Bonus chapter for 8M views! Thanks for all the support~ This is the beginning of Volume 5; I love the ending to this chapter :D
P.S. The site views counter is broken ^^;
Translated by: Taffy
Edited by: Zeph, Frosty
Quiz 41: Qing Xin Visit
A somewhat aged shopkeeper was standing at a counter, currently weighing out medicine for customers with a very archaic balance. An old, rusted metal rod had standard weights and supporting plates on both sides with invisible threads wrapped around them. His rough palms reached into the drawer of a large cabinet behind him, and withdrew many medicinal ingredients – placing them on top of the plate. He then skillfully adjusted the position of the weights, pouring the exact amount of medicine required into a paper bag. Then, he went to grab another bunch.
“Can it support itself?” The customer asked.
“Can what support itself? The standard weights?” The shopkeeper feigned confusion regarding the question, and casually chatted as he continued grabbing more medicine.
“You clearly know the intent of my question. Of course I’m asking if this Qing Xiu Hall Medicine Shop can support itself.” The customer knew that the shopkeeper didn’t want to respond, yet he still pushed the question. This had been asked by the visiting customer at least 10 times, but the shopkeeper always persevered and never said anything disheartening in response.
“Don’t worry, we don’t rely on giving medical advice and selling medicines as our only sources of income…” These words were said weakly without any strength.
The customer didn’t ask anymore. He knew that even if there were still Black Lantern tea leaves, there weren’t many left. That answer had been a hasty patch in order to avoid concerning the customer.
This place was a prayer hall. It looked like a very large hall with tables, chairs, and teapots. But in terms of people, there were only two figures present.
Only after the shopkeeper had tightly sealed the medicine bag and passed it to the customer did he say, “This is the last dose. Once the patient takes it, they’ll be permanently cured.”
The customer thanked the shopkeeper and turned around, about to leave. But just then, another man walked in; rather, it would be more accurate to say that he’d jogged in. He cut straight to the point and asked, “Shopkeeper, do you have ‘Yilan root’?”
The shopkeeper reeled in shock at the mention of this medicine and replied, “I apologize, but it’s been out of stock for over half a year.”
“But, but…!” The customer requesting the medicine began to panic at the shopkeeper’s response. “They said that only this place would have Yilan root. Why…then when would you have it?”
The shopkeeper solemnly answered, “I’m really very sorry, we also are in dire need of this medicine. However, we won’t have it anytime soon. If you can, please go look for a doctor trained in Western medicine. Head west for four streets, then go south, and you’ll be able to find a clinic there called Bozmann Clinic.”
“Little Qiao, you’ve already driven for more than half an hour without stopping. Aren’t you tired?” Meng Ming asked from the back seat. The front seat was currently occupied by Zhou Lun Yu—he needed to give directions.
The car was speeding down the highway.
Two weeks had passed since the end of the midterm exams and the temperature had dropped by quite a bit. Fortunately, there were two days of rest every weekend. Taking advantage of the fact that it was Friday evening, Zhou Lun Yu had forcefully dragged Meng Ming to Qing Xin. Qing Xin was in the center of the province, a city at the bottom of Mt. Qing Xiu. The Black Lantern tea leaves were from there.
“You lost. According to the agreement, you’re now my subordinate.” These had been Zhou Lun Yu’s words back then.
Meng Ming was obviously dissatisfied; Zhou Lun Yu’s 2 points had clearly been gained through a stroke of luck. But Meng Ming had indeed lost, and he couldn’t go back on their agreement either. The reason Zhou Lun Yu had competed against Meng Ming during the midterm exam in the first place was because he had been forced to look to others for help. Since Zhou Lun Yu had willingly dragged Meng Ming here, it meant that Zhou Lun Yu had already internally recognized Meng Ming’s strength. However, he was too embarrassed to say it directly, so he could only use the exam as an excuse.
Meng Ming had always believed that students were obviously supposed to help each other in times of need. Everyone knew of this unspoken rule, so Meng Ming simply tolerated it. I’ll just regard this as going out for fun….
Later, Zhou Lun Yu had chosen a day to set out.
Huang Qiao Yi was still very concentrated on the road as she replied to Meng Ming that she wasn’t tired. Their expected travel time in the car was only half an hour; she said that she could drive for three to four hours straight. Who knew where her endurance came from? Perhaps her mind was in an excited state right now because it had been quite difficult to get her mother to agree to lend the car to them.
