IHAS – 24

Chapter 24: Arc 1: Rural Love: Chapter 24 – Ge, Goodbye

Li Gen looked at the coughing young man who had turned red in the face. His brows moved a little. “Why are you so flustered?”

Huang Dan took a breath and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, “I am not.”

Li Gen looked at the young man ambiguously.

Huang Dan calmly accepted the man’s examination, looking like he hadn’t done anything wrong.

Li Gen rubbed the young man’s hair and said solemnly, “It’s all to your credit that Zhang Ying Xiong has turned himself in. Tell Ge, how did you manage to guess that the child was bitten to death by a wild dog? Even I was kept in the dark about it.”

He didn’t expect Da Gui’s child to meet such an accident. This was an entirely different scenario from choking on food. When he listened to it as he stood outside the door, he didn’t even dare to recall what the child looked like.

Li Gen could not understand the secrecy within his family.

But now he was the only one left in his family, he didn’t even have someone whom he could inquire about it.

Huang Dan’s eyelids twitched. “When I passed by the old man’s house last time and went in to help him when I saw him fall, he prattled to me and mentioned many things.”

Li Gen said, “You even believe in a fool’s words?”

Huang Dan said, “It was a gamble. At that time, I looked at Ying Xiong’s expressions and based my words on it. Once I saw him showing any relaxed expression, I knew that I had guessed wrong and would immediately change my words.”

Li Gen held the young man’s soft earlobes. “I thought that your mom told you about all of this.”

He leaned closer, pressed his lips on his ear and whispered, “After all, your mom has had the most contact with my mom in the whole village these recent years. She went to my house almost every day.”

Huang Dan said, “Yes.”

There was a burst of pain at his ears and he hissed, “Ge, don’t bite me.”

Li Gen voiced out unclearly, “If I don’t bite you, then who should I bite?”

Huang Dan’s eyes were getting moist from the pain, and tears soon fell.

Li Gen sighed and loosened his mouth. He wiped out the bits of blood and pressed the man to his chest. “Fine, Ge won’t bite you anymore.”

Huang Dan’s crying broke the indefinable and strange atmosphere.

Neither of them mentioned any relevant people or matter anymore.

Although they didn’t bring it up, other people mentioned it all the time. Zhang Ying Xiong’s story made a big stir in the village.

No one had ever imagined that a matter that involved so many people would happen in their village. 

Zhang Ying Xiong’s parents burst into tears. When they heard their son’s words at the police station, they went to Huang Dan’s house and made a ruckus. They scolded Huang Dan for being a good-for-nothing, for joining forces with outsiders to harm his cousin.

The whole neighborhood had circled around to observe the scene.

The weather was getting colder. There weren’t as many things to do in the field. As soon as one was idle, one just couldn’t sit still but want to run around and see where the crowds were at.

Chen Jin Hua told Huang Dan to go inside the house, and she instructed him not to come out no matter what he heard.

“Chen Jin Hua, where is your son?”

Father Zhang had a hoarse voice, and his creases filled face was reflecting a full-blown indignance as if he wanted to murder someone. “You ask him to come out for Lao Zi now! Lao Zi wants to ask him what exactly I have done to wrong him!”

Mother Zhang was seated on the threshold. With mucus and tears on her face, she slapped her thighs and cried her heart out, “My Ying Xiong is not even twenty years old, but he has to go to the labor camp. How are we, this pair of old husband and wife going to continue living oh –“

Chen Jin Hua had taken a bamboo weaved broom with her. If Father Zhang dared to break in, she was ready to send him away. “Everyone please make a judgment.”

“It is Ying Xiong who has become muddled-headed and committed such an act, so he was arrested for it. How does this concern my son? My son did not force him to kill anyone and violate the laws!”

The audience were wagging their tongues.

“Both of their sons weren’t taught well and have committed a big mistake but they are still pushing blame on others. How shameless.”

“Exactly, it’s a murder. It isn’t killing a chicken or a duck. Of course, he must be reformed. Otherwise, he will be too dangerous. Who will dare to live in the same place as him?”

“Regardless, Dong Tian is really too heartless. He is his younger cousin after all.”

“It’s called placing righteousness before family!”

The village chief and other brothers of the Zhang Family came to persuade them. It was useless, and they were even sprayed with a mouthful of saliva on their faces.

