matsutake can only be cooped up in this small village, doing this small scale commerce.

Matsutake’s resolute decision making in business is not the same towards personal relations. He finds it difficult letting go of his close ones, as he has no intention of abandoning them.

He thought that the bond with his Master was only because of his responsibility as a Food Soul.

He even thought that his concern for Junmai Daiginjo was just because of his interest in Daiginjo’s true self, hidden underneath his mask.

But just like how his continuing curiosity turned into desire, a budding friendship could become kinship. This sort of feeling always happens when one least expects it, and yet, the changes are predictable. You can only wait for the other party to one day become aware of the shifts.

What a shame that with the cycle of time, a new dynasty emerged [14]. It’s only after Matsutake wandered across every corner of Sakurajima that he finally understood his own inner heart. But at that time, everything had already been locked.  

In the end, Matsutake did not remain anywhere, but he would often return and stay at the capital city.  

After the brothel was destroyed in a fire, he invested in the reconstruction of a Kabukicho [15], providing a new place for destitute and homeless humans or Food Souls to go. It would also push his reputation in the capital to new heights.

Notes

  1. Not completely sure what this phrase means, but it could refer to the dust particles under sunlight or keeping her natural beauty.
  2. The raw translation says it was a string or a stringed instrument.
Mapo Tofu
Sprite-Mapo Tofu
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by Revelery. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. A Small Shop

Before Granny left, she gave the shop to me.

Granny could prepare many dishes, but her specialty is the famous Mapo Tofu.

She always spoke about the secret to prepare Mapo Tofu: Spicy and tender, hot and fragrant. Apart from that, it must be bursting with color in order to look appetizing to those who toiled the whole day.

The colorful scene of white rice being drizzled by a bowl of freshly-cooked Mapo Tofu is sufficient to make one hungry.

The fragrant Mapo Tofu and white rice in this store is not only charged lesser than those one can find in any average restaurant, but it also allows one to refill the rice for free. Moreover, the price of the food in the store has never increased for years, enabling the fame of this Mapo Tofu to spread to every nooks and crannies of the harbor.

Many people who did not earn much usually patronize Granny's shop after a hard day of work to enjoy a steaming bowl of Mapo Tofu. With a smile on her face, Granny would then fill a bowl of white rice for them.

There's no one that would not give a thumbs up after eating Granny's Mapo Tofu. Apart from that, there were also a number of people who came from distant lands just for this bowl of Mapo Tofu.

Those who live in the same homeland as Granny had once ask her why she did not raise the price of the Mapo Tofu after all this years. This was what Granny said with a smile on her face:

"I wanted to make the same Mapo Tofu that he would eat back upon returning."

Granny's lover was a sailor who worked in the harbor. It was a bowl of Mapo Tofu that let them to know each other. However, he and his companion left on a journey and never came back.

Some said that they met a storm at sea. Some said that they went to paradise and forgotten they way home. Others even say that their fate were sealed when they encountered the Fallen Angels that roam in the sea.

Yet, Granny continued to wait in her little shop...... Even till the day her hair became white, she was still unable to see her lover that she dreamt about.

As granny laid on the bed and looked at her sobbing employees, she pats my hand with a benign smile on her face.

"Mapo Tofu, I shall hand over, Granny's shop to you.......If he were to return, you must help me prepare the best bowl of Mapo Tofu for him......"

It was the first time I wasn't able to hold back my tears.

I looked at Granny hands slowly slip off my hand and buried my head into what little warmth that remains her hand. My trembling shoulders indicate that I accepted her request.

"In your stead, I'll......definitely wait for him to return......"

As spring and winter pass by, I waited in this shop for that person who would never return.

"Boss! I would want another bowl of Mapo Tofu!"

"Coming up!"

I maneuvered through the shop that is jam-packed with customers with a tray in my hand before serving the bowl full of Mapo Tofu on the table.

On the other side, it was a customer who is eating Mapo Tofu for the first time. The spiciness turned his face red and he used his hands to wave his burning tongue. An employee served him a cup of tea, but he began jumping when he was scalded by the hot tea.

The customers in the shop began laughing at this scene.

It was another ordinary day in Mapo Tofu's shop and there was never any silence in her shop.

II. Destroyed

The inexpensive Mapo tofu has become the preferred choice for almost all the dockers. Even the nearby residents will come to me from time to time to pack a Mapo tofu and return home to add vegetables.

Although not much money can be earned in each plate, such a booming business has caused some people's dissatisfaction. 

After the arrival of the new Chamber of Commerce, the wharf has grown stronger and stronger. Originally, it was only a small wharf for villagers to communicate with the outside, but now it has become more and more prosperous. 

Those who have taken a fancy to the future business of the wharf are becoming more and more dissatisfied with Granny's small shop. 

The villagers said that a fancy restaurant had been built not far from the shop, but the price and the not so good taste there made it really impossible for the folks who used to eat Mapo tofu to raise interest. 

Restaurant owners don't find the reason from themselves, they always think that as long as they don't have this shop, their business will be as prosperous as that of Granny's shop. 

So they started using various methods to drive me away. 

Several ruffians swaggered to the shop with sticks in their hands. When the guys kindly asked them what they wanted to eat, they suddenly got into trouble. 

Amid the exclamations of the crowd, Scallion was startled into my arms by a sudden loud noise. 

The fellow who was close to them was taken as the object of venting, and was kicked into the store and and knocked the table upside down. 

The guests in the store were frightened, or fled, or found a safe place to hide. 

I patted my little Scallion's butt, put him in another man's arms, rubbed my wet hands dry on my clothes from cooking, and walked out of the kitchen. 

Looking at a messy storefront, I frowned and looked at the two hooligans with wooden sticks and squinted slightly. 

"It seems that there is no way for us to have a proper discussion."

The two swollen-faced hooligans who had been beaten by me crawled out of my shop. The broken sticks in their hands and nosebleeds on their faces made them look particularly embarrassed. In the midst of all the cheers and laughter of everyone, they pointed at me and uttered the line that every villain would say. 

"You, you wait for us!!!"

I waved to them and responded with a smile. 

"Remember to let your boss send more sturdy people next time, but don't be such a mess like you!"  

In the applause and laughter of the villagers, I arched my hands to everyone and went back to the shop, greeting the guys to clean up the messed tables and chairs and prepare to open again. 

When I was cleaning up, a man who had not left after Granny's death looked a little evasive, and I could not help but care a little. 

I looked at his wrinkled eyebrows. 

"Lao Hong? Are you okay? If there's any difficulty, remember to talk to the big guys." 

Lao Hong seemed to wake up suddenly from the nightmare. After a stunned panic, he squirmed a smile, although the smile was a little reluctant. 

"No, nothing." 

I watched Lao Hong bend his back again behind him and wrinkle his brows indefinitely.

III. Betrayal

Lao Hong’s behavior is getting more and more abnormal. He is an honest man who doesn't lie very much, but he's been peeping at the counter lately. I don't know what he wants to do.

Until one day - when I went out to buy vegetables and sorted the drawers, I found that the seals that had been hidden in the depths of the counter had been passively traced. 

I don't care too much, I only thought I messed up the drawers when I took the money. 

Those who come for trouble are coming more and more frequently. I'm used to driving them away as a warm-up before opening a shop every day. But suddenly one day, they didn't show up on time. 

They are also accustomed to using the daily market as a day of talks, and the neighbors who are sitting on the side of the street waiting for their arrival are also curious to probe. 

"Madame, are they scared by you? They won't come!" 

Before I could answer, a peddler who was selling groceries on the street rushed in. 

"Madame Boss! You have to hide!" 

"...What's the matter?" 

"The owner of that restaurant came with a group of people! A lot of people! It's menacing! You can't beat them alone! Go and hide!" 

When I heard the news, the villagers and the guys all cast a worried eye on me. Everyone urged me to take some valuable things to avoid the limelight. 

I looked hesitantly at the stores that had been running for decades and rejected their offer. 

"If you are afraid, go out and hide first. I'll take it from here. " 

What surprised me was that after I said this, none of the guys who were afraid of it left. Even the villagers had brought many broomsticks from their homes to help me. 

Before I could express my gratitude to everyone, the vast group of people came up to me. I stood in front of them and looked at the boss in a luxurious robe. I looked at the smile on his face, and I always felt that something important had been neglected by me.

"Madame, I'm not here to fight with you today. I'm here to talk to you about the debt. " 

"Debt? When did I owe you money?" 

"You have to ask yourself. " 

I watched him pull out a note from his clothes, under which he struck the seal of our store. 

"You see, this is not the seal of your store, Madame~"

I looked at his unkind smile on the corner of his mouth, and suddenly remembered the seal that appeared inexplicably on the counter. 

Is it... 

I stared fiercely at the boss who was more and more proud of his smile. 

"You-!"  

"Ha ha ha, it seems that Madame knows? But I know it's too late, we are holding this owe, are you afraid that the shopkeeper's shop will be mortgaged to me? I'll give you three days, either honestly close the shop and leave, or I take the public copy to your home!" 

"You-! This is a fake!" 

"But the seal above is true! Madame, don't you recognize this seal? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! " 

"I don't recognize this seal."

As we confronted each other, a strange voice broke the tension between us. 

We turned our heads to one side, and when the man in a suit found that we had finally turned our attention to him, he gently raised his eyebrow and greeted us with a smile. 

"I think I can give you an answer to the question about this seal. " 

The man seemed accustomed to everyone focusing their eyes on him, and easily pulling the paper out of the restaurant owner's hand, carefully examining it, and then walking slowly up to Lao Hong, putting his arm around his shoulder. 

"Such a new trace, and the writing of the owed note is not the landlady's. Madame, do you think it's going to get in the way of finding such a timid fellow? Come on, brother, can you tell me what you talked about to the owner of the restaurant on the street corner the day before yesterday while the landlady was out shopping? What did you give him?" 

"I-"  

"Brother, you have to say it word by word. That day, my brother heard it clearly in the alley.... " 

Lao Hong's face grew paler and paler after he heard the man's words. After he had finished speaking, Lao Hong threw himself down on the ground and knelt down, bowing his head at me. 

"Madame Boss, I really can't help it... I, I don't know if this piece of paper is what it means... Lao Hong is not literate. Madame Boss..." 

I watched Lao Hong, whose forehead was red. I already had an answer in my heart, but there is still some helplessness. 

"Lao Hong... Why didn't you tell us?..." 

"...Madame Boss... Lao Hong knows that you don't have much money. My mother is sick, how many bowls of Mapo tofu can be sold to earn back..." 

I watched Lao Hong crying on the ground and clenched his fist tightly. 

The restaurant owner was opposite, who was not satisfied with the failure of his plan, shouted angrily. 

"Give it to me! Give me this broken shop!! I see it robbing me of business again! " 

And the man who turned the situation around in a few simple sentences turned around and stood in front of him with a sneer. 

"If I haven't finished talking about it, why are you angry?" Brothers, let the boss see today, who is the boss of the wharf, Chamber of Commerce, when is it his turn to have a small restaurant?"

IV. Forgiveness

After a period of chaos, the hooligans brought by the restaurant owner had been beaten up by the members of the Chamber of Commerce. They were still shouting and waving their fists, swollen into a pig's face and missing a few teeth, but they amused the onlookers who were watching.

After the folks who were still outside the store went home, the guys also got off work ahead of time. Only Lao Hong knelt down in front of the shop and refused to leave.  

I looked back and saw that the man was elegantly rolling down the sleeves that had just been rolled up because of the fight. The men around him handed him a suit coat. 

"Why are you helping me?" 

"I believe that guy's doing something wrong on my territory. Is that a good reason?" 

I looked at the man's smile and frowned. 

"Do I look like such a liar?" The man looked at me with a smile for a moment, and finally put away his smiling face. He hung his suit coat on his arm. 

"To tell you the truth, I'm here to find the gentleman who hasn't appeared in your shop. Mr. Peking Duck, better known than to meet, just an advice." 

I turned around in his sight. Peking Duck had come out and leaned against the door of my shop, holding his pipe to which he had never left. 

