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Tuesday, 22 July 2008 20:04

Chapter 23 - Little Bells Ring *Ding Dang*


 
There was a small courtyard right outside. Ye Kai walked out of the doors and into the sunlight filled courtyard. A small black cat was sprawled underneath the shade of one of the trees. It gazed languidly at a butterfly that danced around a circle of flowers near the wall, wanting to swipe at it, but too lazy to move.

Of course, there was no one on the roof. Ye Kai knew that there wouldn't be anyone on the roof, Granny Du wouldn't wait around for him to come out.

Ye Kai let out a sigh, he suddenly felt like that cat. If it pleased him so, he could strike out at anytime to snatch the butterfly. But even if he wasn't lazy, he wouldn't be able to catch that butterfly. That butterfly wasn't a mouse.

Butterflies can fly. Butterflies can fly very high.

Suddenly, a pair of hands reached over the wall, and with a *PA*, cupped the butterfly in its grasp. The butterfly disappeared from sight. The hands disappeared from sight.

There was a person sitting atop the wall.

Outside the wall was a barren field. Who knew what grew there, whether it be wheat or plum blossoms? No matter what you tried to grow here, you wouldn't have much success. Yet people still sow seeds every year.

Such is life. Everyone wants to live on. Everyone must find a way to live on.

Several ragged shacks outlined the barren field. These houses belonged to the poorest folk in the area. The children that grew up here were all full of life. But children will always be children, full of innocence. There were about seven or eight of them standing in a circle outside the walls, staring at the person underneath the tree.

The person sitting atop the wall was Ye Kai, and he was staring at the person underneath the tree as well.

That person had a round face, big round eyes, skin that was smooth and white, and dimples in her cheeks when she smiled. Maybe you couldn't consider her breathtakingly beautiful, but she was undeniably cute and adorable. She had on a moon-white gown that looked as light as feathers. She wore a golden hooped circlet around her snow white neck, and on that golden circlet were attached two golden bells. She had golden hoops attached with golden bells on her arms as well. When the wind blew, her entire body jingled and chimed melodiously.

But she wasn't dressed like this before. Before, she was dresed in a large red garments. Before she stood atop a lofty pole. Now she stood underneath that tree.

There was a shabby wooden table in front of her. On that table was a doll completely dressed in red, a silver medal etched with flowers, a purple crystal, a rainbow colored chain, an embroidery pouch, a birdcage, and a fish jar.

The butterfly that she had just caught was among those things as well. Who knew where she brought all these things from? What's even better was that inside the birdcage was a pair of canaries and inside the fish jar were two goldfish.

When the kids saw her, it was like seeing a goddess descend from the cloudy mists.

She clapped her hand and said, "Okay, all of you form a line. You can all come by and choose something you like. But you better only take one thing, if you're greedy I'm going to give you a spanking on your behind."

Of course the kids were very well-behaved. The first child that walked up looked stupefied. He had never seen any of these things in his life before. After staring blankly for quite a while, he finally chose the silver medal. The second child picked the canaries.

The girl with the big round eyes smiled and said, "Good! Very good choices, one of you will grow up to be a businessman, and the other will grow up to be a poet."

The two children smiled back very gleefully. The third child was a girl and she chose the embroidery pouch. The fourth child was the smallest, he was sniveling and finally chose the dead butterfly.

"Do you know that there are other things better than that dead butterfly?" the girl with the big round eyes asked.

The child nodded his head.

"Then why did you pick the dead butterfly?"

"If I pick anything else, the other kids will try to steal it from me. I'm not big enough to fight them, so it's best for me to pick something that no one else will want. Then, at least I can play with it for a couple of days." the small child stammered.

"You're a pretty smart kid." the girl said sweetly. The small child blushed and shyly lowered his head.

She winked and said, "Actually, I know someone who was just like you."

"He got picked on a lot?" the small child asked.

"Well before, everyone else was much stronger than he was, so he would have to suck it up instead of fighting with them."

"And then what happened?"

"For that exact reason, he worked hard at bettering himself. Now, no one can pick on him anymore."

The child laughed and said, "So he must get all the good things now."

"That's right. So if you want good things, you have to be like him and work really hard. Do you understand?"

"I understand. If you don't want others to pick on you, you have to have the ability to back it up."

"Exactly." the girl acknowledged. She took off one of the golden bells from her arm and said, "Here, I'm giving this to you. If anyone tries to take it away, just tell me and I'll spank their behinds."

The young child shook his head and replied, "I don't want this right now."

"Why not?"

"Because sooner or later you'll have to leave. Then the other kids will steal it from me. I'll wait until I have the skills, then I can get all the good things for myself."

The girl clapped and said, "Great! You're definitely going to have a bright future."

"Just like that friend of yours?"

"Exactly!" She bent down and hugged the little child. The child's face blushed red as he walked off.
Along the way, he couldn't help but turn to ask, "What is the name of your friend, who worked so hard to better himself?"

"Why do you want to know?"

"Because I want to be just like him. I want to keep his name in my heart so I never forget."

