Agarwood like Crumbs (沉香如屑) Novel Translations

Chapter 2: A Coffin and A Pit

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Henasher, also known as Yelan Mountain, is on top of a vast desert, with wind and sand blowing around all year long. But in the mountains, there is another type of scenery. At the moment, the snow hadn’t melted at Yelan Mountain. The baby eagles were pushed over a cliff by their parent, flapping their tiny wings as hard as they can to fly; the fluffy little squirrels poked their head out of the pine tree, their dark eyes looking at their surroundings; the chubby little tigers were scuffling around in their den, and there is no doubt they would be scolded once their mother got home.

YuMo put his hand on the huge and ancient tree in front of him, and pressed down. A clear handprint appeared on the tree. After a moment of rumbling noises, the snow on top of the tree fell down, and there was a tunnel in the heart of the tree. He held his sleeves and walked into the tunnel. YanDan was right behind him, and walked into the tunnel as well.

The two of them took a couple of turns in the lightless tunnel, until there was a bright flash of light in front of them. The sudden sunlight pierced their eyes, causing them to close their eyes. There were flowers, green grass, and a lake that would gleam when the sunlight hit it correctly. The warm breeze blew at their faces, and the cold weather outside seemed to have no effect on this place.

YuMo slightly closed his eyes, “It’s so much better at home.”

YanDan looked around, wondering, “Usually at this time, DanShu will be waiting for me to come back because he wants to hear my stories. Why isn’t he here today?”

The corners of YuMo’s mouth moved slightly, and before he could say anything, there was a loud yell from the distance. A mass of something tumbled down from the mountain, crawling on his hands and knees, tears streaming down his face, “Coff- coffin! There’s a coffin over there! Master… it’s so scary…” It was a child with ears on top of his head, and a tail on his butt. He had a red, apple-like face shape, and was wearing very crumpled and messy clothes.

YuMo frowned, “Where is Lord ZiLin?”

“Lord ZiLin disappeared, there was a coffin in his room…”

YuMo grabbed the boy’s collar, and placed it into YanDan’s hands roughly, “Make this kid shut up right now!”

YanDan petted the boy’s ears, and coaxed softly, “DanShu is a good boy, don’t cry. I will tell you a big, big secret about Lord Zilin, okay?”

DanShu’s ears perked up, but tears still streamed down his face, ‘What secret?”

YanDan lightly shook his fingers, “Do you know what the majestic Lord ZiLin’s true body is?”

DanShu’s curiosity got the better of him, and his tail shook behind him, “What is it?”

YanDan smiled, and said warmly, “If I tell you, then you can’t cry anymore. In a little bit, Lord YuMo will bring us to check out the coffin, if you continue crying, he will get mad, and will make you stare at that coffin for the rest of  your life.”

DanShu shuddered twice, and quickly shook his hands, “I won’t cry, I promise I won’t cry. My Lord, please don’t make me go see the coffin.”

YuMo couldn’t stand it, and closed his eyes.

YanDan touched DanShu’s head, speaking softly, “I’ll tell you quietly, Lord ZiLin’s true form is only a tortoise, the ones who you can’t even see when they’re covered with dirt.”

“Pfffffft-” DanShu burst out laughing, then hurried to cover his mouth.

YuMo repeated “I’m so sorry, ZiLin, I’ve let other people know about your giant secret” in his heart three times, and then said, “Let’s go to Lord ZiLin’s house to check the coffin.”

In the middle of the bedroom, there was a coffin. The quality of the coffin was rather good, and the wood was so thick that if somebody knocked on the wood, there was no sound. On top of the cabin, there was an exquisitely carved griffin, facing towards them.

A couple of the bricks laid on the ground were already dug up, showing the dark soil underneath.

Half of the coffin was still buried in the dirt.

DanShu kept on inching towards YanDan, trying to make himself as small as possible, when his collar suddenly tightened, and was pulled in front of YanDan. She rubbed his furry tail, and encouraged, “Don’t be afraid, it’s only a coffin.”

Without saying anything, YuMo walked forward to get a closer inspection, drew a short sword from the sword display next to them, and placed it into the coffin’s seam. Using a little bit of strength, wood shavings started to fall.

