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Residence of Monsters - Volume 5 - Chapter 5

Published at 20th of May 2020 07:35:31 AM

Chapter 5

Dongya arrived at the sick bay’s block of offices with Feng Ping Lan, setting Feng Ping Lan on the sickbed . Just as he turned, the shadow behind him distorted and rocked, wave-like ripples appearing on it, following which a tall, grave and stern figure rose from the center .


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Dongya smiled faintly, “That was quick of you . ” It seemed he had immediately come through the shadow portal after receiving Morris’ message .

Quetzal turned, glancing at Feng Ping Lan on the bed .

Feng Ping Lan waved at him with a smile, the two short legs hanging off the bed swaying back and forth, as if he was absolutely unconcerned about his own transformation .

“…Who did it?” Quetzal spoke coldly .

“The Gentleman Thief, probably . ” Feng Ping Lan scratched his head, “I thought I had found a clue on the Gentleman Thief and was going to investigate it after school, but I think I was attacked from behind . I was in this state when I woke up . ”

“Probably? You think?” Dongya was puzzled, “You seem unsure?”

“Oh, that’s because I only remember up till I walked into the club complex, that’s where my memories cut off . ” He drew out the tracking apparatus from his pocket, “The anthology that was connected to the Gentleman Thief is still here, and he didn’t take the tracking apparatus away either, so there’s a possibility the person who attacked me wasn’t the Gentleman Thief . Besides, the school is heavily guarded, it would be hard for outsiders to enter and exit freely . ”

Dongya looked at the tracking apparatus, “If it wasn’t him, who would attack you?”

“I don’t know . ” Gerard’s figure flashed across Feng Ping Lan’s mind .

Dongya seemed to have thought of the same person, his face grave, “Perhaps it was an external guest who had a perfectly justifiable reason to enter school grounds…”

While Liu Yi Chen had been accompanying Gerard, they had no way to know if Gerard had separated himself from her midway, or had sent an accomplice to do it .

The doors opened . Yin Su Shuang stepped into the room .

“Good evening, Class Advisor . ” Feng Ping Lan waved .

When he saw Feng Ping Lan on the bed, Yin Su Shuang stared blankly, then became speechless for a moment . He seemed to want to admonish him, but knew that saying any more was no use, so he omitted the reprimand, and went straight to the point .

“What happened?”

Feng Ping Lan recapitulated the whole event to Yin Su Shuang . The further Yin Su Shuang listened, the deeper his eyebrows furrowed .

After listening to his account, Yin Su Shuang was silent for a long moment before speaking .

“You guys took on the Gentleman Thief’s case?”

“Ah?” Feng Ping Lan was a little startled, he didn’t think the class advisor would focus on this matter . “That’s right, Class Advisor, you told us we could accept any D-rank missions on our own, as long as we reported it to you first . ”

“…You told me you were trying to capture a pervert, but you didn’t mention the pervert was the Gentleman Thief…” Yin Su Shuang spoke gloomily .

“Oh . ” Feng Ping Lan scratched his head, “I didn’t think it was very important, since he was just a small character . ”

“Besides, it may not necessarily be something done by the Gentleman Thief . ” Dongya interceded, “There are a few students from our sister schools who are not very friendly . ”

Yin Su Shuang bent down to look at Feng Ping Lan, reaching out a hand to touch his face, then pinch his wrist . He confirmed that it was not an illusion nor a confounding spell, and Feng Ping Lan had really turned into a young child .

A transformation curse was a high-level incantation that couldn’t be performed by just any student .

However, who knew? Most of the student representatives had outstanding capabilities . Even his own student could handcraft a tracking apparatus that only a high-level Summoner in the Association could produce, it wasn’t out of the question for the other shadow academies to have talented individuals hiding among their ranks .

Yin Su Shuang heaved a sigh .

He did hope that it had been something done by the other shadow academies’ representatives . If it was a deed by the Gentleman Thief, this meant that another criminal had come out of Zephaniah, this meant a problem in their entire defense system . No matter what, it was much more severe than a clash between students…

“I’ll get Seno to inspect you . ”

“No need . ” Quetzal refused coolly, and at the same time, he placed a hand on the left side of Feng Ping Lan’s chest, where his heart was .

Quetzal’s palm was cool, and Feng Ping Lan couldn’t help but shiver with it placed on his skin . He wished he was the ground tiles of Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, so that he could preserve Quetzal’s hand print .

Thinking of this, Feng Ping Lan was unable to keep from smiling foolishly .

Looking at Feng Ping Lan’s smiling face, Quetzal knew he was bound to let his imagination run wild . He did not want to speculate the sort of preposterous play performing in his mind, and just focused on probing the chain of incantations added onto Feng Ping Lan’s body .

Very quickly, he found that brand new thread of mesh, and his shadows seized onto that curse, heavily tugging on it .

