Chapter 4 – Entertain A Hundred Ghosts For Peace 3

When Tao Ming took Lou Muge home, Aunt Li and Tao Zhai were both asleep.
He settled Lou Muge in a room that was not spacious, and also brought in beddings, and arranged them before going back to his room.

Lou Muge, who had been walking in the mountains for most of the day, was so tired that he could barely open his eyelids.
He collapsed on the bed and fell asleep almost instantly.
Wen Changchu, who had followed him all the way to the couch, looked at him with his head tilted for a while and also lay down, curled his tail around his body and went to sleep together.

During this period, there was a lot of wrangling in the streets outside, but it soon returned to calm.
Dense clouds covered the moon, and the city of Shan’an, where a thousand households rested, was shrouded in complete darkness.

Lou Muge slept until noon the next day.
When he woke up, his bones felt limp.
He jumped out of bed, twisted his hair, and combed his bed hair before he left the room.

Tao Ming had washed away his stage makeup and revealed his beautiful face.
At this hour, he was sweeping the snow in the yard with a broom.
When he heard the door opening, he stopped and faced him: “Young Master Lou, you’re awake.
Did you sleep well?”

Lou Muge walked out while stretching his back: “I slept soundly, more comfortable than sleeping with a soul-soothing incense.”

Tao Ming appeared puzzled: “What is a soul-soothing incense?”

“It’s a spice that helps you sleep,” Lou Muge replied casually.

Tao Ming did not ask further questions and pointed to a corner of the courtyard: “The well is there.
Young Master Lou can first fetch water to wash and gargle.
Afterwards, you can go out as the street is full of food vendors.
Everyone at home has gone out, and I can’t prepare food for you, so please make yourself at home.”

Lou Muge thanked him and went to wash his face with well water.
The moment cold winter well water splashed on his skin, he was frozen and sobered up in an instant, so he finished washing his face with great difficulty.
Lou Muge touched his numb face and thought that this mortal was surprisingly powerful.
He could even use such cold water for washing in the cold winter.

After rubbing his cold hands, Lou Muge spoke to Tao Ming and left the house.
He just took a couple of steps forward when he bumped into the oncoming Wen Changchu.

“Where are you going?” Wen Changchu had already changed back into a human form.
When standing in front of Lou Muge, he was a lot taller than him, without any alienated expression on his face.

When Lou Muge heard his familiar tone, he froze for a moment and replied, “To find some food.”

“I bought it for you.” Wen Changchu handed what he was holding to Lou Muge, as if offering treasures, “Eat it, eat it.”

Lou Muge took a look and saw fried bread wrapped in oil paper.
He gave Wen Changchu a suspicious look.
“Have we met before?”

Wen Changchu shook his head.

Lou Muge pondered for a moment and asked seriously, “Did you put poison in this?”

Wen Changchu’s eyebrows wrinkled.
“Why would I poison it? If I wanted to do something to you, why should I buy you something to eat? Wouldn’t it be more convenient to chop you up directly with a knife?”

This look reminded Lou Muge of the wolf cub that barked at him last night, and howled fiercely when he pushed him away.

Lou Muge was also just teasing him.
Even if the bread was indeed poisoned, he was not afraid.
He pinched the fried bread up to his mouth and asked, “How long have you been here?”  

When Wen Changchu saw him eat, his expression instantly changed, and he happily answered him, “I came three days ago.
When I arrived, only the one called Zhang Rong was in.
The two kids, surnamed Ze, came two days ago.”

“So, did you find any problems here?” Lou Muge then asked.

“The biggest problem here is that there is no demonic energy at all,” Wen Changchu said.

Lou Muge looked around and found that this Shan’an City was more prosperous than expected.
It was clearly a town hidden in the deep mountains, but it was bustling with people coming and going.
The people’s clothing and housing were no different from the towns outside.
It was not at all like a village.

When the pedestrians saw Lou Muge and Wen Changchu, they all chose to ignore them, avoiding them if they could.
After walking for a long time, no one took the initiative to talk to them.

Lou Muge ate while walking, and after he had eaten, he happened to walk to a wide area in the middle of the city.
Wen Changchu said next to him, “This is the very center of the city.”

Within the wide area, there was a white stone statue about ten feet tall.
It looked somewhat old because the stone statue’s feet were faded, and it was clearly visible how dated the stone statue was.

When Lou Muge approached, he found that the stone statue was exquisitely carved.
It had an auspicious cloud on the soles of her feet.
She was wearing luxurious clothes and skirts, elegant silk draped over her shoulders down both her arms.
Her long hair was half wrapped with a cumbersome and gorgeous flower crown.
Her left hand naturally showed a beautiful orchid fingers pose, while her right hand was partly raised with a floating white bead held in her palm.

The bead was also the size of an eye, but not didn’t have the luster and lubrication of ordinary beads.
It didn’t have any special features, but it floated without external forces.

“What kind of statue is this?” Lou Muge was curious about this stone statue.

“The people of the city called it the Water Goddess.
I heard that the lake near Shan’an City rose sharply fifty years ago and almost submerged the entire city.  Later, when the Water Goddess descended to the world and saw this, she gave them a water divine pearl to escape.
Only then did the lake water stop.
Later, the people of Shan’an built this stone statue in the city in gratitude to her.” Wen Changchu expressed his disdain towards this, “It’s just a broken bead, but they worship it like a treasure.”

Wen Changchu was indeed right.
The bead that the stone statue was holding had no aura.
It had long become a waste stone and had not much use.