"The president of the Chamber of Commerce, or Mr. Buddha's Temptation, long-awaited." 

Looking at those two inexplicable guys who started to be polite, I had a headache to put aside their two affairs for a while. They had no plans to be polite to me either. They went into my shop and sat down politely with each other. It looks like we're going to talk about something big. 

I looked at Lao Hong, who was still kneeling on the ground without raising his head, and felt helpless again. 

I went up to him and lifted him up and patted the dust off his body. 

"Lao Hong, why are you suffering?" The man who has always been honest and frank stood decadently, bowed his head and didn't want to look at me. He always smiled earnestly. For the first time, I saw such a sad expression on his face. 

"I know I'm sorry for the landlady and Granny, but... I really needed money... I'm sorry... I'm sorry... " 

"...You wait." 

I turned around and went into the shop. Peking Duck had talked with Buddha's Temptation for a short time. They both looked at me in some doubts. 

"Mapo Tofu? What's wrong?" 

"Pay the previous information fee." 

"Eh? Why are you suddenly willing to accept it again?……"

Although Peking Duck was a bit surprised, he bowed his head and relieved himself of the money bag and handed it to me. 

"Take it yourself." 

I took some money out of it and threw the money bag back into the arms of Peking Duck. 

"Just take this?" 

"Enough. You go on talking and remember to explain to me in a minute. " 

I walked out of the store, and Lao Hong did not leave. 

I stepped forward and stuffed my belongings into his hands. He stared at me in surprise and looked up at me. 

"Madame Boss?!" 

"Don't look at me like that. I promised Granny to take good care of the store. You are also part of it. " 

"Thank you, thank you--" 

"Don't be too happy. I'm willing to give you money doesn't mean I forgive you. You have to make your own mistakes, you have to work hard to repay. Starting tomorrow, you will work two hours more each day, and your salary will be deducted by half until it is paid off. And help to clean the toilet." 

"All right, all right... Madame Boss... " 

"What are you crying about?" 

"Whoo-hoo-hoo, Madame....."

V. Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu is an extremely cool person. She is arrogant, atmospheric, and bold. If the villagers have any difficulties, they can ask her for help.

And her Master Attendant is also a kind-hearted old woman who pays tribute to the folks. 

Granny had no children, and Mapo Tofu inherits her small shop, making the mapo tofu, which Granny is the best at, green out of blue.  

Many people have asked her why she does not raise prices. 

Mapo Tofu always laughs and shakes her head without answering. 

The red-hot business has naturally attracted some people's red eyes. They wanted to drive Mapo Tofu away in a despicable way, but with the help of Buddha's Temptation, the conspiracy with little technical content was broken almost in an instant. 

Mapo Tofu did not drive away the man who had lost his mind because he was in a hurry to use money. The man worked in the shop while Granny was still there, and worked conscientiously for more than ten years. 

Mapo Tofu knows how filial a middle-aged man who regards Granny as his mother. She also understands why men come too late to ask for help from themselves. Although the shop has a prosperous business, the profit from selling a mapo tofu is pitifully low. 

So, Mapo Tofu talked to the man who had always been very rich. 

Speaking of Peking Duck, he had been pursuing the news of a cult, and Mapo Tofu, who has been living near the dock, is one of his dark stakes. 

Mapo Tofu accepted his request unconditionally and became one of his secret stakes, collecting the clues of the cult and transmitting information for him after she understood the evil deeds that the cult had done. 

She never asked Beijing Roast Duck for a fee, even if it was a promise from the beginning of Peking Duck's remuneration. Even when Peking Duck stuffed his money bag into her hand, she would be sneakily stuff it back into Peking Duck's luggage. 

So when she asked Peking Duck for the information fee, Peking Duck was also surprised. 

What made this stubborn person blush and ask for his reward?

Hiding in the shop, you can only vaguely hear about Peking Duck touching its chin with some amusement. 

Soon, he learned about the man in Mapo Tofu's store from Buddha's Temptation. 

So when she waited for the Buddha's Temptation to leave, she returned to the store to see the Peking Duck with a teasing smile. 

""In the future, if you need help, just say it. You don't have to carry it on your own. We are comrades-in-arms, aren't we?"

Mapo Tofu gave him a bad look. 

"Stop talking about me, how does that guy named Buddha's Temptation know you're here? What did he come to you for?" 

Peking Duck squinted at Mapo tofu, which she wants to divert from, and answered her questions before she got angry. 

"He is the president of the Chamber of Commerce. He recently wanted to start trade on land. The most important thing for businessmen is naturally intelligence." 

"So? You just ripped him off? " 

"How can this be called ripping him off? It’s called like minded cooperation~ Cooperation~” 

“A group of profiteers...” 

“Oh, I’m not a businessman, I’m just a pawnshop owner, low-key, low-key. But chatting with smart people is really pleasant~" 

Mapo Tofu glanced at the fellow who was blowing clouds and squinting at his eyes. Although Peking Duck still looked calm, it could hardly hide the pleasure of making a big deal. 

"Scallion, let's go, don't mix in with these rich people." Mapo Tofu reached out and picked up the panda that had been following at her feet. 

"Oh - don't do this, I still want to eat the mapo tofu you made." 

"No food for you. " 

"Give me a hug, Scallion?"

"Scallion is not for you!"

While Mapo Tofu and Peking Duck competed for Scallion, an old figure who was supported by a young man trembled to the front of the store. 

"I finally came back... I finally found you... I finally came back..."

Milt
Sprite-Milt


I. Konpeito

White pupils opened slowly, taking in a room gently lit with a warm yellow light. As I raised what should be my hands, their soft white skin seemed to glow in the shadows as my body gradually came into sight.

"I...am...?"

I looked back and to the side at a pale figure reflected in a bronze mirror. A door keeping out most of the light opened, my eyes ached in the sudden glare. Clattering footsteps filled the room as I shielded my eyes with my arm.

A man standing against the light held out his hand; the beautiful radiance of gemstones contrasted sharply against his whithered fingers. He lifted my chin with a hand like a dead branch.

In the mirror my skin is white, almost transparent, and my hair is white too.

"She doesn't look much different from the last one, sir, except maybe a bit dumber... Can she really do what you said? Can she..."

The owner of the aged hand pulled it back, turning a fawning, uncomfortable smile towards a masked man.

The man, dressed in hunting clothes, arched his fingers and smirked beneath his half-mask.

"Congratulations Lord, you've finally done it."

After getting this response from the smiling man, the man who was called Lord narrowed his eyes. That smile sent a shiver down my spine. Later I learned that this was called harboring malicious intentions.

He slowly ran his eyes over my body, rubbing his chin with fingers coarsened with age, then he softened his voice as he addressed me.

"Aren't you a rare beauty? Give us a smile now, here, like I'm doing."


Smile? What is a smile?

I raised my head, and the expression of the Lord, standing in front of the light, did not look honest. However, I could imitate the angle of his uplifted face. I did everything I could to raise the corners of my mouth like he did; I wasn't used to the stiffness of my mouth, but even so...

Was this what he called a smile?

The man next to the Lord half-squatted down to rub the sides of my head. His voice was much nicer sounding than the Lord's. It was the best sounding of all. He took a small oily paper bag from his wide sleeve, put the bag open into my hand, and stuffed a golden ball into his mouth.

"You have a lovely smile. Here, this is your reward. You can eat it, just like me."

I stared at the golden candy in my hand, then imitated that man's motion as I raised it to my mouth.

I had never tasted such sweetness before. I still remember it to this day.

While I was eating the sweets, the Lord led the other men away. The masked man turned back to me and smiled before he left the room.

I liked his smile. It was much nicer looking than the Lord's.

II. Flower Garden

My room is filled with the finest clothing in the city, the best food, and all the toys that can be found. I am the princess of the city and I can do whatever I want. Everyone must listen to me because I am their princess.

"Miss Bonito, these are the new kimonos the Lord made for you, take a new look and see which one you like." "Miss Bonito, this is the new jewellery the Lord had the craftsmen make for you, pick something out." "Miss Bonito is..." "Miss Bonito..." "Miss Bonito."

I got my name, according to the master, because of my appearance. I don't like the way I look; it's too much white and not enough color.

Although I don't like the Lord, I do like the clothes that he gave me. They're more brightly colored than the flowers in the garden. Being surrounded by clouds of flower aromas and the bees flying was very peaceful, but also a little boring for me.

That's why I decided to find some fun. That started with the servant girls that the Lord sent me. The Lord and Sir told me they were all my playthings.

The maid who's always by my side is very timid. But no matter how timid she was, she still had no choice but to approach me.

"Miss Bonito, what can I do for you?"

I didn't know what she was so afraid of, but her quavering voice and forced smile betrayed her fear.

I looked at the girl, trembling with fear, then with a flick of my wrist brought a charm out of my sleeve. I really liked my charms, and Sir says they can do a lot of amazing things. So, Sir praises me every time I use them.

However, this time a slender hand grasped the charm before it struck the maid, who was screaming and shielding her head.

"Bonito, why are you angry?"

The powerful charm in my hand was easily blocked by the hand of the newcomer. I knew it, Sir is back! The only one in the entire city who will play with me without being afraid is back! He taught me everything I know! He's my everything...

"Sir, you're back early! Is it all done?? Can we have dinner tonight?"

My mischievous mindset a moment ago was gone. Sir had been so busy recently; it had been ages since we shared a meal.

Sir reached his hand out and gently touched my nose, then rested it on top of my head.

"Why must you be so headstrong? Look how frightened she is." As he spoke with his other hand he pointed at the maid, now collapsed on the floor with fear.

"It's her fault for being so timid! Hmph! She's useless! I don't want her!"

I was furious. Sir was finally back and he was wasting time talking about this plaything.

"Ah! No no no! Miss Bonito no, please give me another chance! Please no!"

Fortunately, the guards didn't give her the opportunity to beg for mercy. She was dragged away from my small courtyard by the guards, crying for mercy the whole way.

The clouds in the sky are transformed into vivid red by the colors of the sunset.

Sir didn't so much as glance in the direction of the constant screams. The eyes under his mask looked at me as tenderly as usual. He sighed helplessly and squeezed a piece of delicate pastry from the table into my mouth as I buried his head in his arms.

"Is it OK? You're not angry?"

I bite down on the dessert in my mouth, the sweet taste only a little worse than the original candy.

"I'm not angry!"

Sir took a tea cup sitting on the table and poured himself some of the tea simmering on top of a small stove. He poured tea so beautifully, I couldn't help but stare. He probably noticed that I was watching him all the time, so he put down the cup and asked me:

"What's the matter? What do you want to tell me?"

"When can I go help you with your work? My charms are very powerful and I'm sure I can help."

I anxiously reached out and grabbed his hem. I wanted to go out with him instead of staying in this small courtyard with only a bunch of toys.

He seemed to be pained by my words. He touched his chin and a small furrow appeared on his brow. I didn't like him this way, so I reached out and touched his brow.

"Never mind! It's OK, Sir!"

He sighed, took my hand in his, and gently patted the back of my hand.

"Actually, there is something you could help me with, but... Ah, never mind..."

"I can do it! For you I can do anything!"

He seemed to be very embarrassed. He shook his head and got up, stroked my hair like always and left.

III. Panacea

In just a few short months the Lord's health deteriorated significantly; his skin was like weathered bark. He was tightly gripping sir's arm.

"S..Sir... why don't..."

Sitting at the side of the old man's bed he placed the hand back under the covers and tucked the corner back in.

"Lord. Only willingly offered spirit food can give you what you need now... You've been waiting for so long, why not wait a few more days?"

"F...fine, it's up to...to you!"

When Sir came back, his white hunting clothes were stained dark red with blood. His swaying body leaned against a servant holding him up, and I could hardly hold myself back. However, most of the attendants around him had light or heavy injuries, and they were muttering something under their breath.

"Why do we have to go to such a dangerous place to get the medicine every time when there's one of them living right in the city? Isn't this the whole reason the Lord went through all the trouble of summoning her?"