A light of mixed colors surged from Feng Ping Lan’s body, as if someone had overturned a few buckets of paint at the same time . The rays of light instantaneously wrapped around Feng Ping Lan . Within the light, his infantile body stretched and pulled out, at last transforming into his originally juvenile state .

“Whoa!” Feng Ping Lan gasped . It was a strange feeling being released from the spell, he felt like a balloon being inflated, a taut sensation coming from his skin .

“Quetzal, you’re amazing! Thank you!”

Feng Ping Lan thanked Quetzal happily, but Quetzal did not react at all .

Yin Su Shuang raised his eyebrows . He looked at Feng Ping Lan for a moment, then looked at Quetzal .

“I don’t quite approve of this method…” Pulling the chain of incantations apart with brute force without examining it first, that was just too rough and impulsive .

Quetzal spared Yin Su Shuang a glance, he clearly did not care about what he thought .

The bell rang, signaling the start of the second period .

“Aiya the bell rang!” Feng Ping Lan jumped off the bed, lifting his bag, “Let’s return to class together!”

He couldn’t wait to tell Class Rep and the others of this unusual experience . Aiya, if he had known earlier, he would have taken a selfie of himself, this way everyone would know just how cute and adorable he was when he was little!

“Wait a minute . ” Yin Su Shuang called out to Feng Ping Lan, “Don’t rush…”

“Class Advisor, don’t worry…” Before he could finish his words, Feng Ping Lan suddenly staggered, knocking down an upright table lamp and stumbling over an electric cord, crashing into the mobile low cabinet .

“Ping Lan!” Dongya cried out .

“I’m fine, I’m fine!”

Feng Ping Lan propped himself up with the low cabinet, stabilizing himself . Just when he had stood on steady feet, a strong wave of dizziness rushed forth, so violent his stomach overturned in nauseousness .  

“Ugh!’

Feng Ping Lan hurriedly covered a hand over his mouth, rushing towards the washstand, and started to endlessly throw up . First was his undigested dinner, then some paste and gastric juices, at last some unknown grey sludge .

“Are you alright?” Dongya went forward, patting Feng Ping Lan’s back anxiously .

Looking at Feng Ping Lan’s back, a trace of astonishment flitted across Quetzal’s calm and apathetic face .

“That was a bodily reaction . ” Yin Su Shuang spoke, “Similar to an allergy, a side-effect of an uncontrolled breaking of the curse . ”

“I did not lose control…” Quetzal replied in a deep voice .

“You did not indeed . ” Yin Su Shuang looked at Quetzal, “The problem lies in the fact that he is human . ”

That method of lifting the curse would not be any problem to demons or a minority of Summoners . But Feng Ping Lan was just an ordinary human, an ordinary boy, simply a human .

Quetzal did not say anything more, but a subtle flash of guilt appeared in those purple eyes that looked at Feng Ping Lan .

“I’m fine… Ough!” Feng Ping Lan retched for a moment before lifting his head, waving his hand with a smile, “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine in a moment— Ugh—”

“It’d be best if you rest here . You’ll have severe dizziness after vomiting for at least six hours . ” Yin Su Shuang sighed, “I’ll have you on sick leave tonight . I need to get to class . ”

“Oh…” Feng Ping Lan answered weakly . “See you, Class Advisor . ”

Dongya handed a glass of water over to Feng Ping Lan . He gargled his mouth, removing the strange smell in his mouth, but just as he was about to hand the glass back to him, a bout of powerlessness ran through his hand, and the glass fell, the remaining water spraying onto his body .

“Ah, it’s wet . ” Feng Ping Lan looked at his own clothes, laughing foolishly, “My pants are wet too, it’s like I peed my pants, hahaha… Urggh!”

Feng Ping Lan went into another vomiting fit, and after making sure that he couldn’t throw up anything else, Dongya placed the weak and feeble Feng Ping Lan onto the sickbed .

“Rest here for a moment . I’ll return to the classroom to grab something, then I’ll bring you home . ”


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“Oh okay, thanks, Dongya . ” Feng Ping Lan lay onto the bed, forcing a smile .

Dongya smiled, turning to leave .

Feng Ping Lan lay on the bed, twisting his neck, and abruptly realized that Quetzal was still in this room, just standing before the bed .

“Quetzal, you’re still here!” He gave a ‘hehe’, then spoke with some embarrassment, “I’m sorry…”

Quetzal furrowed his brows .

He knew that he was unable to block that noisy mouth of his even with Feng Ping Lan’s indisposed body . But he never thought that an apology would be what came out of his lips .

“…Why do you apologize?”

“I was too opinionated…” Feng Ping Lan scratched his cheek, lowering his eyelids to mutter, “I thought I could offer some help, but it turned out to be no use . I was struck with a curse instead…”

Quetzal gazed at Feng Ping Lan, he did not speak .

