Beheading the snake
“You haven’t experienced that many tasks before, so there’s several things I need to tell you about. Firstly, most of the time, when we enter into a game, we will be assigned an identity, and there’s a ninety-nine percent chance that the next game will be like this.”
After playing, by the time Song Gui had told Lu Chu most of the details that needed his attention, Lu Chu’s free time was up.
He said goodbye to Song Gui, and the both of them returned to their rooms at the same time.
Inside that white and pure space.
Lu Chu went in front of those square screens, said the number of the task that he wanted to accept, and sure enough, the next moment, several words appeared on the square screen—
“Requirements: Behead the snake.
Clues: Twenty years ago.
Tip: Strange conversation.”
The requirements and clues of this task were so simple that it could be seen at a glance, and it was confusing. However, since Song Gui had chosen this task, then, naturally, he had his own ideas.
Just as he was thinking, a door appeared in front of him.
A door, again……
Lu Chu felt that sooner or later, he had to get used to it.
He entered into the door, lost his consciousness, and when he woke up, he was already crouching in a farmyard, picking vegetables.
Currently, he still didn’t know what was going on, and of course, he wouldn’t want to act rashly and alert anyone, but continue on with his current work, and deliberately slowed his actions down.
This was in order to wait for someone to come over, so that he could easily understand his current situation.
As he picked the vegetables, Lu Chu looked at his surroundings. Limestone tiles that had weathered the wind and rain, a short wall, a similar looking house that wasn’t that big…… indeed, it was the most basic type of country look.
Such a realistic world, it was hard to imagine that this was only a game, a simulation that ran again and again…… Thinking about it, Lu Chu suddenly realised, if different people could undergo the same task, then wouldn’t everybody exchange their experiences with each other?
Thinking again, Lu Chu felt that he was thinking too much. Not mentioning the ‘rules’ that were constantly monitoring them, just for this kind of communication, it would probably be impossible – the ‘rules’ would definitely find a way to stop them.
Lu Chu picked the vegetables, dragged his time for long enough, and sure enough, an elderly woman came out of the house. She looked very old, and her wrinkled skin was filled with age spots, yet she looked extremely kind. After she saw that Lu Chu was still picking the vegetables, she smiled and asked him, “haven’t finished?”
Lu Chu quickly nodded his head, “soon, soon.”
“Let grandma help you,” saying that, with great difficulty, the old lady tried to bend down.
Lu Chu quickly stopped her, and smiled as he helped her, “grandma, you can just sit! I can do it myself, why not, grandma, you watch me pick? I’ll be done soon.”
From the start, Lu Chu had a very gentle appearance and peaceful temperament, especially when he smiled, it would give people a favourable impression of him. When the old woman saw this, she also gave a very wide smile, “they all say that I have a good grandson, and that I’m really enjoying a happy life!”
The two of them talked and laughed for a while, and Lu Chu had almost picked all the vegetables. Suddenly, he thought about the ‘strange conversation’ mentioned in the tips, so, he directed this elderly woman to tell him the old stories and legends from the older generation.
“The gods are watching around you.” Before the old woman told him the stories, she had said this sentence with a solemn expression.
Most old people still believed, and were very religious.
Lu Chu made an expression to show that he was in awe, and at the same time, looked at the old lady with eager eyes.
Then, the old lady slowly said, “let me tell you a story about beheading a snake.”
Beheading a snake!
Lu Chu had never expected that he would find something similar to what was mentioned in the requirements so quickly, instantly gave all of his attention, and listened carefully.
The old lady looked at Lu Chu gently, and smiled, “speaking of which, I told this story to you before, when you were very young. It was a long time ago, and I guess you forgot……”
“Legend has it, that here, a long time ago, lived a playful young teen. He was spoiled by his parents, and although his personality wasn’t bad, but he had always been very naughty and mischievous. One day, his mother wanted him to work harder, so she handed him a sickle, and told him, ‘collect our wheat, and if there’s a snake in the field, you definitely cannot touch nor provoke it. You must also jump over the places where it crawled!”. The young teen didn’t take it seriously, and went out with a sickle just like he was playing. The fields were still a little distance away from their house, and the teen played around as he made his way there, and soon, he arrived.”
Lu Chu was fascinated.
“At the beginning, he was obedient, and cut the wheat for a while. Unexpectedly, at this moment, a snake really appeared in his family’s field.”
The old woman stopped for a while, and with awe on her face, she continued, “that snake was colourful, extremely good looking, and didn’t have any intention of hurting the young man. The young man was simply curious, and extremely bold, so when he saw the snake, not only did he forget about his mother’s words, he even raised his sickle and brought it down on the snake, and immediately, that snake was cut in half!”
