A Nest of Snakes Inside an Old Tomb - Chapter 57
The three snakes’ quarrel was finally declared over when the growls of Yin Xiaoxiao’s stomach began to increase in frequency.
Yin Xiaoxiao raised his head, looked at Xionghui and silently lowered his head. With nine heads, of course it was like that! He’d need a meal with nine portions! If someone had a housepet like this, they’d probably be eaten out of house and home3.
“If you want to eat, can you not catch your own prey? This is not for your consumption,” said Mo Laoda with a serious voice. Already he was disinclined to discuss the “little Hei snake” issue with Xionghui.
“You’re really not very friendly,” Xionghui said, aggrieved. But in the blink of an eye, he was again smiling. One of the nine heads finally stretched down to face Yin Xiaoxiao. “I still don’t know the name of this beautiful young master4.”
Yin Xiaoxiao had a odd look on his face. What was this young master? He really couldn’t afford it5!
“Xionghui, stop showing off! After developing nine heads, you really believe yourself to be a human!” Mingshe said, disdainfully as an aside.
Yin Xiaoxiao glanced up at Mingshe with an off expression. He didn’t know if it was his misperception, but this guy, Mingshe, no matter what he looked like or how sounded, seemed like a very simple and honest snake. Now that he was more familiar with Mingshe, Yin Xiaoxiao’s assessment of him hadn’t changed. Only, every time he confronted Xionghui, Mingshe appeared to find entirely too much…delight in attacking the other party?!
Although, in comparison to Xionghui and Mingshe, Yin Xiaoxiao’s body size was like that of an ant, nothing more, this absolutely didn’t prevent Mingshe from seeing the expression on Yin Xiaoxiao’s face. Mingshe, without revealing even an indication of its expression, revealed a smile which was then hidden.
“I’m called Yin Xiaoxiao.”
“Yin Xiaoxiao? Truly a good name! I’ll call you Xiaoxiao from now on!” Xionghui exclaimed.
Yin Xiaoxiao: “…” Hey, hey! What was so great about this name?!
Contrary to what might be expected, Mingshe’s reply served to explain Xionghui’s exclamation to Yin Xiaoxiao. “I believe that when Xionghui originally cultivated his nine human heads, soon after he really thought of himself as a human and he went to learn the human’s written language. Unfortunately, he is naturally unable to learn this stuff. Even after studying for a long time, he was still unable to learn how to write his own name and shouted that his name was too difficult to write. So, he changed his name to Xiangliu which was simply not as pleasant-sounding as Xionghui!” Very clearly, Mingshe was very dissatisfied with Xionghui’s name change — although now the name had already changed back.
Yin Xiaoxiao suddenly realized that this was how the name Xiangliu came to be!
Xionghui jumped in anger (really, not having legs wasn’t easy…). “You had the nerve to say it! If you don’t like that I changed my name, then say so directly! This is because you ran away from home! As a result Gonggong grabbed you and had you guard hidden treasure! And then I went to rescue you! And in order to rescue you I had to become Gonggong’s subordinate! It was the first time I, Xionghui, ever had to be someone’s subordinate in my life!”
Mingshe was composed. “You rescue me? Yes, that’s right, you went to rescue me, and what was the outcome? Did you rescue me? Instead, ultimately, you let me fall into Da Yu’s hands, and Da Yu killed and beheaded your corporeal body.”
“My corporeal body was destroyed in order to save you! What’s more, Emperor Da Yu was one of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors6. How could I have beaten him?! I ask you, why on earth do you stay where there are treasures?! It makes everyone want to run off with you! Even the emperor was unable to resist your allure! I still have to protect you at all times!” Xionghui paused and then continued to speak, “Also, don’t think that I don’t know that you voluntarily promised Ji Zhao that you would guard this tomb.”
Mo Laoda: “…..”
Yin Xiaoxiao actually listened with great interest. This was behind the scenes knowledge from antiquity! How many people could hear history being recounted by people who were there?! If he didn’t listen now, when would he get the chance again?
