Watch me eat fish, it’s exciting! - Chapter 1
The Yunliang Mountain’s terrain has dozens of large and small peaks. It was all tThanks to the remoteness of the environment, the area’s natural ecology remained undamaged.
Yan Ran carried his suitcase while checking his phone. Out here, the signal was poor; he barely had two bars worth. Fortunately, he had already downloaded a map of the area. According to it, the ancestral fish pond was located in a nearby village.
Yan Ran looked out over the village in front of him and couldn’t help but mutter, “Grandfather said the big city outside seemed no different compared with the mountain where we used to live…”
Originally, Yan Ran was just a kitten Yao1 who lived in the Kunlun mountains with his grandfather. However, the government decreed that all the young Yaos must join hands be integrated with the humans and contribute to the development of the state.
In response to the national call, Yan Ran’s grandfather, a one-meter-tall orange cat, touched the head of Yan Ran, a small golden milk kitten, and solemnly informed him, “Child, all the fish down there will one day be yours! You must live up to the territorydomain your ancestors won for you!”
After that, the large orange cat grabbed Yan Ran by his scruff and tossed him- the kitten was then sent flying, hurtling through the air until he landed more than a thousand kilometres away. When Yan Ran had opened his eyes, he found himself in the Yunliang Mountains. He spent a long time wandering around the mountains until he eventually made his way out.
Despite being thrown out, Yan Ran’s mood was still very good every time he thought about the future his grandfather promised him. It didn’t matter if he was thrown out, there was nothing that couldn’t be solved by eating a fish! If the problem wasn’t solved, he could just eat a second fish!!!
Yan Ran leapt high into the air and surveyed the village he had just arrived in from above; he easily located the mansion his grandfather had prepared for him. Unlike the rest of the houses which were single-story and made of plain bricks, this one had white walls, red tiles and was two floors tall, being made in the western style with a private courtyard and enclosed garden. It was clearly the largest and most luxurious house in the village. Holding his hundred kilo suitcase of dried fish in a single hand, Yan Ran darted to the house’s gate.
The courtyard gate was opened and freshly cleaned in anticipation of Yan Ran’s arrival. As he passed under the gate, a fat aunty wearing an apron came out carrying a mop. Upon spotting him, a warm smile spread across her face and she said, “So you finally arrived, Yan family heir. I’ve just finished cleaning the house. Have you had lunch? Come on in, I’ll cook for you.”
Yan Ran tilted his head, some doubt displayed within his crystal cat eyes.
“Auntie, who are you?”
“I am from this Dawang village, you can call me Aunt Wang. Your grandfather informed me you were coming when he commissioned the building of this house for you. I will take care of feeding you and cleaning for you until you have adapted to your new life here. Let me know what you want to eat, I’m the best cook in the whole village and it’s my job to keep you comfortable and healthy!”
Aunt Wang enthusiastically grabbed Yan Ran’s suitcase and dragged it away. Despite its weight, she effortlessly lifted it over the stairs and brought it into the house. She looked at Yan Ran, who looked like he couldn’t truss up a chicken, and didn’t let him do anything.
The people of Dawang village had lived there for centuries. They were the guardians of the mountain, though not all were surnamed ‘Wang’. It was said that their ancestors had received the aid of the Yan clan in generations past, and, after surviving destruction, gathered here, eventually forming a village. The villagers were simple and honest, even after a century past, they were still grateful to the Yan Yao. Knowing that the Yan heir would arrive, they prepared many things to ensure he was well cared for.
Even if Yan Ran wanted to help Aunt Wang, he couldn’t. She was used to farming, and as a result was very strong and moved swiftly; she had already finished before he could start to help. Yan Ran’s heart was warmed by Aunt Wang’s kindness. He could feel people’s intentions towards him, both good and bad.
The European style room was relatively bright, the house and all the furniture were spotless. Yan Ran had a look around and realised there was a large bathroom on the second floor. He immediately shut the door. He didn’t like baths, he hated the feeling of water on his fur; if he was dirty, he would just lick himself clean. He considered showering to be anti-cat, but not as bad as taking a bath. Yan Ran believed that bathing, for cats, was inhumane, and that that the bathroom must be sealed, never to see the light of day again!
After leaving the bathroom, Yan Ran went to another room and found a wall with an oversized fish tank embedded within. The tank was over two meters long and filled with more than a dozen Koi darting about without a care. Yan Ran’s eyes brightened at the sight, and he couldn’t help but swallow, salivating at the thought of so many fish.
He hadn’t felt any hunger before, but suddenly he was ravenous.
Aunt Wang had already started cooking while Yan Ran explored the house. Experienced chefs knew how difficult it was to simmer meat and have the fragrance waft throughout the house just from the broth. Since Yan Ran could smell it, he knew that auntie Wang hadn’t been bragging about being the best cook in the village. He could smell ginger, onions, spring onions, garlic, and pepper- all mixed with the scent of meat cooked just right!
Aunt Wang placed the meat aside to cool down and washed a small rapeseed plant from the garden with some garlic- she planned to make garlic infused rapeseed oil for a salad.
Yan Ran arrived downstairs to see aunt Wang busy hard at work. When he tried to help, she quickly warned him, “Be careful, the meat is very hot!”
Yan Ran smiled and rinsed the meat with cold water, “When the surface of the meat is cold while it’s still hot within, cutting it at the joints can easily break the fat off. If you’re worried that skin’s too hot, then soak your hands in cold water to cool the surface down. This is the best time to cut the meat!”
Aunt Wang observed how effortlessly Yan Ran cut the meat into uniform slices. His knife skills were very proficient, and she instantly realised that he was used to cooking. Her fat cheeks rose in laughter and her gaze towards Yan Ran now had a bit more respect.