What Feng Ping Lan had said was true . He had always considered it as such . Feng Ping Lan was just someone they coexisted with for the purpose of staying in the human world . It would be very fortunate if he didn’t create any trouble, let alone provide assistance, the most he could do was to occasionally be of use in their daily trifles .

But hearing it from Feng Ping Lan’s own mouth made him uncomfortable from the bottom of his heart, an impulse to refute and reject his words arose .

“In the end, I’m just an ordinary human after all, hahaha, cough cough!”

Quetzal glanced at the violently coughing Feng Ping Lan, “You’d better keep silent . ”

“Oh oh okay, I won’t say anything, sorry for disturbing you . ” Feng Ping Lan reached out a hand to do a zipping motion over his lips .

Quetzal frowned .

That wasn’t what he meant . He had wanted Feng Ping Lan to keep quiet, so that he could rest and recuperate well .

It was just a trivial matter, but it brought incredible displeasure to Quetzal for some reason .

Feng Ping Lan was quiet for a moment, and when he turned his head, he saw Quetzal still standing there .

“Is Quetzal going to stay here?” Feng Ping Lan blinked, “You don’t need to accompany me if you’re busy, it’s fine! Really, I’ll just rest here by myself . ”

Quetzal’s eyebrows furrowed together once again . An unfamiliar feeling emerged in his heart .

He did not know the name of this feeling that carried some ire, indignance, and annoyance, what it had stemmed from .

Because it was the first time Quetzal had been rejected whilst trying to express goodwill .

“If that is what you wish…”

Feng Ping Lan felt a wave of dizziness, and closed his eyes, taking deep breaths, steadying his awareness and nausea .

“What did you just say? Quetzal?”

Feng Ping Lan opened his eyes, lifting his head . The tall figure before his bed had vanished, he was alone in this room .

Aiya, he had really left .

Feng Ping Lan scratched his chin, closed his eyes, and shrunk under the covers .

While it had been something within his expectations, he couldn’t help but be a little disappointed .

He shouldn’t be disappointed . Because he had gotten used to it .

He had long since gotten used to the tranquility of being alone . He had spent a long time training himself to become staunch and brave .

If he had someone to accompany him, he was afraid of becoming over-reliant on him . When he was on his own once again, he did not know if he could regain his previous strength and bravery .

When Dongya returned to the sickbay, Feng Ping Lan had entered a deep sleep . He gently picked up the person on the bed, stepping onto the night wind to return .

At the same time, yishu classes were about to start within the classrooms of Shadow Academy .

“Is Ping Lan alright?” Su Li Wan questioned Morris, concern written all over her face . Zhong Xian stood beside her, looking on indifferently as Su Li Wan and Liu Yi Chen gathered around Conglong and the others .

As always, he had emerged once it was time for Shadow Academy classes, then stayed in the classroom by himself, waiting for Su Li Wan to run over to him, following which he had to accompany this rich young lady, helplessly getting through this boring period .

But Su Li Wan had not been as she did before, she did not find him immediately after the Shadow Academy classes to stick by his side, she went to her new friends instead, and there were times she did not even call out to him, merely smiling when their eyes met .

Today, when Feng Ping Lan did not come to class, Su Li Wan was so anxious she became absent-minded in her studies, running over to inquire about Feng Ping Lan from his Contracts the moment classes ended .

Zhong Xian frowned, feeling a little ill at ease about this change .

Wasn’t this what he had wished for? He had always hoped that Su Li Wan would stay far away from him, hoping this would weaken those benighted feelings she had .

But when it had been realized, it was not as light and effortless as he had imagined…

“Things are currently fine,” Morris passed on Dongya’s words, “He got struck by a curse . He’s a little unwell after getting it lifted, so he’s on sick leave tonight . ”

“You say he turned into a little kid?” Ivan was clearly extremely interested, looking as if he had heard an interesting joke, questioning excitedly, “Do you have pictures? Is he cute? Was the curse successfully broken? Why is he feeling unwell? Could it be because the spell was just lifted halfway, and his body recovered to his seventeen-year-old self, but a certain part of him didn’t? That’s just too tragic hahahahaha!”

“The curse was really complex, so there were a few complications when it was lifted . In any case, things are fine now, stop gloating!” Morris berated impatiently .

Igor shook his head at Ivan as well, displaying a disapproving look .

“He’s fine anyway . ” Ivan curled his lip .

“You say he was attacked by the Gentleman Thief on school grounds?” Liu Yi Chen questioned . “How was it possible for an external Summoner to enter the school compound? Did he infiltrate specifically to hunt you guys down? Why is a dangerous individual with such vindictiveness listed as a D-ranked mission?”