Father Zhang was seeing red, and the words coming from his mouth were getting more and more unpleasant. He said that Chen Jin Hua had no conscience. He even mentioned his younger brother, Zhang Ma Zi’s trifles from many years ago. He was also a good-for-nothing.

He pointed at Chen Jin Hua and said, “Let me tell you, Chen Jin Hua, it’s not over. Our Ying Xiong might be squatting in labor reform, but your son won’t be any better either!”

“Crazy, do you think you are a god?”

Chen Jin Hua held the broom and limped to the door. “Both of you might not want your face, but I want mine. Don’t come to my house anymore. Leave now.”

Huang Dan who was in the room had heard the ruckus and could guess what Zhang Ying Xiong had told his parents.

It was nothing more than pointing him out and pushing all the blame on him, saying that if it wasn’t for his meddling, he wouldn’t have been arrested.

When Huang Dan was about to go out, he heard Chen Jin Hua say, “The heaven is watching what the people are doing. There’s always a god three feet above your head watching you!”

His expression was strange, and his risen foot landed down again. He wondered what was going through Chen Jin Hua’s mind when she said this with her own mouth. Maybe nothing was going through her head.

Not long after, Li Gen arrived.

Father Zhang and Mother Zhang’s expression changed constantly. Their Ying Xiong had killed Li Gen’s younger brother. Now it was a matter of nailing a nail on an iron plate. Their two faces weren’t hanging securely now.

But the moment they thought about it, they would be angry. It was all because of that Wu Cui Ling who instigated their son to do such a thing.

Wu Cui Ling was a disaster. She had harmed her son and their family.

But Father Zhang and Mother Zhang had chosen to ignore this one point. If Wu Cui Ling hadn’t sacrificed herself, their son would have been beaten to death many years ago. How else would they get to enjoy today’s joys and sorrows?

Li Gen gave them a cold look.

Those onlookers and ruckus makers had all dispersed.

Li Gen looked at the woman in front of him and asked, “Is Dong Tian all right?”

Chen Jin Hua abandoned the broom. “He’s fine.”

She turned her head and shouted, “Dong Tian!”

Huang Dan’s figure appeared in the hall. He asked, “Did Second Uncle and Aunt go away?”

“If they still didn’t leave, should I ask them to stay for dinner?”

Chen Jin Hua said angrily, “The older and more muddled-headed they are, the more unreasonable they become. Dong Tian, we will have nothing to do with your uncle’s family in the future!”

As she spoke, she bent her back and showed a pained expression.

Huang Dan hurriedly helped Chen Jin Hua to lie in the room and brought her medicine to her.

Chen Jin Hua consumed her medicine and soon fell asleep.

Li Gen, who was outside, had witnessed this scene. “How’s your mother?”

Huang Dan said, “She’s not doing very well. She doesn’t want to go to the hospital.”

Li Gen scowled and said, “She’s just like my mother. She’s not in good health but she still refuses to leave the village to see a doctor. I really don’t know what’s going through their minds. What could be more important than her health?”

Huang Dan said, “I don’t understand either.”

Li Gen pulled the young man into his arms. “Zhang Ying Xiong could only have himself to blame for his situation. It is all karma. It has nothing to do with you. Don’t blame yourself.”

Huang Dan said, “En.”

“Ge, neither Second Uncle nor Second Aunt know about the details.”

Li Gen sneered, “Don’t worry, your Ge will not bother about them. I don’t have the energy.”

He put his chin on the young man’s shoulder. “I will not cook in the evening anymore, I will eat at your house.”

Huang Dan said, “Okay.”

When they went to the vegetable field, one took a hoe and turned it over in the field, taking the weeds to one side, and the other reached out to pick long beans, leaving a little bit of it hanging in the cane, the ones that were hard to find.

Li Gen hoed the grass and asked casually, “Dong Tian, your mother picked all these rows of peppers?”

Huang Dan said, “En, she said she wants to grind chili.”

Li Gen said strangely, “What month is it now? What’s the hurry? I haven’t even picked them at home.”

Huang Dan suddenly jumped back. “Ge, there are silkworms.”

Li Gen looked down and dug out three or four white silkworms with a hoe. “They’re all protein. I’ll get them back and fry them for you in the evening.”

