translator: baumkuchen editor: ellabells
When they got home, Lu Qingjiu cooked a roasted chicken for Bai Yuehu. The roasted chicken was coated in a layer of honey, so after being roasted, the skin became particularly golden and tempting. The skin was crisp and the meat was tender when in the mouth and fragrant meat juices would ooze out with each bite. The unique fragrance of chicken lingered in the house, making it so that people couldn’t help but want to take another sniff.
Bai Yuehu still kept his habit of eating the bones along with the meat. Only after demolishing the entire chicken did he return to his rocking chair and sit back down. It just so happened that Li Xiaoyu came over from next door to look for Xiao Hua and ask for help with some practice questions. Lu Qingjiu took out the frozen grapes he had put in the freezer earlier, placed them in a bowl, and passed it to Li Xiaoyu.
The pulp and juice inside the grapes had become frozen; sweet, sour, and perfect for relieving the summer heat.
Both Li Xiaoyu and Xiao Hua liked it very much. One human and one pig laid on the table, continuing to solve practice questions Lu Qingjiu couldn’t understand at all.
After the incident with Shui Feng, Bai Yuehu didn’t speak much for many days, completely returning to his lazy state from when he first came here. Other than when he ate and farmed, he had practically completely melded with his rocking chair.
Lu Qingjiu was worried that he wasn’t in a good mood so he wanted to make some good food to make Bai Yuehu happy. In the summer, everyone loved to eat cold dishes. Chili oil tended to be used up particularly quick and the stock at home was almost used up. Seeing the sun set behind the mountains, Lu Qingjiu planned to go to the fields to pick some fresh chili peppers to make chili oil.
Here, all the chili oil was homemade. They would sundry the chili peppers, chop them up into fine powder, then add various spices to the powder, and finally, with a quick fry in oil, the hot, spicy chili oil would be done. The main purpose of this kind of chili oil wasn’t to be spicy, but to be fragrant. When added to cold dishes, it really improved the taste.
Carrying a basket on his back, Lu Qingjiu went to the fields.
The weather was really hot. Even though the sun had already set, the heat emanating from the ground still roasted his ankles. When Lu Qingjiu reached the fields, he saw the chilies Bai Yuehu had planted.
The chilies grown by his family’s fox spirit were, as expected, different from others. Each chili pepper was big and full. Lu Qingjiu plucked one, licked it, and immediately began to feel a burning pain. After the chili pepper entered the mouth, what it provided wasn’t a taste but a feeling of pain. This kind of pain could stimulate the brain to produce chemicals that made one feel happy… He went off-topic. In short, the more spicy a pepper was, the better its quality.
By the time Lu Qingjiu picked about two to three jin of chili peppers, the sky had already turned dark. Nights out in the mountains were different from nights in the city. Because of the lack of light pollution, as long as the weather was clear, one would be able to see the enchanting star-filled night sky. There was no moon tonight, but the stars were very bright — to the point that if one looked carefully, one would be able to see the pure white stars of the Milky Way.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
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He walked forward a few steps and seemed to step on something. Lu Qingjiu looked down and unexpectedly saw a hundred-yuan bill lying by his feet. It was especially eye-catching against the dark mud.
“Whose money is this?” Lu Qingjiu bent down and picked up the money. No one in the village was rich. One hundred yuan was not a small amount. If some auntie had lost it, it might hurt them for a whole month. But on that note, ever since Tai Feng gave him that bag, his luck had visibly improved. It had become routine for him to find money by the side of the road. The most extreme one was when he bought a lottery ticket for fun and actually won the third prize a few days ago.
But in the end, Lu Qingjiu didn’t go to cash in the prize. He had always felt that money earned with luck couldn’t be counted on.
Just as Lu Qingjiu was thinking of looking for the owner of the lost money the next day, he once again stepped on something. This thing was hard and pressed a little painfully into his foot. With his hand, Lu Qingjiu dug out a coin with a strange design from the dirt. The coin was about as big as his thumb and seemed to be a dark yellow. Lu Qingjiu picked it up and confirmed that this wasn’t his country’s currency, rather like some game coin left over from somewhere. He wanted to get a closer look at the design on the coin but it was truly too dark and he hadn’t brought his phone, so he had to give up.