Lou Muge stopped to examine it for a while, then continued to wander around the city.
Wen Changchu wasn’t at all tired and followed him patiently.

As Wen Changchu said, the city was too clean.
It was so clean that it was somewhat abnormal.
There wasn’t even a trace of demonic aura around.

“When I met that group last night, they sang toward a graveyard.
Do you know the reason for it?” Lou Muge was tired of walking.
He strolled to a remote corner and chose a boulder for a seat, intending to rest.

The citizens of the city obviously disliked them, but if they didn’t find someone to ask, it would really be a challenge to find where the problem lies solely by walking around themselves.

“I don’t know.
I heard about it for the first time last night, too.” Wen Changchu sat down next to him.

Lou Muge turned his gaze to the street, watching the people walking about.
Suddenly, his eyes fixed on someone, and he raised a rough bellow, “Stop right there!”

Some people on the street heard his command but did not immediately stop.
Instead, they turned their heads to look suspiciously.
Lou Muge pointed to one of the older women and said, “You there, come here!”

When the old woman saw Lou Muge and Wu Changchu, not only did she not stop, but she also sped up her pace.
She wanted to leave quickly, but Wen Changchu jumped to his feet and said, “Boss told you to stand still.
Did you not hear!”

He took a couple of strides forward and grabbed the old woman’s collar and brought her like a chicken in front of Lou Muge.
Then he fiercely commanded, “Stay still!”

Lou Muge was still wondering when he had become the boss of this wolf cub, when the old woman was delivered before him.
She was trembling badly: “Don’t eat me! Don’t eat me! I’m all old meat…”

Lou Muge interrupted her plea, “Who said I’m going to eat you?”

His gentle expression, in contrast to the ferocious Wen Changchu, coupled with his beautiful face, somehow quelled the old woman’s fear a bit.
She took two steps back and asked, “What do you want from me?”

Lou Muge pondered for a moment, abruptly stood up, looked at the old woman, then fiercely raised his hands and bared his white teeth, “AH——!”

“Ah——” The old woman was caught off guard and shrieked.
The next moment, her voice was abruptly cut off.
She covered her chest, her eyes rolled, and she collapsed stiffly on the ground.

“Is she such a scaredy cat?” Lou Muge was also shocked, seeing her fainting.

Wen Changchu gave him a shocked look, then silently commented, “As old as she is, it’s easy to scare her to death.”

Lou Muge also did it on a spur of the moment.
It had been a long time since he scared someone like this.
He had almost forgotten how people trembled in fear at the mere mention of his name when he was the Demon Lord. 

If set in the past, him standing there alone would have been enough to scare people’s guts out.

Lou Muge squatted beside the old woman.
A touch of aqua blue light condensed from his fingertips, which he infused between her eyebrows.
The light melted in, and in a moment, the old woman slowly opened her eyes.

He stood up, and when he turned around, he saw that Wen Changchu had turned into a little wolf cub again, bouncing happily around him.

The old woman sat up, seemingly dazed for a moment, and after seeing Lou Muge, she remembered what had happened.
She scuffled on the ground and took a few steps back.

Lou Muge put on a serious face: “Get up first.
I have something to ask you, and you can go after I’m done asking.”

He walked back to the boulder and sat down: “I saw the two Tao brothers singing at a graveyard outside the city last night.
They also set up a few tables of food.
Why are they doing that?”

The old woman straightened her hair and sat down on the ground, looking at Lou Muge repeatedly before replying, “This is our Shan’an City’s business.
Outsiders like you need not get involved.”

Lou Muge was not that patient and was too lazy to request politely: “Say it quickly.”

The wolf cub at his feet issued two timely howls.

The old woman trembled: “Alright.
A few days ago, when the village head was sleeping, he dreamed of the Water Goddess, telling him that Shan’an was infested with unclean things.
If we want to survive this catastrophe, we must arrange a feast and perform wonderful plays to entertain a hundred ghosts to preserve the peace of our people in Shan’an.”

“Feasting for a hundred ghosts to preserve peace?” Lou Muge laughed upon hearing this: “How daring of you to worship anyone.
Haven’t you heard that it is easier to invite ghosts than sending them away?”

“The Water Goddess said those ghosts are all our ancestors.
When their children and grandchildren are in trouble, they naturally will protect them.”

“It’s just a dream, yet you believed in such absurdity?” Lou Muge shook his head, thinking that they were stupid.

Throughout the ages, he had never heard of people worshipping ghosts for refuge.
Some worship gods; some worship immortals; and some even worship the fox, the weeping willow, and white and gray demons as “Guardian Immortals,” but never ghosts.
It was because ghosts were prone to grudges.
Also, most people were led to drink the Soup of Forgetfulness right after death, so ghost immortals had even less time to care about mortal affairs.

“It’s true,” the old woman stressed emphatically, “The dream the Village Chief had is true, and the Water Goddess is going to help us get through this.”

“If that’s true, why didn’t she show up just now to save you?” Lou Muge asked rhetorically.

“Err…” The old woman was momentarily speechless, and then said, “The Water Goddess has her own things to do.
We are already grateful that she can take time out of her busy schedule to think about us, so how can I expect her to come in person?”

Lou Muge retorted inwardly that those celestial beings really had nothing to be busy with.

After asking some irrelevant questions, Lou Muge then led the conversation to the crux of the matter: “When did you start the feast and opera singing?”

Notes:

Orchid fingers – a lady’s hand gesture with the tips of the thumb and the forefinger touching and the other three fingers raised

 

Mengpo Soup – Soup of Forgetfulness

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