(tn: for the title, it’s 汤谷. In the past, people thought that the sun actually came out from the ground somewhere, and that location was called 汤谷 (tang gu). It’s said that that place is somewhere in the Shandong province.)
translator: baumkuchen editor: ellabells
After returning home with the spices and seeds, Lu Qingjiu off-handedly told Yin Xun about this matter as a simple conversation starter. After hearing about it, Yin Xun was also a little uncomfortable, saying that the way he described it was too frightening. It had only been a few days, yet that lady already had her chin on Pang Ziqi’s shoulder, if this went on for a little longer… wouldn’t she have completely merged into Pang Ziqi’s body?
Lu Qingjiu said, “How would I know.” He placed the beef and other ingredients into the sauce, then turned on the flames and began to slowly stew them. The offal of chickens and ducks was very suited to make the sauce for braising, especially stuff like chicken gizzard. When eaten, it would be both savoury and crisp, perfect to have with alcohol. Lu Qingjiu continued, “But that thing really makes people uncomfortable just from looking at it.”
Yin Xun wasn’t very interested in Pang Ziqi’s situation. He was actually more interested in the beef in the pot. The two of them chatted for a little while longer, soon transitioning away from this topic to focus on tonight’s dinner.
Lu Qingjiu got Yin Xun to go pick some fresh onions from the fields. In a bit, after the braised beef was cut into slices, then sprinkled with a little bit of Lu Qingjiu’s special chili sauce, they would taste even better.
After dinner that night, Lu Qingjiu brought the braised beef to the courtyard, even pouring out a few cups of the grape wine he made before. The alcohol content in the wine he made himself wasn’t high, but the taste was very good, perfect as a drink for whiling the time away.
The braised beef was also very tasty. The meat was firm and chewy, the more one chewed, the more flavourful it became. After it was dipped in the special chili sauce, the beef became a little spicy, but this chili sauce didn’t just contain chilies, stir-fried, scorched and fragrant peanut bits and sesame seeds were also added. When dipped, there was a hint of savoury inside the spice, making people unable to stop eating.
The three of them drank the wine as they ate to their hearts’ content. By the time Bai Yuehu finished the last piece of beef, it was already past 11 at night. Yin Xun said while yawning that he was going to go back home to sleep. Lu Qingjiu told him to be careful on the way home. Only after seeing him disappear into the distance on the village path did he turn and return to the house, wash up, turn on the air-conditioning, lie down on the bed and fall asleep.
The next morning, Lu Qingjiu woke up, refreshed. Before making breakfast, he turned on the television for Xiao Hua, Xiao Hei and the little fox to watch. Ever since the previous incident, Lu Qingjiu had gotten into the habit of watching the local news. He was especially interested in the local morning news at about 7 every morning.
The news this kind of little local channel aired was unlike that of the big studios. Most of the time, it was about the local trifles, like some madam from the Li family stole eggs from a madam from the Cheng family; some resident living on the upper floors who liked to throw trash downstairs got into a fight with the people downstairs; some Ms. Liu spent a lot of money on cosmetic surgery, but it ended up botched and she wanted to get reparations from the beauty parlour… Lu Qingjiu turned up the volume, making breakfast as he listened to the news.
Today, they were having his homemade rice noodles. The rice was fresh rice bought from the neighbours. After dry frying it until it turned fragrant, he brought it to town and had it smashed into rice powder. Then, he added in potato starch water and began to knead it. After kneading it into a ball, he pressed it flat and cut it into strips. Then, the rice noodles were done. His homemade rice noodles were much more delicious than those bought from outside. He didn’t add any gelatin, so the case of someone not being able to bite through the noodles wouldn’t happen. The only flaw was that they weren’t very uniform, but as long as they tasted good, it didn’t matter.
He prepared a few big bowls of rice noodles. In every bowl, Lu Qingjiu added a portion of stewed beef he’d purposely saved from before and sprinkled green onions on top. Then, a bowl of delicious beef rice noodles was done.