Huang Dan said, “I am not eating it.”

Li Gen squinted, “If you are saying that you don’t want to eat, then you better not drool when you see me eat them at night.”

Huang Dan said, “Ge, if you eat silkworms, I will not kiss you, and you are not allowed to kiss me.”

Li Gen, “…”

He didn’t say anything, but with a hoe, he pushed the big white silkworms towards the young man’s feet.

Huang Dan’s scalp went numb. “I’m leaving.”

Li Gen joked, “Where are you going? There’s no door over there.”

Huang Dan turned around to look for the field’s door. His footsteps were fast and he stumbled on the cane and fell. He almost landed on a dog’s excrement.

Li Gen laughed, but he wasn’t holding the hoe firmly, and it hit his foot.

The retribution came so fast that he was very stunned.

Huang Dan heard a pained voice coming from the man, which was mixed with curse words. He turned his head and saw that the other side was holding his feet with a wrung face, and he grinned unconsciously.

Li Gen was stunned. He responded and jumped to the young man with one foot. “Just like that, smile again and show it to Ge.”

Huang Dan didn’t know how.

He recalled several times and tried to move the corners of his mouth, but he still didn’t know how to do it. “Mr. System, can you give me a similar smile like the one just now?”

System, “Just a moment, please.”

In Huang Dan’s mind, there appeared a smiling emoticon, and he followed the simulation.

Li Gen’s expression was delicate. The curve of the young man’s mouth was the same as before, yet not the same because there was no smile in his eyes.

He frowned and said, “Zhang Dong Tian, you’re faking again!”

Huang Dan really did his best. “Mr. System, if I smile again next time, can you take a screenshot for me and put it in my private housefly cabinet?” He would like to know that if he really smiled, what it was like. Since it was so rare, it should be preserved.

System, “This humbled one will try its best.”

Huang Dan said, “I must be inconveniencing you.”

The people around him, no matter if they were his housekeeper, his colleagues, classmates or friends, they couldn’t make him smile. This man had done it. For the second time, he was able to show a smile without any reference simulation, although he didn’t know exactly what that emotion was and what factors were needed for him to smile.

“What are you thinking about?” 

Li Gen asked as he looked straight at the young man.

Huang Dan said, “Ge, thank you.”

Li Gen was stunned, and he laughed, “Why are you thanking me? Was it because of what happened in the cornfield last time?”

Huang Dan’s gratitude instantly disappeared.

He looked at the foot the man had raised. “Can you walk?”

Li Gen was reminded by Huang Dan that the pain in his feet was all pouring into his skull. He leaned against a bamboo shelf and said, “Let me take a rest.”

Huang Dan took off his shoes to see if his feet were bleeding.

Li Gen hummed on purpose.

Huang Dan asked, “Does it hurt?”

Li Gen continued to hem and haw, “If you kiss Ge, Ge won’t be in pain.”

Huang Dan got up and left.

Li Gen shouted, “Come back, you don’t care about your Ge anymore?”

Huang Dan said, “Don’t care.”

Li Gen cursed and murmured, “Ungrateful guy”. He quickly put on his shoes, grabbed the hoe and jumped up to catch up with the young man.

The sunlight passed by the vegetable field and shone on the two people who walked side by side. It was warm and bright.

Li Gen’s big toe had been bruised by the hoe. Fortunately, his fingernails were still firmly holding the skin and flesh. There was no sign of falling. He poured some safflower oil and kneaded it after he went back. “Ge is so old, but it is still the first time I am hit by a hoe. Your contribution is no less.”

Huang Dan got a whiff of that smell, and got dizzy, “You sit, I’ll cook.”

Li Gen took his hand, touched it and said, “Has your mother woken up yet? Why don’t we take her to the clinic?”

Huang Dan said, “It’s no use. My mother won’t listen.”

He didn’t give the man the chance to continue this topic. Once Chen Jin Hua was involved, the atmosphere would change slightly.

The land in the village was not refined and expensive. Every family had a yard, pigsty, chicken coop, cowshed, etc, that it was almost necessary. The kitchen was not small. It was big enough to place a wooden table, kitchen cabinet, earthen pot table, and stack some firewood.

