“What’s immortal fruit? Is it the same as a devil fruit?” I recalled an anime in which there were a lot of fruits that would give you superpowers after eating them (1). I found it strangely funny.
When I looked at Fatty, he said, “I heard an older sister say it. This guy was extremely cocky and wanted a prostitute. Once she went to the boss’s house to ‘deliver takeout’, she saw a box hanging in his room. He wouldn’t let her touch it, saying that it was an immortal fruit. She didn’t understand, so he asked her if she had seen ‘The Legend of Chu Liuxiang’ (2). Monk Wuhua had never fallen on the ground since he was born. He sat on the bed and meditated on the imperial chariot, just like free-flowing water. The man had a very high Buddha-like nature and had never touched the world of mortals since he was born. The same was true of some other things that had never fallen to the ground since they were made. They were all hung up and preserved. The box containing such treasures is called immortal fruit. I just heard about it, but I didn’t expect there to be so many.”
“Are you a fucking storyteller?” I asked. “I’ve heard stories, too. In the past, eunuchs had a treasure room where all the things cut off from them were put in boxes and hung up. This might be the same situation here because there are all kinds of boxes. Some of the big eunuchs’ treasures had their own special rooms. I think this place is the treasure house.”
“You mean there are tens of thousands of dicks hanging from this ancient building’s third-floor ceiling? Shit, this landlord’s aesthetics are really disturbing. Absolutely impossible!” Fatty started to pull his submachine gun from the bag and said “Just you wait, this fat master will show you his skills and shoot with great precision.”
He started coughing until his face was almost blue, so I said to him, “Don’t fucking bicker with me, just shoot it down.”
Fatty pointed to one in the distance, “Let’s do things with style. Look at that, the smallest one.” I couldn’t see it clearly, but he raised his hand and fired a single shot. A box hanging from the ceiling dropped and rolled on the ground several times.
We covered our noses and mouths until the dust settled and then Fatty picked it up. It was a wooden box, the outside of which was pretty badly rotted. Fatty pried it open with an iron pick and dropped the contents to the ground.
It was a dry hand with two unusually long fingers, but they weren’t the same as Poker-Face’s fingers.
Fatty and I looked at each other silently before he stood up and immediately shot down several more. I opened the boxes and found that they all contained dry hands. Some hands had completely rotted and were just bones, but I could see that there was something wrong with the fingers of these hands.
Moreover, some of the boxes were old and some were new, and there was a huge difference in age.
“The Zhang family’s dicks look very special,” Fatty teased me. “How do you like that?”
“Fuck off.” I cursed and looked above our heads, “This is a mass grave. These hands obviously have the Zhang family’s characteristics. There are so many of them, and they’re all of varying ages. Do you know how many Chinese returned home when they died overseas?” I paused for a moment as I looked at him, and then continued, “The bodies were too heavy to be preserved, so they only brought back part of it. I think these hands are probably those whose bodies have been damaged and couldn’t be buried, so they cut off one hand and buried it here in this way.”
“Then why are there so many?”
“War,” I said. “With so many people, it must’ve been because of a large fire or war. Of course, it wasn’t a great war, but since ancient times, large tomb-raiding families had their own armed forces. And it wasn’t only tomb raiding families, but also the wealthy in many places. These people were a very strong local armed force during the war.”
“Do you remember the bodies we fished out of the lake?” Fatty asked. “Those didn’t have hands either. They were all cut off.”
“These hands all have the obvious characteristics of the Zhang family. Other than being buried, there must be a reason to hide their identity,” I said. “It seems that the bodies we fished out of the lake were also from the Zhang family.”
“Is it really the Zhang family?” Fatty muttered. “It’s too confusing, what’s going on?”
These hands aroused my curiosity, and I couldn’t wait to follow Poker-Face’s footprints to continue exploring. We found the next flight of stairs and climbed up.
On the next level, I saw many wooden railings—finally, this level had something normal. Like many pagodas, there were numerous rooms and corridors further in. After leaving the stairs, we found that all of the rooms were sealed shut and the windows were covered with black paper, which prevented us from seeing inside.
Fatty took a few steps forward, picked a random door, and gave it a push. When he found that it was locked, he was just about to kick it open, but he immediately remembered the dust and put his foot back down. We used our clothes to wipe the dust off the door, and then Fatty poked a hole in the black window paper with an iron pick.