On the side, YanDan said, “Looks like this coffin was closed only a little while ago, the lid and coffin body hasn’t even been connected with each other yet. Could it be that there was a mummy living here?” DanShu’s entire body shuddered. YanDan pointed at the suppressing beast on top of the coffin, the griffin, and said slowly, “Suppressing beasts are made especially to suppress evil spirits. I wonder what’s in the coffin.” DanShu shivered even harder. YanDan suddenly smacked her hand on DanShu’s shoulder, “That’s right!” He hiccuped, but couldn’t help asking, “What is it?”

“Let me tell you a story. This story happened in QingShi Town, there was a boy who came from a very poor family, about your age, and his father had recently died. There wasn’t enough money for a coffin, so the only thing he could do was drag and bury the body in a random grave…” YanDan spoke with relish, but then saw DanShu crawling and rolling around YuMo’s feet, wailing, “I don’t want to hear stories anymore! Lord YuMo, can you please not open the coffin? I’m so scared.”

YuMo picked him up with one hand, “You’re a wolf demon, why are you afraid of ghosts? You’re going to make the wolf clan lose all of their dignity!”

YanDan continued speaking, “The boy about your age died in his own home, his eyes bulging, skin a purple tone, the corpse was already rotting, and there were corpse bugs eating up his body, until they ate all of his flesh, and you could see the bone-”

“YanDan!” YuMo looked at her.

YanDan shut her mouth, “Alright, I’ll save the story for another time.”

Hearing those words, DanShu curled into a ball, wanting to wrap himself with his tail, and never leave YuMo’s side.

YuMo opened the lid of the coffin with only a little bit of strength, and they could hear a dang sound. He glanced inside the coffin, his expression not changing, and suddenly grabbed DanShu and pulled him away.

YanDan was very curious, so she walked forward, wanting to look at what was inside the coffin.

Suddenly, a pair of hands rose straight up from the coffin, and it just stayed there.

YanDan was startled, and couldn’t help taking a step back. DanShu covered his mouth, yet still remembered when YanDan told him “If you cry again, then Lord yuMo will make you look at the coffin for the rest of your life”, his tears could only remain pooled in his eyelashes.

Suddenly, a sound came from the coffin, and a corpse jumped out of it. The flesh on his face already rotted, his eyes wide open, skin a shade of purple. It looked exactly like what YanDan was just talking about! The corpse jumped around, a soft noise came from his mouth, and got closer and closer to them.

YanDan blinked, and grabbed DanShu’s collar, “Let me tell you another of Lord ZiLin’s secrets, okay? A secret about his true form.”

The corpse charged towards them, shouting loudly, “Don’t say anymore! If you dare say it out loud, then I will-”

“Lord ZiLin?” DanShu’s jaw dropped, enough to fit a whole egg into his mouth.

In a flash of light, the corpse turned into ZiLin. He wore dark green clothes, had long black hair that touched his waist, and handsome eyebrows. YanDan leaned forward to greet him, smiling, “You did that on purpose to scare us.”

ZiLin held up his head and snorted coldly, “I was sleeping nicely inside, but you guys just disturbed me for no reason. Be glad that you aren’t being punished.”

DanShu whispered into YanDan’s ears, “Why does Lord ZiLin like to sleep in a coffin, and bury that coffin into the soil?”

YanDan couldn’t help smiling, “What did you say his true form was, again?”

Before, when DanShu looked at ZiLin, he always felt like ZiLin was majestic and imposing, and wouldn’t dare to say a word before him. But now that he knew ZiLin’s true form, the deterrence he had in the past was greatly reduced, and he couldn’t help but want to laugh. “Don’t you think that the dark green clothes Lord ZiLin’s wearing kind of looks like the moss on a tortoise’s shell?”

YanDan was startled, but didn’t feel like laughing at all.

ZiLin’s eyes and ears are very sensitive, he could hear DanShu very very clearly, and his face turned gloomy. Without waiting for him to speak, YanDan picked DanShu up, and hurriedly retreated.

YuMo was standing outside, a flash appeared before his eyes, and he saw YanDan throwing DanShu, hiding behind YuMo. Then, he saw ZiLin’s murderous face, “YuMo, get out of the way. Today, I’m going to slaughter that wolf cub as well as that bastardous lotus demon!”

Yumo smiled, “First calm down. What did they do wrong?”

