When I woke up, there was a lot of liquid around my mouth. It was salty, but I didn’t know what it was.
Uncle Three was sitting on a rotten tree stump next to me and I was lying on the leaf-covered ground. I sat up and found myself in the woods, but I could also hear the sound of the sea. It seemed like this place was a forest by the sea.
I didn’t know why, but I was very calm. When I saw Uncle Three, I didn’t have the feeling of finally being able to see someone after a very long time. Nor did I feel angry or excited. I just felt puzzled.
“What’s wrong with me?”
“I fed you a grave-robbing fruit,” Uncle Three said to me. “You must carry on my legacy and continue going on adventures.”
“What grave-robbing fruit? Are you a ghost now?” I asked him as I wiped the liquid from my mouth. I couldn’t explain how it tasted, but I felt that I might have tasted something powerful.
“It can give you special abilities based on your characteristics,” Uncle Three said to me. “Little Xie, you’re gifted. I’m curious what kind of ability the fruit will give you.”
Gifted? Gifted, my ass. Isn’t this a comic book setting or some kind of fantasy cartoon? But Uncle Three didn’t look like he was joking. Is this a metaphysical thing then? Or is it some kind of special technique of the Zhang family?
“Do you feel anything special?” Uncle Three asked me.
I looked at my hands. “What kind of special feeling do you mean?”
“Those who eat the grave-robbing fruit will naturally know what they can do. It comes from the initial feeling. For example, you might suddenly feel that you can jump very high, or that you can take parts of your body off.”
I tried sensing my body, “I feel a pain in my chest when I breathe. Is this my superpower?”
“A pain-in-the-chest fruit? You can feel such pain anywhere and at any time?”
I can acquire this power without eating anything, I said to myself. I’m old enough to feel pain everywhere. Even my dick might give me pain when I’m peeing.
“How does a grave-robbing fruit normally work?” I asked Uncle Three.
He touched his chin. “They say it depends on your characteristics. For example, I also fed Fatty one just now. Guess what his fucking ability is?”
Fatty ate one, too? I wondered. “A detonator fruit? Did he acquire the power to turn any tubular object into a detonator just by stroking it?”
“Then does he not need to use the bathroom ever again?”
“I’m sure people can trigger this kind of ability themselves whenever they want. There’s no way it’s passive,” I said to him. “Let me tell you something, Uncle Three. You don’t call a passive ability a superpower. You call it a curse.”
“Take a guess at what ability Zhang Qiling gained after he ate the grave-robbing fruit.”
“The ability to be silent?” I meant both staying silent and having a silence spell that could make everyone else around him silent.
Uncle Three fell silent. He thought for a while, sighed, and then told me that I didn’t understand my friend enough. “After Fatty ate the fruit, he gained the ability to turn all conversations into dirty jokes. So, his fruit is called the Dirty Fruit.”
At this moment, Fatty suddenly appeared behind me and sat down on another tree stump next to me.
“How did you appear so suddenly?” I asked him.
“I’ve been standing behind you for a long time now,” Fatty replied. “Did you not notice?”
“Oh, maybe your harem is so huge that you didn’t notice me. Apologies!”
I became furious, “What the fuck are you talking about?”
“I was just showing you my fruit’s power. How do you like it?”
“What’s the use of such a lousy, rotten ability?”
“Hey, don’t say that. There’s no such thing as strong or weak abilities when it comes to this fruit. It all depends on how you cultivate it. The richer your imagination, the stronger your power will be. I’m planning to do a talk show abroad. Do you know how much a talk show host makes?”
I rubbed my face. Is he trying to save our industry by doing talk shows? This is like saving the nation in a roundabout way(1), but it’s in a whole other dimension.
“I have to admit that it’s difficult at first, but victory comes with perseverance, Mr. Naïve. Only persistent research can yield results.”
“Where’s Little Brother?”
Uncle Three stood up, “You can’t leave this forest until you become familiar with your abilities.”
“Because the power I acquired after eating the fruit is to lie passively. I can generate random lies as I talk without even thinking about it. But I took a suppressant, so you only have one hour to hear the truth. If you leave now, you can’t hear the truth from me even if you come back within the hour.”
“Oh, so you can tell the truth for an hour.”
“What’s the Ultimate?”
“Shitty brat! I’m giving you face but you’re not respecting it!” Uncle Three suddenly burst into a rage and slapped me.
I looked at Uncle Three as he stared back at me. I took a deep breath and said, “Just keep lying to me then.”
“What do you mean?”
I immediately became irritated, “If being abusive is your way to avoid telling the truth, then just keep lying to me!”
Fatty pulled Uncle Three back a bit and then said to me, “Keep trying, Mr. Naïve. If you keep trying to learn your ability, you’ll eventually know what it is. Come on, keep using your senses to try and feel it. Look for something special in your body that you can perceive. It’s something that you’ve never sensed before.”
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, telling myself that I should just leave this place and get away from them. But at this time, Fatty stopped me and asked, “Do you know what’s at the top of a man’s hierarchy of endurance?”
“One day on the mountain, one thousand years in the world.”(2)
I opened my eyes, held my head in my arms, and ran away with a roar.
If this is a dream, please let me wake up. Right now! I shouted in my heart.
And so, I woke up.
I picked up my cell phone, which had landed on my face last night. I had been reading too many web novels these days, so I always ended up having weird dreams.
I sat up and saw Uncle Three sitting next to me. “I fed you a grave-robbing fruit,” Uncle Tree said to me. “You must carry on my legacy and continue going on adventures.”
I suddenly realized that the ability of my grave-robbing fruit was to make everything that had already happened into a dream.
My mind suddenly became chaotic. I thought of A Ning, Pan Zi, Yun Cai, and everyone else who had left me. Is there a limit to my ability? Is this possible? Can I actually wake up again and turn everything into a dream?
I completely ignored the rest of what Uncle Three was saying as I stood up, covered my ears, and began running again.
Please. Let me wake up. If I can wake up again and turn everything into a dream, when should I wake up? Should I wake up at that moment when I passed by Poker-Face downstairs at Uncle Three’s? What about the moment when I saw the sunshine after I got out of the Seven Star Lu Palace? When? Where? When should I wake up?
I woke up in an anxious state. It was noon, I was in Wushanju, and the sky was overcast. Fatty was packing his things and getting ready to head back to Fujian because travel restrictions were slowly being eased.(3)
It appeared I didn’t get to travel back in time, so I got up, counted to three, and forgot this dream.
I was already a hardened adult who had to face the future, so it was a waste of time to be swallowed up by pain.
Fatty came up the stairs while humming a little tune.
“What time is it?” I asked him.
“Sex o’clock.” Fatty jiggled his fat, naked upper body as I looked at him in horror.
(1) “Save the nation in a roundabout way” is a theory propounded by Chinese collaborators during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-1945) to justify their capitulation.
(2) “One day in the mountain, one thousand years in the world” is an allegory taken from “Zhi Lin” by Yu Xi (307–345 AD). It implies that time brings a great change to the world and Wu Xie’s generation is over.
(3) Easing of travel restrictions is only what Xu Lei hoped. I don’t know where you are, but please stay safe and stay at home if you can.
Translated by: Yvette
Edited by: merebear226