“Did Zhou Lun Yu tell you guys why we’re going to Qing Xin and why it has to be now?” Duan He asked. She was currently sitting next to Meng Ming in the back seat. She seemed to be wondering if there was anything fun to do in Qing Xin.
“Pushing that question to the side first, why did Sister Duan He want to come along too…?” Meng Ming twisted his head towards her, thinking that it was strange.
“Me?” Instead, she felt that Meng Ming’s question was the one that was strange. “Zhou Lun Yu asked me ages ago, and I had just dumbly agreed.”
“Asking so many people huh, it looks like you’re not all that much after all.” Meng Ming sneered at Zhou Lun Yu sitting in front of him.
“It’s just two people, and you’re just my subordinate.” Zhou Lun Yu couldn’t even be bothered to turn around. “Basically, I already have plans. Your actions must all follow my words.”
Who’s your subordinate…acting so smug about those lucky 2 points. How can you even act so arrogantly? [Meng Ming]
Compared to Brother Meng Ming, I find Zhou Lun Yu’s thoughts even more unpredictable… [Huang Qiao Yi]
He’s just not skilled enough at actively expressing himself…. [Duan He]
Qing Xin was where Zhou Lun Yu’s Qing Xiu Hall Medicine Shop was located. He gave a rough introduction of Qing Xin’s situation—
North of Qing Xin City was Mt. Qing Xiu, which resulted in nearby cities all being elevated very high above sea level. Very dense clouds and mist surrounded the upper half of the mountain, and it wasn’t a place that a typical person could pass through. There were many different types of rare and expensive medicinal ingredients on the mountain that other places didn’t have. The mountain had precipices in every direction; if one wanted to enter the mountain, the only place that they could pass through was an alpine lake halfway up the mountain—Scarlet Dragon Pool. This was the only place one could find a relatively moderate level sloped road to climb upwards. The area that Scarlet Dragon Pool covered wasn’t small, and a thick mist pervaded the water’s surface. If one tried to take a boat from the southern shore, they’d easily get lost in the fog. Even if they managed to reach the northern shore, they wouldn’t be able to actually land it. That’s why one couldn’t normally use a boat. Instead, the usually deep water became shallow every seasonal month (ie. February, May, August, and November). As the surface of the water fell in height, the mist enshrouding it would naturally thin out as well. This would reveal the wharfs on either shore, which made it possible to smoothly pass through the fog. It was currently November, which was why Zhou Lun Yu had chosen this time to go to Qing Xin.
“Why would the water level automatically go down during those times? Stop trying to scam us.” Meng Ming simply enjoyed going against Zhou Lun Yu.
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe me. It’s the truth.” Zhou Lun Yu said, “It must be some kind of natural phenomenon.”
Duan He thought it sounded pretty fun. Plus, there was tea for her to drink there, so she’d actually been anticipating this trip from the start.
The aforementioned tea was naturally Mt. Qing Xiu’s famous tea—Black Lantern. It grew differently than other tea trees; while it was called tea, it was actually a type of dark green plant that grew abundantly in Scarlet Dragon Pool, and was used in traditional Chinese medicine. The southern shore was closer to where the water flow was more rushed, so the plant didn’t grow there. One could only go gather the plants at the northern shore whenever the water levels dropped. When these tea leaves were soaked in cold water, there was no way they’d show any effect. Only hot water would be able to seep out the flavor. If the water grew cold, the tea leaves would return to their former state. In ancient times, it was said that the Black Lantern’s effects included relaxing the muscles, recuperating the soul, increasing one’s vital energy, and improving blood circulation.
However, because of a historical incident, nobody had come to cross the pond and collect the Black Lantern plants for more than half a year..
According to the legends, there was a Scarlet Dragon lying in this pool, depending on the Black Lantern plants to live. Many years ago, people had collected too much of the tea and ended up angering the dragon. In order to protect the Black Lantern plants, the Scarlet Dragon had shot flames at their village, burning a large part of it into ashes.
In recent times, people had collected copious amounts of Black Lantern once more. As of half a year ago, people would see that dragon within the dense fog atop the pool from a distance every night! —Two red glows would constantly glide across the surface like a will-o-wisp. Those red lights were the furious eyes of the swimming Scarlet Dragon!
“Hmph, not like I’d believe there’s some kind of dragon in the lake.” Zhou Lun Yu said, “It’s most likely just some kind of natural phenomenon! The main point is that this past half a year, there’d still be people coming to forcefully gather the tea atop the pool whenever the seasonal months arrive. They’d still collect a large quantity of the tea leaves, but…”
“…The people gathering the leaves would always end up suffering heavy wounds all over their bodies.”