Mo Laoda: “…You two go somewhere else to quarrel. We’re going to eat.”
Although he called it a quarrel, it was actually nothing more than two snakes arguing for enjoyment, not out of anger. Hearing Mo Laoda say that they were going to eat, each pair of eyes on Xionghui’s nine heads brightened. “I also want to eat, I also want to eat!”
“…If you want to eat then catch prey yourself!” Veins pulsed on Mo Laoda’s head. Of the snakes under this cliff, the one that annoyed him the most was this Xionghui!
Immediately Xionghui was plaintive. Yin Xiaoxiao actually let out a “pfft” of laughter. Xiongui’s face was indeed plaintive, but only one head looked plaintive! The remaining eight heads were still brightly smiling, which was awfully funny.
Hearing Yin Xiaoxiao laugh, although he didn’t know why, Mo Laoda, who had just a moment ago been in a very poor mood, immediately became happy. Xionghui what? His Xiaoxiao was the most important.
“Xiaoxiao, wait a little longer. I’ll help you with the food.”
Yin Xiaoxiao obediently nodded his head. Even outside, Yin Xiaoxiao absolutely would not force himself to eat raw food! As a result Mo Laoda procured the so-called food and also made the fire and cooked the meat.
Having invited rebuff, Xionghui helplessly shook his nine heads. “Okay, okay. Prepare it for yourselves, prepare it for yourselves!” Xionghui suddenly brightened and excitedly said, “I’ve got it! Why don’t we go and catch a lot of prey to celebrate Xiaoxiao’s arrival?!”
Yin Xiaoxiao stared blankly, then silently thought, ‘Could it be that this is what is a called a potluck7? The kind where each brings their own food.’
Mo Laoda had just begun to think about refusing, but then reconsidered. It would be impossible for the Little Idiot to not come back again after he’d been here, so it was good for him to know the two of them. Seeing how the Little Idiot’s expression was when directed towards these two strange snakes, he still didn’t feel good. But it wouldn’t be bad for him to have a good relationship with these strange snakes. At the very least, these strange snakes were the strongest here, although they couldn’t leave the bottom of this cliff. What was more worrisome to Mo Laoda was that Yin Xiaoxiao could distinctly see the protected places, to the point where he had even become friends with the occupant of the tomb that the viper clans were to protect. The appearance of Yin Xiaoxiao was out of the ordinary among vipers — Mo Laoda was burdened with the thought that the boundary might disappear.
But if the Little Idiot was able to become good friends with these strange snakes then, even if one day the boundary disappeared and the viper clans faced immense catastrophe, even if he accidentally died, as long as these strange snakes were with the Little Idiot, the strange snakes would protect him and the Little Idiot would surely be safe and secure.
Here, Mo Laoda’s plans were interrupted as, a little ways away, Xionghui had pulled Mingshe up to fly. Yin Xiaoxiao raised his head and looked at the sky. Mingshe and Xionghui looked really large even in flight, causing the sky to darken.
“The prey here grew so large like this, is it because of the existence of Mingshe and Xionghui? After all, if the prey is extremely small, then wouldn’t it be very difficult for them to eat enough?” Yin Xiaoxiao asked while Mo Laoda was occupied with preparing the food.
Mo Laoda gave a “yes” and then said, “It’s not only prey. All organisms that live under the cliff have become gigantic because of the strange snakes. Possibly it could even be said that it is because of the influence of these strange snakes that they have become so large.”
“Like Xionghui and Minshe, them. They are of a snake clan that is strange, so the snake clans call them strange snakes. Yes, the snake clans admire them for their power, but they are still feared.”
Yin Xiaoxiao silently looked at Mo Laoda. Actually, the viper clans could also be considered strange. After all, no matter how venomous a normal snake was, it was still no match for even the weakest Lu snake. “But the Yan grass definitely looks very normal!”
