Cao Tuo put a leaf in his mouth and blew on it. Soon he heard the whistling sound echo in the distance. He quickly blew on it a few times more, indicating that Cheng Nuo had returned.
Liu Guang was overjoyed. He blew twice to show that he heard and immediately returned.
Of course, he believed that the jade was not taken by Cheng Nuo, but his house was a mess and all of his savings were gone. What he was most worried about was that someone had found out Cheng Nuo’s identity as a female and stole him while Liu Guang was gone. His first thought was to bring back his future wife. The matters regarding the Lan Yue Camp can be checked out later.
Liu Guang rushed to the entrance of the village to meet up with Cheng Nuo but the first thing he saw was his future wife with reddened bare arms, with Bai Rui behind. Both of them were wounded and using a stick to walk with, they looked to quite similar.
In his heart, he felt anger and resentment. It seems that in the end, he was still worried about who would gain the upper hand. He shouted from far away: “Cheng Nuo!”
Cheng Nuo was surprised, too. He stopped and turned around. He had been separated from Liu Guang for only a few days, but in that time he had wandered between the borders of life and death several times. Now that he saw Liu Guang there was a feeling of being separated for a lifetime.
Liu Guang’s speed was very fast. The first thing he did when he rushed over was to take off his tattered upper garment and cover Cheng Nuo with it. His movements were very rough so Cheng Nuo’s wounds were jolted painfully: “It hurts, slow down…”
“Ah! What’s going on?” Liu Guang was worried and looked angrily at the various wounds, scratches, and bruises which looked terrible. When he saw Cheng Nuo limping, he felt that it was inconvenient so he squatted down and rolled up Cheng Nuo’s trouser legs. Sure enough, his calf was swollen to twice its normal size.
Why was Cheng Nuo hurt so badly and with Bai Rui?
He glared at Bai Rui’s back, his little chest heaving with indignation. Cheng Nuo quickly explained: “This has nothing to do with Bai Rui. Thanks a lot, Bai Rui…”
Cheng Nuo didn’t know where to start. When tried to glance at Bai Rui, he realized that Bai Rui had already left. He sighed: “Xiao Guang, do you believe in me?”
Chang Chun and the others had all grown up with Liu Guang. They had gone through all sorts of troubles and painful memories in these slums. Although Liu Guang often bossed the children around, Cheng Nuo also knew clearly if those children were bullied, Liu Guang would never sit back and ignore it.
Liu Guang grabbed Cheng Nuo’s arm impatiently then put him on his back, carefully avoiding the injury on his leg. He ran to the house: “Naturally I believe in you. If you have something to say, say it on the way home.”
He had noticed the expression in Cheng Nuo’s eyes and felt annoyed. With his keen intuition, he knew that Cheng Nuo seemed very close to Bai Rui. However, Cheng Nuo has so many injuries and it seems that he has suffered a lot. This account can be settled later after he has recovered.
Cheng Nuo stroked Liu Guang’s messy red hair and whispered: “It was Chang Chun who did it.”
“What?” Liu Guang turned his head in amazement and stopped. “What did Chang Chun do?”
Just then, Cao Tuo and Chang Chun came up from behind and heard this sentence.
The hair on Chang Chun’s forehead covered his eyes. They couldn’t see his eyes and his voice was stiff when he said: “You don’t have to stir up dissension here, I’ll tell them.”
Is this going to be a matter of pushing the jade thing to someone else? Cheng Nuo smiled and said: “It’s just the right time. Cao Tuo and Xiao Guang are here, we can settle accounts now.”
The outcome: Chang Chun’s behavior was beyond the Cheng Nuo’s expectations.
“Plop.” Chang Chun knelt down on the ground and lowered his head: “Brother Guang, brother Cheng Nuo, I was wrong.”
Everyone was stunned. Liu Guang frowned. “What did you do wrong?”
Chang Chun took a deep breath and bowed his head: “I shouldn’t have argued with him when brother Cheng Nuo suspected that I took the jade. Brother Cheng Nuo was angry. He went to see me during the night and suffered those injuries.”
Cheng Nuo was stunned. This was the first time he met this kind of person who could turn black into white while keeping a straight face. This acting wasn’t bad! He was still a minor but the Oscar Award’s golden statuette could be awarded to him! Perhaps Chang Chun expected that Bai Rui would disdain to be a witness?
He sneered: “Then who took the jade and brought those people from Lan Yue Camp? Did I roll down the cliff by myself? Well, I’m thankful that when someone put a drug in the porridge, it was just a sleeping potion, not poison. That’s why I and Bai Rui were able to come back alive from the bottom of the cliff. Who was it who blocked mine and Bai Rui’s return in the woods, wanting to kill us? Unfortunately for him, he was too weak and failed to kill us.”
Chang Chun didn’t hesitate to say “I don’t know. I only know that the people who were there, except for brother Guang, might have taken the jade. I can’t understand the rest of what you said.”
“Haha, then maybe it’s better for us to find the shopkeeper. He might recognize that person.” Cheng Nuo smiled. “Grey hair grey eyes are common, but maybe the shopkeeper can remember the voice?”
When Cao Tuo heard all this his brain was confused and he felt dizzy. He looked at the two of them with a puzzled look on his face.
Liu Guang had been listening to the conversation between the two. Suddenly, he said coldly: “I know that Cheng Nuo didn’t take the jade. He was always with me. Cao Tuo and Jin Yu wouldn’t have the guts to take it.”
