When Song Ci saw the scene in the mirror, the first thing that flashed through his mind was the fear that Rong Bai would detest him because of this. However, even when panic occupied his thoughts, he did not realize it.
No matter how he smacked on the mirror surface, all he felt was only a screen that was cold to the touch. The scene in the mirror continued. As softly as a dragonfly skimming on water, “Song Ci’s” lips stopped on Rong Bai’s lips. Then he hurriedly pulled away. Whether because of the rouge or because of his action, his face was as red as a persimmon.
Song Ci sucked in a cold breath. He took two unsteady steps back and fell to the ground on his back. When he looked up, he could see Rong Bai in the mirror.
The peerless elegant young master was smiling gently at this moment; there was no anger or disgust. Those lazy, foxy eyes gazed earnestly at “Song Ci”.
Song Ci was about to get up when there was a patch of gray before his eyes. In the twinkling of an eye, the scene reverted to its original state and disappeared from the mirror. There was only a worried-looking Mirror Old Man in front of him.
“What did you see?” Mirror Old Man grabbed his hand. “Quick, tell me!”
Song Ci questioned him in disbelief. “What have you done to me? What are those things I just saw?!”
“Uh, in any case, it won’t harm you. Quick, tell me what you saw.” Mirror Old Man was anxious to the point he broke out in a sweat.
“I saw a mirror.” Song Ci answered stiffly.
“I’m asking what you saw in the mirror!” Mirror Old Man yelled.
Song Ci thought back to the scene he saw earlier. He faltered and huffed, “I didn’t get a clear look at it!”
Mirror Old Man knew he was lying when he saw Song Ci’s expression. He blew his top. “Did you see Master Rong killing? Who did he kill? Did he slaughter everyone in the city?”
“What gibberish are you spouting?” Song Ci frowned and pushed his hand away. “Calm down. Master Rong won’t do that. He didn’t kill anyone.”
“Then what? Why won’t you tell me?!” Mirror Old Man was so anxious it was as if his feet were on fire. He jumped and yelled at Song Ci, “Are you trying to worry me to death? Exactly what did you see? Is it so hard to say it out?”
Song Ci was a little annoyed at his shouting. He thought, you are the one who forced me to do this. So, he opened his mouth and said, “In the mirror, I saw you hugging Master Rong’s neck and gnawing his mouth. You were dressed up like a maiden in gaudy clothes. You looked like a lecher!”
Mirror Old Man froze. “How is that possible? You’re bullshitting, right?”
“I really saw it!” Relying on the fact that he was the only one who could see the mirror, Song Ci began to sprout nonsense. “Well, well, Mirror Old Man. I didn’t expect you to have this kind of thought. You must have had evil designs after seeing how dashing Master Rong is!”
Mirror Old Man was alarmed by this accusation. His face flushed red in anger. “I didn’t!”
It was a fact that Mirror Old Man did not. So Song Ci stopped his bullshit when he saw Mirror Old Man’s expression. He simply said, “What exactly did you want me to see in the mirror?”
“This matter is very important to me. You mustn’t lie to me!” Mirror Old Man scrunched up his eyebrows and enunciated with a heavy expression, “Little Song, I’m begging you. Please help me this once. All you need to do is tell me what you saw in the mirror…”
Song Ci was taken aback. He did not expect Mirror Old Man to care that much about the scene in the mirror. After a moment’s hesitation, he slowly opened his mouth. “I saw a room full of beautiful dresses. There were many rouge and cosmetics on the table. And…”
Song Ci’s face reddened as he thought about the part where he stood on tiptoe to kiss Rong Bai. The words got stuck in his throat; he could not utter a single word. He clicked his tongue and said, “Let me look again. I didn’t really take a clear look earlier.”
Without another word, Mirror Old Man twirled his finger to bring up the dark light again and instructed him solemnly. “You must watch clearly this time. Or I’ll bang my head and die before your eyes.”
“Okay, okay, I get it.” Song Ci replied.
Mirror Old Man pointed at the small bronze mirror just like before, and the instant flood of light engulfed Song Ci whole.
Song Ci squinted his eyes at the piercing light. When he widened them again, the huge bronze mirror reappeared before him. It was emitting dark light.
He took a deep breath and stared intently at the mirror as he waited for the scene to appear.
He stared at it for quite a while. Just as his eyes were about to be sore from all that staring, the scene appeared again in the mirror. Little by little, from bottom to top, a layer of stairs appear in the scene; it was like washes of ink being added to a painting.
As the scene moved up, red fabric materialized on the stairs, followed by the hem of an outfit, a waist, long hair, and eventually, a vermillion hairpin. In this way, a man in red appeared on the stairs.
This outfit was as red as fresh blood, similar to that of flowing liquid. It gave off little glimmers like a vast sky of stars under the glow of candlelight. Golden threads were woven around the sleeves and collar into unique and intricate motifs. That intense color was gorgeous and moving.
Song Ci had never seen such a pure and beautiful dress material. Even the material used for the royal garbs of the Imperial Household was not even half as beautiful as this one. His eyes moved up and followed the ink-black hair of the person in the mirror. He could not help but be curious what kind of beauty was wearing such an attire.
After a moment, the man in the mirror moved and turned around slowly as Song Ci watched on. Song Ci saw the man’s fine eyebrows, red lips, prominent nose, and his shining eyes.
