Sunday, May 06, 2018

The Fish's Overflowing Fragrance Chapter 2: Yearning

Soon the female senior disciple brought Ah Lian to her dormitory.
The Ninth Heavenly Pavilion Academy was an institution that treated all its new students as equals, regardless of their social status or background. Hence, all new students would have to share their quarters dormitory style, with mostly four to a dormitory. Only when they had advanced in their seniority,  and if they excel in their studies, then as senior disciples they would have the privilege to live in their own quarters; even having their very own island.
As Lake Dongze is relatively far from the academy, by the time Ah Lian arrived, the other three roommates of hers had already been there for a couple of days.
When the female senior disciple made the introductions, the three girls politely and amicably greeted Ah Lian with enthusiasm; giving off a false impression that they would be easy to get along with. However, the moment the  female senior disciple left, besides than the girl who had a tanned skin tone and a timid disposition, the other two lithe and beautiful girls started laughing.
The one wearing a dark green dress, glanced at Ah Lian and mockingly commented, "With such a late and grand arrival one would think that it was some sacred guest, but it turns out to only be a fat headed fish."
The carp species (which Ah Lian belongs to) is a group sensitive to being called big or fat headed. However, due to Ah Lian's easy-going temperament and her interactions with Ah Pang, where she was often called the same in jest or frustration by the latter; she became somewhat immune to the name calling. Hence, Ah Lian did not take their words to heart.
While Ah Lian might look like someone who can be easily bullied, her nonchalance to the taunting made it unsatisfying for bullies; just like a hard fist hitting soft fluffy cotton. Seeing the lack of any reaction from her, the two eyed her and went out of the room.
As they were leaving room, Ah Lian stole a glance at their silhouettes: the two lithe girls were beautiful and elegant, obviously of a prestigious background. Totally unlike a fish like her from a small unknown lake.
Although the two who left the room were hard to get along with, there was still one more girl who remained in the room.  The girl was slightly shorter than Ah Lian and had a cherubic little face. Seeing Ah Lian look at her, the girl cautiously looked at her and waved a hello.


The girl's name was Tian Luo and she was river snail born in a small lake. She had four hundred years of cultivation. As for the other two arrogant girls who left the room, they were from the Eastern Seas and from one of the most prestigious races in the water tribe. Although all were of the water tribe, their social statuses were vastly different because they were born in different places; like royalty vs peasants.
After learning that Ah Lian hailed from Lake Dongze and seemed to quite easy to get along with, Tian Lou relaxed and looked at Ah Lian with her big sparkling eyes complaining, "Although all of us belong to the water tribe, those from the big oceans and seas have always looked down on people like us who are from the rivers and lakes."
Looking at Tian Lian it was obviously that she had been suffering at the hands of the two girls before Ah Lian arrived.
Despite her silliness, Ah Lian was clear that the lakes and rivers could never compete with the vastness of the oceans and seas. What more the Eastern Seas, which was one of the prestigious and famous (four) seas?

She replied saying that even those from Lake Dongze wanted to someday further their prospects at those places, thinking of all ways and means to get there.

Tian Luo was surprised by Ah Lian's reply and looked on with her big limpid eyes, curiously asking, "Aren't they not afraid of the incompatibility? How can fresh water creatures survive in the salty seas?"

While munching on some tidbits from Tian Luos’s hometown, with her cheeks full of food, Ah Lian answered, "That's why many residents of Lake Dongze would start feeding their children with salt from the moment they are born; with the hope their body constitution would be more resilient to salt."

After hearing that, Tian Luo somewhat understood but not entirely.


Initially, Tian Luo had entered the academy in high spirits but her first few days’ encounter with her mean roommates shattered her dreams. She was but a lone insignificant little river snail and the days with such difficult roommates was torturous. So when she encountered the friendly Ah Lian, it was like she found her life buoy in difficult times, wanting to devote herself to her new friends and cling to her at all times.


When Tian Luo learned that Ah Lian had depended on her own capabilities to pass the exam and earn her right to enter the academy, she held even more admiration for Ah Lian.

Puzzled, Ah Luo was wondering why Tian Luo’s reaction was so abnormal. Since Tian Luo had one century more in cultivation than herself, she would definitely have more capabilities to pass the exam. Under her strong curious gaze, Tian Luo hemmed and hawed while trying to contain her embarrassment, murmured, “If I relied solely on my capabilities I wouldn’t have even stand a chance of entering the Ninth Heavenly Pavilion Academy. It… It was my father who bought a position for me.”

Ah Lian understood the that money makes the world go round, but in her eyes, the Ninth Heavenly Pavilion Academy was a sacred existence. To hear that someone could buy their way into such a sacred and prestigious academy, shattered the ideal perception she held. Temporarily dazed by the revelation, Ah Lian’s tidbit munching mouth slowed to a halt resulting in awkward silence.

The silence caused Tian Luo to panic and in a small voice, she asked, “Ah Lian, you won’t despise me, right?”

Although the revelation left a bitter aftertaste in her mouth, Ah Lian was not a snobbish person so she had no intentions of despising or avoiding Tian Luo. In this day and age, where only status and connections mattered, someone like her who had no parents, let alone a rich father,  the only way to succeed was to rely on herself. She was different from someone like Tian Luo whose loving family  treated her as a princess since she was young and ensured that her path in life would be as smooth as possible; reluctant to let her suffer in the slightest.

Once assured that Ah Lian did not despise her, Tian Luo heaved a sigh of relief and muttered, “I am starting to miss my male cousin. Before coming here, he was afraid that I would start despising him when I become an immortal.”

Tian Luo was such a chatterbox, she had mentioned this cousin of hers to Ah Lian multiple times already. They were childhood sweethearts and grew up together. Once she became immortal, they would get married and give birth to many children.

While thinking of her cousin, Tian Luo titled her head and curiously asked Ah Lian in a hushed voice, “How about you? Do you have any one you like?”

Ah Lian thought for a bit before nodding her head, but unlike Tian Luo’s blushing demeanor, she unblushingly smiled and replied, “Yes, I do have someone.”

The smile on enhanced her beautiful face, making her look even more charming. Lowering her voice, Ah Lian whispered, “He is the reason I came to the Ninth Heavenly Pavilion Academy.”

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