Book 1: Winds Begin to Blow in Tai Yuan
Chapter 8 - Master Yuanbao1
Meng Fuyao almost spat out the unswallowed remnants of the herbs in her mouth.
You're very cold ...
This was early autumn weather in the southern mountains, although the wind was strong but it was far from being called bone-chilling cold; that was not even mentioning that underneath was a huge pile of fire!
Only an idiot would believe you were actually cold.
The guy in front was crouched high up on the branch end, idly holding his cheeks, his eyes sweeping on her body here, and there, and back again; more than likely planning to engage in the "most primitive method of warming up" with her. Meng Fuyao retreated further from the fire pit yet again.
Even though this person's bearing looked honorable and refined, not like a rapist's covetous wretchedness, in this world, who knew if underneath a good appearance lies hidden a treacherous heart? Kind of like ... Pei Yuan.
Her dark pupils were covered in bright streaks of light from the fire's glow, watching the man with an expression of alertness. Dense eyelashes lightly blinked, forming dark shadows on her pale white face and making her look similar to a small anxious creature preparing herself for a fight.
The man opposite looked at her with interest, then said, "Girl, are you cold?"
Very good, everything was going exactly according to the pre-established script.
Meng Fuyao was unwilling to follow along. While her butt continued to scoot backwards, she rebelliously refuted, "So hot."
With a slight smile on his attractive, agreeable appearance, the guy casually replied, "Then just take off your clothes."
Meng Fuyao, who had already shifted about a zhang away, suddenly shot up like a leaping wolf, with one flip already planning on escaping onto a small cliff nearby.
The man didn't move while watching her flee, only unconcernedly smoothing his robe lapels2 with a light smirk.
Following his motion, the lapels of his robes parted a hair, and a fire red fruit came rolling out.
The eyes of Meng Fuyao who was still in the process of somersaulting immediately lit up.
This, this this heated blaze of color yet cool and refreshing scent, could it be the holy fruit of wound healing, the "Red Qilin"?3
The fruit "gu lu lu" tumbled over, clearly seen by the currently heels-over-head Meng Fuyao. Sure enough, it was the special fruit only found up in the snowy mountains in the state of Di; according to rumors, this thing only grew in the remote valleys of glacial mountains, with commoners unable to obtain it at all.
With a "peng" sound, Meng Fuyao only half-completed her somersault before face-planting the floor.
The instant after falling down she scrambled up, one foot firmly pressing on the fruit. She peeked at the opposing side - it seemed that he was not going to object? Only then did she hurriedly shoot out a hand to grab the fruit.
A white light flashed in front of her eyes, as fast as lightning, and a small ball of noisy air swiftly blew over, directly smashing against Meng Fuyao's hand. Meng Fuyao let out an exclamation, with an "yi ya" sound loosening her hand. That white light soared upwards and, with a mid-air flip and a wind-calling, leg-sweeping movement, fiercely kicked on her nose.
Following that another somersault was gracefully executed with four claws facing the sky, straightforwardly welcoming the fruit that had just fallen from Meng Fuyao's hands. With a smacking sound, the fruit was wrapped in a full-body hug.
The entire process happened in only a split second; Meng Fuyao only sensed a gust of wind, a pain on her nose, and a light fruity smell, before the wound-curing miracle fruit had switched places.
Dumbfounded she lifted her hand and rubbed her nose, from the tip of her nose plucking a finger-length strand of white hair - what in the world was this thing?
Her eyes sluggishly looked over on the ground. A bundle of powdery white was currently tiptoeing on its little claws, smugly holding that piece of red fruit in its palm and reverently offering the fruit back to its owner. With one leg extended backwards, it unexpectedly was perfectly posing in a classic ballet posture.
Meng Fuyao stared at the palm-sized thing - a rabbit? Smaller than a rabbit, a squirrel? Yet it was whiter than a squirrel, a guinea pig? It was even fatter than regular guinea pigs, having bright, crafty black eyes and long, beautiful snow white fur. It was so chubby that one couldn't discern out parts of its figure, practically a real-life Hamtaro4; if put in her previous world, this cute little creature would be certain to incite high-pitched squeals from pet-lovers.
However, wasn't it a little too nefarious and fierce when it was stealing things?
Feeling Meng Fuyao's vision on it, the guinea pig instantly swiveled its head, baring its teeth towards her direction. Under the fire light, those large front teeth shone like a pair of knives.
Being pinned by that threatening stare, Meng Fuyao couldn't help but feel a bit infuriated. Recently it seemed she had been on a luckless streak, being betrayed then tortured then pushed off a cliff, and now even a fat rodent was looking down on her. After getting to such a low point, she only felt extremely depressed.
