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    Chapter 101: Cousin

    This was somewhat embarrassing.

    Boros quickly noticed, snickered softly, and snatched the syringe from Wen Ying's hand. Without blinking, he expertly pierced it into his vein.

    The needles used for blood draws in hospitals are small, for intravenous use, but the syringe Wen Ying brought out was large, with a long, sharp needle. Wen Ying thought it seemed more terrifying than a kitchen knife.

    Boros showed no hesitation, his movements practiced as if... this wasn't his first time doing this.

    Reading the surprise on Wen Ying's face, Boros said while pulling the syringe, "The needles Aruda provides won’t easily break inside a demon's body, so don't worry about it breaking."

    "That's not the issue," Wen Ying said, hiding his astonishment, "You seem quite accustomed to drawing your own blood."

    "I used to exchange my blood with Aruda for magic potions. She wanted nothing but my blood," Boros paused, "After she did it a few times herself, I started doing it on my own."

    Wen Ying's eyebrows raised slightly, "Tonight, I’ll see for myself how terrifying Aruda's blood extraction is." Boros was so frightened that he learned to draw his own blood.

    Could it be more terrifying than boiling a demon in a pot?

    Boros quickly drew a tube of blood and was about to toss it carelessly to Wen Ying when he suddenly stopped.

    "What magic did you use in Feng Lu's class, the blood-red claw marks? That's not something Aruda knows." The blood of these demons tonight must be related to the new magic Wen Ying is practicing, appearing chaotic and somewhat sinister, yet not entirely evil.

    Wen Ying, feigning ignorance, turned to open the door and headed downstairs.

    Boros initially intended to leave, but the overly audacious Wen Ying tonight made him decide to stay. Wen Ying had boastfully claimed he wanted to see how terrifying Aruda was during blood extraction.

    It had been a long time since Boros had seen Wen Ying cry, and he hoped Aruda would scare him to tears.

    The two demons descended the stairs one after the other. The five demons downstairs immediately looked over, realizing what was happening when they saw the blood-filled syringe in Wen Ying's hand.

    Ushara was the first to stand up and stride over, speaking softly to keep his voice down, "You still have more syringes, right?"

    Wen Ying looked at him with a pitying gaze, "Sadly, no more. You had your chance to come upstairs earlier."

    Ushara's forehead veins bulged, clearly struggling to keep his voice from rising in anger, his frustration evident even in his low tone, "Hey, Wen Ying, you're contradicting yourself. Hand them over!"

    First saying there were no more, then implying there would have been if Ushara had followed him upstairs – clearly, Wen Ying was deliberately withholding them.

    Langa Yeying and the others also approached.

    Having had a few encounters with Wen Ying, Langa Yeying asked directly, "What do you want in exchange for the syringes?" It probably wasn't for the magic card patterns; this guy's racial magic could assemble those on its own.

    Wen Ying, surprisingly conscientious today, hadn't thought of this kind of trade. He hesitated, recognizing a good opportunity...

    Boros placed a hand on Wen Ying's shoulder, leaned down, and whispered in his ear, "Let's make a bet. If you aren’t scared by Aruda tonight, I’ll do whatever you say for a week. But if you get scared, you can’t use that method to drag me to the human world again."

    Wen Ying's eyes lit up, without a second of hesitation, he agreed, "Deal!"

    "Deal what?" Langa Yeying felt the situation slipping from his control. The more fragrant the smell from the kitchen, the more restless he became, knowing Aruda would start drawing blood after dinner.

    "Nothing much," Wen Ying replied, his whole demeanor radiating pleasure, even making others seem more agreeable to him, "It's a pity Aruda only gave me one blood-drawing syringe."

    Bing Ge lifted his arm, rolling up his sleeve, and stared at his hand for a while. Jun, catching his action from the corner of her eye, said, "I did that once before, and Aruda told me the blood from the wound I made was contaminated and impure. All that blood I shed for nothing."

    Bing Ge silently lowered his arm, rolling down his sleeve.

    Wen Ying placed the syringe containing Boros's blood in the ground-floor storage room.

    After a while, Aruda served dinner, still with its bizarre, sanity-draining appearance. Additionally, Wen Ying noticed numerous small jars, one for each demon – likely the blood-replenishing medicinal dishes Aruda mentioned.

    This must be the blood replenishment meal Aruda mentioned earlier.

    Aruda, like a hospitable elder, ushered the visiting youngsters to the dining table.

