Volume 2 Huaiyuan House Chapter 6 Chopstick City

The book continues from the previous chapter, and the story continues from the preface, which tells about Zhang Xiaobian'er and Sun Damazi, two guys, who are both daring and stubborn knights, and have never known the immensity of heaven and earth. When they saw a big black hole in the ground inside the building, they thought they had found the secret room and secret passage where gold, silver and jewels were buried in the Huai Garden, and they could not help but feel secretly happy, and did not care about anything else, and immediately one of them went in front and the other in the back, holding a lantern and sneaking into the hole.

There was indeed a wide, winding and narrow secret passage under the cave. The ground was covered with broken soil and mud, and there were many chopsticks scattered everywhere. There were countless caves of various sizes around it, which were interconnected. The walls of the caves were uneven, with ups and downs, and sometimes wide and sometimes narrow. The excavation was very rough and simple, with no order at all.

Zhang Xiaobian'er was amazed when he saw such a maze-like place under the Huai Garden. He whispered to Sun Damazi, "It is likely that the treasure buried under the old house of the Lou family has been there for too long, which has turned it into a spirit and a monster, and turned it into a naked boy digging and drilling around in the building. I heard from my old Taoist master that the wolfberry roots that are a thousand years old can turn into a puppy, and the ginseng that is ten thousand years old can turn into a woman. I don't know what kind of extravagant treasure is hidden in the Huai Garden that can be so magical. If we brothers can find it, you and I will be the Deng Tong and Shen Wansan of Lingzhou City today."

Damazi Sun said happily, "Deng Tong and Shen Wansan are incredible. I have heard that their families are extremely wealthy and famous. If we can only have half of Mr. Shen's wealth, we can have roast chicken and pig's trotters every day, and that will be what we want."

Zhang Xiaobian'er laughed and said, "Pockmarked man, you are so poor-informed that you only know how to eat roast chicken and pig's feet. If we could have half of Shen Wansan's fortune, we could let you eat as much as you want all day and still not spend all the money."

Although Sun Damazi could not read a word, he and Zhang Xiaobian'er liked to listen to books and watch operas with amateur troupes. They also liked to hum a few lines when they had nothing to do. They had a lot of folk songs in their mind. Among the local operas at that time, there was a play called "Attracting Wealth and Treasures". It was very lively and was about the gods of wealth from all dynasties. Whenever there was a festival or a festive occasion, and there was a need to find a good start, they would invite the troupe to perform this play.

Deng Tong was a figure in the Han Dynasty. He was awarded a treasure cave by the emperor, which allowed him to mine copper and cast coins. There is a saying that goes, "There are so many gold coins all over the world, but who knows there is even a Deng Tong city", which refers to the place where this person cast coins. Shen Wansan was a wealthy man in Jiangnan during the late Yuan and early Ming dynasties. It is said that when Emperor Taizu Zhu Yuanzhang founded the country and established the capital, he had to borrow money from Mr. Shen to build the city. He was truly a wealthy man who could rival a country.

These two ancient people have always been regarded by the common people as the reincarnation of the God of Wealth. In modern terms, they are regarded as idols of getting rich. Therefore, even homeless poor boys like Sun Damazi and Zhang Xiaobian'er are familiar with the deeds of Deng and Shen in the drama reviews. They even dream of becoming rich, but they don't know that Deng Tong and Shen Wansan didn't get a good result in the end.

Zhang Xiaobian'er and Sun Damazi each recited several times, "Cat Fairy and all the gods of wealth bless me with great wealth…" They immediately got ready to look for treasure, but there were so many holes in the secret passage at the bottom of the building that they were dazzled. They didn't know where to look for the treasure. Just as they were about to take action, they vaguely heard the sound of a child crying in the depths. When they heard the noise, they quickly crouched down and went into the hole, following the sound of crying.

Although Zhang Xiaobian'er was obsessed with money, he was an experienced thief after all. He had some thief's wisdom and knowledge, and knew to leave a way out for himself in case of escape. He saw that the secret passage under Huaiyuan was complicated, so he put the black cat in his arms and asked Sun Damazi to lead the way with a lantern on a short stick. He followed behind, supporting himself on his hands and knees, and while crawling, he gathered the chopsticks scattered on the ground and laid them out in a long snake shape as a signpost to prevent him from being trapped underground when he couldn't find the way back.

The black cat was not very timid, and was trembling with fear because of something, as if it had a premonition of a disaster. It curled up in Zhang Xiaobian'er's arms without making a sound, with only its two sparkling cat eyes showing, and staring at the surroundings in horror.

