The Legendary “Guarding a tree awaiting a rabbit”
- TL: AmeryEdge
- ED: JSmith
Inside the forest, Tang En was gleefully tying up the wild pheasant using the vine ropes he made. After finishing, he went around to collect the various equipments and items he use for the trap; a short wooden club and a net made from small branches.
That’s right, this trap was laid out by Tang En. Of course, it was all under the instruction of the Housekeeper.
The problem with the crossbow’s accuracy cannot be solved in a short amount of time, especially with such a crude weapon. That’s why, after teaching Tang En some small methods for hiding, the old butler taught him how to make some simple traps. The result spoke for itself. Tang En finally solved his most pressing problem when coming to this new strange world, his aching stomach.
Now that the meat had been acquired, he had to worry about turning it into food. The Housekeeper recommended him to cook it Beggar’s Chicken style (1). The meal was simple and quick, the taste wasn’t bad, and most crucially they didn’t have to waste time plucking the chicken.
After successfully making a fire and bringing over some water from the well, Tang En prepared to deal with the peasant who was lying still waiting for it’s fate. Before, he did say that he had never even killed a chicken, and this was the truth.
Tang En’s background was ordinary, but his parents spoiled him quite a lot during his youth and never let him do things like this. Furthermore, he just graduated and had not had the time to accumulate the necessary life skills, so he had yet to skin and cook his own chicken.
But, the hunger was real. The piece of rye bread before was the only thing he had since coming here.
Tang En sighed: “I must tell you, I am forced to do this. Chicken ah, today you fell into my hand so you must die, please quickly reincarnate and have a good next life…”
After gathering his resolve, he kneeled down beside the pheasant, his arms lifting up the short ax and sliced downward.
“Cuckoooo!” Fresh blood overflowing, the pheasant let out a final pitiful call.
Tang En could only feel his hands getting warmer. He looked down to see the pheasant blood covering his entire hand, a never ending torrent was streaming out non-stop. Who would had thought, the headless pheasant suddenly flapped its wings and ran away at high speed.
Tang En’s body went stiff. How unscientific can this get?
He had heard of boiled ducks being able to flap their wings, but he had never seen a headless chicken ran.
After running for dozens of metres, the comical scene finally ended, the pheasant fell down on the ground and completely stopped moving.
After that unreal experience, everything went smoothly. Tang En was finally able to taste this legendary meal after grilling the meat for some time. The nutritional value of pheasants was very high, there was plenty of fat and the flesh was of the highest quality. However, without condiment, spices or herbs, the taste itself was quite bland. Tang En was of course too hungry to pay this any mind. Furthermore, this was food he had acquired with his own hands, and he felt an immense satisfaction when eating it.
After several more days like this, Tang En began to settle into the forest.
He still hadn’t come up with a future plan for his life in this foreign world. Tang En didn’t want to become an assassin. The danger was a part of it, but the main part was he was unable to get over his own self restriction. He was just a normal upstanding and honest student, even though he was just second class at best, committing murder for money wasn’t something he can do.
Even though he didn’t want to kill, he still trained diligently inside the Assassin Space. The Housekeeper gave him various tasks and he followed them obediently. This was mainly because he didn’t really have anything else to do, but also because he wanted to be able to defend himself.
The old butler did not try to push him against his wish. He only arranged several assassination like games and tasked him to complete them. Even though Tang En was hesitant about becoming a killer, towards these kinds of games he didn’t have any qualms.
Especially, the difficulty of these games were very high. Tang En trained for days but still had not passed the first door. This made the self proclaimed gaming genius feel very ashamed, so he focused all of his efforts into solving the puzzles.
The first door of the game involved stealing a treasure sword of a noble. This goal didn’t seem to be very difficult from the outset, but everytime Tang En’s head peeked out nearby the noble’s mansion, the guard dogs would immediately discover him and barked non-stop. The guards would then come and kill him in one move, causing him to feel extremely frustrated. Luckily, this was only a virtual game, no mouse or keyboards to speak of, or else a countless number of them would have already been smashed by him.
Lunch time was coming.
“Damnit, again with the damn dog, don’t let me have a chance to get to you, or I’ll cut you into pieces!” Tang En angrily carried his hunting gears as he searched for a place to set up the trap.
This was the first time he had successfully knocked a guard out. He even managed to climb over the walls and headed inside the room of the noble, but before he can celebrate, a rousing round of barking sounded out. Tang En once again became hunted to death by the guards. Your Mother, you are a guard dog, why did you wander to the back of the house?