    Opening the lid of the medicinal dish, Wen Ying was greeted by a menacing eyeball, bloodshot and surrounded by some unknown sludge floating on the soup.

    Calmly, Wen Ying replaced the lid, deciding to eat the rest of the meal first.

    The dining table was silent, everyone engrossed in their thoughts, eating quietly. Some were anxious, others curious, some eager, and others leisurely.

    Near the end of the meal, new guests arrived. Wen Ying quickly stood up and went to open the door for the newcomers.

    The visitors were Feng Lu and Lai Yehua, who had finished their dinner.

    Sensing more than one or two demonic presences inside the castle, they glanced inside. Wen Ying stepped aside, asking, "Professor Feng Lu, Professor Lai Yehua, have you had dinner?"

    Feng Lu nodded slightly and entered, followed by Lai Yehua.

    "Langa Yeying and the others are here too," Wen Ying mentioned casually, "I felt the extremist party spying on me this morning on my way to the academy, so I invited them to come over after school."

    Hearing the words 'extremist party,' Feng Lu and Lai Yehua instantly turned their attention to Wen Ying, their expressions turning serious, each contemplating different matters.

    Seeing Langa Yeying there, Lai Yehua felt somewhat embarrassed; he had told Langa Yeying that morning he was coming to see Aruda for business, but now he appeared more like material delivered to her doorstep.

    "Did you see any members of the Extremist Party on your way here tonight?" Feng Lang was keen to know, asking as he approached the dining table.

    After he asked, he saw Lan Jia Ying and Usha Luo's odd expressions, hesitant to speak, and their restrained anger. Feng Lang, puzzled, turned to Aruda: "Lord Aruda, have the Extremists been spotted nearby?"

    Aruda shook his head: "I haven't seen them, but from the forest outskirts to the Lucifer Academy, I suspect a few members were eyeing Wen Ying. We should know their plans in a few days."

    Hearing this, Lai Ye Hua's eyes flickered with contemplation. His men, sent to investigate Wen Ying's origins, were intercepted by the Extremists, who had just uncovered some leads, now likely in the Extremists' possession.

    Lai Ye Hua's eyelid twitched. He had been investigating Wen Ying's origins suspecting a connection to a divine stone. Why would the Extremists take this information? Was Aruda suggesting that they would soon act on this?

    What exactly is it...

    Aruda glanced at the bowls and chopsticks in front of everyone, nearly finished, with only a few bites left. He then said to Feng Lang and Lai Ye Hua, "Wait for me in the small living room next door. I've placed some sheepskin scrolls about the final exams on the table there. Take a look."

    Final exams? Both Feng Lang and Lai Ye Hua flashed surprise. Feng Lang glanced at Lai Ye Hua, wondering if this was a trap. Lai Ye Hua was also puzzled; wasn't Aruda here to settle scores and draw blood?

    The two great demons walked through the adjacent corridor, perplexed, and entered a room.

    Wen Ying said, "Great-grandma, I've drawn some of Belos's blood with a syringe earlier and stored it in the pantry."

    Aruda nodded, "Then you and Belos go pick some Golden Blood Fruits in the castle's back garden for Lan Jia Ying and the others to eat later."

    Wen Ying nodded and went with Belos to pick fruits in the castle's garden.

    After leaving the main living room, Wen Ying said to Belos, "I remember Golden Blood Fruits are used for healing. Shouldn't you eat something for blood replenishment after drawing blood?"

    "Blood replenishing meals and Golden Blood Fruits used together," Belos paused, his red eyes dark and profound, "With such heavy blood usage, are you sure the magic you're practicing isn't some kind of dark art?"

    Wen Ying casually walked past Belos, "We're demons, what does it matter if it's dark arts? Come on, let's pick the fruits quickly. I want to get back and see how Aruda draws blood."

    Tonight, he would thoroughly enjoy stroking humanoid Belos's ears!

    Thinking of something joyous, Wen Ying's silhouette appeared almost to skip with excitement.

    Boros, guessing what Wen Ying was thinking, snorted and quickened his pace to help pick the Golden Blood Fruits.

    He didn't believe Wen Ying wouldn't be scared when facing such a scene for the first time.

    Wen Ying and Boros swiftly picked the fruits and returned, sneaking into the castle through a back door and moving stealthily to a spot suitable for covert observation.

    By the time they entered, Aruda had already begun. Wen Ying sensed the active magical energy in the air, wondering why drawing blood would stir up such a force.

