Little Cat & Big Dog (小猫大狗)
By Feng Yue Bo (风月泊)
Translated by Reila Project
Disclaimer: Link for original work can be found under my profile. Please support this translation by visiting my blog website under my profile as well :)
Chapter 3: Idiopathic Deep Sleep/无端沉眠
Early in the morning, with just the beginning of daylight, shops had already opened for business. People on the street busied about running their own errands.
Sometimes, a few passer-biers would pause a bit in front of the large gate of a big resident mansion and shake their head in pity before continuing their journey. This particular mansion with its gates closed tightly shut had a wooden plaque inscribed with golden letters "Zhao Resident" shining magnificently under the sunlight on top of the doorway.
The Zhao family was a big, rich family, but unlike other nobles they were humble and benevolent. They often helped out and donated food to those in need. And thus, the community respected them. Hearing of the recent incurable sickness that the Young Master was having they would all sigh in pity.
Currently, another person stopped in front of the gates, but this time the person didn't leave. Instead she stared at the gates in thought, a slight frown on her face. Behind her, a little white cat lazily sat while licking the back of her paw.
The cat was happily cleaning itself. The woman shook her robe sleeves and looked down at the cat with some disapproval. The cat felt it and shot back: "Why are you looking at me this way? You allowed me to tag along. Don't worry, I'll just be watching from the sideline. I won't cause you any trouble or harm any humans. I don't want to dirty my paws on those insignificant humans."
Gou Yue knew that Fan Chan was blaming her for scratching the human child and said: "I was only teaching that kid a lesson. It's his fault for…" She paused to collect her thought and then refuted: "That little kid has bad moral. He wanted to violate me."
Fan Chan raised her eyebrow: "That kid only wanted to pet you a bit."
"Easy for you say. If a man wanted to publicly pet you up, are you willing?!"
At this moment, with a creak, the front gate opened. A servant came out with a bamboo broom to rake the fallen leaves at the front gates. He shivered and looked up to see a beautiful woman standing in front of him.
The servant was dumbfounded, but seeing that the woman had no intention of leaving he got out of his stupor and walked up to her. He wanted to ask her intentions, but was stopped from voicing his thoughts by her unapproachable cold aura.
"You, bring me to see you Master," out of the blue, Fan Chan finally said.
As if casted under a spell, the embarrassed and awkward servant didn't doubt her command and said: "Yes, yes. Plea-, Please come this way." Only when he bought them into the front courtyard did he felt doubtful and paused in his footsteps. Before he had a chance to turn and ask though, the woman voiced in a crystal clear but icy tone: "Don't speak. I'm here to save your Young Master."
Having his thoughts seen through, the servant wisely shut his mouth. His ears red all the way to the tip, he continued to lead them. In his heart, he wondered why he was being so obedient to this beautiful Taoist; he couldn't even voice a complete sentence in refute. But, at least she was here to save Young Master, so bringing her to the antechamber couldn't be wrong…
The cat followed leisurely behind them. Probably because it hadn't been outside in such a long time everything was new to her. She curiously glanced left and right, her spirits high. Finally she lifted her head and looked back at the grey-white robed Taoist and said in her mind to her: "Hey, why can't we just sneak in here and help them instead? Why this hassle of you disguising as a Taoist? If you don't want the humans to recognize you, why don't you just erase their memory afterwards?"
"It's more complicated this time, I may need the humans' assistance so it's better to be in direct contact with them." Her clear, icy voice sounded in her ear. "Also, humans' memory can't be just randomly erased as you please. For some of them, it may cause harm."
Gou Yue stared up at the disguised face of Fan Chan. Her eyes filled with mischief and lightly laughed: "Then you can transform into an old man, that way you'll look more reputable and strong. Or, is it because you don't want to transform yourself into an ugly face?" Even though this current face was already not as pretty as her original look.
"It's because the mortals described me as a pretty Taoist,"Fan Chan deadpanned emotionlessly.
