translator: baumkuchen editor: ellabells
Lu Qingjiu sat down on the ground and let out a bitter smile.
The crow that had left came back again. It perched on the tombstone before him and cawed. It cocked its head to the side as it stared at Lu Qingjiu. In this darkness where he couldn’t even see five feet ahead of him, that pair of black eyes was unexpectedly filled with stars.
Lu Qingjiu, recovering from the shock of the tombstone, wanted to get closer to the tombstone again, but then vaguely heard someone calling his name.
“Lu Qingjiu, Lu Qingjiu.” The voice was very weak. In the beginning, Lu Qingjiu had even thought that it was just his imagination, but the voice calling out quickly became louder. Lu Qingjiu looked in the direction of the voice and finally found its source — it actually came from that black crow.
The crow was rather far away from Lu Qingjiu, currently hovering in the air with a human voice coming from its mouth, “Lu Qingjiu, Lu Qingjiu——”
Lu Qingjiu tentatively walked over towards the crow and found that the weeds beneath his feet began to fade away on both sides.
Like Moses parting the Red Sea.
This was probably the right direction. Even though he didn’t know who was guiding him, it was clear that the person who was guiding him didn’t have any malicious intent.
The crow was still calling his name. Lu Qingjiu continued walking towards its voice. He didn’t know how long he’d been walking for. Only when the clear ring of a coin falling to the ground sounded by his ear that made his entire body shudder did he suddenly realise that he had returned to his original world.
There were no weeds, no withered tree, and no tombstone. Instead, the land around him was familiar and a faint starlight shone overhead. That coin was rolling around in circles by Lu Qingjiu’s feet. Lu Qingjiu bent down and picked it up. This time, the coin was securely placed into his pocket and didn’t roll into the grass patch like before.
Having found the coin, Lu Qingjiu continued on his way home. To tell the truth, if it wasn’t for the fact that there were still wounds on his calves, he would probably have thought that he had just had an absurd dream.
Lu Qingjiu walked into the courtyard. Bai Yuehu, who originally had his eyes closed to nap, suddenly opened his eyes and looked towards Lu Qingjiu. “You’re injured?”
Lu Qingjiu said, “En. I accidentally got scratched by some thorny weeds when I went down to the fields.”
Bai Yuehu’s gaze fell on Lu Qingjiu’s calves. He asked, “Thorny weeds in the field?”
Lu Qingjiu nodded.
Bai Yuehu said, “Come here, I’ll help you apply some medicine.”
Lu Qingjiu originally wanted to refuse, but seeing Bai Yuehu’s firm attitude, he could only give in and agree. He randomly found a chair and sat down. Bai Yuehu half-squatted down next to him. First, he washed off the already-clotted blood stains on his legs. Next, he applied the special ointment he’d given Lu Qingjiu before onto his legs. These wounds were actually only flesh wounds, they weren’t too serious. After the ointment was applied, there was a cooling effect, making him feel like it would recover soon.
“I… I picked up a coin.” Lu Qingjiu lowered his head, looking at Bai Yuehu who was currently tending to his wounds with a severe expression. He pulled out that coin from his jacket pocket. “Take a look, is there anything special about it?”
Bai Yuehu took a look but shook his head. “It’s nothing special.”
“It’s not cursed or anything?” Lu Qingjiu found this a little strange.
“No,” Bai Yuehu said, “There’s no energy in it at all, it’s just an ordinary item from the world of mortals.”
Lu Qingjiu “oh”-ed. He rinsed off the coin with some clean water and got a clearer look at the design on its surface. What he found strange was that he seemed to have seen this coin before somewhere, however, at the moment, he couldn’t quite remember from where.
“I was pulled into a strange place by this coin.” There was some hesitance in Lu Qingjiu’s voice. “I saw a wasteland, and there was also a tombstone…”
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.
When Bai Yuehu heard the word tombstone, he raised his head and looked at Lu Qingjiu.
Aera jr Oe Hlcuple atbeuta atja tf kjr ublcu ab fzqijlc rbwfatlcu, tf rjlv, “Po atfgf’r rbwfatlcu sbe kjca ab xcbk, la’v yf yfaafg lo sbe pera jrxfv tlw ojmf ab ojmf.”
Lfjglcu atlr, Oe Hlcuple kjr raeccfv. “Llw?! Tbe xcbk ktja P rjk?”
Djl Tefte cbvvfv.
Oe Hlcuple rjlv, “Ktfc ktja fzjmais lr ublcu bc tfgf? Pr Tlc Wec j tewjc?”
Bai Yuehu shook his head. “In the end, I think it’ll still be better if he’s the one to answer this question.”