As he was bringing the bowls out from the kitchen, he happened to see a story from the local news on the television. It said that a serious traffic accident had occurred on an overpass in the city early that morning. Even though no pedestrians were affected, the driver had been seriously injured and had already been sent to the hospital for emergency treatment.
Yin Xun walked over to help Lu Qingjiu with the bowls in his hands. Upon seeing this news, he said, “Yi, the car is a police car.”
“Police car?” Lu Qingjiu was stunned. He immediately thought of something, “Could it be…”
He and Yin Xun exchanged looks, each seeing the same guess in the other’s eyes.
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.
“I’ll call and ask.” Lu Qingjiu immediately dug out his phone and dialled Hu Shu’s number.
Coafg atf mjii mbccfmafv, Le Vte rjlv, “Hlcuple, vlv jcsatlcu tjqqfc?”
Oe Hlcuple jrxfv, “Le Vte, kjr atf qbilmf mjg atja uba lcab jc jmmlvfca ogbw sbeg qbilmf mfcafg?”
Le Vte rjlv, “Tfr…” Lf rffwfv ab atlcx bo rbwfatlcu. “Hlcuple, vb sbe xcbk rbwfatlcu jybea atlr?” Lf gfwfwyfgfv atja ktfc tf jcv Oe Hlcuple tjv rqbxfc yfobgf, tf rjlv atja atfgf kjr rbwfatlcu ragjcuf obiibklcu Ujcu Ildl. Ca atf alwf, tf tjvc’a atbeuta wemt bo la, jcv ktfc tf abiv Ujcu Ildl jybea la, Ujcu Ildl tjvc’a mjgfv abb wemt flatfg. Ktlcxlcu jybea la cbk, Oe Hlcuple wluta ageis tjnf rffc rbwfatlcu.
Lu Qingjiu hesitated slightly, but in the end, he told Hu Shu about the matter in detail. Even though that guy, Pang Ziqi, didn’t have a very good personality, he was a police officer in the end. He shouldn’t have committed many wrongs. “Yes. that day, I saw a woman in green constantly following behind him.”
Hu Shu asked blankly, “A woman?”
“En, a woman holding an umbrella,” Lu Qingjiu said, “I asked my friend about it, he said that that woman wasn’t something good, but I’m also unsure of the details.”
Hu Shu fell silent, seemingly mulling over something.
Lu Qingjiu asked, “What do you think, did you think of something?”
Hu Shu said, “Oh… Actually I can’t really tell you much, his work has always been special. I don’t know exactly how he got into this, but I heard that he might have visited some ancient tomb before he came here. I just heard it randomly, I don’t know if it’s true or false.”
Lu Qingjiu just listened. He didn’t actually know too much about these kinds of things. Him saying this to Hu Shu was just a friendly reminder.
After ending the call, Lu Qingjiu and Yin Xun continued to slurp up their noodles.
“Is that Pang Ziqi going to die?” Yin Xun asked after drinking down the final dregs of his soup.
“How would I know,” Ly Qingjiu said helplessly, “You’re the one who’s a mountain god. Logically, shouldn’t it be me asking you this kind of question?”
Yin Xun shook his head. “I don’t know, I don’t know. That thing’s very fierce, and I don’t want to be contaminated. After all, I’m made of water.”
Lu Qingjiu, “…” He thought of Yin Xun’s hand which had been bitten off and had already grown back, good as new, and remembered that Yin Xun really was made of water…
After breakfast, Bai Yuehu went off to the fields once more, while Lu Qingjiu and Yin Xun decided to clean up the courtyard.
The flock of little chickens had already completely grown up. The entire courtyard was their territory. Other than being a little nicer to people they were familiar with, they were utterly hostile to any other living creature that invaded their territory. They even almost beat up the neighbours’ dog once. Thankfully Lu Qingjiu had managed to stop them in time otherwise the dog might have lost its life to his family’s fighting chickens.
After he was done cleaning up and was planning on going to the kitchen to cook, Yin Xun reached out and grabbed him by the shoulder, a hint of horror in his eyes. He called, “Jiu… Jiu-ah.”
Lu Qingjiu looked back blankly. “En?”