We peered into the room but it was completely dark. We shined our flashlights into the hole but couldn’t get a complete picture. Fatty took out the homemade flare we had found from the dead grave robbers and lit it before throwing it into the hole.
The thing burned through the aluminum foil and lit up the whole room. I immediately realized that it was actually a large-sized flare that had been improved by these grave robbers. The working class is really ingenious. When we pressed our eyes against the hole again, we found that the room wasn’t big—at most three square meters—and there was a large black wooden coffin inside.
The walls were covered with wooden tablets full of words, and when I looked at the small Chinese characters, I couldn’t help thinking that they seemed like an epitaph (3).
The fire burned for less than a minute and then went out. Fatty threw another one in and looked at the room more carefully before saying, “No, this floor is the burial chamber. These must be the ones that made it back in one piece.”
I estimated that this floor was at least two thousand square meters, and this one room was two to three square meters. In other words, there were about a thousand rooms like this. That would mean that there were about a thousand coffins holding a thousand corpses here.
“Does the Zhang family really have so many members?” Fatty asked. “How big is this family?”
“Wealthy families in ancient times were very large,” I said to him. “Have you seen ‘A Dream of Red Mansion’ (4)? Do you know how many people there were in the Grand View Garden? Cao Xueqin wrote four hundred and fifty for that place alone. The number of people in Genghis Khan’s family is estimated to be in the tens of thousands by now. You and I may even have the ‘Golden Family’ (5) genes for all we know. The Manchu royal family also had a large population. Throughout history, as long as a family could prosper for three generations, there would be tens of thousands of people all over the country by the third generation. The Zhang family had a special status, and its rise and fall weren’t affected by historical changes. I’m afraid the family was even larger than we think. Those who could get a small room here were probably all very prominent members of the family. The seven matriarchal cousins and three patriarchal cousins are all hanging downstairs.”
“Man, it’s a good thing Little Brother’s generation has dementia. Now we don’t have to worry about China being occupied by them,” Fatty said.
“China’s third most prominent surname is Zhang. ‘The Yellow Emperor’s fifth son, Qingyang, was born to command. When he looked at the arc of the heavenly body, he vowed to make a bow. To make this bow properly, he made libations to the arc and thereupon became the Zhang clan.’ It’s not surprising that the Zhang family is distinguished,” I said. “Do you smell something strange?”
During our discussion, a strong smell of scorching heat reached us. Fatty sniffed the air, “It’s ok, it’s just the smell of the flare.”
I didn’t think it smelled right since it was so strong, and with the temperature, it didn’t smell like old smoke. “No, it’s not right.” But before I had finished speaking, I saw a light flashing in the room we had just looked in.
When I leaned over and saw it, I knew that we were done for. Just now, the flares were thrown on the floor inside… the floor that was made of wood. The temperature of the flares was so high that the floor was burning.
“You’re in big trouble motherfucker,” I said. “Quick, quick, quick! The canteen!”
“It’s fine, isn’t it just a small fire?” Fatty said as he removed the lid from the canteen, took a sip, and sprayed it into the hole. But it was no use spraying a few mouthfuls. The canteen had been completely emptied, but the fire was getting hotter and hotter.
The whole ancient building was made of wood and we were currently on the middle floor. If it burned, the whole building would be finished. “Now I admit I’ve caused a big problem,” Fatty said as he looked at the beams overhead. Originally, as long as you kicked the door in and stomped your feet, the small fire would definitely go out. But I was almost certain that the toxic powder that had accumulated over the past thousand years would kill us before the fire went out.
“Urine.” I remembered an incident that Uncle Three had told me about before, “Do you have to pee?”
“Shit, it’s full of powder. Who knows if it will burn my ‘little brother’? I’ve already sacrificed my lungs for Little Brother; I don’t want to sacrifice that, too.”
“It’s ok. Just poke a hole in the top of the window so that you can see and then aim at the bottom. At most, some powder will stick on it and you can wipe it off. It’ll be fine.”
“Then why don’t you do it?”
“I didn’t drink that much water.” I started scolding him, “Hurry up! Otherwise, it’ll be useless to empty your bladder.”