Li Gen sat on the stool in front of the pothole and burned the woods. He stretched his foot and stepped on one of the fleas. There were many of them jumping around. “Dong Tian, there are too many fleas in your kitchen. I’ll clean it up for you later.”

Huang Dan went to wash some corn and put it on the rice. Then he covered the pot. “Okay.”

The smell of rice gradually filled the air. Smoke came out from the gap left by the uncovered part of the wooden lid. The water in the two water holes placed in the center of the pot was boiling.

Huang Dan put the water in the bottle, he didn’t know how to cook, so he was waiting for Li Gen to do it.

Li Gen washed his hands, rolled up his sleeves, and ripped the long beans smartly. Then, he broke them into pieces, washed them clean, took two peppers out and cut them into shreds. He went to the pothole to add fire, and poured out the canola oil.

Huang Dan was watching.

Li Gen poured the shredded peppers into the pot. “What are you doing standing there, waiting to be splashed with oil?”

Huang Dan said, “Ge, you seem to be very good at cooking.”

Li Gen took a ladle and turned it over so that the spiciness of the shredded peppers would be fried in. “Who doesn’t know how to cook? It’s not difficult.”

Huang Dan said, “I don’t know.”

Li Gen reached out with his empty hand and touched the young man’s face. “It’s fine. I’ll let you continue to be like this.”

Huang Dan, “…”

He grabbed the man’s hand and asked, “Why is it so rough?”

Li Gen’s throat rolled and he said with a smile, “Because Ge is a man. Little girls are the ones with thin skin and tender flesh.”

Huang Dan counted the cocoons on his palm.

Li Gen stirred the beans as he talked, “If you touch it a few more times, I will carry you onto the table and do you.”

Huang Dan stopped immediately.

After frying the beans, Li Gen washed the pot and stir fried the radish. “Kitchen God, this is my cooking. How is it? It’s not bad, right?”

Huang Dan looked at the New Year pictures pasted on the pot table. Chen Jin Hua wiped it every day. If there was even a little oil stain on it, it would be wiped clean. It was very precious.

Li Gen rubbed his feet against the young man, “It’s your turn, introduce your Ge to the Kitchen God.”

Huang Dan said, “Kitchen God, this is my…”

Li Gen bowed his head and blew on his ear, “Boss.”

Huang Dan said, “This is my boss.”

Li Gen pinched his nose and grew elated. “So obedient.”

Huang Dan shook his head. In the minds of people here, the kitchen god was a very powerful god. Whichever daughter-in-law wanted to have children, whoever had a disease in the family, whoever wanted to harvest crops in the field, for the betterment of the children’s examinations, work and getting a wife, for all of this, they had to pray in front of the kitchen god.

It seemed that as long as you worship the God, you would get protection and lead a smooth sailing life.

Chen Jin Hua had no appetite. She didn’t even go to the hall but laid in her room. Huang Dan brought her meal for her.

Looking at the dishes in the bowl, Chen Jin Hua asked, “Are they all cooked by Li Gen?”

Huang Dan nodded, “En.”

Chen Jin Hua took the chopsticks into her hands and put them on the cabinet. “Dong Tian, Li Gen came to the fore for you. Mom saw it. Now there is no one in his family. Ask him if he would like to come to our house and take care of each other.”

Huang Dan looked up and lowered his eyes,” I will ask him later.”

Deep in thought, he left the room.

He could feel Li Gen’s doubt, likewise, Chen Jin Hua could too. Not only did she not avoid, but she also let the other party come over. Did this mean that Chen Jin Hua acquiesced to the other party’s investigation, and even gave him time and opportunity?

After dinner, Huang Dan and Li Gen were peeling corn in the yard. Then, they went back to the house to peel their clothes.

Chen Jin Hua didn’t sleep. Holding the basket and knitting, while sitting at the bright spot by the window, she heard a faint sound but her actions didn’t stop. The thick blue thread fell from the needle, then raised again, creating a flower.

The temperature had dropped so much that there was no heat in the wind.

When Liu Dong Lai came to the village, it had been more than a month since Zhang Ying Xiong and Wu Cui Ling’s case had happened.

He came to tell a piece of news, Wu Cui Ling had gone crazy.

Huang Dan and Li Gen were weirded out.

