The rain rained steadily, pouring in a heavy rhythm. Within it, Chen Li forced herself to get up. She turned around, surprised to find a man with pale skin, in azure robes. Their eyes met. Chen Li couldn’t help but be moved- Only after traversing the deepest levels of hell may one find that even the ugliest dandelion can soothe the soul. Although Xing Yun couldn’t be compared to weedy dandelions, from Chen Li’s point of view as a chicken, it really didn’t matter so.
Xing Yun stared into Chen Li’s eyes for a long time until his lips twitched slightly… and then… He laughed!!!
He… He… He actually is laughing!!!
Xing Yun murmured, “Foolish chicken.”, before turning backwards and retrieving and opening a paper fan from his basket as he took slow steps towards Chen Li. Chen Li is unable to run anymore, wouldn’t run. She wondered, what kind of creature is Xing Yun? She is at the end of the line, but then she suddenly thought- Even so, the worst outcome is to be made into stew. Whatever the outcome, she can accept death.
With a wave of the paper fan, the once cloudy sky seemed to have instantly turned sunny. “Cluck!, I thought that when you ran away, you would never return. I never would have thought that you came back, waiting for me.”
Chen Li hung her head in an effort to ignore him. Xing Yun, not minding how dirty she was, plucked her from the river and placed her in the basket.
“You really are impressive, escaping for a mere half a day and managing to embarrass yourself this much… Really remarkable!”
“Cluck! Go on already!” Chen Li couldn’t help but snap, “Cluck, To speak so much nonsense!!”
Xing Yun smirked in reply, no longer speaking. With just a wave of the paper fan, the rain was completely blocked, not even a drop falling onto Chen Li’s naked body.
Exhausted from earlier, Chen Li stayed on his basket obediently, not taking long before she fell asleep. A chill spread from her as she dreamed, subconsciously stretching her claws and her beak snapping to bite someone in the air.
“You, a broiler chicken, really is courageous.” Xing Yun grabbed a stew ladle as Chen Li took a slight step backwards.
Shaking water off her wings, Chen Li guarded against Xing Yun as she stared at him- “That’s for….?”
“Use for what?” Xing Yun smiled and asked her, “Right now, your claws are filthy and filled with grime. I can help you and wash you, or would you rather a swim in the pond again?”
Chen Li looked the other way, finding herself a big basket of wild ginseng. Using her sharp claws, she immediately cleaning her claws on the knots. Xing Yun grabbed her claws, “Stop. Damaged ones don’t sell well.”
“You… Selling these herbs?”
“What else?” Xing Yun pulled her paws to the sink as he rubbed to wash all the mud away. When he was done, he grabbed the other paw, rather liking the process similar to preparing a meal. He smiled, peering at Chen Li, “Do you know where I get these?”
Too close, too pretty of a face, Chen Li’s heart momentarily stopped beating. Watching Xing Yun smile, she actually had the feeling of being molested! Angrily, Chen Li shouted, “Presumptuous!” Her beak jabbed forward, pecking the unguarded Xing Yun straight on the nose! Xing Yun backed up, clutching his nose for some time, still not lifting his head.
Within Chen Li’s heart too existed a strand of ill will, but when she saw Xing Yun’s bent head, worry surfaced. She wondered if the words were too harsh, if he was offended or angered, what to do? Not to mention…. If he deals with herself now……. Chen Li was silent.
Chen Li was anxious; When she looked at Xing Yun, his shoulders were trembling violently. But then, she somehow saw and heard him laughing wildly. Chen Li grew increasingly bewildered and was stunned. Is her beak poisonous or something? Had she manage to peck him crazy?!?
Xing Yun used his hands to push himself back up, sporting red and swollen nose, not the least bit afraid, he came over to Chen Li and patted her head. “Ai, really impressive!” Not the least bit fazed, he simply taking the brush, began to work on the wild ginseng.
Chen Li sat down in the sink, confused. To not be able to see though someone… This really is her first time!
