When Dr. Suya was in Nagqu, he saw Zhang Qiling standing next to Lake Tangra Yumco, which was glistening in the sunlight. Dr. Suya had noticed him because the other man’s robe was bulging and something seemed to be moving inside of it.
After a while, a rabbit poked its head out from Zhang Qiling’s neckline and looked at his chin curiously.
“Your pet?” Dr. Suya asked in perfect Tibetan as he walked over and handed Zhang Qiling some butter tea.
“Food,” Zhang Qiling said as he glanced at the doctor.
Oh. Dr. Suya opened his eyes wide—he hadn’t been expecting a response like that—and then thought for a while before saying, “Highland rabbits sometimes carry the plague virus.”
Zhang Qiling took out a piece of dried fruit from his pocket that the little girl in the pile of corpses had given him just now and fed the rabbit a few bites of it. “Are you planning to cross the mountains?” Dr. Suya asked. “Do you often take this route?”
Zhang Qiling looked back at the snow-capped mountains on the other side of the lake. He didn’t know why he had come here, but these snowy mountains looked very familiar.
“We need a guide,” Dr. Suya continued.
Zhang Qiling glanced at the sky and saw that it was going to get dark soon. He pointed to a group of horses in Dr. Suya’s caravan.
Dr. Suya was very happy that he had found a guide and immediately began communicating with his colleagues in German. At this time, Zhang Qiling was suddenly attracted by a sound and turned his head to listen.
It was the sound of deer weeping in the wind. He stood up and walked over to the horses.
“It’s Deer Crying Day(1),” a young Tibetan said to him with a smile. “Do you have something urgent to do?”
Zhang Qiling mounted his horse and glanced at Dr. Suya, who was a little surprised because he hadn’t finished informing his team of the plan, “Are we leaving now?”
Zhang Qiling looked at the clouds on the horizon, “It’s getting dark.” He then turned and glanced at the Tibetan youth. The young man was from another team and was supposed to be heading in the opposite direction. He had a gun slung over his shoulder and seemed to be a hunter here.
“What village are you from?” Zhang Qiling asked him.
When the young man pointed in a certain direction, Zhang Qiling turned to look. He had just passed by that place, so he knew that it was full of dead bodies.
The young man was completely unaware of this and seemed to be very happy. It was the joy of heading home. He said goodbye to Zhang Qiling and then left briskly.
The wind blew again, and the cry of deer came closer. As if from some ancient memory, the horse seemed to recognize the true source of the sound and started to become agitated with fear.
Merebear note: I found a picture on twitter to go with the start of this. This link is here because the artist said they don’t want their art reposted. Also, Yvette said the author posted this on 5/11/2021 if you were curious.
Translated by: Yvette
Edited by: merebear226