I lit a cigarette. I knew that many things were inevitable, so it was time to make a choice.
I made an important phone call in a small bar down the mountain. I say small bar, but it was actually a small room decorated as a bar, with many pictures of tourists posted on the wall. There were even many of the drinks that could be found outside of the mountain, along with scented candles and some other things that should be in a bar. But they were all very expensive. A can of beer that was originally sold for a few yuan cost thirty yuan here. In this season, many charcoal fires were burning, and people were crowding around them in twos and threes, chatting about various stories.
Although it was afternoon, the whole room was very dark and there were only two kinds of light sources: charcoal fires and candlelight. The light reflected by the metal and glass utensils flickered everywhere, creating a favorable and stable atmosphere. As a result, the call I made took a lot longer than expected.
On the other end of the phone was Fatty, who was thousands of kilometers away. The temperature on his end should have been very high, and I could feel it coming out of the phone from the tone of his voice.
After I separated from Fatty, I seldom contacted him at first because it was really difficult to get ahold of him in Banai. When I called there, Agui always answered. I asked him to tell Fatty to call me back, but Fatty never did.
In that state, I was actually quite afraid that he would call back because there were too many memories I couldn’t face. In fact, I was actually a little relieved that he didn’t call back. In this way, it wasn’t until half a year later that Fatty and I reconnected. It was gratifying that his condition was much better and he was able to make some jokes.
After that, I contacted him about once a week, and he became more and more relaxed. I tried to get him to leave Guangxi, but this issue always seemed to put him in a bad mood. When it came to this, he would always joke about it and say that he was living well with his father-in-law. There were many people there who wanted to be his father-in-law, so he wasn’t willing to come back at such a time.
Later, I didn’t force the issue but I still hoped that my phone calls would bring him a bit of a modern atmosphere so that he wouldn’t indulge in the idle and carefree life of a Yao villager. That way, when he decided to leave later, he would be able to understand what was happening in this society.
With this call, I told Fatty what I had found here. He became very excited when he heard that I had found the portrait of Little Brother, which made me feel a little proud.
As it turned out, he either still had passion in his heart or the positive side of his heart had been restored and he just wasn’t willing to admit it.
I thought this was the case at first, but as I chatted with him, I found that there was something a bit wrong with his excitement. Listening to his tone, it didn’t seem like he was interested in what I was saying but was thinking and doubting about something he had heard from my words.
“What are you thinking about?” I asked him. “Tch, spit it out. Don’t tell me you’re eating yellow mud snails while talking?”
“There’s really no such thing here. I just heard what you said and don’t think things are quite right. But maybe I’m overthinking it.”
“What do you mean something isn’t right?” I asked. “Nothing’s happened to me here. Although it’s not as comfortable and humid as Banai, it’s not any worse if you’re looking to escape from the world. And don’t say that I’m being willfully blind.”
“Indeed, our family’s Mr. Naïve is a fresh and clean refined little master, a surpassingly beautiful (1) young public figure, going anywhere and everywhere to launch his studies of Lei Feng’s (2) activities. Don’t compare Hangzhou’s West Lake to Banai, but say that Motuo is the mother. The Buddha said: Leifeng Pagoda will eventually fall.” (3)
“Where did you come up with so many stupid words?” I immediately became angry. “Public phones are very expensive here. Can you say something sincere? Stop being a dick.”
“I’m not a dick. I haven’t thought about your second brother (4) for a long time now. But there’s a solid basis for what I’m saying so listen to me.”
“Your second brother is the dick,” I shot back.
Fatty laughed and then said, “Alright, listen to me. You came back from Nepal and went to Motuo, right?”
I nodded and realized he couldn’t see me, so I said, “Yes.”
“Why did you go from Nepal to Motuo? Are you a bird that flew from Nepal and landed in Motuo? If you’re doing business and the goods you carry aren’t big, you should have bypassed Motuo and taken a more convenient route or returned directly from Nepal by international flight.”
“I had nothing to do and was too bored. I just went where my feet led me.”
“So the people around you let you go? You know that going to Motuo is very troublesome, and as far as I know, you’re not likely to come up with such an idea on your own. You have nightmares now. Going to Motuo isn’t in line with your habit of doing things.”
I nodded and told myself that he was right. My nightmares were the result of so many events I had experienced. For one thing, I always felt that once I stopped or caught my breath, everything would be destroyed. As a result, I no longer did things casually but especially pursued high efficiency and shortcuts.