Song Ci’s eyes widened as his heart suffered another blow. Clenching his chest, he gasped. “Why, why is it still me?”
The man in red in the mirror had the same exact face as Song Ci. But because of the red makeup, his facial features were even more delicate and beautiful.
The “Song Ci” in the mirror looked solemn, as if deep in thought.
It was tough for Song Ci to imagine the circumstances where he would put on such clothing and dressed up to such an extent.
Even if he left the attire at that, why did he still had to draw those fine brows and put on female makeup? He really could not accept it.
The incident was much shorter than the previous one. Before Song Ci could watch on, the mirror disappeared and he returned to his original spot.
Mirror Old Man’s complexion was deathly white as he tried to suppress his heavy panting. He was clearly exhausted. Even so, he stared closely at Song Ci and persisted in his questioning. “What did you see?”
“I …” Song Ci moved his lips. He felt awkward and did not know how to put it.
On seeing him hesitate, Mirror Old Man’s hands trembled in anger. “Fine, I’ll just bang my head and die!”
With that, he circled around. When he saw a stone wall, he broke into a run towards it. Song Ci hurriedly grabbed him and shouted, “Mirror Old Man! Mirror Old Man, don’t be impulsive! I’ll tell you!”
Mirror Old Man did not give up struggling. He flailed his limbs around and shouted, “Then tell me!”
“I saw myself all dressed in red standing on the stairs.” Song Ci hastily continued. “There was even a lady’s makeup on my face.”
Mirror Old Man quieted down on hearing this. There was a look of panic on his face when he turned his head and asked, “Is that outfit red like blood, with golden threads on the sleeves and collar?”
Song Ci was stunned. “How do you know?”
“Little did I expect…” Mirror Old Man’s voice dropped and trembled. “I still couldn’t stop it.”
“What’s the matter with you? Are you planning to do something bad?” Song Ci grabbed and swung both of Mirror Old Man’s arms. “Why do I keep seeing myself in the mirror? You are not planning to do something to me, are you?”
Mirror Old Man was taken aback on hearing this. A trace of uncertainty crept up his face. “You…”
Song Ci realized his slip of the tongue. Wasn’t putting it this way tantamount to telling Mirror Old Man that he was the one dressed up as a woman and the one who kissed Rong Bai?
He gulped in nervousness. Just as he was about to gloss over it, Mirror Old Man sighed. Instead of delving into it, he simply asked, “The Xingluo Chessboard, do you know about this?”
Song Ci shook his head in confusion.
However, it looked as if Mirror Old Man had no plans to explain to him either. Looking disheartened, he said, “Then, you can inquire about it. I have nothing else to say.”
With that, he turned and left. Song Ci did not stop him, because he could see how drained Mirror Old Man was. Even his footsteps were heavy.
He looked at Mirror Old Man’s back for a while, then set off to find Rong Bai. When he came out of the side courtyard, he saw him all dressed in a snow-white Daoist robe standing elegantly on the veranda.
Song Ci’s eyes lit up. He thought Rong Bai had gone to the front hall. He had never expected him to wait for him here. Thus, he hurried over and smiled. “Master Rong, why are you waiting here?”
Rong Bai smiled lazily. “Let’s go. We’ll go together.”
Song Ci happily assented. Earlier, he was still struggling over the scene he saw in the mirror. But now that he had seen Rong Bai, he felt relieved. It was all fake, anyway. What’s there to be afraid of?
Song Ci vowed to himself and thought, in any case, I will never do such a thing!
Rong Bai did not ask about his conversation with Mirror Old Man. He simply followed the servant until they arrived at the hall. Feng Changyue was already waiting for them. There was a docile maidservant standing beside him.
Feng Changyue beckoned to them when he saw them. “Daozhang, this is Qiu-er’s personal maidservant. Just ask her if you have any questions.”
The maidservant greeted them when both of them entered the hall. She said, “My name is Wen-er. I’ve been serving Fifth Missy since young. If both Daozhang have questions, Wen-er will answer them.”
Song Ci cast a look at Rong Bai. It was only when he saw Rong Bai give him a slight nod that he proceeded to ask Wen-er. “Since when did your Missy start to display abnormal behavior?”
It was obvious that Wen-er had been questioned many times. She answered without thinking. “Ten days ago. Fifth Missy and I went out for a stroll. After we returned, she locked herself in her room.”
“Where was the last place you went that day?” Song Ci continued to ask.
“It’s a famous story-telling establishment in the west of the city. Fifth Missy rarely likes to go to such places. But because someone said that there was an extremely pretty fan in that place, Missy went to take a look.” Wen-er said, “But when Missy saw the fan, her expression turned scary. Then she took me back to the residence. Later on, Master sent someone to look for that fan, but it was no longer there.”
“So you all suspect that an evil spirit had attached itself to the fan, and it later possessed your Missy?” Song Ci probed.
“It’s what Jing Daozhang said.” Wen-er answered.
Rong Bai piped up. “Then, why don’t we go to the story-telling establishment for a look?”
This was exactly what Song Ci was thinking of. He nodded and said to Feng Changyue, “Clan Head Feng, could we trouble you to send someone to show us the way?”
Feng Changyue promptly responded. “Sure.”
Credits: Many thanks to saed (@saedee_) for the grammar correction! ♥