Zhang Xiaobian secretly complained that the black cat he got from the medicine shop was useless. "Yunwu Tongzai" describes all kinds of creatures in the world. As the saying goes, cats have cat books and dogs have dog classics. In the "Cat Book", it is written very clearly that in ancient times, Lingzhou produced excellent black cats, which were called "Moon Shadow Black Pupil Golden Silk Cat". This kind of black cat has golden silk through its eyes. Its body is soft as if it has no bones and light as the wind. It can climb over tiles and walls. It is an expert at climbing walls and trees, catching butterflies and birds, and can even break into houses to steal gold and jade. When this cat moves, it is as fast and light as the wind. Even if it moves back and forth in front of everyone in broad daylight, people can only see its shadow, not its shape.

But Lingzhou City has a long tradition of worshipping cat fairies, so local cats, whether domestic or wild, are greedy and lazy. The black cat that Zhang Xiaobianer found with great difficulty is a real lazy cat. Although it is a rare purebred Moon Shadow Black Eyed Golden Silk Cat, the skills that its ancestors were famous for hundreds of years ago have long been lost by the time it comes to this place, leaving only some minor abilities such as climbing trees and catching birds.

Zhang Xiaobian still remembered that the old ghost in the forest had told him a few days ago in the tomb of the imperial concubine in the golden coffin tomb: "If you want to get a lot of wealth from the haunted house in Huaiyuan, you must first go to Songhe Hall and exchange the zombie beauty for the 'Moon Shadow Black Pupiled Golden Silk Cat' he keeps at home. Without the help of this cat, you won't get a penny of the gold and silver hidden in Huaiyuan. Remember, remember." Zhang Xiaobian had already taken these words as an imperial edict and firmly imprinted them in his mind. He even kept repeating them in his dreams. Now the black cat and the secret passage in Huaiyuan have been found, but the old ghost in the forest did not tell him how to use the black cat to get the treasure.

Zhang Xiaobian thought, the so-called secrets of heaven cannot be revealed. Even if you meet a god who is pointing the way, the path they point out to mortals is mostly in the clouds and fog, and you have to rely on your own understanding to understand it. After all, his knowledge is limited. After days of racking his brains, he can only guess that 80% of the time, the black cat's "cat's eyes" are used to ward off demons and evil spirits. Although this cat is lazy, it may be useful when taking treasures. At present, he has not yet found out what is hidden under the Huai Garden, so he is naturally unwilling to let the black cat escape easily.

He was thinking wildly, and after drilling several feet in the narrow dark passage, he suddenly heard the sound of water flowing in front of him. Sun Damazi also stopped. It turned out that although the cave gradually widened and extended to a large cave, there was an unfathomable Yin River in front of him that blocked the way. There were a large number of pavilions, corridors, waterside pavilions, towers and palaces with ingenious scenery in Huaiyuan. Although several pools and springs in the garden have dried up, the underground water veins still exist, and the child's crying sound came from the gloomy place opposite the Yin River.

The dark river on both sides of the underground cave was filled with chilly winds, and the children's cries were intermittent, as if they were not too far away. Zhang Xiaobian'er had never heard such miserable cries in his life, and it sounded like his throat was probably broken and bleeding. He couldn't help but feel weak in his heart. In order to give himself courage, he cursed at the dark place opposite: "Have your ancestors ever heard of the name of your Third Master Zhang, Zhang Yonggan? I think you gold spirits and silver spirits have some Taoist skills, and you know that you will be dug back by Third Master tonight, so you hide in the dark and scare people. But you don't know that your Third Master Zhang is a ruthless character with a wooden man and a stone heart. How could he be afraid of your little noise?" After saying that, he reached out to grab the tail of the black cat in his arms, hoping that the black cat would call a few times here to scare the monsters transformed from gold, silver, jade and silk back to their true form.

Sun Damazi was upright in his heart and could not stand any injustice in the world. When he heard the crying and weeping, it seemed very pitiful and did not seem like a deliberate scare. He stopped Zhang Xiaobian'er and said, "You are wrong, Third Brother, listen carefully. This is clearly a child crying. Could it be that there is a ghost complaining about his grievances? He wants us to clear his grievances before his death…"

Zhang Xiaobian said, "What grievances could a one- or two-year-old child have? There must be some treasure that gathered the five elements of spiritual energy in the universe, and then hid underground for thousands of years before it was transformed into the form of a child. Now, while he is still young and can only cry and crawl, we can catch him and exchange him for wealth. Otherwise, if we wait a few more years and let him achieve enlightenment, how can we find any trace of him?"