“We’re not clear, Feng Ping Lan forgot the entire course of events . ” Morris lowered his voice, glancing into the corner, where Gerard sat constantly surveying the place they stood at, “From the things that were left behind on the scene, the assailant might not necessarily be the Gentleman Thief… Did you follow that guy during the free period before classes from start to end?”

“I accompanied him around the school compound for twenty minutes, then parted ways with him to get the classroom register from the school administration office . ” Liu Yi Chen furrowed her brows, “I thought twenty minutes would be enough for Feng Ping Lan to leave, so…”

“Are you sure it was done by Gerard?” Ivan spoke excitedly, “Doesn’t this mean we have a reason to openly pick on him?”

Ha, this was great, that pretentious brat had been rubbing him the wrong way for a long time coming!

“Ivan…”

“There’s something wrong with a guy that reads Sade’s works in public . ” Ivan humphed . “He’s definitely a pervert . ”

“How did you know that was Sade’s work?” Byriel smilingly asked in turn .

“At least I read them in private . ” Ivan objected with a humph, “Besides, I’m a demon, not a human, I don’t count . ”

“Everything is uncertain, all we have are suspicions…” Dongya spoke .

The teacher on the podium glanced into the location of Liu Yi Chen’s group . Everyone very tacitly sat upright and pretended to be serious in succession .

“That’s it for today . As the school festival is approaching, you are allowed to use the remaining time for free practice . ” The teacher’s gaze swept across everyone present, pausing on the sister schools’ student representatives, “All of you can avail yourselves to learning from each other, but please take note of basic honor and etiquette . The teaching assistant and I will be patrolling the area, I do not hope to see any improper acts that need to be corrected . ”

The teacher left the podium, and the classroom started to expand, the desks and chairs assembled to the side, and each of the students scattered apart .

Liu Yi Chen and the others intended on gathering to one corner to continue the discussion, but before they could move, the students of the four other schools had taken the initiative to come over .

“Good evening,” Liu Yi Chen spoke politely, “Is there any advice you would like me to give you?”

“…Where is he?” Gerard spoke . “The student named Feng Ping Lan?”

Liu Yi Chen raised her eyebrows . Kaido rudely tsked .

“Quit acting . ” Kaido crossed his arms, “Why don’t you ask yourself that?”

“Insolence!” The girl with long black hair standing behind Gerard shouted, “Don’t think you can act willfully outside of the clan!”


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Kaido spared her a glance, “And what does that have to do with you?”

“You know her?” Byriel asked smilingly .

“Just a distant relative . Narumi Garden Academy’s Kano Chiharu . ” Kaido glanced at Kano Chiharu, saying impatiently, “Aren’t you a second-year? Why are you in a first-year class? Did you repeat a grade? Honestly speaking, I’m not surprised . ”

“I wasn’t! How could I possibly repeat a grade!” Chiharu was agitated, “We were randomly assigned to classes! Not according to our years!”

“Oh, that’s none of my business . ” Kaido humphed coldly .

Ivan looked at the troops of people behind Gerard, counting, all members of the sister schools were present .

“You guys are on pretty great terms with the opponents you’ll be meeting on the battlefield, huh . ” Ivan mocked coldly .

Although to Zephaniah, these students were all members of their sister schools and esteemed guests, but truthfully, everyone from these four schools would be their competitors during the school festival .

“Even if we are enemies, there are times when we will have to work together for mutual benefit . In this phase, operating together will be more beneficial to us . ” A slender and beautiful young girl with platinum long curls said .

She glanced at Igor, who stood behind Ivan, “Is the Mikhaelvich Family’s young master still playing make-believe siblings? Which of you is more absorbed in the act, I wonder . ”

Igor did not say anything . Ivan’s expression became fiercer .

“Are you finished reminiscing?” Liu Yi Chen smiled courteously, “Apologies, but we still have some matters to attend to, forgive us for not being able to entertain you . There are still many fellow students who would like to do the honors of being the host and exchange pointers with all of you, it is inappropriate to monopolize our esteemed guests for too long . ”

A few students from Zephaniah amassed together, eyeing the various representatives covetously, each of them desiring to explore the strength of the representatives before the school festival .

Liu Yi Chen threw a significant look over at her friends, and the group quickly left to another corner, planning to watch the fires burning across the river .

But Gerard’s movements were quick, standing in the way of Liu Yi Chen’s group .

“Sparring practice is currently in session . ” Gerard glanced at the people behind Liu Yi Chen, “Which of you are Summoners? Which of you are demons?”

“My apologies, that’s a trade secret . ” Liu Yi Chen spoke politely .

“This is why I don’t like Zephaniah . Demons mixing in with humans,” Gerard said indifferently, reaching out a hand to caress the silver ring on his finger, “Like a dirty sump of coexisting men and beasts…”

With a caress of his finger, a long and sharp silver awl appeared, the palm armed with spikes whipping at Su Li Wan who stood by the side .

