Scholar woke up to find himself in a cave. Beside him, sniffing around, was a…human?
“This…Brother?” The scholar uneasily shifted.
“Brother?” The person propped themselves above the scholar and chuckled, “Don’t you know that there are demons in this mountain?”
Like a bolt from the blue, the scholar felt that this was yet another mark on his already unfortunate life. He had only ventured into the mountain to help someone gather medicine, not to gather some demons!
The demon looked at the tragic expression of the scholar, watching with interest as he waited for the scholar to beg and say,“Please spare my life”, “Please let me go”, “I have to support both elders and the children”, stuff like that. Anyway, the humans he had caught before were all like that, very boring.
The demon inched forward again, sniffing the scholar’s neck, inhaling a few times. “Hey,” the demon’s eyebrows wrinkled, “Why aren’t you saying anything ah?”
“Say…say what?” The scholar was still recalling the incident of being pointed at and cursed ‘useless’, after failing the imperial exam. If he had known this would happen, he wouldn’t have left home. Now, he really did miss his father a bit. Father, in this life, please forgive your son for not being able to…
“Why aren’t you begging for mercy?” The demon nipped at the scholar’s neck.
“If I beg for mercy, would you let me go?” The scholar was disheartened.
“If you beg for mercy,” The demon saw the scholar’s eyes light up, “I could let you die more painlessly.”
The light dimmed again.
“Haven’t heard of people going missing in the nearby villages…” The demon heard the scholar’s mutterings and his complexion couldn’t help but flush (in anger).
It was not like he ate humans!
He only drank a little bit of blood to maintain his life!
He only scared them a bit before throwing them out of the cave!
Good, very good!
You stupid scholar! Blame your bad luck!
The demon laughed, “I’ve heard that the essence of humans is more nourishing than fresh blood.”
The scholar was stunned, he found that the smiling demon was even prettier. The scholar was regretful that he hadn’t read a few of those flowery romantic novels; other than charming*, he actually couldn’t think of anything else to describe the demon. This must be a fox demon, it must be, the scholar thought.
*面若桃花 – Direct translation is “a face like peach blossoms”, means to be charming, to have rosy cheeks, etc.
“Essence…” The scholar repeated, subconsciously blushing in embarrassment.
The demon probably didn’t see the completely red face of the scholar since he didn’t mock him (scholar), only concentrating on studying the scholar’s neck.
The demon noticed that the scholar’s neck smelt of catnip——hu——
The scholar tried to shift a bit, but the demon mumbled in his sleep and the scholar didn’t dare to move anymore.
The scholar started to recall the past again.
The scholar was someone who was very timid, and his mind worked a bit slower than others. Participating in the imperial exam was something that was forced* by his father, he didn’t want to do it at all; his eldest brother and second brother had both participated in the imperial exam and had all gotten good results, why force him to learn those things as well?
*赶鸭子上架 – Idiom, to drive a duck onto a perch, to push someone to do something way beyond their ability.
Therefore, it was completely within expectations that the scholar would be pointed at and cursed for being useless; it was really nothing much, the scholar’s heart was very wide ah, but when he heard that his father wanted him to participate in the imperial exam again, he even worked up the rare desire to rebel – and ran away from home.
Just leaving home had already used up all of the scholar’s courage.
So he didn’t dare to move anymore, not being bold enough to move his body away from the sound asleep…cat…cat demon?
The scholar looked at the randomly swaying tail of the demon. This was obviously a cat’s tail!
So he had been frightened all this time by a cat, but when did cats start drinking human blood, and…and like the fox demons that the scholar spoke of…suck human…essence…
Feeling conflicted, the scholar also fell asleep.
(T/n: He is actually so carefree, to be able to fall asleep in this kind of situation…)
“I actually fell asleep!” The cat demon was immediately regretful after he woke up, but when he looked under him at the soft cushion, which was the scholar, he was quite puzzled, “Oi! Scholar, why didn’t you escape ah?”
The scholar, who was woken up by the cat demon, said while yawning, “If I had moved, you would’ve found out, so I didn’t dare to move ah.”
The cat demon just stared, he actually didn’t know what to say. If he had started to beg, I would’ve definitely not let him go; if he had escaped and got caught again, I would’ve definitely punished him. But he actually didn’t do anything, so now I’m quite conflicted.
However, the cat demon couldn’t ponder for too long: someone had arrived outside the cave.
To say they were human wouldn’t be quite accurate. More precisely, they were a celestial.
The cat demon tied the scholar up and gave a snort of amusement, “If I survive, I’ll come back and eat you.” Saying so, he turned and left.
The scholar thought, What does this fellow mean, could it be that the reason I’m not trapped in here by demonic arts is because the cat demon will lose?
The scholar thought, I need to go out and take a look.
Fortunately, the scholar was often disciplined by his father at home; it was not like he hadn’t been tied to a chair and forced to study before. However, the cat demon tied him a bit tightly, so the scholar used quite a bit of effort to come out of it.