Lu Qingjiu pursed his lips. Actually, since returning here, he had a vague feeling that there was something a little off about Yin Xun. But since Yin Xun didn’t seem to have any intentions of hurting him, he hadn’t thought any deeper about it. But even though he had sensed that something was strange about Yin Xun, Lu Qingjiu had never thought that his childhood friend actually wasn’t even a human anymore.
It was clear that Bai Yuehu knew what Yin Xun was, but he didn’t plan on telling Lu Qingjiu, wanting Lu Qingjiu to find Yin Xun and ask his questions himself, instead.
Lu Qingjiu rubbed the coin in his pocket, thinking, since it was like this, then he’d go ask Yin Xun tomorrow.
Absorbed in his thoughts, Lu Qingjiu didn’t sleep very well that night. Before it was even 5 o’ clock, Lu Qingjiu was out of bed and making breakfast. He thought that since he and Yin Xun were going to lay their cards on the table that day, he should probably make breakfast a little more sumptuous.
So Lu Qingjiu especially stewed a pot of chicken soup, thinking of making several bowls of delicious noodles in chicken soup with shredded chicken.
But to Lu Qingjiu’s surprise, even by the time the sun had almost fully risen, he still hadn’t seen hide nor hair of Yin Xun.
Lu Qingjiu got impatient sitting in the house and waiting, so he took out his mobile phone and called Yin Xun, but no one picked up.
“Yuehu, you can eat first. I’m going to go to Yin Xun’s house to look for him.” Lu Qingjiu said to Bai Yuehu.
Bai Yuehu nodded and picked up his chopsticks.
After Lu Qingjiu left the house, he made a beeline for Yin Xun’s home. When he arrived at Yin Xun’s house, he knocked on the door for a long time, but no one answered. Lu Qingjiu thought for a moment, then simply went to look for Yin Xun’s neighbour, the Auntie Liu who often liked to give Yin Xun things.
“Auntie Liu, have you seen Yin Xun?” Lu Qingjiu asked.
Auntie Liu was outside drying her sheets. When she heard Lu Qingjiu’s question, she replied, “I haven’t. I don’t think he came home last night.”
Lu Qingjiu said, “What time is he usually back by?”
Auntie Liu said, “A bit after ten, I think. Every time he comes home I can hear the sound of him closing the door. What’s wrong, Little Lu? Did something happen to that Yin family’s youngest?”
Lu Qingjiu said, “No, I was just looking for him for something. Auntie Liu, if you see him, tell him to come find me, and tell him I don’t blame him.
Hearing this, Auntie Liu became a little suspicious, but she didn’t ask further, just agreeing with a nod.
Unable to find Yin Xun, Lu Qingjiu could only go back home.
Bai Yuehu seemed to have predicted that his trip would end in vain, not seeming too surprised by the matter of Yin Xun’s disappearance.
“Could it be that something happened to him?” He didn’t pick up the phone, he wasn’t at home, Lu Qingjiu who hadn’t been able to catch the person he was looking for could only go home and squat angrily by the door as he chomped on melon seeds and complained to Bai Yuehu, saying “What did he run away so quickly for, shouldn’t the one running be me… Isn’t he afraid that after I catch him I’ll turn him into minced meat and eat him?”
Bai Yuehu said, “He probably is a little afraid.”
“Ah?” Lu Qingjiu turned his head, “What did you say?”
“I said,” Bai Yuehu repeated himself in a soft voice, “He might really be afraid that he’ll be eaten after you catch him.
Lu Qingjiu, “…Eaten by who?”
Bai Yuehu pointed at himself.
Lu Qingjiu was struck dumb. “Eaten by you? Could it be he’s actually scared I’ll cook him and serve him to you on a dish?”
Bai Yuehu stayed silent, but his expression already gave Lu Qingjiu all the answer he needed.
Yes, the past Yin Xun had been Lu Qingjiu’s friend. But now that his identity as a non-human had been exposed, Lu Qingjiu, who had been tricked, should be really angry, right? And Bai Yuehu, as Lu Qingjiu’s backing, would definitely not hesitate to help Lu Qingjiu get rid of this unpleasant matter — the logic was very sound, there was nothing wrong with it.
But Lu Qingjiu, who had worked out the logic, was so angry he wanted to hit someone.
“Am I that kind of person who would kill my friend and eat his flesh?” Lu Qingjiu raged, “He doesn’t understand me at all!”
“Yeah,” Bai Yuehu said, “That’s clearly me.”
Lu Qingjiu, “…”
Probably because Lu Qingjiu’s expression was far too sinister, Bai Yuehu spoke again, his tone even a little hopeful, “The quality of Yin Xun’s meat should probably be pretty good…”
“No! Not allowed! Don’t even think about it!” Lu Qingjiu ruthlessly refused.
Bai Yuehu sighed, his face filled with disappointment. It looked like he didn’t have anything against eating Yin Xun. As long as Lu Qingjiu gave the word, he would happily open his big mouth and swallow Yin Xun down in one gulp.
