vol. 1: chapter twenty-five – caring for the cats

Lan Yu led Li Xinwen back to the cottage and as soon as they got inside, Li Xinwen felt a sense of familiarity. ‘Ah… it truly feels as if I was back in Long Xing…’ he thought as he looked around. The room was simple; most of the decorations were either made of bamboo, or some other type of wood. Of course, the quality of the wood and the bamboo were not that simple. Since they were grown in a place rich in spiritual energy, they also absorbed some of the energy, making them even more sturdy.

From the living room, Li Xinwen could see three more doors and he couldn’t help but be curious. ‘I assume one is the bedroom, but what are the other two?’ He turned to Lan Yu who stared at him with expectant eyes.

“Well? What do you think, master?” Lan Yu asked. “Everything here was personally made by the old master. Before he died, he left a lot of items for his successor, but unfortunately, something happened and… well, we’re in this state now,” Lan Yu said with a sigh. “Anyway, come over here,” Lan Yu led Li Xinwen to one of the shelves filled with trinkets. There were also some small boxes, and no matter where Li Xinwen’s eyes landed, he did not see any dust. ‘Clearly, Lan Yu has been keeping this place clean.’ His eyes unconsciously went to the small spirit again who was currently looking around for something.

“Here it is!” Lan Yu exclaimed with a bright smile on his face. He grabbed a palm sized, round jade container and handed it over to Li Xinwen. “This is one of the medicines that the old master made,” Lan Yu said as he opened the lid to show Li Xinwen its content. “When you put this ointment on your skin, it will let others see an illusion. The old master used this to disguise his face, sometimes he’d change his face to an old man, and sometimes a face with ugly scars. How about you try it master! I’m sure it will– aaah! Master! What are you doing?!”

Li Xinwen naturally knew how the ointment worked after hearing Lan Yu’s explanation. So, he applied some onto his hand and then rubbed it all over Lan Yu’s face as an experiment while the fairy was still talking. “Don’t move. I just want to see what it does. After all, it has been here for who knows how long, ah! What if it has lost its effect?” Li Xinwen said, though he knew that it was impossible since the jade container was made of a top-grade spiritual jade. ‘In any case, I just wanted to make sure Lan Yu didn’t get the wrong ointment by accident…’ he thought to himself.

After rubbing the ointment all over Lan Yu’s face, he waited for a while and not long after, Lan Yu’s face changed into that of an old fairy. The face was full of wrinkles and there was even an unkempt beard on his face.

“En. This will be helpful. I’ll be taking this out,” Li Xinwen said as he closed the jade container and put it in his pocket. “Is this the only one?” Li Xinwen asked.

“Unfortunately,” Lan Yu flew over to a mirror on top of a cabinet and then let out a horrified scream. “Ugly! So ugly!” he cried before he wiped his face with his clothes. “Master is bullying me…” he grumbled in protest, stomping his tiny feet in the air.

Li Xinwen chuckled and shook his head at the fairy’s reaction. He patiently waited for Lan Yu to finish cleaning his face before finally asking, “You said the old master made this. Is there a way that I can make this too?”

“Of course! Come right here!” Lan Yu flew over to the door on the right side of the main entrance and Li Xinwen followed behind him. When they entered the room, Li Xinwen found that there were three other doors inside.

‘Why are there so many doors? No, the more important question would be, how can this cottage fit so many rooms? It doesn’t look as big from the outside. I wonder what kind of enchantment was used for this structure…’ Li Xinwen wondered as he examined the room while running his hand along the wall. By doing so, he was able to sense the array’s energy placed along the walls. He chuckled a little realizing that this was not a normal cottage, just as he had suspected.

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“The first door is the medicine making room, the second door is the pill refining workshop and the last one is the room for crafting!” Lan Yu explained like an expert tour guide. “But the old master sealed it before he died… Don’t worry though! The old master did leave something to help you undo the seal!” Lan Yu said before he dragged Li Xinwen to the other door located right in front of the entrance and pulled Li Xinwen inside.