After that, people all began to believe that the Scarlet Dragon had definitely gotten angry again. Nowadays, no one ever dared to take the boat out.
“Nobody knows what’s really happening at the opposite bank, so the pool cannot be crossed anymore. There are many medicinal ingredients that we can no longer gather.” Zhou Lun Yu’s voice had been steady this whole time, but at this moment, he finally showed some concern. “There are many patients that need the medicine at the peak of Mt. Qing Xiu. This doesn’t only include Qing Xin’s people, as those from outside of the city come to request medicine here as well. However, nobody is willing to bring us across the pool, so we can’t retrieve the medicine…”
There was a written account of the ancient people: In order to quell the Scarlet Dragon’s anger, the villagers had to remove all of the Black Lantern leaves blocking the mouths of teapots so it could pour out this body-relaxing and invigorating tea.
“What does that mean? All of the teapots in the village were blocked up by tea leaves?” Huang Qiao Yi asked.
“As if there’s even a Scarlet Dragon; do you really believe the words of the ancient people?” Zhou Lun Yu replied.
It looked like he’d decided not to finish what he was originally going to say. Although he’d requested help, he clearly hadn’t given any definite reason yet.
“Speaking of the ancient people, they said that the Black Lantern’s effects included relaxing the muscles, recuperating the soul, increasing one’s vital energy, and improving blood circulation?” Duan He asked. “I do indeed feel like the tea is very soothing to the body and mind, but increasing one’s vital energy and improving blood circulation….I’ve never sensed any such capabilities from the tea whenever I drank it. I don’t think my qi and blood have ever flowed more smoothly after drinking it.”
“Do you really believe the words of the ancient people?”
Zhou Lun Yu asked again, sending everyone into a long period of silence.
“But I still have a question,” Meng Ming said.
“Zhou Lun Yu, what brand of shampoo do you use?”
None of your business…! Zhou Lun Yu ignored him.
Seeing Zhou Lun Yu pay him no mind, Meng Ming turned to ask Duan He, “I have another question. Sister Duan He, how did you get a score as miraculous as 51.5 points on the math exam?” Meng Ming asked another completely unrelated question.
“That’s a secret.” Duan He replied with her eyes closed.
“Hypnotizing the proctor? The students? Or perhaps the graders?”
“Just go to sleep!” Duan He suddenly opened her eyes and stared straight at Meng Ming. He gracefully garbled out a few notes before immediately collapsing on the car’s seat and falling asleep.
Qing Xin City wasn’t large, and it had few skyscrapers. As the sky gradually darkened, many surrounding windows began to light up. Every night, the place with the most intense lighting was a three-story building. Its second and third levels already had their lights on, and the glow was brighter than those shining from the surrounding windows. This made it an extremely eye-catching sight. The lights on the first level were always on, regardless of whether it was day or night outside. These lights were on in order to display the black words on the white signboard outside of the building—Bozmann Clinic.
A sentence of fluent English without any hint of a Chinese accent was heard. The speaker was a young man with Western features.
He and his older brother were currently energetically riding bikes, and talking as they pedaled.
“Brother, you still need to go to school tomorrow, so I’ll go to Father’s place to borrow the book.”
“Whatever you say, as long as there are no patients.”
These brothers looked quite similar to each other. In terms of age, the older brother looked a bit like a college student.
“Alright,” the younger brother said. “There’s quite a bit of homework these days, so even if there are no patients…”
“OK, we’ll talk about it more after we get home.”
The two bikes suddenly turned left, arriving at the building with the brightest lights. They didn’t slow down, and were just about to lean towards a spot before a car suddenly rushed straight towards them head-on from the road on the left! The car lights instantly flashed, and both the bikes and the car swerved to different sides, coming to complete stops.
They’d almost collided.
Amazing, to think we’d encounter this kind of car… [Younger brother]
The driver seems to be a girl too. [Older brother]
“It’s ok, it’s ok…” Inside the car, Huang Qiao Yi sighed in relief.
“Little Qiao, you must be tired, it’s been 1.5 hours already…”
“This building’s lighting is too bright, so I can’t see the road clearly,” Huang Qiao Yi explained. “Do you think we should go apologize to them? Hm…?”
Huang Qiao Yi realized that the two in front of them were actually foreigners.
“They’re foreigners. Brother Meng Ming…it’s best if you help go check them out.” Huang Qiao Yi hadn’t had much contact with foreigners before, so she wasn’t very confident in dealing with them.