Sun Damazi shook his head in disbelief: "This child was probably abandoned and starved to death in the cave…" He thought about it and realized that his inference was wrong, and said, "But with a silver lock around his neck, he doesn't look like a child from a poor family. He was most likely abducted here and killed by villains who wanted to steal his family property. Naturally, he is full of hatred. I never thought there would be such an unfair thing in the world. It really makes me angry. Anyway, you and I, brothers, must not stand idly by." He was a reckless man who didn't believe in evil. He said to himself, "A person who is upright has nothing to fear from his shadow, and a person who has his feet upright has nothing to fear from his shoes." He also firmly believed in the principle of "A person who does not do bad things has nothing to fear from ghosts knocking at the door in the middle of the night." Therefore, he was never afraid of ghosts. But at this moment, he got angry and frowned, insisting that the child's crying was the ghost complaining about his grievances.

Although Zhang Xiaobian was a smooth talker, he could not defeat him in the argument. He thought, "No matter whether he is a ghost, a monster, or some kind of treasure, we can only see it clearly when we get closer. What's the point of arguing with Sun Dasha now?" He did not say any more. Seeing that the Yin River was deep and difficult to wade, the two of them had to find a way to bypass it.

Zhang Xiaobian'er and Sun Damazi planned to find a place with a narrow water flow and then jump over. When they walked a few feet along the river, they felt that there were more and more chopsticks under their feet. Using the light of the lantern to look around, they saw many chopsticks scattered in a disorderly manner on the uneven ground.

Wooden chopsticks and bamboo chopsticks are the most ordinary things in daily life. How ordinary are they? It is like a thief who steals from thousands of households. One day, he accidentally enters a poor family and finds that the walls are steep and there is no rice in the jar. There is nothing to steal. However, the rule of thieves not leaving empty-handed cannot be broken, so he has to steal a few rotten straws from the kang mat. Even so, the "honest people" on the beams will never take chopsticks from other people's cupboards, because dry straws can keep warm and can be exchanged for money and other things. However, I have never heard of anyone willing to pay money to buy a few broken chopsticks that have been used by poor families for many years.

The chopsticks in the cave were of various types, obviously not from the same family. There were thousands or tens of thousands of them, like arrows flying everywhere. Who would have the urge to bring these chopsticks into the cave? Zhang Xiaobian racked his brains but couldn't figure out what they were, so he just got used to it. He took a few more steps forward and saw a bridge across the water deep in the cave.

The bridge was made entirely of chopsticks. Although the chopsticks were of different lengths and made of different materials, they were glued together very firmly and evenly. The bridge deck was slightly arched and less than two feet wide. I lit a lantern to shine on the other side of the bridge. It turned out that there was a city gate tower hidden in the dark. It was also made entirely of chopsticks. It looked very untidy, but it had both form and spirit. It had a city gate and a tower. There were even more than ten arrow windows on the tower for observing the enemy. On both sides were walls made of countless chopsticks.

This Chopstick City and the Chopstick Bridge in front of the city were much smaller than real city towers and bridges. Zhang Xiaobian'er and Sun Damazi managed to cross the river by stepping on the Chopstick Bridge with great effort, but when they got to the bottom of the city tower, they found that the city gate was not for people to walk through, and the city gate hole was not much bigger than a dog hole.

The gate of Chopstick City was wide open, and a pungent smell of fishy air wafted out, and the stench hit their faces and brains. Zhang Xiaobian'er and Sun Damazi quickly pulled a piece of their clothes to cover their mouths and noses to cover their breathing. Then they looked at the bottom of the city tower built with countless chopsticks. There were bones in a mess, all of which were gnawed into pieces, with no flesh left. It was hard to tell whether they were human bones or animal bones. The two were shocked: What exactly is under Lou's Huaiyuan? How could there be such a strange city? Who lives in Chopstick City?

This was totally unexpected. Although Zhang Xiaobian'er and Sun Damazi were brave, they did not dare to act rashly. They held their breath and lay in front of the city gate, peeking inside. They saw that the lights in the Chopstick City were bright, and there were rows of houses in a row. All of them were made of chopsticks with various patterns. The gloomy streets were wide and deep, but the buildings in the city were small. Although they were no different from the human world, only cats could live there. The child's loud crying sound continued to come out from them. The ominous sobbing sound was strange and inexplicable. When they heard it, the two men and the cat immediately had pieces of chestnuts on their skin. The situation in the Chopstick City was not trivial.

This is exactly: "Hearing it can frighten a brave man, and seeing it can terrify a strong man." To know what happens next, please wait for the next chapter.

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