Liu Dong Lai described the scenes when he had met Wu Cui Ling. He said that she would hold a pillow tightly and yelled at the void, “He Wei, don’t touch my child.” “Da Gui, if you leave our baby to go out again, I’ll divorce you.” “Mom, I’m not dirty, you are dirty.” “Ying Xiong, don’t put the corpse beside the pond, push it forward, push it to the pond, hurry up.”

Her expression would switch between being alert, angry, twisted, and being frightened.

In addition to these similar words, Wu Cui Ling even recited poems. She read them loudly, sometimes she would cry, sometimes she would laugh. No one knew what was written in her poems.

When Liu Dong Lai left the village, he said, “It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be crazy.”

He also said that he hoped that Li Gen would not visit Wu Cui Ling, as it would not be good for her condition.

Li Gen wouldn’t go because he wouldn’t be able to face Wu Cui Ling calmly. It would be better for him not to see her.

Just treat it as if he didn’t remember.

Even after the cole and wheat were planted, Huang Dan was still in this world.

Life passed by rapidly. In a twinkling of an eye, it was almost New Year’s day. The village head shouted from the radio and informed everyone to lead the pigs out of the house and gather in the open space at the entrance of the village.

They were going to kill pigs.

Huang Dan was scared to watch the scene. He didn’t go but gave his big pig to Li Gen. “Help me send it to its journey.”

Li Gen’s face twitched and he pulled the pig’s rope. “Come, say hello to your master.”

The pig had noticed that its life was not guaranteed. It kept humming.

A big pot full of pig blood, intestines, lard and so on, was still a pot. A pig was equivalent to a big fortune. Most of the pork would be sold, and the rest would be preserved into bacon and would be used as a good dish for next year. Only a little bit of the fresh pork would be kept to eat for the new year.

Li Gen’s pig had been sold. It was Chen Jin Hua’s advice. She said that there were many areas where money had to be spent.

Huang Dan looked at the man who was counting money by the edge of the bed. Adding on to the money collected when Wang Yue Mei had died, it was enough to build two houses, and they would still have some remainder of the money left.

Li Gen raised his eyes. “What are you looking at?”

Huang Dan said, “Ge, let’s leave the village and go to the big city after New Year?”

Li Gen continued to count the money with half-closed eyes, “No rush.”

Huang Dan, “Oh.”

Compared to summer, Huang Dan was in the other extreme end of the season but he didn’t feel much about it. He was afraid of heat, not the cold.

Chen Jin Hua lengthened Huang Dan’s short woolen trousers, asked him to put them on, and took out the cotton-padded jacket and trousers she made, as well as a pair of black thick cotton shoes.

Huang Dan wore everything, and it was very warm.

Chen Jin Hua patted his padded jacket, then pulled it down for him, took two steps back and looked at him with full of love, “My son is so handsome. He is no worse than anyone else.”

Huang Dan touched his face. At best, it was alright.

Chen Jin Hua said, “You are very capable, more so than anyone.”

Huang Dan didn’t understand her words.

Li Gen lived in Huang Dan’s house, and the chickens, ducks, and geese were also brought here. Occasionally, he would go back for cleaning. There was no one at home. There were only a few memorial tablets, so he felt bored when he entered the house.

It wasn’t a home when there was no one.

On the 20th of December, Chen Jin Hua was busy making rice-flour noodles.

Li Gen was lighting up a fire. He took the tongs and picked up a yam from the pothole. He pushed it out. “For you.”

Huang Dan squatted and blew on the yam with his mouth. After checking that he could touch it with his hands, he tore off the black skin. He ate the yellow core inside, and his tongue was almost falling off from the heat.

Li Gen quickly put down his tongs and held his chin. “Let Ge see your tongue.”

At this time, Chen Jin Hua had just finished hanging the rice-flour noodles turned around. Huang Dan and Li Gen distanced themselves, and Huang Dan walked to the yard with tears in his eyes as he covered his mouth.

Chen Jin Hua asked Li Gen, “What happened to Dong Tian?”

Li Gen said, “He burned himself while eating yam.”

He threw two dry sticks into the pothole. “I’ll go take a look.”

Chen Jin Hua shouted at Li Gen’s back, “Don’t let Dong Tian drink the cold water from the jar, he will have diarrhea!”

In a hurry, Li Gen said, “Understood.”