“Dumb chicken.” When Chen Li heard the mummer, she looked up only to see a ball of mud to slap her in the face! Dirt dripped down her face, landing with a loud “plop!”as it fell onto th ground, blocking Chen Li’s nose! Chen Li rubbed her nose, struggling to breathe, but then the sand got into her mouth, causing Chen Li to cough and roll around in the sink.
Xing Yun just continued to wash the ginseng calmly.
That guy…… That guy…. How could he be so childish!! Such petty revenge, ugh!
Yet, Chen Li decided to stay sit at Xing Yun’s home for 2 reasons. First, somehow, her physical recovery is very fast here, after 2-3 days’ time, her left wing has already healed. Second, she does not want to be caught open by her pursuers.
Chen Li worried about when her magical powers will restore. If it remains useless, then she doesn’t know when she can get out from here, and when the Demon Emperor will come for her. Thankfully though, the time in heaven is far faster than the times in earth, meaning she has gained alot more time.
“Come to eat!” Xing Yun called for Chen Li, causing her to jump up and head for the kitchen.
Chen Li believed that Xing Yun’s food was the reason for her fast recovery so she always eats it all without so much of a crumb left. However…. Why mantou again? Chen Li stared at the dish before kicking it with dissatisfaction. Even if it is delicious, eating it everyday would obviously make one feel sick, ah!
But most importantly, she wanted meat!!!
“It’s tasty, but I want meat!”
“Too poor, ah.”
So quick! Chen Li hesitated and closely observed at Xing Yun who was still gnawing on the mantou. “Isn’t eating meat occasionally okay? You are not wealthy, but you also do not look the least bit poor, right?!”
Xing Yun smiled at Chen Li, “Ah too poor, my temperament really too poor!
Although Xing Yun voiced it casually, it was he that said it after all. Chen Li turned to look in the yard at the growing ginseng. “What about all of those ginseng you sell? They should fetch a lot, no?”
The proud ginseng seller simply replied, “Ah, you do not think that ginseng could never get disease and fall ill?”
Chen Li was defeated. After hesitating a long while, not daring to say anymore, she simply ate her mantou in silence.
It was the middle of the night. Chen Li decided that Xing Yun must be asleep. The moonlight shone everywhere. Chen Li took a deep breath, and moonlight condensed around her. Gashing out with her claw, she pointed ferociously at a stone in front of her. For a moment, it looked like a ball of gold, but before once could see closely, it flashed powerfully and once again turned into an ordinary stone.
Chen Li sighed. It really didn’t work after all, her body is devoid of magical power, not even being able to do a simple Midas Gold spell! She slumped on the stone, experiencing her first frustration of life.
Chen Li looked into the darkness at the house. The night wind spread out the herbal scent from the house. Smelling this, Chen Li struggled to get up to no avail. Flapping her wings powerfully, she summoned the effort to stand up and look forward. Xing Yun could be considered as one who helped her dearly. When one receives grace from another, it must be returned. She also believes these truths. However, although she had been conferred the title of King, her field of trade is on the front line of battle, shedding blood, killing. Not saving lives. She is unable to treat the sick Xing Yun, nor able to give him enough time to get a better life.
Chen Li took a deep breath and the moon light was absorbed into her body. She leaned over at it went to peck the white stone. Chen Li opened her eyes and saw the stone shine gold brightly. But once again, it receded. Chen Li angrily kicked the white stone, shouting, “Useless thing!!”. Just as she finished saying it, she wrenched her paw back, “So painful!”. Jumping, Chen Li glared hatefully at the white stone.
Finally, Chen Li calmed down and went again to the stone and continued to apply the force of “Midas Gold”.
Chen Li was focused on the stone so intently that she didn’t notice a pair of eyes smiling at her within the dark courtyard, watching every action she did. Chen Li didn’t know how many times she failed, yet she persisted. In the dark, the hem of an azure robe turned as the wearer entered the house.
Xing Yun rolled around in the cupboard before taking out a dozen copper coins and weighed them a little. “Perhaps it’d be good to buy 2 taels of meat tomorrow.”
Chen Li continued to practice relentlessly on the white stone outside.
1: Tael is basically the ancient version of ounce.