No one had expected him to attack so suddenly, nor did anyone think he would choose to attack Su Li Wan, who had been silent from start to end, and in that moment, everyone was too late to react, only able to look on as the sharp awl made to slash across Su Li Wan’s face .

Blood dripped down .

Su Li Wan’s pretty complexion was kept perfectly intact, but her expression turned startled .

The sharp awl was halted in midair, Zhong Xian forcibly blocking the hit with his palm . The awl had penetrated his arm, dying his snow-white chang pao a captivating red .

“Zhong Xian!”

Zhong Xian quickly released the awl, drawing out a short blade with his other hand, cutting down on Gerard .

Gerard whirled the hand with spikes, the awls shrinking back and escaping the suppression . He backed off, evading Zhong Xian’s blade .

“Are you alright…” Su Li Wan went over in concern, she held up Zhong Xian’s injured hand, but Zhong Xian withdrew .

“I do not need any sympathy,” Zhong Xian had a cold expression, warning in a low voice, “If you are really concerned for me, strive harder to become stronger . ”

Su Li Wan lowered her head, turning her head towards Gerard, prepared to attack .

But Byriel took a step forward to block before her .

“I never thought His Majesty the Sullen Prince would have such a vile side to him . ” Byriel smiled, “Let me play with you, where is your Contract?”

He discovered that the Contracts of the other shadow academies’ student representatives had not emerged, aside from the Contracts of Zephaniah’s Summoners .

Gerard looked at Byriel .

This person had a similar scent to him .

A wicked aura, as well as a hidden rebelliousness that was painstakingly feigned…

Byriel tilted his head, smilingly waiting for an answer .

Gerard hated that smile .

He wanted to tear apart that cynically smiling face, he wanted to see that kind of face he would make when he wept and begged .

Gerard flung his hand, withdrawing the sharp awls back into his ring .

“This is the difference between a civilized man and a barbarian . ” He said as he untied the leather band around his wrist, “Only a civilized man takes out his tools when he needs to use it . ”

He flung the leather band away, the metal rivet mutually clashing, like the black and blue sparks between flintstones when they were rubbed together .

The combustion of fireworks turned into a giant indigo flame, a figure emerging from the blaze .

It was a red-haired lady, her snow-white and well-proportioned body dressed in an overlapping and binding black leather harness, both hands fixed behind her with a leather band, a spiked collar around her neck, a black blindfold around her eyes, and a gag between her red, amorous lips .

The emergence of Gerard’s Contract startled everyone . This manner of dressing brimming with insinuations and restriction caused many students to be left speechless in their observation .

Liu Yi Chen furrowed her brows, “You have really vile tastes . ”

Gerard was indifferent to it, flicking his finger, releasing the wristband and gag restricting the Contract .

“Not going to take off her blindfolds?” Byriel reminded helpfully .

“There isn’t a need . ” Gerard looked at the companions behind Byriel, “Which of them is your Contract, call them up . ”

“Hehehe, you must be mistaken . ” Byriel smiled resplendently, a golden demonic light flashing across his eyes, “I am the Contract . ”

Gerard raised his eyebrows, seemingly a little astonished, but did not waver because of this .

“As for my master…” Byriel turned, placing an arm around Liu Yi Chen’s shoulder, “It’s her . ”

Liu Yi Chen was slightly dumbfounded .

Byriel winked at her . She immediately understood, then gazed loftily at Gerard .

“Command me, my Queen . ” Byriel breathed into Liu Yi Chen’s ear, “What do you wish of me?”

“Firstly, put down your hand . ” Liu Yi Chen commanded .

Byriel obediently raised his hand, stepping away .

“Then, finish off that shameless woman, and fix that pervert with the facial paralysis . ”

“As you wish, my lady . ”

Byriel walked forward, and with a flick of his hand, a long whip with thin spikes appeared .

“Peileli, move . ” Gerard commanded .

The red-haired woman spread her arms out, a bronze pike covered in thorns appearing . She brandished it, thrusting at Byriel .

Byriel leapt, lightly evading her, but the thorns on the pike rose in midair, binding his legs and pulling him back to the ground .

Byriel used his whip to break the thorns, immediately spinning his body when he landed on the ground, dodging the violent stab of the pike by a hair’s breadth difference .

“Your name is Peileli?” Byriel asked with a brilliant smile, although she could not see it, “To be named after a harness1, that’s quite interesting . ”

Peileli did not answer, she continued to attack like a high efficiency machine .


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“Were these clothes worn out of your own hobbies, or something your master demanded?”

Byriel asked, soft-voiced, as he dodged .

