To Raise a Soul - Chapter 7
When people are extremely frightened, their bodies gain access to boundless potential.
Despite his weakness, Yu Zhen resisted Old Huang, a man with great strength from years of farmwork.
Old Huang, amused by his childish behaviour, stopped pulling at Yu Zhen. Instead, he turned around to pry Yu Zhen’s hand from the pillar. He laughed, “Really, child, it’s not like they’re fierce beasts. Don’t you also have me with you? Come on, let go. Be good.”
Continuing to shake his head, Yu Zhen wished he could also wind his legs around the pillar. A familiar coldness flooded his body. His brain function slowed and his lips turned purple. Breathing grew more and more laborious.
“Why is your hand so cold? Are you ill?”
Prying at one of Yu Zhen’s hands, Old Huang noticed the other hand growing colder. Yu Zhen’s complexion turned a ghastly pale colour, unlike that of someone who was simply afraid. Lifting a hand to Yu Zhen’s forehead, Old Huang checked his temperature.
“Ah! How is your forehead so cold!”
Yu Zhen was already unable to hear noise from the outside world. He couldn’t feel the touch of the person beside him. The cold was the only thing he felt. Every cell in his body complained of the extreme cold in hopes that he would save himself.
The peach wood sword in his hand fell to the ground as his consciousness slipped away. By his ear, a faint bell rang out. He vaguely sensed an intangible black shadow nearby, attempting to lure away his soul.
Within the hazy and chaotic world, a cool and familiar voice sounded by his ear. He heard a crash, then the ringing disappeared. Yu Zhen’s consciousness returned and the world’s sounds reemerged. A pair of long legs in black trousers stood before Yu Zhen.
“Mr. Yin, something’s not right with Yu Zhen. He seems to be sick.”
“He’s just too cold.”
A comforting breath enveloped Yu Zhen’s body. He released the hand clutching the pillar. His slow-turning mind stopped dwelling on the unnecessary fear and focused on his instinct for survival.
Survive. Must survive.
Even if he was the last person left on Earth, he would survive.
As Yu Zhen moved towards him, Yin Yan stretched out his arm to catch Yu Zhen. He gently took Yu Zhen into his arms and brushed a hand along his back until Yu Zhen’s body relaxed. Turning to the wide-eyed Old Huang, Yin Yan asked, “Could you bring over some hot water, please? Thank you.”
Old Huang looked at the calm and compliant Yu Zhen within Yin Yan’s arms. Stunned, Old Huang muttered an agreement before leaving for the kitchen. Halfway there, he stopped to look back.
“Hold my hand.”
Yin Yan held the porridge bowl with one hand and reached out his other to Yu Zhen.
With his back facing Old Huang, Yu Zhen obediently placed his cold hand on Yin Yan’s palm.
The two entered the temple with fingers linked and disappeared behind a door.
Old Huang stared at the door in disbelief.
Wasn’t the situation a bit wrong? Why did it seem different from what he initially thought?
Once inside, Yin Yan led Yu Zhen to sit on the bed. He gently brushed his hand over Yin Yan’s face.
Yu Zhen abruptly woke up from his muddle-headed state. He blinked and saw Yin Yan standing in front of him. His heart shrank and he stood up to run away.
“You’re close to death.”
Yin Yan spoke directly. His expression was calm as he threw around the word death.
Yu Zhen’s movements slowed. He stared at Yin Yan with a guarded expression. Squeezing his hands into fists, he realized the peach wood sword had disappeared. He stood in silence, then sat back down on the bed, as if resigned to his fate. His head lowered, he whispered, “Can you kill me later? I would like to burn some paper for Grandpa first.”
He would also like to burn himself.
Yin Yan looked at the top of his messy head. With helplessness in his eyes, he sighed. He stepped back to give Yu Zhen space and placed the porridge on a bedside cabinet. He gently explained, “The one who wants to kill you is not me, but yourself.”
Yu Zhen looked up at him.
“Your soul is incomplete. In the past, I was able to guard you while inside your body. Back then, you could be safe and worry-free. You could avoid the probing of emissaries from the netherworld and grow up safely. But the Ping-An bead is now broken, so I have no way of staying within your body. Whether or not you’ll be able to live safely will depend on what you do.”
As he turned, steam rose from the congee again, its faint fragrance wafting through the air.
“Everyone should have three immortal souls and six mortal forms, but you only have one immortal soul and two mortal forms. Being able to live until now was not easy. If. . .”
Yin Yan stopped mid sentence. He reached for the porridge bowl and said, “Eat. This is a gift from the mountain god. It can help you temporarily stabilize your mind and soul, and help you avoid the suffering caused by lost soul sickness.”
The information was too much. Unable to digest the news, Yu Zhen stared blankly. As the congee’s fragrance drifted to his nose, he instinctively reach out for it. Collecting his thoughts, he questioned, “What? What immortal and mortal soul? Inside my body? And what’s lost soul sickness? I – you. . .”
Questions swarmed in his head. He was never a good talker, nor an exceptionally bright person. His worrying caused his words to falter.
Yin Yan suddenly reached out and pressed his head down. He whispered, “First have some congee, Elder Huang is coming.”