Yin Xin said, “What’s that on your back…”
Lu Qingjiu was confused. “On my back?” He reached out with a hand and felt along his back, but he didn’t feel anything. “What do you mean?”
Yin Xun quickly pulled Lu Qingjiu into the bathroom which had a mirror to let him see his own back.
With one look, Lu Qingjiu was shocked. He saw that a black shadow had appeared on his back. This shadow looked like the silhouette of the woman with the umbrella. Even though it was vague and unclear, when he saw this shadow, Lu Qingjiu immediately thought of that thing resting its chin on Pang Ziqi’s shoulder, and that malicious gaze it had sent towards him…
“Fuck.” Lu Qingjiu couldn’t help but let out a swear.
“Why is this thing on your back?” Yin Xun was also shocked. He reached out a tentative hand, trying to touch the black shadow on Lu Qingjiu’s back, but his hand went right through. “Jiu-er, what did you do?”
Lu Qingjiu, “…I just took an extra glance at her in a crowd.”
Yin Xun sang, “She couldn’t forget your face from that moment on?”
Lu Qingjiu, “…”
Lu Qingjiu and Pang Ziqi had only met twice, he didn’t know why he became that thing’s target either. Could it be that thing had realised he was this family’s pillar… Without him, the two children in his family would have to live a life of poverty, where they couldn’t even afford to eat xiaolongbao, again?
No, as a father figure, Lu Qingjiu would never allow such a thing to happen!
“Jiu-er, what are you thinking about?” Yin Xun, seeing Lu Qingjiu’s rapidly changing expression, asked doubtfully.
“I was thinking…” Lu Qingjiu came back to himself. “Let’s go to the hospital and see Pang Ziqi.”
Yin Xun, “…Why?”
Lu Qingjiu rubbed his back. “I have a feeling that if he’s gone, I’ll probably be next…” He also hadn’t expected that that thing would actually be contagious.
Yin Xun, “…”
Going to the hospital to see Pang Ziqi wasn’t impossible. It was just that before going, Lu Qingjiu asked his family’s fox spirit for his thoughts before going.
After all, compared to this rather unreliable mountain god he had for a best friend, Bai Yuehu clearly knew a lot more.
When Bai Yuehu, clad in boots, a hat on his head and carrying a water bucket, returned, he saw the two of them sitting in the courtyard at home, staring at him forlornly. His movements stilled. He asked, “What’s wrong?”
Lu Qingjiu stood up and turned to reveal his back. “Yuehu, there seems to be something on my back…”
Bai Yuehu glanced at Lu Qingjiu’s back and also saw that black shadow.
“What exactly is this thing?” Lu Qingjiu also told him about Pang Ziqi getting into a car accident. “It can even spread?”
Bai Yuehu walked over to Lu Qingjiu, lowered his head slightly and took a sniff. “It’s a little troublesome.”
Troublesome? The moment Lu Qingjiu heard this, he became a little panicked. He’d seen Bai Yuehu’s strength. If even he said it was troublesome, then this thing was definitely out of the norm. He asked, “Is there any way to get rid of it?”
Bai Yuehu said, “Yes, there is.”
Lu Qingjiu asked, “How?”
Bai Yuehu said, “The one it was attached to before probably touched something he shouldn’t have touched. Let him deal with that thing and it should be fine.”
Speaking of things that shouldn’t be touched, Lu Qingjiu immediately thought of how Hu Shu had told him about Pang Ziqi visiting an ancient tomb. He couldn’t say for sure if it had anything to do with that woman’s appearance.
“If he can’t find that thing?” Lu Qingjiu didn’t forget to find himself another way.
“Can’t find it?” Bai Yuehu said, “If he truly can’t find it, then nevermind, I’ll deal with it. No matter what, I won’t let you die.” As he said this, he sighed lightly. Seeing this, Lu Qingjiu’s heart clenched. This matter might really be a little troublesome.
Hey guys, because I have midterms, the second part of FF will be a little later this week, on Friday! Sorry, and thanks for your understanding! <3
Thank you to Somebody and TinyTina for the ko-fis~