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Butterfly Pavilion, Songs, Dance
Time: 6:08 pm
The interior was lively.
After tea, I once again saw those fox waitresses starting to carry plates, plates of many different types of desserts I could and couldn’t name. A small part of it were exquisite desserts that could be seen in the market, such as fruits and the like, but I didn’t recognize the other huge portion of it. It looked like there were sugar cakes and biscuits; the wonderful and novelty was too much, and kept my eyes constantly occupied.
“This is Butterfly Pavilion’s special service dessert. It has a combination of various essences of the Eastern part of the world. I hope our customers will love them.” Felnala introduced. Very soon, the table was filled with many small plates, and after the fox waitresses finished arranging the things on the table, they disappeared.
There was an empty small plate in front of me. I guess it’s for me to put my dessert.
Beside me, Gasai the first to move. He picked up my plate, took a few desserts I have never seen before, and placed the plate back in front of me, “No need to be polite, if it’s not enough, you can order more.” He slightly curved up a smile, giving off a very comfortable feeling.
Taking back the dessert plate, I was stunned as I nodded. At the other side, there was a five-colored rooster head who didn’t know what being polite meant, and started to crazily sweep away the desserts in front of his eyes. I saw the small desserts rapidly disappearing into his mouth with a supernatural speed.
Senior and the others had already started to pick up the desserts.
I looked at the things on my plate; there were several very alluring crystal-like desserts. It felt like it would be a pity to eat it.
Just as I was hesitating whether I should eat it, a very graceful instrumental sound resonated. Felnala played the zither in her hands, producing beautiful music, and even the butterfly prints on her clothing seemed to have started to move, flapping their wings. The surrounding lights dimmed. I didn’t know when the candles were lighted in front of the paper doors, but when the candlelight flickered, the shadows of the bamboo leaves outside could be seen swaying slightly.
It was a familiar kind of atmosphere… the kind that causes one to yearn… It was just like the omen in the movies, when ghosts were about to appear!
With a “thud” sound, I saw a fork inserted in the table in front of me.
… It was absolutely impossible for the fork to fly by itself, and insert itself on the table. Lifting my head, I saw senior’s red eyes glaring at me.
Alright, please pretend my brain was being overly imaginative, and was thinking all kinds of nonsense. Merciful Sir, please don’t take this to heart.
“Felnala’s performance is about to begin.” I heard Leido saying excitedly, and brown eyes staring straight in front.
Looking at the fork inserted on the table in front of me, reflecting eerie cold light, I decided to pull it out first so I wouldn’t feel so scared…
Noting senior Gasai didn’t noticed the fork… or maybe he already did but didn’t say anything about it. In any case, he just wasn’t looking at it. I swallowed my saliva and pulled at the flying fork on the table. Just as I grabbed onto the fork handle with beautiful patterns and was about to pull it out, I found out another miserable fact — I couldn’t pull out the fork.
How can this be! It was obviously just stuck on the table and not a stone, so why couldn’t I pull it out? If you want to play with a sword inserted on a stone, I won’t say anything, but you’d better not play with a fork in table! This was a restaurant. If the lady boss saw us vandalizing and ask us to pay for it, it would be terrible. Please, could you just come out, boss fork!
I turned around to look at senior, but he actually pretended to not know anything and was looking towards Felnala.
Hey! The one who got the fork stuck on the table was you!
Unwilling to give up, I kept having a go at the fork by trying to twist it. Then, I realized the fork really wasn’t even moving; it was completely and tightly fitted in the table, as though it wouldn’t leave the table for the rest of its life.
I used my strength to pull it a couple more times, and miserably found out I really couldn’t pull it out.
“Dear customer, do you need help?” There was a sound suddenly coming from in front of my hands.
In front of my hands?
Blinking hard, I guess I didn’t see wrongly. In front of the fork, there was a blackish ball of something.
A mouse? A palm-sized mouse wearing waiter clothes? This restaurant also rear moles?