In the time it took for the scholar to twist about and free himself, the fighting had already come to an end. The scholar hid behind a rock outside the cave and looked at the celestial in white standing not too far away, and the cat demon dressed in black was laying on the ground in front of him.
The scholar felt that the two of them might be quite compatible, because he heard the dying cat demon laying on the ground mumble, “To save you, I entered the demonic path, and yet this is how you repay me…”
The scholar shook his head, that cat was quite pitiful, just like the devoted women in those plays. As expected, the celestial was devoid of emotions and empathy*, “I am thankful that you saved me, but you’ve violated the Heaven’s Commandments, you descended and indiscriminately hurt innocents. I am only executing orders.”
*七情六欲 – The seven emotions and six sensory pleasures (T/n: this celestial is a bastard)
The scholar wanted to go pet the poor kitty. As expected, he preferred the little cat demon that would arrogantly strut around the cave.
Seeing the celestial direct his weapon towards the cat demon, he wanted to rush over. But as soon as he wanted to move, it was as if he was frozen in place, unable to move at all.
He saw a red light between him and the cat demon and raised his head to look at the other. The demon laying on the ground had changed into a little black cat; when he looked towards the light, it had already disappeared.
He seemed to have heard the celestial sigh before they left.
The restraints on his body were released, and the scholar ran over to pick up the black cat that was on his last breaths. The black cat struggled a bit before he faced the scholar’s neck and stopped moving.
The scholar took the cat demon home.
The aunty next door who saw the scholar carry a cat home even laughed and joked that the reason he went missing for a whole day was because the kitty stole his soul. The scholar laughed but didn’t say anything, it was not like he could tell the aunty that he was really spirited away by a cat demon.
The scholar usually relied on handicraft work to make a living; compared to reading and writing, the scholar preferred crafts. So it was not like the scholar’s family had nothing in the pot*, raising an extra cat wouldn’t be difficult.
*揭不开锅 – To have nothing in the pot, very poor.
Ever since the cat demon was brought back, he had been excessively sleepy. The scholar felt that the cat demon needed to recuperate, so he went to the market alone, buying some vegetable and a chicken. The scholar thought that, since the cat demon drank human blood, he probably wasn’t vegetarian. Like this, the scholar happily went home.
“Wake up ah, cat demon, it’s time to eat.” Having finished cooking, the scholar called for the cat demon to eat. Seeing that the other was still hazy and sleepy, the scholar directly carried him to the dinner table. Although the scholar was terrified of the cat demon, towards the cat form of the demon, he was not scared at all.
The cat demon woke up but was still quite weak. He opened his mouth to say “set me down”, but the result was just a “meow”. The scholar was tickled, asking, “What do you want to eat? I’ll get* it for you.”
*夹 – To pick up with chopsticks.
“Meow!” The cat demon viciously cried, turning around to ignore the scholar.
The scholar thought, The cat demon hasn’t jumped down from the table so he should want to eat and is just embarrassed. And so, he filled a bowl with chicken soup and set it in front of the cat demon. The cat demon sniffed at it, thinking, This is all so that I can return to my human form sooner, and began to lap at it bit by bit. The scholar lightly prodded the cat demon’s head and, as expected, the other turned and bared his teeth.
The scholar hurriedly waved his hand, saying, “Okay okay okay, I won’t interrupt you. If there’s anything you want to eat, I will grab it for you.”
The cat demon turned his head again and continued drinking soup, feeling like the head that had been touched by the scholar was burning up…
Right, it must be my primordial spirit! My primordial spirit must be with him!
The cat demon thought, When I return to my human form, I’ll retrieve my primordial spirit immediately.
Recently, the scholar liked to hug the cat demon as he slept.
It had been a few days since he brought the cat demon home, seeing the cat demon’s fur become glossy and smooth under his care, the scholar felt gratified, practically wanting to carry the cat demon around all the time, taking him out and showing off.
Bored, the cat demon licked his paws. The scholar likes to hug me to sleep, he thought, in any case, he’s been looking after me for so long, if it makes him happy, I’ll let him be. I’ll just slip out to cultivate after he falls asleep.
At midnight, when the cat demon finished cultivating, he felt that his body was hot and a bit bloated, but he paid it no mind, slipping into the scholar’s arms to sleep. Maybe it was due to the body’s discomfort that, unusually, the cat demon had a nightmare, dreaming of the matters after he fell into the path of demonic sorcery.
Waking up again, the scholar found his arms drenched in sweat. As soon as he opened his eyes, he saw the human form of the cat demon, with his eyebrows tightly wrinkled. When he was about to speak, he saw the cat demon open his eyes, gaze blurry.
“Meow…” The cat demon gave a cry.
The scholar endured, quietly saying, “You…you can already speak…”
The cat demon froze before promptly pressing the scholar under him, ferociously growling, “Hurry up! Return my primordial spirit!”
“I…I don’t know where your primordial spirit is ah,” The scholar shook his head before suggesting, “how…how about, you…see if you can smell it…?”
