Chapter 17: Setting off to the Yellow Spring Kingdom (Part One)
It was a busy night for everyone in the Old Ouyang Manor, especially Dong Muya. She was dismayed by the location of the rune. For an instant, she hoped the next day would be cloudy because the poem said they couldn’t find the entrance to the Yellow Spring without the guidance of sunlight.
Sleepless, she took a bottle of beer and sat on the sofa in the living room, smoking one cigarette after another until the morning light poured in through the window, illuminating the whole room. She narrowed her eyes under the blinding light and an illusion rose from the countless light spots before her; in the illusion, water splashed in all directions and glittered in all kinds of rare colors in the sunlight while Ouyang Xiaoleng, Xia Qiu and Qianqi shot out from the water one by one… Suddenly, her eyes widened. An idea occurred to her and her fear decreased by half. Her intuition told her: Yeah! That’s what will happen! They will come back safe! She thought maybe this was a woman’s sixth sense.
She pulled herself up and went out to buy breakfast for the kids; then she woke them up as if they were her own children. In fact, if she hadn’t been waiting for that person so stubbornly, she’d have got married and had her own children long ago. She had taken the morning off from the school and after explaining the poem to them, she set off with the kids toward the lake.
Dong Muya had asked for a leave for Xia Qiu and Ouyang Xiaoleng from the school, still Xia Qiu sent a text message to Liu Lingmei; even though the message was a lie, she didn’t want to disappear without telling her friend. After so many narrow escapes from death, she cherished her friends and family more than ever.
The sunlight at noon on this autumn day was strong and blinding. Occasionally, wind brushed their ears and traveled through the trees, sounding like a distant song.
When Dong Muya led them to the lake, it was a little past 10 AM. She walked on the bank with a sunlight compass in her hand to find the position to the entrance. The inner ring on the compass showed directions while the outer ring showed angles; at the top was a transparent stone looking like a heat-conducting crystal; when the stone absorbed sunlight, it would direct the needles on the compass to move. After finding the area leading to the entrance, they sat down on the bank.
Looking around the Silver Moon lake, Xia Qiu realized she hadn’t come here for a long while. Inhaling deeply the scent of the lake, she felt at ease. Each pebble, each bird flying across the lake, and each ripple on the water looked familiar and reassuring for her.
“Alas. I’ve longed to come to this world for a long time, but I’ll have to leave before I can have a good look of it,” Qianqi murmured to himself.
“I’ll show you around when we’re back!” Xia Qiu comforted him.
“Yeah. We’ll have lots of time to do it. Where do young people here usually go?” Qianqi began to plan for his tour in the human world.
“Movie theaters, parks, KTV…” Xia Qiu said without thinking.
“Movie theaters? KTV? What are these places?” Qianqi was even more interested.
Xia Qiu tried her best to explain to him. He couldn’t fully understand her words but looked very expectant. They talked and laughed, easing the tension in the atmosphere.
Ouyang Xiaoleng watched them silently, envious of Qianqi’s openness. He hoped one day he could talk to Xia Qiu with such ease, but now he just couldn’t do it.
Time passed quickly. Dong Muya checked her watch and saw it was only minutes to 11 AM. She inhaled deeply and said to the three youths, “It’s almost time!”
They stood up together. When it was 11 AM sharp, Dong Muya found the exact position with the sunlight compass according to the line in the poem: to the center of the green water after loaning three inches of sunlight.
She knew it was time to say goodbye. She had lots of instructions on mind but couldn’t utter even one sound. Reaching out, she patted them on the shoulders and prayed silently for their safe return as she watched them walk toward the lake.
“It’s a great decision to let me come with you guys. You know we dragons are born with the ability to control water. Xia Qiu, don’t be afraid. Once we’re in water, I’ll create a huge bubble with spirit power. We’ll stay in the bubble and won’t be bothered by the water,” Qianqi said confidently.
For dragons, water and land were no different. Ouyang Xiaoleng couldn’t stay in water indefinitely, but he could hold his breath for more than ten minutes under water with his spirit power. But Xia Qiu had just made the blood pact and needed time to gain enough power.
She nodded at Qianqi gratefully. After walking ten steps, she was almost submerged in the water. She stood on her toes and glanced back at Dong Muya for the last time. Watching them, Dong Muya finally understood the line in the poem “in ten steps the past is forgotten”; the last glance was the final farewell to this world because the next step would bring them under the water.
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