“Think about it, how did you get to Motuo? There must have been a lot of things that subtly prompted you to make this decision.”
I recalled it and said, “It’s not that complicated.” Then I told Fatty why I went to Motuo.
“Do you think this is fate?” Fatty asked after listening. “Think again, why did you see Little Brother’s portrait?”
When Fatty said this, I suddenly understood what he was trying to say. My heart thumped as I heard Fatty continue, “There aren’t so many coincidental things in the world. Even if Little Brother really stayed in Motuo for a long time, how could he be so artfully drawn and still hung in a place where you could see it? Do you think this is a drama?”
“You mean—this was someone else’s design? First I was led to Motuo and then I was left here with Little Brother’s portrait? But what’s the point of such a scheme?”
“You thought things were over and got lax. If it were the you from before with your calculating mind, you would’ve never ignored this.” I felt my heart clench. Then, Fatty suddenly said, “Mr. Naïve, you’ve been caught in the trap. Congratulations on upgrading to naivety squared, also known as stupid naivety.”
“God fucking damn it.” I was a little depressed, “What should I do now? Leave immediately?”
“Don’t. There are only a few scumbags around you and you’re already in the game now. Their plan is in progress and very stable so you aren’t in any danger. But if you suddenly appear to see through their plan, they’ll definitely use their backup plan to keep you. If that happens, you may not be so free. Just stay there quietly, give me the address, and I’ll get there as fast as I can.”
“Have you decided to come out of seclusion?”
“Seeing as how you’ve reached ‘naivety squared’, I have to save you before they extract the square root out of you.” Fatty’s voice was very flat. “Besides, this matter has something to do with me. If you were taken out, the next one may be this fat master.”
As soon as he said that, I felt my heart warm and the slight panic I had been feeling disappeared. I told him the address—I knew that he could be here in a week at the earliest—and then put the phone down.
Looking around, I suddenly found that the atmosphere here wasn’t so relaxed and comfortable. On the contrary, it was rather spooky. I didn’t know whether it was all in my head or if had been this way from the start and I just hadn’t realized it because I had been too relaxed before.
After drinking a beer, I stayed at the hot and cold junction for a while before leaving the bar and walking head-on into the wind. Although Fatty had said that, I still had to go to the post office to see if things were really as he had said. And for some reason, I especially wanted to take a look at the painting again, particularly the Poker-face depicted in the painting.
If, as Fatty had said, there were still people scheming against me, then why? It had been so long and I was no longer entangled in that mess. Did someone want to push me into that endless abyss?
I couldn’t help but sneer; I wasn’t the same person I was before. They thought they could fool me now and had even taken advantage of my moment of carelessness, but if I became aware of it, the other party wouldn’t have it so easy.
When I arrived at the post office, it was very busy. It was filled with all kinds of people exchanging packages and packing and filling in addresses. I took advantage of the disorder to walk behind the counter. When the person inside looked up at me, I said, “I’m here to pay.”
“What money?” An accountant inside asked. I took out three thousand yuan and said, “I owe it from last time, please check. There’s a note on your desk.”
Puzzled, he took the money and said, “I haven’t seen it.”
“Not you, another person,” I responded.
“Was it a woman?”
I nodded, “It should be your colleague. You can call and ask.”
The accountant was a little confused, so he went ahead and called. I immediately pretended to be bored and went to stand in front of the wall, looking at the Poker-face in the oil painting. As soon as the accountant picked up the phone over there, I took the picture off the wall and carefully looked at the nail embedded in the wall.
It was an old nail, and there was an obvious mark on the wall behind the frame, which indicated that the painting had been hung here for a long time.
Huh? Is Fatty worrying too much?
I put the picture down and looked at the banners and picture frames hanging on the side since the phone call hadn’t finished yet and the accountant was still leafing through the papers on his desk. When I saw what was underneath, I immediately felt my heart start racing.
Behind the ink brush painting with “Peng Cheng Wan Li” (5), there were no marks on the wall and the color of the wall was very uniform.
In contrast to Poker-face’s painting, this thing was only recently hung up.
I took a few steps back and saw that the accountant was still talking on the phone. I immediately turned around and walked outside. As soon as the cold wind hit my face, I understood everything.
Poker-face’s painting was too small and its color was dim. If I was careless at that time, I probably wouldn’t have even seen it. In order to prevent that, the painting had to stick out.
