The Sin of Purple Rice Dumpling
Hu Sha died when she was only 15 years old.
Her parents had been busy planning for her marriage from when she was only 13. At that time, exchanging the portrait of oneself with each other was a norm between young men and women. If you see any portrait that you like, you only need to say so. So every day, a huge number of scrolls will be presented before Hu Sha, asking her which one she preferred.
Hu Sha would smile and said, “No one is as good as an immortal.”
That was the truth, how could ordinary people be as attractive as immortals. Her parents thought she wanted one with unrivaled face, and from then on, continued to pathetically exert more efforts to find her the one she wants.
At early spring, when she was 15 years old, her mother secretively pulled her into a room. This time, there was only one scroll in her hand. She carefully opened it for Hu Sha to see. The man in the painting wore a robe with wide sleeves while a tall headpiece was placed on top of his head; he was indeed handsome in a startling way.
“If even he does not appease you, there’s no one out there who can,” her mother sighed.
Therefore, Hu Sha had to agree. Their two families discussed about their betrothal and in the end decided to hold the wedding on the fifth month. Such a pity Hu Sha died before meeting that gorgeous husband of hers.
Her death was an embarassing affair.
Her father was a Fire Taoist Priest. For as long as Hu Sha could remember, their lives was full off Taoist scriptures and secret books about alchemy. Regardless if she was willing or not, she was made to wake up early every morning and dedicate a portion of her day presenting joss sticks to the celestial beings above.
She had no idea for which celestial fairy was the offering for that day. All she knew was that; on the offering table, there was a bowl of her favorite dessert, purple rice dumplings.
She looked left and right, both her parents weren’t there. She took one and put it directly into her mouth.
She suddenly heard the faint sound of someone coughing, she looked up in uncertainty and saw the painting of the celestial of which the offering was dedicated to. The celestial deity with white beard inside the portrait was holding two pieces of purple rice dumplings; his beard trembling with every bite he took while purple rice trickled down his beard.
She froze. The celestial in front seemed to have noticed her as well. He raised his white eyebrows, appearing to be in similar state of shock; before the shock turned to shame, and then to anger. His flipped his sleeve violently before disappearing into the paper.
Because Hu Sha was so shocked, the purple dumpling inside her mouth was stuck in her throat. No matter how she pulled, slapped, hit and rolled, the dumpling remained there, neither spit out nor swallowed.
So in the end, she died from choking.
The weather was so good. Auntie Lu who sell buns woke up early. She opened the door and took a basket of her steaming hot buns out with her. She glanced at a certain distant summit idly, just like how she and everybody around her always did.
Even though this land was spring all year round, that particular mountain was an exception. The peak would be covered in constant ice. According to folktales, celestial beings lived at the peak of that mountain; eating winds and drinking dews. The mortal people rarely see them, but often received their blessings.
Auntie Lu recited a prayer to the deities before putting down her basket neatly. She was just about to promote her buns when she heard the soft sound of footsteps behind her. “Little Hu Sha, why did you wake up so early today?
A small face that was about 14-15 years old peeked out from behind the door, her face fair and her eyes round. Auntie Lu smilingly handed her two buns, “Eat something. You must be hungry.”
Hu Sha lets out a small “en” as she heads over and sat beside her. “Auntie, you once told me that immortals lives in Qing Yuan Mountain, were you telling the truth?” she asked while she ate.
“Of course I was telling the truth!” Auntie Lu pointed towards the distant mountain with a serious expression. “Within the ten continents, there are lot of places where immortals gather. Qing Yuan Mountain is just one of them! Immortals on that mountain will accept mortals who have predestined affinity with them as disciples; teaching them how to live forever and how to dispel demons. I am not bluffing you. Every day, the number of mortals camping at the foot of the mountain, trying to be their apprentices are as many as ants!”
Hu Sha swallowed her bun, staring at Qing Yuan Mountain. If she went there, would she be able to find the way to go home?
She thought she was already dead, but turned out, she was still alive. It’s just that she was sent into a completely different world. This place had real immortals, spirit beasts that could speak, and a lot more things she had never heard of. But this place wasn’t her home.
She remembered while she was sleeping deeply, a voice kept speaking to her, telling her that if she wanted to go home, she must find Qing Ling Zhen Jun. After living with her father for so many years, she’s never heard of the immortal’s name. Could it be that, that Qing Ling Zhen Jun was the reason she was sent here?
After that, she somehow woke up and found herself in this strange land. She had looked around in daze, not knowing where to go.
She was lucky she bumped into the warm-hearted Auntie Lu who brought her back to her house and cared for her. It had been 5 days now.
“Two days from now, auntie’s daughter will visit me here, let her take you out to buy some new clothes. Her age is around yours, so your tastes should be similar. Auntie is old now, does not understand style or makeup.”
Hu Sha looked at the grey clothes she was wearing right now. Auntie Lu had to make her own clothes smaller so it could fit Hu Sha. Her own clothes disappeared after she took them off, as though they’ve never existed on the first place.
“Auntie, there are so many immortals in Qing Yuan Mountain, is Immortal Qing Ling Zhen Jun also there?”
That voice said if she wanted to go home, she must find Qing Ling Zhen Jun. No matter what, she had to try.
Auntie Lu stared at her, “Qing Ling Zhen Jun? Never heard of that name…. Do you want me to ask other people for you?”
Hu Sha shook her head, “No, I don’t want to trouble you. I was just randomly asking.”
Auntie Lu lovingly laughed at her, “This child, why are you being courteous to me.”
Hu Sha smiled in embarrassment, “Auntie, is it hard trying to become an apprentice in Qing Yuan Mountain?”
“I heard it was very hard,” Auntie Lu pointed towards a neighbor’s house, “Old Zhang’s grandson went 2 years ago, even the entrance gate he couldn’t find. I heard, only people who have pre-destined affinity with the immortals can find their way in. If not, even you search until you die, you may not necessarily find the entrance gate. Despite that, the number of people who go there every day are a lot. There are too many people who wants to become an immortal.”
Hu Sha was quiet for a while before softly saying, “Auntie, I want to go there too.”
‘Pu’, the buns in Auntie Lu’s hands fell into the ground.
sereneandtranquil： The first chapter!