Chapter 17 - Dream
After an entire day spent in contemplating on the balcony and finishing off Sai Gao’s pack of cigarettes, Li Yiming finally made his decision: fleeing was no longer an option. He made his way out of the neighborhood after one last glance at Sai Gao and Shao Xian, who were busy working on their nails.
Now that the news of Li Yiming being a sage was known, only the most prepared would still target him. Li Yiming had no intention of staying a prey. Instead, he was ready to take on anyone that Heaven’s Laws was willing to send to his way.
A smile of confidence slowly appeared on Li Yiming’s face as he went onto the streets. He took a deep breath and felt refreshed, ridding himself of all the negative emotions which had been plaguing him for the last few days. However, his complexion soon changed the moment he laid his eyes on a young child standing next to a lamp post.
The child was dressed as if he had just walked out a Taoist monastery, wearing a blue robe and cloth boots. A yin-yang symbol was embroidered on the front of his robe and a figure of stars and the moon on the back. He held a white flag, on which was written “fortune-telling”.
What took Li Yiming by surprise was the fact that he recognized the young child — it was one of the people who had walked out of the village with Mr. Kong back in Eden. Moreover, in the eight years which have passed since Li Huaibei’s fight in Eden, the child’s appearance had not changed by a single bit.
“Hello there, are you a fortune-teller?” Li Yiming approached the child with a friendly smile all the while putting his guard up just in case the child attacked him.
“Yes. Would you like to try?” The child reciprocated the smile.
“Of course.” Li Yiming knelt down as if he was an older brother playing with his younger sibling. Rather, he was readying himself to spring out at any moment.
“Alright. What do you want to know about? Career? Love?” The young child’s eyes lit up.
“How about… love?” Li Yiming stared into the child’s eyes. ‘His eyes… they’re so pure. I never would’ve guessed he was a guardian if I hadn’t seen Li Huaibei’s memories…’
“Love it is then. How about you write out a character for me so I can read your thoughts?” The child searched in his sleeves and took out a yellowed piece of paper and an old brush.
“Any character is fine?” Li Yiming asked. He quickly realized that the brush was a guardian equipment and proceeded cautiously.
“As long as you write down something, this brush will connect me with your thoughts,” The child said as he made a pose which made him look like an old monk.
Li Yiming stared into his eyes. They reminded him of his first encounter with Bai Ze, when she stared back at him. Li Yiming took a deep breath and relaxed himself. After putting down the paper flat, he picked up the brush.
Li Yiming had never tried calligraphy before, but as soon as he held the brush in his hand, he could feel his emotions stirring in himself. His arm began moving before he was aware of it, and a character slowly wrote itself on the paper without any ink on the brush through methods unknown to Li Yiming. As Li Yiming finished his work, he saw gently traced strokes which somehow conveyed a sense of sharpness, just like the blade of a sword.
The strokes formed a single character: “Meng” — Dream.
“Meng? Dream?” The child stared at the character Li Yiming produced, without minding the latter’s tumultuous emotion.
“Could you please enlighten me, sir?” Li Yiming realized that the young child was no enemy of his.
“I wouldn’t dare to call myself sir. Little One is enough.” The boy chuckled as he continued looking at the piece of paper.
“Dream… Yes… there are two ways to look at this. A dream is an illusion, transient, and it vanishes. You’re seeking something which cannot be attained, just like the moon in the water or the flower in a mirror. ”
“The flower in a mirror and the moon in the water… What about the other way?” Hearing the fortune tightened Li Yiming’s chest.
“A dream is also a wish, a desire, a will. You wish for the best in love, but it is only a dream. Your wish cannot become true,” The child said.
“Is there anything I can do?” Li Yiming’s heart sank. He knew that his greatest worry right now was exactly as the young child said: Liu Meng’s Heart Trial Punishment.
“To dream is to rest under the woods. Yet a phoenix will not do so without a suitable branch. Unable to find a place for her heart, she feels restless.” 
“No place for her heart?” Li Yiming’s eyes widened.
“A soul exists in all beings, and you can encounter many in a dream. Yet, which one is the real dream? The world you go to when you sleep, or the one you are living in right now? It all depends on where you are looking at.” The child explained with a more serious tone.
“Zhuang Zhou Dreams of Being a Butterfly…” Li Yiming was experiencing a whirling pool of anxiety and confusion. 
The child packed up his stationary and took out a small toy from which he began to blow soap bubbles.
“What will you do? Are you willing to live in a dream?” He waved his hand, sending dozens of bubbles flying around, most of which stopped in front of Li Yiming.
Li Yiming scrutinized the bubbles carefully, he saw that each contained a scene from his past. He could be seen laughing, crying, and busying himself with the other platitudes of life.
“Or… are you going to wake up?” The child suddenly raised his finger and touched one of the bubbles, popping it.
“Wake up?” Li Yiming was flustered.
Ping! Pong! Ping!
As Li Yiming was deep in his thoughts, the wailing of sirens was heard. He turned around only to see two men jump off of a patrol car. ‘Police?’
“Hey! You can’t…” One man started yelling before he even got off the car, but his sentence was cut short as soon as he saw Li Yiming’s outfit. The latter had borrowed some clothes from Sai Gao, so not only was it a flashy designer clothing, but he also wore a very conspicuous golden watch which undoubtedly sent out a message about his social status.
The two police officers had initially rushed to the scene after seeing the young child’s banner, which suggested at illegal commercial operations, but after seeing how young the boy was, they concluded that it was simply a child playing around.
“Ha… have fun playing with your child…” The officer instantly turned from the usually authoritative figure into a bootlicker.
“Is there a problem, officer?” Li Yiming said in an angry voice.
“Ah… Ah… Of course not. Please be careful with your child.” The officer came up with a poorly-crafted excuse.
“I didn’t know you were responsible for family counseling,” Li Yiming vented out.
“We work on everything, everything. Haha. Alright, we’ll continue on our patrol.” The officer quickly dove into his car.
“He’s not wrong. His duty is to maintain social order.” The young child smiled and blew out another stream of bubbles.
“Order…” The word rang a bell in Li Yiming’s mind.
“Well, isn’t it the same between countries? Wars started for the sake of maintaining peace?” The child stared blankly at the bubbles floating in the air.
“You didn’t come here just to teach me life lessons, did you?” Li Yiming sighed. He still could not figure out the motives of the child but he at least understood the message.
“Oh, I just wanted to have a look at you. Didn’t expect you to come up, but I can’t refuse a client who shows up on his own accord. I don’t think what I’ve said should be surprising to you, though. Tell me, why did you come to me so quickly? Is it because of my appearance?” The child continued blowing out bubbles and looked down at his long robe. His status did not allow him to change into less a less conspicuous outfit.
“I’ve seen you in Eden.” Li Yiming decided to reveal what he knew, unable to hide the truth from someone who had helped him.
“What?” The young child looked up in shock.
“Li Huaibei? He has guts…” The young child’s eyes lit up. He seemed a little irritated, but also intrigued by Li Yiming’s revelation.
“Alright. I’ll go have a talk with him. He certainly seems more interesting than you are.” The child suddenly picked up his giant flag and ran away.
“Wait!” Li Yiming reached out and yelled, but the child was already gone.