I felt I had already started to give up on myself.
“Dear customer?” The mole waiter tilted its small head. While blinking its large black eyes, it twitched its whiskers and asked again.
It was a waiter, it really was a waiter, “That’s, there’s a fork inserted into the table and I couldn’t pull it out.” When I said this, I felt very, very guilty. Since even I couldn’t pull it out, how could a mouse pull it out? The mole looked at the fork on the table, and turned to look at me with its large black eyes, “Dear customer, the table is not eatable.”
I already knew the table wasn’t eatable!
Tiny claws held onto the fork’s handle, and the mole made a turn, “I’ll help you change it to a new fork.” With a “cling” sound, it deftly pulled out the fork from the table, and ran away while carrying the fork.
I could only dumbly look at the mole clutching on to the fork as it disappeared.
Actually… my strength was actually worse than a mouse!
* * *
It was probably less than a minute later when the mole came back the second time around with a new fork.
Felnala’s front zither piece seemed to have concluded.
The mole didn’t pass me the fork. It silently appeared at the opposite side, senior’s side of the table, and put the fork wrapped in linen down. Then, it silently left again. It was so fast that it seemed like it hadn’t even been there.
A “cling” sound caught my attention.
A butterfly landed on the paper door, lightly swaying around the candlelight. On the paper door between the candlelights, there was a black butterfly shadow. And as though the shadow was being pulled as it became bigger, the shadow slowly formed a shadow of a woman wearing a kimono, following the butterfly on the paper door as she elegantly swayed her body.
With the music, the woman’s shadow kept dancing, and with her movements, the bamboo leaves behind swayed slightly. Subtle rustling sounds could be heard along with the music, filling our hearing senses.
The butterfly was still flying around the flame.
The music became more and more rapid, and the woman danced faster and faster. When Felnala’s fingers suddenly stopped, the woman’s shadow suddenly disappeared. The butterfly flew into the flames, and the candle’s flame issued a few subtle sounds of a pair of trembling wings being burned. Golden light suddenly exploded from within the flame, as though there was a small sized firework rising up towards the ceiling. Numerous small points of lights scattered all over the entire interior of the room, and more butterflies mixed in, luminously flying about.
The shadow performance ended in a flash. While watching the performance, I didn’t even dare to breathe too loudly.
Felnala started to play the zither again, within the small points of light, a beautiful woman wearing a white kimono appeared, with a huge butterfly totem was embroidered on the cloth. On the woman’s back, there seemed to be a pair of almost transparent huge wings — it looked like a butterfly’s wings.
The small points of light fell on the wings, making the wings look like they could emit light, too.
Just as the woman was about to take a step to continue on with the shadow dance, a sudden sound of something breaking echoed through the paper doors with a “bang,” interrupting the zither’s music.
I saw a knife inserted in the hem of the woman’s white kimono.
On the paper door which had the shadow of bamboo leaves, a big hole appeared, and the surroundings suddenly became treacherously quiet. Felnala looked at the big hole, plucking at the zither’s string with her fingers, as though the sudden attack had no effect on her.
Soft footsteps walking towards us could be heard, and I saw the guide-like weasel, who was wearing a waiter’s clothing earlier, walking to the side of the table. His voice was very soft, but everyone clearly heard it, “Dear customers, I’m so sorry for interrupting your good mood. There were people from the same industry who came here to sabotage our business. I hope it didn’t frighten you.”
Frightened? Ha, could they even get frightened?
I looked at the table filled with Black, Purple, and White Robes. There was not even the slightest look of being surprised. The five-colored rooster head even had a very expectant gaze as he looked at the weasel, the kind of look of him hoping the weasel is going to say there was a huge army attacking and he would be able to have an after-meal-exercise.
So to say, people in the same industries could openly sabotage? Normally, people would be secretly drugging the drinks or food. The next day, they would cause their adversary to appear in the headlines? What’s with the knife that flew over here!