The room was a study. After entering, Li Xinwen gasped in surprise at the number of shelves which lined all three sides of the room. The shelves started at the floor and went all the way to the ceiling and were filled with books of varying sizes and thickness. Li Xinwen scanned the rows of books and read the title on each spine. Immediately, an inconspicuous book in the middle of the fourth shelf on the right side of the room caught his eye. He approached the shelf without waiting for Lan Yu’s explanation and slowly reached out, his slender hands trembling in excitement.

“This… is the manual for the lost cultivation technique; the Flame Eruption! In Long Xing, only the first three steps were preserved!” Li Xinwen said as he flipped through the pages. “But this book is complete!” Li Xinwen’s eyes were shining as he put the book back and took out another. “I’ve never seen this before. Phantom Form?” Li Xinwen flipped to the first page and started to read. As he continued to read the technique’s description, he happily anticipated how useful it could be. “This would really help us sneak around during the apocalypse. Unfortunately, I need to be at jindan stage at least to start cultivating this technique,” Li Xinwen sighed. He returned the book to its place and suddenly remembered that Sun Xiao had a Zhuo Yang body type, which meant he had the aptitude to cultivate.

“Lan Yu! Does the old master have anything that can help someone with a Yang body type to cultivate?” Li Xinwen asked.

“Yes, we have several things! But master… you have a Yin type body, ah! If you use cultivation methods for a Yang body type, it will be detrimental for you!” Lan Yu said in a worried tone.

“It’s not for me. It’s for someone else. Anyway, prepare all the references suitable for someone with a Yang body type. I’ll take them out,” Li Xinwen said as he began looking around once more.

“As you wish, master!” Lan Yu said before he began browsing the shelves. “Ah, yes! The thing that can help you undo the seal is on the table! Master should have a look!”

When Li Xinwen heard this, he walked over to the table and saw that there were two books – one thick and one thin. The table was a short-legged table so Li Xinwen simply sat on the floor before he grabbed the thinner of the two books. Flipping through the pages, he learned that the pocket dimension belonged to the growing type heavenly treasure. Which meant that even after Li Xinwen restored it to its original state, he would be able to make it grow continuously. Originally, the owner had only wanted to experiment and see if he could create a small world of his own. ‘But since the pocket dimension is in this state, I guess he failed,’ Li Xinwen thought as he continued to read. In the entry, it mentioned several other features of the pocket dimension. Like the spiritual lake that he saw earlier, that could be used for nourishment. Further into the journal, it mentioned that the owner was even able to put living animals inside.

“Lan Yu!” Li Xinwen called out as soon as he read it. “Your old master mentioned that he could keep animals inside this place. Can I still do it now? Or do I need to restore the jade first?” Li Xinwen asked.

Lan Yu, who was busy taking out cultivation manuals, turned to Li Xinwen before he answered. “Because of the damaged medium, you can only put small animals in…” then Lan Yu’s eyes seemed to shine brightly and he quickly flew towards Li Xinwen. “Master! Are you going to put some livestock in here?! Lan Yu wants some chicken! It has been so long since Lan Yu ate meat!”

“… the animals that your old master had placed here, were they all eaten by you?”

“Old master didn’t place much… just a few Leaf Antelope, Flaming Bull, Mountain Ox, Tempest Chicken…” Lan Yu murmured in a soft voice. Due to the contract between them, Li Xinwen could sense that Lan Yu was lying so he just raised an eyebrow to Lan Yu. “Wuwuwuwu… Master! Please don’t get angry! It’s been over thousands of years! So of course, Lan Yu would be hungry! So, I ate, ate and ate. Then by the time I realized, the animals were all gone!!” Lan Yu explained tearfully.

Seeing Lan Yu’s pitiful appearance, Li Xinwen could only sigh. “I’m not angry. Stop crying, alright? In the future, I may put some animals inside but you are not allowed to eat them without permission, understood?” Li Xinwen said as he gave Lan Yu a serious look. “I want you to swear on this.”

“Lan Yu promises! If Lan Yu ever breaks this promise, may the heaven send down lightning to strike me and my soul unable to reincarnate forever!” Lan Yu said as he looked straight at Li Xinwen.