In her moodiness, Meng Fuyao pulled up the corner of her mouth, also baring her teeth towards that fat rodent - if we compare size, my teeth are larger than yours!
In front of the camp fire, a person and a rodent confronted each other, showing their teeth and eyeing each other menacingly like tigers.
With a "puu" sound, the man opposite who previously looked over with a touch of humor in his expression finally couldn't hold back a short laugh. He looked at Meng Fuyao with some consideration, then stretched a hand out to that little thing and beckoned saying, "Yuanbao."
The chubby squirrel only squirmed its back end, not caring.
Master Yuanbao immediately jumped up, embracing the fruit while bouncing over. Its two claws fawningly lifted the fruit up in an offering.
The man only shook his head, using his finger to point in the direction of Meng Fuyao.
A tone of rebellion.
Master Yuanbao slowly raised its head, dragged its feet extremely reluctantly for a while, before little by little turning the offered fruit to a different direction.
It mournfully gazed at the fruit, its eyes lingering with the endless sorrow that comes with forever goodbyes.
The more Meng Fuyao looked at its melancholy the more happiness she felt. Triumphantly extending a hand, with one grab she stole back the fruit.
In the process, she even yanked a strand of fur from Master Yuanbao's butt.
Payback for being kicked on the nose.
Master Yuanbao leapt up in fury while doing a full flip in the air again, seemingly planning to execute another one of its "front-handed straight-bodied forward mid-air 180 degree spin somersaults". How could Meng Fuyao let this rat punt her nose a second time? With a twist of her body she had already dodged to the side.
When Master Yuanbao saw that he would be unable to hit her nose, he instantly switched battle tactics, leaping onto the fruit with a "chi" sound and maliciously spitting a mouthful of spit on it.
Meng Fuyao swiftly scooped up that fat body and hurled it to the side, and Master Yuanbao flew away while tumbling in circles. With a flash of sword light, that piece of fruit skin that had been contaminated with rodent saliva was cleanly sliced off, and with a fling of Fuyao's hand, the skin peel directly landed on top of Master Yuanbao's head, together with the rodent smashing into the bosom of its owner.
Man versus rodent best of three, victory for Meng Fuyao.
Squeaking sounds arose in the air as the white-colored figure jumped up and down on the man's body, latching onto his sleeves in a chorus of whines, most likely angrily denouncing a certain someone. The guy lazily leaned on the tree, pinching Yuanbao's little nose and lightly conversing with it.
"... who told you to bully others ..."
"You didn't lose out either, you gave her a kick ..."
"Zhi zhi!" Master Yuanbao turned around, pitifully showing his round backside to the man.
"Your butt has thousands of strands of fur, how could I see which one you're missing?"
"Zhi zhi." Master Yuanbao desperately pawed, digging and digging.
Fed up, the man squeezed its neck, standing Yuanbao upright, "Be good and talk directly, last night you didn't wash your butt!"
"Ok ok ... isn't just your snacks ... give it to her this once, next time I'll make it up to you ..."
"You've become more bad tempered, all because they've been spoiling you."5 The guy's long-suffering patience was finally worn thin, yet no anger could be seen on his face; he just slightly smiled and felt around in his bosom, "Sigh ... carrying around all these snacks all the time is so tiring, how about I toss them, ah?"
"Zhi ... zhi ..."
Master Yuanbao stopped its flag waving and drum beating, crouching down to the side to draw circles on the ground6. The guy patted him on his head, about to turn and speak some words to Meng Fuyao, when he saw her bulging mouth and suddenly started.
"You ... finished eating the Qilin Red?"
Meng Fuyao desperately chewed, with two or three gulps completely swallowing the fruit, then straightforwardly replied "Yep, ate it all."
If I didn't take the chance to quickly eat the good stuff while you two were jabbering, did you expect me to wait for that fellow to snatch it out of my mouth again?
The man only humorously viewed her for a while, then suddenly shook his head.
"It looks like you didn't know, when ingesting the Qilin fruit with Finger Frost, one has to dilute it by half, or else risk getting poisoned."
1. Yuanbao "元宝", known also in English as the "Sycee", is a chunk of precious metal ingot shaped like a fat boat often used by imperial dynasties as currency. Common representation for wealth and prosperity during the Lunar New Year.
2. "衣襟", The upper collar/lapels of a Chinese robe that often can have stuff stored inside it. (Google or Baidu search the Chinese phrase yourself if you want to see an example, since if I post links wordpress always delays the post for like a day)
3. Qilin or also known as Kirin are legendary hooved chimeras with horns
4. Hamtaro is a popular chubby hamster from a Japanese animation
5. The "they" used in this sentence is in the feminine form, meaning "they" is referring to multiple females
6. Phrase basically means sadness or unwillingness