The head lama took off his shoes and put his weather-beaten feet into the hot spring. He then smiled at Fatty and me and said, “The patriarch has made a decision.”
Fatty looked back at the head lama and said, “Master, your expression is a little weird. What’s wrong?”
“The patriarch has decided to give these things, including this cave, to the two of you.”
Fatty and I looked at each other, neither of us expecting such a development. “But we’re Little Brother’s family,” Fatty said. “Brothers from another mother.(1) There’s no such thing as a gift between family. We already own shares in your temple.”
The head lama’s smile turned even brighter, “You two are not surnamed Zhang so you don’t have shares in the temple. But the patriarch is willing to give you this cave.”
I looked at the head lama’s twitching face and said to him, “Are you unhappy with the disbursement of temple assets? If so, we can tell your patriarch not to do it. Besides, your patriarch has such a long lifespan that people like us will end up returning those things back to him within forty years at the most.”
“I’m not dissatisfied, and I hope you two distinguished guests can live a long life.” Although the head lama said this, his face finally stopped twitching after he heard what I said.
“Right, right, right. We’re just CEOs appointed by Little Brother for a little while,” Fatty chimed in.
“In short, you two will be the only people in charge of this place. Other than using it for business, you can do with it as you will.” The head lama looked up at the sky and added, “I still hope that the monks in this temple will be allowed to use this place when you all are not here.”
Fatty quickly nodded, “Of course, of course.”
The head lama wiped his feet dry, put on his shoes, and left.
Fatty and I looked at each other again. After a moment of silence, Fatty said, “I still say he’s not good enough. Have you seen ‘Journey to the West’? Do you think he’s going to set fire to us tonight and steal our cassocks?”(2)
“Then there must be a black bear spirit around here,” I said to Fatty. “Bajie, for what purpose did Master give us this place?”(3)
“Elder martial brother, no matter what Master’s purpose is, this place belongs to us now. Although Master won’t come out and say it, he’s thinking about the two of us. So, let’s start a business in Motuo.”
“Didn’t he just say we’re not allowed to use it for business?”
“He didn’t say that we wouldn’t be allowed to bring our friends. Picture it—those VIPs who spend more than a hundred yuan in Xilaimian can get a ticket to visit the hot spring at the top of a snowy mountain near a remote temple in Motuo. Once there, the store manager will make tea on the side, Little Brother will sell popsicles, and Fat Master will scrub their backs.”
“Three escorts, but it’s all legitimate. We’ll only be selling our bodies, not our skills—ah no, I mean we’ll only be selling the hot spring, not our skills,” Fatty said.
I looked up at the sky, thought about it for a while, and decided that it sounded very reasonable. Poker-Face still hadn’t come back in, but I highly doubted that he was giving the head lama a hundred-page business plan right now. After all, it was hard to imagine him coming up with such an idea for this hot spring.
After we finished soaking, we climbed out of the water and sat down nearby while we waited for our bodies to dry. A layer of sulfur covered our skins, but it actually felt quite comfortable. When I put my clothes back on and walked to the entrance of the cave, I saw Poker-Face sitting on the edge of the cliff, looking down at Jila Temple and the snow-capped mountains off in the distance.
Ordinary people may never see such a view in their lifetime.
“Thank you, boss, for your trust,” Fatty said to Poker-Face.
“I’ll live up to your expectations and manage the business well,” I chimed in from the side.
Poker-Face glanced at me before turning to face me and saying, “I’m going somewhere. For two days.”
I instantly knew where he was going and what he was doing.
I nodded as Fatty said, “Let’s go together.”
I patted Fatty, silently telling him that we couldn’t follow.
In that place, it was better for him to go alone and stay alone.
When we got back to the room, Poker-Face started packing. I dug up a pen and a piece of paper—during that time, I kept all manner of notebooks and sketchbooks in the room so there should be enough for me to work with now.
When Poker-Face set off an hour later, Fatty immediately asked me, “Where is he going and why can’t we go?”
“Baima,” was my only response.
Although I was just guessing, I assumed he was going to pay his respects to his mother.(4) Not everyone wanted a lively atmosphere at such a time.
Fatty nodded, instantly feeling relieved.
I spread out the paper and began drawing the outline of the cliff. When Fatty asked me what I was doing, I pointed to the snow den I had drawn.
“I want to draw out the hot spring water from inside and have it flow into this snow den. Once the snow is melted, it’ll turn into an open-air hot spring. Then we can use the wooden beams to build a small house and half of a snow shed around this open-air hot spring. The snow shed can cover half of the top of the hot spring. On the one hand, it can prevent an avalanche from burying the hot spring from above; on the other hand, when it snows heavily, half of the hot spring will be sheltered so you can still view the scenery in the distance.”
