I looked at the herdsman and found that he was still looking at me weakly. Seeing that I wasn’t reacting much, he said to me, “I know you’re worked up, but you’ve been going in circles.”
“So, you didn’t need water after all?”
“That’s right, or rather, I’ve been drinking so much water that I’ve got water poisoning.(1) Harvest God bless you, hurry up and defeat your enemy,” he said with a watery hiccup.
I went to look at those paintings again. According to my usual way of thinking, after figuring out the surface meaning of those paintings, I would then need to figure what the painter was trying to express in his heart. This was the core to identifying the authenticity of ancient paintings. Compared to languages, paintings were more intuitive and easier to master.
Although I had forgotten how I deduced all this and what clues I got along the way, the conclusion was already clear: since I dared to paint it, this meant that I hoped the present me would accept and believe in this information.
There was, however, one question lingering in my mind: Why did I paint these images so meticulously? After all, I would never waste my energy doing meaningless things. I touched the painted image of Xiao Hua’s clothes and felt the logic slowly begin to surface.
Black Glasses had taken the first Chinese costume, while the second one had been ruined by me. The clothes Xiao Hua wore for the sacrificial ritual had been taken from an ancient corpse and modified.
If that were true, then Xiao Hua and Poker-Face must have first passed through an area with ancient corpses while pursuing Black Glasses, and the clothes on those corpses were relatively well-preserved.
Moreover, the patterns and text on the original costume must have been necessary for the ancient god to recognize the sacrifices, so that was why Xiao Hua had to modify the corpse’s clothes.
It was similar to how if the ancient gods regarded sacrifices as food, then the sacrifices needed to imitate their favorite food.
The reason for the dance steps was because different prey had different dance rhythms. It was only by imitating the correct rhythm that the ancient god would perceive the sacrifice as its favorite food.
I rubbed chin, feeling like something was wrong with this analysis. It couldn’t be that simple. Those strange Shigong’s mole things that could absorb people’s smell, the fancy costumes, and the special dance steps were all tools used for marking.
This was a kind of well-designed food. In other words, the ancient god may not have liked eating humans, but the ancients packaged the sacrifices in such a way as to make the ancient god become addicted to this kind of food. It was just like how people used artificial bait with strong flavors to fish now. This kind of artificial bait was not only colorful and easy to spot, but its body would make obvious movements along the current, thus increasing its chances of being tracked. At the same time, it was also very fragrant and highly attractive to fish.
The ancients had no reason to do that unless…
I firmly believed that humans didn’t have a tradition of hunting gods at that time, so if someone did this—using special spices to make sacrifices and increasing the food appeal of the sacrifices to attract the ancient god—then it showed that there was competition among the sacrifices at that time.
Was it possible that, within a certain period of time, multiple sacrifices were thrown down here, and whichever sacrifice the ancient god enjoyed meant that the tribe affiliated with that person was blessed by the god? And as a result of this, they had to keep improving their own sacrifices?
What about the other sacrifices? Were they beaten to death by the ancient god, or were they killed by the tribe because they weren’t selected during the sacrificial ritual?
This ancient god must digest very slowly, similar to the digestion speed of carnivorous plants. Large prey probably took several months to digest, so it wouldn’t need a lot of food. Otherwise, if I were the ancient god, I would definitely eat all the sacrifices, regardless of what clothes they were wearing or how they danced.
Xiao Hua was able to save Black Glasses because he looked tastier than Black Glasses.
They must have been chasing Black Glasses this whole time, which meant that they must have seen Black Glasses’ signpost that I saw earlier.
Alright, I rubbed my chest. It seemed that, if I took the murals here as the starting point of a timeline and I understood their meaning correctly, then the Juxian Hall I saw before was the right path, and their big battle must have taken place somewhere on the path behind Juxian Hall. So, what I should do now is take the herdsman to Juxian Hall and then look for a mummy missing its clothes on the path behind Juxian Hall. If I could find it, that would mean I was on the right track.
But for some reason, as long as I left here, I would go straight back to the timeline where the herdsman was injured and thirsty. I would go look for water, come back after finding it, and then keep repeating the cycle over and over again.
“When I leave, do I usually carry a mummy out with me?” I asked the herdsman. According to my basic understanding of the situation, I would definitely carry one of the mummies with me when I left so that it would protect my brain.
But if that were true, the number of corpses wouldn’t keep increasing until this small space was almost full.
If I left here without a mummy, I deserved to be affected by the heavenly gift.
So, what happened every time I left?
The herdsman looked at me and said, “This is a matter of choice. You’ll have to carry both me and a corpse. If you leave me here, you can carry a corpse on your back and take the right path, but if you take me with you, you won’t be able to go anywhere.”
“I encounter this problem every time?”
“Yes, and you always tell me a story that your master told you. Your master taught you how to make a choice at such a time, but you refuse to listen to him,” the herdsman said. “Go. Go and save your friends. Don’t worry about me. Come back and save me when you have time.”
“Is there really no solution?”
“No, it’s impossible for one person to drag two humanoid objects and move in such a narrow space. Besides, we can’t get through that waterway.”