The cat was speechless. She expected the normal reaction of embarrassment and denial but her straightforward answer…
At this time, the servant interrupted them: "Godde-, Noble Taoist, please come this way. Elder Young Master and Lady is currently inside the antechamber."
The Elder Young Master and the Lady was currently having breakfast in the antechamber. Seeing A Hu bringing in a stranger, puzzlement appeared on their faces. But seeing the grey-white robed Taoist, footsteps light and graceful, robe swaying gently with the wind and as if covered by a glowing mist, reminded them of an immortal being.
After they got closer, Elder Young Master stabled himself and putted down the chopsticks in his hands and inquired: "A Hu, cough, cough…this is….cough, cough…" He didn't have a chance to finish the question before his chronic illness made him cough again.
"Elder Young Master, this Noble Taoist said she could save Second Young Master," A Hu hurriedly answered. Upon hearing this, the Lady who was leaning next to the Elder Young Master trying to help him stop his cough stood up suddenly and looked at them in excitement: "Really? You can save my son?"
"Mother, please calm down first." Elder Young Master gently squeezed her hand in reassurance and then turned his attention to the stoic woman standing before them. "Madam, you said you have a way to save my brother?"
His face was pale, obviously sickly but his eyes had a sharp alertness to them. The news of his brother's strange sickness had passed far and wide, he had to be cautious of frauds. Already, a couple of day ago, two amateur Taoist had came and almost swindled them. And now this woman standing before them seemed too young to be experienced…
Seeing his doubtful look, Fan Chan took an object from the sleeves of her robe and gave it to him: "This is the keepsake your father put inside the wooden box."
Recognition flashed across Elder Young Master's face at the sight of the jade pendent. That was indeed the keepsake that his father putted inside the wooden box before he left for Shen Yin Mountain; It was the jade pendent that his brother had worn since birth. And then, combined with the news of yesterday's letter, there was no more doubt.
Shortly after, they brought Fan Chan into a room.
Entering the room, she sensed a peculiar aura. Humans wouldn't be able to see the swirling pinkish misty smoke that filled the room nor the strangely sweet smelling flowery scent scattered about. Fan Chan frowned. Her eyes quickly swept around the room once before finally landing on the figure on the bed.
The face of the young man under the blanket was ghostly pale with dark circles under his eyes but strangely enough, the corners of his mouth was turned upwards in a smile as if he was enjoying a particularly happy dream. Fan Chan walked over to him and rested two fingers on his forehead. His breathing was peaceful and regular. Nothing seemed off about his pulse as well. Yet strangely, there was no life in him, as if he was a dead person…
"He can still be saved." Pulling her hand away, she turned and said to the two waiting behind her.
"Thank goodness! Thank goodness!" The two let go of the breath they were holding; their worry half way relieved. Lady Zhao's eyes were red with tears of happiness and was going to get down to kowtow her. But Fan Chan stopped her and said: "You don't have to thank me." Then asked: "He's been like this since half a month ago?"
"Yes." Lady Zhao used a handkerchief to wipe away her tears. "We came back from Qin Ming*, Yu Er** (宇儿) looked fine, just a bit upset. He told me he missed Fang Er** a bit. We reminisced for awhile of the past. But then, the next day….he wouldn't wake up…and it became like this…" (*Qin Ming=清明=A Chinese holiday were people go visit the graves of their ancestor and deceased relatives. **Er=儿=literally meant child, but in this case is used as a suffix after a person's name to show endearment.)
As the Lady reflected on the past, sorrow took over and tears started falling again. "Thank goodness that you're here. Otherwise, I'm going to lose another child…"
"His younger sister lost her footsteps and fell off from a window in his childhood. She left us at such a young age, and now if anything happens to Yu Er, I…I don't think I could live…"
"Mother, what are you saying," Elder Young Master hurried to comfort her, "Little brother has the help of the Goddess, there definitely won't be any problem."