Fatty looked at me, looked at his crotch, and then looked at the flames inside. With an “ugh”, he seemed to make up his mind, “Then squat down!”
I squatted down and Fatty unzipped his pants, exposing his boxers. As he came towards me and stepped on my shoulders, I heard him cry, “Fucking eat my….”
I really didn’t expect Fatty to be so heavy. As soon as his foot came down, my collarbone snapped as if it was broken and I fell down, unable to bear his weight at all. Fatty’s word “whip” hadn’t been finished before it turned into “shit” as his whole body fell onto the wooden door, knocking it to the ground.
Obviously, the flame was extinguished in an instant. Seeing that something was wrong, I immediately shouted, “Hold your breath.”
The two of us immediately wrapped our clothes around our heads, covering our noses and mouths and rigidly protecting our faces.
I had a hunch that the dust would drift down like snowflakes, but what I didn’t expect was that this time, there was only a little bit. Fatty and I waited for a long time, feeling weirdly surprised as we flicked the dust out of our hair.
“Is someone cleaning here?” Fatty asked.
I shook my head, “Maybe it’s because the windows here use this kind of black paper. You see, the windows on the floors we walked through before were all made of white paper and were rotted to the core. The black paper here is still intact. I think it must’ve been specially treated.” I touched the dust at my feet and found that it was very thin and gray.
I felt it very carefully and found that it was real dust, not alkali dust.
I breathed a sigh of relief—it was relatively safe here. I originally thought that the whole thing would be completely rotten, but it seemed that empiricism (6) was still out of the question.
Just then, I smelled something unpleasant, and found that my pants legs and the door that we had destroyed were all wet. After getting a whiff, I sighed, “Fatty, you didn’t stop the fucking car, did you?”
“Shit, as soon as I opened the gates, you fucking fell down. Can you be more reliable? If you had held on a little longer, I could’ve finished peeing.” Fatty lit a cigarette and patted himself on the crotch. “I spent all my last energy trying to draw back my magic; otherwise, I would’ve fallen down like this and gotten stuck in the door. Shit, even the hard gun would be useless.”
“Put it away first,” was all I said in response. As he stood up and shook his pants legs, he turned on his flashlight and looked at the characters on the wooden tablets covering the walls around the coffin.
The wooden tablets were badly decayed, but based on the Chinese characters in the first few lines, I found that it was the introduction of this person’s life. The words were all in an ancient style.
I read it very quickly and suddenly felt a little ecstatic. The things written above—although not what I wanted to know—were too valuable. It seemed that we could deduce some of the core secrets of the Zhang family from them.
Moreover, the secrets were no longer inferred from all different sources of information, since the life written on the epitaph was almost a hundred percent authentic.
<Chapter 48> <Table of Contents><Chapter 50>
(1) He totally means the Japanese manga/anime “One Piece” lol
(2) A 2007 Chinese TV Drama. Wiki link here
(3) A short text honoring a deceased person. It’s usually inscribed on a tombstone or plaque, but it may also be used in a figurative sense.
(4) Also called “Dream of the Red Chamber”. It was composed by Cao Xueqin, and is one of China’s Four Great Classical Novels. The novel is remarkable not only for its huge cast of characters and psychological scope, but also for its precise and detailed observation of the life and social structures typical of 18th-century Chinese society during the Qing dynasty. More info here. It’s been adapted into 2 dramas, a 1987 version and a 2010 version.
(5) “Golden Family” refers to the ruling family of Mongolia, but more specifically, the direct descendants of Genghis Kan.
(6) Empiricism is the theory that all knowledge is derived from sense-experience (aka sensory perception)
Omfg, these dumbasses are professional tomb raiders lol. I was cracking up so much reading this chapter.
4 thoughts on “Chapter 49 Immortal Fruit on the Ancient Building’s Third Floor”
Oh lord, they still humorous in that kind of situation. Hahahaha
The mess and caos they are making 😅
What is he doing in front of Zhang Qiling ancestral graves. What Fatty did was similar to Xie Lian Huan incident.
That was hilarious scene.😂 😂 😂
Эх, это немного напоминает кощунство… и то, что было защищено от щелочи с такой бережностью, они в раз разрушили. Мне даже жаль покойничков Чжанов стало…