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What's wrong with a snake that just wants to cultivate and transform?

What’s wrong with a snake that just wants to cultivate and transform? By Feb 17, 2024 5 Comments
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Previous: Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Xu Nian woke just after three hours of sleep, her mind initially shrouded in a haze. As her consciousness returned, she thought of Ji Yuebai. Hurriedly, she checked her companion’s breathing, relieved to find her still alive.

Xu Nian took some medicinal herbs from her storage bag, crushed them, and put them on Ji Yuebai’s injuries. She was surprised to see that the deeper cuts had already started to scab over, and the smaller ones were healing, showing the light pink of new skin.

Stunned by Ji Yuebai’s remarkable recovery, Xu Nian cleverly made a bowl out of leaves she found in the secret realm. Working together with her mouth and tail, she shaped the leaves, holding them together with vines and twigs. She then filled this improvised bowl with snow water and heated it over the fire. After letting it cool, she used the water to clean Ji Yuebai’s wounds.

While treating the wounds, she couldn’t help but notice the harsh contrast between the dreadful scars and Ji Yuebai’s otherwise smooth, white skin, reminiscent of mutton fat jade. Regretting the damage, she abandoned her initial plan to save some herbs for herself. Instead, she generously applied a thick layer to Ji Yuebai’s injuries, wishing to spare her beautiful body from being marked by ugly scars.

In the days that followed, Xu Nian dedicated herself to looking after Ji Yuebai. Every morning, she would check on Ji Yuebai’s condition first, then spend time cultivating with spirit stones. Whenever she felt hungry, she ventured into the snowy wilderness to hunt. She also covered Ji Yuebai with her shed snake skin, which helped keep wild animals at bay with its remaining scent.

However, the cold weather made finding food difficult. Xu Nian cracked open a frozen stream, squatted on the ice, and used worms she had managed to dig up to catch some small fish. After roaming the mountains several times, she finally caught a naive roe deer. During this time, she regretted not keeping the bear from the cave, as it would have provided food for much longer

After eating her fill, with nothing else to do, Xu Nian prodded Ji Yuebai’s soft face with her tail.

Thanks to her diligent care, most of Ji Yuebai’s injuries had healed, and many of the scars on her body had faded to faint marks that were hardly noticeable without looking closely.

“Really, the child I’ve raised is so easy to keep alive,” she thought, having subconsciously started to treat Ji Yuebai like a beautiful doll to play with, admiring her lovely face, which was quite enjoyable.

There were still some healing herbs left in her storage bag. Once those were used up, those faint scars should disappear completely.

Lost in thought, Xu Nian habitually rubbed Ji Yuebai’s smooth, tender cheeks with her tail.

Nearly half a month had passed since she brought Ji Yuebai back. During this time, she had been tending to her injuries while Ji Yuebai remained unconscious. Thanks to the medicinal herbs and her strong ability to heal, Ji Yuebai’s wounds had healed rapidly. She now appeared as healthy as anyone else, but oddly, she still hadn’t woken up.

“Could she have been struck by lightning and become brain-damaged, turning into a vegetable?” she wondered.

As she thought this, Xu Nian suddenly felt someone watching her. She looked down and locked eyes with Ji Yuebai’s dark, cold eyes.

Startled, Xu Nian realized her tail was still on Ji Yuebai’s face. She quickly retracted it, awkwardly joking, “There was a mosquito on your face.”

After saying that, she wanted to slap herself. Mosquitoes in winter?

With her innocent, round eyes, Xu Nian looked sincerely at Ji Yuebai, hoping for understanding and forgiveness.

Ji Yuebai, her eyes like pools of black ink, gradually misted over with tears, which then fell like beads off a broken string.

“Snake… snake… so scary, don’t eat me,” she whimpered.

Xu Nian froze.

It took her a full minute to approach Ji Yuebai. Pointing to herself with her tail, Xu Nian asked hesitantly, “You… don’t remember me?”

Ji Yuebai, cowering in the corner, clutched Xu Nian’s shed snake skin tightly, her beautiful eyes brimming with crystalline tears, shaking her head in extreme fear.

