Zhang Junshi woke up early in the morning and had two workers lead a donkey and left for ‘Chicken Nest Village’ to investigate the matter of chickens.
The Zhang family’s branch store had already been opened at Xishan city for almost 5 years. But they never knew that there was actually a village behind the hill. Zhang Junshi thought it strange, did the villagers never go into the city? The mountain roads…..en, it couldn’t even be considered mountain roads. It looked like not many people have used it before. The road was quite tricky to navigate, the donkey lead by his worker almost could not climb through. If not for Nie Bufan pointing it out clearly, Zhang Junshi would not believe there were actually people around.
He couldn’t help but feel apprehensive as they climbed over the rocky terrains. He had heard it would take an hour but Zhang Junshi and the others only used up half an hour before they could see smoke in the distance. If that was Chicken Nest Village in the front, Zhang Junshi must reform his opinion on Nie Bufan’s walking speed.
Worker 1 said: “There is actually a village in this remote place.”
Worker 2 said: “I am born in Xishan City and this is the first time hearing it as well. This place is close to Xishan City, from the outside it looks like just a cliff, no wonder no one found out.”
Looking back, it indeed looked like a cliff. After making a narrow turn, what appeared in front of them was a piece of flat land——en, relatively flat. The place was sparsely lined with several crude wooden houses. The surroundings were covered with trees and vines, the weeds also seem not to have been bothered with either. At first glance it looked like a long abandoned village.
“Eh? Do you feel suddenly nervous?” Worker 1 rubbed his hands together.
Worker 2 nodded his head vigorously and agreed: “En, en, yes I feel the same.”
Zhang Junshi also had a feeling of strangeness, with their first step into the village his whole body felt uncomfortable.
Suddenly, the three of them stopped in their tracks, their eyes all looking forward. Not many meters away, there stood a proud……rooster.
Zhang Junshi recognized it, saying calmly: “En, it is little brother Nie’s pet, lady…..lady Flower.”
“Then……” Worker 1 pointed a trembling finger, saying with fright, “the ones surrounding us are too?”
Zhang Junshi looked up, and immediately stiffened. Without noticing when exactly, the area around them was filled with roosters, in the grass, on the roofs, on the tree branches, near the cliff……just by estimating visually it was too many to count……they stared with beady chicken eyes, violence gleaming. The strangest thing though was that with so many chickens crowded together, there was actually no sound, not even the sound of breathing to break the silence.
“Gong….gong-gongzi, are you sure you are here to collect chickens and not be collected?” Worker 2 could not restrain himself from hugging onto the donkey’s neck hoping for comfort.
Zhang Junshi’s face was also slightly pale, his lips twitching, he said: “Let’s continue walking, it’s just a flock of chickens, can they eat you up?”
Saying so, he lead the way forward.
The two workers looked at each other and was about to accompany their boss when they hear ‘pa ji‘. They looked in the sound’s direction and saw Zhang Junshi with a mixed expression lift up his right foot. Underneath was a mix of yellow, white, and black substance and rather viscous in nature…..it turned out he had stepped on an egg.
“Gaga o……gaga o……” The rooster standing not far away suddenly let out a strange sound, following it came a “gaga o” from all the rest. Suddenly the dead silence of before became a sound wave of chicken cackles.
F**k it, were they laughing at him? Zhang Junshi gnashed his teeth as he fumed and wiped his foot on the grass hard.
Just now that was an egg, an egg! Who had nothing better to do but carelessly leave eggs laying around? Eggs didn’t require money? No money?
The two workers had originally been quite frightened, but seeing Zhang Junshi like this, they also could not help wanting to laugh. But as not to offend his dignity they could only resist.
“Let’s go!” Under the gaze of the surrounding chickens Zhang Junshi walked with large steps forward, as if he was walking towards the battlefield.
He planned see just what kind of freaky place this was.
“Nie Bufan——” there was nothing but chickens everywhere. It completely did not look like a person was living here. Zhang Junshi had no choice but to raise his voice in a holler.
