Chapter 2 Opening 2: Guest

The autumn insects’ calls were exceptionally clear as we walked along the mountain path. I could probably distinguish the calls of six or seven types of insects by now. When we passed by them, the insects would temporarily quiet down, as if we were some kind of mountain gods patrolling the paths.

Fatty had a large flashlight in hand as we went to check out the snake cages we had set out earlier. After walking for half an hour across the mountain, we found that a dozen snake cages had trapped four arm-length cobras.

I couldn’t tell the species of cobra apart. Other than the local cobras, there were also exotic cobra species that couldn’t be released in the mountains here and could only be eaten or euthanized. We didn’t know whether the exotic snakes could spray venom, so Fatty simply grabbed their heads and put all of them into a sack. 

Snake catchers from hundreds of kilometers around had all gathered in this mountain. It was very dangerous for ordinary villagers to catch snakes, so professionals had to be brought in. But I was also worried that the local wild snakes would suffer; their numbers had been declining rapidly in recent years.

When we got to the top of the mountain, the hazy moonlight was peeking out from behind the clouds. There weren’t any mosquitos around us because of Poker-Face, so we sat down on the rocks at the top of the mountain. Fatty’s flashlight was newly bought—I didn’t know what was going on with today’s lighting technology, but the light was too bright to see anything in detail. One time, when Fatty was coming back into the courtyard and happened to sweep his flashlight across my window, I thought there was a nuclear explosion. So, I asked him to turn it off now, and the three of us sat in the dark.

I knew that Poker-Face could sit for a whole night and I could probably sit for half a night with my temperament, but Fatty could only last for about ten minutes. This was why Fatty usually controlled our schedule. We rested quietly for a while before Fatty asked me, “Do you eat snake gallbladder?”

I shook my head. At this time, Poker-Face suddenly jumped to Fatty’s side from where he had been sitting and grabbed something directly from the air. 

He stabilized himself on the ground with one hand and stood up, revealing a huge cobra in his other hand. 

It was probably a king cobra. I always thought this kind of snake originated from Africa, but it turned out to be a native of Fujian and was often seen in Fujian neighborhoods.

Fatty was frightened. Poker-Fake threw the snake into the bushes in the distance and looked at Fatty, who was checking the area around his butt to make sure there weren’t any more snakes. After confirming it was safe, he embraced Poker-Face, “Little Brother, you’re a living Buddha! Why are you so amazing?”

At this time, I heard a voice come from the darkness nearby, “The young man reacted so quickly that I didn’t even see what it was. Was that a snake?”

We turned to look and realized that a man had been sitting in the darkness the whole time. He seemed to be resting as well. 

Poker-Face must have noticed the man long ago but decided to let him be. Fatty immediately raised his hand and shined his flashlight in that direction. We saw an old man wearing snake-catching equipment sitting silently in the darkness in front of us. 

He wasn’t a local. Based on his accent, he seemed to be from Jiangxi. 

I nodded, but that old man probably couldn’t see anything because of Fatty’s light. We couldn’t see him clearly either, because it was all white in front of us. 

Poker-Face had already started to walk away at this point, so I hurried to catch up with him. When Fatty saw us leaving, he quickly turned off the flashlight and followed. We didn’t care about this matter anymore but we still checked out thirty more snake cages before going back to our village house. 

The next day, a snake specialist came to identify the snakes. Some of them were the ones that escaped and some were wild. The wild ones would be set free on another mountain so as to avoid being caught again

The snake specialist was a village official and also a college student. He told me that a UFO had appeared here.

Totally baffled, I wondered if kids these days were really willing to use such methods to boost tourism. Then, he told us that a snake catcher from Jiangxi was resting on the mountain yesterday and saw three people who were also on the mountain. There was a sudden strong light and all three men suddenly disappeared. 

I made a noncommittal hum as the student continued, “You’re the only people here who move around in a group of three. I’m so glad to see that you weren’t kidnapped by a UFO.”

“Is that uncle ok?” I asked calmly. “I mean, did he get blinded after seeing that UFO’s light?”

“He’s fine,” the village official said. “Oh, right! He’s the boss of the bed and breakfast that’s going to be next door to you. Do you want to have dinner with him tonight? He wants to get to know you.”

I thought about it and looked at Poker-Face, who was looking at a street cat on the roof.

This cat had been harassing us and stealing all kinds of things we had left out to dry in the sun. I didn’t know what Poker-Face wanted to do with it, but if it kept this up, I might have to take out my slingshot.

“That boss looks like a threat to you. He’s most likely interested in your land and wants you to give it up for his bed and breakfast’s parking lot. I heard that he’s got some skills, so you’d better talk it out with him.”

I glanced at the village official and nodded before saying, “You can also give me that piece of land and ask him to build his bed and breakfast elsewhere.” 

“There’s no need to expand your farmhouse, right?” 

“I can build something else.”

“What else can you build?”

I looked at the village official. I knew that the old man and village committee had already come to some kind of agreement, so I teased him by saying, “A place to park my UFO.”

<Chapter 1><Table of Contents><Chapter 3>


Translated by: Yvette
Edited by: merebear226


3 thoughts on “Chapter 2 Opening 2: Guest

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