After returning home, Lu Qingjiu casually shoved the coin into his pocket, but who would’ve expected that as he shoved it inside, his hand would inexplicably shake. The coin fell onto the ground and rolled into the grass patch next to him.
Lu Qingjiu reflexively tried to catch the coin. He rushed into the grass patch after it but the moment he entered the grass, he regretted it. He was wearing shorts and a lot of the grass in this grass patch all seemed to have thorns, pricking into his calves and making them burn with pain.
“Ah…” Bending down, Lu Qingjiu saw fresh red blood trickling down his calves. He hissed, wanting to turn back. But when he looked back at the path he was on, he was astonished to find that the original road had actually disappeared — he had come to a completely unfamiliar, barren field.
Lu Qingjiu was stunned stiff. For a time, he didn’t actually know how to react. He looked around and saw there were no paths he could take anywhere around him, only endless wilderness. In the wilderness, there were only clumps of weeds. These weeds were completely covered in little thorns and about as tall as Lu Qingjiu’s waist.
Lu Qingjiu could only force himself to walk forward a few steps before feeling many more bloody wounds appearing on his calves. He had no choice but to stop for a moment and look around.
Soon, Lu Qingjiu found something a little special in this patch of wilderness — a towering withered tree in the center of the wilderness. The withered tree didn’t look too far away from Lu Qingjiu. In an endless field of grass, it stood out as out of place. There even seemed to be a crow-like bird quietly perched on top of its branches.
Lu Qingjiu struggled forwards. Looking at his legs running red with fresh blood, he couldn’t help but laugh bitterly. He spoke to himself, self-deprecatingly, “This is probably what the little mermaid felt like after she grew legs…”
Fortunately, as he approached the tree, the weeds began to thin out. By the time he reached the foot of the tree, there was already only dirt left.
The crow on the tree’s branches seemed to have been scared off by Lu Qingjiu’s approach, flapping its wings and flying away. In the night, the bird cries made the entire world seem even quieter, to the point that Lu Qingjiu even felt a little as if he’d been abandoned by the world.
But soon, something else caught his attention.
It was a stone tablet standing behind the withered tree. Because of the angle, Lu Qingjiu hadn’t noticed it before. Only when he walked behind the withered tree did he abruptly notice this unexpected stone tablet.
However, when Lu Qingjiu got a closer look at stone tablet’s appearance, he realised that what he thought was a stone tablet seemed more like a tombstone.
A lonely tombstone that had been forgotten by the world.
It was too dark, so Lu Qingjiu couldn’t clearly see the words written on it. He thought for a moment, then got closer and placed his hand on the tombstone to carefully feel around.
The tombstone was both rough and cold. There weren’t many words written on it, maybe about six words. Lu Qingjiu did a rough count of them on the first pass, and then he began to carefully try to read them on the second pass.
The first word was “Here”, written in traditional Chinese. The second word was “lies”, very easy to recognise.
However, when Lu Qingjiu felt around to the third word, his expression froze and his hand began to tremble. He carefully felt every stroke. Only after feeling it over about three to four times did Lu Qingjiu finally confirm that it was indeed the word he was thinking of.
Lu Qingjiu’s movements paused for a moment. He felt a little as if all strength had left his body. He leaned against the tombstone and took several rough breaths before gathering up his courage and feeling over towards the fourth word.
A flipped “mountain”, an upright “inch”, it was a “Xun”.
Lu Qingjiu’s body exploded in goosebumps. He opened and closed his mouth, for a time, not knowing what to say. After he checked again, he finally confirmed what the six words on the tombstone were.
Here lies Yin Xun, beloved son.
Here lies……Yin Xun……beloved son.
Like he had been given an electric shock, Lu Qingiu’s hand flew off of the tombstone. He stared at the tombstone as if he were looking at a malicious ghost.
How, why was Yin Xun’s grave here? Was this a prank? But how could such a malicious prank exist in this world. His best friend’s smile appeared before Lu Qingjiu’s eyes. It was as if he could see that bright smile of Yin Xun’s, as well as that cute tiger tooth poking out by his lip.
“Lu Qingjiu, Lu Qingjiu.” A smiling Yin Xun waved at him. “Welcome back to Shuifu village.”