DanShu rolled around on the ground, tears streaming down his face.

YanDan was still hiding behind YuMo, and whispered into his ear, “It’s because DanShu just told Lord ZiLin that his dark green robe looks like the moss on a tortoise’s back.”

YuMo coughed lightly, and quickly grabbed the absolutely furious ZiLin, “We can talk about this later. The fox clan sent people, and they are waiting outside of the valley. Let’s go and take a look first so that they don’t have to wait too long.”

ZiLin smoothed out his clothes, and tried to soothe his anger, “Important things first, I’ll come back to you guys later.” He looked at YanDan and DanShu in the eye, his eyes like daggers, “If I hear even a peep from you guys, you can just wait for your soul to turn to ashes and fly away.” After he said that, he turned around and left.

YuMo glanced at YanDan and raised his hand playfully to pinch the tip of her nose, “You owe me again. How will you pay me back this time? First tell me, I don’t accept anything without value.”

Bamboo and silk hang on their ears, wearing bells that make ding dong sounds, and the dancers dance in their elaborate clothes.

ZiLin sat in front of the short table, calmly looking at the fox clan woman sitting below. The fox race is both an elegant and arrogant species. At the time, all the other groups in the KuangLan belonged to them, but the fox clan said that even if one group was destroyed, they still wouldn’t surrender to anyone. 

The fox woman sitting at the bottom wore plain white clothes, a cloak, and covered her face with a veil. She stared at the dishes in front of her motionlessly, and seemed completely invisible to surroundings.

Originally, ZiLin planned on waiting for her to explain why she was here, but an hour already passed and she hasn’t even changed her sitting posture! Impatient now, he turned to look at YuMo, only to see a fluffy tiger cub in YuMo’s lap. The little tiger tilted his head back and opened his mouth very wide, revealing it’s newly grown fangs. His claws were holding on to YuMo’s sleeves. YuMo petted the tiger, and then took a chopstick, dipped it in wine, and placed it right in front of the tiger’s mouth. The little tiger stretched out his tongue, licked it, smacked his mouth, and shook the fur on his back, contently sliding back down onto YuMo’s knees.

YuMo raised his head to see ZiLin’s impatient face, silently laughed, and said slowly, “The distinguished guest is already here, so is there anything we two can help you with?

The silk and bamboo sounds stopped, as all the dancers immediately retreated to the side.

That woman from the fox clan stood up, and greeted them, “My name is Lin Lang, the daughter of the clan leader.” She paused, now speaking in a more firm tone, “The reason I came today is because there is indeed something we need your help with. Of course, our fox clan is not one who knows nothing about retribution, so Lin Lang is willing to commit herself to Lord ZiLin.” She slightly raised her head, and her eyes were absolutely gorgeous.

ZiLin raised his fingers and tapped the tabletop, asking, “What is the problem?”

Lin Lang lowered her head and took out a ball of fur from her cloak. That ball of fur suddenly shook, and slowly raised its head, revealing a pair of dark eyes. It looked around curiously, then curled back into a ball again. ZiLin, having sharp eyes, could tell at a glance that this ball of fur was a three-tailed fox.

“This is my younger brother, he’s my fox clan’s most noble three-tailed. He’s young, and tried to run away once, but then his legs were cursed with poison, and we couldn’t find a solution to this. If the two mountain lords could undo this curse, then Lin Lang is willing to serve the two lords for the rest of her life.”

This three-tailed snow fox has a very noble lineage, and is almost certain to become the head of the fox clan in the future. This matter benefits both parties.

YuMo moved the tiger somewhere else, and asked, “Are there any more requests from Miss Lin Lang? Please say now, so that you won’t have to go through such troubles next time.

Lin Lang raised her head, and fixed her eyes on YuMo, “Lin Lang has another request. Our fox clan is loyal to our partner and hope that the two lords respect and follow our customs.”

The corners of YuMo’s mouth lifted upwards, “You aren’t afraid that we already have a group of concubines?”

She laughed a little, but said coldly, “That would be fine as well. As long as they all die, then there’s only me left, isn’t that right?”

2 thoughts on “Chapter 2: A Coffin and A Pit”

  1. Thank you so much for your translations! I’m only on chapter 2 but I’m so invested in the storyline already!

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