Chapter 2: A Natural Double-Edged Sword
Er Sheng had lived a rather ‘self-centered’ life, as she was the only one left in her family. She had to fend for herself like a beggar on the streets, using her own brazen wits to get what she needed to survive. So, she wasn’t as shy and self-conscious as other girls. But, when a boy gets their pants pulled off, they would throw a fit, not to mention a girl like Er Sheng, who was actually very sensitive at heart.
She frantically pulled up her trousers and crawled away on all fours to distance herself from the man. Tears welled up at the corner of her eyes as she looked back at the man in distraught.
A hint of surprise flashed through the man’s eyes, he clearly did not expect that to happen. But, when he noticed the red birthmark on Er Sheng’s buttock, his guarded expression gradually softened.
After a while, the man asked in a hoarse voice, “Si Ming?”
Er Sheng was furious. This jerk had ripped off her pants and then called her a weird, silly name. It was as if someone had slapped her and apologised for hitting the wrong person.
She swiftly secured her trousers on her waist, wiped away her tears, and berated, “Who the hell is Si Ming! My name is Er Sheng! Damn it! People who offer their kindness these days end up having their pants stripped off. This will be the last time I’ll be a good person.”
The man frowned slightly as he murmured, “Has she forgotten that she had reincarnated in the mortal realm?”
Er Sheng stood up when he was not paying attention to her any longer, and stepped back further. Judging from his state, he would unlikely be able to catch up to her. She took this opportunity and stuck her tongue out at him, making a grimace at him. The next second, she turned and bolted without looking back.
The man didn’t chase after her. He stayed under the tree where he merely watched her silhouette getting further away. Suddenly, he let out a sigh. “Why have you reincarnated into someone with such a personality, it’s really… too similar.”
He touched the wound on his chest and his expression changed. He was seriously injured, with all his divine power completely lost, but he had finally escaped from that place.
He looked up at the leaves fluttering above his head from the giant tree above and then peered at the distant clear, blue sky. His black eyes were tranquil and flickered with the slightest hint of emotion.
Si Ming, the outside world is really as beautiful as you have mentioned, he thought.
Under the same clear, blue sky, Er Sheng finally ran out from the edge of the woods and went back into the village. Two young boys of the Liu family were at the roadside, playing happily. She panted heavily and shouted, “Hey! Liu siblings! Come here!”
The two young boys had often heard bad things about Er Sheng from adults. Naturally, they wouldn’t like to be near Er Sheng. The two siblings glanced at each other before turning around and running away.
“Have you guys seen the snake demon? Hey!” Er Sheng stomped her foot furiously. “These two snotty brats! Why are you running? I don’t bite!” She suddenly recalled something and patted her head. “Right! I should also run and stay away from the woods, so the snake demon wouldn’t find me and eat me first if it appears.”
After spending the entire afternoon sitting in her dilapidated wooden house, she had not seen any snake demon coming out of the woods. The village was as peaceful as ever. It was as if everything that she saw in the woods earlier was just her own hallucination.
As the evening approached and the sun was setting, Er Sheng couldn’t sit still when she thought of the extremely good-looking person she saw in the woods.
An idea formed in her mind. Er Sheng recalled when she was still young, her mother would tell her that a woman had to marry a good person to enjoy a good and comfortable life. Er Sheng couldn’t help but agree.
She thought that man was more charming than all the men in the village combined, so he must be the better candidate compared to them. If she married him, such a handsome person could accompany her every day and she could wander around the village with him— it will definitely break the hearts of all married girls in the village and make those who were unmarried so jealous that their faces would turn blue.
I will feel extremely proud of it too! Er Sheng’s eyes lit up as she contemplated. She has no parents, no dowry, and every man in this village despised her. She had to rely on herself for her future marital affairs. Now it just so happens that this man appeared out of nowhere and likely had no clue of the ins and outs of this village. She could easily deceive him and made him marry her. Once the ceremony is done and they have a child together in the future, he wouldn’t be able to get away from her even if he wanted to.
The more Er Sheng thought about it, the more excited she became. The man had seen her buttocks anyway, and according to tradition, she should marry him.
After finalising her decision, Er Sheng stood up right away and ran into the woods. The idea of marriage filled her thoughts and she was much less terrified of the snake demon now. The man was now more important to her and the snake demon must not get to him first.
Er Sheng thought, He was covered in blood, and he suffered serious injuries. Even if he wanted to walk, he couldn’t go very far, and he must still be around there somewhere.
In fact, the man remained in the same spot. He was injured so badly that not only did he lose his divine powers, he struggled to stand up and walk. When he closed his eyes to heal his inner energies, he suddenly heard a voice from a distance, growing louder as something gradually approached him. He opened his eyes and saw a figure running across the sea of flowers, skipping joyfully over to him. It was none other than Er Sheng.
Er Sheng waved her hand excitedly at him. “Beauty!”