When he was being questioned by Cheng Nuo, Chang Chun’s expression stayed the same but now that Liu Guang spoke, his expression suddenly changed. Though his face was covered with mud, one could see that he was nervous from his clenched hands and stiff back.
Liu Guang slowly put Cheng Nuo down. His voice that normally sounded bright and clear was somewhat gloomy and cold as he said: “Never mind the jade for now. Chang Chun, let me ask you, what is going on? Cheng Nuo was drugged and dropped off the cliff? Look me in the eyes and tell me what happened!”
Even though he was young, those words were very dignified. Cheng Nuo was shocked. Cao Tuo was also almost too frightened to speak.
Chang Chun slowly lifted his head and looked at Liu Guang without blinking His grey eyes filled with tears and he clutched at the grass on the ground. “Brother Giang, I admit it… I took the jade. I gave the drug to Cheng Nuo and dropped him and Bai Rui down the cliff.”
Liu Guang grabbed Cheng Nuo’s hand. His face turned red and he stared at Chang Chun. “You know what I hate most.”
Chang Chun panted and looked at Liu Guang mournfully: “I admit I was wrong about the jade but I don’t think it was wrong to do the other thing. This outsider, who knows what evil he is hiding? And that Bai boy…”
Liu Guang kicked him on the chest and said angrily: “I said, Cheng Nuo is one of my people! How does Cheng Nuo always treat us? Everyone can see it!”
Chang Chun coughed and coughed. He said: “He is only pretending. One day he will drag you down…”
Liu Guang was on him again, mercilessly kicking Chang Chun until his mouth and nose were bleeding and he fell on the ground heavily, face up.
Cao Tuo turned pale with fright. Cheng Nuo was slow to react. He looked at Chang Chun in amazement. With just this type of interrogation from Liu Guang, Chang Chun immediately became honest?
After a long time, Chang Chun got up on his knees and said: “Brother Giang, if you want to kill me for this, then kill me. The only thing I regret is not being able to kill him!”
Liu Guang was angry when he heard this but he didn’t start beating him up again. He just said coldly: “Chang Chun, you’re really hard to deal with!”
Cheng Nuo looked at Liu Guang silently. Normally Liu Guang’s blue-green eyes always were always clear like a placid lake as he stared arrogantly others or looked sideways at people. But now they had a child-like confused look.
Obviously, he was saddened that he was deceived by his comrade.
Cheng Nuo suddenly felt distressed. He stepped forward to force Liu Guang’s cool hand into his hand. He said to Chang Chun: “I don’t know how you came to those conclusions, but I’ll say this, I will always stand beside Xiao Guang.”
He said that but he couldn’t help but walk a step forward and swear a bit: “Hah! Even if that’s what you really believe, you don’t have to be so poisonous, right? What you said was just a way for you to cover up your intention to silence someone by killing him!”
In Cheng Nuo’s heart, Liu Guang was already an important existence, like a brother. Naturally, he will always guard Liu Guang as a brother.
Chang Chun stared at the clasped hands of the two people. Biting his lower lip forcefully, he took the knife from his waist and threw it on the ground: “Cheng, don’t pretend to be a good person, go ahead and kill me!”
Cheng Nuo glanced at the knife, frowning. If he killed Chang Chun, he feared that he would have nightmares. He sneered: “I’m not you.”
If it was hanging up Chang Chun, or kicking and beating him up, then Cheng Nuo could do it. However, picking up this white knife and turning it red was not something he could do. Chang Chun’s challenge was too perfect.
Liu Guang suddenly said coldly: “Leave. Don’t let me find you within 100 miles of me.”
Chang Chun’s back shivered as though it was shocked by electricity. He flung his head up and stared at Liu Guang with a dead expression in his eyes. He said, “Brother Guang if you think that I’ve done something wrong, kill me!”
Liu Guang interrupted his words, impatient. His eyes had completely restored their normal fierce and arrogant look. He said: “I won’t kill you because I called you my brother for many years. Don’t let me see you again.”
He turned his around and took Cheng Nuo on his back again. He walked straight ahead and didn’t look back. His footsteps had returned to normal.
Chang Chun looked dully at the knife on the ground. The expression on his face was like a dead tree and his eyes were bloodshot.
Cao Tuo heard everything and he snarled in disbelief: “Chang Chun, why did you do this? You’ve hurt brother Guang’s heart! You know how good brother Cheng Nuo is to us!”
He was angry and found it difficult to bear. He took out the coins he had on him, placed them next to Chang Chun, then chased after Liu Guang.
For a long time, Chang Chun just gnashed his teeth. Finally, he stood up, picked up the knife, and slowly went in the opposite direction.
He looked at the slum, reluctant to leave. This was his home. This hateful event, he would remember it!
- Liu Guang’s eyes were described as 碧 which is the color of green jade or bluish green.
- Have you ever tried to blow on a leaf? It makes a whistling sound that can be quite loud! “In Guizhou, it’s very mountainous. Sometimes it’s boring to walk by yourself, so you grab a leaf and blow on it and copy the birds. Sometimes you use leaves to call to people, to talk to them, since with leaves the sound goes farther.” – Guo Yong, story by NPR.
- I was working on this chapter when I realized it was time to publish the next chapter but I absent-mindedly published this chapter instead of chapter 16. I could “unpublish” this and publish chapter 16 but… some people already read it before I noticed! So there’s a double release today.