Chapter 1: Blue Ring Octopus Possession
“Xiaolong, one serving of sukiyaki.”
“Xiaolong, bring a coffee to table 5.”
Yang Xiaolong put down the knife he was using to chop mushrooms, wiped his hands, and walked over to the counter. He looked at the coffee with a tulip design drawn on milk foam and asked, “Fan Zhengqing, what kind of coffee is this?”
“It’s a cappuccino.”
“Oh, I see.”
He carefully delivered the coffee to the customer and quickly returned to the kitchen, where Liu Yufei had started nagging again.
“You’re in the kitchen, why are you doing stuff at the bar? After you finish the Sukiyaki, there’s also a salad to make.”
Seeing him leaning on the refrigerator playing with his phone, not doing anything productive, Yang Xiaolong couldn’t help but feel annoyed. He wanted to say something but decided against it when he realized Liu Yufei would quit tomorrow. He didn’t want to provoke him into doing something harmful like stealing his things or tampering with his toiletries.
He could only curse “f****” inwardly and continue cooking.
Perhaps sensing Yang Xiaolong’s displeasure, Liu Yufei sheepishly put down his phone and went to prepare the salad.
“Xiaolong, make more dishes for lunch. The manager and Sister Fei are coming to eat too.”
After finishing the customer’s orders, Yang Xiaolong started preparing the staff meal.
The manager and Wang Mingfei walked in, their faces turned red as a monkeys’ butts. To cover up the awkward stuttering, the manager quickly asked, “How’s business today?”
Fan Zhengqing calmly covered the phone under the coffee machine with a cloth, “There are only three tables of customers.”
In the small coffee shop, there are a total of five people including the manager. Although it was small, it was a solid chain brand located in the small town of Dongyi. The shop is located next to an artificially diverted seawater, which offers a very pleasant view.
However, business is not doing well. It’s considered good enough if they can afford to pay the rent and utilities. The employees seem to be happy with their leisurely pace of work, and as long as they receive their salaries they don’t care much about how good the business is.
“Hey Xiaolong, what are we having for dinner today?” Wang Mingfei, who was a bit chubby, walked into the kitchen and took out his hat and mask from the locker.
“Fish-flavored shredded pork, sour and spicy cabbage, and a tomato and egg soup,” Xiaolong replied.
On the side, Liu Yufei started teasing Wang Mingfei about his weight, which made him angry but he couldn’t do anything about it. He grabbed his things and left.
“Manager, I’m taking a day off tomorrow,” Xiaolong said during the meal.
“Sure, go to the beach and have some fun,” the manager nodded while eating. He was a good person, and there wasn’t much business in the shop. Fan Zhengqing and Wang Mingfei could handle it themselves.
“Liu Yufei, have you bought your ticket?”
Liu Yufei’s expression was a bit strange. “I’m not yet leaving tomorrow. I want to stay and have some fun for a few days.”
He had resigned impulsively before figuring out where to go. If he left the dormitory, he had nowhere to go.
“Okay, no problem,” the manager nodded and didn’t say much.
“Xiaolong, where are you going tomorrow?” Although the manager stuttered, he liked to talk.
Xiaolong filled his bowl with soup again and thought for a moment before saying, “I’m going fishing, to the seaside.”
He came to Port City just to see the sea. Although the coffee shop was built on the beach, they only imported seawater and caught small fish.
“Oh, that’s great. Maybe you can catch some sea bass and bring it back to the shop to eat,” the manager said with excitement.
“Hehe, okay then,” Yang Xiaolong replied, pleased with the idea of fishing at the beach.
Liu Yufei quickly chimed in, “I’ll come with you too!”
Yang Xiaolong didn’t refuse Liu Yufeis request to go with him.
The next day, Yang Xiaolong and Liu Yufei both bought fishing rods and set out for the beach. They didn’t even consider taking a taxi, as they only earned 3000 yuan a month working at the coffee shop.
Yang Xiaolongs’ situation is much better compared to Lu Yufei who have resigned already. The little money he have won’t probably last very long.
Thankfully, the beach wasn’t far away, and after a 20-minute walk, they arrived at Wampingkou Beach.