Sir, leaning on a servant for support, scowled in anger at these words.

"Quiet!"

The reprimanded man quickly lowered his head, but a note of dissatisfaction remained in his voice.

"Forgive my indiscretion! Just heal him as soon as you can!"

They didn't notice that I was hiding behind the wall, and I knew they were talking about me...

Because of me, Sir... he was so badly hurt... I was the medicine that would work...

When Sir returned to the tatami room where I lived, I hid behind the door. The intense pain in my arm made my smile a bit forced, but I tried to put on my usual face because I didn't want him to worry. Although the oozing wound on my arm was really painful, I couldn't make him worry. Anyway, the wound would heal soon: I just needed to put up with it for a while.

I didn't want him to see me, so I had to keep him out. I really didn't want to.

I asked the maid to give Sir the elixir I made, so that he wouldn't be seriously injured for the Lord's medicine.

This way... maybe he'd be able to spend more time with me...

IV. Finale

The dusk sky reddened by flames looked even more like blood, accompanied by screams like wailing from hell.

I lay in my own room, watching as the garden where the flowers once bloomed so beautifully was swallowed up by the flames.

Now I only have the strength to turn my neck. The bright flowers that used to be my favorites were gradually reduced to black ashes among yellow sparks, and blown away on the burning wind.

Bright...so bright... At first it was just my arm. Before long it was too late to heal my limbs, my body, and the wounds, broken open by myself. The friction from sharp metal on bone spread outward inch by inch over my whole body.

As a Food Soul, this wouldn't kill me, but that didn't lessen the pain one bit. And I brought that pain on myself... Everything was for Sir...

Every time he would gently accompany me... He would carefully braid my long hair inch by inch, and he gave me a rosary he said was blessed by a monk to protect me. How could he hurt me?

He, he couldn't bear to hurt me.

But he didn't come.

As the courtyard became engulfed, I didn't feel scared and I even felt an inexplicable relief as my heavy eyelids sank down.

Just when I thought the heat was going to swallow me whole, somebody suddenly rushed in and dragged me out of the fire.

Because my body had not recovered from the layers and layers of injuries, strengthless hands had been lifted high. Unhealed wounds were pulled open again, soaking into my brightly-colored garments. It hurts, but I really... had no strength...

It was then that I realized my blood-stained furisode probably didn't look great.

My mind was groggy and my line of sight was blurred. There seemed to be a few familiar faces in a sea of angry faces.

The calls to kill me and the Lord were getting louder and louder. The red light of the sky gradually receded into the depths of the night. I had barely regained some strength as I looked down through the haze at the maddened crowd.

What did I do wrong? Why were they so angry?

Suddenly there was a familiar voice... I tried to raise my head. The smiling face that used to sweetly call me "Miss, Miss" was distorted now. It was my maid, and her delicate face in the light of the torch she carried was like the face of a ghost in an illustrated book Sir had given me.

"I know! The elixir that the Lord has been consuming is her! She's the elixir!"

The sound of her voice, once so crisp and pleasant, was like a fatal incantation in my ears, filled with fury and hatred. I looked at the familiar face and wanted to ask her why, but I couldn't remember her name.

It was like a bucket of ice water had been thrown over the crowd, burning like a fire only a moment before. Everyone fell into a strange silence. Then their strange smiles made me feel afraid. The people took out their weapons and approached me with twisted smiles.

I was so afraid... Sir... Save me...

"That... That's true isn't it..." "Yeah... Yeah, the Lord was wounded so badly and lived, it must be because of her!" "Me! Give her to me! My children! My children! They'll be alright!"

Sharp weapons, weapons that were already broken, shattered tiles, even sharply edged rocks.

"No... no... No! NO!!!"

I head my voice screaming for help from the only person I know. You're my maid! You said that you would always be by my side! You can save me!

"Save me! Please save me!"

I turned my attention to the most familiar face in the crowd, but the maid who used to gently help me braid my long hair was staring at me with cold eyes. The sight made my blood run cold.

"You don't have any charms now, you can't do anything... My sister begged you to help her. Did you save her?" "You're crazy!" Her eyes filled with tears as she said these words. For the first time, I felt the feelings of someone else.

The naked hatred burned in her amber eyes, and the orange glow was followed by the darkness of despair. A feeling of suffocation made me feel like my nose and mouth were covered with a wet cloth.

I opened my lips and struggled but I couldn't find any air. The discomfort caused me to dry heave.

Was I crazy, or were they?

V. Milt

Rumors tell of a city. The city's Lord was once wise and compassionate. As the years passed his face grew old, he was beset by illness, and his mind was gone.

As his body weakened, the conscience that had once supported him and the city remained.

There is no one who is unafraid of death, unafraid of getting old; ordinary people can only dream of cheating death, while those who hold power in their hands will use all the resources at their disposal to pursue their own longevity.

Maintaining a peaceful and stable life requires a ruler's maintenance for years and even decades.

Destroying it, however, takes only a second.

Soldiers went out to sea searching for a legendary elixir on another continent but never returned.

The Lord gave everything in pursuit of his goal.

However, unlike most stories, this lord really did find his "elixir."

After finding it his body began to recover day by day.

It couldn't restore his youth, but it could make him stronger each day.

However, a king who has lost the hearts of his people can no longer be called a king.

He became a tyrant, and was soon overthrown by his own people. HIs elixir, the elixir brought by the girl named after bonito fish, became an open secret among those same people.

It wasn't like the tatami room from when she was been newly summoned, when even the closed door couldn't keep out the warmth of daylight.

In the dark cellar, it was cold and wet and light failed to enter.

Bonito's hands were hung limply apart, the red eyes had lost their spirit, and the thin white coat wrapped around the scarred body was spotted with blood.

In the cold darkness, there was no one to respond even if she made a sound.

Bonito began to wonder if she still existed.

She tried to look at her own body to find out, but the darkness swallowed her vision and she couldn't see her fingers in front of her face.

The only thing that made her feel like she was still alive was that there were two cruel jailers who came every day with sharp blades and small bowls to cause her terrible pain.

Bonito's red eyes lost their focus as she stared at the small door that opened everyday and then brought her great pain.

Suddenly, a sharp glare that made her eyes water tore through the maddening darkness.

Just like that time in the warm tatami room, a man wearing a mask stepped into the room; his gentle smile was the same, and the only difference was, this time his mask was splattered with blood.

"Come along, Bonito...I'm taking you with me..."

"Bonito! Bonito!"

"...................Hee hee, what are you calling me for? Are you really that bored?"

"I see you're daydreaming again! Come on! I'll buy you a beautiful white dress! You're as pale as a corpse! Girls should wear nice things!"

"..."

Hesitation flashed in the eyes of a girl with snow-white skin as she watched the Master Attendant disappear into the distance.

However, the girl draws a paper charm from her sleeve that becomes a small paper crane under her fingers; it hovers around her briefly, then flies off into the distance.

"Hey! Bonito! Come on! Didn't you say your charms were used up? I'll help you buy some new paper and ink, so come pick some out!"

"Strange humans."

Notes

Note: The story above has been grammatically edited by UnknownPeep. Some of the original wording may have been altered to make the story easier to understand, but the story remains unchanged.

  1. (T/N: He means brothers in the sense that they are all under the same master.)
  2. (T/N: Tianzun is one of the mantras in taoism. He was saying Master as in Master Attendant first, then Master as in Temple Master.)
  3. T/N: Jie Jie used in a “you should respect me” way. It means that probably Osmanthus Cake is older than Yun Feng.
  4. T/N: QiXi festival is Chinese Valentine’s Day. It’s also known as tanabata.
  5. (T/N: the first emperor was referring to a more chinese emperor, but the second one was talking about a more japanese one. I’m confused too, but the vibe is like an argument in the palace or something. Please send in an ask if you have a better translation! Thank you!)
  6. In the previous line, the first person is using お方 (okata), formal speech to refer to someone (instead of casual あの人 (ano hito)).
  7. Translator's Note: 女儿红, refers towards a traditional yellow wine from the Shaoxing, Zhejiang province. It's a kind of fermented yellow wine.
  8. Translator's Note: It said "made" (弄来的) at this point for some reason, which is false, as Dragon & Phoenix got from a winery as earlier said, so it was changed.
  9. Translator's Note: 私塾 or书塾 [old-style private school; a privately established teaching space, there is no fixed teaching materials or age restrictions for students, usually there’s only one teacher.]
  10. Translator's Note: 钵 [a small earthenware basin; it also refers to a set of nested bowls that Buddhist monks use for eating.]
  11. Translator's Note: 游廓 [ Yukaku; Technically a brothel, but it specifically means the regions in Japan where brothels recognized by the government were situated. So in theory, prostitution was legal only in the Yukaku region.]
  12. Translator's Note:   花魁 [Oiran; Japanese courtesans]
  13. Translator's Note: 游女 [ ‘tourist girls’; The collective name of Japanese prostitutes, the term was coined during the Shogunate era] Traditionally, Japanese brothels displayed prostitutes through a fenced wall. Look up Yoshiwara, an old Japanese red light district, for pictures!
  14. Translator's Note: 江山易主 [end of a dynasty and the rise of a new one]
  15. Translator's Note: 歌舞伎町[Kabukicho; An entertainment and red light district that exists irl in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. Here it likely just means your general entertainment district.]
Nagashi Somen
Sprite-Nagashi Somen


I. Noodle Shop

“One somen plus one onsen egg!” “Gotcha!” “Granny, where’d you get this kid? A hard worker, this one!” “Hehe, isn’t he! Lil’ ol’ me just had a stroke of luck.”

Granny passed the bowl of noodles to me, and I served it to the customer on a tray.

“Your somen and onsen egg’s great!” “Thanks!”

I wiped the sweat off my brow, taking another tray off Granny’s hands.

“Granny! You take a break please, I’ll handle it!” “Don’t sweat it, lil’ ol’ me can handle some bowls! Hey, watch it! Did’ya get burnt?”

I blew on my hand, the red patch of scalding from soup becoming increasingly visible. But Granny didn’t scold me, instead retrieving a wet handkerchief and pressed it against my hand.

The day I met Granny, she was alone in these mountains with a basket, picking some wild greens. The slopes weren’t steep, but nevertheless quite treacherous for the elderly. When she almost tripped, I couldn’t help but move forth to brace her.

Granny’s an empty nester, her son always away and traveling. Always hanging around the mountains, I was considered a child of Granny’s.

“Kiddo, you’re a good boy, but you’re so impulsive!” “Ain’t it ‘cus I’m worried about Granny, hehe.” “Your hand alright?” “It’s alright! Can’t let the customer wait!”

A frequenter of the restaurant looked in our direction with interest, making me smile with embarrassment.

“You two’re so close, you’re almost exactly like Granny’s son was.” “That so! What was Big Bro Hui like?” “Real energetic, that boy!” “As if he can compare to Nagashi Somen here! That kid learnt himself some skills and ditched, I can count the days he’s at home in a year on one hand!”

Even though Granny mocks her traveling son, the wrinkles in her eyes show her pride deep down.


The village wasn’t very big, and ours was the only restaurant here.

Granny’s a really great person, she always makes a few extra bowls after closing shop, distributing them to the orphans and lonely elderly in the village. Big Bro Hui naturally inherited this kindness too, studying medicine under a teacher. And the time he spent at home lessened.

But even so, it wasn’t anything bad. It’s what the smiles of Big Bro Hui and Granny are telling me.

I love this lifestyle, just like I love this village, this restaurant, and Granny.

II. Go or Stay

Even in her old age, Granny ran the restaurant. She often said with a smile, that if Big Bro Hui ever returned, she’ll make him a bowl of his favorite noodles.

In the eyes of Granny, Big Bro Hui was strong, brave, witty; any positive trait you could think of, he had it. That’s why he won’t hesitate to put himself forward if his help was needed.

Having endured through harsh times, Granny knew that in times of despair, the helpless wish for only the guiding arm of strength to take them by the hand. That’s why Granny didn’t hold Big Bro Hui back when he decided to leave.