“I wonder what the color of your eyes are?” He circled to Peileli’s side, “Let me guess . Your red hair is as deep and rich as mellow wine, you manipulate thorns…”

Peileli turned, aiming a heavy hit in Byriel’s position .

“You remind me of roses . ” Byriel transformed into golden mist, vanishing . When he reappeared once more, he was behind Peileli, “If roses had eyes, what should be their color? Dark red, the color of blood? Or the pink of colored crystal?”

“Don’t flirt with someone else’s Contract . ” Liu Yi Chen reminded outside the field . To her delight, Gerard’s face was turning increasingly unpleasant .

“If all my guesses are wrong, could they be the color of a lake’s emerald green?” 

Peileli’s movements paused slightly . It was just an instance, not even half a second, but Byriel noticed it .

“Did I guess right?” Byriel circled to her back with a smile, “So, what reward will you give me?”

Peileli turned her head, “You…”

Gerard’s face darkened, he stepped forward, muttering an incantation .

A formless ripple assailed Peileli, knocking her down to the ground . Peileli gave a grunt, and did not let out anything else .

In the next moment, the harness on her body tightened automatically, as if it was alive, tightly digging into her skin, the buckle pulling her hands behind her back magnetically . The gag also appeared in her mouth, restricting her from talking .

Gerard flicked his finger, and Peileli’s figure was enveloped by the blue flames, vanishing .

“I have obtained much knowledge in tonight’s exchange . ” Gerard looked at Liu Yi Chen and Byriel, his face resuming its usual indifference . “I look forward to the School Festival Trials . ”

“Likewise, likewise . ” Liu Yi Chen gave a courteous fake smile .

Gerard retreated to his companions’ side . There had been a few students who had wanted to exchange blows with the students from their sister schools, but after spectating the earlier match, they all fell back in succession .

“Do all those Summoners keep their Contracts behind wards?” Morris frowned, “It’s just a school festival, is there a need to be so mysterious?”

While there were many students who hid their Contracts behind wards, those wards were all private spaces the Contracts had created themselves, and they could emerge directly during Shadow Academy, no need for concealment . No one directly used a human’s spell to imprison them like Gerard .

It was as if they were tools to be put away…

“They don’t seal the Contracts away to hide their strength . ” Liu Yi Chen explained, “Just as Gerard said earlier, they will summon their Contracts only when they are needed . ”

Morris and the others revealed astonished looks .

“Didn’t you guys know?” Ivan was a little startled .

“Or master has always been out of the loop . ” Byriel smiled lightly .

The others understood .

“Zephaniah has always had the loosest specifications for our Contracts . To the other shadow academies, there are many limitations to a Contract’s movements . Contracts are a secret weapon of theirs, they wouldn’t want someone else to know their ins and outs . ” Kaido humphed coldly, “Only good-for-nothings engage in small movements such as this . ”

“At least we know now the capabilities of that bastard Gerard’s Contract . ” Conglong spoke . It seemed she was just a horticulture-loving exhibitionist who stabbed randomly with her pike .

“She hasn’t used her abilities yet . ” Liu Yi Chen said .

“How do you know that?”

“Because her master didn’t want her to use all her strength . ” Liu Yi Chen curled her lip, “He’s not a fool . When we were up against him, he was observing us as well . However,” A smile rose on her lips, “We have an ace up our sleeves, doesn’t matter if one of our cards were revealed . ”

*

The sound of footsteps echoed through the hallway . From top to bottom, approaching from afar, the sound traveled into the hidden room underground, announcing the arrival of a guest to the one within the room .

The doors opened, wind pouring in the room . First was the scent of herbal medicine, then the gloomy, lean figure walking over to the long front desk .

Shen Yang, who had their head propped up and lay over the desk playing an old handheld console game, revealed a smile when they saw who had come .

“Good evening!” Shen Yang placed a hand on their brow, glancing behind Yin Su Shuang, “Just you tonight? Aren’t the kids coming too?”

Yin Su Shuang went straight to the point, questioning in a low voice, “You let them take on the Gentleman Thief’s case?”

“That’s right . ” Shen Yang raised their eyebrows, a face of puzzlement, “A D-rank mission with a high reward, it’s a very alluring offer . ”

“There are too many doubtful points unclarified with that mission,” Yin Su Shuang tone carried a hint of criticism, “There may be certain dangerous secrets hidden behind those doubtful points . ”

“It’s just a pervert, what’s there to be serious about?” Shen Yang waved their hand in disregard, “I did file the missions according to the Association’s fixed classification regulations . It doesn’t involve the deaths of major personnel, isn’t related to the devastation of the environment, doesn’t influence the existing social system, doesn’t involve the ancient gods or secret artifacts, adding on the fact that the offender has been committing crimes for less than five years, has never participated in any cross-boundary crimes, and the number of casualties on his hands has yet to reach seven people . No matter how you look at it, it complies with the criterion of a D-ranked mission . ”

Yin Su Shuang stared at Shen Yang, suspicion seemingly still present . “Did you recommend this case?”

