Chapter 3 — Path to Survival

Yan Hong was able to eat most of the plate’s cold dish, which was frozen in oil, without blinking, not to mention after the woman microwaved it for her – just after the steaming dish was brought out of the microwave, Yan Hong’s saliva almost dripped to the ground.

Yan Hong stared eagerly at the woman’s hand holding the plate, and became more and more sure that the hostess of this fairy palace was a goddess who could heat the dishes without lighting a fire.

“Wait a minute, auntie will serve you rice and a side dish for a hot meal.” The woman’s demeanor and behavior had returned to the 70%-80% of liveliness she had before her death, and she naturally pointed to the kitchen sink, “Come on, go and wash your hands.”

“Ah? Oh.” Yan Hong obediently walked to the sink and stood for a while, looking left and right to try to find the water bucket.

The woman put the rice in the microwave. Seeing that Yan Hong was standing still, she came over and turned on the faucet. She asked curiously, “Can’t you turn on the faucet?”

Yan Hong widened her eyes and blurted out: “This, is this also a fairy magic? Will the water come out of the pipe by itself?”

The woman laughed and said, “What’s your name, where is your home? How come you haven’t even seen running water?”

“Replying to the goddess, my name is Yan Hong, and my family is from Lijia Village in Beishan Town,” Yan Hong said honestly.

“You child, you can just call me auntie.” The woman didn’t expect this refugee-like child to use hand sanitizer anymore, she shook her head with a smile, stepped forward and lightly held Yan Hong’s hand, handed it to the faucet, and helped her wet her hands, and squeezed out the hand sanitizer to help her wash.

The woman’s hand was much colder than a normal person’s, and up-close, there was a faint smell of corpse mixed with blood on her body.

But Yan Hong was obviously not someone who was sensitive to smells… The yard of her house always smelled of chicken poop all year round. She lived in an old house from her great grandfather’s generation since she was a child. In the rainy season, there was a musty smell inside and outside the house.

Not to mention that the villagers generally don’t pay much attention to personal hygiene (mainly because they have no conditions), and even Yan Hong herself is full of sour stench – a small part of it comes from the shabby coat on her body, and most of it comes from herself.

Looking blankly at the woman gently and carefully rubbing her hands, Yan Hong only felt flattered.

Even her mother, Mrs. Zhang, only treated her so tenderly before the age of five or six. When she was six or seven years old, country girls like Yan Hong had to start working, either taking care of her younger sibling, or going up to the mountains to fetch hogweed, or helping with the family’s vegetable garden and watching the family’s chickens.

If you want to act like a spoiled child with the adults, it only works when the adults in the family are in a good mood.

After washing her hands, the woman could feel that Yan Hong’s attitude toward her had obviously changed, respectful and admiring with a little more intimacy and dependence on older people.

The woman’s voice became softer and softer. She pointed to the dining table outside and said, “Take the dishes outside, don’t eat them in the kitchen, there’s no place to sit here.”

“Yeah! Fairy—Auntie.” Yan Hong nodded vigorously, hurriedly serving the dishes with her freshly washed hands.

The woman’s gaze fell on Yan Hong’s patches-on-patches, rotten out-of–style clothes, and her eyes showed more and more pity.

Putting the hot rice on the dining table, taking the bowls and chopsticks, scooping the rice, and handing it to the child who was staring at the rice bowl, the woman couldn’t help but whisper, “Why are you alone? Where are your parents?”

“I think they are still at home.” Yan Hong cruelly took a mouthful of the hot steaming rice that was only available at New Year’s Eve, and squinted her eyes happily.

“You’re the only one who came out?” the woman asked in surprise.

Yan Hong thought for a while, she woke up and did not see her mother in this fairyland-like place, nor did she see other family members, she nodded.

The woman raised her hand to cover her mouth.

Her brain was spinning a little slowly for some reason.

Thinking seems a bit difficult for her.

