Chapter 111: Take It Back
The early morning of Lin Xian was quiet.
Before light even appeared on the horizon, the breakfast stalls beneath the buildings has already started to emit faint wisps of smoke.
The old man who sells marinated eggs was leisurely riding his bicycle along the street, with a little bell attached to his bike ringing out a crisp sound that transmitted very far away.
Bai Yang had already woken up very early on.
The first thing he would do is grab a bag and go downstairs to pick up plastic bottles.
Then at 8 am, he’ll head to a restaurant to wipe the tables and wash the dishes.
He’ll have about two hours of rest afterwards to pick up more bottles and then after that, at night, he’ll help the convenience store owner and stock up the shelves.
For him, an entire day has already been planned, filled to the brim with things to do.
On the other hand, Wen Chuo would sleep until the sun was high up in the sky everyday.
But yesterday, his emotional state didn’t seem to be quite well.
Said he wanted to borrow money, but he didn’t take the money.
Without eating anything, he just went home with a defeated and mulish expression, and hasn’t left the house since.
Bai Yang walked past Wen Chuo’s door before pausing momentarily and then walked downstairs.
When he came back up, there was a cup of soy milk and two marinated eggs in his hands.
He placed them in front of Wen Chuo’s door and knocked twice.
Wen Chuo had woken up a lot earlier than he would have before, or perhaps it could just be said that he didn’t sleep last night.
Hearing the knocks, he immediately went to open the door.
His red hair looked like a chicken’s nest, and randomly ruffling it only made him look less like a human, more like a dog.
There was a feeling coming off from him, of him wasting his good looks, like he was a deteriorating, useless handsome human.
Wen Chuo crouched on the floor to pick up the food, and waved Bai Yang over.
He impatiently said,
“I’m not going to eat it.
Take it back and eat it yourself.”
Bai Yang slightly squinted his eyes and furrowed his eyebrows to look at him.
He stood about three steps away from him and didn’t move.
His white t-shirt had been washed so much that it was pilling and it was very loose on him, revealing a skinny collarbone, and bringing on that bit of youthfulness from a young man.
Wen Chuo stood back up and stuffed the food into Bai Yang’s hands.
He tried his best to slow down his words,
“Eat it yourself.
I’m not hungry.”
And then without caring whether Bai Yang heard and understood it all, he closed the door to go back to sleep.
Yesterday, Wen Chuo had gone crazy in his own home for the entire night.
Hitting against the wall, slamming his head, rolling around, yelling, fighting himself.
Everything that he could try, he tried, but there was no way to get whatever that thing was out of himself, and he was already dead tired and about to give up.
There were still about two more years until the time when the Wen Family would come here to pick him up.
He couldn’t do anything except to eat, but he also couldn’t just sit here and gobble up air.
So in other words, the system’s appearance has delivered a fatal attack to Wen Chuo.
Everyone and their neighbors here knew that Bai Yang was a mentally challenged boy and they had the heart to look out for him.
Normally they would ask him for all their smaller tasks like restocking and cleaning up the tables, and then paid him with a small amount of salary.
With this, he could at most have four part time jobs in one day, without a single break in sight.
Once it was time for his lunch break, Bai Yang didn’t even eat and grabbed his bag to start picking up plastic bottles by the road.
When he bent his waist, something suddenly hit his shoulder.
He looked up and it was Da Hong from the opposite street.
“Hey, idiot, I have a plastic bottle here.
Do you want it?”
Da Hong was a nearby hooligan; he was dark and skinny, just like a stick.
Sitting on the roadside railing, he held in his hands a half finished bottle of coca cola and was juggling it between his hands, the bottle clinking with every movement.
Bai Yang ignored him and turned away to leave when Da Hong jumped down from his spot and blocked his way.
He reached out to push Bai Yang,
“Hey idiot, daddy’s talking to you.
Can you not hear me?”
Bai Yang’s head was lowered, and he didn’t make a sound, just turning away towards a different direction and wanting to leave.
But he was quickly pushed back by Da Hong and tripped, hitting the wall beside them.
“Hey, so you aren’t just an idiot with mental problems, you are also a mute.
Your ears wouldn’t be deaf would they? ……I heard your voice last time.
What, looking down on me huh? How about this, you call me daddy and I’ll let you go.”
Da Hong laughed as he pushed Bai Yang around, as if he found something new to play with.
A nearby female shop owner threw down her tablecloth and yelled,
“Do you lack a conscience! How did Bai Yang bother you! Everyday, always up to no good! If Wen Chuo sees you, he’s going to beat you up until you’re crying for your dad and mom.”
Da Hong didn’t care but right at this time, as if to prove the shop owner’s words true, a sudden force came at the back of his waist and following that, he flew far away with a “puh-tong”, stopping only after rolling a few times.
