At this moment, my heart was pounding against the wall.

Mu Ruoyan hesitated and asked, “Could it be… that snow fox is your Great King?”

The mountain cat nodded.

Mu Ruoyan closed his eyes and slowly said to the mountain cat, “Alright, everything is fine now. Thank you. If you want to leave, you should go quickly.” He wrapped a piece of pastry in a handkerchief, placed it on the mountain cat’s lap, and gently touched its head. “Rest assured, there are no powerful people in this courtyard now, and that… person with the surname Shan won’t come. You can quietly leave without anyone knowing. If there’s any other type of pastry you like, I’ll have someone bring it to you.”

The mountain cat held the pastry in its hands, its bright green eyes shimmering, and suddenly said, “You… you are a good person. I don’t want your pastry. That bad person with the surname Shan and a Taoist in blue robes took my brothers and sisters away. Do you know where they are?”

Mu Ruoyan was taken aback and said, “I… I don’t know.”

Tears welled up in the mountain cat’s eyes again. Mu Ruoyan raised his sleeve to wipe its face and said in a gentle voice, “Alright, if I find out, I’ll find a way to set them free.”

The mountain cat rubbed its nose on Mu Ruoyan’s sleeve and sobbed, “You’re a good person who transforms into a god. Unlike that person with the surname Shan, he’s a bad person who transforms into a god.”

I felt my head buzzing as I watched, and I saw Mu Ruoyan pause for a moment. Then he laughed and said, “You child, you call everyone a god.”

Finally, the mountain cat finished crying. Mu Ruoyan reached out and opened the door for it. It hesitated and said, “Do you know where my Great King and the two immortals went after leaving the inn?”

Mu Ruoyan said, “After leaving the yamen, I don’t know where they went.”

The mountain cat held the package of pastry, looked towards the door, and seemed a bit lost. Mu Ruoyan said, “If you don’t know where to find your Great King, you can stay here for a few days. Your Great King will come looking for you once he knows I’ve taken you.”

The mountain cat thought for a moment, but hesitated. It looked at Mu Ruoyan’s expression while holding the pastry and nodded timidly after a while.

So it returned to the room, ate two pieces of pastry, and transformed back into its original form. Surprisingly, it curled up and fell asleep on Mu Ruoyan’s knee.

I couldn’t help but wipe my forehead. Mu Ruoyan gently placed the mountain cat on the bed, pushed open the door, and left the room. Apparently, he often enjoyed standing alone in the courtyard at night without any maids or servants coming to attend to him. I followed him to the courtyard, stood by the sparse tree shadows, and watched him standing still near the banana trees.

After a moment of contemplation, I moved to the shadow of a tree opposite him, revealed my figure, and walked out of the shadow, cupping my hands and saying, “Young Master Mu.”

In strange tales of gods and spirits, lonely souls and wild ghosts often emerged like this. Moreover, tonight the gentle breeze was blowing, the moonlight was dim, and as soon as I appeared, Mu Ruoyan took a step back in surprise. However, after a quick glance, he probably recognized me as an acquaintance.

I cupped my hands again and said, “Young Master Mu, I am Song Yao.”

Mu Ruoyan stood in the courtyard, staring at me intently. “Song Yao… Guangyun Daoist… May I ask who you really are?”

I said, “In a way, I am someone who has a connection with Young Master Mu. Before meeting you, Young Master Mu, I made a great mistake, which is why I am facing so many hardships. The consequences are about to catch up with me. I sincerely hope that Young Master Mu can turn away from the precipice, repent at this moment, and perhaps there is still a chance for a turnaround.”

Jade Emperor, even if you are watching me now from the heavenly court, my earnest advice aligns with your intentions.

Mu Ruoyan remained silent for a moment and then slowly said, “Karma, it is something that cannot be spoken of. But I have a rough idea of the mistake you mentioned. Human nature should be unfettered and unrestrained. The only fault is probably going against so-called principles. Thank you for your kind reminder, but…”

Mu Ruoyan looked at me and smiled, “I have ended up like this today precisely because I refused to turn back at the beginning. Since things have come to this point, why should I turn back now?”

I was momentarily speechless.

Mu Ruoyan turned around and slowly walked towards the room. I caught up and said, “Even if you won’t have a good ending within the next day or two, even if you suffer through countless reincarnations with no positive outcome in any of them, isn’t it just a matter of admitting a mistake? You… should think it over carefully.”

Mu Ruoyan stopped in his tracks and turned to face me. “Is that so? It turns out there is still an ending for me.”

Then he turned back around and walked straight into the room. I stood in place, stunned, for a moment before ascending on the clouds.

The rooftop of the inn was chilly, and the stars in the sky were bright. Behind me, a lazy and smiling voice said, “Are you sitting here getting sore from looking at the North Star after looking at the Heavenly Pivot?”

I immediately turned around and stood up, saying, “Hengwen.”