    Peeking out cautiously, he saw a mass of writhing black shadows, like vines but as flexible as snakes. Some were indeed snakes, and others vines.

    The vines and pseudo-snakes were incredibly thin, barely thicker than the back part of a needle used for drawing blood, creating a chilling, densely packed mass.

    Although Wen Ying didn’t suffer from trypophobia, the sight still made his skin crawl.

    He continued observing, locating where Langa Yeying and the others were.

    Bing Ge sat to one side, apparently having had his blood drawn already. From a distance, his pale face looked even more colorless.

    The writhing tendrils suddenly paused, then converged around a demon likely to be Langa Yeying. The thin tendrils probed into his clothing; Wen Ying couldn’t see what they were doing inside but noticed some lingering on his hand, as if searching for something.

    Wen Ying covered his mouth to stifle an exclamation of shock, his eyes wide with horror. He stepped back into a warm body behind him and turned to find himself face to face with Boros's calm, red eyes.

    Wen Ying turned away; the thin, long vines and pseudo-snakes almost entirely covered Langa Yeying's body, leaving only his head visible. He distinctly saw something wriggling under the skin of his hand...

    It wasn’t just the hand. Under the clothes, the slightly thicker than needle-point vines and pseudo-snakes likely pierced various superficial blood vessels in his body, drawing the needed and satisfactory blood.

    Boros placed his hands on Wen Ying's shoulders, leaning down to whisper in his ear, "Looks like I've won."

    Even though he had won, each time Boros witnessed it felt like a personal re-experience - the suffocating sensation of being enveloped by endless vines, the feeling of them wriggling under the skin, probing and drawing blood from the veins, the thought alone was enough to make his skin crawl and induce nausea.

    This process was hectic and prolonged, a suffocating kind of agony without a countdown, ending only when Aruda found the blood she deemed satisfactory and had absorbed enough.

    Wen Ying instinctively held his breath, unsure how long the process lasted as time seemed to stretch endlessly. When he came back to his senses, his back was drenched in cold sweat, and his forehead was also sweaty. He wiped his forehead with his hand.

    Aruda truly lived up to her reputation as a terrifying demon in the Demon Realm known for silencing crying children. Wen Ying felt even more doubtful about Wen Ding's reliability.

    After the intense tension that made his body rigid, Wen Ying felt a sudden softness in his muscles, a result of being tensed for so long and then suddenly relaxing.

    Meanwhile, Langa Yeying was still experiencing the suffocation. The massive, intertwined vines hadn't retracted yet. Wen Ying suddenly felt a bit guilty about Langa Yeying. Thinking back, the demon prince seemed quite pitiable, having had his beloved hair cut by Wen Ying, losing portrait rights, being tricked out of his treasure, and robbed of the Demon Head during the mid-term exam...

    Counting on his fingers, Wen Ying suddenly felt guilty.

    A proud and elegant young master was always left enraged by Wen Ying’s actions.

    No wonder Mue Xi turned pale during the time Wen Ying was away.

    Boros, noticing that Aruda hadn’t retracted the vines yet, frowned slightly, "Aruda is taking more blood than usual. What exactly are you practicing?"

    Wen Ying casually replied, "A magic spell for self-preservation."

    "More like a spell that costs other demons their lives," Boros retorted.

    Wen Ying remained silent, feeling a bit guilty. The misfortunes of those five demons were all because of him, after all.

    After a while, the vines and pseudo-snakes finally retracted from Langa Yeying’s body. Due to the prolonged contact with the skin, the demon's constitution couldn't immediately stop the bleeding. Wen Ying saw several streams of blood flowing down from Langa Yeying's arms to the floor, and also from his feet, but the bleeding soon stopped.

    Wen Ying turned to Boros and said, "I suddenly feel like I should be nicer to Langa Yeying."

    However, Boros responded indifferently, "No need to be polite with him."

    After secretly observing the entire process and coming out with the Golden Blood Fruits, Wen Ying felt light-headed from the muscle tension.

    "You arrived just in time," Aruda said with a smile, handing the Golden Blood Fruits to the pale-faced Langa Yeying and the other four demons sitting on chairs.

    Wen Ying felt that Aruda must have, no, definitely had noticed him, but she didn’t point it out.

    Ushara slumped in his chair, stubbornly glaring at Wen Ying with a pale face. This time, Aruda had drawn an unusually large amount of blood and for a longer duration. Ushara blamed Wen Ying for tricking them into coming here.

