Chapter 23 – Drinking Snake Eye Soup With Rat Skin?
Zhang Shaoyu quickly told Lizz about his meeting with the transvestite and the Cleopatra-like girl. “…I think they were some wine sellers?”
“Wine?” Lizz was puzzled.
Zhang Shaoyu answered, “Yeah! They told me they were members of some Egyptian fermentation sect.(1) Must be some kind of bar! But red wines usually come from France or England. I’ve never heard of one from Egypt.”
“Egypt fermentation sect?” Lizz frowned. The words gave her a bad feeling when a phrase suddenly appeared in her head: ‘EGYPTIAN CULTIST?!’ The moment she came to the realization, Lizz trembled and felt herself go cold from head to toe.
Zhang Shaoyu was holding Lizz’s hand, so he immediately noticed when she went cold. Her face had gone white and her lips, blue. Her complexion looked like that of a corpse. He was taken completely by surprise, anxiously holding her hands tighter and trying and warm her up, even going so far as to blow on them. “Lizz, what happened? Do you feel unwell? Lizz? Lizz?”
Lizz’s mind was in such a total mess she couldn’t hear Zhang Shaoyu’s voice. She only had a single desperate thought. Just someone from the British Holy Church alone is already difficult enough to deal with. If that two from the Egyptian Cult has come here as well, how am I supposed to deal with this situation with so many big sects around me?
Should I ask master to send some help? No, that won’t work! Sending people here would just make it more obvious… How about if I do a preemptive stealth attack? That won’t work either! They’re bound to be far stronger and hold higher status than me, I’d just be marching to my own grave! Fuck my life!(2) What should I do? …The only possibility I can think of is to quickly absorb the Sacred Blood Stone and disappear off somewhere.
As she thought about it, Lizz turned to face Zhang Shaoyu. It was like she was going to eat Xuan Zang.(3)
Zhang Shaoyu saw Lizz glare at him and quickly asked her, “L-Lizz? What happened? Are you alright?”
Lizz forcefully suppressed her thoughts and changed her demeanor back to a sweet and innocent one as she smiled.(4) She shook her head and reassured him, “It’s okay! I’m alright!”
“Are you really alright? You were acting strangely just now… If you feel unwell or something’s wrong, just say it, don’t be stubborn and try to hide it. I’d rather not go to school in the afternoon and take you to the doctor, ‘kay?”
“I’m really okay.” Lizz pushed him back a bit and looked at him with teary eyes. “That’s right, Shaoyu. The potion—no, I mean, the broth, I already made it for you. I had a hard time collecting the ingredients, so even if doesn’t taste good, you have to finish it all, okay?”
Zhang Shaoyu saw something dangerous glint in Lizz’s eyes and felt a strong pressure from it. It was like seeing a girl from behind and expecting her to be pretty, and turning out to be Sister Feng when she turned around.(5) It was a dreadful feeling.
Before she even got Shaoyu’s answer, Lizz dashed to the kitchen and came back with a huge clay pot. At first it looked like she was carrying a barrel, but it turned out the huge clay pot was filled to the brim with some murky liquid which she called ‘broth’.
For now, let’s put aside how the heck the lil’ girl could get such a huge clay pot up here and carry it alone. Why is there so much broth? How am I supposed to finish it all? I’m not some Peking Duck to be force fed.(6)
“Shaoyu, eat up!” Lizz gracefully presented a spoon to Zhang Shaoyu and urged him to eat.
Zhang Shaoyu’s eyes twitched as he slowly reached for the spoon. He peeked inside the pot. It was filled with hot liquid, complete with popping bubbles. Far from ‘broth’, it looked something like a witch’s potion, like in Snow White. Does this girl want to poison me or knock me out with it? Is she going to do something to me afterwards?(7)
This conclusion made Shaoyu feel afraid, and the burnt smell of the potion that reminded him of poison didn’t help either.
Lizz saw Shaoyu hesitating, so she made a pleading face with hints of tears in her eyes. She said sadly, “Shaoyu, why aren’t you eating it? Didn’t you say you would finish it all up? It took me a lot of effort to make it!”
Faced with such destructive power of the ultimate beauty, even the bronze Buddha statue would melt. Zhang Shaoyu stood no chance.
“Okay! I’ll show you!” In a sudden rush of spirit, Zhang Shaoyu took the spoon from Lizz and, like a madman, shoveled a spoonful of ‘broth’ into his mouth. He closed his eyes and forcefully swallowed whatever he had put inside his mouth.
The moment the ‘broth’ entered his mouth, he felt a bit nauseous. But then, it actually turned sweet as it traveled downwards from his throat. When it reached his stomach, it created a warm feeling that quickly spread throughout his whole body. It was like soaking in a warm bath, and it made Zhang Shaoyu relax and gave him a lot of strength.(8)
Zhang Shaoyu was surprised and began to frown. Broth usually doesn’t have this kind of effect. Why is this broth so strange…?
Zhang Shaoyu was still a beginner by the standards of a magician. Even though he ate the Sacred Blood Stone and his body had become powerful, it could not be called ‘magic’. And since Zhang Shaoyu had no contract with any God nor Devil, no magical nucleus had formed in his body, so that ‘power’ could only be called ‘potential’.
Zhang Shaoyu didn’t know that the potion’s effect was to cultivate the potential within the body and strengthen it. In practice, it helped to spread magic throughout the body as if clearing the blood flow in his veins, strengthening internal organs, among other effects. That’s why he felt his whole body relax.
Zhang Shaoyu was surprised and asked Lizz, “Lizz, what kind of broth is this? Why do I feel so warm after drinking it?”
Lizz knew that the potion was in effect and grinned happily. “If you’re enjoying it, you can skip lunch and just eat the broth. It should be healthier too.”