The cat demon was doubtful for a moment before really lowering his head to sniff the scholar’s body.
Neck, chest, arms…
The scholar blushed, hurriedly reaching out to push the cat demon away, “Don’t…let’s leave the lower part alone…”
The cat demon didn’t say anything and was a bit dejected.
“I can’t seem to smell my own scent,” The cat demon had lowered its head, the scholar was about to comfort him but who knew that the cat demon would immediately savagely raise his head, “Speak, do you have something that suddenly appeared in the past few days!”
The scholar was a bit hesitant; it had been so long, who would remember? But seeing the cat demon stare at him, he immediately shook his head, saying that there was nothing. The cat demon wanted to say something more but they heard a series of knocks coming from outside.
The scholar immediately got up to dress himself and headed out. Just as he thought to caution the cat demon, he turned to find that the other had already transformed into a little black cat. The scholar smiled and patted the black cat’s head, “Very obedient.”
The cat demon didn’t have time to mind the scholar’s little movements, he just saw a red string that seemed to be glowing on the scholar’s ankle when the other was undressing, Did I see wrong?
The scholar was called over by the neighbouring aunty, the cat demon could only stay back alone, waiting for the scholar to come home.
Usually, the scholar stayed at home and he didn’t feel bored, but now, with no one here, it seemed particularly quiet.
The cat demon decided to go take a look.
It was already night when the scholar returned.
The cat demon had been laying on the neighbouring family’s wall as he watched the scholar bustle about.
It turned out that the neighbouring family’s daughter was getting married so the scholar got called over to help out.
The scholar immediately hurried to prepare food for the cat demon when he returned, and didn’t want to move after eating, collapsing on the bed without even tidying the tableware.
The cat demon observed for a while before climbing down from the bed, changing into human form, and pulled at the scholar’s pants. The scholar grabbed his pants, yelling, “men and men shouldn’t be intimate* ah!”, and was promptly frightened into silence when the cat demon bared his teeth.
*男男授受不亲啊 – Generally, it’s 男女授受不亲啊. In ancient times, there’s a saying that there shouldn’t be contact between men and women (men and women should not touch hands), and must be reserved. The scholar is saying that men shouldn’t have immodest contact.
The scholar made the cat demon feel very awkward and he could only drily explain, “Today, I saw the red string on your ankle light up, presumably, my primordial spirit must’ve coiled on it…”
“Red string?” The scholar was confused, “I don’t have a red string ah.”
“What is this then!” The cat demon grabbed his leg and pointed for the scholar to see.
“Really oh,” The scholar spoke, “No wonder I shook my head when you asked me earlier, I’ve never noticed it before. It’s probably because you, the owner, was present.”
“En.” The cat demon made a sound of affirmation, reaching out to poke the red string. The red string lit up, but the only thing it did was emit light and didn’t have any other reaction
Could it be because I still haven’t recovered, so my primordial spirit isn’t returning?
The cat demon was a bit dispirited but also a bit relaxed. He could be tended to for a bit longer. Thinking so, the cat demon spoke, “I’ll stay with you for a while longer.”
The scholar nodded but was quite curious about the red string tied to his ankle, reaching out with a finger to prod at it.
“Don’t touch!” Too late, following the movement of the scholar’s finger, the light on the red string disappeared, taking the string away with it.
The cat demon stared at the scholar’s ankle in shock, before raising his head to look at the tips of the scholar’s fingers.
“Ah ah ah ah!” The cat demon was incensed. He grabbed the scholar’s collar, wanting to commit murder.
The scholar hurriedly waved his hand, stammering as he said to not kill him or else the primordial spirit would disappear again.
The cat demon speechlessly glared at him, only to hear the scholar stutter quietly, “You can suck it out.” The cat demon’s eyes lit up, thinking, This is feasible, this scholar is still decently smart.
The cat demon moved his mouth closer, brushing against the scholar’s cheek, to murmur in the scholar’s ear, “If I accidentally suck out your essence, I’ll treat it as compensation.”
Saying so, the cat demon opened his mouth and ordered the scholar, “Open your mouth!”
“En?” The scholar closed his eyes and took the initiative to move closer.
The absorbing of the primordial spirit somehow changed flavours. The scholar held down the back of the cat demon’s head, the originally shallow touches of the lips became the scholar’s frantic plunder. The cat demon who had been propped above the scholar’s body, had now become a pliant puddle of spring water.
The scholar finally let go of the cat demon.
The cat demon was breathing deeply, inhaling the primordial spirit, when a tongue suddenly entered and roamed around, even tangling with his in the end! Forget about absorbing the primordial spirit, he was going to suffocate!
“So…Sorry,” The scholar’s breathing was a bit unsteady, “how about we try again, I promise I won’t do it again.”
The cat demon considered it before nodding.
Their lips entangled once again.
The cat demon was already pressed on the bed.
“Wu…Loathsome scholar…Don’t…I don’t want…Meow…”