A Nest of Snakes Inside an Old Tomb - Chapter 14
Yin Dabai took three eggs in total from the nest in the tree, leaving two eggs behind. Yin Dabai took that opportunity to say, “Xiaoxiao, you have to remember that we can’t kill them all. If we leave some, then we’ll still have bird eggs to eat in the future. Understand?”
Yin Xiaoxiao was impatient. “I got it, I got it. We only take what is needed. Don’t overhunt, otherwise nature will retaliate against us, right?”
Yin Xiaoxiao lowered his head and ate the three eggs. Afterall, he couldn’t just let his Dad drag him back home to eat after they had come all this way. After he finished eating, Yin Xiaoxiao slithered away. Yin Dabai silently followed Yin Xiaoxiao. Why did he not feel a sense of accomplishment as a snake-dad? And, did Xiaoxiao really understand? He had said ‘I got it, I got it’, but did he really understand?
Feeling aggrieved, Yin Dabai followed behind Yin Xiaoxiao, who was looking for another bird’s nest. Those three eggs just weren’t enough, okay?
Yin Xiaoxiao finally found a tree with a bird’s nest. Immediately, he excitedly turned around to look at Yin Dabai. He pointed, “Here’s one! Here’s one!”
Yin Dabai looked, following the tip of Yin Xiaoxiao’s pointing tail, and also saw the bird’s nest.
In his excitement, Yin Xiaoxiao overlooked the dangers and his capabilities. “Dad, is it okay if I go up this time? Is it okay?” he asked Yin Dabai, in high spirits.
Yin Dabai was just about to say “out of the question”, but then remembered what led up to this. It would be good for Yin Xiaoxiao to suffer a little, too. And so, donning a doting and loving expression, he said, “Of course, Xiaoxiao.”
Yin Xiaoxiao backed up a step, trembling. Just now, what happened to Dad’s body?”
Yin Xiaoxiao gulped. “Then, then I’m going.” And so saying, he climbed the tree at light speed…of course that was impossible, but it was still a speed that was greater than his usual.
As Yin Xiaoxiao wooshed up the tree, Yin Dabai watched with what could be called regret. If he hadn’t feigned indulgence, then Xiaoxiao probably wouldn’t have gone up.
By the time Yin Xiaoxiao had returned to his senses, he had found that he had already climbed the tree. He happily shouted, “Dad! Dad! I climbed it!”
“Xiaoxiao sure is something!” Yin Dabai praised Yin Xiaoxiao. After all, children still needed to be praised for their accomplishments. ‘But,’ Yin Dabai sniggered inwardly, ‘let’s see how you get those eggs down from that tree!’ Yin Xiaoxiao’s tail was short and thin. How could he haul at big, fat bird egg down?!
So, Yin Dabai looked up from the base of the tree to watch this farce.
Indeed, Yin Xiaoxiao had discovered the same problem. If he started down the tree with the egg, he feared that he wouldn’t even make it halfway before the egg would fall, smashing to pieces.
And so, Yin Xiaoxiao poked his head into the bird’s nest, stretched out his neck, and immediately swallowed an egg. Then, he tilted his head and spat out the shell, which tumbled out of the tree.
Yin Dabai watched as the eggshell fell to the ground in front of him. How could he have forgotten that they were originally here so that Yin Xiaoxiao could eat bird eggs?! Xiaoxiao didn’t need to haul them anywhere when he could simply eat them! How could he have forgotten the whole purpose of this?!
Sitting in the middle of the tree, eating bird eggs, Yin Xiaoxiao had no idea about Yin Dabai’s inner strife. Yin Xiaoxiao ate some eggs, left some eggs, then cheerfully climbed down the tree and began to search for the next nest.
Yin Xiaoxiao ate until he was full and avoided the midday sun. Then, Yin Xiaoxiao and Yin Dabai began to make their way back. As before, Yin Xiaoxiao wound himself around the upper half of Yin Dabai’s body. This time, Yin Dabai didn’t try to show off. “Xiaoxiao, can I talk to you about something?”
Yin Xiaoxiao hummed twice to show that he was listening. That was a good thing, right?
“We just started the trip back, but I’m a little tired. You can slither on your own for a bit, right?”
Slither by himself? Yin Xiaoxiao hesitated. He was stuffed, okay. He didn’t want to move.
“Xiaoxiao, you aren’t so cruel as to treat your tired father like this, right?” Seeing reluctance pass over Yin Xiaoxiao’s face, Yin Dabai continued to cajole him, otherwise it really would be impossible to return!
Finally, Yin Xiaoxiao reluctantly1 agreed, “Okay, only I don’t want to crawl too much!”
Yin Dabai sighed and agreed with wholehearted relief, and the two snakes began to slither in the direction of home.
“Dad, I have a question about the trip.” Even tired, Yin Xiaoxiao was smart. He had suddenly recalled that: “According to what you and Pop said, the seat of this mountain range should have a lot of vipers. We travelled a lot, so how come we haven’t seen any other vipers?”
“A long time ago, the topography here was different. This used to be the mountain top.”
The mountaintop? Yin Xiaoxiao unconsciously looked around. Right here looked like a plain.
“Later, something, I don’t know what, caused the mountaintop to cave in, and it turned into the large basin we’re in now. A lot of the viper clans lost members in that cave in.” It was at this point that Yin Dabai’s tone turned somewhat gloomy. “In spite of this, the viper clans’ members are still very numerous. But, no one likes to live too close to each other, so even neighbors live quite far away.”
Yin Xiaoxiao recalled their visit to Lan Yiyi’s home. It was, indeed, quite distant from theirs.
“Plus, vipers have long lifespans. No matter how large this mountain range, it’s still small enough to be boring. The majority of snakes live in the mountains beyond this one. Only snakes who want to lay eggs return here.”
Yin Xiaoxiao let out a sound of comprehension. It was no wonder that he hadn’t seen any other snakes.
“Then, when I grow up I’ll be able to venture beyond this mountain, too?” Yin Xiaoxiao asked, becoming excited.
“That…” Yin Dabai hesitated. Yin Xiaoxiao didn’t have inherited memories, so he wasn’t sure if he would feel comfortable letting this snake leave. “When leaving, normally snakes go together in twos or threes, and having a companion also helps make it less boring.” And then Yin Dabai began to babble nonsense, “Ah, that’s right. It’s best to have a partner when leaving. And it’s so nice to be together with a partner and stuff. You can go for a stroll and be romantic.” The more Yin Dabai spoke, the more he felt like he’d hit upon something. If Yin Xiaoxiao had a partner, then he and Hua Xiaohua could be at ease. Yes, that’s right! They had to find Xiaoxiao a partner as soon as possible!
Oi, oi! Dabai! Just how long has it been since Yin Xiaoxiao was born, huh? You already want to marry him off, huh?!
It was said it took thirty years for vipers to reach maturity, after which a partner could be decided upon!
Naturally, Yin Xiaoxiao didn’t know that his Dad was thinking about looking for a very venomous and very strong partner for him. He only saw Yin Dabai gently laughing with a foolish expression on his face, and Yin Xiaoxiao’s blood immediately ran cold2. Yin Xiaoxiao fell off Yin Dabai. “Dad, aren’t you tired? I’ll crawl on my own for now.”
After that, Yin Xiaoxiao focused on slithering with all his strength, doing his best to ignore Yin Dabai, who followed along behind Yin Xiaoxiao while giggling incessantly.