Chapter 9: Twin Wu Mu


 

Kongming gazed at Luo Xue’s figure resembling a mud monkey, his eyes filled with disbelief.
“Luo Xue?”

 

“True Immortal!” Luo Xue's face lit up as he ran over.
Although he still appeared shy, he seemed much better than before, no longer curling up in fear.

 

It was the first time the Kongming True Immortal had seen him running towards him, leaving him at a loss, but also filled with faint joy.

 

Once Luo Xue ran into his arms, Kongming finally regained his composure, embracing the cat-eared child.

 

He was deeply shocked.
Luo Xue's spiritual energy was even more abundant than when he was on his own immortal mountain.
His state of mind was clear and free of distractions.
No wonder he had been able to break through the shackles and undergo transformation.

 

“Well, well! Little fool!” A black cat's head emerged from Kongming's shoulder.
“Long time no see.
You actually managed to undergo transformation.”

 

“Mmm…” As soon as Luo Xue caught sight of Wu Mu, he pouted and immediately retreated behind Yun Zhao, rubbing against him.

 

Yun Zhao looked over, hesitating.
“True Immortal, who is this…?”

 

“Oh right, I almost forgot the main business,” Kongming said.

 

Kongming dropped the black cat onto the ground, and as its paws touched the ground, it transformed into a black-clad child.
The child bore a resemblance to Luo Xue, but with a mischievous glint in his eyes.

 

Wu Mu respectfully bowed.
“Wu Mu greets Lord Yun Zhao.
The True Immortal is about to embark on a journey to the South Sea, so he will be relying on you in the days to come.”

 

Luo Xue made a face in the darkness upon seeing the obedient and polite demeanor of the black-clad child.

 

Yun Zhao naturally didn't notice and sighed with delight at having another cat in the mountain.
He was quite pleased.

 

Kongming had come to deliver this fellow, promptly paid the money, and signed the contract.

 

Yun Zhao took the money pouch and discovered it contained twice as many spirit stones as expected.
He couldn't help but be surprised.
“True Immortal, you've given too much.”

 

“It's not too much, not too much at all.” Kongming chuckled, stroking his long beard.
“I spent decades without being able to help Luo Xue undergo transformation.
It was thanks to you that he was able to break through.
Otherwise, after a hundred years, he might have started to weaken and gradually dissipate.”

 

Yun Zhao hadn't anticipated such consequences.
He gently stroked Luo Xue's head, and the cruel nature of the laws governing the heavens and the earth reminded him suddenly of Ao Yu.

 

“How long can he survive under the merciless will of heaven, if he’ll never be able to recover?” he wondered.

 

Kongming carefully wiped away the mud stains from Luo Xue's face, observing the newfound brightness in the child's eyes.
A profound sense of guilt overwhelmed him.


 

He hesitated before speaking, “Luo Xue, it was my fault in the past.
I didn't accompany you properly…”

 

Luo Xue tilted her head and blinked, raising her hand to touch Kongming's beard.
“Master, there's no need to apologize, but please remember to visit me often.”

 

Kongming was taken aback, but then he affectionately patted Luo Xue's little head.
“Alright, it's a promise.”

 

He cleared his throat and gave a few instructions to Wu Mu before ending the small talk.
Summoning the crane, he departed from Yuming Mountain.

 

 

Yun Zhao had intended to inform Ao Yu that their kindergarten had welcomed a second new student, but upon returning to the room, he found Ao Yu fast asleep, curled up with his tail wrapped around him.

 

Not wanting to disturb him, Yun Zhao prepared a bucket of squid for the steed to pull to the market, as usual.
This time, Wu Mu, who had transformed back into a small cat, and Luo Xue joined him on the journey.

 

Along the way, Wu Mu clung to the squid skewers, his eyes fixed on Yun Zhao like blazing torches.
Understanding his desire, Yun Zhao immediately roasted a skewer and offered it to him.

 

With a few quick bites, Wu Mu widened his eyes in surprise.
It was no wonder there had been an increase in the number of disciples leaving the mountain.
The taste of these grilled skewers was truly delightful!

 

Wu Mu affectionately rubbed his head against Luo Xue, smacking his lips in appreciation.
“Luo Xue, you're living a good life!”

 

Luo Xue hummed twice, ignoring him.
Seeing his response, Wu Mu became intrigued.
He crouched down, seizing the opportunity when Luo Xue wasn't paying attention, and pounced on the soft and tender little white cat.
He held Luo Xue firmly with his front paws and playfully scratched him with his hind claws.