Huang Dan’s tongue was very red. He paid a lot just to eat a yam. He didn’t do anything else but kept his tongue in his mouth, yet he still felt pain.

So he became listless.

“Ge will perform a trick for you.”

Li Gen took out a big red persimmon from his chest. “Take a look, what is this?”

Huang Dan glanced at the persimmon, “Persimmon.”

Li Gen half crouched and said coaxingly, “Want to eat it?”

Huang Dan said, “No.”

Li Gen immediately fumed, “Zhang Dong Tian, do you have a conscience? Your Ge went to the woods to get persimmons for you in a hurry and picked out the biggest one for you to hold it in your arms. What about you? You wouldn’t even take a few bites.”

Huang Dan said, “Ge, you are very nagging.”

Li Gen, “…”

It was very cold at night. Chen Jin Hua wanted to fill a hot water bottle for her son to cover his feet but someone had already done it in advance. She stood under the eaves for a while and muttered something to herself before going back to the house.

In the middle of the night, Li Gen would stealthily climb to Huang Dan’s bed and hug him to sleep.

It was like that every night.

When Chen Jin Hua finished making a new blanket for her son, she collapsed.

No matter what Huang Dan said, Chen Jin Hua still refused to go to the hospital. If she was forced, she would scold Huang Dan for being unfilial, saying that she couldn’t even lie at home. Not only that, she also wouldn’t take her medicine, and said that it was a waste of money.

Chen Jin Hua was ill, so there was no mood for the new year in the family. On the thirtieth of the new year, Huang Dan and Li Gen had stewed pork. They all had things hidden in their hearts, but no one said anything.

From the first day to the 15th day of each year, the team of dragon-lion dance would go from village to village, bringing the New Year’s jubilation. It was extremely lively.

Chen Jin Hua listened to the sound of gongs and drums, and her body could no longer hold on. “Son, mother knows that you have known about it since a long time ago.”

Huang Dan pretended not to understand her. “What?”

Chen Jin Hua held his hand. “Do you think Mom is a bad person?”

Without waiting for Huang Dan to answer, Chen Jin Hua said, “Yes, mother is bad and her heart is vicious, so she is not worthy of living to her old age.”

Huang Dan said, “Mom, can we talk about this when you get better?”

Chen Jin Hua shook her head. “Mom is afraid that it will be too late.”

Her breathing was weak and sometimes absent. With the seam of consciousness that she could barely hold onto, she talked about the past. That segment of past was already rotten but it was still forcibly dug and spread out in front of her eyes.

Although Chen Jin Hua didn’t have a very good life, she was still a young and beautiful girl. She and Old Li were childhood friends. They had been in love for a long time and did the deed in their ignorance. The two families had a good relationship. They had discussed that they would get married in the Spring Festival next year.

Unexpectedly, one evening, Chen Jin Hua ran into Wang Yue Mei and Old Li cuddling at the edge of the haystack. Instead of rushing up, she ran away.

Before long, Old Li came to Chen Jin Hua and said that he liked a woman named Wang Yue Mei.

At that time, Chen Jin Hua was already pregnant. She couldn’t let her baby have no father at birth, so she made a choice and told Old Li about it.

Old Li wavered and said that he wouldn’t get in touch with Wang Yue Mei anymore. He would marry her instead and live a good life with her.

But Wang Yue Mei came and looked for Chen Jin Hua.

Chen Jin Hua had nothing to say to her, so she wanted her to leave.

Wang Yue Mei chased after Chen Jin Hua. When she tripped, she bumped into Chen Jin Hua and the child was gone.

A woman who had not married but lost her virginity and even had a child. This was a matter of immorality. She would not only be despised by others, but it would also affect her family. Chen Jin Hua couldn’t let the neighbors know, she could only bear the pain of losing her child, and worked on the field without failing.

At that time, it was the most difficult period in Chen Jin Hua’s life, and also a grief she would never forget.

The next year, Old Li married Wang Yue Mei. There were so many days in a year, but it just had to be the day when he was supposed to marry Chen Jin Hua.

That was decided by Wang Yue Mei. Chen Jin Hua only knew about it later.

In the same year, Chen Jin Hua married Zhang Ma Zi, and she thought, Zhang Ma Zi was very good to herself, so let it be.