A child this old, who remembers her home address but doesn’t even know the running water, and who has inexplicably run away from home alone to a suburban villa area… What is going on?

Should I call the police?

At the thought of calling the police, for some reason, the woman felt a dull pain in her head.

Strange, how could the normal behavior of calling the police remind her of something that she was extremely unwilling to recall—

“Aunt Fairy, what’s the matter with you? Are you not feeling well?”

Yan Hong found that the woman was holding her head with her hands and her expression was hideous. She put down the bowl nervously, walked around the dining table, and ran to the woman.

“I… I’m fine.” The woman pressed the throbbing blue veins on her forehead, her facial features twitched slightly, pulling between ferocious and calm, her tone gradually became irritable, and her words became vague, “Why… don’t you eat? Are the dishes not good…?”

“Delicious, it’s delicious!”

Yan Hong didn’t know how to help Aunt Fairy. Seeing that the other party cared about whether she had eaten or not, she hurriedly ran back to sit down and picked up the bowl.

“It’s really delicious, Aunt Fairy, I have never eaten such a delicious dishes, such delicious white rice in my life,” Yan Hong said to the woman from the bottom of her heart while eating the vegetables and rice, “If I can eat these again in the future, I’ll do whatever I am asked to do.”

These are Yan Hong’s heartfelt words.

She grew up this old, from the time she could remember to now, the most profound memory is hunger.

Farm meals are not oily and watery, even the salt is very light, but even so, Yan Hong has not many opportunities to eat freely – there are so many mouths in the family, and there is only so much food, so she must give priority to the working adults and males in the family.

Aunt Fairy didn’t blame her for stealing the food, and even helped her to warm up the food. For Yan Hong, this was a dream she could never dream of.

She ate every bite with great concentration. Chili flakes and garlic flakes, the “kitchen waste” that modern people default to throwing away, she cherished all of them, and was reluctant to leave any of them.

The woman stared at Yan Hong’s action of cherishing the food, and her slightly distorted face slowly returned to normal.

Pity and a faint sense of satisfaction returned to the woman’s face.

It had been a long time since anyone had eaten her dishes so seriously.

Her prepared, fresh meals are always laid out to cool, reheat, cool again.

The man who once said to her, “I’ll eat whatever you cook”, how long has it been… since he last sat at this dining table with her?

She doesn’t remember.

She only remembered that she once couldn’t even distinguish between leek leaves and garlic leaves, and was mad at the word “appropriate amount” in the recipe, but it was for that man that she tied her waist and walked into the kitchen.

But after she was able to skillfully cook delicious meals that would never be too oily or salty… he didn’t care anymore.

He didn’t care about her, didn’t care about all her efforts, hard work, and forbearance.

Even…the existence of her gradually became annoying and irritating.

The woman stared blankly at Yan Hong, who was eating with unparalleled satisfaction, and a cloudy teardrop slowly slipped down her cheek.

“Aunt Fairy… Are you not feeling well? Why don’t you eat a little bit? You’ll feel better when you have a full stomach.”

The woman saw the child nervously talking to her, so worried that she could not even care to eat the food.

“Auntie is fine, you can eat, eat quickly,” the woman smiled.

“But you… you’re crying.” The child said cautiously, “The only reason you cry is when you feel uncomfortable in your heart, isn’t it?”

The woman laughed tearfully and said, “Children should not worry about adult matters, hurry up and eat, we’ll talk when you’re full.”

Yan Hong wanted to say that her mother was already helping her to negotiate her marriage, and that she would be married next year, so she was not a child anymore.

But Yan Hong didn’t say anything.

Aunt Fairy treats her as a child, and she feels warm in her heart; she is willing to let Aunt Fairy continue to treat her as a child and continue to speak to her so tenderly.

Help her to warm up the dishes, help her wash her hands, doesn’t yell at her and scold her, doesn’t say anything about accepting her fate to get married… She wants to stay with such a fairy aunt for a while, and be a child in the eyes of a fairy aunt for a while.