“There’s no problem over here.” With Leido’s response, the weasel nodded and disappeared.
Was there really no problem? I looked at the knife stuck on the hem of the kimono, and I felt from the bottom of my heart that the problem was really big.
The woman bent her body, as though it was part of the dance, elegantly pulled out the knife, and turned in a small circle like she was doing a knife dance.
Felnala’s zither’s music increased its pace.
Just as the music continued on without any breaks, the paper door was suddenly open again. This time, the ones who rushed in were three people who looked like ninjas, but didn’t really dress like ninjas.
In fact, this is an after dinner cabaret, right?
Leido decided to stand up, but was pushed back into his seat by Yado who was beside him.
Could it be that it was not a cabaret!
The three masked suspected-to-be ninjas took out circular shaped knifes, and hacked at Felnala. At the same time, the woman, who was dancing, made an elegant turn, and the knife in her hand cut open the three circular knives. The zither’s music suddenly became high-pitched, causing one to feel their nerves tensing up.
Felnala didn’t even move at all, as though those black clothed suspected-to-be ninjas had nothing to do with her.
“Shikigamis.” I heard senior Gasai’s whisper.
Those three masked suspected-to-be ninjas were shikigamis?
I suddenly thought of the things I saw in manhuas, was it the same as those things?
“It’s not the same.” Senior’s voice drifted from the opposite side.
Oh, so it’s actually not the same; how disappointing. I actually wanted to see the things in manhua in real life. In the end, it wasn’t actually the same. Your shikigamis are not dedicated enough!
Meanwhile, the three masked suspected-to-be ninjas were each sent flying by the woman, crashing into the broken paper doors, and disappearing altogether, substituted by countless layers of powders. Before the powders even landed on the floor, the entire paper doors were rammed down, double the amount of the previous suspected-to-be ninjas stamping down on them. Behind the paper doors, there were no bamboos that made up the shadows, it was a complete empty space.
The situation is already at this extent, and we still don’t need to help?
I looked at senior, he shook his head.
The woman wearing the white kimono turned the knife in her hand, attached it to her side, and tilted her head slightly. I saw her very white neck covered with butterfly totem marks.
Felnala’s music slowed down again. This time she slightly opened her red lips, spilling out a song:
Reflecting on the Red Chinese River under the moonlight
With the husky voice of the Wind
Gently asking the dead
Standing on the shore of the Red Chinese River under the moonlight
The sound of your cold voice singing
Low, weeping for the spirits of the dead with grief
You see a blur in the river, a light, a halo
And on top of it lies red flowers
Dying the river in red
Calling to all of those who cared to come to it
On the other side of the flower
His bones left behind
Deep under the water
The of the piano starts to drift
I felt the melody was rather dreary. Even the woman wearing the white kimono gave off a rather suffocating feeling.
The gloomy song stopped, and the shikigamis suspected-to-be ninjas suddenly started moving at the same time.
The woman lifted the knife, and the hem of the kimono swayed slightly. In the blink of an eye, the shikigamis had already disappeared from my eyesight, leaving only a pile of floating debris.
The zither’s music stopped. The woman holding onto the knife turned around, and disappeared.
The surrounding candlelights went out, and the main lights were turned on.
Everything felt so surreal. I felt like I had watched a small repertoire, where the things that appeared in the entire space were fake other than the still broken paper door; it has been confirmed earlier that things really did appear.
Felnala held onto the zither in her hands, slightly bent her body to curtsy, “The sudden invasion caused our dear customers’ mood to be disturbed. I hope you would forgive us.”
So earlier really wasn’t a cabaret!
* * *
“Felnala’s cabaret is still so brilliant.”
Very happily, Leido spoke on our behalf. He still looked like he was really close with the Butterfly Pavilion’s lady boss, “Even accidents were made to be like scheduled programs.”