But lately, I couldn’t help but remember his words to me when he left. “Do you really have to go? Granny’s getting old…” “So you think I’m in the wrong too?” “‘Too’? Who else is there?” “Myself…” “Why are you still leaving then?” “I want to be by the side of those who need my help.” “But…” I wanted to tell him that “Granny needed you too~” The lights in Granny’s room only go out late in the night after he returns, even when she has to open the restaurant early next day. Can’t he tell? No, surely he knows… Why else would he look so sorrowful?

“Don’t worry, I’ll write home often. Don’t look so sad, I’m just going to be a military medic, I’ll be alright.” Master Attendant fastened his luggage, turning to leave. “If only the wars will end…”

Came the faint mumbling of his voice, though it was crystal clear in my memories. Even his silhouette vanishing in the distance filled me with fear.

But why? I’ve hardly seen that silhouette, yet I felt like I won’t get to see it ever again……


“Nagashi Somen, what’s wrong? You don’t look too well.” Granny dried her hands on her apron, standing beside me, worry written over her face.

“...No, it’s nothing, just a tad tired.” Nothing has changed, yet Granny looked really uneasy as well. “Big Bro Hui, no letters from him today either?”

“That kiddo’s always been like that, must’a forgotten.” Granny said with a smile. “Right, let’s close shop early today, take it easy at home! Granny’ll make you yer favorite dishes!” “Ok!”


I pinned this feeling of unease on Big Bro Hui’s missing letter. Only when that wounded, sorrowful man came to our doorstep did my premonition come to fruition.

III. Lie

Silence settled over us as we made eye contact. With confusion and disbelief, my gaze focused on the white envelope and sack of gold coins in his hands. The man lowered his head with remorse, thrusting the sack of coins to me. This man, imposing and soldierly, crumpled before me in tears.

“If it weren’t… If it weren’t to protect me, he wouldn’t have died to that fallen angel…”

Uncomfortably settled into a daze of grief, I was snapped back by the words “fallen angel” and widened my eyes in shock.

“What! Fallen angels?! What happened to ‘everything will be fine’! Weren’t there the protection of other Master Attendants and food souls?!” I stepped forward, gripping the man’s shoulders.

“Yes…” “Then how…!” “... But there were too many enemies.”

Seeing his expression, I knew I couldn’t put the blame on anybody. Neither having stopped him from going nor went with him to protect him, I wasn’t in any position to speak. But Granny? If Granny heard about this, how would she feel?

Forcing myself to calm down, we pieced together the full story from both of our views.

Big Bro Hui wasn’t a simple military medic as he told me. He went onto the battlefield, and even though it wasn’t against fallen angels, the dangers of a sudden ambush were still present. Yet he didn’t allow me to go with him, having pondered it, he decided I should stay with the village, where I’m more needed.

Compared to himself, he’d rather have the safety of the village. Compared to Granny, he’d rather go to distant lands to save more people. He once told the man, that it’s precisely due to my presence that he steeled his nerves to go. Is it so that I can accompany Granny? But to Granny, we’re worlds apart.

When Big Bro Hui left, I wondered many times, was there truly no other choice?

“Hui told me at the end, please don’t let his mother know.” The man said suddenly. Only then did the issue plaguing me all this while resurface. Having awaited the return of her son for so long, will Granny be able to take it?

“I’ve thought long and hard, and I still think it can’t help to hide it from her, so I came to tell…” “Don’t! Please, don’t tell Granny about this, at least for now…” “Eh?” “I’ll tell Granny in your stead.”

Seeing Granny smiling gently in the restaurant, my grip on the bereavement money and the condolence letter tightened. I had to find a suitable time, a time when I won’t hurt Granny. Seeing the man vanish into the distance, I made up my mind.

“Who was that just now? Not a customer?” Granny came to my side and asked.

“Nope, nothing to it, just a lost traveler.” I hid the money and letter behind my back and smiled.

“That so, you gotta remember to offer him some water next time, weather’s hot…”

Granny didn’t see through my panicked facade, and I heaved a sigh of relief. Only then did I realize, with one lie came innumerable more.

IV. Misfortune

Everything went smoothly, and Granny didn’t suspect a thing.

Every morning, she opened up shop and prepared the ingredients for the day. After sundown, we cleaned up after the last customer leaves. Granny beaming smile always washed away the exhaustion of the travelers. Once she finds out about Big Bro Hui’s death, that smile will surely fade. That’s why, even one more day…


My decision was right… right?


The days went by without disturbance. Sometimes I’d find Granny sitting at the doorstep, gazing up at the sky.

But, good thing is, I found out she was just worried about the ongoing war and I let go of a breath I didn’t know I was holding.

I went to a neighboring village to stock up on ingredients, and I returned to not Granny, but rather a worried frequenter.

Once he spotted me, he dashed towards me anxiously.

“You’re finally back Nagashi Somen! Granny got a letter and headed to the town outskirts with all the money in the counter! Go check on her!”

Hearing that, I dropped everything and ran towards the outskirts.

At the border, I found Granny with her back arched, pleading at the officers.

“Look Mr. Officer, this is all this old woman here’s got… Please, can’t you just… please…” “No! Don’t think of seeing your son if you’re missing so much as a penny!” “Mr. Officer… Please, he’s my only son…”

Seeing Granny kneeled before them, I rushed forward to brace her and hold her hand.

“Granny! What is this!” “Nagashi Somen! Hui, Hui’s committed war crimes, he owes a lot of money, or else he’ll be executed! Please help me convince this officer!”

“How can it be! Master Attendant’s…” I didn’t know what crimes they were speaking of, and neither did Granny, presumably. But I knew that they were lying. I wanted to reveal the truth, but my words were caught in my throat. Seeing Granny so anxious, I didn’t know how to put it.

The two officers kicked Granny aside and counted the money. I wanted to take the money back, but Granny wouldn’t let go of me. Whilst I held my tongue, their words struck me with grief.

“Heh, didn’t think a dead guy was gonna fetch us this much.”

Hearing that, Granny’s eyes widened and pushed forward to grab the officer.

“What dead guy? What happened to Hui?” “Why don’t you ask that food soul there! Hahahaha!”

Their cackling sent waves of ice tumbling over me. I wanted to square with them, but my legs were frozen under Granny’s distraught gaze.

“Nagashi Somen! Tell me! What’s going on!” “..........” “Hahahahaha, your son’s LONG DEAD! Bet that food soul you’ve been raising has been hiding that from you and hasn’t even given you the bereavement money!”

“No, I…” I couldn’t believe I was about to defend myself. I lied to Granny.

“Old fart, I’d recommend you get that money from him soon, that’s what’s left of your son’s life! I’ll take this as payment for telling you that! Hahahaha…”

No! I had! All the bereavement money swapped out for loose change, and put it in Granny’s stash bit by bit! This isn’tー

Yet Granny couldn’t hear my wails anymore…

I should have known sooner, that once a lie is told, innumerable more follow. I can’t consider it a fluke, making myself think that there was a way for Granny to not hurt.

Really, I’ve always been afraid of myself. But I’ve let myself forget… No matter the intent, lies can only bring misfortune.

V. Nagashi Somen

After that, the wandering Nagashi Somen met Raindrop Cake’s master attendant by chance.

This human was just like Big Bro Hui, an optimistic and passionate person. He brought Nagashi Somen, still scared out of his wits, back to his house, drying his hair with a towel.

“You’ll fall ill like this!” “......”

Under the care of Raindrop Cake’s master attendant, Nagashi Somen slowly regained a bit his vigor. Raindrop Cake’s master attendant, on the other hand, had learnt from word of mouth from his village of Nagashi Somen’s past that he so desperately wanted to forget.

Once upon a time, someone he knew left this world because of a lie with good intentions. To maintain this lie, he told more lies to others.

As if to mock him, others used this same lie to hurt the old lady who always took care of him. Unable to take the shock of her son’s death, the kind old lady passed away too.

At the sight of the lifeless old lady, Nagashi Somen took a harsh blow. He knew lies weren’t going to change a thing, yet he still lied to the old lady.

If he hadn’t told the lie and told the old lady the truth in the beginning, she wouldn’t have learnt of his master attendant’s death in such circumstances. The old lady wouldn’t have died so tragically before him either.

After that, Nagashi Somen no longer donned his carefree and joyful smile, he clenched his fist, eyes wrinkling with sadness. “I’ll never tell a lie, even if I have to stay silent, I’ll never deceive others again…”

Hearing this, the smile on Raindrop Cake’s master attendant’s face complicated for a moment. But he couldn’t come up with a reply.

Under the care of Raindrop Cake’s master attendant, Nagashi Somen began helping him run his business. In contrast to the quiet Raindrop Cake, Nagashi Somen quickly picked up everything about the business. Busy with work, he slowly pulled himself together.

Afterward, he returned to his village. For Granny, for his master attendant, he wanted to protect the favorite village of theirs.

He occasionally visited Raindrop Cake’s village too and chatted with Raindrop Cake’s master attendant. They were like brothers, keeping no secrets from each other. It’s then that his buddy asked him for a favor, to cheer up Raindrop Cake.


It’s for that reason he always tells that to the ever-melancholic Raindrop Cake. “Even though it’s said that Food Souls exist to battle Fallen Angels, but our abilities are still limited, that’s why we just have to give it our all doing what we can.”

Nagashi Somen chose to stay optimistic, wishing that his present life won’t be shattered by lies no matter what.

Nagashi Somen’s smile and words moved Raindrop Cake. His smile overlapped with his master attendant’s for a moment, an extremely touching scene.


As he hoped, Raindrop Cake found the will to move forth. Raindrop Cake’s master attendant was delighted when they talked about the change in attitude as well.

“Everything’s improving.” Even though Raindrop Cake’s master attendant was getting thinner from always traveling, he was inclined to believe the words of the energetic and optimistic man before him.

He won’t tell a lie. Nagashi Somen believed firmly. Then he won’t witness another tragedy…

He thought his peaceful life would continue. And when everything shattered, it felt unreal.

It was raining and Nagashi Somen had open his red oilpaper umbrella, not unlike an old friend visiting after years, arriving at the little village deep in the cherry blossom woods.

But the chaotic mess that remained of the village left him petrified, and he dashed to see if they were safe, if he could just find them a moment sooner.

When he found the man he was looking for in the ruins, he was collapsed lifelessly in the mud, Raindrop Cake by his side. Those empty, distraught eyes; Nagashi Somen could never hope to forget the very expression Granny held.

A feeling of unease welled up. Nagashi Somen tried many times to question the dazed Raindrop Cake, but he just kept repeating himself.

“How did this happen! What happened?” “I… I killed Master Attendant… I killed everyone…” “That can’t be! You couldn’t have killed everyone! What happened to him! He was fine before, how could he… how could he…”

No, was he… really fine before? The details he missed flashed in his mind, yet no connections formed. He wanted to know just what he missed, just what caused this cold, lifeless corpse to be all that remained of the man. His unease and terror told him something must have been missed. But he could tell that he wasn’t going to get the answer from Raindrop Cake.


Sadness, anger, dissatisfaction; All sorts of negative emotions burst out of Nagashi Somen, all melding together. He understood more than anyone how Raindrop Cake felt, at the same time unable to forgive him, unable to forgive the Raindrop Cake spiraling into a pit of self-blame, unable to forgive the Nagashi Somen who told the lies back then.

Trying his best to regain control of his emotions, his carefree smile no longer showed as he gripped Raindrop Cake’s collar tight and glared at him coldly.

“Look at me! Tell me! Just what happened?!” No matter how much Nagashi Somen yelled, there came no response from Raindrop Cake. “He would never want to see you like this! You know that! Answer me!”

“.........”

“Next time we meet, I hope we can have a proper conversation.”

Seeing the soulless Raindrop Cake, Nagashi Somen’s past flashed before his eyes. He wanted Raindrop Cake to pull himself together, yet he found himself trapped by his own demons too. At that moment, he realized he was unable to save Raindrop Cake, who had sunk into the same pit he did.