When I looked at him, he was practically begging me, “Just go.”
Black Glasses’ story, I knew, pertained to an experience in his life. His purpose in telling me the story wasn’t to tell me what to do, just to tell me what he would do when he was in that situation. The only thing was, he didn’t know if the choice he made at that time was the right one.
<Chapter 27><Table of Contents><Chapter 29>
(1) Water poisoning, also known as water intoxication, hyperhydration, overhydration, or water toxemia, is a condition that occurs from drinking too much water. It upsets electrolyte balances, and can decrease sodium in the blood to dangerously low levels, causing mild to life-threatening problems. More info here.
What is this, freaking amateur hour? Break the corpses up into pieces so you can carry them. Or grind them into powder if you have time to make detailed finger rock paintings. Seemed to do just fine when you were swimming earlier. Get your shit together, Wu Xie!
17 thoughts on “Chapter 28 Choice”
“Alright, I rubbed my chest. It seemed that, if I took the murals here as the starting point of a timeline and I understood their meaning correctly, then the Juxian Hall I saw before was the right path, and their big battle must have taken place somewhere on the path behind Juxian Hall. So, what I should do now is take the herdsman to Juxian Hall and then look for a mummy missing its clothes on the path behind Juxian Hall.”
I’m confused. Didn’t that whole thing with Hei Xiazi calling the sacrifice happen a long time ago? At that temple with all the weird fungus? Why would Wu Xie expect Xiao Hua to have stolen clothes this late in the timeline?
… Is he conflating two events again?
(Also, that passing reference to, “I don’t believe humans were hunting gods *at this time*” is intrigueing.)
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That….is a good point 🤔 The way he was talking in these chapters made it sound like it all happened somewhere other than under that fungus building place from the first few chapters. The author relying on the heavenly gift plot point to avoid explaining things is making it all confusing now. I vote it’s all a hallucination 😂
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Mmm. ‘Hallucination’ or, ‘he’s been in the dark a long time and is getting confused’ works for me.
Also, in ch 25, he looks at the unconscious guy and “when I went over, I found that he was seriously dehydrated due to blood loss.”
I’m pretty sure someone with water poisoning would look the opposite of dehydrated, and would not willingly be drinking from the waterskin. Unless the herder guy is exaggerating for effect?
Yeah, the herder has been super suspicious this whole time
It does indeed happen beneath the building thingie with the fungus. I think what happened was Shades stole the copy of the dress that Xiao Hua had prepared to do his own thing, so Xiao Hua had to do an emergency steal of some random clothes off some mummified corpse and “make” his own dress. Then Wu Xie took the back up dress that Xiu Xiu had. So everyone has a dress to wear to the party… er sacrifice.
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Right but I think the fungus building could be considered “before” the Juxian Hall instead of on the path “behind” it. Unless they like circled back around since the crevices seem to be connected?
That…. is a very good point. But I don’t think they’re not referring to the same battle.
We know that the fungus building was when they caught up to Shades and battled a bit. Then I assumed Shades escaped and went on to the first altar to do his sacrifice… At the same time, Xiao Hua is in some other location, possibly behind the Hall, also doing the second sacrifice. And Xiao Hua and Xiaoge’s battle with the ancient gods is the big battle that’s being referred to here. But no idea how he got there in the first place since Wu Xie got there by being swallowed and dragged, and Xiao Hua somehow managed to get there at the same time as Shades’ sacrifice.
This is getting more and more complicated every chapter. Wuxie doesn’t know what to do and I don’t know what to think… I need straight answers pretty please
I kept thinking about last chapter all day and I guess I’ll keep thinking about this chapter all night. I hope I can get some sleep!
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NPSS and straight answers? In what universe? 😂😭
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😂😂😂😭😭😭 I know. I just need them though I’m sure I won’t get them
Honestly after so much of non-action action from Wu Xia am dreading NPSS’s end …
No, but like… If he left without a mummy, then that would mean he had left with the herdsman a long time ago? So why was the herdsman still stuck there, and he left without a mummy?
Why did all the previous Wu Xie left without any of them? To look for some goddamn water again? What a joke. Is the waterway too long or is there some hidden danger there? The clams want to eat him? So suddenly? How is he still thriving with life then? At this point Iʼm saying anything that stood out, lol. Iʼm guessing thereʼs a whole unrelated reason later on.
And by the way… I MTLʼed the latest chapter NPSS posted and guess what? We have some new characters tuning in soon… Although that was Chapter 56 so, may not too soon.
Exactly! Why isn’t he taking neither of them? What’s really happening? I find that herdsman suspicious but I’m not sure if he’s real or not… Right now I think he’s not real
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Such a picky monster, the sacrifices must dance, sing and dress well, keeping in mind that the type of each one is important.
There’s gotta be a reason for collecting so many corpses. Don’t know why, but there doesn’t seem to be any other reason to leave without either of them every time. Is he possibly recreating the safe zone that the Zhang family made with their corpses? For later?
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Love your take on the post note 😉