Yan Hong took a big mouthful of rice, as tears appeared in her eyes.

“Why are you crying? Do you feel uncomfortable in your heart, too?” the woman asked softly.

“No, I’m happy, Aunt Fairy.”

The child hurriedly shook her head vigorously, wiped her eyes with the back of her hands, and stared at the woman with wide eyes, while taking a big bite of her meal and looking at her fondly.

As if the woman would disappear from her sight if she did not stare more.

The woman was so distressed, she stretched out her arms and touched Yan Hong’s head across the dining table.

——read at awanderingpotato.com

At this time… an hour has passed since Yan Hong entered the villa.

According to common sense – the trial participants, who accepted the entry-level quest, should have been fleeing tremblingly for forty minutes under the pursuit of the female ghost, with most of their physical strength and energy consumed, their concentration dropped, and their spirits on the verge of collapse.

The trial mission will not push the trial participants on the road of absolute death, there will always be a way to survive.

For the trial participants who follow the normal route… It is now the time for the “path to survival” of this entry-level quest to appear.

Yan Hong, who was smiling and enjoying the warmth given by her fairy aunt, heard a strange sound, like some kind of huge beast rolling over the ground, outside.

Yan Hong turned her head and looked out the window in astonishment.

It seems that in order to give outsiders the impression that “there is activity at home”, the villa is brightly lit, and the lighting in the yard is also on.

With the light provided by the lighting in the courtyard, through the window, Yan Hong was shocked to see… a steel monster with two giant glowing eyes (car headlights), creeping on the ground and moving, slowly approaching the house.

“—There’s a monster!”

Yan Hong’s heart was shocked, put down her rice bowl, walked around the dining table, and pulled the woman to run without hesitation.

As soon as she pulled the woman to the top of the stairs, Yan Hong thought of something again, turned her head and ran into the kitchen and took out the kitchen knife, then continued to hold the woman’s hand and ran upstairs.

Thumpthumpthump – they ran to the second floor. Yan Hong, whose heart was beating wildly, saw that there was a window in the aisle, so she bravely leaned to the window and looked down.

The huge monster (business car) that looked more bizarre from above and looked like a long stainless steel box, “crawled” into the shed (private garage) on the side of the yard.

“Aunt Fairy, what is that?” Yan Hong asked in disbelief.

“It’s my… husband.”

The woman stood behind Yan Hong and looked at the direction of the garage, her voice became vague again, and her face gradually lost its calm.

“Husband?” Yan Hong looked back at the woman in shock, then looked out the window again.

She saw a mouth appear on the side of the “steel monster”… no, a door, and then a man came out of the “door”.

Yan Hong breathed a sigh of relief, she just thought, how could Aunt Fairy have a monster husband?

The man who came out of the driver’s seat walked behind the butt of the car, opened the trunk, and dragged out a large suitcase that could fit an adult man.

And then… took out a hand-held chainsaw.

The steel blade on the chainsaw was shaped like a broad-faced blade, half a meter long, and gleaming in the light, as well as the uneven saw chain on the outside, made Yan Hong, this ancient girl who did not know what it was, instinctively scared in the heart.

After taking out the hand-held chainsaw, the man took out a bone-cutting knife with a thick back and an axe from the trunk…

Yan Hong’s expression gradually became solemn.

She was happy that Aunt Fairy treated her as a child, but her mother was already planning a marriage for her, so she was not ignorant.

Her mother would often nag her to remind her that when she went to her in-laws’ house, she had to be careful to serve her in-laws, serve her husband, and have children.

Worried that she would have a hard life after she got married, her mother always told her in rambles that offending her in-laws would not end well, and offending men would have no good fruit to eat.

In order to make Yan Hong “remember it well”, her mother would occasionally threaten her. Whose daughter-in-law was not filial and was beaten up by the mother-in-law, and the wife of which family in which village was beaten to death by men for her ignorance, and she couldn’t even enter the ancestral grave…

*****

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