Zhang Shaoyu had always been lazy to begin with, and sometimes he would his meals. For him, skipping one or two meals was not a huge problem. He just smiled and answered, “Okay then, so I don’t have to cook.”
Lizz immediately paled on the spot and pouted. “Nonono, if you don’t cook, won’t I have nothing to eat?”
Zhang Shaoyu was confused by that. “We have such a large pot of broth here, even if we eat it together, there will still be leftovers, right?”
“Of course not, this broth is for you, not me. This kind of broth doesn’t suit me.”
Zhang Shaoyu laughed and curiously asked, “This kind of broth doesn’t suit you?” Then, he began to think and rubbed Lizz’s nose, as if he had come up with some idea. Coming to a conclusion, he reached for Lizz. “I know, this must be an aphrodisiac, right? Who’d ever thought this lil’ girl would do something so bad! Okay then, give uncle a hug!”
Lizz blushed and escaped from Shaoyu’s clutches. “No it’s not! What kind of bad things are you saying! Hentai!”
“Then why don’t you tell me what kind of broth this is?”
Lizz spoke in her mind. This is python’s eye with rat skin, but if I say that, he’ll be scared stiff! If he doesn’t want to eat it, that would be troublesome.
So Lizz tugged Shaoyu’s sleeve like a child and pleaded, “Okay, okay! It’s just broth that’s good for you, quickly cook some food now, I’m really hungry,” before pushing Zhang Shaoyu towards the kitchen.
Since Zhang Shaoyu was weak before the lil’ lady, he could only shake his head and let her push him into the kitchen. The moment he walked into the kitchen, his eyes were drawn to a tall pile of wood in the middle of the floor. The wood was burnt black like it had been used to make a bonfire, and beside it was a wooden scaffold.
“Oh my Lady Gaga,(9) what is this? Did some cannibal tribe come and roast a human in here?” Zhang Shaoyu screamed. When he saw such a primitive tool for making fire, he could only respond with ridicule.
Lizz skipped into the kitchen and proudly told him, “These are my tools to make fire to cook with. I don’t understand why you don’t have anything to make a fire in the kitchen, how can you even cook like that?”
Zhang Shaoyu looked at the stove and then towards Lizz before responding in frustration, “My great aunt, have you never seen a gas stove before?”
Lizz didn’t understand and tilted her head in question. “What gas? Are you stupid? By gas, you mean fart? Why would I want to see one?”(10)
Zhang Shaoyu clutched his head in frustration and sighed, before turning on the gas stove for her to see. “Missy, you really are OUT of civilization, what era did you come from?”
The moment Lizz saw the metal thing spew fire, she was surprised and asked Shaoyu in excitement, “Shaoyu! What kind of magic did you use? How could you make fire like that? It’s way easier than drilling a piece of wood against another like what my teacher taught me.”
“Drilling wood against another to make fire?” Zhang Shaoyu almost thought that something was wrong with his ears. Doing that kind of thing in this age? Truly unfathomable!
Zhang Shaoyu had a hard time deciding whether to get angry or to laugh, but in the end he decided to just let out a heavy sigh and began his explanation. “I didn’t use any magic, it’s the most basic common sense. I just use the gas to start a fire. Using the gas from the pipe that goes to the stove, I…” He noticed that as he explained, Lizz’s expression changed to that of confusion. He decided to stop explaining, as she wouldn’t understand anything. “Anyway, if you want to cook just use the gas stove, there’s no need to use this kind of barbaric method.”
Lizz looked down as she pouted and responded softly with a “Kay…”
Lunch proceeded normally after that. With no one to share her food with, Lizz swept the entire table clean of dishes while Zhang Shaoyu kept on eating the broth she made. The more he ate, the faster he spooned it in. It was like an alcoholic’s addiction to alcohol, but he never knew that one could get addicted to broth. In the end, it took less than half an hour for the huge pot full of broth to be emptied.
When Zhang Shaoyu was done, he lazed around on the couch, recalling the satisfying taste of the broth. He had never had that kind of broth before, and even after having that much, his stomach did not feel bloated. Instead he was full of vigor, and felt like he could even kill a tiger or two.
Lizz also finished her food happily as she sat beside Zhang Shaoyu. She grinned widely at him. “Shaoyu, you really drank it all up? That’s great!”
Zhang Shaoyu gently pat her head as he smiled. “Of course, for you I would even rip open heaven, let alone drink broth!”
Listening to his words full of affection, Lizz felt the guilt for deceiving Zhang Shaoyu surface once more. It was an uncomfortable feeling, but she forcefully pushed it aside for the moment and asked him, “Shaoyu, how does your body feel right now?”
Zhang Shaoyu pulled back his stomach, puffed up his chest, and assumed Popeye’s signature pose.(11) “Ever since I drank it, my waist feels stronger and my legs don’t hurt anymore. I feel invigorated!”
Lizz cleared her throat, then she patted Shaoyu’s shoulder while chuckling, “Haha! What are you talking about, that’s exaggerating!”
1. Word puns here. It should be Fa Jiao, but Shaoyu seems to have misheard or remembers it wrongly as Fa Xiao.
2. Something like ‘Oh my God’ or something, but I feel this term is more appropriate.
3. That monk in the ever famous journey to the west. Eating him grants the eater great power and longevity. There are many variations etc. here. Google it if you’re curious.
6. Forcibly made to eat lots. “grow bigger before we chop you”
7. Reminds me of when a close someone of mine made me fisheye pizza. Yes, fisheye pizza.
8. In my case soaking in warm water would make me soft like jelly. Not to mention I’d smile like a fool.
9. In English.
10. It’s some Chinese word pun, I had to make this up with the ‘gas’.
11. If you don’t know who Popeye is, shame on ya. Google it.