Special Thanks to Chajaerin for recommending this song:
But he knew this legend. It was just a lie to deceive ghosts into remaining in the Wangchuan River.
He had been submerged for so many years, yet he was still unable to exchange it for an encounter with her.
Ji Yongchuan was willing to be in the river every day, if only he could see her.
The river would repeatedly show him the person he loved the most. It would show him their best sides and their cruelest sides, repeatedly tormenting the ghosts in the Wangchuan River.
Countless ghosts fell apart like this.
Every time Ji Yongchuan was about to break down, he would crawl ashore and drink Meng Po’s soup.
Meng Po sometimes disdained him for drinking too much, and she would refuse to give him any.
Then he would beat her up until she gave it.
For a long time, the ghosts crossing the bridge would see this bright red scenery.
The ghost king, dressed in a red robe and silver armor, with his black hair tied up high1 and grasping a wine pitcher filled with Meng Po’s soup, sitting next to the Sansheng stone and using his finger to write on the surface.
Two names, squeezed into every available space.
All ten of his fingers dripped with blood, and the bone can be seen through his badly mutilated flesh.
The scene of the ghost king immersing himself in the river and staring blankly at the water made it seem like he was longing for someone.
When Bai Wen crossed the Naihe Bridge, he saw Ji Yongchuan staring foolishly at the Sansheng stone. He wrote his name as he drank Meng Po soup.
Bai Wen was indifferent and asked Meng Po for soup.
Meng Po helplessly used her best effort to scoop up a ladle of soup and barely managed to dredge up half a bowl of soup for Bai Wen.
Bai Wen seeing her struggling, said with knitted brows: “Only half a bowl? Do you want me to be born half a ghost killing expert?”
How much could he forget with half a bowl?
Meng Po gave him an indifferent look. “It’s alright. You have no ties to this world. Your mind is so empty and clear that half a bowl is enough for you to forget everything2.”
Bai Wen: It felt like she was calling him an idiot.
Bai Wen took the soup and walked over to Ji Yongchuan.
His expression and voice were cold. “Ji Yongchuan.”
Ji Yongchuan ignored him and continued to drink Meng Po’s soup.
Bai Wen calmly said: “Give me some soup.”
Ji Yongchuan didn’t even turn his head. It was only after he finished drinking a bottle of Meng Po’s soup that he managed to remember who the person next to him was.
Then Bai Wen saw him reach out, snatch the half-filled bowl of soup, and drink it down to the last drop.
Bai Wen: “…”
After Ji Yongchuan finished drinking, he continued to write their names on the Sansheng stone using the bones of his fingers.
Bai Wen could only wait for Meng Po to boil more soup. He indifferently watched Ji Yongchuan’s self-inflicted mutilation.
“My niece became a sacrifice for you. I was going to look for you to take revenge, but seeing you like this, it seems like it’s more painful for you to be alive than for you to have your soul scattered. So I’ll let you be.”
Ji Yongchuan was silent.
Bai Wen waited a few days for the soup to be finished. He was just about to drink when he remembered something.
“I was born with the heavenly eye3, but I never used it in my entire life. The heavenly eye can see through the world and find souls…”
Ji Yongchuan stood up. He gripped Bai Wen’s collar and slammed him against the stone.
His eyes were bloodshot and vicious. “Quickly, quickly look. Where is she?”
Bai Wen held the soup with one hand, afraid that he’d spill it, and didn’t bother to fuss with Ji Yongchuan, this foolish ghost.
With the other hand, he unlocked the seal on his left eye. His eye took on a strange white color.
Suddenly, the white became a strange blue color.
The blue color gradually turned darker, then returned to the previous white.
Bai Wen frowned, looking puzzled. “Her soul has disappeared. It’s not here. Not in the ghost world, with the immortals, the Buddhas, or the living–there’s no trace of her anywhere. You can’t wait for her, give up.”
Ji Yongchuan’s hope became despair.
His dark eyes violently trembled.
“I don’t believe it. I didn’t devour her soul. She can’t not be here.”
1: 墨发高束: black hair in either a ponytail or a bun? I’m not sure if this counts, but I’ll take any chance to look at Xiao Zhan’s face (＾་།＾)↩
2: Again, the spirits of the dead drink Meng Po’s soup to forget the memories of their previous life before re-entering the reincarnation cycle. But for Bai Wen, who has no ties to people or things in this world, there’s nothing that binds his desires and regrets to his past life. Since he has fewer regrets and desires, he doesn’t need as much soup to forget his memories before being reborn↩
3: 天眼: the heavenly eye, or divine eye. One of five non-corporeal eyes that enlightened beings possess. The heavenly eye can perceive Buddhas, spirits, ghosts, and gods in the heavens.↩