To Raise a Soul - Chapter 8
Grandpa Yu was an interesting old man. He loved to tell stories, and he loved to use copper coins to divine the fortune of living beings. Above all, he loved to tease Yu Zhen.
He made many jokes, some jokes were forgotten as soon as they were told, some were contradictory, and some were created for the sole purpose of teasing. There was only one story, the story of a “great and mighty remnant soul,” that he repeated for many years without changing a single detail.
Yu Zhen’s ability to retain memories developed late, so his earliest memories were from the time he started elementary school. Anything before that was blank.
Despite that, he could vividly recall the memory of one afternoon when he was only a few years old. On that day, his grandfather solemnly knelt before the image of the ancestral gods. Holding Yu Zhen in his arms, he calculated Yu Zhen’s fortune.
That was the first time he saw a concentrated expression on his Grandpa’s face. It was also the first time his Grandpa could not believe his own calculations, and so he threw the copper coins again and again.
On that day, Grandpa Yu’s face became extremely pale, and Yu Zhen was unable to eat the omelet he looked forward to having.
It was also after that day Grandpa Yu began to tell this story of a “great and mighty remnant soul.” He found an extremely haggard, aged book with strange drawings and urged Yu Zhen to start practicing.
However, it was a difficult book to understand. Yu Zhen, still unable to read and write, had no way of using the book to cultivate.
Grandpa Yu, perhaps understanding the difficulty of the task, opted to frequently nag Yu Zhen about the “Great One” and “cultivation.” However, he made no move to force Yu Zhen to learn from the book. Instead, he teased Yu Zhen more and more.
After Yu Zhen grew up, he gained knowledge and gradually saw those childhood stories as nothing more than stories. He never once treated Grandpa Yu’s words as real.
Grandpa Yu likely discovered his thoughts. The number of strange and wonderful stories gradually reduced. Occasionally, Grandpa Yu still talked about the “great and mighty remnant soul,” but because they spent more time apart than together, it had been a long time since the issue was brought up.
When an old wooden box was opened, a layer of dust was stirred up. The box held the young Yu Zhen’s treasures such as a little wooden box, storybooks, and two old copper coins from Grandpa Yu.
Yu Zhen found a yellowed, damaged book at the bottom. He opened it only to find the pages covered in mildew.
Books were fragile things. After many years of lying uncared for, the damaged book deteriorated even further. After a decade, it was practically falling apart.
His quickly beating heart sank heavily. Yu Zhen, exposed to the rotten stench from the book, thought of the night Grandpa Yu calculated his fortunes. Tears welled in his eyes and dripped onto the book, leaving two wet patches.
It was true. The words Grandpa spoke were true.
There really was a soul in his body, and that remnant soul had come knocking on his door.
But Grandpa didn’t tell him his soul was damaged.
“A birth which opposes heaven’s will, blood ties will be broken. . .”
Family relationships will be broken. Indeed, his family relationships had broken.
He wiped away his tears but found the more he rubbed, the more there were. The sadness and pain swelled, leaving him almost breathless.
On the night of the funeral, he had cried, but faced with his cruel fate, he finally accepted his only relative had completely left him. He may be destined to live his remaining days in lonely bitterness. He crouched in sadness and cried while facing the wooden box.
“Some foolish people will feel pain and sadness much slower than the average person.”
In the hall, Yin Yan turned the old, porcelain cup in his hand and said, “He thought he had gotten over it already, but he hasn’t yet. Anything related to the past could cause him. . .”
Yin Le looked at him with worry and suspicion. He didn’t understand why his brother once again spoke of such strange things.
Yin Yan suppressed the rising emotion and put the porcelain teacup back on the table. He looked at Yin Le and Weng Xiping, then stood and said, “Let’s go into the mountains behind the temple.”
Yin Le couldn’t keep up with his thoughts and asked, “Why go to the mountains?” Didn’t they come to thank and pursue someone?
Yin Yan once again undid his buttons, and calmly replied, “To catch pheasants.”
“. . . Huh?”
Yu Zhen cried for a long time. Just as he was about to go blind from the puffiness of his eyes, a fragrant scent of meat drifted over from the kitchen.
His thoughts finally shifted away from sadness. He remembered the guests sitting in the hall. Wiping his eyes and face, he placed the unintelligible book back in the wooden box and followed the fragrant scent.
Cough! Cough! Cough!
In the kitchen, Yin Le’s head was covered in chicken feathers. He held a stick in his hand and sat behind the stove. Clumsily, he stuck a few pieces of firewood into the stove. He covered his nose while coughing, and his face had soot on it.
At the table beside the stove, Weng Xiping cut a piece of ginger into slices with a serious expression. Beside him was a container of washed vegetables.
In front of the stove, with his back to the door, stood Yin Yan. His sleeves were rolled up, and he held a plate in one hand and a wok shovel in the other hand. He moved to transfer the dish from the wok to the plate.
Yu Yu felt the scene was funny and unreal. He asked, “What are you all doing?”
“Sis. . . Um, Yu Ge, you’re here. Are you feeling better?”
