Chapter 118: Interweave
Translator: TYZ Editor: Pranav
"You can't carry it? Hey, let me help you. One thousand yuan per hour? That's yesterday's price, it's so dangerous these days! A moment of carelessness will result in a slip and a fall. I'm fine with falling down as my skin is rough and my body's thick, but your goods are precious and fragile! If they fall to the ground, you will suffer great losses! Let's make it clear, you will not receive compensation for damaged goods. If you're sincere about this, then I will be sincere, too. Since we are classmates, I will give you a reasonable price. Two thousand yuan per hour. It will only cost around twenty thousand yuan a day. This will save you a lot of trouble!"
Fatty's face was filled with sincerity. The other party's backpack resembled a small hill, making it very difficult and heavy to be carried. After a slight hesitation, he agreed to Fatty's offer. Even though it was rather expensive, it wasn't much to a wealthy person.
The fatty was silently rejoicing. This kind of weight was child's play.
He happily accepted the money. However, just as he was about to put the money into his pocket, someone's hand suddenly came from behind and emptied his hand.
Fatty was stunned, but the next moment his pupils shrunk. This feeling...was too familiar! He immediately turned his body around, kneeled down, and hugged Ai Hui's legs. He started weeping. "Ai Hui, I finally found you!"
"Give us a moment." Ai Hui forced a smile at the student who had just paid Fatty.
With a blank expression, he lifted Fatty up with one hand; Fatty's enormous and cumbersome body seemed to weigh nothing in Ai Hui's hand. The other hand of Ai Hui's was searching through Fatty's body, not leaving a single pocket. Ai Hui was too familiar with where Fatty hid his money, and in less than half a minute, he managed to obtain all of Fatty's stash.
"Where's the money?" Ai Hui asked coldly.
He had found barely fifty thousand yuan.
Ai Hui did not idle around, and he plucked off a thorny branch from a nearby cluster of thistles. When Fatty saw the densely-packed thorns on the branch, his face turned pale. An interrogation by torture was about to come.
However, he did not dare to struggle. He understood Ai Hui's temperament very well. The more he struggled, the more he would suffer. He was well aware that Ai Hui's anger stemmed from the fact that he had previously stolen his money.
"I spent all of it," Fatty replied honestly. His tone was like a pig that was about to be slaughtered.
"You spent it all?" Ai Hui's tone was flat. A fearful look flashed across Fatty's face when he saw the thorny branch in Ai Hui's hand tremble.
Fatty gulped. He knew he had to settle the issue this time around.
"Do you still remember Pockmark? I'm sure you have forgotten; you never spoke a single word to him. I still remember that in the beginning, when I couldn't carry so much, he was the one who helped me. I buried his body. His wife never recovered from her illness. His daughter has reached the schooling age. When Pockmark died, I told him that if I came out alive, I would take care of his family."
The thorny branch in Ai Hui's hand stopped moving.
A blurry face appeared in a distant memory. Anguish, fear, ink-black nights and icy winds. Fuzzy memories began to surface in his mind.
Ai Hui had a vague image of a laborer that had died very early during their time in the Wilderness. Fatty did not remember wrongly-he had not talked to Pockmark at all. Pockmark was not the only one he had never talked to; in fact, he did not talk to anyone except for Fatty.
"Do you remember Old Wei? That guy who liked to brag? I bet you don't remember him as well. I still remember that when I had just entered the Wilderness, I was always hungry. Old Wei once gave me some food to eat and told me that I am around the same age as his son. The day he died was a rainy day. It was hard to dig a grave in the muddy soil, which was easily washed away by the rain. It took me half a day to bury him properly. He has two children. The younger one has a terminal illness at the mere age of seven. He knew he wouldn't survive, and hence, he went to the Wilderness. I have sent his family a sum of money. It's not a huge sum, it's only forty thousand yuan. Although I survived, I can't do anything more...
"Do you remember Big Lee...."
The fatty continued to talk endlessly, without getting to the point. Sometimes he talked until he was out of breath, at times he spoke with agitation.
The dumbstruck student who had paid him earlier had long been scared off.
"Duanmu Huanghun! Ahhhhhhh! Am I dreaming?"
"Ahhhh, quick, pick me some flowers!"
Suddenly, young girls' shrieks could be heard from behind the nearby trees.
Ai Hui was shocked speechless.
"Teacher Xu, what a coincidence!"
"Ah, Cui Xianzi, you're bringing your students on an excursion as well?"
"Only the two of us survived, only the two of us survived!"
"...At least we are still alive..."
The warm, cordial greetings, the somber memories, they all kept interweaving and appearing in Ai Hui's mind.
He remained stupefied as if he were in a dream.
"While I was burying them, I told them that if I made it out alive, I would take care of their families.
"Why am I still alive? Why...."
The spurt of fresh blood, the pouring rain, the dire beasts feasting on corpses-memories kept flashing through Ai Hui's mind. His body suddenly became cold, as if an icy bath had been dumped onto him. He clenched the thorny branch so tightly that his fingers turned pale.
"Why don't both our classes travel together? We can take care of each other. With an expert like Instructor Zhou, I can feel relieved."
"That's good, that's good! Cui Xianzi is so beautiful! Are you married?"
"I know you have no money and that brings about a lot of inconveniences. I know I have brought you nothing but troubles. However, you're an evildoer, and no trouble can stump you."
"Classmate Duanmu, do you have a girlfriend?"
"Classmate Duanmu, do you want to be friends with me?"
"I know I started this. I'm a pig! I'm stupid! I'm a useless person! But I'm still alive. Why am I still alive? I can't stand it anymore, I really can't stand it anymore...
Fatty was speaking gibberish, and his body was trembling. Emotions were flooding his mind in waves.
Ai Hui suddenly broke free from that ice-cold nightmare and took a few deep breaths. The air was frosty and bone-piercing, but he could feel his body's temperature begin to rise gradually again.
Yes, that was a dream, a dream that he had broken free from long ago. He had already abandoned the times of darkness and shadows. He was now pursuing the light and the sunshine. He had begun a new life.
He was no longer the Ai Hui of the Wilderness. He was stronger, both mentally and physically.
With a flick of his wrist, the thorny branch began to batter Fatty.
"You can't get past your conscience, right? You want to be a hero, right? Then why don't you train harder? Why meddle in other people's business when you're not capable at all? Just because you're alive and they're dead? So what if you're alive? Is it something to be proud of? Goddamnit, how are you still alive? You're not even strong, and you still talk about some goddamn conscience. Do you know you will die sooner or later if you aren't strong enough? What makes you think that you don't need to train? What makes you think that you don't need to become stronger?
"You have no powers and no money, and yet you still meddle in other people's business. You even drag me down along with you. I'm going to beat you to death!
"If he's weak, he will die. If he's weak, he will be poor. But if he's dead, then that's his problem! Is his family pitiful? Who isn't pitiful?
"If you yourself don't want to be a pitiful soul, think of ways to become stronger. Do whatever it takes to gain power!
"You can't hide from it, I can't hide from it, no one can hide from it!"
"Instructor Zhou, please take good care of me from now on!"
"Don't worry! Leave it to me!"