“Good. I think I should go back. I’ll take these two books with me. Continue to prepare the cultivation manual. I’ll come again later to take it out,” Li Xinwen said as he closed the book in his hand and grabbed the other one. “How do I get out?” Li Xinwen asked Lan Yu. Some pocket dimensions required special methods to get out and Li Xinwen wondered if this was one of those few.

“As long as master wishes to get out, then you will exit the dimension. Same with coming in and placing items inside the dimension. Taking out something from the dimension also works in the same way but of course, master must first know the specific item or items that you wish to take out. For the cultivation manual, just call Lan Yu later and Lan Yu will help master get it out! No need to come in personally!” Lan Yu explained happily.

“Alright. Later, I will be sending in some cats, your task will be to take care of them. And no eating them! Got it?” Li Xinwen made sure to warn Lan Yu who quickly nodded his head. “Good. I’ll go now. Behave, alright?”

“Yes, master!” Lan Yu saluted as he watched Li Xinwen disappear from his place. Afterwards, Lan Yu let out a relieved sigh before he went back to the shelves to continue taking out cultivation manuals for the Yang body type.

***

When Li Xinwen returned to his apartment, he saw that everything remained almost the same. “Almost” being the keyword because the cats were now actively playing with each other. Li Xinwen looked up at the clock on the wall and saw that even though he spent about half an hour in the dimension, only three minutes had passed in the outside world. ‘So, time flows differently in that dimension…’ Li Xinwen thought before grabbing one of the cats by the scruff of its neck. It was a white cat with an odd eye. “You know, if you’d been born in Long Xing, you’d probably be one of those rare spirit or demon beasts,” Li Xinwen chuckled before communicating with Lan Yu through his mind.

‘Lan Yu, I’m sending one of the cats over to you now,’ Li Xinwen said and soon, the cat in his hand disappeared into thin air.

Inside the dimension, Lan Yu saw a cat appear outside the cottage and couldn’t help but feel excited. “Aaah! Master, I saw the cat. Should I get it into the house?” Lan Yu asked.

[Li Xinwen: No. Just let them stay outside. It’ll be bad if they mess with the things inside the house.]

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“Alright! Then how about Lan Yu just make a smaller house for them?” Lan Yu asked again.

[Li Xinwen: … well, if you want to. I’m sending the rest over to you.]

As soon as Li Xinwen said that, the rest of the cats appeared in the dimension. At first, there was only one so there was not much reaction but now that they had all appeared, it suddenly became noisy. This was because the cats were afraid after finding themselves in unknown territory. Not long after, more items appeared. From scratching posts to their beds, their toys, and their litter boxes as well, everything showed up one after the other. For Lan Yu, it was the first time he saw these things so he couldn’t help but ask Li Xinwen.

“Master, what are these?” As soon as the question left his lips, a notebook fell from the sky and hit Lan Yu on his head. The notebook contained instructions on how to operate the cat’s toys. The instructions were all handwritten by the original Li Xinwen for his sister. Not only that, the notebook also had each cat’s preferences, how to bathe them, and what time they should have their meal.

[Li Xinwen: Those are what the original owner of my body wrote for his sister. You can use those and learn how to take care of the cats! I’m putting in their food next!]

Cans of cat food fell from the sky. Lan Yu stared at the mess before him and let out a sigh. “First… let’s get you all settled!” Lan Yu said before putting the notebook inside his own storage ring. Then, he proceeded to rearrange the cat’s belongings. Since he was not allowed to bring them into the house, they would have to stay outside until he finished making a house for them. Unfortunately, for the cats, seeing a flying fairy was a first for them and out of curiosity, one of them jumped up and pounced on him.

“Aaaaahh!! Master help! I’m going to get eaten!!” Lan Yu screamed but all he received was Li Xinwen’s chuckle.

***

After Li Xinwen sent the cats and their stuff over to Lan Yu, the apartment felt cold and empty. With a sigh, he sat back on the sofa. “Hopefully, the cats will be safe there,” Li Xinwen murmured in a soft voice. Then, he stared at the clock once again. “There’s still a few more hours before Ah‘Xiao’s classes end… I guess I’ll just read this book,” he said as he picked up the thicker book which he had brought out from the dimension.