“I offered several D-rank missions for them to choose, I didn’t force them to take on the missions . ” Shen Yang innocently gave a wry smile, then, as if something had lit up in their mind, spoke curiously, “You’re awfully concerned about this case, did something happen to them?”

Yin Su Shuang did not answer Shen Yang’s question, asking in turn, “Perhaps this might be related to those shady clients of yours…”

“Quite an imagination you have . ” Shen Yang smiled faintly, and continued to stare at the game in their hands, arranging the Tetris blocks, “The Association’s so stingy, I get such a low salary here, and it doesn’t even conform to the Labor Standards Act . That’s why I’m left with no choice but to find another job to earn some extra income . ”

Yin Su Shuang grabbed onto Shen Yang’s hand, “Are you dealing with the Opposers?”

“Relax, they’re just a few small fries . ” Shen Yang smiled, “Or where do you think my grapevine comes from? You can’t expect the horse to run fast without letting it graze . ”

Yin Su Shuang was silent for a moment, releasing Shen Yang’s arm .

Shen Yang glanced at the game console, “Oh, you made me go into the wrong hole . How annoying, I took a long time waiting for that block…”

Yin Su Shuang glared at Shen Yang, and seeing them focusing all their attention on the game console, he spoke lowly, “You’d better behave, you don’t have the luxury of making any more mistakes . ”

“Don’t worry, I’m very obedient, the Association definitely can’t catch hold of me . ” Shen Yang spoke smilingly, “Besides, I’m just an imprisoned beast trapped in a cage, what could I do?”

As an eagle with decapitated wings, a tiger with pulled claws and fangs, even a cornered beast was powerless .

Yin Su Shuang was momentarily silent, then coughed, “Do not let down the hopes placed on you…” He then turned, preparing to leave .

“Su Shuang . ” Shen Yang’s spurious voice traveled from Yin Su Shuang’s back, “Is the one you care about Zong Shen, or Xuan Yang, or is it Shen Yang, who is everything, yet nothing at all?” Yin Su Shuang’s footsteps halted for a moment, but he did not answer, stepping out to leave on his own .

Shen Yang laughed sharply for a while, and after Yin Su Shuang was long gone, put down the game console, then swept away the litter on the table, taking out an enlarged screen version of an orange plastic toy candybar phone .  

The toy phone’s screen was made from a sticker, a complicated seal displayed in the middle, each of the symbols moving from left to right at pretty fast speeds .

Shen Yang exasperatedly reached out a hand to press on the sticker, muttering a few incantations, and the symbols halted its flow . Then, they placed the toy phone by their ear .

“Hello? Sorry for making you wait!”

The one on the other end replied with something, sounding quite fretful .

“I didn’t do it on purpose, there was a visitor earlier, wasn’t there? Besides, it’s been a long while since you contacted me, it’s a miracle I didn’t throw this thing away!” Shen Yang answered impatiently, but there was still a smile on their face .

The one on the other end threw out a question .

“How would I know? You’re allowed to choose your own bounty mission, how could I force them . You got out fine either way . ” 

The one on the other end spluttered out a string of complaints .

“Oh? Is that so! …Oh no, that’s too bad . ” Shen Yang’s tone was filled with great pity, but they had to force down the corners of their mouth that threatened to turn into a laugh . “What are we to do, then?”

The one on the other end answered .

Shen Yang startled, “What? You say you did what?” Then, they couldn’t help but burst out laughing, “Hahahahaha! That’s amazing! What a pity I couldn’t see it . Mm? I wouldn’t know, I’m just a front desk lady, I couldn’t possibly know every Summoner there is . ”

The one on the other end laughed derisively, then asked another question .

“I wouldn’t know, maybe yes, maybe not, it’s hard to make it clear over the phone . If you’re that curious, why don’t you just come over for a visit, I’d be very willing to provide you with a thorough consultation . ” A smile carrying an ulterior motive lifted on Shen Yang’s lips .

The person on the other end hesitated, went silent, then refused .

“No? Don’t be so cold . We haven’t met in three years . ” Shen Yang sighed lightly, “Then can I call for delivery? I want two glasses of caramel macchiato, and some Belgian Liege Waffles—”

The connection cut off .

The symbols on the sticker vanished, returning to its original digits and markings .

Shen Yang smiled, casually tossing that toy phone to the side .

Quite vigilant, he was .

No matter . They were certain they would meet in the end .

Just that it might be an ugly spectacle when the time arrived!

*

Daybreak . A new start of the day .

All was usual, and the Contracts went down after freshening up, eating the breakfast prepared by Dongya .