The storm beats down on the ruins. All that remains is the soulless husk of Raindrop Cake, along with a red oilpaper umbrella meagerly attempting to shield him from the rain.

Natto
Sprite-Natto
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. Chronicler

"Natto, have you written down today's observation?"

"...I have, Master Attendant."

Usually, in this kind of situation, I would hide my expression by wearing my mask.

But today, I have no room in my mind to think about things like that.

As I gazed at Master Attendant's wrinkly, calm visage, I felt an intense emotion, nothing like anything that I've felt before, surging from the depth of my heart.

"For years, you've seen many scenes of hardships in place of me. It must be hard on you."

Master Attendant feelingly nodded after he heard my answer and put on his usual smile, which was capable of alleviating the atmosphere around him.

A few decades had passed ever since Master Attendant lost his eyesight, and I became his eyes, recording everything that happened each day wherever I go.

I don't know how many scrolls I've used so far... but the more scrolls I used, the more my heart feels fulfilled.

Before I realized, "recording things down" no longer feels like a duty that Master Attendant had assigned to me, but instead an activity that I truly enjoy from the bottom of my heart.

Be it something that actually happened, or simply rumors I heard in the streets, all of them are brimming with the charm of this vast world.

For these past few decades, I truly feel that I have lived a fulfilling life.

However, I think that the time I can spend with Master Attendant like this will soon come to an end.


ーー Azure Skies, Day 6.

Master Attendant sat down facing west, quietly meditating for the last time.

I stayed by Master Attendant's side, watching until he took his last breath, and then wrote it down in great details.

After that, I set up Master Attendant's grave.

This will be the last time I'm recording something down here.

I pressed my hands together while facing the grave, reminisced over the things that I've experienced together with Master Attendant, and bowed deeply.

From now on, I'll go on a journey.

This world is tremendously vast. The world I've seen during the past decades is merely a single part of the whole thing.

I want to learn more about this world and record everything down.

Thus, I gathered my belongings and said my farewell to Master Attendant.


Live, growing old, falling ill, then died. Human's life follows a cycle. It's the same as a leaf that falls from its tree and decompose to become a nutrient for another tree.

It might sound cruel, but I think that it's precisely because human is fated to eventually die, that a lot of strange and touching stories are born into this world.

(There are reasons behind everything...)


I tilted my face up and took a deep breath.

From now on, Master Attendant is no longer by my side. But his feelings will stay in my heart.

The memories I had with Master Attendant makes me fraught with emotion, and my lips naturally formed a smile.


"Master Attendant... I'll be going now."

II. Traveler

Originally, I'll be able to cross the border between Gloriville and Light Kingdom today. Unfortunately, God wasn't so kind to make the weather beautiful and instead, rain came pouring down.

A layer of mist rose up in the forest. Unable to see the path, I could not continue onwards.

I protected the bag that stored my books and scrolls. I scrambled and darted underneath the roof of a grass house located in the mountain field.

The house was quaint but presently, quite a number of travellers were squeezing inside there.

Where is everyone heading to? What stories do they have?

I searched for my incomplete scroll and brush. Curiously, I examined the surrounding people, and unexpectedly discovered a girl who was writing something with a pencil and paper in the corner.

Almost as if she sensed that my eyes were on her, she looked up. Under her rounded-glasses were a pair of shimmering eyes that intercepted my vision.

She walked towards where I was and stood firmly next to me. She looked at me, rather intrigued.

"Nice to meet you."

I awkwardly nodded at her.

Rarely do I ever talk to girls. I wrote what I saw and heard halfway and stood at my original spot in a stunted manner, unsure of what should I do.

"What are you writing? Is it a novel or a travelogue?" She questioned.

I kept my scroll.

"It's the thoughts and feelings I had today... almost like a diary of sort."

"Eh, writing a diary in broad daylight? What a rather unique way."

She was ruminating as if she had thought of something.

"I'm Milk Tea, a travelling writer. If you don't mind, may I take a look at the text you jot down?" I froze. I've never thought anyone would raise this request in my life.

"I'm Natto. As for the text, it's...alright."

"Eh, really?!"

On the other hand, Milk Tea was shocked. Seemingly, she may not have thought that I'll accept her request.

For her to feel more affirmed, I placed the scrolls on her soft hands.

"Take a look."

I was kinda nervous and beads of sweat were secreting out of my hands.

Although I have been writing for years, my work has always just ended up as mere documentations.

Thanks to my lack of imagination, the many interesting stories I've written down did not exhibit that liveliness when people read them.

She, being a real writer, would no doubt possess high mastery over writing.

If I can just obtain a one or two sentences of guidance, it would be superb.

III. Treasure Explorer

"This...is extremely interesting!" From the bottom of her heart, Milk Tea took a deep breath and exclaimed.

"Although most people don't look from this angle, but to be able to record exactly everything in this text really makes anyone feel touch after reading it."

"Yeah, this really allows one to witness how vast the world is."

"Thanks-thanks..."

As I scratched my hair, my face felt a little hot.

I inserted my hand into the pocket to find my mask.

"Mr. Natto's texts are really a treasure in this world."

Satisfied, Milk Tea returned the scrolls to me.

"In comparison, my travelogue appears to only scratch the surface. For me, I'm going work harder on it, okay."

"Oh...eheheh."

"Oh, right. As an exchange, Mr. Natto should take a look at my works...Mr. Natto?"

"This amount of praise is kinda superfluous..."

I wasn't used to being praised by others. It feels as though my face is gonna burn up, and I can only use the mask to hide my face.

Milk Tea passed a book with a bind to me.

"Romeo and Juliet?"

"Yep, this is an adventure novel. This sample publication was just completed. While the editor says it is perfect, I feel something's lacking..."

I flipped open the page.

*plop* *plop* *plop* *plop* *plop* *plop*

Unconsciously, I was absorbed into the world described by Milk Tea. The seemingly boundless imagination coupled with the development of the character's relationship is enough to prevent anyone from putting down the book.

Love and adventure. Grudges and conflicts. Every aspect of the plot was arranged in a very suitable manner.

Once I unconsciously flipped to the end of the book, the heavy rain has already ceased. The sunlight that poured through the leaves was already dispersed on the wet ground.

Travelers, who were seeking refuge from the rain, left one by one.

On the other hand, the story's plot made me forget the flow of time.

Milk Tea, who was next to me, only sat there and waited for me to finish reading, never uttering a word. Unknowingly, she was holding a pencil and jotting down something.

"Amazing..."

Still hungry for more, I passed the book back to Milk Tea. The allure of the story was still entrapped in my mind.

This feeling, I must record it down afterwards.

"Really, thanks."

"Milk Tea's story is the true treasure after all."

I shifted my mask aside and spoke softly.

If the words written by Milk Tea were like resplendent and shining diamonds, then the travelogue I wrote are akin to mud stones anyone can find at the side of the road.

"It's just that..."

"It's just what?" Milk Tea's eyes were shining in interest.

"Eh, oh...There's a group called "chronicler" in the story right? Although the description tells us that the organization is quite large, there isn't any development in the story."

I tried to organized my words as much as I can.

"As long as anyone has a strong passion in travelling and wants to explore the world, they can join. Members would also move around the whole world..."

"However, the members I described are only Romeo and Juliet. This makes no sense."

Milk Tea continued where I left off.

"This is it!"

IV. Creator

"Will this be of help?"

Anxious, I asked.

Actually, even without any rework, Romeo and Juliet is already sufficient to be considered as an amazing novel.

I'm not sure whether this act of nitpicking will upset others.

"You've provided a great help. But it's just that--"

A very troubled look materialised on Milk Tea's face.

"About half of my novel is derived from what I see in real life. Thereafter, I used them to make something new. But this organisation is somthing never seen before..."

She suddenly quieten down, seemingly hesitant.

My eyes lit up and I understood what she meant.   "You wanna...create one?"

"Let's create one!"

It was almost as if we opened our mouths concurrently.

This is the reason why "Chronicler" was brought into this world.

"You're here, welcome."

Seeing Umeshu stand at the door, I took the luggage off her hand and made a welcome gesture.

This was the first time "Chronicler tea session" was organised in Maple Inn as scheduled.

During this year of making preparation, Milk Tea and I travelled the world separately and gave out the invitation letter for the tea session to individuals we feel are suitable.

What made us relieved was that our letters received a response from those Food Souls.

While there weren'tmany people, the gathering is a rather bustling one.

During my travel, I came across the solo traveller, Umeshu and the eccentric artist, Hot Dog. Milk Tea brought the skilful singer, Ddeokbokki and the skilful dancer, Kimchi.

Umeshu was the last to arrive. She sat in front of the short table and the bustling tea session thus begun.

The members narrated what they see and heard. The world, akin to a giant artwork, was rolled out and showcased to us all.

The location's geography, traditions, people as well as the sad and happy stories behind them; none of them failed to invoke my curiosity.

The secrets of nature, the link between humans and Food Souls, human's resolution is fighting the Fallen Angels...

And it's because of their existence that made the world vast.

Afterwards--

Me, or should I say we, the "Chroniclers".

Regardless what is the future's destiny, we shall record down everything that has happened after viewing them at different angles.

We'll show everyone in the world the cruelty and beauty we have witnessed.

V. Natto

The "Chronicler Tea session" was created in a collaboration between Natto and Milk Tea. It's a gathering for Food Souls, who love travelling the world, to communicate with each other what they seen and heard.

As such, the members are called "Chronicler".

Although the organisation remains neutral to everything in the world,it wouldn't demand its members to have a certain mentality or align themselves with something.

6 months before the tea session commence, the creators would send out invitation letters to confirm the location.

Even if any Food Souls do not receive the letter, they can still join this tea session that takes place once every 3 years, as long as they have a strong passion for travelling and to explore this vast world.

Every time the tea session ends, the "chronicler", Natto, would compile the conversation's content into a book and place them inside Maple Inn. Udon open her fingers and count the time till the next tea session occur, waiting for Natto to step into the Inn once more.

When they meet, she'll undoubtedly pester Natto to pass the book he wrote to her.

Naturally, Natto is more than happy. He'll sit at Udon's side and talk to her for the whole day, until Udon is sick of it.

Whatever he promise, he'll do it.

This is also why he choose to store everything the "Chronicler" have in Maple Inn.

Regardless whether Natto gets to meet someone similar to him like Milk Tea and Umeshu in his journey, getting to know the candid Food Soul, Udon also falls into this category. Moreover, it's also considered as something lucky in Natto's lifetime.

His cherish for Udon is no less than the expectations Udon place on him, her friend.

Yet, the world will never cease to spin. Perhaps neither Natto and the "chroniclers" themselves would also stop.

By right, travelling signifies encounter and farewell, and the latter would also signify a reunion next time.

Natto will not stay in an area for too long.

Same as always, he'll record anything that he deems meaningful.

Osechi
Sprite-Osechi
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. Replacement

"Thank you for responding to my wish, God. Please grant me a Food Soul that can take my place and worship you......"

"Osechi......please help me!"

Within the unknown darkness, I could faintly hear someone summoning me.

I couldn't control myself due to the power of the voice’s warmth and began to draw closer to it.

As my eyes opened, a lavishly dressed lady stood before me.

"You appeared, you really appeared! I thank you God and heaven!"

"......Master Attendant?"

My mind was still a complete mess. I saw her grab a bronze mirror before approaching me on her knees. The mirrors reflected both our faces. To my surprise, they could be considered exact replicas of one another, save for their different expressions. 

"My wish came true......I can't believe I managed to summon a Food Soul nearly identical to me!"

"Why did you make that wish?"

Seeing her excitement, I was confused.

She gripped my hand and speaking slowly, explained everything to me. 

It turns out, there exists a tradition in the country's imperial family. To ensure that the imperial family lives a long, peaceful life, as well as prolonging the nation's lifespan, the imperial family will choose an unmarried princess to take on the role of miko in the emperor's shrine. She would then worship God in place of the imperial family.

Being a miko meant one must not only offer everything they have to God, but also forbid themselves from romantic relationships.

