Chapter 4: Waking Up
Translator: Cenniwdyl Editor: Caron_
Hearing her mother’s cries, Mo Tiange opened her eyes in confusion.
“Tiange!” The Fourth Lady of the Mo family who had been keeping watch over her wept out of joy and said, “You finally woke up.”
Mo Tiange’s vision slowly regained its focus as she confusedly called out: “Mother.”
“Mother’s here. Tell me, do you still feel unwell anywhere?”
Bewilderment appeared in her eyes. Finally, she stroked her stomach and said, “I’m starving…”
The Fourth Lady went blank for a moment before smiling tearfully and said, “This child! You recklessly ran into the Ancestral Hall and even fell from the chair! The Old Master shook you when you fell, yet when you wake up, you only know hunger! Wait just a second, Mother will prepare some food…”
She nodded and answered: “En.”
The Fourth Lady promptly entered the kitchen. However, just after she stepped out the door, she suddenly felt light-headed and leaned against the wall. It took a long time for her pale face to regain its color.
Mo Tiange sat up and watched her surroundings. Everything was the same. She couldn’t help but cup her chin and think aloud: “Was it a dream?”
However, when she thought about it, countless strange words and gestures suddenly emerged in her mind.
The words were very strange – completely different from the ones from her studies. Yet for some unspeakable reason, she intuitively recognized them.
“Was it real?” She slowly recalled everything from her dream. Although she didn’t understand most of the things said by that voice, everything was engraved deeply in her mind.
Do the Immortals really exist in this world? Can I also become an Immortal, flying here and there?
However, once she thought about what the Ancestor said, her expression became gloomy again. There was no way to save her mother.
The sound of footsteps could be heard coming from outside the room. Someone entered the yard and said, “Fourth Lady, are you cooking?” Mo Tiange recognized this voice. It was the voice of their neighbor, Aunt Awang.
Following that, her mother’s gentle voice appeared, “Yes. Tiange was unconscious for two days and hasn’t eaten anything. She’s starving.”
Aunt Awang laughed and said, “The child woke up already? That’s very good. Our family doesn’t have anything of use. We can only give these eggs and fruits to help Tiange with her recuperation… Ah!!! You look really sick! Come, sit and take a rest for a moment. Let me do those things.”
“This isn’t right. Sister-in-law, you always give your eggs to us; I can’t trouble you again.”
“It’s nothing. Cooking a few side dishes is no biggie. Besides, your family used to always help us out before. Back when my husband fell down on the mountain, it was thanks to Fourth Son-in-law that he didn’t end up a cripple. You shouldn’t feel burdened.”
Mo Tiange knew the one called “Fourth Son-in-law” was her father. Based on the bits and pieces she heard, not only was her father’s knowledge profound, but he was also proficient in the art of healing. Although he obviously looked like a scholar, he was far stronger than any other man. Aunt Awang said he must’ve studied martial arts. During the several years her father lived in the village, the villagers didn’t need to go to outsiders if they needed to see a physician. Even for tasks such as building a house or digging a well, her father eagerly volunteered to help the villagers.
She heard Aunt Awang speaking again. “Tiange, this child! How could a girl enter the Ancestral Hall? It’s fortunate that nobody fussed about it because she’s young and hurt her head. How’s she now? Is her head alright?”
“Should be alright… She said she’s hungry right after she woke up.”
“That’s good. But how can you take care of Tiange with your poor health? Didn’t your family tell you to go back?”
Her mother was silent. Mo Tiange also wanted to know the answer. Her grandmother didn’t like either of them. Her uncles weren’t close with her mother. Her grandfather was also indifferent to them. In her family, aside from Tianqiao, who treated her well, no one liked her.
What Aunt Awang said was right. How can Mother take care of me with such poor health? I have to get better soon to take good care of Mother!
After motivating herself, Mo Tiange jumped down from the bed, but she instantly felt dizzy again.
There were a lot of things swarming around in her mind. She knew these thoughts were left by the Ancestor she spoke with before – these were part of something called “the Art of Sunu.” Although she didn’t really understand, she seemed to know what she had to do next.
The door was opened. The Fourth Lady and Aunt Awang walked inside, each carrying a dish in their hands.
Seeing Mo Tiange, Aunt Awang laughed and said, “Tiange, come down from bed! How are you feeling? Does your head hurt?”
She shook her head. “I’m alright, Aunt Awang.”
“Everything’s good as long as you’re alright. Come, eat. You must be starving after eating nothing these past two days.”
She nodded and answered, “En.” When she turned around, she saw her mother putting some food on the table. Her mother said, “Tiange, come and eat.”
Seeing that her mother looked awfully pale, she asked anxiously, “Mother, what’s wrong with you? Do you feel ill?”
The Fourth Lady shook her head and smiled to appease her. She said, “Don’t worry. It’s only because I didn’t get enough rest. I’ll be fine in a while.”
Mo Tiange believed her mother’s words and took the dish she passed over. Her mother said she hadn’t eaten anything the past two days. She didn’t feel it so strongly before, but now that she smelled the aroma of the food, she realized she was extremely starved.