The girl smiled and replied clearly, "Fine, then listen carefully. His surname is Ye, given name Kai."

The children all finally left. The girl let out a lazy yawn and leaned against the tree as her big round eyes glanced over at Ye Kai.

Ye Kai was smiling back.

The girl's eyes quivered as she said, "What are you so proud of? All I did was tell someone little kid to be like you."

"Actually he should learn from you instead." Ye Kai replied.

"Learn what?"

"That as soon as you see something nice, to snatch it away as quickly as possible. Who cares if someone tries to steal it away."

The girl with the big round eyes bit down on her lips and replied, "Actually, if it were something that I really liked, even if someone did steal it away, I'd eventually find a way to steal it back."

Ye Kai let out a sigh and said, "But who would dare to steal something that the great Miss Ding liked?"

The girl giggled and replied, "It's for their own good that they don't try to steal from me."

Her laughter was like a gorgeous flower in bloom as all the bells on her body started to ring and chime.

Her name was Ding LingLin. The ringing bells that she wore jingled like her name. But her ringing bells were not an amusement, nor was there anything funny about them. They were actually quite formidable. Actually, many people in the martial-realm fear Ding LingLin's ringing bells to death.

But Ye Kai didn't seem to pay them any heed. It seemed like there was nothing in this world that so much as shook him.

After Ding LingLin had finished laughing, she stared at Ye Kai and asked, "Ah, have you forgotten?"

"Forgotten what?" Ye Kai asked back.

"What you've asked me to do, I've already done."

"Oh?"

"You wanted me to pretend to be Lu XiaoJia and investigate the backgrounds of those people."

"It doesn't seem like you've found anything out."

"Well you can't really blame me for that."

"Then who should I blame?"

"Blame yourself. You yourself said that he wouldn't arrive so early."

"When did I say that?"

"You also said that even if he did come, that you wouldn't let him pick on me."

"I don't remember you getting picked on."

"But when have I ever had to deal with someone like him?"

"Who told you to pick on other people instead of focusing on the task at hand?"

Ding LingLin's eyes suddenly widened more than her ringing bells, "Other people? What other people? What kind of relationship do you have with her? Why are you still taking her side now?"

"Well at least she didn't provoke you." Ye Kai said with a smile.

"But she did provoke me. I saw her standing next to you which displeased me."

Everyone thought that she was jealous because of Lu XiaoJia, who knew that it was really because of Ye Kai. The words that she said to Lu XiaoJia were really targeted at Ye Kai.

She planted her hands at her waist and said, "I've been looking for you for three months and I finally find you here. Then, you want me to dress up and parade as somebody else, which I followed accordingly. What have I done wrong to you? Tell me."

She stamped her feet which was adorned with bells as well. But her voice sounded many times more resonant than the jingling. Even if Ye Kai had something to say, he had no way to say it.

"I'm asking you, since you clearly have to deal with Ma KongQun, why are you helping his daughter? What exactly have you done with that little wench that can't see the light of day?"

"Nothing at all."

Ding LingLin smiled coldly and said, "Good, you said so yourself. Since you have nothing to do with that woman, I'm going to kill her right now."

You could almost be assured that whatever Miss Ding said, that she would certainly do. Ye Kai darted forward and grabbed her.

"The number of women I know in this world are quite a few. Are you going to find them all and kill them as well?" Ye Kai said playfully.

"I only want to kill this one."

"Why?"

"Because I feel like it."

Ye Kai let out a sigh and asked, "Okay, what do you want me to do?"

Ding LingLin's eyes lit up, "First, from now on no matter where you go, you're not allowed to separate from me."

"Mmm." Ye Kai replied.

Ding LingLin squinted her big round eyes and bit down on her delicate lips. She glanced at Ye Kai out of the corner of her eyes and added, "Also, I want you to hold on to my hand and walk all around town with me, so that everyone will know that we are a couple. Will you agree?"

Ye Kai sighed and smiled, "Forget about holding your hand, even if you wanted me to hold your leg I'd be willing."

Ding LingLin started to laugh. Her entire body rang and jingled almost as melodiously as her laughter.

________________________________________

Sunset.

The land looked like a baked piece of bread that had just come out of the oven. The grass and trees were the onions and scallions on that bread. If you reached out and touched it, you would know how hot it was.

Ma FangLing raced furiously through the grasslands.

The grasslands were vast and expansive. The clear sky extended out for ten thousand miles.

Tiny beads of sweat started to drip from the tip of her nose. She felt as if her entire body was trapped in an oven.

She had no idea where she wanted to go. The only thing she knew was that she was miserable. All of a sudden, she felt her body swell up with compassion and pity ... for herself.

Although she had a family, not a single one of them understood her. Third Madame Shen had left, now her father was nowhere to be found.

Friends? She didn't have any friends. Those horse trainers were definitely not her friends.

And Ye Kai ... it's best if Ye Kai went off and died.

She suddenly felt so completely alone in this world. It was a feeling that drove her closer to insanity.

- END CHAPTER 23 -