Chapter 13 Want to smoke

We walked over to the small earthen temple and found that it was a small building the size of a dresser. It was made of packed loess and appeared to be very old based on the patterns on the eaves tiles.(1)

“This thing at least goes as far back as the Warring States period.” In a sense, Fatty was considered an expert on eaves tiles, so he only needed a quick glance to know.

A shriveled human head had been placed on top of the roof tiles of this small earthen temple. But the roof was covered with herringbone eaves, so the head couldn’t be laid flat. It was placed very casually, almost like a joke.

There weren’t any statues in the small earthen temple, and it appeared to be empty. Fatty’s flashlight scanned our surroundings, but we didn’t find any Tudigong (2) remnants.

“These corpses are from the Zhang family. I don’t know if they were a team that came in together and all died here, or if they came in one by one and all died when they arrived here.” Fatty looked at the severed hands and asked, “Is this a provocation? If it’s really the heavenly gift, then why did it let us wake up at this time?”

I looked at the corpses’ empty eye sockets, slowly sat down on a nearby rock, and started to laugh.

I couldn’t control this laughter at all. It’s been a month. Fuck, it’s actually been a month. What should we do? Are we even able to make it back? But what happened on the way here? What if there was a fork in the path?

I didn’t know why, but I thought my line of thinking was particularly funny. And the more I laughed, the harder it was to restrain myself.

My subconscious mind was very shrewd. My brain wasn’t actively thinking carefully about everything that had happened, but my subconscious mind was already feeling despair. This was my subconscious laughing at me.

A heavenly gift will be bestowed right here, brother. There’s no point in thinking about it.

The so-called heavenly gift occurred when people received thoughts that weren’t their own. But the most terrible thing was when they were given desires that didn’t belong to them. I wanted to send Poker-Face out of here; he needed to get out of here. In fact, he needed to be millions of miles away from this place. We’d go to America, Mauritius, Iceland, just anywhere away from here! This was my desire at this very moment. Maybe it would disappear after a few minutes and be replaced with a desire to send him to the source of the ancient Kunlun Mountains. At that time, the two of us will probably be very happy, just like we’re going on a spring outing.

Could I resist this heavenly gift? I had to. But could I actually resist it?

I laughed even harder. When it came to desires, people were incredibly flimsy. Whether you had countless thoughts full of hate, want, or love, you never really thought about where these thoughts came from.

In fact, most of your thoughts were given to you by others through various details. In the end, people were a species that were very easy to “grant desires” to. How many people in this world actually took the time to think about the origin of their desires? Very few, because it was too troublesome. This was especially the case when it came to strong desires like love and hate. Once it surged up, humans would go straight to the result.

The heavenly gift here was truly devastating. If we were bestowed heavenly gifts at any time, then it was equivalent to my current state—any plans made or wisdom gained were absolutely meaningless. In the next second, I may not even be me.

It was only at this time that I truly understood why even the word “meaning” was meaningless.

But I only remained in this confused state for a few minutes before I raised my head and suddenly calmed down. I patted my clothes, looking for cigarettes, but remembered that I had quit smoking.

This wasn’t me rallying my strength but the calm that came from utter despair. But I was thankful for the keen rationality I had developed when dealing with the Wang family back then.

I looked at Poker-Face, “What’s the most common occurrence when a heavenly gift is bestowed? Do you have to be asleep or can it happen at any time?”

“Any time.” Poker-Face didn’t look at me as he answered. Instead, he just continued to look at that shriveled head.

“After receiving a heavenly gift, you’ll find that you have another purpose in mind, right? People who are given heavenly gifts will do something, and when that thing is done, all memories will disappear. You start from scratch, no matter what you’ve experienced. So many moving stories and magnificent experiences are all just directly erased like a scrapped manuscript.” I looked at him. “Is that correct?”

Poker-Face finally turned his head and met my gaze before saying, “There will be some left, but very few.”

This was the state he was in when I first met him. But when he went to a place he had been to before, he would gradually recall something.

The things you had done in the past all became a huge mystery. What would your frame of mind even be like after this?

I pretended to light a cigarette and laughed again. Even my heart was still laughing at my persistence and rationality.

I was going to tell them my conclusions, but I looked at Poker-Face for a long time before I spoke. I couldn’t help but wonder if all three of us would become other people in addition to our selves the second I opened my mouth.

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


TN Notes:

(1) Also known as “wadang”, it refers to the round tile at the front of the eaves, located in front of the tube tile. It’s mainly used to protect the wooden cornice (by draining water away from it) and beautify the roof porch. Info here (lots of pics) and here.

(2) Tudigong (also known as Tudiye) is the “Lord of the Soil and the Ground”. He’s a righteous god who is in charge of land in ancient Chinese legends. He lives underground, relies on incense from worshippers, and absorbs energy. He’s the lowest level among the gods. Info here.


12 thoughts on “Chapter 13 Want to smoke

  1. I have a question 🥴 “Notes is Rain Village” (the 30 special chapters) is after of before this? If is after this, I can feel calm knowing that the Iron Triangle will have a happy ending 🥺❤️


      1. Noooo 😭 I really hope this arc ends up well! My emotional stability depends on it 🤣 Also, thanks for the translation ❤️


  2. 😔 These two chapters were very sobering. But if they are good at anything, it’s confronting situations like these, hanging on by the skin of their teeth, and somehow surviving in the end, broken as their bodies may be. I hope they can confront whatever this thing is, and free Poker Face from it once and for all. Then leave together with Xiao Hua and Black Glasses. 🥺

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I see, thank you Wu Xie for the explanation! Hm, so this heavenly gift is equal to a reprogram for computer right? I really hope Wu Xie wont forget about Xiao Ge. You know, Xiao Ge alredy done his reprograming a lot more than “newbie” Wu Xie and Fatty so i think he will retain some more. Wu Xie and Fatty maybe not that lucky and i sure hope they wont start attack Xiao Ge or do something that that will regret latter…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s