However, this time, the selected princess — my Master Attendant — already had her other half.

Cornered, my Master Attendant sought out the magic crystals her father gave her. She poured all her hopes and strength and gave it her all to summon a Food Soul that could replace her; she took a big gamble

If she were to fail, she would lose both her lover and the opportunity to be with him forever.

Perhaps it was because of the sincerity in her heart that she not only summoned a Food Soul, but also one that resembled her, exactly as she wanted. 

Apart from her lover, no one knew about this.

As for her wish, only the three of us knew about it.

Until she changed her name and left this palace she called a prison, I needed to learn to emulate her mannerisms and prevent my identity from being quickly exposed once I took her place.

I wasn't sure if this is the right thing to do.

I'm not a princess in the imperial family, yet I had to substitute for my Master Attendant to worship God. Aren't I lying to God? If God became enraged and unleashed a disaster in a fit of fury, what should we do......?

This worry endlessly tormented me and Master Attendant. Knowing how lucky she was, she consoled me. Perhaps she wasn’t consoling me, but herself.

"God arranged our destinies. Since you're born from my wish, it indicates that God permits you to do so. Therefore, you don't need to worry too much."

"As long you focus on properly learning, no one will find out, and nothing bad will happen."

Master Attendant felt that our actions would not bring about disaster. Although I believed her, there was still a tinge of worry in my heart, causing me to mess up. Until today, this anxiety continued to grip my heart.

II. Shocking Changes

It's been half a year since I've become the miko of the shrine. I've also grown used to the mundane life of the shrine.

As a miko with the title of a princess, I'm spared from carrying out the laborious and trivial tasks of other mikos. All I needed to do was to speak and pray to God. But still, He did not respond to my prayers.

Is it because God couldn't easily communicate with us mere mortals, or was it perhaps He did not wish to communicate with us? Such thoughts made me uneasy.

As the days pass, I felt drained after every session of prayers. Thus, I usually locked the doors when I returned to my room so no one would bother me.

When the maid left, I tried to release all the tension I’d built up over the days. Like shapeless jelly, I sprawled out behind the folding screen, not caring whether I would crumple my expensive dress.

I must remain aware of my identity before speaking or doing something. Not a single slip up can happen. Moreover, I must be careful of what I say when my mind becomes muddled, or risk drawing attention.

The way they bewilderedly glance at me, as if trying to check for something amiss, often led me to believe that they were growing suspicious. It only made me fret even more.

Lying on my back, I let out a long sigh. I stared at the darkness engulfing the ceiling, and raised my legs, wildly kicking in the air. It was almost as if I was trying to kick all my worries out the roof.

After venting all my stress and worry for a bit, I suddenly remembered the konpeito that I hid. I calmly stood up and dragged along my heavy garments. Once I crawled towards the takamikura, [1] I tried to find the small paper bag of konpeitos.[2] As a miko, I have to follow even more rules than I did in the Imperial Palace. They were so strict that even the food I could eat was heavily regulated. As such, I had to say goodbye to certain delicacies.

Fortunately for me, the maid that previously served my Master Attendant now serves me. Although we aren't very close, she still gives me some amazing things. For example, hard to find snacks in the shrine, hanafuda cards[3] (usually played the most maids to pass time),......and wakas[4] written by many a gutsy prince.

Those wakas were filled with deep affection, and they always amused and emboldened me.

Weren’t they afraid of their divine punishment when they sent such inappropriate things to a miko?

After eating just one konpeito, I heard a flurry of footsteps near the corridor. Something urgent must’ve happened to send everyone into such a state. Outside of the shoji,[5] my maid called out to me, distressed.

This caused me to panic, and I spilled the konpeitos within the takamikura’s outer fence. 

With no time to lose, I sat up and used my dress to hide the fallen konpeitos before letting my maid in.

She entered, and nervously spoke, with no regard for formality.

"My lady, the Fallen Angels are attacking. With the army out on the battlefield, the Minister of the Left is plotting a rebellion with his private army, intent on imprisoning the Emperor!"

This revelation completely shocked me, and I began to panic.

I gripped my chest, as it became strangely difficult to breathe. 

Is this the ending I had longed for so long?

Is this heaven’s punishment for impersonating the princess to worship God?

Is this......my fault?

III. Visitor

The Emperor’s brother-in-law, the Minister of the Left, was plotting to get rid of the Emperor in an attempt to ascend the young prince to the throne. This would let him rule the land with an iron fist. However, the prince’s mother couldn’t bear to see her husband be wounded. To foil his plan, she secretly leaked information about the rebellion to the General and the Minister of the Right, who were in charge of subduing the Fallen Angels. They were prepared to suppress the Minister of the Left once he began the rebellion. Indeed, in the end, the political atmosphere settled down again.

After a few days, word of the Fallen Angels’ retreat spread. It is said that all of this was thanks to the Food Souls under the General. Despite being one of them, I brought disaster upon my people, instead of wielding power to protect them...

My maid had limited information. I wasn’t aware of the gamble the military made. From what I knew, after the General triumphantly returned, there were yet more changes in the country again. The General joined forces with the Minister of the Right and using false names, occupied the lands far away from the capital.

The imperial family......had lost its authority.

As the imperial family declined, the shrine began to fall into disrepair. Since nobody could maintain the palace, would anyone even care about a shrine that needed saisen[6] from the imperial family? The kannushi[7] and maid would have to leave the shrine and either join the army or look elsewhere for a job to support and feed themselves. 

But I can't leave. My status as miko was granted by the Emperor. As an imperial miko, I must continue praying for the country. Everyday, I would kneel in front of the shrine and beg for God’s forgiveness, hoping He wouldn’t punish the people of the country because of me. 

As the days passed, just when I thought everyone had forgotten about this shrine, a merchant came.

Because the imperial family could no longer maintain the shrine, the kannushi opened it to the public so everyone could visit. Matsutake Dobinmushi was the first merchant to visit the shrine. He’s rather famous in Jing Zhong, and was warmly welcomed by the kannushi despite being a Food Soul.

Shockingly, no one expected that he would request to see me.

The kannushi persuaded me to see him because that man not only promised to give saisen to the shrine, he would also fund the construction of a new torii.[8]

--All of this, if I'm willing to meet him.

I'm not sure why he wants to see me. Perhaps he wished to raise his status even higher and bolster his business after meeting someone from the imperial family? Or perhaps, was he no different from those frivolous princes, in search of a glorious title? Or maybe…… he came because of me?

For the sake of those residing in the shrine, I must reluctantly agree to this meeting.

I had imagined many scenarios about how it would play out, but I didn’t expect him to tilt his head upon seeing me. With a puzzled voice, what he said astonished me:

"Where's the miko? Why did she let a Food Soul to come see me?"

He......he knew about my true identity!

At this point, I felt a sense of unprecedented helplessness and worry.

IV. Satisfied Desires

"How dare you doubt my identity!"

In a stern voice, I rebuked his claim, intent on making him aware of the stark contrast between our identities; the tone of my words warned him not to make wild guesses. However, he didn’t back off, and move closer instead, trying to raise the sudare[9] that separated us.

"You're definitely a Food Soul. It's impossible to hide the Soul Power within your body. How can a Food Soul replace an imperial princess to worship God?"

"That's preposterous!"

His words were like an arrow shot into my heart. I immediately stood up and furiously looked at him. I almost lost control of my emotions and was about to hit him.

Perhaps after seeing my incensed expression, he stopped being so impolite. He moved back and sat down, speaking formally:

"You don't need to be angry. I'm not interested in the truth. To me, meeting the "miko" will suffice."

Caught off guard by his abrupt change in attitude, I was unsure what he would do next.

"I'll hide the truth only if you help me. Don't worry, this request will benefit both of us so I'm sure the kannushi wouldn't have anything against it."

This persuaded me, so I decided to hear what he had to say. If this was something the kannushi would agree to, I'm sure it wouldn't hurt the shrine. I suppressed all the worry and anger in my heart and continued our meeting.

What happened afterwards was brief. But what he wanted me to do came as a surprise: he planned on holding a sumo competition in this shrine. The revenue could then be used to repair the shrine and buy incense.

Since ancient times, sumo was a type of ritual to show respect to God. However, despite the fact that I’ve never witnessed before, nor heard about how it could help us bring in money, I was intrigued. Coupled with that, his proposition was so appealing that I couldn’t resist accepting it. 

After all that, he would work with the kannushi to schedule an appropriate date for the sumo competition. 

Sumo was originally an activity that was not only a popular ritual to show respect to God, but also a source of entertainment for the people. 

What made it even more attractive was the shrine itself. Before, it was closed to the public, so many people are curious. 

Moreover, when Matsutake Dobinmushi was planning on how to get the word out about this competition, he came up with an idea for spectators to receive a hand fan with the handprints of a famous sumo wrestler, emphasizing this. Along with that, they also had a chance to see the miko, who would come and observe the competition, and might even obtain an omamori blessed by her.[10] To the everyday people, this was very appealing.

It would be exciting on that day, and my appearance would propel the excitement even higher.

Judging by Matsutake Dobinmushi’s smile, which never once disappeared from his face, I guess he would reap many benefits from this. The always solemn kannushi’s expression relaxed now that the shrine’s problems have been resolved. 

On this joyous occasion, not only will their wishes be satisfied, I could also catch a glimpse of the one I looked up to.

When my maid ushered my Master Attendant to me, my helpless self finally had something to rely on. I hoped she would stay with me forever and never leave, saving me from having to face the impassive God all by myself...

V. Osechi

Osechi's Master Attendant was an imperial princess, selected to be the new miko. As miko, her job was to stay in the shrine and pray for blessings for the country and the imperial family. Mikos may not marry during all of this. She was to worship God with all of her mind and body. Otherwise, she risked God’s punishment.

Of course, no one has dared to find out if a miko found a replacement to take her place, would there be any punishment doled out? 

Thinking she would be lucky, Osechi took on the identity of her Master Attendant, and must now uphold the responsibility that wasn’t hers to begin with. Afterwards, the princess left the palace with her lover. Under a fake name, she lived in the mansion prepared by him.

At first, the princess believed that her wishes had been fulfilled, and henceforth, will live a blissful life.

Unfortunately, she quickly found out that her lover started an affair, and the time he spent visiting the princess whittled down. She spent most of her nights living in an empty mansion all by herself. She once looked forward to this blossoming relationship. But now, it had become lonely and depressing. She couldn’t accept it, and began to wonder if her lover’s change of heart was actually God’s punishment. 

Afterwards, the political landscape of the country began to change. This was followed by Fallen Angel attacks and a power struggle. When the princess tried to gain a position of power in the new state of affairs, her lover went to endorse her new position and lost his life.

Every event began to add more and more stress on the princess. The once elegant garden became barren over time and her life became a living hell. She slowly grew thinner.

Soon after, she blamed herself from running away from her responsibilities, and blamed Osechi even more for responding to her wish. If Osechi had never appeared, her life wouldn’t have become so miserable.

News of the sumo competition and the miko’s special appearance to cheer on the sumo wrestlers spread like wildfire throughout Jing Zhong in the course of one night. When the princess caught wind of it, she decided to take back what she lost and revert everything back to normal.

When Osechi saw the princess, she felt so gleeful that she failed to notice the strange expression on the princess’s face. Once the princess asked how Osechi was doing, she lost her mind and attacked Osechi, ripping off her headdress. Osechi finally came to her senses upon feeling the pain. Yet, she didn’t retaliate because the princess was her Master Attendant, after all.

"You! You're the reason why the imperial family is in this state! If you never appeared, I would've remained as the miko and God wouldn't have punished us so!"

The princess pushed all the blame onto Osechi. Because of her self doubt, after hearing all of this, Osechi couldn’t refute her words. The princess’s hostility led to Osechi to believe that she caused everything that happened. She let the princess tear away her clothes. 

There was only a piece of clothing left to cover Osechi’s body. The rest was on the princess. She smiled, thinking her wish was already fulfilled.

--Matsutake Dobinmushi arrived, and saw this scene.