As he finished speaking, Old Huang pushed open the door, a flask in hand. Entering the room, he analysed the situation between the two and said, “Here’s the hot water. How are you, Yu Zhen? Still unwell?”
Yu Zhen had never been pressed on his head in such an intimate way before, causing him to zone out and miss Old Huang’s words. He didn’t understand much of what Yin Yan said, but the words erased the fear in his heart. He felt an inexplicable faith in them.
Someone who would touch his head like that wouldn’t harm him. They definitely wouldn’t harm him.
The thought developed suddenly, but when it appeared, it took root in his mind. It was as if he had thought something similar in another lifetime and engraved the idea in his soul. To bring the thoughts out, all it took was crossing paths with a person from that lifetime.
The other person’s hand was very warm.
He immersed himself in eating the perfectly heated congee.The sweetness and warmth spread from the tip of his tongue to the rest of his body, making him sigh from comfort.
. . . It was just like Grandpa’s hand.
“He didn’t eat breakfast after waking up in the morning. It’s only a bout of low blood sugar. He should be alright after eating the congee.”
Yin Yan answered Old Huang’s question and stepped forward to take the flask. From the bedside cabinet, Yin Yan picked up a teacup and poured in some hot water. He placed the cup by Yu Zhen’s hand, then turned to Old Huang, “We’ve troubled you. Please stay here and have lunch with us.”
There’s a host-guest role reversal? What was going on?
Old Huang was stunned. Looking at Yu Zhen, who still bore a bad complexion, he thought about the scant amount of mantou, noodles, porridge and fermented vegetables he saw in the kitchen. His heart ached for the young man. Shaking his head, he replied, “No need. . . Yu Zhen, although your grandfather left, you still have to keep going. Don’t be too tough on yourself. . . Ai. I’ll leave now, I still have to deliver the subsidies to other families.”
Since he wasn’t familiar with Yu Zhen, he couldn’t say too much. When Old Huang saw they had solved their misunderstanding and could communicate normally, he acknowledged them simply and prepared to leave.
After finishing the congee, Yu Zhen was finally able to think clearly. He stood to ask the old man to stay, but he was unable to speak, thinking about his empty kitchen. Instead, he gave Old Huang two boxes of leftover cigarettes from the funeral.
Feeling restless, Yin Le decided to eavesdrop. His big brother and Yu Zhen walked out and politely sent Old Huang off.
“? ? ?”
What was happening?
The two people stood by the courtyard door and watched Old Huang’s figure disappear down the dirt road. Yu Zhen looked sideways at Yin Yan. He hesitated, “You. . .”
“I reincarnated in someone’s body. We’ll live together and die together. Your feeling that day was correct, the person you tried to save really did die. Now, the soul in this body is simply a remnant soul that was once a partner in your body.”
Yin Yan looked at him, calm and tolerant. He sighed. “Yu Zhen. . . I’ve wanted to talk to you like this for a long time.”
The length of his wait blurred his concept of time and he almost forgot himself.
The firewood in the kitchen stove made sizzled. A spark floated out, falling on Yu Zhen’s hand as he sat in a daze.
Yu Zhen rubbed his hand, watching as it regained some color. He groaned and held his head.
Using his reason and intellect, Yu Zhen considered the information Yin Yan gave him.
A soul securing bead, reincarnation, lost soul sickness. . . No, none of it was real.
He only burned the beads. Why did the life he led for over twenty years change so drastically?
The conversation at the doorway ended when Yin Le approached. He didn’t know how to face a “Yin Yan” who claimed to be a “reincarnation”. How he should treat the family member of the “reincarnation” was an even more difficult problem for Yu Zhen. He fled to the kitchen to avoid the troublesome issues.
However, hiding wasn’t a solution and he wouldn’t be able to hide for long. The hot potato was waiting outside.
What to do? What to do?
He thought about the confusing state of his life. He knew most of Yin Yan’s words were true, but. . .
[Xiao Zhen, don’t blame Grandpa. This book is for you. You should practice well, otherwise the powerful soul in your body will eventually come out to eat you. By that time, not only would you be finished this lifetime, but you’ll be finished in the next lifetime too.]
[Your marriage line is affected by the great, mighty remnant soul in your body. Grandpa can’t analyse it properly. It’s probably broken. Ah, it’s truly a disaster. My dear Xiao Zhen, it looks like you’ll have to be a bachelor in this life.]
[Everyone’s life and death are mandated by heaven. Xiao Zhen, your birth opposed heaven’s will. Your family ties will be broken. You’re destined to suffer hardships alone. The only thing that remnant soul gave you is an opportunity to live. So live, and live well.]
[It’s over, Xiao Zhen. You’ll be reborn as a pig in your next life. Grandpa doesn’t want a fat pig as a grandson. Quick, that book, find it and practice properly. Win over the Great One. Let the Great One change your next life’s fate.]
The words he once thought were jokes flashed through Yu Zhen’s mind. His grandpa’s ridiculous appearance seemed to stand before him. Yu Zhen’s heart skipped a beat. Thinking of something that could save his life, he rushed toward his bedroom.
About the third impression.
Yu Zhen: A good person. He gives a warm and comforting feeling like grandpa did. [If he wasn’t a ghost, it would be even better]
The suggestions in this chapter( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°). I like them.