Chapter 68: Digging out a body (1)
When the mountain collapsed, it altered the entire topography of the surrounding area. Were it not for the tree deity’s massive body, Mi Wan was almost certain she wouldn’t have been able to find where her body was buried. But even with this clue, she was unable to pinpoint the exact location of her body.
“Which side is it on?” Fan Chen asked.
“It’s…” Mi Wan circled around the tree deity. The aftermath of the landslide had made a mess of things. Everything surrounding the tree looked the same, and Mi Wan was unable to remember where her body had collapsed.
“I think…My back was facing the direction where you head down the mountain. Oh yeah, behind me is Gu Yuan village.” It took Mi Wan a while to recall this information.
“Then it must be here.” Fan Chen gestured towards an area, but even with Gu Yuan village as a waypoint, it wasn’t a small area to dig.
“Can’t you use your vines to search for it?” Mi Wan asked. Rather than rely on her memory, won’t it be easier for Fan Chen to use his vines and probe around the ground?
“I can’t afford to lose more demonic energy right now. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to maintain my human appearance.” Fan Chen replied.
“Ohh~” Mi Wan knew that Fan Chen was currently very weak, but she never imagined he would be weakened to this point, “If only it was in the water. If you send me back into my body, I could swim back on my own. But since this is under dirt, if I were to be returned…”
“Then I won’t need to waste my energy digging.” Fan Chen exhibited a rare moment of sarcasm.
Mi Wan stuck out her tongue and then kneeled on the ground with a groan.
“How about we wait for your demonic energy to recover before we dig again?”
“The longer your soul leaves the body, the further your body will deteriorate. You have at most 2 hours before it becomes completely unusable.”
Fan Chen looked at Mi Wan. “You sure you want to wait for my demonic energy to recover before digging?”
“…” In order to stop the landslide, Fan Chen had already wasted an hour. If they were to wait for his demonic energy to recover, then it would really become an unusable corpse, “Hey, you think I can find a fresh body to possess?”
Fan Chen did not answer, instead choosing to bend down and began digging through the wet earth. Without tools nor demonic energy, Fan Chen could only rely on his hands to dig. Luckily, demon’s bodies are strong and generally invincible. Were this an ordinary body of flesh, all 10 fingers would have broken from the exertion.
Fan Chen dug solemnly and quickly. Mi Wan watched as he threw aside fistfuls of dirt, tossing out stone after stone, but ultimately could not see where her body was. After about 10 minutes, Fan Chen had dug a hole that was roughly half a meter deep. His fingers came in contact with a much firmer surface, and they knew that they had reached the floor. Mi Wan’s body was not here.
Mi Wan had a look of utter disappointment.
Fan Chen on the other hand, was expressionless as he crawled out, and without missing a beat, chose another area, and resumed digging. It was another round of throwing fistfuls of dirt, tossing rock after rock, and quickly finding the forest floor. Once again, Mi Wan’s body was nowhere in sight.
Fan Chen pursed his lips, got up, and resumed digging at another spot.
Mi Wan quietly stayed by Fan Chen’s side. Given her current spiritual state, she was useless, and the most she could do was refrain from making a ruckus. Watching Fan Chen dig up hole after hole, and failing to find her body, Mi Wan’s mood gradually calmed. This area was far too vast, and her body might have been washed away by the sheer force of the landslide. Even if Fan Chen were to continue digging, the odds of finding her body within an hour were slim.
Mi Wan couldn’t understand why Fan Chen was willing to help her do something so uncertain and tedious, but he had done his best.
“Stop digging.” When Fan Chen was about to start digging his fourth hole, Mi Wan finally spoke up, “Maybe I can be reincarnated this time.”
Fan Chen paused for a moment, but he quickly recovered and continued digging.
“There’s still half an hour left.”
Mi Wan did not say a word and knelt in front of Fan Chen. She watched as his digging sped up, and felt a peculiar emotion rising in her heart. It was similar to the time when her Master bought her a sugar hawthorne when she was sick. It tasted sour and sweet.
Suddenly, hundreds of animals appeared around them. These animals still had traces of dirt and grime from the landslide, but were able to rush up the paths that did not collapse and surrounded Fan Chen. As if recognizing that Fan Chen was their savior, and searching for something, the animals quietly worked their paws and dug around with Fan Chen.
