“Aiyah, the calamity!”
Green heard her Jie Jie’s wails within the pagoda. Sea water bubbled in streamers about her. She breathed normally under water. In her hands she held a porcelain pot, sealed tightly to endure the rigors of underwater swimming. She brewed double-boiled soup of herbs and succulent frog legs, to rejuvenate Lady White and give her strength. Bu bu sheng ti, ti ti shen.
What a disaster it had been. Lady White did fall in love with the bumbling idiot and he in turn fell even harder for her.
Then the righteous monk came and turned everything upside down. For a monk, he was devious, like a jin. A demon. Worse than spiders, snakes and assorted evil animals. He tricked the bumbling idiot scholar into tricking Lady Snake; her Jie Jie drank poisoned wine and revealed her real form.
“Ah-ha!” The monk said, worse than any trickster or con-man. “Ah-ha! White snake!”
Lady White clearly loved the scholar who wrung his hands a lot and did nothing but mope. Lady White fought the monk, oh the calamity – and he imprisoned her in this underwater pagoda. Green had been faithfully providing her with food since then. The bumbling fool of the scholar? Nowhere to be seen. Spineless idiot.
Humans are all spineless fools.
Maybe she should have listened to that smelly wanderer after all. Maybe she should have been more firm, as firm as a green viper could possibly be, and drill some sense into Lady White.
Her heart ached to see her mistress suffering. Her Jie Jie, the only kin she had. If she could tear apart the pagoda with her bare hands, she would.
“Jie Jie,” Green called out. “I brought you soup.”
Lady White’s face, moon-pale and thin, appeared at the small window. “Mei Mei!”
“I also brought you this,” Green fished out another tightly wrapped parcel. “Fried scorpions. From your favorite stall at the market.”
“Green, Mei Mei, you have been so good to me,” Lady White received the food. Her eyes looked swollen as if with prolonged crying.
“Jie Jie, you have to persist. Fight the monk. Fight him with all your might.”
Green didn’t know why she had said that. What temerity had come over her? Did she put too much shao xing wine into the soup? She swore she only sipped it a little, for taste.
Lady White listened and her lips curved into a very serpentine smile, a smile that bared the fangs and made a snake very dangerous indeed.
“Of course, Mei Mei, I will fight him,” Lady White said, biting into a scorpion with an audible crunch. There was a flash of moon-colored opalescent scales as she tossed her head back in a rare show of indulgence. She finished it with another audible crunch, like tiny back bones breaking.
“I have something to fight for,” she continued, popping another scorpion into her mouth and smiled the snake smile. “Green, you will be an aunt soon. No, I think you will make a good godmother.”
Green stared and stared. Her hand flew to her own mouth. Her stomach lurched.
This ends the Lady White Snake re-interpretation. I hope you like this triptych.