“Ai……coming.” Not needing for a second holler from Zhang Junshi, a reply was heard from not too far away. After all, the place was hardly big, a shout could travel the whole of the valley, even the ghosts could hear it.
Not long, dressed rather abstractly, Nie Bufan appeared in their sights and smiled enthusiastically at them, “you have come, welcome, come inside and sit.”
Zhang Junshi walked toward him and asked: “Where are the other people of the village? How come there’s only you and a flock of chickens?”
Nie Bufan patted his chest: “I am the village head of Chicken Nest Village, the chickens you see are the villagers.”
The leg that Zhang Junshi just lifted paused for a few seconds midair before he put it down softly. He asked hesitantly: “This entire village only has you living in it?”
“Me and a flock of chickens.”
Alright, Zhang Junshi organized the mess in his head a bit as he entered Nie Bufan’s house.
The house…….looked like a chicken nest. The stools were missing legs, the table was cracked, the dresser was piled with random things, there were even pieces of grass on the bed…….
“Please have a drink of tea.” Nie Bufan politely served tea to the visitors.
Zhang Junshi remained speechless.
Worker 1 whispered: “Gongzi, this little brother, could he be a chicken demon spirit?”
“Nonsense, how can the world have gods or demon spirits?” Zhang Junshi scolded, but in his heart man and heaven were waging a war (TN: expression for conflicted thoughts).
“All of you sit, there aren’t a lot of chairs so sitting on the bed is also fine.” Nie Bufan also brought out a plate of boiled eggs and peanuts, the peanuts bought yesterday when he went to the city.
The two workers dared not sit, standing on the side with uncomfortable expressions. As for Zhang Junshi he glanced at both the stool and bed and decided to sit on the relatively safer bed.
“Pa ji.” A similar noise sounded again.
Zhang Junshi maintained his stiff sitting posture, his entire face twisted.
“Aiya! Could there be an egg on the bed?” Nie Bufan pulled up Zhang Junshi and looked at the bed first before looking at Zhang Junshi’s behind. Then he ran out of the house yelling: “How many times must I say it, do not make a nest on my bed! Who committed the crime today, willingly give yourself up and I will be lenient with your punishment!”
The surrounding chickens pecked at worms, dug at the dirt, clucked at each other, but not even one looked at Nie Bufan.
“Your galls have fatten, eh! Just you wait, I will show you later!” Nie Bufan left a few threatening words and returned inside the house, smiling embarrassedly at Zhang Junshi: “Apologies, the suspects are too many, the criminal can’t be caught at the moment. You have suffered.”
“My clothes just became dirty, I did not suffer!”
In his whole life Zhang Junshi had never lost face the way he did today.
Worker 1 said: “Gongzi, do you want your clothes changed?”
“Change, but of course.” Nie Bufan nodded, “how can we have Zhang third gongzi wear dirty clothes back?”
Zhang Junshi heard this and felt slightly better, but soon he felt that something was not right, and asked: “Who is……Zhang third?”
“It’s not you?” Nie Bufan replied as he dug through his dresser for clothes.
“Hai, I am Zhang Junshi.”
“Oh, I know.” Nie Bufan handed over an old outfit, “here, make do for now Jun third.”
“……..” Zhang Junshi took the clothes, restraining himself he said, “I am Zhang Junshi, an only child.” He especially put emphasis on the ‘only’ word.
Nie Bufan waved his hand: “I know, I know, you already said it many times, I remember.”
As if you remember! Where did the ‘third’ come from?
Zhang Junshi shook the clothes out with a stony face and a hole immediately came into sight. Through it he could see Nie Bufan’s brightly smiling face.
“Excuse me……..how can I wear this?” Zhang Junshi fisted the clothes, taking a deep breath he reminded himself to stay calm.
“Didn’t you dirty your behind?” Nie Bufan took the clothes over and folded it then he wrapped it around Zhang Junshi’s waist tying the sleeves together. He said with satisfaction, “like this isn’t the stain from behind covered?”