When Meng Ming looked outside, he saw that the two people were indeed foreigners with light-colored hair.
“Isn’t it precisely because you saw that the lights here were bright that you came to find a path…” Meng Ming tossed this comment at her before opening the door to get out of the car.
“Hello, are you ok?” Meng Ming asked the two brothers in English.
“We’re ok, what about your side?” The older brother found it strange when he saw Meng Ming’s appearance; how could a Chinese person this young be able to speak such authentic English? In addition to the fact that the car looked pretty advanced, he felt that these people didn’t seem much like students.
“It should be ok,” Meng Ming looked back, inspecting their surroundings as well. “Sorry, we didn’t know that bikes would suddenly appear, and we ended up on the wrong path.”
“Ah, it’s no big deal,” the older brother replied politely. “We also hadn’t expected this, so we didn’t slow down when we turned the corner.”
Both sides were fine, and the matter was resolved just like that.
“My name is Zhuge Meng Ming.” Meng Ming announced his name; in any case, it wasn’t like anyone would recognize him in this kind of place.
“Sean Bozmann,” the older brother said. He then stretched out a hand towards his younger brother, “This is my younger brother, Thomas.”
“Bozmann? Oh…” Meng Ming looked up at the building next to him. The black words written on that white signboard already indicated where these two lived. Meng Ming said, “Doctors? Nice to meet you.”
“No, no, we’re both students,” the older brother said. Although he used English, these words seemed to be spoken in a Chinese manner.
Since they were all students, Meng Ming didn’t bother maintaining polite pretenses anymore. “Then, can I ask…do you guys know how to get to the Qing Xiu Hall Medicine Shop? Ha, the male classmate that was giving us directions randomly left just now, and told us to go find our own way. Who knows what he’s thinking…we saw that the lights here were particularly bright, so we thought it’d be near here.”
When the two Bozmann brothers heard ‘Qing Xiu Hall,’ they started.
“Eh…we know.” Sean told him, “It’s not far, just head east for four streets.”
Meng Ming thanked him and got back into the car. Huang Qiao Yi and Duan He had thought an argument would break out; they hadn’t imagined that the situation would be resolved so easily.
“They really just let us go like that? Foreigners are really too easy to speak to. They’re not as narrow-minded as some other people…” Huang Qiao Yi sighed in relief.
Duan He replied, “The fact that this place has foreigners is strange. During the last part of your conversation, I couldn’t help but feel that there was something fishy…are they really the benevolent type?”
“They should be. I’ve seen quite a few foreigners…and I feel that those two must definitely be good people,” Meng Ming said.
Before passing Bozmann Clinic, Zhou Lun Yu had declared that he’d get off, and had done exactly that. He’d already arrived at the place he was most anxious to visit. —It was a two story building, and he was currently in a pitch-black room on the second floor.
“How are you?” Zhou Lun Yu didn’t turn on any lights, and asked this question in the darkness.
A male was lying on a bed like a sick person; it was Zhou Lun Yu’s distant relative. There was nobody taking care of him. Zhou Lun Yu groped around in the dark to grab a chair, and lightly dragged it over to sit at the bedside.
“Mm, I’m fine.” The voice coming from the male on the bed wasn’t the least bit weak.
“Don’t worry, November has already arrived. This time, I’ll go to the mountain and gather the Yilan root,” Zhou Lun Yu said.
This distant relative was called Qiao Shun Zhi. He had just turned 18 years old this year, and was currently a college examinee, as well as Zhou Lun Yu’s senior.
“Thank you, but during the past two months that you were gone, the Scarlet Dragon still hasn’t…”
“You know I don’t believe in that.” Zhou Lun Yu interrupted before Qiao Shun Zhi had finished speaking, and prevented the topic from being brought up again. “You’re already in your last year of high school. If you continue on like this, how will you attend the exam? It doesn’t matter how others try to obstruct me, I’ll definitely cross the pool.”
Qiao Shun Zhi knew that trying to persuade Zhou Lun Yu otherwise would be of no use. A few months ago, when Zhou Lun Yu had still been in Qing Xin, he had spent his entire time diligently trying to come up with ways to break the superstition of the Scarlet Dragon.
Qiao Shun Zhi said, “If you still don’t believe it…you should go check out the pool tonight. Grandpa Zhong tells me every day that it’s still the same as it was before.” The final thing he said before Zhou Lun Yu left was—
“The Scarlet Dragon’s eyes are still flashing.”