“You’re not panicking but your men are . Well, Li Yue and I don’t mind . Either way, we have a lot of time,” said Ye Lang nonchalantly .
With the same nonchalance, Zhao Yarou also said, “Let them wait, it doesn’t matter . ”
“That’s right . ” Ye Lang tossed a few matchstick-looking objects into the fire again .
After a while…
“Mmm? Something smells amazing…” Zhao Yarou looked up, sniffing for something that smelled delicious .
“Smells great, right? This is a type of vine called shanyao,” said Ye Lang with a smile .
[Note: Shanyao = cinnamon-vine / chinese yam]
“I want one . ” Zhao Yarou extended her palm asking for one .
“No . I won’t give you one even if it’s ready . ” Ye Lang ignored her hand .
“ . . . ” Zhao Yarou was silent .
“Mr Fox, stop bullying Her Majesty . She doesn’t have her guards with her, how is she going to get her own food?” Li Yue rolled her eyes .
“I don’t care . It might even be best she starves a little, she’ll experience the sufferings of commoners . This is what every person who wants to be an emperor must experience . ”
“ . . . ”
“Excuses . You’re looking for excuses! I want some, and if you’re not giving me any, I will…” Zhao Yarou looked like she snapped .
“You will what?” Ye Lang looked at her condescendingly . I don’t care if you hit me or yell at me .
Looking at his face, she knew what he was thinking . The next sentence she uttered was shocking enough to shake the heavens . . .
“I will marry you . ”
“Fuck! Here you go!” Ye Lang passed her a yam without another word .
“ . . . ”
Li Yue and Zhao Yarou were stunned for a moment . Was such a dramatic reaction really necessary? Is she (Am I) THAT awful?
Zhao Yarou ate her meal in brooding silence . It was still raining out so she continued staring blankly into space . After a while, she noticed Ye Lang was no longer here .
“Li Yue, where’s the fox?” she asked, seeing Li Yue was still here .
“I think he walked inside . He didn’t say anything either, probably to explore . ” Li Yue pointed towards the depths of the cave . It was very dark inside, they couldn’t see anything .
“I wonder what he’s up to now . Let’s go check on him,” said Zhao Yarou as she walked deeper into the cave .
“Your Majesty, it’s too dangerous . It’s better to wait for him to return,” stopped Li Yue, standing up . At this point, she was already able to walk and did not need someone else to carry her . However, she still needed another person for support .
“I’ll be fine, how dangerous could it be…” Zhao Yarou said mildly, continuing her walk .
“Your Majesty . ”
When she realised she wouldn’t be able to stop Zhao Yarou, she immediately followed her- though she could barely keep up . Zhao Yarou stopped to support Li Yue, then they both walked deeper into the cave .
Li Yue was surprised at this act of kindness . She never would’ve expected Zhao Yarou to help her with walking, she was overwhelmed with gratitude . At the same time, she wondered if Zhao Yarou truly was as cold as everyone perceived her to be .
While the cave was very dark, it was not too deep . After a two-minute walk, they saw Ye Lang’s silhouette . He was staring at a wall, deep in thought .
Was he meditating? However, both girls quickly shook off the thought . That was impossible . Why would he meditate? And why this place?
Then again, as they peered closer, this wall didn’t look the same as a regular cave wall . There were carvings etched on its surface and it was very smooth and tidy in most places .
“What is this?” Zhao Yarou asked in surprise .
“This is a door . Looks like someone built something into this hill…” he answered, touching and knocking the wall in places .
“A door? Build? Who built this? Why?” she asked . As the ruler of this land, of course she was interested in knowing about the secrets of this place .
“I don’t know why but I can guess who . These carvings are text from the ancient era before the Xia Dynasty (2000 years B . C . ) by the Tiangongyue tribe . ”
“In the ancient era, the Tiangongyue tribe was a people with advanced alchemy knowledge, their alchemy capabilities far exceeding what we know now . However, they disappeared after a period of war . I can’t believe there are structures built by them here!” Ye Lang grew excited looking at the door, completely forgetting that he was supposed to hide the alchemy side of him .
“Does it say how to open the door?” asked Zhao Yarou .
“Yes but it’s more of a warning . They warn us not to open it or we’ll go to hell,” said Ye Lang .
“We’ll cross that bridge when we’ve open the door . I’m going to hell sooner or later anyway . ” Zhao Yarou could care less, all she wanted was to open the doors .
“You said it yourself! Don’t blame me if you actually go to hell!” Ye Lang was interested too . If it weren’t for both of them, he would’ve opened the door already .
“Your Majesty, shouldn’t we wait until we have more people?” asked Li Yue . To her, there were too few of them . If anything happened, they might not be able to save themselves .
“We’re not going very deep inside, we’re just going to open a door . I’ll decide later once I’ve seen what’s on the inside . ”
That was true too . There wouldn’t be much of a problem if they were just opening a door . Li Yue wasn’t as worried either . She felt like it wouldn’t be too dangerous-- at least she could stay away if it was .
At this point, Zhao Yarou and Li Yue were standing quite far from the door, obviously so they could run if anything happened .
Death - Of ten who enter, death awaits nine .
Life- A smooth journey
Obstacles- Thorns and hindrance
“There are three paths, they each have a description labelled here . One is labelled Death, it says death awaits nine of ten who enter; one is Life- where there will be no obstacles; one has ‘Obstacles’ written here and it will be tough to get through . We’re going to take ‘Life’, of course,” said Ye Lang, about to tap on ‘Life’ to reveal its entrance . However, he was stopped by a cry from Zhao Yarou .
“No! How could it be that easy? It must be a trick! We’d be in huge trouble if the Death path is truly deadly… We should choose Obstacles . ” Zhao Yarou did not trust the labels, fearing they might be the opposite of each other . Perhaps choosing the most difficult path would be safer .
“No way, why would I listen to you? I’m picking Life . ” Ye Lang completely ignored her, about to tap on ‘Life’ .
“No!” cried Zhao Yarou .
“What now? I want to choose Life, and I will!” said Ye Lang .
“Listen to me, just this one time . ” Zhao Yarou was almost begging him now but neither Ye Lang nor Li Yue, who were staring at the door, noticed .
“No way . If you want the more difficult path so bad, tap on that after I’ve entered . ” Ye Lang shook his head as he tapped on the ‘Life’ carvings .
Once he touched it, the carvings glowed brightly . Light poured out like water, then flowed to fill each carving and slowly covering the entire door .
Then, the carvings shone brighter as the carved texts started to rotate in sync with each other-- like gears .