Felnala curved up a beautiful smile, “Then, please do continue to enjoy Butterfly Pavilion’s food. I have to go and entertain these uninvited guests.” She clapped her hands, a small group of fox waitresses immediately appeared in front of our eyes. The broken paper door was soon cleaned up, replaced by new refolded paper doors.
The bamboo’s shadow reappeared on the paper doors, gently swaying.
After she finished supervising the foxes’ work, Felnala shared a few pleasantries with the others before she left the room.
The surrounding slightly quieted down, only the sounds of the five-colored rooster head madly eating the desserts could be heard.
“Chu, is it your first time seeing this kind of performance?” The first one to break the silence was senior Gasai. He elegantly put down his teacup, and turned his head to ask me.
Uh… it’s my first time?
“I think it’s my first time…” But why do I feel this doesn’t seem to be the first time? But no matter how I think about it, I couldn’t think of where I saw something similar before. I probably remembered wrongly, otherwise I might have seen it on TV or the like.
“Normally, Felnala wouldn’t personally perform to entertain her customers.” Leido was biting onto his fork, after poking it into crystal dessert, “It’s because there is human amongst us today, she was really happy.”
There’s a human?
Everyone looked towards me.
Oh right, I’m a human, I almost forgotten, “Uh, so that’s the reason?” She’s happy to see a human?
In fact, if it was me, and I get to see humans, I would also be extremely happy, because it means I have finally return to the human world!
Red eyes looked at me, very coldly.
Please do pretend I’m in my own fantasy, alright boss?
“Yang Yang, you should eat more. The food in Butterfly Pavilion is very delicious.” Leido said, and started to throw things into my small plate. The plate that was already one fifth filled, was immediately filled up, and it felt like it was taller by one layer.
“Enough, I’ll eat them myself.” I quickly covered my plate, and to prove I would eat them myself. I reluctantly poked at a crystal dessert and stuffed it into my mouth.
A fragrance immediately spread out.
The crystal dessert was really just like its appearance; it melted as soon as it entered my mouth, and my mouth was filled with a fresh taste. It was somewhat like nectar, but it wasn’t too sweet. Wrapped inside the crystal clear skin were jellies I couldn’t name, and a round crunchy stuff. Eating it gives off a very strong flavor.
But according to the rule of thumb, I was rather scared of the ingredients being things I didn’t know.
“This is a mixed dessert of the Butterfly Fairy clan. It’s mostly made of healthy plants or fruits.” Senior, who was sitting at the opposite side, explained to me.
So it was actually a natural healthy dessert?
Senior suddenly stood up. I realized senior didn’t eat much, and he didn’t eat much during the meeting either.
“Want to go and rest?” Gasai looked at senior, and asked.
Senior nodded, “I’ll go over to the empty room next door and lie down for a while. You guys can take your time and eat.” The mole from earlier appeared beside his feet, and soon ran out to lead the way, “I’ll come back by myself when you guys are ready to leave.” Then, senior followed the mole and left the room.
I felt rather worried…
Someone patted my shoulder, and when I turned my head, I saw Gasai’s gentle smile, “It’s alright, it was because of the earlier array, so he needs to rest for a while.” His voice was very soft, so only the both of us could hear it. I knew he was being considerate and didn’t want to make Yido feel guilty.
After nodding my head, I looked at the paper door senior exited from, and heaved a sigh.
Yido also noticed senior’s actions, but he didn’t say anything. Yado, who was sitting beside him, patted his shoulder, and only then did he look away.
He was very mindful about it. I didn’t know why, but I just felt like he did.
“Yang~~ You want to go and play?” After almost sweeping the table clean, the five-colored rooster head was satiated, and suddenly shifted his sight towards me.
“What do you want to play?” My eyelid suddenly twitched twice. To be honest, I was extremely cautious of his go-and-play. According to my knowledge of this person, his so called go-and-play is definitely not “ahaha” while going to the park playing on the swings and slides, or going shopping.
“The game of hunting the intruders.”
“No thank you.” I didn’t even consider it, and immediately rejected. I knew it was nothing good!