Ooh, what a fat rabbit. Too bad I can’t catch it… Tang En drool was already flowing while staring at the hare hiding several tens of metres away.
Tang En unconsciously observed the four directions, even though he was at a disadvantage, the forest was dense and there was plenty of cover… Ah, what the heck am I thinking. Do you think you are the Housekeeper? Tang En quietly mock himself.
But in the end, he couldn’t help but step forward. Fine, let’s just give it a try, I wouldn’t lose anything if I failed anyway.
Tang En licked his lips and slowly crawled towards the hare.
Calm mind, still heart, breathe deeply and observe everything.
See when the hare is grazing, see when it looks up, see the trees that will cover you, the distance between them, see the dried twigs underneath your feet.
Slowly and surely.
At this moment, Tang En was quietly walking, his eyes did not waver, his mind focusing only in the method of movement taught by the old butler.
He was like a shadow of a ghost, steps after steps, the wild hare was completely unaware of his presence.
Inside the space, the Housekeeper calmly looked at the events transpiring, the corner of his mouth slightly raising, “Not bad, you have already trained to this stage. However, would it be so easily caught?”
With over a dozen metres between them, Tang En had made it half way.
Suddenly, the hare’s two large ears shot up, it carefully examines the area in front of it.
There was only normal trees and plants, the forest breeze was blowing by pushing the leaves around, causing many noises.
The hare used its nose to sniff several time, then pulling back its eyes and continue to eat.
Tang En stood behind a tree, his eyes frowning. Just then he had only took half a step before the rabbit had sensed him. Is it impossible to get closer? If it was, how did the old butler did it? I can’t figure it out…
Calm down, calm down. There had to be a way.
With this distance, the rabbit will continue to graze while I am behind wind. The problem might be related to sound. I can’t hear my own footsteps, but that doesn’t mean it can’t.
How do I make the rabbit hear the sound but remain unalert? Damnit, the more I think the harder it is to understand. Tang En breathe in quietly, this rabbit is not so simple…
At this time, a light suddenly went off in his mind. Tang En lifted his head to look at the leaves falling and flying around, making soft noises. Noises? Noises.
Tang En frowned, in a blink of an eye, he took a step out from behind the tree. Ten metres away, the rabbit shows no reaction.
Success! So that’s the trick. Tang En tried his best to restrain the excitement he felt and slowly walked forward.
Inside the space, the old butler lightly nodded. This kid really did have hidden talent.
Tang En at best, was a rookie assassin student, he had only began to learn some small concealment technique. Actually, he couldn’t even be called a rookie. The sound of his footsteps was impossible to erase, and the rabbit’s ears weren’t useless. If there was any strange sound, it will be instantly alerted.
But this time, the rabbit’s problem was that there was “no strange sounds”. To a rabbit, occasional noises coming from the forest was something normal, so Tang En had used the sound of leaves to his advantage.
But, could it really be that easy? Everybody knows the wind in the forest was erratic, maybe if there was someone with ample experience, they would be able to tell the rhythm of the wind, but that kind of person was definitely not the current Tang En.
When Tang En was three metres away from the rabbit, the wind abruptly stopped.
The rabbit looked up. With such a close distance, Tang En could even see the rabbit’s mouth and teeth as it chewed on grass.
The moment the wind stopped, Tang En immediately leapt forward with the net when he realised he was in a disadvantageous situation.
Tang En’s reaction was not slow, but the rabbit was faster. Its powerful hind leg moved, quickly shooting it past the net.
Damn, failure at the last moment! Tang En fell flat, his mouth grimacing in pain.
Not waiting for Tang En to fully regret, a loud noise sounded out right next to him.
He looked over full of surprise and temporarily became dazed.
Before, he had heard of a line from a movie. “Life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you are going to get.” Back then Tang En didn’t really have any particular feeling about this quote.
However, right now, as he looked upon the dead rabbit lying next to him, Tang En suddenly felt that the quote made a lot of sense. During its panicked escape, the rabbit had rammed head first into the nearby tree trunk, knocking itself out.
“Ha ha, this is the “Guarding a Tree Awaiting a Rabbit” parable coming to life!(2) The ancestors really didn’t deceive me.” Tang En picked up the unlucky hare with a refreshing feeling.