The man frowned. She was the one who chose to run away as if she was escaping from danger, but now she had returned again, without caring if she was walking straight into danger, again. She was just like Si Ming.
Er Sheng, oblivious to his inner thoughts, stopped ten feet away from him and asked with a serious expression, “Earlier, did you really want to kill me? Are you going to kill me now?”
“Earlier? Yes. But not now.”
Er Sheng nodded, then skipped closer to him, smiling brightly. “What is your name?”
“Well, Chang Yuan, where is your family? Do you have a wife?”
Chang Yuan looked at her: “What are you doing?”
Er Sheng took out a poorly welded sword from her sleeve and handed it to Chang Yuan. In a solemn tone, she said, “I shall recommend myself.”
She probably meant ‘recommend’, Chang Yuan thought. He kept silent, unwilling to accept the sword from her hand. Er Sheng proceeded to deceive him, “This is a family heirloom left by my ancestors. I voluntarily offer this sword to you, uh… what’s that again… to be your wife and have a bunch of little kids with you.”
Chang Yuan stared at the sword and said, “You are my best friend, Si Ming.”
“I’m Er Sheng!”
He glanced at the girl’s eyes filled with persistence and wanted to let out a resigned sigh. “I don’t wish to marry.”
“I can’t find a suitable one.” Chang Yuan thought, It is because I am the only dragon left in this world.
Er Sheng deliberated for a moment. “So, you mean to say that I’m not good enough for you.”
Chang Yuan was stunned. He didn’t expect her to come to such a conclusion. But after contemplating her words, he couldn’t help but agree with her. She wouldn’t satisfy a dragon’s requirements no matter what. Then, he nodded at her. “You can say that.”
Er Sheng wasn’t discouraged by him. “Well then, what should I do to make you like me?”
Chang Yuan shook his head, not knowing how to explain a dragon’s criteria for selecting a mate to her. She must have a snake-like body, covered in scales with antler-like horns on her head. These were something that couldn’t be found in someone like Er Sheng.
Chang Yuan and Er Sheng merely stared at each other in silence for a while, then Er Sheng took a deep breath: “Fine! I understand!”
What do you… understand? Without waiting for Chang Yuan to ask, Er Sheng turned around and ran toward the village. She gleefully shouted without looking back, “You wait for me! I’ll be here tomorrow!”
Chang Yuan wouldn’t be able to leave since his injury had not healed, Er Sheng thought confidently.
The next day, Er Sheng ran over to him delightedly with a pile of items that smelled rather unpleasant. He frowned slightly and asked, “What are these?”
“Food.” She replied in a matter-of-fact tone. Chang Yuan went silent.
“Since you can’t move around due to your injuries and are unable to get food and water on your own, you might starve to death sooner or later. So, I will offer my help by bringing you food. When you are fully healed, you will acknowledge me as your benefactor and you’ll have to repay my kindness one day. No worry, I have already thought about what I want from you. Considering that you came here alone without any valuable goods—if there was any, I wouldn’t want it either—just let you be mine.”
“I’m Er Sheng. Forget it, let’s not talk about this now. Look at this!” Er Sheng pointed to the thing in her hand and said, “The black ones are pig bone worms that grow on pig bone trees. It’s large so its flesh is very delicious. The red one is a puff worm, which lives in the soil. It is named after the sound it makes when it digs its nest underground and it is very chewy. This blue one here is my favorite. I like to eat it because it grows under the leaves, so it is very clean, you can eat it raw without washing it, and it is crunchy, but no one has told me its name, so I called it the quack quack crunch bug .”
They were all…insects.
Chang Yuan slowly turned his gaze to Er Sheng. “Do you like to eat these?” In his impression, what Si Ming liked to eat seemed to be completely different from such things.
“I grew up eating these. Don’t judge these by their appearance. Once you try it, you’ll enjoy their exquisite taste !” Er Sheng lifted the insects in her hand closer to Chang Yuan and looked at him with wide, expecting eyes. “Try it.”
Memories of ancient times had faded away in the depths of his mind. Chang Yuan only recalled that ancient humans ate five different types of grains and made dishes out of animal meat. Although he had no idea what was common food for mortals now, he was reluctant to eat something that smelled disgusting.
He shook his head: “I’m not hungry, I don’t need to eat.”
Er Sheng no longer persuaded him. She picked the blue worm and ate it. While she was chewing, she said, “Then when you are hungry, I’ll go find something for you to eat. These are all mine now.”
Chang Yuan quietly watched Er Sheng eat the worms one by one. She relished the food with great appetite, causing him to gain an appetite—something which had not happened for the past ten thousand years.
Er Sheng cast a side glance at him. While she was still chewing the pig bone worm in her mouth she picked up a smaller puff worm and stuffed it into Chang Yuan’s mouth. Before he could react, Er Sheng had already covered Chang Yuan’s mouth and said smugly, “Chew it.”