“I can go with you.” Leido, on the other hand, excitedly started a commotion.
“No thank you.” The five-colored rooster head immediately used my sentence to reject him.
“You don’t need to be polite. For the sake of artworks, I can accompany you up to the mountains of swords, and under the boiling pan; not to mention those few tiny intruders.” Leido said extremely heroically, looking rather happy.
Artworks… he still treats the toilet brush as an artwork.
Yado rolled his eyes, picked up his desserts, and changed his seat. He apparently didn’t want to admit the person with the same face as him was his brother.
“Yado, what’s with your reaction? Can’t your eyes see the sublime of the artwork!?” Unwilling to give up, Leido move towards his brother’s side, snatched his plate, and started his artistic brain washing journey.
“Can’t see it.” Yado coldly responded with three words.
That’s right, I couldn’t see it either.
I continued poking at the few crystal desserts in my plate, I obediently became the onlooker, and I didn’t join in.
Clearly, senior Gasai and Yido also had the same idea, and they didn’t utter a single word.
“How could you not see it? Come, you have to carefully look at it again. You’ll realize your previous opinion was wrong. The thing in front of your eyes is the most authentic thing.” Throwing the plate on the table, he grabbed onto his brother’s head and forcefully turned it towards the five-colored rooster head.
Yado slapped his hands away, “The thing in front of my eyes is still a hedgehog head.” He was very insistent on his own opinion.
With a “bang” sound, the five-colored rooster head smacked the table with force, and suddenly stood up, “Who did you say was a hedgehog head!?”
I found that the table was probably in a crisis of being flipped at any moment.
“That’s right, Yado, he is obviously a work of art, and not a hedgehog head.” With his insight being rejected, Leido began to be insistent all over again, “You must have missed out the most important part, that’s why you would think so.”
“Hmph.” Yado coldly snorted, and insisted to disagree.
“If you have the courage, come out and fight one on one!” The five-colored rooster head was very bored after finishing his meal, and started to look for an after-meal exercise.
“If you want to fight, please go outside and fight.” Senior Gasai smiled very, very gently, as he asked the three of them to go out at once.
Yado stood up, with the momentum of if-you-want-to-fight-one-on-one-so-be-it.
Then, the three people, who were too bored after finishing their meal, glared at each other as they walked out.
The huge room immediately quieted down.
“Don’t worry. Within the shopping street, they wouldn’t be allowed to cause too much of a sensation, and someone would soon come forward to stop them.” Looking at Yido, who wanted to follow them, senior Gasai said while still smiling.
Yido turned his head around, nodded, and went back to his seat.
With more than half the people gone from the table, it suddenly became really empty.
“I’m so sorry, this is so embarrassing.” Yido curved up a faint smile and said.
The one who should be embarrassed should be the five-colored rooster head, right…
“It’s fine.” Gasai politely answered, “That’s right, how is your recovery?”
“I’m already completely recovered. Looks like Prince Icy Flame’s array was very effective. I really gained a lot in this sports competition…”
This side suddenly turned into a place for adult topics, and I found out I had turned from an onlooker into a passerby.
Just as the dialogue of the two people was developing and headed towards a realm I didn’t understand, I saw the mouse waiter reappearing on the table, cleaning up; removing the empty plates and bowls.
When he noticed I was looking at him, he put down the things in his hands, “Dear customer, is there anything you need?”
Did I need anything?
I was already rather full, and staying right here felt rather strange, “That’s, I want to walk around the area.” I wonder if that’s allowed.
The mole waiter nodded, “Please come with me.”
* * *
After greeting senior Gasai and Yido, I followed the mole out through the paper door.
Outside the paper door was a very long corridor, completely different from the place we came up from. The corridor was very wide. At one side, the scenery outside could be seen from the ornate carvings of the terrace, and the other side was a whole row of paper doors. The paper doors had bamboo’s shadow on them, looking quiet and comfortable.