“Then you can soak in the hot springs and see the snow-capped mountains on snowy days. But what do we do when the water overflows?”
“Continue down to Jila Temple. We’ll get rid of the felt blankets hanging up between the monk’s rooms at the back of the temple to make a sun room, and then lead the water there to make a hot spring garden.”
Fatty thought for a moment before asking, “What’s that wooden house for?”
“I didn’t think that far ahead.”
“So there will be three pools: the one in the cave is our original one, which is dedicated to Little Brother; the one outside will be for sightseeing; and then the hot spring garden at the bottom will be for the head lama. Ok, it’s very thoughtful. You should be the Deren.”
“Just call me a well-rounded master,” I said. “I think it can be finished in three days, but I need workers. That part is up to you. The more people, the better. After that, I want to go to Kangbaluo.”
<Chapter 10><Table of Contents><Chapter 12>
(1) The term Fatty uses is benjia (本家), which means a member of the same clan/a distant relative with the same family name. I couldn’t think of a good English equivalent right now since sworn brothers didn’t seem right either so I went with the age-old “brothers from another mother”.
(2) The Jinchi Elder is the abbot of the Guanyin Monastery and the antagonist Black Wind Demon’s companion. He met Tang Sanzang and his disciple Sun Wukong who stayed at his temple for one night. At the monastery, Sun Wukong bragged about his master’s cassock so much that the Jinchi Elder wanted it for himself. He set fire to the temple to burn Tang Sanzang and his disciple. When the Black Wind Demon came to the burning temple, he saw Tang Sanzang’s cassock and stole it. Wiki link here.
(3) The Black Wind Demon’s true form is a black bear but he appears as a dark-complexioned man armed with a Black Tassel Spear. Zhu Bajie is one of the main characters in the novel and 1 of Tang Sanzang’s 3 helpers. He looks like a terrible monster, part human and part pig, who often gets himself and his companions into trouble through his laziness, gluttony, and propensity for lusting after pretty women. In many English versions of the story, Zhu Bajie is called “Pigsy” or “Pig”.
(4) Baima is his mama’s name. Mentioned in “Three Days of Silence”.
Not really 100% sure on this chapter so sorry in advance. As penance, here’s this hilarious picture I drew after seeing a tweet about drawing birds. I wanted to try my hand at it and been laughing for like 20 min straight. Pretty sure my mom’s going to disown me (she’s an art teacher)
Pic added 12/3/2022 (fan translation courtesy of me).
8 thoughts on “Chapter 11 Traveling Notes”
First of all your birds are so cute!!!
Second, Poker Face and his mother, so sad 😢 but for a moment I was afraid he would disappear . In fact I’m still a little worried.
Third, Wuxie really is a Water Master! If this is something like the Pond back in Rain village it will be fun. BTW like Wuxie I love ponds, pools, fountains and anything water related 😁
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Haha awww thankya! My brother and sister were making fun of me but my mom said they were elegant 😂 Then she proceeded to tell me a bunch of websites she shows her kids where I could learn to draw 😂 Let’s just say I’ll stick to my day job 😂
I was ready for Wu Xie and Fatty to go with him so we could figure out what the heck happened at the end of Tibetan Sea Flower 😤
If your mother said they’re elegant then they are! Siblings always love to make fun!
I’d love to know what happened after Tibetan Sea Flower but I always have my hopes very very low. Or at least I try
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Fatty wanted to say that he is Sun Wukong but since Wu Xie think of himself as Monkey King he calls Fatty, Zhu Bagie but they both agree The head Lama is Black Wind Demon. that was funny.
I think your translation about what Fatty said is accurate.
The birds design is very cute and lovely. I hope the little kitty is not jealous of these birds.
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Fatty’s always trying to call himself Sun Wukong and Wu Xie always calls him Zhu Bajie instead. Poor man can’t catch a break 😂
I’ll stick my drawing on the fridge so they can stare at it hungrily 😂
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I already can imagine kitten sitting in front of fridge with a frown and looking at the birds. 😂
I agree the birds are cute. 😊
And I love the “brothers from another mother”. It’s perfect. 👍
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I should show you guys the original picture the person had. Now THOSE were some cute birds 😂. My mom thought the little swirlies were flowers and started giving me drawing tips and I had to tell her I was just trying to get my pen to work since I last used it like 4 years ago 😂