The book was solely dedicated to arrays and seals. It not only explained how seals and arrays were made, it also explained their uses and how to undo the seals step by step. Li Xinwen was so engrossed as he read the book that he didn’t realize how quickly time was passing. If it were not for the alarm he set on his phone, he would have completely forgotten his plans for the day.

After closing the book, he put both books inside the bag he received when he bought the jade bracelet for his mother. He then sent a quick message to Sun Xiao, telling the younger boy that he would be picking him up and to wait for him. Li Xinwen left the apartment, locked the door behind him and went to the elevator.

When he reached the ground floor, Li Xinwen saw the guard again. With a smile, he greeted the guard, “Hello Mr. Yun! I’m leaving now. I probably won’t be back for a while,” Li Xinwen informed the other.

“Oh? Why? You don’t have any work, right? What about the cats?” Yun Bolin asked.

“Don’t worry, the cats are fine. And no, I am on break to recuperate so no work for me for quite a while,” Li Xinwen replied.

“Then, where are you planning to go?”

“Today? I’m going out with my younger brother to buy some stuff.”

“What stuff? Maybe I can suggest some places where you can shop without worry!” Yun Bolin had a friendly smile on his face as he tried to probe for more information.

“It’s nothing important. I will be shopping at the nearby shopping mall anyway,” Li Xinwen replied before waving goodbye to Yun Bolin. As soon as Li Xinwen exited the building, Yun Bolin took out his phone again and reported his findings to his client.

In a five-star hotel room within the city, a young man stared at the message from Yun Bolin. “Shopping with his younger brother? At the shopping mall? Heh, let’s see how I can use this…” the man said as he began to phone some reporters he knew. Though everyone within the entertainment circle knew Li Xinwen’s family matters, the fans didn’t know the existence of this adopted younger brother. “The actor Li Xinwen, raising a boytoy to warm his bed… that sounds like a good headline. Xinwen, ah! If only you had died in that accident, you’d have saved me a lot of trouble,” the man said with a sigh.

After a while, there was a bell sound and the young man’s lips curved into a smile. He got up from the chair and went to open the door. “You’re late, Mr. Director. I thought you-mmph!” the young man’s lips were sealed with a kiss and he was pushed back into the room. The door behind them closed and there was a sound of the automatic lock clicking into place.

“With you inviting me, how can I miss this?” the person that the young man called ‘Mr. Director’ said after the kiss. The young director appeared to be in his late twenties. In the entertainment circle, to be a director at this young age was considered a great achievement. In addition, he was also crowned by the netizens as the most handsome director of the decade. It was unfortunate that his true nature was the total opposite of what he showed in the public. “Say it. What does actor An Yunxu want, hmm?” as the director said this, his hands started to slide into An Yunxu’s shirt, letting it roam all over the young man’s body.

“That first male lead role in [Death to My Destiny], I want it. Li Xinwen won’t be able to return to work for a year, it’ll be a shame to put the whole thing on hold just for one actor, right?” An Yunxu said as he snaked his arm around the director’s neck. “Director Fang… as long as you say that you don’t want to wait for Li Xinwen, it’s easy for you to put me in the crew, right? Don’t worry about the money. My company is willing to inject twice the amount that Oracle Entertainment gave you. With this, there won’t be any losses, right?”

Hearing this, Director Fang’s eyes shone with greed before giving Li Yunxu a smile. “Since you say so. Then tomorrow, I’ll deal with Li Xinwen. For now, let me have my fun…” as he said this, Director Fang once again dove in for a kiss, and soon, the room was filled with ambiguous sounds of pleasure.


Mini theatre:

Lan Yu: Good cat, good cat… Lan Yu is not delicious. Later, Lan Yu will feed you something good, alright? So please let Lan Yu go?

Cat: Meow! (licks Lan Yu’s face)

Lan Yu: No! No, no! Don’t eat me, aah!!

Cat: (opens mouth wide)

Lan Yu: (faints)

Cat: Meow? (playfully paws the unconscious Lan Yu)

Lan Yu: …

Cat: (lost interest and left Lan Yu alone)

Since that day, Lan Yu flew very high and out of reach whenever he tended to the cats.

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