The mole ran a few steps in front of me, and he turned his head around, “Dear customer, you can take a break over here, there wouldn’t be anyone in the corridor, and it’s very comfortable.”
“Thank you.” I went on to the terrace, overlooking the scenery outside.
I was probably at a height about one floor up, and the outer part was a garden-like place. There were bridges, streams, and artificial landscaping. All around, there were butterflies I couldn’t name fluttering about. I was only able to hear the sound of wind and water, not even the slightest of other noises could be heard.
I sat down at the edge of the terrace, enjoying this environment.
The mole didn’t leave, and he quickly climbed up on the handrail and sat beside me, “Dear customer, you’re a human from the original world?” It widened its eyes, its tone was full of curiosity.
“Original world…” That’s right, the people over here seemed to call the world I originally came from as the “Original world.” “Nn, that’s right.” I wonder what I should call this world as?
“I also came from the original world.” The mole’s whiskers twitched twice, and his eyes were bursting with an excited light.
It came from the world I originally came from?
I was stunned for a moment, turned around to look at the mouse beside me. My world shouldn’t produce any mice that speak, right?
“I’m actually an ordinary mouse, but I met the lady boss. The lady boss said I have the chance of having a different kind of life, so I came to the Butterfly Pavilion.” It was extremely happy while it explained to me. The mole’s eyes were glistening, “The people of the Butterfly Pavilion are really nice, and lady boss is also very nice. I can work here without being looked down on. I feel I’m really very lucky and have a very good life.”
“Being looked down on?”
“That’s right, humans had always hated mice. When I lived in my hometown, it wasn’t easy. Sometimes when I wanted to go to the field to look for a sweet potato to eat, and I would be chased by the humans. But after coming here, it was so much better. I can happily work, people would thank me, I can also peacefully eat without any worries, and I can also sleep comfortably.” Scratching his big ears, the mole continued, “It seems like the sayings of the humans… that’s… there’s a place for me to be in.”
“It must have been hard on you.” I looked at the mole who was filled with bitterness. I felt embarrassed to tell it that I used to chase mice I saw running around my house, and I also followed my mom’s orders to throw the mice out.
The mole laughed, “I also learned a few songs in the Butterfly Pavilion, if you are willing, I can sing for you.”
I nodded, and so the mole started to beat and sing its own song.
A flower under the sun
Raised high up towards the sun
The seed of the flowers sent to land
The soil growing with green buds
The bud grows taller
Becoming yellow flowers
I listened to its song. A very light hearted little tune, giving one the comfortable feeling of wind blowing past.
Finish singing the short tune, the mole turned around to look at me, “Dear customer, you also have a place you belong to, and it’s very comfortable, right?”
I have a place I belong to?
There was a moment where I didn’t quite understand what the mole was trying to tell me, “Uh… I guess so.” A place I belong to; I guess he was referring to my house. My own house would of course be very comfortable.
The mole smiled at me happily, “Dear customer is really a good customer. I hope you’ll come to visit the Butterfly Pavilion whenever you have free time.”
Just when I was about to say something to the mole, I felt there was someone behind me. As soon as I turned my head, I saw senior standing behind me on the corridor not too far away, “It’s time to go back.” He looked at me and said.
“Oh, alright!” I quickly got up from my seat.
The mole quickly jumped onto the floor, and bowed, “Thank you for coming.”
I chased after senior’s back, turned around, and I saw the mole was still standing at the same spot, it waved at me.
“I’ll come again.” I waved back at the mole.
The mole bowed again, and the small body quickly disappeared from my sight.
Senior suddenly slowed down his steps, and I carefully followed beside him.
Just as the room’s paper door reappeared in front of us, senior, who was walking beside me, suddenly lifted his hand and rubbed at my head twice.
What does that mean?
Without answering, senior opened the door and went in by himself.
In the end, what does that mean?
“Let’s go back, Yang Yang!”
The sound came from inside the room.