Zhang Junshi believed himself not to be as concerned with propriety as the gongzi of aristocratic families but his clothes and deportment had always been conforming to the society’s norms. Now with Nie Bufan’s ‘makeover’ his elegant gongzi appearance looked like it was pasted over by a wanted criminal sign.
He finally knew why Nie Bufan dressed like a traveling street performer……
Zhang Junshi looked at the two workers almost sick with trying to hold in their laughter, and said in a tone of a man instantly wizened several years: “Let’s not talk about this anymore, just bring me to look at your chickens.”
“Alright, follow me.” Nie Bufan agreed and led them to the woods in the back of the house.
After stepping outside the house Zhang Junshi and the others felt as if they could finally see the light of day again.
Not long, they came across a 30 meter tall stone cave with openings in every direction, like a mushroom pavilion, the entrances fenced in.
Zhang Junshi looked inside, but not a chicken could be seen.
“Where are the chickens?” Zhang Junshi asked.
“Wait a bit, this time of day they are getting fresh air.” Nie Bufan replied carelessly and not bothering with what kind of expressions they have on their faces, he shouted out, “Flower 1, Flower 2, Flower 3…….you all quickly bring your hens back, there are clients!”
“Pu!” It was a close call, Zhang Junshi almost vomit up blood.
“This…….are they still considered chickens?” The two workers looked on with fright as the roosters all popped out like bubbles and ran into the woods calling ‘ooo ooo‘. Soon, a flock of hens were herded in.
Nie Bufan pulled the gates open and explained as he watched the hens return inside: “These are the chickens for food, very dumb, about 400 you can pick any of them.”
Zhang Junshi looked at these lively chickens, his head a bit messed up. So chickens were raised in this way? No wonder the meat texture was that good, it was all because of exercise.……putting aside the points of strangeness and just speaking of chickens, they were indeed high quality goods and worth placing orders longterm.
“Hai, good, it is not bad at all.” Zhang Junshi no longer knew what to say. Everything he experienced today had his tolearance levels rising to the point he could face everything calmly now.
Besides, this Nie Bufan fellow was indeed interesting. He had never met someone like him his whole 20+ years.
“Then we are agreed, in the future you only need to send people to pick up the goods.” Nie Bufan was all smiles, his mood pleasant. He now finally had money and could buy some good things to eat.
Zhang Junshi nodded, and signaled the two workers to catch chickens.
The workers soon put 30 into cages and the transaction was made.
Zhang Junshi added: “When things stabilize it’ll be once a month.”
“No problem.” Nie Bufan sent them off in high spirits.
“Eh? Where’s our donkey?” Worker 1 exclaimed.
They all looked in the direction where the donkey had been tied up but only a rope remained.
“You go have a search, did it run into the woods?” This place was not big it should not have run far.
Nie Bufan rubbed his nose, remaining silent.
The workers searched all over but did not find it.
Zhang Junshi said sullenly: “Nevermind, if it is still in the valley then we’ll be able to find it eventually. I’ll have to trouble little brother Nie to be on a lookout.”
After saying farewells, Zhang Junshi and the others left the strangeness that was Chicken Nest Village behind in exhaustion. Looking back they could still see Nie Bufan waving enthusiastically at them in goodbye.
They took back 30 chickens but lost a donkey, this must be a trap!
“Heihei.” After they left Nie Bufan suddenly squatted down and said to a grey chicken in the corner, “welcome to Chicken Nest Village, from now on you will be called Dusty.”
The grey chicken had tears in its beady eyes as it trembled.
“Don’t be afraid, although you are now a chicken, but you are a chicken with intelligence. You will be free as long as you don’t leave the village. Come, let’s meet your brothers and sisters.”
Nie Bufan stood up and flung his arms in the direction of Chicken Nest Village.
“Come on, Dusty, Chicken Nest Village welcomes you!”Previous