Unexpectedly, Zhang Ma Zi’s soul was hooked by Wang Yue Mei.

Since then, Chen Jin Hua’s life was no longer peaceful. She and Zhang Ma Zi quarreled more and more often. After her son was born, Zhang Ma Zi’s heart then came back home, and stayed with the mother and son.

Wang Yue Mei was a person of appearance. She was very good at dressing herself. She was arrogant, cold and clearly didn’t exhibit any flirty behaviors, yet she could lead a man by his nose.

The saliva of the villagers could drown people. But, dying of old age wouldn’t.

Of course, part of it was also because of Chen Jin Hua. She had hatred in her heart. As long as she found out which man Wang Yue Mei was talking with, she would deliberately lead Old Li there.

It was once, and then twice. Old Li then grew suspicious and wanted to control Wang Yue Mei.

But who was Wang Yue Mei? Why would she allow a man to manage her? She spoke with a needle hidden in her mouth. The needle poked into people’s hearts. She didn’t even leave Old Li’s face alone. Even if someone was present, she would still make things difficult for Old Li.

Chen Jin Hua originally thought that the two would get divorced at most, she didn’t expect Old Li to die from anger.

However, Wang Yue Mei still became a widow in the end.

Chen Jin Hua didn’t expect that even though Wang Yue Mei was a widow with two sons, she would still have the time to wear a skirt and a flower on her head.

On the day of Zhang Ma Zi’s death, it rained heavily.

Wang Yue Mei had said that she wanted to eat meat. Zhang Ma Zi went to the shop in the rain to buy it for her but he fell and drowned in the river.

Wang Yue Mei personally informed Chen Jin Hua about this matter. She might be saying that she felt guilty, blamed herself, and that she shouldn’t have asked Zhang Ma Zi for help, but her eyes were reflecting arrogance and boastfulness.

Look, in the end, your husband is still infatuated with me.

As for the promised benefits, even if Wang Yue Mei didn’t mention it, it wasn’t difficult for Chen Jin Hua to guess.

When Chen Jin Hua knew about that afterwards, the resentment in her heart  brewed even more.

She began her long-term plan. She must destroy Wang Yue Mei’s family.

Chen Jin Hua raised her son while donning a fake mask in her attempt to get closer to Wang Yue Mei. She knew that Li Gen was Wang Yue Mei’s pride. As long as she got rid of him, Wang Yue Mei would be in despair, but there wasn’t any opportunity for her to act on it.

Firstly, Li Gen was different from Li Da Gui. He had a high sense of vigilance. Secondly, Li Gen was studying and didn’t have much time to come back.

Although Li Da Gui wasn’t loved by Wang Yue Mei and Wang Yue Mei wanted him to go far away and not return home, yet he behaved as a bully in the village, causing trouble all the time.

Chen Jin Hua’s son had been bullied and humiliated by a group of older children led by Li Da Gui many times. He used to be very lively and was always fond of smiling, but he began to grow afraid of strangers. He dreaded and trembled. Li Da Gui even almost smashed her son’s eyes, almost rendering him blind.

Therefore, Chen Jin Hua would never let Li Da Gui off.

The appearance of Wu Cui Ling was a breakthrough.

When the child was bitten by a wild dog, Chen Jin Hua was present. She immediately beat the wild dog away with a stick but the child was already dead.

Therefore, Chen Jin Hua was the only one who knew other than Wang Yue Mei and her son’s wife.

Chen Jin Hua, intentionally or unintentionally, mentioned this in front of Wu Cui Ling— there were only so much years one could live, in their lifetime. You must be kinder to yourself. She also mentioned the lovely children of some families and the families that had more children. She was adding to Wu Cui Ling’s determination to kill Li Da Gui.

When Wu Cui Ling and Zhang Ying Xiong killed Li Da Gui, Chen Jin Hua was watching in the woods behind. She made sure that Li Da Gui was really dead before she left.

When Zhang Ying Xiong pushed Wang Yue Mei down the mountain, Chen Jin Hua was also present there. She grabbed the trees as she limped to Wang Yue Mei. She pulled a handful of honeysuckles and threw them at Wang Yue Mei.

Wang Yue Mei’s lower body was paralyzed in that accident.

She was more proud than anyone else. She couldn’t accept her paralyzed self. For fear of being laughed at, she was going to drink pesticide and commit suicide but Li Gen found out.