 

When Yun Zhao glanced over, Wu Mu immediately released Luo Xue and gently licked his disheveled fur, assuming the appearance of a respectful younger brother.

 

Luo Xue: …

 

The steed expertly pulled the small wooden cart to the market.
Yun Zhao leaped off the cart and was immediately taken aback.

 

His usual spot for setting up the stall had already been claimed, and they were selling the exact same grilled squid as him!

 

Squid fishing wasn't difficult, and any water-savvy beast could catch them easily.

 

Yun Zhao surveyed the area and noticed that there were multiple stalls selling grilled squid.
The loud calls echoed throughout the entire market, and he even recognized one particular vendor who had mocked him a few days ago, selling meat skewers.

 

The vendor spotted Yun Zhao and smirked, greeting the customers with even more enthusiasm.
It seemed like a show of defiance towards Yun Zhao.

 

Yun Zhao didn't pay much attention to it.
Grilled squid was a popular and profitable item, so it was only natural that others would try to replicate the success.


 

He took a sniff of the air and realized that the seasonings used for the grilled squid were similar to his own.
This realization made him pause for a moment.

 

He had brought only a small amount of his special chili and cumin.
A few days ago, he had bought a good quantity of spices at a reasonable price in the market.
Little did he know that someone had discovered his secret recipe.
It was his own lack of experience and carelessness.

 

The vendor, upon seeing Yun Zhao's silence, cheerfully called out, “Lord Yun Zhao, why are you just standing here instead of setting up your stall? Don't block my customers.”

 

Other vendors nearby laughed and added, “Xu Liu, you've angered the wife of our esteemed young master.
Be careful, or you'll face consequences when you get home.”

 

Xu Liu pretended to be flustered and approached Yun Zhao with an exaggerated expression, “I apologize, sir.
It was an unintentional mistake in my small business.
Someone like you shouldn't take offense.”

 

His comical act elicited laughter from the vendors, and their attention shifted towards Yun Zhao, curious to see his reaction.

 

It seemed that there were quite a few people who envied him.
Yun Zhao remained silent, but Wu Mu, perched on Yun Zhao's shoulder, began licking his paws, his gaze carrying a hint of hostility.

 

Wu Mu had expected Yun Zhao to reprimand Xu Liu, but to his surprise, Yun Zhao said nothing and instead moved with the steed to find a new spot to set up their stall.

 

The new location was more secluded, but there were still loyal customers who recognized Yun Zhao and followed him.

 

Despite the disruption caused by the other vendors, Yun Zhao persevered and sold the squid until the afternoon when the lanterns were lit.

 

Luo Xue lifted his head and nuzzled against Yun Zhao's face, wanting to comfort him but struggling to find the right words.
He ended up frustrated and made little sounds of distress.

 

“Are you not angry?” he asked.

 

Yun Zhao lowered his head and noticed that it was Wu Mu who was inquiring.

 

In the darkness of the night, Wu Mu blended into the shadows, leaving only his pair of golden feline eyes, which stared intently at Yun Zhao.

 

Yun Zhao pondered for a moment, rubbing his chin.
“To say that I'm not angry would be a lie, but in the world of commerce, cunning is to be expected.
Ultimately, it was my own lack of vigilance that allowed others to uncover my secret recipe.”

 

“So, were you planning to stop selling?” Wu Mu asked again.

 

Yun Zhao packed up his things and had the steed pull the cart back.
“I won't sell anymore.
The entire market is filled with vendors selling the same thing, and customers will soon grow tired of it.
I'll come back with something fresh and exciting before long.”

 

A smile reappeared on the young man's face, and Wu Mu looked at Yun Zhao thoughtfully.
This mountain spirit seemed to be more interesting than Wu Mu had initially thought.

 

Luo Xue didn't know what Yun Zhao had in mind, but she trusted him completely, sticking close to his arm.
“Brother is the best! Everything my brother makes is delicious!”


 

Unbeknownst to Yun Zhao, Luo Xue had become his devoted little cat, always urging him on.
He urged the steed to hasten back to Yuming Mountain.

 

After all, there was an ancestor waiting to be fed on the mountain!

 

Yuming Mountain was brightly lit, and rabbits roamed between the pavilions.
Some brought their own grass mats to bask in the moonlight, while others wiped the railings with cloths.
One rabbit held a water basin and considerately asked the silver-white little dragon, “Sir, do you need a bath?”