At the right moment, Lu Chu let out a startled sound, the old woman patted the top of his head to comfort him, before she continued, “this time, the teenager was extremely happy, and felt as if he had done something very brave. Who could have thought, that after being cut up, the snake had only laid on the ground for a while, before connecting itself back together, coming back to life. When the teenager saw this, although he was a little scared, he didn’t believe in this, and swung his sickle, chopping the snake into seven segments, and thought, that this time, it was really done.”
“However, it only took a few breaths before the snake connected its body back together again, returning to its original form. This time, the teenager was really scared, and he threw the sickle down and ran home. When he returned home, he ran towards his mother in the house and shouted, ‘Mom! Mom! A snake is pestering me! Come and save me!’. His mother didn’t know what he had done, and just thought that he had saw a snake in the field, and that snake was simply following its instincts and chasing him. Thus, she said, ‘hide in the big vat in our yard, so that it won’t be able to find you, and will simply go away. The teenager heard her, quickly hid in the vat. He was still extremely terrified, and quickly closed the lid again. After a while, the snake came over, it sniffed around, and climbed towards the vat, but didn’t do anything, and simply left after circling thrice around the vat. When the teenager’s mother saw that the snake had gone, she shouted, ‘okay, come out now, it’s gone!’ However, nobody answered her, so, she walked towards the big vat, lifted the cover, only to see a pool of blood left inside it.”
With the last bit said, the story was considered to be over. The old lady patted Lu Chu’s head, and warned him, “many things have spirit, so you definitely mustn’t provoke them. Sometimes, you need to listen to the words of the older generation, it’s all for your own good.”
Lu Chu gave a warm smile, and obediently nodded his head.
From his point of view, this story, other than the myth, was more like a story of revenge. However, Song Gui was still missing, so Lu Chu could only put off any further exploration.
After the old lady told the story, she went into the house to pack things up.
Just when Lu Chu was still immersed in the story, and wanted it to continue, there came a sudden and loud noise from outside the yard. Lu Chu placed the vegetables in his hand down, walked over, and realised that an unkempt woman was squatting on the ground, screaming her heart out. Her hair was long and messy, completely covering her face, and Lu Chu couldn’t see what she looked like.
Only, he could hear the gradually increasing sounds of discussion that rose from the surrounding crowd.
“It’s this lunatic again……”
“Crazy woman. Quickly, bring your children further away, don’t let them get stained with this dirty air!”
“How evil, how evil……”
After the madwoman cried out a few times, her voice gradually lowered, she choked, and seemed to be talking to herself. Lu Chu closed his eyes and perked up his ears, before he could sort of make out what she was saying–
“All of you don’t understand, the stories, are all lies……”
“In the stories, when the protagonist in a desperate situation was rescued, he would see that person as a light in his life, they would rely on each other, believe each other…… but, for me, everything’s different. I saved him, helped him…… Every single desperate moment in his life, when he needed someone to guard and stay with him, it’s always me who spent it with him…… but why, he only looked at another person from the start to the end……”
“I don’t understand, I just, want to be with him……”
“Later, she told me, everything was because I wasn’t pretty enough. I’m not pretty, I’m not pretty, I…… I’m not pretty!”
Talking until this point, the woman started to yell again, crying at times and laughing at times, and told the onlookers to avoid all vicious people, until Lu Chu was a little confused.
The onlookers started to talk about it again, and one of the village women said, “all these years, what she said, it’s just those few words, I love him but he doesn’t love me. If you ask me, women shouldn’t give themselves to men whose origins are unknown, and she deserves to be punished for a lifetime!”
Just as the village woman said this, the crazy woman started chanting madly again, “he said that the woman helped him a lot, so that’s why he was able to get through the most difficult time in his life……”
“Helped so much…… in the end, it’s just a face……”
“How sad, saying that this world was a sham, and saying that he wasn’t like other men, yet he was blinded by looks, the most basic thing……”
Her voice lowered as she sad these words, as if she was simply saying to herself, or talking to thin air. Other than Lu Chu whose ears were good, no other person heard what she was saying. For some reason, this caused Lu Chu to take particular notice of her.
So he casually grabbed the person next to him and said, “is this crazy person actually—”
The man immediacy replied, “that’s right, this is the infamous madwoman in our village, and she became like this twenty years ago. You younger people should stay away from her, and don’t get stained with this dirty air.”
The author has this to say:
I heard the story about beheading a snake from my grandmother when I was young, and living in a village. At that time, I liked these kind of weird and strange legends, until the point where I would avoid a sickle for some time, so, this could be considered a childhood shadow.
The translator has this to add:
Now, Arc 3 commences! This is a slightly longer arc compared to the other two,