In such a small private post office, it was impossible for an oil painting to appear on the wall, and it would be very difficult for me to notice it. In order for such a small object to be found at a glance, it needed a completely different but insignificant thing on either side to highlight it.
Previously, I thought that it was impossible for people to deliberately make such detailed arrangements, but now I knew that when people were plotting something, their ability to control details was infinite. Moreover, it was really effective.
This wall had been carefully designed so that I would see this oil painting, but why were there marks on the wall behind it? I believed another painting must have been hanging there originally, but it was later changed and the perpetrators must have used the same frame, which was why it fit so well.
I rushed through the wind, thinking about how I had come here and everything that had happened in the process of my coming here. Since Fatty’s warning, my thoughts instantly became clear and many things that I had never thought about before began to appear vividly. The things that needed to be done next began to take shape in my mind.
I was very calm, as if I was doing something that I often did. I figured I could set up my own game before Fatty arrived and let him see my naïve side.
<Chapter 21><Table of Contents><Chapter 23>
(1) Idiom: “a lotus flower breaking the surface”
(2) Lei Feng (1940-1962), made into a model of altruism and dedication to the Party by propaganda from 1963 on
(3) Leifeng Pagoda was by West Lake until it was destroyed, and is also from the tale of Madam White Snake. Here’s Tiffany’s breakdown: “It’s a play on words, Leifeng Pagoda happens to have the same name as the activist “Lei Feng.” In the previous sentences, Fatty mentioned “Lei Feng spirit”, meaning Wu Xie had a kind heart and always wanted to help people. Fatty might have implied that Wu Xie’s kindness might lead to his downfall— Leifeng Pagoda will fall eventually. Leifeng Pagoda is also from the tale of Madam White Snake, and is used to restrain Madam White Snake, saying that the only way for her to escape was when the Leifeng Pagoda fell. In real life, Leifeng Pagoda collapsed and was rebuilt again. Therefore, I think several interpretations could be made from Fatty’s words. There was also a possibility that Fatty was just simply talking nonsense.”
(4) Ha, Wu Xie’s “little brother” means the one down below if ya know what I mean
(5) Repeat note from a few chapters back. Characters are 鹏程万里 which is the idiom “the fabled roc flies 10,000 miles”. Basically means one’s future prospects are brilliant.
HOORAY!!! FATTY’S BACK!!!!! And he’s coming to the rescue (per usual)!!!! I’m so excited, you guys don’t even know lol. And oh snap, Wu Xie’s about to go on the warpath after Fatty smacked some sense into him. This is starting to hopefully pick up…
9 thoughts on “Chapter 22 Summoning Fatty”
I’m terribly sorry for spamming you with so many comments in one day, but did I just read this right? Did they basically bait Wu Xie with a painting of Xiao Ge? Oooh, Lordy XD And yaaaay, so glad that Fatty is coming back!!!
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Haha no worries at all! I look forward to comments. They’re a nice little confidence boost 😀 You’ll know how I feel about these people in later chapters 😒 (which I’m sure you’ll be caught up on soon lol)
I’ve caught up HAHAHA and yeaaa I don’t like those people much at all… Funny way they’ve got, to be supposedly “asking a favour” from Wu Xie.
(I actually skipped the extras and went straight to book 9 first. I’ll go catch up on the extras after this, heh)
Ha, I was wondering how you got caught up so fast. The 1 extra I’ve done so far is totally standalone so you can honestly read it whenever you want (fair warning for my abundant TN notes lol). But I did kind of like it once the ball got rolling.
Oh my I cracked-up… “Seeing as how you’ve reached ‘naivety squared’, I have to save you before they extract the square root out of you.” Love the banter 😛
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aww how cute, I sometime wonder is it really just for friends or Fatty just consider Wu Xie as his family. Fatty homecoming I’m so happy~~~
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Yay!!! Fats is back! omg I’m so happy.
Wu Xie is even more lovable when he’s got someone he knows to talk with (and call him mr. naïve lololol.) I really love these characters. \(^_^)/
Я так рада, что рядом с У Се есть Толстяк, который добавляет нашему наивному парню здравого смысла. Ведь пропал бы мальчик без такого друга! А Сяо Гэ – это ударная сила… потому у них прям тройной симбиоз! Но, конечно, У Се, как солнце притянул к себе этих надёжных парней.
Чую своей печенью, что это те самые люди, что стояли за Цю Декао?