 

“No, go away.”

 

Ao Yu watched impatiently as the rabbits filled the room, flicking his tail.
Yun Zhao had turned his Yuming Mountain into the Guanghan Palace.

 

Even Chang'e wouldn't keep so many rabbits, right?

 

“Ao Yu!”

 

Yun Zhao's voice grew closer, and the swaying dragon tail abruptly stopped.

 

Yun Zhao entered with a black and white cat trailing behind him.
Carrying a food tray, he pushed the door open and saw Ao Yu sprawled on a soft cushion, tilting his chin upward, seemingly questioning why dinner was served so late.

 

“I got delayed today.”

 

Yun Zhao placed the dishes on the table.
He had put extra effort into tonight's meal, considering they had a new member in the mountain.

 

There were cabbage meatballs, sweet and sour fish, golden scallops, spicy prawns, and stir-fried broccoli crab.

 

The sumptuous dishes made Luo Xue, squatting nearby, uncontrollably salivate, unsure which dish to start with.

 

“Why did you make so many?” Ao Yu asked, his mouth forming the words, but his eyes fixed on Yun Zhao's hands, silently urging him to hurry and serve the food.

 

In a corner unnoticed by others, Wu Mu stared at the white jade cup on the table, suddenly feeling an itch in his paws.
He rubbed them against the edge of the table, unable to resist the temptation as he reached out his guilty paws toward the cup…

 

*Crack!*

 

A crisp sound made Yun Zhao turn his head.

 

He saw the jade cup shattered into pieces, while Luo Xue sat by the table, looking confused.

 

Pushing cups seemed to be a cat's nature, so Yun Zhao patted Luo Xue's head without saying anything and continued to serve Ao Yu his meal.


 

Luo Xue finally regained his senses and turned his head, looking at Wu Mu who was already eating the fish.
He angrily pounced towards him, but to his surprise, he missed and fell flat on his back.

 

Wu Mu wagged his tail and glanced at him, stealing a few laughs before resuming his meal.

 

Furious in his mind, Luo Xue cursed, “Bad Wu Mu!”

 

Yun Zhao's culinary skills were indeed impressive.
The prawns were fresh and sweet, presenting a tempting orange-red color when mixed with spicy oil.

 

After peeling off the shrimp shells, dipping them into the red oil on the plate intensified the flavor, a delightful combination of spiciness and sweetness.
Each bite filled the throat with succulent meat juices, balancing out the lingering spice.

 

Dragon claws were not nimble enough for peeling prawns, so Yun Zhao peeled them and fed them directly into the little dragon's mouth.
The red oil mixed with shrimp roe stained his hands.
Yun Zhao instinctively licked his fingers before continuing to peel the prawns.

 

Ao Yu was savoring his meal when he noticed Yun Zhao's actions.
He immediately paused, and his dragon horns turned slightly pink without his awareness.

 

Yun Zhao held a peeled shrimp near the little dragon's mouth, but Ao Yu remained silent, his gaze wandering around.

 

Yun Zhao asked, “Did it get too spicy? Let's try another dish.”

 

As he was about to place the shrimp in his own bowl, he felt a moist touch on his fingertips.
Looking down, he saw Ao Yu leaning over, opening his mouth to snatch the shrimp meat.
Then, he turned his face away and chewed the meat in his mouth.

 

Wu Mu watched with great interest and followed suit, picking up a piece of sweet and sour fish and feeding it to Luo Xue.

 

Sweet and sour fish was a favorite among cats.
The whole fish was fried to a golden brown on both sides and coated in a shiny, red sauce.

 

With each bite, it offered a tangy, sweet, and crispy sensation—tender on the inside with a crispy exterior.
Since they were in the kitchen, Luo Xue's eyes had never left this big fish.

 

Luo Xue's eyes showed surprise.
He didn't expect her mischievous brother to voluntarily feed him food.
His little paw tapped on the table a few times, and he leaned in—

 

Just as he was about to touch the fish, Wu Mu swallowed it in one gulp and placed a paw on Luo Xue's mouth.

 

Luo Xue looked at Wu Mu in disbelief as he swallowed the fattest, juiciest piece of fish.
He smirked at her, his eyes gleaming with malicious mockery.

 

Once again, he was being teased!

 

************

 

Translator’s note: I kept on smiling while reading this.
It makes my heart melt with sweetness! The cats are so cute, and I can imagine Ao Yu’s horns turning red.
Hahaha. 

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