“Who did you say should call you daddy, huh?”
Somehow, some time ago, Wen Chuo had appeared behind him, wearing a black tee with a skull.
Paired with his wine red hair smoothed back, he looked like his usual peculiar and scary self.
Both of his hands were stuck in his pockets, and his pair of peach blossom eyes were tilted slightly up, as cold as ice.
Da Hong was in a daze from that one kick, and he struggled to stand back up.
Holding onto his waist from the pain, he tried and tried but he still wasn’t able to.
The shop owner chuckled at him and then went back inside through her curtain doorway.
Seeing him not say anything, Wen Chuo lost his patience and pulled Da Hong up by the collar.
Ruthlessly slapping him on the face,
“You have the face to call someone an idiot when you haven’t even graduated elementary school? You know all your words yet huh? Can you speak English? Do you know how the word, daddy, is written? When an old crow stands on top of a pig, it sees everyone else as black, but can’t see that it is also black!”
With each phrase Wen Chuo spoke, he gave another slap.
The sound was loud and crisp, and Da Hong didn’t have much of a strength in him and his face was very quickly swelling up.
He could only viciously glare back at Wen Chuo, and Wen Chuo slapped him with another again,
“What the fuck are you looking at! This old man’s already graduated from high school!”
Hooligans fighting each other was a very normal thing and so all the neighbors around were just looking on at the spectacle.
But when some saw Da Hong beaten up to the point where his teeth were falling off and his face was drenched with blood, they whispered around that they were going to call the police.
Bai Yang finally reacted then, going forward to hold Wen Chuo back and pushing him back with force,
Bai Yang patted Wen Chuo’s hand with a frantic rush,
Wen Chuo swept a cold glance over,
“You just fucking know to go against me.
Why didn’t you make a sound when you were just getting bullied?”
He let go of Da Hong and then kicked him in the stomach from his unexpended anger.
And then from a distance pointed at his head,
“Next time you let me see you, I’ll beat you up again! Beat you up every time I see you!”
Wen Chuo was ruthless and his hands were even more vicious.
He knew, there were some people who won’t remember without having tasted pain.
This time he could let him go, but he’ll just do it again next time.
Only when he’s beaten up until he’s in pain, he’s hurt, then would he not dare to bully again.
The situation had been snowballing and so when the mother of Da Hong heard the news, she came rushing over in a rage, with a rolling pin in her hand.
Bai Yang looked at her once and then quickly pushed Wen Chuo back towards their apartment building,
“Go back quickly.”
“Go what back.
I’ve just come down,”
Wen Chuo pushed him away,
I don’t believe she can even use a rolling pin to beat me up.”
The moment Da Hong’s mother saw her son beaten up to the point of looking like a pig’s face, she immediately burst out crying and dropped onto the floor, using her rolling pin to hit on the ground and create loud clanking noises,
“Omona, what did this pair of mother and son do to attract this punishment.
Who did we get in trouble with.
Wen Chuo you bastard who can’t study, you’re going to be hit by lightning one day or another!”
Wen Chuo had actually been hit by “lightning” yesterday night and at the present hated this the most.
Immediately upon her words, his face dropped down and he stuck his hands in his pocket, walking up like a thug and smiling as he asked,
“Who are you saying will get hit by lightning, hmm?”
On the streets, Wen Chuo’s reputation has already gone down the drain.
Last time some unruly child had thrown firecrackers into Bai Yang’s shirt, and he had been chased down at least six blocks until he was cornered into an alleyway and viciously beaten up.
Such a small child and he wouldn’t even hold back; it could be seen how cruel and ruthless he was.
Da Hong’s mother immediately stopped crying from fear and started to become afraid that Wen Chuo would gather his other thuggish friends to take revenge.
“I said it was you! Lightning’s going to strike you, you bastard, and fry you up! Blackened heart and soul that you are!”
Da Hong’s mother could only really win through her mouth for something like this and she kept yelling at him as she helped her son up.
When they left, she kept looking back, alert, to see if Wen Chuo was chasing after her.
Wen Chuo gave them a middle finger, and with an expression full of disinterest, he flipped over to sit on the railing.
Seeing Bai Yang beneath him, with his hands full of plastic bottles, his face became displeased,
“Go go go.
You keep picking up these pieces of trash, how much money could you sell them for.
Bai Yang tightened his grasp on the bag and, after a while of confusion, he understood the meaning and patted his pockets that were full,
“A lot of money.”
Wen Chuo’s eyes couldn’t help but look down.
He jumped down from the railing and suddenly had a smile on his face.
He reached out into Bai Yang’s pockets to grab what was inside, squeezing Bai Yang’s cheeks as he said,
“Omo, how amazing.
Let me see how much you earned.”
[ ZZZT —- ]
The sound of an electrical shock flew by and the world was suddenly at peace.
[ My dear ~ take care of your little hands hmm ]
Wen Chuo emotionlessly retracted his hand and at the same time he saw pennies in Bai Yang’s pockets and he almost threw up blood.
He hung his head down against the railing, wanting to throw a tantrum but there was nowhere to do so, and he almost suffocated from his anger.
Bai Yang pulled on his sleeve,
Wen Chuo swatted him off in annoyance,
Leave me be.”
His strength was a bit strong, and Bai Yang stumbled back a small step.
He looked at the back of Wen Chuo and then lowered his head to count the bottles in his plastic bag before knotting it up well and heading back into the restaurant to continue his work there.
Wen Chuo had not eaten since last night and, after beating someone up, he was a bit weak.
He leaned against the railings as the sun shining on him made him even dizzier.
Finally, mustering enough energy, he pushed open the door to the restaurant and found a place to sit down.
The owner, Feng-shu2, was just behind the counter, counting up the numbers for the business.
The chef had taken these two days off to visit his hometown, so all the food had been prepared by his niece.
The business had been too quiet and hearing the door being pushed open, he lifted his head,
“Hoh, Wen Chuo, what do you want to eat, I’ll give you a discount.”
At this time, Bai Yang was mopping the floor.
Even if it was already very clean, he still mopped and mopped, over and over again, so persistent it was terrifying.
When he got near Wen Chuo, his mop was stepped on and held down which made Bai Yang lift up his head.
Facing up to Wen Chuo’s human-like dog face, he was told,
“Mop what mop.
After you mop it clean, it’s going to get dirty again when someone else comes.
You have put effort in the wrong place.”
I’m going to starve to death otherwise.”
Feng-shu lifted up his head to take a glance,
“You child, how did you turn out to be like this.
Didn’t you get along so well with Bai Yang before.”
When Wen Chuo first moved here, it was still autumn.
He looked fine and handsome, with gentlemanly manners.
More mature than adults could be at his young age, and he liked to dress up in those England-styled checkered sweaters, paired with a white button up.
Every time he was out with his backpack, he looked completely different from the children who ran around the streets crazily with snot coming out of their noses.
When Bai Yang was young, his mother had to work and had no time to take care of him, so she would always ask the restaurant owner to help out.
Bai Yang never played around in dirt nor did he run around like a crazed kid.
He would always be very silent, grabbing a little stool to sit by the entrance to wait for his mom to get off work.
He would sit there in his spot for the entire day.
Once, when Wen Chuo got off school early, he saw Bai Yang sitting like a wooden statue, almost like a soulless doll but also looked so obedient.
He crouched down to tease him,
“Bai Yang, are you waiting for your mom again hmm, do you want to go to this brother’s home to play?”
There wasn’t that big of a gap between their ages, but ever since he was a baby, Bai Yang’s physique had always been weak, and these past years, he hadn’t really grown taller at all.
His family was poor, and Chen Mei Ying had never really given him anything good to eat so the level of nutrients he received was way behind compared to his same-aged peers.
The most common thing Wen Chuo would do was wait at home and memorize english.
There were a few girls from the neighbors downstairs that loved to stick around him to play, but there wasn’t really anyone he himself stuck around, always going and leaving alone.
Bai Yang was skinny and small and he held onto his knees as he looked at Wen Chuo.
His face didn’t have a lot of fat to it, highlighting his eyes that were growing bigger and bigger.
The more Wen Chuo looked, the more he liked him.
He pushed his sleeves up to his elbows and reached down to pick him up, finding that the child was actually way lighter than he could have ever expected.
Perhaps it was because his parents had good genetics, Wen Chuo’s physique was lean and long, growing up to be so tall that even as a young child he didn’t have to expend much energy to hold Bai Yang,
Let’s go to this older brother’s house to play.
I’ll give you some chocolate.”
Bai Yang still didn’t utter a sound, only watching him with his pair of black eyes, and softly rested on Wen Chuo’s shoulders, smelling the faint lavender scent off his light colored sweater.
Wen Chuo thought that the children in this area could only scream and shout, always acting so pestering and bothersome, as troublemakers that could only make people’s heads hurt.
They kept running up and down the stairs without an end in sight, so he had never loved to play with them.
If they could all be like Bai Yang, how nice would that be, so quiet and still, obedient and good looking.
Maybe just a little bit too dumb, probably wouldn’t even know if he was being sold off.
At this time, Liu Ruo Qing’s health was dwindling to its last reserves, and so she didn’t care about Wen Chuo.
Everyday, she would only spend her time taking care to do her makeup, beautifying herself until she was pretty, and take a slow stroll outside, soaking in all the bedazzled gazes before staying by the window to mourn for her sadness.
Chen Mei Ying didn’t care as she never thought about letting Bai Yang go to school.
Since Wen Chuo had nothing to do anywhere, he taught Bai Yang how to read and recognize characters.
Language, math, and other subjects, he would teach everything to Bai Yang.
Although Bai Yang looked so dumb, he learned everything that he could.
Whatever Wen Chuo could, he could as well.
He was taught out of his own hands.
The Wen Chuo of those times, was the legendary child in all the parents’ mouths.
Perfect scores on every exam, awards being taken home like they were nothing.
His english was even smoother than the teacher’s, and he could play the piano, could draw.
Everyone said he must have a bright future ahead of him.
But Wen Chuo didn’t look to be very happy, as if this wasn’t what he wanted.
Those stacks and stacks of awards and certificates that were meant to bring fame and reputation, in his eyes were just wasted pieces of paper, without any difference from the slight dust in the air.
When Wen Chuo was in middle school, Liu Ruo Qing’s health had worsened.
Everyday she would be spitting out blood, and she wouldn’t eat her medicine.
Always mumbling about jumping off of the balcony and committing suicide, without any of her previous gentle beauty in sight, she was like a crazed woman.
Wen Chuo would lock her in the bedroom and spend his time drawing right outside the door.
Chen Mei Ying had died a few years ago, but Bai Yang still came over everyday.
Wen Chuo wouldn’t say anything and give him a piece of chocolate, letting him sit beside him as he held onto his paint brush, dabbing on bits of color and drawing as Liu Ruo Qing cried and wailed and slammed against the door.
When Bai Yang heard the wrenching vomiting from inside the room, he patted Wen Chuo’s hand, but Wen Chuo covered over his eyes and calmly said,
“Don’t worry about it.”
His brush never stopped and a painting was slowly revealed before their eyes.
It was a strong, straight and stiff, never bending balsam poplar tree.
The day that Liu Ruo Qing died, Wen Chuo had run away and no one knew where he’d gone.
The awards and certificates at home had been torn apart, and his painting tools were all broken into pieces.
Bai Yang went out everyday to find him, never missing a single day to try and find him, but he couldn’t.
Half a month later, Wen Chuo came back by himself.
His hair was dyed all sorts of colors and he was hanging out with a gang of troublemakers, ruling over their patch of road.
Drinking and cursing and swearing, fighting and then more cursing and swearing: a him that was so different from before.
The air conditioner in the restaurant was a bit cold and kept making a buzzing noise.
After using a cloth to wipe the table, Bai Yang served up the dishes.
Seeing this, Wen Chuo moved his gaze off his phone and used his chopsticks to knock on the table, sounding out a heavy sound,
“Sit down and eat.”
This was said to Bai Yang.
Wen Chuo had just gone to the bank, and after some difficulty got out 500 yuan.
He thought what was the point in saving it all for, as he couldn’t buy a mansion nor a race car.
It wasn’t even enough to pay his rent, so he was just going to spend it all.
Bai Yang slowly sat beside him as per his words and took a look at the bill and then took out all the money he had crumpled up in his pockets, 5, 10, 1, 20, slowly counting each and every bill.
Wen Chuo: “Hey hey hey, stop counting.
I’ll pay for you.
Stop it will you.”
There was no customers right now after all, and Feng-shu gave a look around and didn’t care, continuing to count his mess of an accounting book.
Bai Yang was still counting his money, and Wen Chuo grew irritated.
He used the table to cover him smacking Bai Yang hard on the butt,
“You have to show off your wealth in front of me huh?”
And then said,
“You keep counting and I’ll steal it all!”
Bai Yang felt a bit of pain from the hit and his eyes looked at Wen Chuo darkly.
His overly long bangs covered his eyes and the longer he looked, the more it could make others become terrified.
Wen Chuo was someone who looked strong, but he wasn’t that strong on the inside.
After a few seconds, he gave up and patted his waist,
Bai Yang continued to count his money and when he was done, he put it on the table.
He pushed it over to Wen Chuo and then went to fill up his bowl.
Wen Chuo paused in surprise, but he didn’t dare take it.
He roughly counted with his eyes, and found at least 900 yuan, the amount perfectly matching the cost of his rent and joy exploded in him,
“Bai Yang you……”
[ Ding ~ ]
“……Take the money back.”
*1 sb: (using my own footnotes from volume 3 :p) “sb” takes on the sound of “stupid” and “force”/”cunt”/”compare”.
It is usually used along the lines of “stupid bitch”/curse word at someone, along the likes of dumbass
*2 -shu: a suffix (means “uncle” most of the time) like -shen (“aunt”) where you use it to generally call a man older than you.
Someone that usually has children or looks like an older adult man (almost like your parents age but younger than a senior) or someone that feels like an uncle to you (used similarly in volume 1, where -shu was referencing a driver of Huo’s uncle or like in this volume where -shen was for the landlady).
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