Chapter 17: Setting off to the Yellow Spring Kingdom (Part Two)
When Qianqi was submerged in the water, he immediately unleashed his spirit power and created a huge bubble around the three of them. In the bubble, they continued walking toward the center of the lake.
Gradually, Dong Muya could no longer see the ripples they created and knew they had successfully walked deeper into the lake. Despite her uneasiness, she knew she could do nothing but wait quietly in this world. Putting the sunlight compass into her pocket, she turned and was ready to leave…
After they walked 20 steps, the three youths had come to the bottom of the lake. Outside the bubble, everything was quiet and peaceful. Small fish were swimming leisurely through the water grass; they didn’t dodge the intruders; instead, they swam around the bubble as if they were showing the way. Xia Qiu forgot her fear when these fairy-like creatures kept them company.
After walking thirty steps, the lights around them began to dim and mantra chanting grew more and more distinct in the water.
Ouyang Xiaoleng whispered to Xia Qiu and Qianqi, “If I’m right, these things are soul releasing mantras! It’s used to release souls from dead people. It seems we’re getting closer to the Yellow Spring Kingdom.”
Xia Qiu didn’t understand the meaning of the mantra but felt the words were resonating in her heart and body, driving her memories and feelings out of her body. Hearing the mantra, she felt she no longer cared about the things in the human world; this feeling was extremely happy and horribly lonely at the same time. She was afraid her soul might get lost somewhere if this continued. To concentrate her mind to block this disturbance, she sang a song in a low voice,
The orchid is flourishing, its fragrance spreads.
If no one plucks one to wear it, how could that harm the orchid!
My return today, who caused it?
I have been traveling everywhere, for years on end.
The luxuriance of the frost and snow (will bring) luxuriant crops (in spring).
If you are not sad, I will not come to see you.
Luxuriant crops (mean) a good harvest,
Although a gentleman may be sad, he keeps proper conduct.
Her voice was low, but Ouyang Xiaoleng still recognized that it was a poem from the Book of Songs. He remembered she liked to sing songs in Yongchuan Forest when he watched her from his hiding place and smiled at the memory.
After they walked forty steps, a tunnel appeared before them, and water couldn’t enter the tunnel. As they walked into the tunnel, the bubble disappeared, and their clothes had dried without their notice. Many pictures flashed like a movie on both sides of the tunnel; according to the poem that Dong Muyao had told them, maybe these were the scenes of their next lifetimes. But in the so-called next lifetimes, they still looked the same as they were now, which puzzled Xia Qiu somehow.
“Why do our looks remain the same in the next lifetime?” she asked Ouyang Xiaoleng.
“I heard that if one can return to the human world from the Yellow Spring Kingdom, it means one will have a second life. Since we can see our future, it means we will return to the human world,” he answered calmly.
“Yeah. I heard it, too.” Qianqi agreed. He saw himself in one scene with a smug smile on his face as if he had just gained a victory.
After walking fifty steps, they came to an intersection; the path before them stood a huge archway with the characters “Yellow Spring” on it. Below the archway was a stone. They walked closer and saw the words engraved on the stone, “Don’t look back; if you look back, you won’t see your way back.”
“We found it!” Xia Qiu pointed at the archway and said happily.
“I guess no one but us is happy to find this place!” Qianqi smiled, too.
“We can’t look back when we pass this archway, or our souls will be lost forever!” Ouyang Xiaoleng warned them.
“It doesn’t look as gloomy as I thought. But if we continue, we’ll say goodbye to the other world temporarily,” Qianqi said half-jokingly.
“Are you afraid?” Ouyang Xiaoleng asked provocatively.
“Of course not! I hope you won’t pass out in fear,” Qianqi yelled out his retort.
“Don’t bicker. I’m passing through now!”
As the boys were still bickering, Xia Qiu walked toward the archway before them; the boys had to admit this human girl was truly brave.
The moment Xia Qiu passed the archway, memories flashed across her mind at a great speed. She seemed to hear familiar voices coming from behind her; her grandparents, Liu Lingmei, her dad, and others were all calling to her and asking her to come back. For an instant, she almost gave in the urge to look back. At this moment, Ouyang Xiaoleng gave her a small push from behind, waking her up.
Qianqi seemed to hear his father’s call which sounded very weak as if he was critically ill. He got worried. He hesitated and was about to stop when he heard Xia Qiu’s call from the other side of the archway, “Qianqi!”
He shook his head and woke up.
Only Ouyang Xiaoleng didn’t have any illusions when he passed the archway leading to the Yellow Spring Kingdom. He guessed it was because he had no memories about his parents, and the person he was most concerned about was right beside him. So long as Xia Qiu was with him, he’d have nothing to worry about.
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