After a moment of silence, Xu Nian inquired, “Do you remember your past? Where you came from?”

Ji Yuebai looked confused. Though afraid, she tried to recall, only to clutch her head in pain. “I don’t know, I can’t remember.”

Xu Nian’s heart skipped a beat. It seemed the thunder tribulation had indeed damaged Ji Yuebai’s memory.

Accustomed to Ji Yuebai’s strong and composed nature, Xu Nian was disturbed and taken aback to see her looking so scared and vulnerable now, resembling a frightened little rabbit.

The thought of teasing Ji Yuebai by pretending to be her mother, who had given her the only transformation fruit that made her human, crossed Xu Nian’s mind. She pictured Ji Yuebai addressing her as ‘Mother,’ a notion that secretly pleased her.

However, she soon dismissed this absurd idea, knowing that if Ji Yuebai ever recovered her memories and realized she’d mistaken a lowly, dirty demon as her mother, she might just slice her into sashimi on the spot.

She figured she might as well not act too fiendish, thinking that maybe, just maybe, when Ji Yuebai regains consciousness, she’d be credited for her good deeds and have that —no-harming-humans— oath lifted.

So, Xu Nian made an effort to appear gentle, speaking to the cornered Ji Yuebai in a voice so tender it was almost sickeningly sweet, “Don’t you remember? I’m the little green snake you once saved. I swore that if you were ever in trouble, I’d repay you. How could I possibly think of eating you?”

Ji Yuebai clearly didn’t believe her. The green snake before her, over three meters long and about a foot thick, shimmered in bright emerald, its belly a creamy hue. Its forked pink tongue flickered as it spoke, occasionally revealing sharp fangs – a seemingly dangerous creature, hardly the type to repay a favor.

Sensing Ji Yuebai’s wariness, Xu Nian hurriedly added, “See, you’re using my shed skin for warmth. Why would I hurt you when I’ve given that to you and used my valuable herbs to treat your wounds?”

Ji Yuebai glanced down, her pale fingers trembling as she realized what she had thought was a blanket was actually the green snake skin, with remnants of used herbs falling from her shoulders.

She now believed Xu Nian somewhat, her initial alarm and fear evidently softening.

Xu Nian, seizing the opportunity, boasted, “Don’t be fooled by my appearance; I’m a good snake. Have you heard the tale of the grateful white snake? I’m just like Bai Suzhen in the story, a warm-hearted snake!”

Ji Yuebai’s gaze softened, her clear voice asking, “So, do you also want to marry me and be my wife?”

Caught off guard, Xu Nian hastily clarified, “No, nothing like that. We are creatures of different worlds…”

Before she could finish, she noticed Ji Yuebai’s relieved sigh.

As expected, even with a mind addled as if struck by lightning, this woman knew how to get under someone’s skin.

Annoyed, Xu Nian turned away; she didn’t want to face this woman for the moment.

By now, Ji Yuebai believed the green snake’s words — it seemed genuinely here to repay a debt. Confirming this, she poked the apparently sulking snake and consoled, “If we can’t be lovers, we can be master and servant. I’ll treat you well.”

Xu Nian, suspicious, scrutinized Ji Yuebai. Had she really lost her memory, or was she just toying with her?

Suddenly remembering something, Xu Nian retrieved Ji Yuebai’s storage bag and dangled it in front of her, “Do you remember what this is?”

Ji Yuebai shook her head in confusion when Xu Nian held out the storage bag, then said, “Let me see.”

She took the bag from Xu Nian, her slender fingers tracing the intricate, beautiful patterns on the moon-white fabric, and then tried to open it. What Xu Nian couldn’t open with brute force, Ji Yuebai easily did with a gentle flick – the bag was apparently attuned to its owner.

Xu Nian, curious, leaned in closer, asking, “What’s inside?”

Ji Yuebai reached into the bag, pulling out a sword adorned with intricate patterns and emanating a cold aura, several porcelain bottles filled with rich spiritual energy, new clothes, and a pile of dazzling, mysterious artifacts she didn’t know how to use.