The Fourth Lady and Aunt Awang couldn’t help but laugh at seeing her ravenously gobbling down the food.
“Slow down! No one is going to steal your food. Be careful or you’ll choke on your food.”
Now that her stomach was filled with a few things, Mo Tiange finally slowed down. She looked up and said, “The rice Mother cooked was delicious! The string beans Aunt Awang cooked were very fragrant!”
The two adults burst into laughter.
Aunt Awang chatted with them for a while before going back. Before leaving, she said to the Fourth Lady: “Although Tiange woke up, we don’t know if there’s anything wrong still. It would be better for us to ask a physician to examine her again.”
The Fourth Lady nodded. “It’s unfortunate that my body is useless. I have to trouble Brother Awang to ask a physician again.”
“What are you talking about? You have to take whatever help there is. Besides, helping each other is something we ought to do. You should just rest up. I’ll ask my husband to go to the neighboring town in the afternoon… I’m heading back first, alright?”
“Alright, Sister-in-law. Take care.”
The Fourth Lady had just seen Aunt Awang off when she found her little niece coming towards her.
“Tianqiao? What are you doing here?”
Mo Tianqiao timidly answered, “Fourth Aunt, how is Tiange? I came to see her.” Because the Fourth Lady had always been sick, the family never allowed Tianqiao to visit. Therefore, Tianqiao was unfamiliar with this Fourth Aunt.
“You’re really considerate. Tiange has already woken up. Come inside and sit.”
Mo Tiange was surprised to see Mo Tianqiao walking into the room behind her mother. “Tianqiao!”
“Tiange! Eat your food properly.” The Fourth Lady stared at her with a disapproving gaze before once again smiling towards Mo Tianqiao. “Tianqiao, take a seat. Fourth Aunt will cook you a bowl of noodles. Which would you prefer – long noodles or thin noodles?”
Mo Tianqiao hastily shook her head and said, “No need, Fourth Aunt. I already had a meal before I came here.” Her family said she mustn’t eat at Fourth Aunt’s home. Although she didn’t take those words too seriously, as a guest in an outsider’s home, she couldn’t be too informal.
The Fourth Lady didn’t force her to eat. She took some fruit Aunt Awang brought over, washed them, and brought them to the room. “Eat these plums, alright… They’re newly-picked, fresh plums given by Aunt Awang from next door.”
Mo Tianqiao hastily said, “Thank you, Fourth Aunt.”
Seeing that she was very polite, the Fourth Lady praised her again for a while. Soon after, the Fourth Lady went into the inner room, allowing the two children to talk to each other.
“Tiange, how could you fall in the Ancestral Hall? My father said you even broke an ancestor’s memorial tablet.”
Mo Tiange wanted to tell her about the things she saw. However, she hesitated for a moment and said, “I… I wasn’t careful.”
“Grandfather was very angry when he found out. A girl entered the Ancestral Hall and even broke an ancestor’s memorial tablet! He said it was disrespectful towards the ancestors. At first, Grandfather even said he would punish you. But other Grandfathers said you’re still young and insensible, so punishing you would be useless. Then Grandfather’s anger subsided.”
Mo Tiange lowered her head and concentrated on her food when she heard she angered her grandfather. Because her grandfather didn’t like her and her mother, she was very afraid of him.
“But everything’s alright now. Which part of you was hit? Does it still hurt?”
“My head still hurts a bit but everything else is fine.” She was quite puzzled when she tried to recall the Ancestor’s memorial tablet she dropped. She asked, “Tianqiao, why can’t girls enter the Ancestral Hall when the ancestor on the topmost shelf was obviously a woman?”
“Eh? How do you know?”
“I… I saw the name. It was a woman’s name.” She used to tell Tianqiao everything in her life. However, she inexplicably thought that such an unfathomable matter shouldn’t be told to others, especially since that spirit said her mother was beyond help. She didn’t want her mother to find out about it.
“I don’t know either. I’ll ask Grandfather when I go home later.”
“Forget it, you don’t have to ask. Grandfather might get angry again.”
Mo Tianqiao pondered it a bit and felt that Mo Tiange was right. Thus she dropped the subject and continued to ask, “When will you go back to school?”
“Since I’m fine now, I’ll go tomorrow.”
“Great! I have an interesting thing to bring to school tomorrow so we can play together.”
In the afternoon, Uncle Awang from next door really went to a neighboring town to request a physician. After seeing Mo Tiange’s lively appearance and taking her pulse, the physician said she didn’t need to take any medicine. She was declared very healthy.
The Fourth Lady was finally relieved. She went to the kitchen and stir-fried a plate of vegetables and cooked a tofu and meat dish. She also asked Aunt Awang to buy some pig trotters from the butcher in the village to stew into a pot of pig trotter soup.
Mo Tiange’s appetite became ferocious once she saw those dishes. It was rare for their family to have meat and fish, let alone so many delicious dishes.
The Fourth Lady took some of the soup and let Mo Tiange deliver it to their neighbor.
Once the mother-daughter pair had their dinner, they went to their respective beds to rest.