    Facing his victim, Wen Ying looked at the once haughty and sinister Usha Luo, now weak and pitiable, and after a moment of silence asked, "Should I give you some points for the final exam?"

    Usha Luo, trembling, fainted from anger as soon as Wen Ying spoke.

    Wen Ying: "..."

    Wen Ying touched his face, wondering if he was really that repulsive. He turned to Lan Jia Ying, thinking he looked like a blond, muscular victim of drugging in a host club. Or was he a big blond guy? Usha Luo, on the other hand, was the pretty boy type.

    Feng Lang and Lai Ye Hua, hearing some noise, came out, scanning the room and deducing that the amount of blood Aruda would draw tonight was unusual, each lost in thought.

    Suddenly, more guests arrived, signaled by the doorbell, interrupting the demons' contemplations.

    Hearing the doorbell, Wen Ying didn't immediately go to answer it but instead looked at Aruda and asked, "Great-grandma, are we expecting other demons tonight?"

    Aruda's green eyes seemed to hold a depth of emotion as she gently shook her head and slowly walked out to open the door.

    Curious, Wen Ying followed her, while Belos contemplated leaving, finding nothing else of interest happening. He had hoped to scare Wen Ying into tears, but it hadn't worked.

    The thought of remolding Wen Ying puzzled Belos; his current mindset was the exact opposite of what it had been a few months ago. Back then, he thought Wen Ying was too weak, but now, he seemed too arrogant.

    "Tsk."

    Following Aruda outside, Wen Ying saw a demon he had never encountered before standing outside the iron gate. Though a stranger, his silver-white color scheme felt familiar to Wen Ying, who had not seen another demon with such a color scheme since he arrived in the demon world.

    "A Mirror Demon?"

    As Aruda opened the gate, the demon outside, weak in magical power and visibly scared, yet driven by a strong determination, timidly spoke.

    "Excuse me, are you Lord Aruda?"

    Aruda nodded, asking kindly, "What can I do for you?"

    The demon, noticing Wen Ying behind Aruda, brightened up, speaking faster: "I heard Wen Ying lives here. Are you Wen Ying? I... I'm a Mirror Demon, we're from the same clan."

    Wen Ying stepped forward from behind Aruda, curiously examining this native Mirror Demon, who looked... indeed quite frail, weak as an ant.

    No wonder many demons at Lucifer Academy looked down on him when he first arrived; Mirror Demons were indeed weak.

    Hearing "the same clan," Wen Ying thought it simply meant they were both Mirror Demons. But when Aruda heard "the same clan," she asked, "Do you have any evidence to prove you're from the same clan?"

    The Mirror Demon hesitated, then fumbled through his bag and nervously handed a piece of paper to Aruda.

    Wen Ying peeked at the paper next to Aruda and was startled to see the heading 'Bloodline Relationship Verification' indicating they were of the same clan.

    "Great-grandma, do we need verification for being from the same clan?" Wen Ying asked quietly.

    Aruda, seemingly ignoring Wen Ying's question, asked the Mirror Demon, "Where did you get the blood for this test?"

    Although still smiling, Aruda's authoritative tone made the Mirror Demon nervous, shaking his head in confusion, "Oth-other dem-demons gave it to me..."

    Feng Lu, Lai Yehua, and Boros, who had been waiting inside, walked to the door and were surprised to see another white demon standing outside the gate.

    "Another Mirror Demon?"

    Lai Yehua, seeing the paper in Aruda's hand and the ongoing conversation, looked troubled, piecing together the context and their environment.

    It seemed his efforts had inadvertently benefited an unknown power, likely the extremist party.

    But why would the extremist party help Wen Ying meet his relatives? Lai Yehua pondered, thinking that using Wen Ying's relatives for blackmail seemed too crude for the extremist party's style.

    "If what's written here is correct, then you should be from the same clan," Aruda's green eyes shifted to the Mirror Demon, "Did your clan lose a child about a hundred years ago, around Wen Ying's age?"

    The Mirror Demon nodded vigorously, sweat still beading on his forehead, "About a hundred years ago, our clan lost a child, my aunt's son, my cousin."

    The Mirror Demon glanced at Aruda, relieved to see she wasn't angry, and continued timidly, "Last week a demon courier delivered the blood to my house. There was a letter instructing me to use the blood in the package for a bloodline relationship test, stating that the blood belonged to Wen Ying, who lives here."

    It seems Aruda guessed right; the blood was probably secretly taken during Feng Lu's class.

