Chapter 13 Missing

Truthfully, although it seemed heartless, in those first few seconds, I felt a trace of irritation in my heart at the fact that I couldn’t concentrate on planning my sanhetu project. This kind of irritability made me more alert. I always felt that over-investing in my own problems and getting bored with everything except for these problems was a residual effect of avoiding the world, which needed to be addressed and taken seriously.

We were in an era when anyone could get into trouble around us. Even if I tried my best to be harmonious and self-consistent, trouble would still pop up from time to time.

Poker-Face, as the Zhang family’s patriarch, possessed great abilities that no else could replicate, so he was easily fated to become a constant problem solver. Even if those problems had nothing to do with him, it wasn’t like they could hurt him if they weren’t dealt with.

Fatty, on the other hand, had no such problems at all. He loved emergencies, dangers, and accidents.

The three of us grabbed some flashlights and went up to the mountain where the girl had gone missing. We saw that four or five police cars were parked at the mountain pass. The girls who had come to find us went on to gather more people. I saw Police Officer Xiao Lin A and Police Officer Xiao Lin B using their walkie-talkies to communicate with those people who were already searching the mountain.

There were too many people here surnamed Lin, so Fatty had assigned them all letters. We went over to them to verify the situation and found that the girl really was missing.

There was an old temple on this mountain that took about an hour to get to if you followed the mountain road. There weren’t any forks in the road, but there were a lot of dirt paths that connected the bamboo forests and tea fields on both sides. These dirt paths were very narrow and only the local villagers used them. If you continued walking along the dirt road, you would eventually come to a graveyard. And after that, you would start to enter the wild mountains.

In addition to some intermittently placed dirt paths in the wild mountains, there was even a stone road from the Tang Dynasty. During the imperial examinations, scholars would take this road. They might as well meet Nie Xiaoqian (1) on the way.

Honestly, this mountain wasn’t dangerous even if you tried to jump over it. The slope was very gentle and it wasn’t like there were any wild animals. The only danger was when you came across mountain snakes.

There were many venomous snakes in the Fujian mountains, but the Fujian people ate snakes, so the snakes would run away whenever they saw anyone. One time, a cobra as tall as a person saw Fatty and immediately jumped into a cesspit to escape.

If the missing girl was bitten by a mountain snake, then she was probably long dead by now. But I figured it was an unlikely scenario.

When the three of us also went up the mountain and started looking for her, I thought of the very long shadow I had seen in the bamboo forest.

There was a kind of animated film in Japan where people with special physiques would slowly get acquainted and become good friends with all kinds of local monsters. This kind of story often began with some mysterious events. (2)

I had thought that when I opened a farmhouse, I would meet strange people from all over the world like some kind of martial arts tale. But now it seemed like it was more of a drama. I couldn’t believe that we would still see monsters in the village. What was that thing, a bamboo goddess?

We climbed all the way up the mountain. Others usually took about an hour to walk up the mountain road, but we could run back and forth in three and a half hours. Some dirt roads had already been searched, so we found one that I personally thought the girl was more likely to follow.

She had been alone when she was smoking and putting the boat light into the stream last night, so she had a relatively withdrawn personality. It was only when she was alone that she could gather energy and feel at ease. But I figured she had been afraid to be truly alone at the boat lantern festival, so she had ensured that there was a group of people about ten meters away from where she was standing alone in the dark. This must have been her favorite state.

When she was climbing up the mountain with the other girls and got about halfway up, she suddenly wanted to leave. I figured she probably wanted to play alone, but the dirt road around her wasn’t the kind of area where girls would like to play. There was only one such place around here, so she probably went in search of it.

It was a stone pavilion held up by two stone people, and behind that pavilion was the stone road from the Tang Dynasty that I had mentioned earlier. This stone road led all the way to a very beautiful bamboo forest.

It was so beautiful, in fact, that it could be used in movies. The bamboo was very strong and thick, which Fatty said meant that it was also very suitable for hanging.

Fatty used his flashlight to illuminate the trees as we walked along, thinking that the girl might be hanging from one.

We quickly entered the bamboo forest, which was about several hectares (3). As we walked further inside, Fatty suddenly patted me and I broke out in a cold sweat.

I really didn’t want to see any girls hanging from the bamboo.

I followed Fatty’s gaze and saw a bag hanging from the top of a tall bamboo tree, which was about fifteen or sixteen meters high.

There was nothing around us, so I couldn’t help but squint at it and wonder how it got up there. Even if it was thrown, it couldn’t possibly reach that high up.

<Chapter 12><Table of Contents><Chapter 14>


TN Notes:

(1) Nie Xiaoqian is the lead female character in “The Magic Sword”, a fantasy story in Pu Songling‘s short story collection “Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio. Nie Xiaoqian is a beautiful female ghost who was coerced into participating in ritual murders for a demon. A scholar, Ning Caichen, was going to Beijing to take a civil service examination when Nie Xiaoqian attempts to prey upon him. But he resists her and takes her from her haunt. They end up marrying and having a kid after Ning Caichen’s wife dies.

(2) There are a lot of folktales, stories, and anime in Japan like this, so Wu Xie was just talking about the general ideas of the genre.

(3) An acre is about 0.405 hectare and one hectare contains about 2.47 acres. It’s basically a 100 meter x 100 meter square if that helps.


Sorry guys, I know the updates have been pretty lame but just bear with me this week. It’s my bday so I want to take it easy today (and this week), but I didn’t want to completely abandon you so I just decided to slow the updates down a bit. We’re about halfway through Notes in Rain Village, so we’re still making good progress anyways.


16 thoughts on “Chapter 13 Missing

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