Tang En’s culinary skills were limited, and this was only when applied to chicken. He really didn’t know if he should try make “Beggar’s Hare” or not. After these past few days, he had grown friendly with the old farmer. Whenever he hunted any food, he would bring some to share with him.
The old farmer’s wife had long passed away, and he also didn’t want to follow his sons into the city, so he had remained here by himself. Even though he didn’t really need to worry about food and clothing, he was always lonely. Seeing Tang En carrying a fat rabbit while walking towards his house, his eyes brightened. He quickly came out and welcomed Tang En.
Weighing the rabbit with his hand, the old farmer’s face showed obvious joy: “This damn beast had lived a full life, it weigh at least 5 pounds. Tang, thanks to your hard work we can eat well today.”
Tang En laughed and said, “This isn’t my labor. My luck was great today, I just stepped outside when I saw this dumb rabbit leaping into a tree and killing itself. Ha ha!”
“Hahaha, Tang, you really do like to joke. Wait a bit, this old man will take care of this rabbit first. You go down to the basement and grab some olive wine, today we must feast.” The olive wine was made by the old farmer using a green fruit commonly found in this area, and it had a tangy flavour to it.
The old farmer whipped up some simple meals using the meat at a very fast pace. After half an hour, he had already brought out two plate of rabbit meat, one fried one stewed. They had distinctly different tastes, and the smell alone was enough to make people want to chow down on them.
Tang En grabbed two wine cup and poured the olive wine inside.
The old farmer rubbed his hands and said, “Today I will only make these two meals. The rest of the meat had already been marinated, tomorrow I’ll make you some smoked rabbit meat. The taste cannot be underestimated. Tsk tsk..”
“Ha ha, very good.” Tang En was very happy.
Food and wine already set up, but Tang En didn’t hurriedly eat. After these few days, he understood that the old farmer was a devout believer. Every meal, he always prayed.
“I thank the Light God for gifting us this meal…”
The god the old farmer prayed to was the male statue standing atop the small church inside the village, called the Light God. Aside from the monthly expense and taxes for the land, the rest of his money was donated to the church.
These days, while talking with the old man, Tang En learnt that he was at the Caesar Continent. This world was ruled by a mix of Monarchy and Theocracy. About the Monarchy system, it was similar to other monarchies that Tang En had learnt about in history.
Tang En’s location was in the Titus Kingdom, one of the two big kingdoms of Caesar Continent. About the other kingdom, while one can call it a kingdom, it was no different from a tribe. The North Desolate Tribe.
A mountain cannot contain two tigers. Wars were constantly waged between the Titus Kingdom and the North Desolate Tribe. But to the old farmer, this matter was too far away, because Little Stone village was at the south of the kingdom. In his entire life, he had never met a terrifying “Barbarian” of the North Desolate Tribe.
The thing the piqued Tang En’s interest the most was when the old farmer talked about the existence of Magic and Battle Qi. Of course, even though Tang En wanted to know more, the old man knew very little about these subjects.
About magic, the old farmer can only say that he heard it was an extremely prestigious ability, in his entire life, he had only ever seen Father York perform Healing. That’s right, it was the same strange light Tang En first saw when he woke up.
About Battle Qi, the old man only knows that the noble with the highest position in the local area was a Knight Master with that kind of ability.
After the old farmer finished praying, Tang En couldn’t wait anymore and dig in, he constantly shoveled the rabbit meat inside his mouth.
After a few pieces of meat and cups of wine, the old farmer began to get long-winded. The content was the same as before, but the length of the story was totally different.
Something about the granddaughter of the Village Chief John having good fate, being tutored by Father York and introduced to the Light God church, a few days ago she was sent to a distant monastery to be trained…
Or the story of when he was young, he saw a magician flying across the sky, with a lift of his hand destroying some unknown evil beast…
After that, he talked about the stories he had heard from travelling minstrels. Tang En lifted the wine cup and smiled. Life was interesting here.
Downing the drink, he silently thought, “Father, mother, I am okay now. You two shouldn’t worry too much…”
(1) Beggar’s Chicken
(2) 守株待兔 or literally Hug Tree Wait Rabbit, is the saying that is used to allude to people people who are lazy or stupid, and could only coast through life on other’s efforts. The original tale is about a farmer who was sleeping underneath a tree when a rabbit ran by and accidentally killed itself jumping into a tree. The farmer then quit farming and sat by the tree all day everyday to wait for another rabbit, but it never came. [Full story here]