“You can cook at such a young age? My son is your age and he can’t even fry an egg!”
Yan Ran smiled confidently and proudly declared, “Cooking fish is my speciality.”
Yan Ran took a look round the kitchen and noticed the large refrigerator. It was stuffed with meat and vegetables, yet there wasn’t a fish in sight. It made him a little disappointed.
“Aunt Wang, why isn’t there any fish?”
How is a cat supposed to eat a meal without fish?
“If you want fish, we can go into town and buy it tomorrow.”
“Auntie, isn’t my family’s fish pond in this town?”
Wang had put the cooked meat in a wok to fry until it turned a delicious golden yellow. As she cooked, she spoke, “There’s a big pond east of the village. It’s full of fish, but no one’s been able to catch anything.”
As soon as Yan Ran realized there were fish in his pond, he grinned. Clenching his fists, he turned to Aunt Wang and happily proclaimed, “No matter, I will catch them.”
“Do not go!” Wang immediately protested. She warned him, “That fish pond hasn’t dried up in centuries, its depth is unfathomable. It is said that the fish within have become Yao, and some of the largest exceed ten meters in length. Furthermore…Satellite images depict some that look like Nessie! If you use a fishing rod, the fishing rod will be destroyed; use a fishing net, then the fishing net will be destroyed. You can’t even pass by the lake for fear a fish would briefly surface and layer you in mud with an unlucky splash. Finally, entering the lake is the worst option… the fish are just too big, they can bite a man in half!”
Yan Ran cocked his head in amusement and calmly informed her, “You can rest assured, I will definitely catch a fish. You start prepping, I will bring back some fish soon.”
After declaring such, he sprinted out the door while flashing his sharp cat claws; if he couldn’t even catch one fish, how could he call himself a cat?
“Agh! This kid!” Aunt Wang stomped her foot in annoyance when she couldn’t stop him, complaining in her heart- Sure enough, a young boy won’t easily listen to advice. However, she was still busy cooking, so she merely shouted at Yan Ran’s departing back, “If you can’t catch a fish, hurry back! But whatever you do, don’t go into the water- those are man-eating fish!”
Yan Ran excitedly passed through a blooming peach forest, heading towards his fish pond, which had a total area exceeding 3000 square meters according to his map. When he neared the end of the trees, he heard the sound of a man’s voice. Curious, he could not help but walk beyond the forest’s boundary and stand on the lakeshore, gazing in the direction of the human voice.
At that time, a tall young man stabbed a selfie stick into the sand on the lake shore, letting both the camera and Yan Ran bear witness to his actions. He wielded a two-meter long harpoon in his hands- then swiftly, accurately, and aggressively threw it into a school of cyprinoid fish in the shallows. With a bang, there was a splash in the water!
The young man hurriedly yanked on the harpoons connecting rope, but when he hauled it back to shore, the blade was bare of anything but a few grass roots and a layer of mud. He was unwilling to give up and repeatedly threw his harpoon. But regardless of how many times he reeled it in, he couldn’t snag a single fish scale.
When Yan Ran saw this scene, he couldn’t help but shake his head, and think Stupid. Such a large man couldn’t even catch a small fish. Humankind’s IQ grew rapidly, so why had this man’s hunting ability reduced to this degree?
The young man hunting on the lake shore was named Wang Yiming. He was the most miraculous news anchor on the farming channel on the Huangpu live show. Other anchors on the farming show broadcast how to work the land, planting vegetables and grains. Meanwhile, Yiming broadcast how to fight a battle of wits and courage with man-eating fish.
Mentioning Wang Yiming, he was a gifted student who graduated from an elite coalition of universities called Project 211. Unfortunately, the major he chose was far too niche- post graduation he became yet another one of Beijing’s drifters, and after fruitlessly searching for a job for two seasons, he grit his teeth and returned home to farm.
Fortunately, Yiming was caught up on the times- he grabbed onto the live streaming farmer fad and made a pretty penny from the craze. However, Yiming was still rather different than the typical farming host; in more than two months of broadcasting, he hadn’t achieved a single success, and today he was once again covered in mud with nothing to show for it.
Wang Yiming was quite annoyed by this. He swiped the mud off his face and exasperatedly muttered to the camera, “Fuck this, I’m sure I’ll catch a fish tomorrow! At that time, I will steam, braise, or fry, whatever catches my fancy, that’s how I will cook and eat my fish!”
On the bullet screen2, Yiming read his viewer’s responses and received a nasty shock- his viewers were mocking him with endless taunts!
——Hahaha, host, you said the same thing two months ago!
——Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow! How many tomorrow’s will you give us?!
——This one-meter-eight host actually can’t win against a tiny fish. Is this the annihilation of humanity or the degeneration of society!
Wang Yiming was shamed to the point of anger, ready to defend his honor. “Don’t get too cocky, you little shits! If someone, anyone, can fish from this lake, I will live broadcast myself shitting while doing a handstand!”
Just as he finished his rant, Yiming saw a pretty boy wearing a round necked T-shirt and blue jeans staring at him from a small ways up the lakeshore. The boy seemed only 18 years old and was slim while sporting a gentle and harmless look. He looked delicate with red lips and white teeth and deep eyes that glittered with cleverness. As he gazed at Yiming, the pretty boy picked up a long twig between his toes and stabbed it into the water.
In an instant, the pretty boy had withdrawn his branch, showing a twitching and gasping meter long fish.
Wang Yiming: !!!
1: Yao is an animal that can transform into a human after cultivating Dao.
2: A video comment system. The host can speak in real time while the audience can only send text messages