    "With the magical verification, we are confirmed as the same clan!" The Mirror Demon said excitedly, "Although the missing child's father's race is unknown, preventing further determination, the fact that we are the same clan and of similar age means he must be the child lost from our village!"

    Wen Ying, wary of a trap set by the extremist party, asked the excited demon, "Why are you so happy to find me?"

    The Mirror Demon hesitated, his joy fading, "I'm happy because I can fulfill my grandfather's wish. He's nearing the end of his life and his only wish is to find my cousin before he passes."

    Wen Ying was sure he wasn’t the lost child, especially since his actual age was twenty. He didn’t understand the meaning of the magical bloodline verification; if they were of the same clan, wasn’t it obvious without needing a test?

    A simple blood comparison should suffice to determine if they were relatives... Don't demons use DNA tests in the Demon Realm?

    "What race were the parents of the child lost from your village?"

    The Mirror Demon replied, "My aunt was a Mirror Demon, but I’ve never met my uncle, and she never mentioned him. She and the child went for a walk and encountered a high-level magical beast. Only her body was found, not the child’s."

    "The child might have been eaten by the magical beast," Aruda calmly suggested.

    The Mirror Demon quietly said, "I thought so too, but the blood test confirms we're of the same clan, and all the circumstances fit Wen Ying, so I believe he could be my cousin."

    The typically fearsome Aruda appeared kind and gentle, which gradually eased the Mirror Demon’s fear, emboldening him to speak louder.

    Boros decided to stay longer, curious about the unfolding situation.

    Wen Ying approached Boros, tugging at his sleeve and pulling him aside to ask, "Isn’t demon kinship verification done through DNA tests or something similar? Why do we need a magical test to confirm we are from the same clan?"

    Boros, aware that Wen Ying grew up in the human world and lacked knowledge about the Demon Realm, glanced at the Mirror Demon interacting with Aruda. Looking at Wen Ying, he explained, "Being from the same clan doesn’t mean the same species, but from the same lineage. There are many branches within a clan, and demons have no direct magic for bloodline verification due to their unique physiology."

    "In the Demon Realm, to determine a father-son relationship, the first step is using magic to verify if they belong to the same lineage. If so, they then verify the child’s dual bloodlines to match the racial traits of both parents. If they align, they are confirmed as parent and child."

    Wen Ying stared blankly at Boros.

    Boros added, "Previous attempts by demons to use human world DNA testing methods have failed to determine familial relations among demons."

    Wen Ying learned more peculiar facts about demons – what an odd situation.

    Clutching Boros's sleeve and leaning in, Wen Ying asked, "That demon holding the verification report claims we're from the same clan, but the missing child’s mother was a Mirror Demon and is dead, and his father’s race is unknown."

    "Then age and circumstances are the factors to consider."

    "If that child is also around a hundred years old…" Wen Ying began, then stopped himself, aware that only Aruda, and possibly the Demon King, knew his actual age of twenty.

    Other demons naturally assumed he was over a hundred years old, as did the extremist party. Wen Ying pondered this, his eyes moving thoughtfully.

    As Aruda and the Mirror Demon approached, Lai Yehua asked what was happening. He briefly summarized the situation, feeling nervous being so close to several powerful demons, including a Cerberus.

    Their mere presence, unintentionally exuding formidable auras, put him on high alert.

    Langa Yeying, leaning against a wall, came out and saw another Mirror Demon. His gaze turned cold and menacing, emitting a threatening aura that made the new Mirror Demon tremble.

    Observing for a while, Wen Ying concluded that this Mirror Demon was unremarkably weak, showing no signs of a trap.

    Feng Lu approached, speculating, "The extremist party's plan might involve getting you away from the capital, to attack you on the road or in the Mirror Demon's village."

    "The Mirror Demon’s... village?"

    Feng Lu, not understanding why Wen Ying's expression suddenly brightened, said, "Yes."

    Wen Ying had been preoccupied with finding the trap, neglecting the concept of the Mirror Demon's village. Rounding up, wasn't this village essentially a factory for making magical cards?

    Mirror Demons couldn't replicate powerful magic, but the character magic cards they sold didn't require strong magic, just attractive designs.

    Rounding up again, Wen Ying felt like he saw endless money flying towards him, his lips curling up in a sly grin that Mu Xi would recognize as the cunning face of a capitalist.

    Even the extremist party couldn't stop him from making money. After pondering, Wen Ying looked at the Mirror Demon, who was answering Feng Lu's questions, with a gentle, comforting smile.

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