Xu Nian, intrigued, coiled her tail around the icy sword, examining it closely. This sword was different from the one Ji Yuebai used before – more elegant and heavier. She tried to mimic Ji Yuebai’s swordplay with her tail, but couldn’t replicate the same graceful and effortless movement.

Giving up, Xu Nian then used her tail to pick out a clean set of clothes from the pile and rolled them towards Ji Yuebai. “Don’t wrap yourself in snake skin anymore. Wear this.”

Ji Yuebai picked up the clothes, examining them curiously. She awkwardly tried to put them on, unfamiliar with the process.

As she moved, the snake skin slipped off her snow-white skin, revealing a landscape of enticing contours…

Embarrassed, Xu Nian turned away, saying, “I’ll add some more wood to the fire. Don’t catch a cold.”

She busied herself with the fire, stirring the crackling flames and adding more wood to make it burn brighter.

Suddenly, Ji Yuebai called her. Thinking she’d changed and needed something, Xu Nian swam back.

But she found the woman weakly slumped on the tiger skin, her belt loose, clothes disheveled, her creamy skin contrasting with the tiger fur, a tiny crimson mole below her clear collarbone heaving with her breath, and her flawless knees bruised red.

And yet, her beautiful eyes looked at Xu Nian so pitifully, the corners brimming with unshed tears, making her even more endearing.

Xu Nian gasped, momentarily forgetting Ji Yuebai’s true nature. She comforted her softly, “Are you alright? Did you hurt yourself? I’ll go and beat up that bear and use its fur to make the cave cozier so you won’t get hurt again, okay?”

The spell of infatuation was broken, and Xu Nian instantly regained her senses, though she tried to convince herself otherwise: after all, she had painstakingly cared for this beautiful doll-like figure back to health over half a month, watching her recover bit by bit. How could she not feel attached?

Seeing Xu Nian, Ji Yuebai no longer seemed afraid. She attempted to speak, hesitated, and then bit her lip, as if embarrassed.

Curious, Xu Nian leaned closer, “What’s wrong? Tell me, so I can help you.”

Ji Yuebai looked away and said quietly, “I can’t manage to keep these clothes in place; they keep slipping off. Could you help me put them on properly?”

Xu Nian was momentarily taken aback. She looked Ji Yuebai up and down, her mind a whirl of emotions: This woman, with hands and feet intact, was actually asking a snake to help her dress?

Despite her internal rant, Xu Nian resignedly moved forward to assist her esteemed benefactor with the task of dressing.

Using her tail, Xu Nian held Ji Yuebai’s wrist to guide her in overlapping the front of the garment. “Right, place your hand here and hold it steady.”

Then, biting the waistband, she wrapped it around Ji Yuebai’s slender waist and secured it.

Ji Yuebai watched the diligently working snake and asked softly, “What’s your name?”

Hearing this question for the second time, Xu Nian replied with self-awareness, “I’m Xu Nian. You can call me Xiao Xu, or Ah Nian.” This time, she didn’t ask for the other’s name.

Ji Yuebai nodded. “Although I don’t remember much else, I do remember my name. It’s Ji Yuebai. You can call me…” She pondered for a moment, then hesitantly added, “You can call me Yuebai.”

Hearing the name she had been curious about, Xu Nian earnestly nodded, “Yuebai, that’s a really nice name.”

The cave echoed with the rustling sounds of clothing.

Ji Yuebai then asked, “Ah Nian, are you really just a snake?”

As Xu Nian used her tail to pick up a silk stocking, she gently lifted Ji Yuebai’s delicate and frail leg, jokingly saying, “Actually, I’m not really a snake. I was originally a celestial being in heaven, but I violated the heavenly laws and was banished to the mortal realm, turning into a green snake.”

The tip of Xu Nian’s tail softly brushed over Ji Yuebai’s leg, bringing a mix of ticklish and trembling sensations, causing her breathing to quicken. The cool scales coiled around her ankle, their tiny scales rubbing against the sole of her foot, heating the air around them.

After a long pause, Ji Yuebai asked, “What heavenly law did you break?”