Lu Qingjiu asked, “Do you know where Yin Xun is now?”
“I don’t.” Bai Yuehu was no longer that interested in this thing that he wasn’t allowed to eat. Actually, if Yin Xun truly never reappeared, he would even be pretty happy. After all, there would be one less unnecessary mouth in this household, so he didn’t at all care about finding Yin Xun.
“But that coin you picked up yesterday should have some other use,” Bai Yuehu said, “You should think about it carefully, about where you’ve seen this coin before.”
Lu Qingjiu frowned. He returned to his room with the coin in hand. He placed the coin on the table and observed it carefully.
No matter how you looked at it, this was just an ordinary coin. Even though it wasn’t a coin that had been issued and circulated within his country, there wasn’t anything else special about it. On the front of the coin was a bull and on the back was a crown. Lu Qingjiu looked at it for a while and there was indeed a sense of familiarity that surfaced in his heart.
He had seen this coin before, but where, when, and in what situation… and what did this coin mean to Yin Xun?
Lu Qingjiu couldn’t think of an answer.
At this time, it was already noon and time to prepare a meal again. Lu Qingjiu had something on his mind, so he just casually made some stuff for him and Bai Yuehu to eat.
Bai Yuehu stared at the dishes on the table and fell into deep thought. Usually, it would always be four dishes and one soup, but today, Yin Xun was absent, so they just had a bowl of fried rice and some pickled vegetables. Although the fried rice did taste good, Bai Yuehu already started to change his mind…
The food was tasteless in Lu Qingjiu’s mouth. He was still thinking about the matter with Yin Xun. Yin Xun definitely still existed. If not, the people in the village would not know him. But clearly some kind of strange change had happened to him so that he might no longer belong to the category of human beings, and was now leaning closer to the non-human side.
“Lu-ge.” Li Xiaoyu from next door was already on summer break. After having had his lunch, he came over to play with Xiao Hua as usual. He called out to Lu Qingjiu from at the door.
“Come in.” Lu Qingjiu only snapped back to himself at this. He asked, “Have you eaten yet?”
“I’ve eaten.” Li Xiaoyu’s smile looked especially happy. “I came over to let Xiao Hua know, I won’t be studying with him in the afternoon today.”
“Are you planning to go out to play somewhere?” Lu Qingjiu asked.
“En,” Li Xiaoyu said, “I’m going out with Xiaolong and the rest on Uncle Chen’s truck to go to town to play.”
Xiaolong was Li Xiaoyu’s playmate. In the village, there were also about three or four kids Li Xiaoyu’s age. They would occasionally meet up and go to town to play. They didn’t have much money on them, but they could still play very happily, playing games in the arcade, eating cold popsicles, shopping around in the only supermarket in town…
Lu Qingjiu’s gaze passed through Li Xiaoyu, as if he was looking at the past himself and Yin Xun. The two of them were companions, they had exchanged many dreams and ambitions and made many promises to each other.
Lu Qingjiu put down his chopsticks and bowed his head, looking down at the barely discernible outline of the coin in his jacket pocket. In that moment, accompanied by Lu Xiaoyu’s questioning “Lu-ge?”, Lu Qingjiu finally remembered what that coin actually was.
This was indeed not an ordinary coin. It was actually one of those game coins Lu Qingjiu and Yin Xun had tried their best to save up money to buy when they were young and didn’t have much money. The money they could save up in a month was at most only enough to play two or three extra rounds. To the young Lu Qingjiu, it was already the absolute best thing.
And when Lu Qingjiu had been about to leave Shuifu village, the still-teenage Yin Xun had tearfully wanted to give all his hard-earned coins to Lu Qingjiu. It was just that at that time, Lu QIngjiu had already gotten onto the departing train and could only sit in the train compartment, looking through the thick glass, watching as his childhood playmate ran alongside the moving train and finally disappearing past his line of sight.
From then on, the two of them were separated by a wide distance. The next time they met, it was already many years later.
Yin Xun was no longer that young, skinny teen from Lu Qingjiu’s memories, but that smile on his face was the same as always, and that tiger tooth sticking out past his lip was also just as mischievous and cute as it was back then.
“I…” Lu Qingjiu pinched the coin. In a slightly hoarse voice, he said, “I remember now.”
He remembered what this coin meant now.
The author has something to say:
Bai Yuehu: See, I’ve noticed something. If you get a wild Yin Xun and chop off his head, he contains five times as much protein as a chicken would.
Yin Xun: Jiu-er save me ah ah ah ah ah ah
Lu Qingjiu: Bai Yuehu, calm down a little!!!
baum: lmao I was tling the part about the train in class and I actually began to tear up orz
but also, I love how BYH is totally ok with eating YX hahaha
noodles with shredded chicken: