Happy Heroes 17 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 July 2008 11:27

Chapter 16 – Misunderstanding

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Yan Qi: “Because I saw it with my own eyes.”

Wang Dong: “What did you see?”

Yan Qi: “I saw him whispering with HuoBoPi for a long time. HuoBoPi took out an ingot of silver and gave it to him; then, he left with HuoBoPi.”

Wang Dong paused for a moment in surprise. “You didn’t run over and ask what was going on?”

With another icy laugh, Yan Qi responded, “Why would I run over? I don’t want to be HuoBoPi’s lackey.”


Lin TaiPing gave a sigh as he added, “If it was just being a lackey who followed him in a trip to the city, it would not be a big deal, but I think that it unquestionably cannot be as simple as that.”

Of course it was not that simple. If all HuoBoPi wanted was someone to be his lackey, the whole street was filled with people who, for only five coins, would be willing to do it. Why did he have to come all the way here to find them?

Lin TaiPing carried on, “HuoBoPi, himself, said that there was a reason behind what he was doing. In my opinion, it definitely cannot be any sort of good deed.”

Yan Qi: “There is only one thing that could make HuoBoPi wholeheartedly willing to bring out five hundred liang.”

Lin TaiPing: “What sort of thing?”

Yan Qi: “Something that will make him five thousand liang.”

Lin TaiPing: “That is true. If it was not something that is ‘one investment, ten thousand returns,’ he definitely would not be willing to pull out his wallet and take out five hundred liang.”

Yan Qi: “But there is only one type of activity which is truly ‘one investment, ten thousand returns’: shady activities.”

Lin TaiPing: “Correct. I think that if it is not stealing that he is going to do, then it will be deception. He is afraid that, when he is discovered, people will not go easy on him, so that is why he came here to hire us as his bodyguards.” He let out a lengthy sigh before carrying on, “Doesn’t Guo DaLu understand such logic?”

His smile still cold, Yan Qi replied, “Even you can see the logic, so why would he not understand? It is not as if he is more stupid than other people.”

Wang Dong had been paying close attention to the expression on Yan Qi’s face the whole time, and now, he suddenly questioned, “So if you believed that he should not have gone, why did you not try to stop him?”

Yan Qi’s tone was icy as he retorted, “If an individual really wants to jump into a mud pit, even if people try to stop him, they will not be able to yank him back.”

Wang Dong: “And so, all you do then is watch as he jumps?”

Yan Qi bit down hard on his own lip. “I… I…” All of a sudden, he turned around and fled outside. Someone with sharp eyesight would have noticed that his eyes had already filled with tears as he was running out, as if he was so angry he was about to cry.

Wang Dong’s eyes were very sharp. He sat there by himself, staring off into the distance for half a day. Sighing, he murmured, “ ‘The deeper the love, the deeper the sense of blame cuts.’ It seems this saying is not one bit wrong.”

Lin TaiPing broke in, “What did you say?”

Smiling, Wang Dong answered, “I said, even now I still do not believe that Xiao Guo would do something like that. What about you?”

In a hesitant tone, Lin TaiPing said, “I… I do not really believe it either.”

Wang Dong: “You still at least have a bit of doubt, correct?”

Lin TaiPing: “Yes.”

Wang Dong: “But Yan Qi does not have even a hint of doubt. He basically is convinced that Xiao Guo would do something like that. Do you know why?”

Lin TaiPing mulled over the question for a moment. “I thought it was rather peculiar, too. His relationship with Xiao Guo has always seemed to be particularly good.”

Heaving a sigh, Wang Dong explained, “It is because they have a particularly good relationship that he is more easily convinced.”

Lin TaiPing again pondered over his statement. “Why? I don’t understand.”

Wang Dong: “We were all able to realize that there might have been other reasons for Zhu Zhu’s sudden disappearance, but Guo DaLu could not and instead, thought of the worst case scenario. Why is that?”

Lin TaiPing: “Because the love he had for Zhu Zhu was too deep, and so…”

Wang Dong: “So his brain was not thinking clearly, right?”

Lin TaiPing: “Yes.”

Love can make a person blind. Most people understand this philosophy.

Wang Dong: “If your feelings for someone are very deep, then the judgments you make of this person will be less accurate because normally, you only see his good aspects. However, once any negative changes or setbacks involving this person occur, you immediately blame yourself and take responsibility, and you start wavering. Hence, you cannot help thinking from the worst possible perspective.”

Lin TaiPing let out a chuckle. “I understand what you are trying to say, except your analogy does not seem very appropriate.”

Wang Dong: “Oh?”

Smiling, Lin TaiPing remarked, “How could you compare the situation between Zhu Zhu and Xiao Guo to this? How can the feelings that Xiao Guo had for Zhu Zhu be even similar to the feelings that Yan Qi has for him?”

Wang Dong started laughing too. It seemed as if he realized that he had said something inappropriate, as if he had said a little too much. Hence, he did not say any more. But he did continue laughing, and in fact, his laughter was rather unusual. Only when he noticed Yan Qi leaving from the courtyard to go outside did he open his mouth and ask, “Do you want to go out?”

Yan Qi’s eyes were still red. Straining a smile, he replied, “Today’s weather has improved slightly. I want to go hunting.”

Lin TaiPing rose to his feet with a smile. “I will go as well. If we do not go hunting today, I’m afraid we may die of hunger.”

Wang Dong chuckled, “Since Xiao Guo has money on him, he certainly will not allow us to starve. Why don’t you wait until he comes back?”

Yan Qi’s face immediately grew stony. “Why must I wait for him?”

Wang Dong: “Let’s just say you are doing it for me, okay?”

Yan Qi stood in the courtyard with his head lowered. Even though the sky had cleared, the wind was still so cold that it pierced the bones. Yet, he did not seem the least bit cold. He stood there motionless for a long time before finally saying in a chilly tone, “And if he does not return?”

Wang Dong let out another little laugh. “If he does not return, I will treat you both to a meal of dog cr*p.”

Lin TaiPing could not help asking curiously, “Where would you find a dog in this type of weather?”

Wang Dong: “You do not need to go looking for one. There is one in this place.”

Lin TaiPing: “Where is the dog?”

Pointing at his own nose, Wang Dong said, “Right here.”

Lin TaiPing blinked his eyes as he stifled giggles. “You’re a dog?”

Wang Dong: “Not just a dog, an ‘earth dog’ [*slang for mole cricket].”

Lin TaiPing could suppress his laughter no longer.

Yan Qi was not laughing, though. “If someone cannot even figure out what type of person his friend is, what else could he be aside from a mole cricket?

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Wang Dong was not a mole cricket.

Guo DaLu returned very shortly after. He was carrying a stack of large and small packages. In the small package, there was meat; the large package held mantou; and the smallest one contained peanuts. And, since there were peanuts, that meant there must also be wine. They could do without peanuts but they could not do without wine. Guo DaLu chortled, “I am starting to miss Mai LaoGuang. Ever since he left, I can’t seem to find anyone who can make good stewed soy-sauce meats.”

Wang Dong: “There is at least one person.”

Guo DaLu: “Who?”

Wang Dong: “You. If you were to open up a restaurant, your business definitely would not be bad.”

Guo DaLu grinned. “That is not a bad idea, but unfortunately, there is one thing that won’t work…”

Wang Dong: “What is that?”

Guo DaLu: “No matter how good my restaurant’s business is, in less than three days, it will shut down.”

Wang Dong: “Why?”

Giggling, Guo DaLu told him, “Even if I don’t eat myself out of business, you guys will come and eat until my restaurant folds.”

All of a sudden, Yan Qi let out a cold laugh. “Don’t worry. I certainly would not eat at your place.”

Guo DaLu had still been laughing, but seeing the frosty expression on Yan Qi’s face, he paused in shock. “You are angry. What have I done to offend you?”

Yan Qi: “You should know.”

With a bitter little smile, Guo DaLu asked, “What should I know? I don’t understand at all.”

Ignoring him, Yan Qi walked up to Wang Dong and said, “You may not be a mole cricket, but there is a ‘running dog’ [*word for lackey or minion] here. A mole cricket is not a big deal, but I cannot stand lackeys.”

Guo DaLu’s eyes widened as he cried incredulously, “Who is a lackey?” Yan Qi still paid no attention to him. With an icy snicker, he started to walk towards the door. Guo DaLu’s eyes flashed, as if he suddenly understood. He rushed forward to block his way. “You think I have become HuoBoPi’s minion? You think I bought all these things with the deposit he brought?”

Yan Qi retorted, “So did all of this fall from the sky? Or did they grow from the earth?”

Guo DaLu’s eyes were fixed steadily on him. A long time passed until he suddenly heaved a lengthy sigh. He muttered, “Fine, fine… If you say I am a lackey, then I’m a lackey… You can’t stand me, then I will leave.” He walked out slowly, right past Wang Dong. Wang Dong rose to his feet, as if he wanted to stop him, but then sat back down.

Guo DaLu walked out to the courtyard. Lifting his head, he watched as individual flakes of snow were blown from the trees where they had accumulated, sprinkling down until they covered him. He stood there motionless.

The snowflakes melted on his face, water trickling down his cheeks. He stood unmoving. He wanted to go somewhere far away, but, for some reason, found that he could not move.



Yan Qi did not cast a glance towards the courtyard. Perhaps he no longer saw anything. His eyes had grown red again. Suddenly, with a stomp of his foot, he dashed towards the other door.

But Wang Dong’s hand had stretched out to bar his way. “First take a look to see what this is.” His hand held something.

 

Yan Qi, of course, knew what it was. He had several similar pieces of paper on him too. “It’s a pawn ticket.”

Wang Dong: “Take a closer look. What item was pawned?”

The writing on a pawn ticket is like that on a doctor’s prescription: it looks like ‘a talisman drawn by a ghost’ [* i.e. illegible]. Unless a person is very experienced, he would have no hope of recognizing even one word. Yan Qi was very experienced. He had seen many pawn tickets from HuoBoPi.

“One old, shabby gold necklace. One old, shabby gold pendant. Total weight of seven liang, nine qian [* qian = unit of weight equal to five grams]. Pawned for silver, fifty liang.”

Once they enter a pawnshop, things that are obviously still in new condition will suddenly become old and shabby. This is the rule in every pawnshop. Not one of them had found this unusual. However, saying that a gold necklace could be “shabby" was rather unconvincing and seemed to be stretching things a bit.

Yan Qi nearly laughed out loud, but sadly, nothing would come out. He looked like someone had slapped him across the face. His whole body was frozen.

A nonchalant smile on his face, Wang Dong informed him, “I just lifted this pawn ticket off of Xiao Guo. Did I not tell all of you before? If I had changed professions and become a pickpocket, I would have been rich a long time ago.” Sighing, he mumbled to himself, “But unfortunately, I am too lazy to move now.”

Yan Qi did not move either, but tears were slowly rolling over his cheeks...

“Even the best of friends at times can have misunderstandings.” So, if you should have any misunderstandings with your friend, you must find an opportunity to explain things to him.

“One situation can be looked at from many perspectives. If you always look at things from the negative perspective, then you are abusing yourself.” That is why, no matter what setbacks you may encounter, you should find ways to seek out the bright side of the situation.

No one wants to abuse others, nor should he abuse himself. This was Wang Dong’s conclusion. Wang Dong’s conclusions were usually very accurate. If a conclusion is accurate, everyone should take it to heart.

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There is nothing in this world that is definitely good or definitely bad. Failure may be bad, but “failure is the mother of success.” Success may be good, but success often leads to a person becoming prideful and arrogant so that failure will follow again.

When you befriend someone, naturally you hope that you can become close friends. But even though being close to your friends is, of course, a good thing, when you are too close, it is easy to take one another for granted and then misunderstandings will arise. Misunderstandings may be awful, but if friends can explain things clearly to each other, in the end, they will understand one another better and their friendship will deepen to another level.

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But no matter what, it is not a very pleasant feeling to be accused wrongly. And if there is one thing worse than being wrongly accused once, it is being wrongly accused two times in a row. Yan Qi had been mistakenly blamed for something before, and so he knew what Guo DaLu was feeling right then. In his heart, he felt even worse than Guo DaLu. Besides feeling miserable, there was also some sort of sensation in his heart that nobody but himself could understand. All he wanted to do was have a heartfelt cry. It had been a long time since he had had a good cry because he was a man and a man should not weep like that.

Ai! To be a man truly is not easy.

Obviously, he knew that he should go find Guo DaLu, but what should he say to him? Some words, he did not want to say; some words, he could not say; and some words, he just did not dare say. His heart was in turmoil. He did not know what to do.

From nowhere, a hand reached out in front of him. It held a cup. He heard someone say to him, “Drink this cup of wine and then it will be truce between us, okay?” His heart leapt. Lifting his head, he saw Guo DaLu.

Guo DaLu’s face did not show any anger or sadness on it. He looked the same as always, grinning broadly at Yan Qi. Normally, Yan Qi frowned upon such an expression, that cheeky smile and casual attitude. He had always felt that a person should act a bit more proper and well-behaved. Yet, right then, for some reason, he suddenly did not find that expression the least bit annoying. In fact, it was extremely lovable. He even hoped that Guo DaLu would forever be this way, that he would never draw his face into a frown. He realized this was the true Guo DaLu that he liked: carefree and lighthearted. Even if someone offended him, he would not take it to heart.

Guo DaLu beamed, “Are you willing to have a truce?”

Yan Qi’s head hung down and he quavered, “You… you are not mad?”

Guo DaLu: “At first, I was furious, but then I thought about it and not only was I not angry, I in fact became happy.”

Yan Qi: “Happy?”

Guo DaLu: “If you did not care about me, even if I was a b*stard, it would not concern you and you would not need to get upset over it. It is only because you are my good friend that you got angry with me.”

Yan Qi: “But… I should not have wrongly accused you, and I should have trusted you.”

Guo DaLu giggled, “It doesn’t matter if you blame me or if you punch me a couple of times. So long as you are my friend, you can do whatever you want and it won’t matter.”

Yan Qi laughed. When he laughed, his nose would crinkle up a little bit and his eyes would first sparkle with a smile. His face was still stained with tears. Snow white tear streaks appeared where they had passed over what had originally been a dark and dirty face. They were like sunlight amidst a sky filled with gloomy clouds.

Guo DaLu was gazing at him as if he was dazed. Lowering his head again, Yan Qi asked, “What are you staring at me for?”

Guo DaLu chuckled a bit, then sighed, “I was thinking, Sour Plum Soup has a pretty discerning eye. If you would wash your face, you would definitely be a striking lad and maybe even better looking than me.”

Yan Qi tried to pull his face into a frown, but he could not stop a “pfft” from escaping as he giggled and accepted the cup of wine.

Wang Dong looked at Lin TaiPing; Lin TaiPing looked back at Wang Dong. They both broke into laughter.

Lin TaiPing was grinning as he said, “I usually do not like wine, but today, I really want to guzzle it until I am drunk.”

In life, it is hard to come by a few times when you can get [satisfyingly] drunk. They had just gone through something like this. If right now was not an appropriate time to get drunk, then when would be the right time?

Guo DaLu sighed unexpectedly, “It’s a pity that I cannot get drunk with all of you today.”

Lin TaiPing: “Why?”

Guo DaLu: “Because I still have something I need to do. I need to take a trip to down the mountain.” This guy would not sit still in this place once he had money.

Yan Qi nibbled on his own lip. “What are you going to do down the mountain?”

Blinking, Guo DaLu chortled, “I have a date with someone.”

Yan Qi’s expression seemed to change slightly. He turned his face away quietly. “With whom?”

Guo DaLu: “HuoBoPi.”

Yan Qi’s eyes immediately sparkled with delight, but he deliberately put a scowl onto his face. “You arranged something with him?”

Guo DaLu: “He did not arrange anything with me, but I am going to go find him.”

Yan Qi: “What for?”

Guo DaLu: “He was willing to bring out five hundred liang so that means he must have some dishonest scheme planned. I want to see whose skin he plans to flay.”

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The snow was starting to melt. The mountain paths that had been covered in snow were now all muddy. But Yan Qi did not care. He stepped through the mud like he was walking on clouds. This was because Guo DaLu was by his side. He could even sense Guo DaLu’s breathing.

Guo DaLu suddenly gave a laugh. “I discovered something again today.”

Yan Qi: “Oh?”

Guo DaLu: “I discovered that Wang Laoda understands me very well. I don’t think I can find another person in this world who understands me like he does.”

Yan Qi nodded as he remarked quietly, “He really does understand others. Not only you. He understands everyone.”

Guo DaLu: “But the one who has the most compassion for me is Lin TaiPing. I can tell.”

Yan Qi hesitated, but finally could not help asking, “What about me?”

Guo DaLu: “You don’t understand me, nor are you compassionate to me. Not only are you fierce to me, you will also quarrel and get in fights with me at any time…” Yan Qi’s head hung low. Guo DaLu gave a sudden grin and continued, “But for some reason, I have this feeling that you care about me the most.”

Yan Qi smiled charmingly. His cheeks seemed to have a hint of pink. A long time passed before he asked softly, “And you?”

Guo DaLu: “There are times when I am so angry with you I could die. Take today as an example: if it was Wang Laoda who had acted that way towards me, I actually would not have been so livid and maybe would have even immediately tried to explain everything to him. But you…”

Yan Qi: “You could only get mad at me?”

Guo DaLu sighed, “That’s only because I seem to treat you particularly special.” Groaning, he added, “How special? I cannot seem to explain.”

Yan Qi: “If you cannot explain it, then it can’t be real.”

Guo DaLu: “But I can draw an analogy: for Wang Laoda, I would be willing to pawn all my clothes so that the only thing I wore when I returned was my underpants.” He grinned and carried on, “For you, though, I could pawn even that pair of underpants.”

Yan Qi smiled sweetly as disagreed, “Who would want your ripped underpants?” His face flushed again after he asked the question. How would he know that Guo DaLu’s underpants were ripped? Fortunately, his face was filthy and black. Even if he was blushing, no one would be able to tell. However, if someone did not notice that expression on his face, that gentle and sweet smile that was so bashful, then that person was an idiot – a blind idiot.

Guo DaLu gazed into his eyes. He beamed unexpectedly and said, “I have another analogy.”

Yan Qi: “Go ahead and say it.”

Guo DaLu chuckled, “Even though I vowed that I would never marry, if you were a girl, I would definitely take you as my wife.”

Yan Qi: “Whoever ends up as your wife will have the misfortune of poverty for eight lifetimes.” There was something not quite right about his voice. He sped up his pace unexpectedly so that he was walking in front.

At that moment, the sky suddenly cleared. A cord of golden sunlight broke through the clouds and radiated down. It shone down on the earth, on Yan Qi, and also on Guo DaLu. This sunlight seemed to be shining just for them.



End of Chapter 16