After hearing the story, Fan Chan lowered her head in thought. Suddenly, raucous from outside the room distrusted the silence; it was the loud barks of a dog. Elder Young Master walked outside and saw a snow white cat elegantly sat in front of the door while their Shepard dog barked at it non-stop.
"Wher-, Where did this cat came from?" Elder Young Master asked the maids but they all shook their head.
"I brought it." Fan Chan said indifferently from behind him. She almost forgot about this cat.
"Oh, it's the Goddess' pet!" Elder Young Master exclaimed in surprise. Afraid to anger the Goddess, he hurried to stop the dog: "Stop! A Liu! Cough…What are you barking for? Go away, away! Cough, cough…" This agitated him to start coughing again. For some odd reason today, this normally very obedient dog still wouldn't drop its guard towards this fluff of white.
"Woof! Woof, woof, woof!" It's hair puffed out and stood from their ends, teeth bared, eyes glared at the cat angrily as if ready to pounce on it at any moment.
Gou Yue got deeply annoyed by the barking. Dogs, she never liked this type of creature; they indeed had no manners and were very stupid. And this dog's owner was not any better. Who said she was the Goddess'pet? She wanted to rip that sickly face apart!
She gracefully unsheathed her sharp claws and coldly looked over, then narrowed her eyes and send out a murderous aura. Elder Young Master felt a sudden drop in temperature and the dog abruptly stopped its barking as if spooked. It then whimpered and ran away with its tail between its legs.
Lady Zhao and the servants there were all stupefied by the event. Fan Chan indifferently glanced at them and continued: "Okay, now everyone please leave the room."
"Oh, okay." Elder Young Master signalled to the servants: "Everyone can leave here, this place temporarily wouldn't be needed to be waited on." "Understood." The servants obediently left the area, but not before first taking a quick peak at Fan Chan. The white cat by the doorway looked down on them coldly and then entered the room.
Fan Chan said to the remaining mother and son: "You two leave too."
"I understand your worry, but if you two stay here it will hinder me." She said with unbashful frankness, then handed them a stack of talisman paper. "Have them pasted on the two sides of the front gate, and on the outer wall at every three feet from west to south. In addition, I don't want anyone to disturb us here and don't let anyone leave or enter into the mansion.
"If that's so…okay. We understood." Elder Young Master answered with seriousness. He had long heard of this Half-Diety's methods and understood the seriousness of the situation. He obediently followed her instructions. "Mother, let's leave the room and not get in her Taoist's way.
"Oh, alright…" She answered reluctantly eyes still looking at her second son. Finally, she looked at the Goddess and said earnestly: "Thank you Noble Taoist." And then left the room with her elder son.
The cat at the side listening to the whole conversation stretched lazily. She waved away the pink mist lurking around her in annoyance. Fan Chan quickly walked over to the door and sealed it with two talisman paper. Returning to the bed side, she send a bit of her spirit aura inside the young man and checked his condition. As she had thought, there was no soul inside of the body.
"If I haven't mistaken, this is a work of the Dream Daemon." She said quietly.
Fan Chan didn't notice the oddity of Gou Yue's reaction to her words and continued: "Dreams come from the heart and the Dream Daemon are created from the deepest regret of the heart. They feed off the darkness of the human's hearts in the form of dreams." She then frowned. "Truthfully though, pretty much everyone had their dreams eaten by a Dream Daemon at some point of their lives. But, it's the first time that this had became an issue where it endangers a human life."
"This is a bit of a special case. Maybe this human's dream was too addicting to this Dream Daemon and so the prolonged sleep and dream had caused his soul to leave the body."
End of Chapter 3
Gou Yue: This transformation disguise…in truth, you really secretly love to cosplay, right?!
Fan Chan: (answering stoically) Impossible.
Gou Yue: (covering her laughter behind her paws) Then what's with all the accessory tools and costumes hiding under your bed ~~
Fan Chan: … Come over here and let We erase your memory!