Feng Ping Lan, who was always first to come down on time, did not arrive even when it was almost time to leave .

“Where’s Feng Ping Lan?” Conglong glanced at Kaido, who was eating a microwaved meal, “Even he’s come down . ”

Kaido glared at Conglong, turning his head away, and continued to eat his fried rice .

“I didn’t disturb him…” Dongya spoke in concern, “He might not be completely recovered yet, so I wanted to let him rest a little longer, if he’s still in a bad state—”

Bang!

The sound of a slamming door traveled from above .

Everyone raised their heads to glance up .

Next was the sound of the bathroom door opening, the doorknob was twisting hard, letting out a noise of metallic friction, then the sound of a thumping door .

Following that was heavy footsteps, stomping heftily down the staircase and coming to the dining room .

Then Feng Ping Lan appeared .

Everyone couldn’t help but stare blankly .

He wasn’t wearing his tie, his hem left drooping out his pants . His hair, which was always combed, was currently sticking up everywhere, styled in a wild hairstyle with water and hair gel .

The biggest discrepancy was that face .

His face, which was always smiling foolishly, carrying a sunny complexion, now had a frown, the corners of his lips turned down, with such an ugly expression it was as if the whole world owed him money that had yet to be returned .

They were stunned, watching on as Feng Ping Lan strolled toward the table, casually flung his flat school bag into an empty seat, sat down, and crossed his legs .

Was this… an illusion?

“P-Ping Lan?”

Feng Ping Lan ignored the call, taking a piece of toast from the table, then with all his might, rolled his eyes .

“This again…” He muttered, taking a bite of the toast impatiently, then glanced at the fried rice before Kaido, scrutinizing it for a moment, at last curling his lip, turning his head to continue munching on his toast .

The others gave a slight jolt .

A strange yet familiar feeling arose spontaneously from the bottom of their hearts .

What… was this feeling?

“Ping Lan, do you feel unwell?” Dongya opened his mouth once again in concern, “Are you alright?”

Feng Ping Lan ignored him once again, tsking .

“Can’t you fucking answer when you’re being spoken to!” Morris, who couldn’t look on any longer, bellowed .

Feng Ping Lan cast Morris a sideways glance, spitting, “Damn noisy…”

“Is this guy sick?” Conglong tilted his head to look at Feng Ping Lan, then looked at Kaido, “Is annoying contagious?”

Kaido placed down his spoon hard, “You got a problem?”

Feng Ping Lan rolled his eyes again, stuffing the toast into his mouth, stood, then walked out of the dining hall without saying a word .

Dongya stood up as well, “Are you in a bad mood because of the curse yesterday?”

Feng Ping Lan still did not reply, leaving Dongya behind him .

“Answer him . ” Byriel, who had been smilingly watching the entire process in silence, commanded, “If you don’t say anything, we’ll just have to use our own methods to gain the answers, hehehe…”

Feng Ping Lan looked at Byriel, fear flashing across his eyes, then said resentfully, “I’m fine . I get in a bad mood whenever I wake up…”

“But you were fine before . ” Dongya was worried .

“This isn’t something I can control!” Feng Ping Lan bit back, glaring at everyone, “In any case, leave me alone . ” With that, he quickly left the dining hall with a long face, and in the next moment, a large bang rang out from the main entrance .

“Was that a side effect from that curse?” Conglong clucked his tongue in wonder, then turned to look at Kaido, “He felt like your twin brother . ”

Kaido humphed, “Who knows, he could have just reached the end of his patience . ”

“Is there an end to his patience, when he’s able to put up with you?” Morris replied .

“I heard him get up several times to vomit last night . That didn’t sound like an easy time . ” Kaido humphed, “That might just be the tipping point to his patience, the built-up resentment and anger must have burst out . ”

“He’s not as petty as you!” Conglong refuted .

“But I’ve never slammed the door or complained about my meals! That guy was more rebellious than I ever was!”

“So you do have some awareness after all . ” Byriel smiled lightly .

The Contracts exchanged glances .  

They never would have thought, Feng Ping Lan would get angry . They always felt, there would always be a smile hanging on Feng Ping Lan’s face, spouting some ridiculous and unconstrained words, causing trouble and doing something insane .

They always felt, this was what Feng Ping Lan ought to be, just like the sun, optimistic and abundant with positive energy all the time .

They had almost forgotten, Feng Ping Lan was an ordinary human too .

“He’s just a human, what’s he huffing at…” Morris frowned .

Kaido raised his eyebrows, “Isn’t he your Contractor?”

The demons did not speak .

Although they did not care, their moods were perplexingly stifled, an unhappiness they could not describe .

TL Notes

The first two characters of Peileli’s name 辔勒 means a harness for animals normally used for their physical strength (mules, oxen, etc . )


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