He heard the entire conversation when he was at the corridor, and now that he’d seen it all, he decided to propose a solution. He pondered over it. Since Osechi had helped him garner some fame and fortune, he’d return the favor. Making her remember this act of kindness wasn’t necessarily bad. Hence, Matsutake decided to interfere. 

He had worked in business for many years, and could persuade anyone with his silver tongue. It was no surprise that he was able to convince a vicious and insane princess. Since the target was delusional, he just had to make it even more convincing. He wanted her to believe that nothing would change, even if she herself continued to worship God, like how it’s always been. Instead, the princess’s decision to willingly change her identity only indicated her lack of respect for God, infuriating Him even more. 

The princess didn’t want to risk incurring God’s fury any further and stopped her previous actions. To ensure that she would completely change her mind, Matsutake Dobinmushi took advantage of the opportunity and assured her that he had the resources to provide her with a luxurious lifestyle.Thanks to his promise, she promptly left. However, Osechi still hadn’t gotten over the fact that her Master Attendant attacked her. She tried to gather what little energy she had left, and thanked Matsutake Dobinmushi for coming to her aid. 

But his assistance did not stop here.

When the political landscape settled down again, the General took advantage of the power of his Food Souls to obtain unquestioned authority. Fallen Angels soon attacked this country just emerging from chaos. Matsutake took advantage of this opportunity to seek out the General and persuaded him that Osechi will use the “power of God” to drive away the Fallen Angels.

Osechi didn’t know how he did it. But she was more than willing to use her power to protect her people. Under the name of God, she'll grant the General unspeakable divine powers.

Over time, the people began to believe that the current miko was the true miko, upholding the will of God. Knowing that the people had faith in her, Osechi no longer doubted herself and became more confident. She believed that even if she must face God, she would still admit herself to be a true miko who will try her best to protect her people. 

As for Matasutake Dobinmushi, the "permit" Osechi and the General gave him allowed his business to flourish. Soon, he became the richest businessman in the entire country.

Notes

  1. Not completely sure what this phrase means, but it could refer to the dust particles under sunlight or keeping her natural beauty.
  2. The raw translation says it was a string or a stringed instrument.
Oyster
Sprite-Oyster


I. Discrimination

I was from a poor, backward village on the outskirts of Gloriville. The villagers there were ignorant and uneducated.

To them, everything unfamiliar spelled disaster. --Be it a tourist from faraway lands or a food soul they summoned in a panic.

They lived in the small world of their village, and many of them were quick to anger… Even to me, their actions were quite unnatural. --Getting engaged to an outsider was an unforgivable sin to them, and they often married their own relatives that they were familiar with.

And I appeared here, in this place that discriminated against all that was unknown.

They had never heard of the beings known as food souls, nor had they encountered fallen angels. I suddenly appeared without warning, and even my physical appearance was extremely alien to them. Everyone believed that I was an omen of disaster.

Hard rocks and rotten produce, all imbued with their hatred, were pelted at me. Seeing an outsider sneaking through the crowd, I suddenly felt a laughable sort of kinship with him.

I lived in a dilapidated thatched shed. When it rained, it poured, and streams of rainwater would pour in through the run-down roof onto me. With nowhere else to go, I covered myself with my shield. This was the only place I belonged.

The man who summoned me forbade me from living with him.

One day, fearsome fallen angels appeared around the village, and I thought that I’d be accepted if I defeated them. But reality proved that it was nothing more than wishful thinking.

When the fallen angels attacked, all the villagers shrunk away and trembled, and once they ascertained the fallen angels’ deaths, they crowded around me. However, I didn’t receive the acceptance I dreamed of.

“All because of you, you monster!” “All because of you!” “If you weren’t here! These monsters wouldn’t have come!!!” “Look at our fields! All ruined! All because of you!”

Seeing the villagers all riled up, I couldn’t help but lower my head and laugh at myself.

Why are you still so hopeful about these people? Do you want them to accept you?

It’s impossible. There’s nobody in the world who will accept you.

II. Place of Belonging

Since that day, I’ve been further alienated by the villagers. Just like the small thatched shed standing out in the lonely outskirts, I was on my own.

I got used to this feeling soon, and sometimes I even felt that it was better to be alone. There’d be nobody to cast hateful glares at me, no condemning words, no endless invectives hurled at me.

Excluding the fallen angel attacks, I rather enjoyed being alone in this shack. It was as if this fragile structure had magical properties, granting me a sense of security.

As the days passed me by, I thought that this would continue forever. But suddenly, one day, someone wreathed in blinding light opened the long-rotten door of the shed.

With the jarring noise of the door hinge, the red-haired man stepped towards me and with a bright smile, he reached out his hand to me.

“I’m here to take you away, do you want to come with me?” “Don’t touch me!” “I won’t touch you. I’m here to take you away, so, do you want to come with me? From what I learned, you must have led a miserable life here.” “None of your business.” “You don’t have to make such a hasty decision, I’ll be waiting for you at the village entrance. If you’ve made up your mind by tomorrow morning, you can come to me.”

The man didn’t mind me being high on guard and left the shed with a smile.

I tugged at the hem of my clothes. Seeing the man leave, my heart stirred anxiously. I didn’t know what to choose.

In the end, I made up my mind. As I looked for belongings to pack, I found it laughable that even after living there for such a long time, there wasn’t a single thing I wanted to bring with me.

The night air was cooling. After a look around, I found the villagers hiding all over, watching me in secret. They looked on with gazes of fear and loathing.

I’ve long since gotten used to the loathful glares. The fearful glances were because they were afraid of me attacking them like the fallen angels.

Seeing this, I couldn’t hold in my laughter. I came to the entrance of the village, to the man alien to this run-down, backward village. He looked at me with confusion.

“What are you laughing about?” “About how hilarious it was that I wondered whether my departure would worry the villagers.” “Is that so… Since you’ve made up your mind, let’s go. Though, I didn’t expect that you didn’t kill these people who treated you so poorly…” “Go where?” “Is that important? Since you’ll be by my side from now on. You don’t have to face this world alone anymore.” “......”

I arrived at the tavern by the name of “Desire” with him. The mistress of the tavern was a beautiful food soul in a red dress, with a pair of red eyes as bright as her skirt. She told me that the man who brought me there was Spaghetti.

The Desire Tavern was run by Borscht, who was also in charge of gathering intel, while Spaghetti would be the one to pick out missions from it. We were able to obtain our living expenses that way.

A simple equivalent exchange. Trading hard work for money.

Others wouldn’t look at me with hatred, as if I were the source of all evil.

Even though this lifestyle was tiring, it was everything I dreamed of. Ensuring the accuracy of Borscht’s intel, making trades and negotiations…

Spaghetti always went out with a food soul that looked like a robot. His name was B-52, and I would often find fresh scars on him. I’ve brought up time and time again that I could go on those dangerous missions with them, but the request was always turned down by Spaghetti. The robotic food soul by his side never went against Spaghetti’s orders either, always refusing to tell me where they were going.

I once questioned Spaghetti’s reasoning, since surely I was strong enough to fight by his side. Yet he never gave me a straight answer.

III. Mission

Spaghetti would often leave the miscellaneous errands to me to get me off his back. Finally, after my repeated questioning, he answered grudgingly. “Someday, when you’ve seen the truth of this world, I’ll let you do those things. It’s still too soon for you now.”

I didn’t understand the meaning between the lines, but I did see his cold expression, worlds apart from his usual warm and gentle face.

I didn’t know what Spaghetti experienced in the past, nor did I know what he wanted to do. But I did learn from his conversations with Borscht that the errands I was sent on were just the tip of the iceberg. There was something important they wanted to accomplish, but they would never tell me.

It was as if Spaghetti was walking through a dark, endless tunnel, and he allowed only B-52 to be by his side. But suddenly, one day, the robotic guy disappeared. There was only Spaghetti left in that dark tunnel, moving forwards.

I wanted to be by his side. I wanted to know what he wanted to do, and why he brought me to him… That’s why I had to work even harder.

B-52’s disappearance didn’t impact our lives that much, though that was only to Borscht and me. His disappearance must have been a great loss to Spaghetti. Though he didn’t show it, I could feel his mood shift.

The biggest toll of B-52’s disappearance would have to be on the efficiency of missions. A mission that would have taken the two of them no more than a week to complete now took Spaghetti upwards of two weeks, and he still had yet to return. Seeing my bandaged hand, dressed by Spaghetti, I couldn’t help but worry.

In the time we’ve been together, I realized, that the Borscht behind the counter and the unreadable Spaghetti had become like “family” to me…

Borscht cupped her cheek with worry. “What shall we do, there’s still a mission we have to complete in Sakurajima… When will Spaghetti return…”

My brow knit at the sight of Borscht leaned against the counter and sighing, and I asked her experimentally. “What mission? I’ll do it.”

Borscht’s attention returned with a jolt and she shook her head after some consideration. “Spaghetti’s order, you can’t go, it’s too dangerous for you.” “I want to help too, let me go.”

Borscht lost the fight against my determined stare. “Alright, alright, you can go, but be careful, Sakurajima isn’t a cakewalk.”

Just as Borscht said, Sakurajima is an island chain that had been conquered by fallen angels, and the barrage of attacks from them never stopped.

No matter how hard I fought, it was as if the fallen angels were unkillable and horde came after horde. I was barely holding myself up. My vision blurred, yet the fallen angels before me kept coming.

Could it be, that this is where I disappear……

A stranger joined the battle. With his help, the fallen angels were quickly beaten back. When I turned around to thank him, before the words were out of my mouth, my body was hoisted up.

“Tha…… What are you doing!!!! PUT ME DOWN!!!!!!!!!”

IV. Differences

My savior was a food soul as well, named Beer. He brought me to what was apparently his old friend’s residence, a quiet courtyard in a sakura forest. He said that this was a beautiful, dreamlike place, a private school that seemed almost otherworldly.

The owner of the school happily welcomed us. I was extremely thankful for that. However, I couldn’t take the way that joyful guy treated me like the other little troublemakers of the school.

I didn’t want to connect with them too much, so I didn’t voluntarily make conversation. Unexpectedly, the kitties that the owner of the school Sanma and the kids took care of warmed up to me quickly and were always around me.

When I had the little fluffy creatures in my lap, their warmth dumbfounded me. Whenever it happened, that Beer guy would smile at me in a way that made me uncomfortable. He called it “parental affection”, but it brought me only insurmountable humiliation.

The people in the school always ignored my angry complaints, always circling me like I’m a playmate.

What’s more unbearable was the way Beer always judged my age by my height. This was something I had never experienced.

I looked towards Beer, who was idly singing a tune he wrote and couldn’t help but become relaxed and fell asleep.

Food souls’ bodies weren’t fragile like humans’, but they needed time to recuperate after severe injuries all the same. That’s why Beer brought me here. He said he was traveling, yet he stayed with me.

He seemed happy to be drinking and chatting with his old friends. Surely, him saying I held up his travels was a lie!

The day I recovered, I went to the man observing the idle clouds in the courtyard, intending to bid him farewell. I must walk the road afterward on my own. Unexpectedly, he got up and patted his clothes. “I’ll go with you!”

I looked at him with shock. I knew he was going somewhere in the opposite direction of Nevras, where the scenery will be beautiful in a few months. The next moment, I found him ruffling my hair, his words cutting my feelings of gratitude short. “Little guy, I’m not going to rest easy knowing you might get attacked by fallen angels again.” “WHO’S LITTLE?!!!”

On the way back to Nevras, time flew by with Beer’s companionship. Beer had traveled to many places, seen many things, and he liked to compose songs from his experiences. In our short journey, I learned two things. Firstly, Beer was an idiot who’d believe anything. Secondly, he was utterly useless besides singing, though admittedly, I did enjoy his songs.

I must have been possessed as I spoke my mind.