As the soft scales held up the silk stocking, sliding from the tips of her toes, across her forefoot and sole, the tickling sensation seemed to follow its movement, climbing higher, to a place she couldn’t name. Ji Yuebai involuntarily arched her back.

The snake’s voice was seductive, almost whispering in her ear, “Falling in love with a human.”

Ji Yuebai withdrew her leg from the snake’s tail, picking up the other stocking, her voice slightly strained, “I can put this one on.”

Xu Nian nodded approvingly, “That’s good.”

Once she was ready, Ji Yuebai looked no different from the frosty, proud woman she had been before.

However, as soon as she spoke, the illusion shattered, “Ah Nian, I’m hungry.”

Xu Nian asked, “Do you have any food in your storage bag?” She was somewhat tired of eating grilled fish, and they hadn’t caught another bear.

Ji Yuebai looked at the storage bag, then shook her head obediently.

Typically, cultivators at the Foundation Building stage could subsist without food by absorbing spiritual energy from their surroundings. Ji Yuebai, usually solitary, naturally wouldn’t carry something like a pill that negates the need for food. But now, due to her hasty tribulation, her cultivation base was unstable, her hard-earned Golden Core nearly shattered, temporarily preventing her from absorbing spiritual energy.

So, Xu Nian had no choice but to take Ji Yuebai with her to dig for earthworms in the snow for fishing. Frustrated with her tail’s ineffectiveness for digging, she asked Ji Yuebai for her sword. After some hesitation, thinking about relying on Xu Nian for her next meal, Ji Yuebai lent her the sword.

Xu Nian wielded the sword with her tail, digging energetically like using a shovel, quickly unearthing a lot of earthworms.

Xu Nian watched as Ji Yuebai took back the sword, wiping it with the corner of her clothes with a look of concern.

Fortunately, with these earthworms, Xu Nian quickly caught many fish. She skillfully scaled them and gutted them, skewering each one on a sharpened stick to roast by the fire.

Soon, the aroma of grilled fish filled the air. Xu Nian handed one of the golden-brown grilled fish to the quietly waiting Ji Yuebai, cautioning, “Eat up, but be careful not to burn yourself.”

Ji Yuebai sniffed the delicious scent and, like a hamster, puffed up her cheeks and blew on the fish before taking a cautious bite.

The next second, she wrinkled her elegant nose and complained, “It tastes awful.”

Xu Nian wasn’t surprised but sighed, “Well, be grateful for what you have. Without spices, what can I do? I’ve been eating it for over sixty years; it’s so bland that I could cry…”

She grumbled for a while and suddenly seemed to remember something. Her pupils dilated, and she gazed at the woman in front of her with sparkling eyes.

Inside the cave, Xu Nian directed Ji Yuebai, “Check your belongings and make sure everything is packed. Don’t leave anything behind.”

Meanwhile, Xu Nian quickly shook off the tiger skin and packed it into her storage bag. Due to the recent use of herbs, there was some space freed up in the bag, so she carefully packed the remaining spirit stones from the basket.

Once everything was accounted for, Xu Nian focused, and her body underwent a dramatic transformation. From a large snake, she shrank to about half a foot long, as thick as a finger. This was an ability she had mastered after her advancement, allowing her to shrink her size and weight at will while retaining her lethal power – a useful skill for concealment, escape, or attack.

Perched on Ji Yuebai’s shoulder, she excitedly directed, “Let’s go! We’re heading down the mountain for some delicious food.”

The next day, in Qingshui County.

It was the day of the monthly grand market, and the streets were filled with the cries of various vendors. The continual flow of people, ox carts, and the general hustle and bustle filled the streets with a cheerful noise.

Walking through the streets, Ji Yuebai whispered to Xu Nian, hidden in her clothing, “Do I look strange? Why does everyone keep looking at me?”

Xu Nian chuckled, “It’s not that you look strange; you’re just too beautiful. Among ordinary folk, you stand out like a fairy. How could they not stare?”

Feeling her cheeks warm with blush, Ji Yuebai hurriedly changed the subject, “Never mind that, where did you say we can exchange money?”