Not long after, Fan Chen was surrounded by a few dozen holes.
This incredible sight left Mi Wan shocked. She recalled while growing up, her Master once told her that all living things have spirits, but aside from the demons, she has never seen animals display such human-like behaviors. When she grew up, the sect leaders told her to prioritize her own people above other races, so she killed countless demons, and was ultimately killed by demons. 500 years after her death, she often wondered what her Master meant when he said that all living things have spirits, and was never able to figure it out. But at this moment… she finally understood it a little.
Suddenly, a grey squirrel crawled out from the ground and quickly scampered in front of Fan Chen, using its claws to point towards a direction.
Fan Chen discarded the stones in his hands, stood up, and the grey squirrel quickly ran back towards the direction it came from. Fan Chen followed closely and arrived before a large hole, with the grey squirrel squeaking excitedly by the edge. He lowered his head to see Mi Wan’s face covered in so much mud, that her features were almost unidentifiable.
Fan Chen leapt down and carried the body out of the hole.
Though it was her own body, Mi Wan could not help but cringe at the sight.
“Can you wash it first? Even the nostrils are blocked up.” Mi Wan had a sneaking suspicion that if her soul were to return back into the body, she might die from suffocation.
“Are you sure?” Fan Chen raised his brows.
“I’m sure.” Mi Wan could not be more sure.
With the animals’ help, they were able to locate Mi Wan’s body within an hour and 40 minutes, so technically there was still time to wash her body. After affirming Mi Wan’s consent, Fan Chen lowered his gaze to the squirrel by his feet, and asked, “Is there a water source nearby?”
“Ke Ke~~” The little squirrel raised its paws towards the left.
“Lead the way.”
“Ke Ke~~” The little squirrel quickly ran ahead, with Fan Chen closely following behind, with Mi Wan in his arms.
The spiritual form of Mi Wan did not rush off along with them. She glanced at the dispersing animals, bowed deeply, and sincerely offered her gratitude. “Thank you everyone.”
The animals could not hear Mi Wan’s voice, or perhaps did not understand Mi Wan’s words, for they continued to scatter across the mountain path, disappearing into the forests.
Mi Wan turned around, and noticed that Fan Chen was waiting for her at a distance. When she turned around, he continued making his way down the mountain with the little squirrel. The pair follow the little squirrel for about 15 minutes, before discovering a small pool on the side of the mountain. Since this was the opposite side of the mountain where the landslide occurred, the water in the pool remained clear.
Fan Chen strolled over to the edge of the pool, loosened his hands, and unceremoniously dropped the body into the pool.
“HEY!” Mi Wan was shocked by this sight and complained, “What are you doing?”
“Didn’t you say you wanted to wash it first?” Fan Chen asked innocently.
“Is this considered washing? You sure you’re not just getting rid of a corpse?”
“Then how would you suggest I wash it? Put it in a bathtub and fill it with hot water?” Fan Chen raised his brows.
“,,,” Try as she might, Mi Wan could not come up with a better idea, and muttered her grievances defeatedly, “Then at least treat it gently.”
“You are a human, and I’m a demon. Saving you should have been more than enough and here you are, being so demanding.”
Mi Wan froze, recalling the same words she had said to Fan Chen before they severed ties, but before she could finish that thought, she felt a familiar pull, followed by a piercing cold against her skin, and the sensation of the drowning. Mi Wan struggled with all her might, before finally surfacing from the pool. She leaned heavily against the rocks by the edge of the water, coughing and sputtering for a long time before regaining her senses.
“You’re getting back at me, aren’t you?” Mi Wan suspected Fan Chen was still harboring a grudge from when she ruined their relationship with those words half a month ago, which was why he sent her soul straight back to her body before fishing it out of the pool first.
“You said so yourself. If you ended up in the water, you would definitely swim back.” Fan Chen tapped the little squirrel on his shoulder with his finger.
“Fine, I deserved it.” Regardless if Fan Chen had intentionally done it, Mi Wan decided to drop it. She climbed out of the pool and shivered as the mountain breeze drifted by. She should have stayed in the water, it’s colder up here.