“Beer… If we meet again, will you sing to me of what you see after we part ways?” “Hm?” “Uh… Nothing.” “Hm… Then you can tell me when you want to, so let’s chat!” “Huh?” “Let’s talk about, say, where you were in the past? Or what you like to eat? What about the types of girls you like?” “Huh?!” “Or perhaps, why you went to such a dangerous place as Sakurajima alone?”

That night we talked for a long time, and perhaps I understood Beer a little more. For some reason, I told Beer everything--including about Spaghetti. In the light of the campfire, I saw his stern expression.

“Oyster.” “Hm?” “Leave that place and travel with me. There are many beautiful things to experience in this world. You shouldn’t stay there.” “...I won’t leave that place… It’s my home… They’re like my family.”

The friendly atmosphere was dispersed with unhappiness. The next sunrise, the stern expression Beer wore the previous night was nowhere to be found, as if I dreamed it up.

The long journey came to an end. I went silent, staring at the city walls.

We arrived at the outskirts of Nevras, and I knew this guy had to continue his own travels.

No matter whether I’ll miss him, I had returned to where I had to.

V. Oyster

Oyster’s master attendant was born in an extremely backwater village, where there was no place for outsiders, good or bad. As a food soul that suddenly appeared, Oyster was treated as an ill omen.

The attacks of fallen angels were blamed on the innocent food soul by the villagers as a matter of course as well.

This put Oyster in a bad place.

By request of the village elder, one of the villagers went to Nevras to find the tavern spoken of in tales and made a wish to have Oyster and the fallen angels disappear.

It wasn’t the first time Borscht received a request relating to food souls, but it was the first time she saw Spaghetti make a slightly sad expression, even if it lasted a mere second.

Perhaps Spaghetti thought that this was combat power they could use. Perhaps Spaghetti thought that it was funny for the village that didn’t accept anything foreign to make a request with them. Perhaps…

Borscht couldn’t read what Spaghetti had in mind bringing Oyster to them. Even she, being the closest to Spaghetti, wouldn’t have known that he saw his past, desperate people-pleasing self in the Oyster who was disliked by many.

Spaghetti treated Oyster surprisingly gently. He took it upon himself to do many things that he didn’t want to let Oyster do.

It wasn’t because Oyster wasn’t strong enough, rather it was like his heart was untainted. Before Oyster saw the worst the world had in store, he wasn’t going to understand them.

Oyster kept trying to prove his worth, that he was strong enough to stand by Spaghetti’s side, but it never happened. So when Spaghetti was out, he took on what Spaghetti was going to do next.


Sakurajima, a country where humans couldn’t live normally anymore. When the neverending barrage of fallen angels made Oyster think he was about to disappear, a man stood before him with a smile, taking all his hits for him.

When he awoke, the ridiculously kindhearted Beer had brought him to Sanma’s private school to recuperate, while he himself took to singing the songs he wrote in the courtyard.

When Oyster returned to the tavern, he was scolded harshly by the Spaghetti who rarely lost his temper. Seeing Spaghetti showing him his emotions for the first time, Oyster burst into laughter. He finally got closer to Spaghetti, he thought.

Sometime later, Oyster, who was at the Bamboo Mist Pawnshop to buy intel for Spaghetti, met that constantly cheerful guy again.

There were two who were friends of Beer who mixed like oil and water, and one of them wrapped an arm around Oyster’s shoulders after downing a shot. “Yer the Oyster guy, right? Heh… Lemme tell you, that guy that orders you around, he ain't so good a man.”

As if this was an argument he was trying to win, the other pushed Beer aside to wrap his arm around Oyster as well, forceful enough you’d think he was trying to squash Oyster or shove Peking Duck, who was on the other side, away. “Heh, if that guy could be considered good, I’d be loving humans! Hic!”

The one who latched onto Oyster first, Peking Duck, saw that angering mug and retorted drunkenly with a playful smirk. “Heh, bet you do know, if you follow that guy yer gonna lose the things you love.”

After suddenly becoming the subject of a drunkard’s argument, Oyster had to resist the urge to beat them both up and breathed in deeply. “I do know.” Oyster didn’t like the close proximity to the two tipsy men and shoved them aside. “I’m here to get intel too, this time. You have ten seconds to tell me, I don’t have much patience.”

He knew that Spaghetti did far more than the simple things he knew of from the very beginning. However, Spaghetti was the first person in the world to accept him. Even as the dangerous person others spoke of, he still needed the help of others. Even if the road Spaghetti walked would only lead to a dead end, he would always stay by his side. He wanted to use his actions to tell the man who always wore a smile, yet never showing his true feelings; just like he did on that day.

“You don’t have to face this world alone anymore.”

Peking Duck
Sprite-Peking Duck
Long Bao Chibi 4 Notice
This Story has been fan-translated by SDMayo. Official translations will be added when they become available.


I. The Past

The heady scent of tea hung heavy in the air around the tea house. The high pitched cries of the urchins hired to serve the snacks mingled with the laughter of the elders as they nibbled on melon seeds and sweet desserts while listening to the bawdy tales of the story teller.

On the second floor, slender young maidens daintily hid their mouths with their handkerchiefs, blushing furiously as they peeped at the scholars and gentlemen making their way to the nearby courthouse.

The courthouse in this town was nowhere near as foreboding and intimidating as those in other towns.

In the baking afternoon sun, the court bailiffs and runners had stripped off their shirts and rolled up their trousers. They sat near the gates of the courthouse, heartily tucking into large slices of watermelon that had been earlier chilled in the cool waters of the nearby well.

The passersby did not object to this crude behavior. Indeed, it was more annoying and problematic that some pedestrians even waved and shouted cheery greetings to the runners.

The single table in the courtroom of the building was piled high with documents pertaining to local complaints, disputes, and lawsuits. Next to the wobbling stack of documents was a plate pilled high with slices of ruby red watermelon.

And the magistrate carefully studying each document, still dressed in his official robes despite the heat, is my Master Attendant. He had at least enough sense to roll up his sleeves.

With his brush in one hand, and a slice of watermelon in the other, he looked more like a clown from some opera, and absolutely did not carry the imposing gravitas of a magistrate.

Still, a magistrate like this is arguably the best possible match for a small town like this.

The town was nestled between a mountain and a river. The clear waters of the mountain streams ensured that the children of the town grew up strong and healthy, and the constant background music provided by the flowing river was comparable to that produced by an accomplished musician and her zither. In comparison with the cities we had stayed at in the past, I much preferred living in this town.

Here, there was no need to worry about the opinions and views of other officials. And of course, the little children, who would normally have been locked in a coop in the city, were free to follow me in the streets or wander off on their own.

Nevertheless, I held some aversion meeting some shop owners who had become too familiar, and I dreaded being dragged off to one side and piled high with snacks and fruit in exchange for listening to their gossip.

"Oh, you! You simply must tell him! That boy is going to be roasting in this heat, and he still has to work!? Can you imagine how hot it must be in that silly robe? Why not get him to come outside for a bit?"

"Oh, I know! It’s been so hot these past few days! One of my neighbor's daughters, she’s at marriageable age now, why not get him to ask her out?"

It took me a considerable amount of effort to escape from the badgering and gossiping old ladies. Arms filled with sweetmeats and fruit, I staggered back to the courthouse.

At least he’d finally finished his work. Currently he had slumped backward into his chair, sweat pouring off his brow.

I selected a pear and tossed it accurately at his head.

"Auntie Zhang sends her regards. And Auntie Li is asking if you have the time to see the second daughter of the family that lives next door."

To his credit, he had not reacted at all to being struck in the head by a pear. However, he did show a sign of life when I mentioned the second daughter.

"Hm… Oh, please spare me… She’s twice as wide as me, and isn’t she already engaged to that chap from the butchers’ shop?"

I pulled up a chair next to his and sat down to inspect the documents he had signed. Most of them were just minor disputes and complaints. I couldn’t help shaking my head, sighing as I replaced the cases.

The wreck in the chair next to mine turned sharply at the sound, eyes narrowing as he glared coldly at me.

"Speaking of which, if you’re free enough to wander in the streets, why not help me with the paperwork?"

"Keep on dreaming. This is your job, you ought to do it well. Also, that young lady from West street gave me a letter to pass to you. I’ve left it in your private quarters."

"The heck!? You could have said it earlier! Ah, right, I bought you a new tobacco pipe earlier, and a nice pouch for your tobacco. I left it in my drawer somewhere, help yourself to it – it was pretty pricey. Anyway, see you around, I gotta reply to her at once."

In a flash, the man leapt from his chair and dashed toward the door, nearly killing himself when he tripped and stumbled on the floor. I sighed again.

Still, those were good times, and I remember once thinking that in this way, I would watch him mature, find a wife, have kids, and in due time, be surrounded by his grandchildren and great grandchildren. As peaceful and innocent as the town we now lived in.

II. Metamorphosis

A thin layer of snow lay upon every roof, and young grass shoots had begun to push themselves out of the snow, speckling the ground with pinpricks of green. Where in the past, the villagers would have gathered to idly chatter while drinking tea and watching the snow melt, there was now only silence, and an oppressive atmosphere of death.

The snows of winter had fallen too heavily that year, smothering not just the farmlands, but burying the roads, cutting off the town from the rest of civilization. The snow piling up on the familiar mountains surrounding the village had all too frequently come crashing down in an avalanche, and many had been buried alive under a wall of crushing ice.

Starvation, disease, and pestilence followed in its wake. In a single season, the peaceful town was brought to the brink of destitution.

One by one, the merchants shuttered their businesses. Early in the season, lanterns had been hung outside the houses to guide passers-by home in the dark winter. Lanterns still hung from the doors, though the character painted on them in black ink indicated that the household was in mourning. All neighborly spirit had deserted the villagers.

My Master Attendant was frustrated and agitated by the tragedy that had befallen the village. Food and grain from his stores, which should have been used to feed his wife and child, were distributed to the villagers who were dying of starvation. In front of my eyes, the man who had once filled out his robes grew thin and sickly.

His young son would often cry himself hoarse from hunger. I repeatedly advised him to at least leave his own son enough to eat. He never gave me a response, hugging his son desperately while his heart ached and his hands went white from exertion.

And so, the despair of the townsfolk led them to easily fall into the grasp of twisted salvation.

A sinister and vile rumor began spreading in the town.

At some point in time, the warm gentle smiles of the townspeople were replaced with drunken and blazingly intense smiles.

Slowly, the intensity of the smiles grew into a kind of insanity.

The empty streets filled up once again. Crowds of devotees flooded the roads, headed toward the shrine of a cult that had been secretly constructed in the dead of winter.

Master Attendant decided to investigate and made inquiries.

The brainwashed masses gathered at the shrine had all said one thing, and nothing else – their new god was great. It was as if their personalities had been erased, leaving nothing but unfathomable faith in this strange god.


It began with tithes of gold and silver. Soon, it was beautiful young women and men, to serve the priests directly. Finally, it was human sacrifice. Entire families would commit ritual suicide to appease their vile deity.

Even Master Attendant’s runners had fallen to the snares of the abominable faith. Before long, I was the only one left standing by my Master Attendant’s side. But what could we do?

Just as he was driving himself mad trying to think of a solution, a strange man dressed in long robes and covered in sinister tattoos called upon him at his home. He brought with him gifts of exotic food and chests stuffed full of jewels, gold, and silver.

"All we require from you is to report all the deaths that have occurred here in this town as having been caused by the harsh winter when you send your annual report to the officials in the capital. If you are willing to turn a blind eye to our existence and expansion, all these gifts will be yours."

"What exactly are you trying to do?"

"We just want prosperity."

"Human sacrifice? You just want prosperity? And those drugs you’re forcing on people at your shrine!? Is that just for prosperity too!? You are destroying lives and killing people!"

"It simply makes their faith stronger. Especially since they’re unable or unwilling to pay the cost of losing their faith."

"I will destroy you."

"… Well, I hope you don’t live to regret your words today. My offer still stands. If you ever change your mind, just have that fellow beside you come to the shrine to find me."

As a Food Soul, my actions were limited to protecting my Master Attendant from frontal attacks, traversing dangerous places, and completing dangerous tasks on his behalf. W