Yang Xiaolong, who grew up in the plains, was thrilled to see the vast expanse of sea. The beach was bustling with activity, including tourists, newlyweds taking wedding photos, and children digging in the sand and catching crabs with small buckets and shovels.
After taking a few photos and posting them on social media, Liu Yufei found a place to fish. However, he didn’t seem very excited and instead looked troubled as he smoked.
Yang Xiaolong could understand – he had yet to find his next job and was now essentially unemployed. Although the café job didn’t pay much, it was still a job. Being jobless and without a source of income in a strange city made him feel insecure. Resigning so impulsively was a mistake.
Yang Xiaolong hung a squid bait on his hook and cast it out. He then inserted the fishing rod into the crack of a rock. He was enjoying himself, barefoot and with his pants legs rolled up, as he flipped over the rocks to find little crabs.
A little girl approached and nervously asked him, “Uncle, what are you doing?”
Yang Xiaolong smiled and replied, “I’m catching crabs.”
“Oh, can you give me one if you catch any?” the little girl asked.
“Sure thing, just call me brother,” Yang Xiaolong replied.
“In that case, I don’t want one,” the little girl said.
Just as Yang Xiaolong was coaxing the little girl to call him “brother”, suddenly he felt a sharp pain in his foot. It was so painful that he gasped for breath. He looked down and saw a yellow octopus covered with blue rings crawling towards the rocks.
“Oh… a blue-ringed octopus?”
Yang Xiaolong’s mind went blank. Oh no, he had never eaten pork, but he had definitely seen pigs run. He had seen this creature in “Man and Nature” before, one of the most poisonous creatures.
Translators Note: “never eaten pork, but have definitely seen pigs run”. It’s an expression that implies that even though someone may lack experience in a certain area, they are still knowledgeable enough to recognize a common or basic situation. In this case, the protagonist Yang Xiaolong is acknowledging that he may not be an expert in marine life, but he still knows what a blue-ringed octopus is and how dangerous it can be.
“Ah! Uncle, what’s wrong with you? Quick, someone call for help!”
“Quick, call an ambulance.”
Yang Xiaolong felt his consciousness slipping away and his head pounding as if someone was stirring his brain with chopsticks. He could hear the sound of the ambulance siren, “Woooooooooo”, after that, he felt his body being lifted up into the air.
“It’s a miracle! The young man actually survived.”
“Yes, he’s really lucky.”
“That Blue-ringed octopus is too dangerous.”
Yang Xiaolong heard people discussing him while still in a daze, recognizing the voices of his manager and colleagues. He was about to say something when suddenly everything became bright in front of his eyes.
“What is this?”
Looking around, he found himself covered in seawater and sand, with some seaweed and small fish swimming by. Yang Xiaolong was confused. What was going on? Was he underwater?
Upon closer inspection, Yang Xiaolong realized that there were several tentacles under him, with familiar blue rings on them.
Yang Xiaolong shuddered involuntarily, and his vision shook as if he were using a camera.
“Could it be…”
A bold idea suddenly popped into Yang Xiaolong’s mind.
“I’m so thirsty, do you have any water?”
“Oh, you’re awake, wait a moment!”
A young nurse hurriedly went out to call the doctor and made a phone call. Soon, the manager of the hospital also arrived.
Yang Xiaolong underwent a comprehensive examination and was found to be alright, but needed to be observed for two more days. If everything was okay, he could be discharged.
The manager hastily left after reminding Yang Xiaolong to stay in the hospital and rest well.
After everyone had left, Yang Xiaolong closed his eyes and his consciousness returned to the sea floor. As expected, it wasn’t a dream just now – he could really attach his consciousness to the blue-ringed octopus.
“This time, I’ve made progress.”
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Note: The Blue-ringed octopus is one of the most venomous marine animals in the world, and its venom is highly toxic to humans. The Blue-ringed octopus is found in tide pools and coral reefs in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and it gets its name from the bright blue rings that appear on its skin when it is threatened or provoked.
The venom of the Blue-ringed octopus contains a potent neurotoxin that can cause paralysis and respiratory failure in humans, and there is no anti-venom available. Therefore, it is important to avoid handling or disturbing these creatures in their natural habitat, and seek medical attention immediately if you are bitten or stung by one.