Yin Le immediately turned to Yu Zhen. He greeted Yu Zhen in high spirits and continued, “Yu Ge, we’re cooking! Big Brother took Uncle Weng and I up the mountain to catch pheasants! It’s really interesting here, the pheasants are stupid! They even ran to us and delivered themselves to our feet, adding themselves to the dish! Hahaha!”
“. . .”
Yu Zhen didn’t know how to answer.
Yin Yan moved the last spoonful of chicken onto the plate, put down the wok shovel and walked over to Yu Zhen. Yin Yan stooped over to take Yu Zhen’s hand and set the plate into it. “Take this to the dining room and set the table.”
Covered with a mound of potatoes and pheasant, the plate was heavy.
Yu Zhen reflexively held out his other hand to hold the plate. He looked at Yin Yan through the steam rising from the dish. Ten thousand pheasants screeched and flew around in his mind as he dumbly asked, “You. . . know how to cook?” He even knew how to use the old fashioned village stove?
Yin Yan did not reply. The corners of his mouth lifted.
“Of course, my brother knows how to cook. When he left the country to study, he lived by himself for a few years. He’s got super cooking skills.” Yin Le bragged. He exaggeratedly sang praises of his brother’s skills, but skillfully hid the fact his brother had earnestly learned the skill years ago to please Han Ya.
However, while thinking of this, some doubts rose again in his mind. Han Ya was a woman who pursued “sophistication” and loved western food. Therefore, his big brother mainly learned western dishes. He didn’t usually cook Chinese food. He didn’t expect that his brother’s Chinese dish was better than his western dishes!
Yu Zhen felt the brother of the ‘deceased’ was a little too enthusiastic about him. He laughed dryly agreed then rushed off to the dining room.
There weren’t any vegetables in the kitchen, but, some winter vegetables were available from the vegetable patch in the garden. With the addition of the pheasant, a set of simple meat and vegetable dishes were prepared for lunch.
The table was laden in appetizing dishes. There was the fragrant potatoes and pheasant, the fresh and tasty stir-fried Chinese cabbage, the sour and spicy cabbage, bowls of colorful tomatoes and eggs soup, as well as homemade fermented vegetables. Although the range of vegetable colors was limited, there was plenty to eat.
Yin Le ate with his lips covered in grease, completely destroying his affluent young master image. After eating, he didn’t forget to praise his brother, who did most of the work. He bragged, “Ge, your cooking skills are improving more and more. I’d like to have rabbit. In the afternoon, let’s go to the mountains and catch wild rabbits.”
“Go wipe your face.”
Yin Yan did not reply to his suggestion. Instead, he turned to the quiet Yu Zhen and asked, “Are you full?”
Yu Zhen, who had not had a lively meal for a while now, paused for a moment. He nodded, then shook his head. He reached out and held Yin Yan’s hand then pulled him towards the backyard.
Yin Le’s eyes lit up, his gossiping nature was activated.
Weng Xiping conscientiously tidied up the table.
Once he closed and locked the door, Yu Zhen turned to face Yin Yan. He twisted his fingers and took a deep breath. Unwilling to give in, he asked, “You said that you’re a remnant soul that was in my body. Do you have any proof?”
Yin Yan touched the arm Yu Zhen had held. He replied, “While I was in your body, my consciousness wasn’t very clear. Sometimes I had awareness, at other times I didn’t. So I can’t remember much.”
“When you were three years old, you fell from the bed. When you were six, you got lost. You wet your bed for the last time when you were eight. When you were sixteen, you had your first wet—”
“Stop! Stop! Stop! I believe you, don’t say anymore! Don’t say that line!”
Yu Zhen calm and serious facade was ruined. His ears tinted red from embarrassment. The last bit of denial in his heart disappeared. He continued, “So why were you in my body? Why were my immortal soul and mortal forms incomplete?”
Yin Yan looked at him without answering.
After a few quiet seconds, Yu Zhen understood his silence. He asked, “You can’t answer this question?”
Yin Yan reacted this time. He nodded lightly.
“. . .” Ok.
Yu Zhen’s shoulders drooped in disappointment. He asked, “Now that you’ve become like this, why did you come looking for me?”
“To save you,” Yin Yan replied.
From his coat pocket, Yin Yan produced a household registration booklet. He added, “It’s also helping myself. Your destiny and mine are connected. We’ll live together and die together. Yu Zhen, keep living. Don’t give up on yourself.”
[Live, and live well.]
The words that Grandpa Yu once said flashed through Yu Zhen’s mind. Yu Zhen froze, feeling suspicious.
Strange. His granddad and Yin Yan both asked him to live in such a serious manner. And. . .
“Why did you take out your household register?”
Yin Yan: To coax a foolish child, good food is good enough. PS:^(⊙v⊙)
Ahahahaha. I see signs of a great husband. Go catch him, Yin Yan.
Woohoo! We are now on target. I know some of you will be sad to see the updates slow down from here on out, but daily updates are hard!!!
See you next Sunday~!