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Chapter 1: A Snowy Night, Little Taiping Knocks on the Door for Charcoal

 

“Bang, bang bang…”

 

In the howling cold wind, a little boy dressed in thin clothes, shivered as he knocked on the door of a household.

 

It was New Year’s Eve, and laughter could be heard from time to time in the yard.

 

“Bang, bang bang…”

 

After waiting for a long time without a response, the little boy raised his hand and pulled the door ring, knocking lightly a few times.

 

“Hoo…”

 

It was too cold, and after knocking, he immediately put his hand to his mouth and breathed out, warming it up.

 

Not only his hands, but his feet, which were only wearing straw sandals, were also frozen and almost numb.

 

“Who is it?”

 

Fortunately, at this time, someone in the yard finally responded.

 

The little boy’s face lit up.

 

“Second Uncle, it’s me.”

 

He quickly replied.

 

“Squeak…”

 

Before long, the door was opened, and a middle-aged man with a honest appearance, poked his head out from the crack of the door.

 

“Oh, it’s Taiping. What are you doing here so late?”

 

The middle-aged man asked the little boy.

 

“Se…Second Uncle…the charcoal at home is gone, I want, I want to borrow a few pounds of charcoal from you. Next spring, I can go up the mountain to chop firewood, and I will pay you back.”

 

The little boy looked a bit embarrassed and dodged his eyes.

 

“A few pounds of charcoal are worth a few pennies? You just wait here, Uncle will get it for you right away!”

 

The man waved his hand and agreed without hesitation.

 

“Taiping, have you eaten yet?”

 

After taking a few steps, the man suddenly stopped and turned his head to ask the little boy.

 

“I…I…I ate…Grandpa…Grandpa didn’t eat…”

 

The little boy’s hand clenched his clothes tightly. By the end of his words, his voice was barely audible.

 

The middle-aged man sighed softly and then smiled and said:

 

“You wait here, Second Uncle will be back soon.”

 

“Mm.”

 

The little boy nodded lightly.

 

At this time another gust of cold wind blew by, and the little boy shivered all over. But his heart was not so cold anymore.

 

“Taiping!”

 

Before long, the middle-aged man came out with a dustpan in his hand.

 

“Take it.”

 

The second uncle who was exhaling white breath walked quickly to the door and shoved the dustpan into the little boy’s arms.

 

The little boy looked down and saw that in addition to a few pounds of charcoal in the dustpan, there were also four steaming white flour buns.

 

“Second Uncle, I…”

 

Looking at those big white buns, the boy was a bit frightened. But he hadn’t eaten for a day and couldn’t help swallowing when he saw those white buns.

 

“Take it!”

 

The middle-aged man smiled heartily.

 

“Ermu (second brother), why are you still dawdling in the yard?”

 

Just then, a somewhat burly woman walked quickly to the door.

 

Seeing this woman, both the little boy and the middle-aged man changed their faces.

 

“Taiping…Taiping came to borrow some charcoal.”

 

The middle-aged man gave a sheepish smile to the woman. His eyes dodged and he was full of fear.

 

“Se…Second Aunt.”

 

The little boy called out to the woman.

 

The woman first gave the middle-aged man a white look. Then she looked at the little boy and finally landed on the dustpan in his hand.

 

When she saw those white buns on top of the charcoal, her face sank immediately.

 

“These white buns are for Xiaohu (little tiger), I don’t even want to eat them myself. You are so generous!”

 

The woman glared at the middle-aged man fiercely. Then she grabbed two white buns with one hand without any grace.

 

“Mommy, is the roast goose ready yet? I want to eat roast goose. I don’t want to gnaw on white buns!”

 

At this time, a boy wearing a new cotton jacket and chubby came out of the house. When he saw the white buns in the woman’s hand, he immediately looked unhappy.

“Son, what are you doing out here? It’s cold outside, go back to the house quickly, don’t catch a cold.”

The woman looked anxious and walked towards the chubby boy.

“Mommy, I don’t want white buns, I want roast goose!”

The chubby boy stomped his feet unhappily, as if he was about to cry.

“Okay, okay, okay, the roast goose will be ready soon. These buns are for Ah Huang (a dog’s name).”

The woman coaxed the chubby boy with a doting face, while casually throwing the two white buns into the dog cage under the eaves.

“Sigh…”

Seeing this scene, the middle-aged man frowned and then sighed helplessly.

The little boy looked at the buns that were being gnawed by the dog and bit his lip. Then he hugged the dustpan with charcoal and two white buns in his arms, looked up at the middle-aged man and smiled:

“Second Uncle, thank you, I’m leaving.”

“Be careful on the way. When you burn charcoal at night, remember to leave a crack in the window. Cover your grandfather with a quilt.”

The middle-aged man waved his hand.

“Xu Erniu (second ox)! If you don’t come back to the house, don’t expect to sleep on my kang (heated brick bed) tonight!”

The woman’s cursing voice came from the house again.

“I’m coming, I’m coming!”

The man quickly responded and gave a sheepish smile to the little boy. Then he closed the door.

After the door was closed, the last trace of light in the snow disappeared. The whole world was swallowed by darkness again. Only a small light was still shining in a thatched hut not far away in the east.

“With these charcoal and two white buns, Grandpa will surely get better.”

The little boy in the dark was not afraid. He shrank his head and muttered to himself with a smile. Then he hugged the dustpan with charcoal and two white buns tightly and ran quickly towards the small earthen house with a light in the night.

In front of the earthen house.

“Squeak…”

The little boy pushed open the door.

“Taiping…is that you?”

As soon as he entered, an old and hoarse voice that was somewhat weak came from the room with the light.

“It’s me, Grandpa.”

The little boy rubbed his frozen face hard and tried to squeeze out a smile. Then he walked quickly to the door and lifted the curtain and went in.

As soon as he entered the room, a strong smell of herbs hit him.

Because there was no fire, the temperature inside was no different from outside.

At the farthest end of the room was a bed made of several wooden boards. Under a worn-out quilt that showed cotton wadding, an old man who was so thin that only skin and bones were left curled up inside.

“Grandpa, Second Uncle lent me a few pounds of charcoal and gave me two white buns. We’ll roast them and eat them later.”

The little boy Taiping poured charcoal into the stove while talking to the old man on the bed with joy on his face.

“Good…good…”

The old man nodded with a smile.

Although the old man’s whole body exuded a sense of dying, his pair of muddy eyes regained their brightness when they saw Taiping.

“Taiping…these years…following Grandpa…you’ve suffered.”

The old man looked at Taiping with love in his eyes and muttered with difficulty.

“Grandpa, I’m not suffering. Not at all.”

Taiping lit up the charcoal stove and raised his head. He grinned and shook his head at the old man.

“Silly boy, you’re such a silly boy…these years if it weren’t for you taking care of me, Grandpa would have been gone long ago…”

The old man reached out and touched Taiping’s little head. He sighed with pity on his face.

“Grandpa, don’t say these unlucky things. You will live a long life.”

Taiping roasted buns while shaking his head vigorously.

“Taiping, have you ever heard of immortals?”

The old man suddenly asked Taiping.

Mortal Bones

Mortal Bones

There are four grades of spirit bones in the world. The first grade is the Heavenly Spirit Bone. The second grade is the Golden Spirit Bone. The third grade is the Profound Spirit Bone. The fourth grade is the White Spirit Bone. The rest are all Mortal Bones, with no chance of cultivation. Xu Taiping, a mere Mortal Bone, vows to prove to this cultivation world that Mortal Bones can also slay demons, Mortal Bones can also exorcise evil, Mortal Bones can also ascend to immortality!

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