Actually, Xu Nian didn’t know either. She had never been down the mountain, considering White Tiger’s fate a cautionary tale. She hadn’t been as powerful as White Tiger before, and had she rashly descended, she might have been killed by cultivators.

Now, accompanied by Ji Yuebai, Xu Nian was finally fulfilling a long-held wish.

“Do you see that? There’s a money lender. Take a spirit stone from the storage bag and ask if they’ll exchange it for some coins,” Xu Nian instructed.

Ji Yuebai did as she was told and went inside.

The shopkeeper of the silver exchange was busily clicking away on his abacus when the sound of footsteps entering caught his attention. Lifting his gaze, he was instantly struck dumbfounded.

Before him stood a figure in snow-white attire, with jet-black hair and a sword at her waist. Her mere presence exuded an ethereal, captivating aura.

As Ji Yuebai lifted her eyes, revealing her extraordinary beauty, she seemed like a celestial being, not of this mortal world.

Drawing from years of experience, the shopkeeper promptly surmised that this individual must be one of those immensely powerful cultivators.

Eagerly, he approached her with fawning politeness, “Welcome, honored immortal, to our humble establishment. How may I assist you today?”

Seeing the shopkeeper’s reaction mirrored their rehearsal, Ji Yuebai, following Xu Nian’s guidance, casually tossed a spirit stone onto the counter. “I need to exchange this for some mundane money, please.”

Understanding the implication of the term “mundane,” the shopkeeper immediately recognized that only cultivators used such phrasing. He respectfully took the spirit stone with both hands, “Please wait a moment, honored immortal.”

Qingshui County, though a mortal realm, was uniquely positioned near the Tian Yuan sect and Xiao Cang Mountain, home to various beasts. Thus, low-level demons often strayed into the county, along with many cultivators undertaking missions to eradicate them. As a result, the local silver exchange had established a special service of exchanging spirit stones for gold and silver, catering to cultivators venturing into the mortal world.

The spirit stone Ji Yuebai had tossed was one Xu Nian had found in the Cangli Secret Realm. Comparing it with those in Ji Yuebai’s storage bag, Xu Nian noticed her stone was less uniform in shape but matched, or even slightly exceeded, the energy density of Ji Yuebai’s standardized stones.

Xu Nian was testing whether her found spirit stones could be normally circulated, aside from cultivation use. If not, she planned to switch to Ji Yuebai’s stones, who seemed quite wealthy. Recalling the time she peeked into Ji Yuebai’s storage bag, the casually spilled spirit stones had formed a small mountain.

Soon, the shopkeeper returned, panting, with a tray covered in red cloth. “Sorry to keep you waiting, honored immortal.”

Xu Nian, curious, peeked out, revealing just her gleaming eyes.

She saw the shopkeeper’s plump hand gently lift the red cloth, revealing a row of shiny gold ingots.

Xu Nian inhaled sharply, her heart racing with excitement. Just one stone had fetched so much gold; with her stash of stones, she was set to make a fortune!

The shopkeeper presented the gold with utmost respect, “Honored immortal, this is the ten taels of gold exchanged for your spirit stone.”

Ji Yuebai, far more composed than Xu Nian, casually swept the gold into her storage bag with a flick of her sleeve. Having lost her memory, she had little concept of money, and her original wealth in the cultivation world ranked her among the wealthiest of her generation.

With a flick of her sleeve, she gathered the stack of gold into her storage pouch.

Translation notes:
              Bai Suzhen – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bai_Suzhen . By the way there’s a movie about her with lesbian undertones. Some highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5jA39S8-G8 .

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YuriLover159
YuriLover159
5 months ago

Wowwee! Didn’t expect this turn! Thanks for the chapter!

cyberstingray
cyberstingray
5 months ago

oooh this arc seems like itll be alot of fun, thank you for TL!

Anon
Anon
5 months ago

For some reason I thought she had little arms

Shakthivel
Shakthivel
5 months ago

Thanks for the chapter

JustCallMeDaBoss
JustCallMeDaBoss
2 months ago

Welp … I don’t like memory loss plots but this seems interesting.

Hopefully it doesn’t last long.