Desert Arc ー Chapter 19 (Part 3): Adventures of Crossing the River
Chivalrous Hero Xiao had yet to speak when little Jue Ming had already spoken first, “When Elder Brother* jumped into the water to save you, he got cut by the stones and aquatic plants.”
*T/n: Does not refer to a biological brother
I looked towards Xiao Xuan. The Lei Feng-like selfless model citizen* seemed to be smiling due to being pleased with his noble moral character and continued to scoop out the intestines and belly of the rabbit.
*T/n: The literal translation is ‘living Lei Feng’. Lei Feng was known for his kind and selfless acts.
Here is a link to a Wikipedia page about him:
With a lightning move of my hand, I snatched everything over and scolded him lightly, “You’re not even worried about infection from your wound. Quickly go wash your hands. I’ll do it.”
Xiao Xuan opened his mouth and wanted to say something. I kicked him and he left obediently.
I wrapped the chicken along with its feathers with mud and buried it in the ground. I started a fire on top, then secretly used Xiao Xuan’s sword without his permission to pierce through the rabbit and roast it above the fire. When Xiao Xuan saw it, his facial muscles twitched a little but he didn’t say anything.
The fire crackled and the rabbit gradually started to emit a fragrance. Old Monk was telling Little Monk about the story of a prince who left his home and ultimately achieved Buddhahood through his efforts and insights but Little Monk couldn’t sit still anymore and constantly looked over here.
Old Monk sighed helplessly. “Never mind, never mind. His heart is not on Buddhism.”
I sneered. “If one’s heart really has Buddha, one doesn’t need to chant and Buddha is able to know. Why is there a need for going to the temple to pray?”
Old Monk said, “Praying sincerely is to ask for Buddha’s blessings.”
I continued to sneer. “The Probability theory arose from gambling, art originated from witchcraft? And what about religion? In ancient times, there was a person who felt void inside and was bored. Hence, he took some mud to mould a sculpture and imagined it as the omnipotent God. Then, he began to prostrate himself in worship. This is an unceasing process of self-hypnotism. After a long time, he also believed that this object was the omnipotent god and is even extremely afraid of this mud sculpture. This is purely finding things to do when one has time to spare.”
Old Monk stroked his beard and smiled. “You still bear a grudge against me for saying that you’ll become the motherly model of the nation?”
As I was exposed, I was so embarrassed that I became angry and tore the rabbit meat to eat.
Old Monk also tore a big piece and divided a rabbit leg to Jue Ming.
I was astonished. “I thought you’re a monk.”
Old Monk said, “Of course I am. I even have the golden book of conferment issued by the court.”
As he spoke, he took out a hard book from his chest pocket. I opened it to read. The few red words ‘The Treasure by the Emperor as decreed by Heaven’* were very piercing to the eyes. I sighed. “It is even an authentication by the country.”
*T/n: You can also kind of think of this as the imperial seal
Old Monk was pleased with himself.
Xiao Xuan had already dug the chicken out and knocked away the mud, revealing the tender and fragrant white meat inside. Old Monk handed over a small bag as if he was presenting a treasure. “Salt.”
I fell. I asked, “What else does your kasaya have?”
Old Monk felt with his hand and said, “Bowls, vulneraria, a smelling-bottle*, medical pills, rope…do you want pepper?”
*T/n: Used to wake up women when they have fainted.
“I want.” I took it to sprinkle a little on the chicken drumstick.
After finishing our meal, Xiao Xuan told me, “Come with me for a while.”
I followed him to a nearby small creek.
He told me, “Take off your shoes.”
I quickly retracted my feet.
Xiao Xuan said, “Alright then, I won’t bother about the blisters on your feet.”
I could only stretch my leg out again.
He helped me to take off my shoes and placed my leg on his knees. It was so painful that I gasped a little. He sighed and made his movements more gentle.
We walked for half a day then traversed through the woods. This body of mine which had led a luxurious and comfortable life had actually experienced a rigorous ordeal. But how did he know that my feet developed blisters without me saying?
The sky had already turned dark. The brook was suffused with little remnants of light. Not far away from the bonfire, Old Monk was telling a story to Little Monk. The mountain woods were not quiet as the birds which had returned were calling out merrily among the branches. It was auspicious and peaceful between Heaven and Earth.
I asked softly, “Bringing me along, is it convenient??”
Xiao Xuan continued to smear the medicine and asked, “What is there to be convenient or not convenient?”
“Although I have never experienced the days of evading the enemies who chase after me to kill me, I also know that the more the number of people, the bigger the target, the more unsafe it will be.”
Xiao Xuan stopped what he was doing and stared at me as he said, “How big are you alone? How big can the target be?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know anything at all and can only increase trouble for you all.”
Xiao Xuan continued to apply medication for me. “I’m very happy that you still have a little self-awareness about your own strengths and weaknesses. But what can I do? Throw you into the mountains to feed the tigers?”
“Ah ah ah, don’t throw Elder Sister into the mountains to feed the tigers.” I don’t know when Little Jue Ming had run over. He said in a child-like manner, “Elder Sister is a good person. Only bad people are fed to the tigers.” As he said, he pulled my hand and leaned that plump head of his on my shoulder.
I laughed. “Did you hear that, Second Elder Brother? Even a child is better than you at differentiating between loyal and traitorous.”
Xiao Xuan smiled sinisterly, “Jue Ming, has your Grandpa Mentor not told you yet that women are tigers?”
Little Monk titled his head as he mused. “I’ll go and ask Grandpa Mentor.”
I looked at the cheerful rear view of that child and suddenly asked, “He can’t be my real Second Elder Brother’s son right?”
Xiao Xuan’s was helpless with his face full of black lines. “Xie Zhaohua, do you know arithmetic?”
“Why wouldn’t I?” I was displeased.
“Then let me ask you, how long has it been since your real Second Elder Brother died?”
“Ten years already.”
“Then how old is the child?”
“Six years old.”
“Then isn’t that it.” Xiao Xuan rolled his eyes at me three times.
I wasn’t willing to accept defeat. “I’m extremely intelligent. Did you think that I wouldn’t know if you hadn’t said?”
Xiao Xuan cast a sidelong glance at me. “Is that so?”
I suddenly thought of something and said, “I won’t be called Xie Zhaohua in the future.”
Xiao Xuan smiled. “Then what do I call you in the future?”
“Xiao Min.” I shook my head here and there. “Xie Zhaohua has already eloped with Teacher Song. The one who has gone to seek shelter as Prince Yan subordinate is the ‘Beautiful Divine Physician’, Young Lady Min.”
This sentence reminded Xiao Xuan. “Where did you place Zhang Qiuyang’s book?”
I replied, “At home. I won’t have a peace of mind if I bring it out. Besides, I can also recite it from memory.”
Xiao Xuan said, “See, you can treat illnesses, you’re actually not devoid of any merit at all.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Are you praising me?”
Xiao Xuan only smiled but didn’t speak.