Mo Laoda shook his head. “Yan grass isn’t affected by the strange snakes. It should also be said that this kind of grass grows in the strangest place. Additionally, strange snakes also, because of the Yan grass, cannot smell other snakes. I heard that originally the bottom of this cliff didn’t have Yan grass. At that time, Mingshe promised Ji Zhao to guard the tomb under the condition that Yan grass was transplanted to the bottom of this cliff.”
Yin Xiaoxiao went blank. “Why specifically ask for Yan grass? Here there’s Mingshe and Xionghui, and I saw that the two of them have a very good relationship. So there’s absolutely no need to intentionally erase the smell of the other party.” Was it because they would get very bored and wanted to amuse themselves by playing hide and seek?
Mo Laoda raised an expressionless face. “Who said that there was only Mingshe and Xionghui here?”
“Ah? You mean there are other strange snakes here?” asked Yin Xiaoxiao, astonished.
Mo Laoda nodded his head, then lowered his head and continued to handle the hare. “Strange snakes will not live together with many other strange snakes for long periods of time. In ancient times, strange snakes would often be hunted and killed, if they came together, they would present a very large target. After a while, it became a habit for strange snakes to keep to themselves. Naturally, Mingshe and Xionghui are exceptions. Here, although strange snakes are trapped below this cliff, they’ve still retained this custom, and the existence of the Yan grass is very essential.”
Yin Xiaoxiao, only half understanding, nodded his head.
“In a moment, Xionghui and Mingshe will return and will probably call the other strange snakes here. At that time, you should be able to see all the strange snakes under this cliff.” Mo Laoda spoke again, “ Actually, below this cliff, I don’t know the names of the other strange snakes. There are only some names8 in these inherited memories. I met Xionghui and Mingshe the last time I came here, but I didn’t meet other strange snakes.”
The corners of Yin Xiaoxiao’s mouth twitched as he began to recall what he knew regarding the names of serpentine creatures from ancient Chinese narratives. He thought for half a day9, and could only recall one — Feiyi. After all, when Yin Xiaoxiao was still a human, he hadn’t been very interested in serpentine creatures. If he saw them, he might remember, only like this now, he could only think. Yin Xiaoxiao was powerless.
Feiyi, in the histories of ancient China, was written to be a kind of monstrous snake. As for Feiyi’s appearance, there were two versions. One said that Feiyi had one head and two bodies. The other said that it had six feet and four wings. It’s appearance would cause a large drought.
“Feiyi?” Yin Xiaoxiao tentatively suggested. Presumably Feiyi should exist, right? This monstrous snake was still very well-known in China.
“Haha, Xiaoxiao, are you calling me?”
Suddenly, from the sky, came a candid voice. Yin Xiaoxiao looked up to see a flying strange snake.
Clearly seeing Feiyi’s appearance, Yin Xiaoxiao wanted to curse. Nima10! What one head, two bodies?! What 6 feet, four wings?! This guy obviously had one head, two bodies, and six feet and four wings!
As it turned out, just as Yin Xiaoxiao saw the strange snake that was Feiyi, he had only seen Feiyi’s one head. Below, there were two bodies. Each body had three feet, and on each back were two identical wings.
T/N: I have no idea what happened. I posted this chapter last week, but it ended up being eaten by the internet (I guess). Sorry about that!
- 黑: black
- 虺 or huǐ is literally a mythical venomous snake; xióng means male or mighty
- raw had 给吃穷: to eat until poor
- 公子: an archair term used to refer to a young son of a court official or to refer to a young son of a wealthy family
- this is a bit of a pun since young master can refer to someone who is from a rich family
- 三皇: the Three Sovereigns were mythical rules of China before the Xia Dynasty. The raw only had the Three Emperors, but Da Yu is actually one of the Five Emperors, who came after the Three Sovereigns
- raw had 聚餐: which is a communal meal
- added for clarity
- 半天: idiom meaning a very long time
- 尼玛: internet slang which has profaned a sacred word. Equivalent would be Holy shit or the like