“Ke Ke~~” The little squirrel stood on Fan Chen’s shoulder and chattered relentlessly.
“What’s wrong with it?” This little squirrel was also her squirrel savior, so Mi Wan was curious about its condition.
“It wants to follow us down the mountain.” Fan Chen replied.
“Did it gain consciousness? But I don’t sense any demonic energy on it?” Mi Wan observed the little squirrel. Though it seemed clever, it did not possess any demonic energy.
“It most likely attained sentience. If destiny wills it, it might cultivate itself into a demon.” Fan Chen explained.
“Then are you bringing it down the mountain?”
“No. I don’t have the time to care for it.” Fan Chen shook his head.
“Ke ke~~” The little squirrel understood Fan Chen’s words, and anxiously tightly gripped Fan Chen’s collar with both paws, and begged pitifully.
“You’re pretty clever, but I really don’t have the energy to care for you. You should cultivate on these mountains and come seek for me once you are successful.” Fan Chen rejected the little squirrel.
“Then I’ll take care of it.” Mi Wan suddenly spoke up, “It’s a squirrel that saved my life after all. If it doesn’t wish to remain in the mountains, then I can take it back and care for it.”
Fan Chen gave Mi Wan a look to see if she was being serious, and then turned back to the small squirrel. “If you want to leave the mountain, follow her.”
“Ke Ke?” The small squirrel eyed Mi Wan warily, as if it was trying to figure out if this human was dependable, when it felt a familiar spiritual energy emitting from the human’s body. It was the same remaining energy that was expended by the tree deity before it died. The little squirrel immediately let its guard down, and carefully moved towards this human.
Seeing this, Mi Wan raised her hand towards the small squirrel.
The little squirrel no longer hesitated, leaping directly from Fan Chen’s shoulder and settled obediently in Mi Wan’s palm.
Mi Wan carried the little squirrel in front of her eyes, and solemnly promised the small ball of fur.
“Know this, you might not cultivate into a demon if you follow me, but I can guarantee that you will never go hungry.”
“Ke ke~~” All the pine nuts that the little squirrel had stored away for the winter have been washed away by the landslide, so hearing Mi Wan’s words made it bounce excitedly.
“Achoo…” Mi Wan sneezed involuntarily.
When Fan Chen looked at the girl’s soggy wet body, with hair still dripping with water, he suddenly regretted dumping her into the pond. It’s not like she would fare any better even if he didn’t, seeing that she was buried in mud for over an hour.
“You should go back.” Fan Chen said.
“Ah? But what about you?” Since she had just recently depleted all her spiritual energy, Mi Wan had a feeling that if she didn’t hurry down the mountain to change, she would definitely fall sick from standing in the cold wind, regardless of how good her physical condition was.
“I’m staying in the mountains until I recover some of my demonic energy.” Fan Chen said and found a comfortable spot to sit down. He was covered in so much mud and grass stains that nobody could tell the original color of his clothes. And his hands – because he was digging holes, his previously pristine fingernails were lodged with dirt.
“Do…you want to wash up too?” Mi Wan stared at Fan Chen’s fingernails.
“Nope~~” Fan Chen chuckled, “I’m originally a tree, and there isn’t a tree that doesn’t like dirt.”
Mi Wan knew it made sense – It was just that Fan Chen was normally all clean and proper and she wasn’t used to his current appearance “Then, I’ll head down the mountain.”
“Then…” Mi Wan hesitantly turned, looked at Fan Chen questioningly, and asked, “Will you be home tonight?”
“Yes.” Fan Chen answered lightly.
“Then see you tonight.” Mi Wan finally brightened up, smiling as she waved with the little squirrel in her arms and ran down the mountain.
Fan Chen watched as Mi Wan disappeared in the distance, and suddenly had a strange thought.
Was Mi Wan waiting for him to return this entire time?
Looks at Mi Wan buried and animals coming to Fan Chen.
TL: Dude, Fan Chen Snow White and Mi Wan sleeping beauty.
Animals find Mi Wan’s body for Fan Chen.
TL: That’s it, Mi Wan’s body might be sleeping somewhere, but Fan Chen is the true Disney princess.
ED (Sasha): ……………………………………. So he’s not only a tree but also a princess? Huh.