Chang Yuan’s expression changed. He wanted to spit it out but he couldn’t, so he had no choice but to chew it. The initial fishy smell dissipated, and he could taste a rich, sweet flavour, slowly spreading to all corners of his mouth. He raised his eyebrows in surprise. What was even more unexpected was that before he could swallow it, he felt a growing warmth in his abdomen which spread over to his limbs. Ever since he was seriously injured, his body was cold. But, now, he was gradually warmed up.
Er Sheng had finished everything except the last two crunchy worms. She glanced at Chang Yuan and asked, “Do you want more?” She hovered the two worms above her mouth, completely ready to finish them. But, Chang Yuan gave her an unexpected answer, “Yes.”
Er Sheng pursed her lips. “Well, here’s one for you.”
This time, Chang Yuan chewed and swallowed the worm without hesitation. As expected, a warm current surged out of his abdomen. Chang Yuan followed the direction of the movement of his inner energy. He concentrated and felt a meager divine power slowly coalesce in his blood. Although it was little, it was enough to make him happy. With the return of his divine power, it was only a matter of time for his wounds to heal.
“You have eaten my food now. You’re halfway to becoming mine.” Er Sheng patted Chang Yuan’s shoulder, “It is only natural that you come home with me. But since you are seriously injured and I don’t have the strength to drag you back, you can stay here for a while. When you are fully healed and able to walk on your own, we can go home together, hold a marriage ceremony and we’ll give birth to babies.”
Without giving Chang Yuan a chance to respond, Er Sheng said again, “My bad for forgetting to bring you a quilt at night yesterday. Give me some time, I’ll go take one for you.” After she finished saying that, she left swiftly, leaving only Changyuan in the sea of white flowers.
He sighed. “I won’t marry…”
Chang Yuan waited for Er Sheng until the next morning.
The woods were shrouded in a thick fog, making the sea of velvet flowers seem even more like a fairyland. Chang Yuan closed his eyes to rest. Suddenly, he heard hurried footsteps running towards him. He opened his eyes slightly and thought, Si Ming was as straightforward as ever, but she was more reckless than before.
“Chang Yuan, Chang Yuan, I hope you didn’t catch a cold last night”
Chang Yuan was slightly startled when he saw Er Sheng who was running towards him through the fog with a quilt in her arms. Er Sheng covered his body with the quilt on him while muttering repeated apologies.
Chang Yuan observed her for a long time before he looked away. They both were silent for a while, before Chang Yuan asked with an indifferent tone, “What’s wrong with your face?”
Er Sheng’s hand froze slightly and said angrily, “I got hit by a pig.”
In fact, Er Sheng’s red, swollen face was caused by Zhu’s second son who lived next door.
Er Sheng only had a thin quilt in her home. Worried that it might not be enough for Chang Yuan to withstand the cold, she visited Zhu’s house next door to borrow a thick quilt. The young daughter-in-law of the Zhu family was a naive girl with a soft heart. Er Sheng begged her a few times and she soon agreed. Just when she took the quilt out of the house, she met Zhu family’s second son, who was on his way home, completely drunk during the day. That person was known to be a hooligan, a strong and muscular man who went around the village during the day bullying the weak. Er Sheng had also been beaten by him before.
Upon noticing him, Er Sheng hurriedly ran away. But the drunken man blocked the entrance, picked up Er Sheng like she weighed nothing, and said, “Stealing from my house?” He raised his fists and beat Er Sheng violently. His sister-in-law was so frightened that he might kill her so she called for her other family members to stop him.
Er Sheng didn’t say a word and left, with the quilt in her hands. When she returned to her home and packed her things, she immediately wanted to go find Chang Yuan, but she felt immensely dizzy and her body needed rest. The quilt she was holding was soft and warm. She stared at it for a while, reluctant to let it go, and fell asleep without realising. The next morning, she rushed over to bring Chang Yuan the quilt.
Of course, Er Sheng wouldn’t tell Chang Yuan about the incident. Chang Yuan didn’t ask much, but he knew that others were bullying her.
After Er Sheng tucked him under the quilt, Chang Yuan suddenly said, “The spiritual energy is so dense here, even mere worms are great for healing. Since you grew up eating these worms, you must’ve accumulated a good amount of spiritual power within your body. Although you still can’t learn advanced spells within a short period of time, with a little more cultivation practice, you should definitely be able to protect yourself in the human world.”
Er Sheng looked at him blankly: “What do you mean?”
“Si… Does Er Sheng wish to learn how to use mystical spells of Daoism?”
“What is that?”
Chang Yuan was silent for a while before explaining to her in simpler words, “The way to never lose when fighting with ordinary people.”
Er Sheng’s eyes were bright as she held Chang Yuan’s hand, staring at him with burning eyes: “Can Chang Yuan teach me?”
Before Chang Yuan could nod, Er Sheng had hugged him, “Dearest husband! I knew I am a good judge of character!”
1: Xiang Gong Xiang Gong = Husband
2: I knew it I don’t judge people wrong = she made the right choice