Who knew how Li Gen persuaded Wang Yue Mei, but she no longer seeked death anymore. She also didn’t give anyone a chance to make jokes about herself. She was back to her prim and decent appearance that the villagers were familiar with.

Li Gen didn’t go back to the city. With him around, Chen Jin Hua had to be more careful so that she would not be found out.

Wang Yue Mei wanted a grandson, so she found a marriage arrangement for Li Gen.

The woman had a lover and her lover came to the village to look for her. They continuously dragged their issue and constantly brought up the matters of breaking up. Chen Jin Hua happened to run into them. She intentionally brought it up to Wang Yue Mei and even mentioned it subtly.

Wang Yue Mei went to talk to her eldest daughter-in-law who had just entered their door. When she tried to test her out, it all got revealed. No one would be able to accept her critical words. The other party was so afraid, ashamed and resentful that she drank pesticide and committed suicide.

In both of his marriages, the brides died. The first time was because the bride wasn’t in good health and had a misfortunate life. The second time was because the bride couldn’t think positively and chose that road. Li Gen was branded as a wife killer.

Chen Jin Hua was still not at ease. She had to personally witness Wang Yue Mei dying without any descendants while she was still alive.

What a wonderful arrangement from heaven.

Li Gen used to be out all year round, so Chen Jin Hua didn’t have any opportunity to act. But now, there was no reason for her to.

Because Li Gen took a fancy to her son, it was equal to Wang Yue Mei dying without any descendants.

Chen Jin Hua finally won. She had completely stepped on Wang Yue Mei’s head.

She would always wake up with a smile. Wang Yue Mei, you look down on me, saying that I’m ugly, that I only deserve to marry a pockmark and saying that my son is not promising. Your promising son that gives you the biggest face is fascinated by my son. This is a joke all over the world.

Knowing that all of Li Gen’s heart was on her son, Chen Jin Hua stopped her goal and didn’t want to kill Wang Yue Mei.

But there were just some things that she couldn’t foresee.

The day that Wang Yue Mei died was also the day when Chen Jin Hua and Old Li were engaged. Wang Yue Mei just had to bring it up.

Chen Jin Hua’s heart was not only filled with hatred but also with other things. Wang Yue Mei was the biggest obstacle between Li Gen and her son. As long as Wang Yue Mei died, they would then leave the village and go to the big city.

Besides, when Wang Yue Mei died, he would be able to receive a lot of money.

Li Gen wouldn’t let her family’s Dong Tian suffer. His life would surely get better.

Chen Jin Hua’s killing intention was born, and she waited for an opportunity. On the day when there was a happy event by the river farm and when all the people in the village were away, she prepared to kill Wang Yue Mei with a pair of scissors. She killed Wang Yue Mei like she was a chicken and let out all her blood.

A person who had worked in agriculture for most of her life would have great strength. Even if she was a cripple, she could drag a corpse.

Chen Jin Hua dragged Wang Yue Mei to the chicken coop, put a honeysuckle which had chicken excrement on it on her, and stuffed her into the stinking chicken coop.

After that, Chen Jin Hua calmly went back and hid the blood. Sitting in the yard, she took that pair of scissors that killed Wang Yue Mei and cut peppers. Relying on the pungent spicy taste, she covered up the fishy smell on her body and also numbed herself on the fact that she had killed someone.

Chen Jin Hua’s voice stopped, and her breathing became weaker. She looked at her son. In her eyes full of wrinkles, there were tears and reluctance. “Don’t bury your mother with your father… Mom doesn’t want… anyone…”

Huang Dan turned his head as if he had sensed something. The man was standing at the door. He probably had just arrived here and heard the latter part of the story, which was the part where Chen Jin Hua had told him how she killed Wang Yue Mei.

When he looked back again, Chen Jin Hua had already closed her eyelids. Her hands had drooped and were lying on the bedside, dead.

She could be considered to have died with a peace of mind. There weren’t much regrets for her.

The lion was still dancing outside. The sound of gongs and drums was loud. Children were laughing and running through the gate of the yard in exhilaration.

Huang Dan was sitting on the stool, Li Gen was standing at the door, they maintained that posture, no one bothered to break the repressive atmosphere.

A beggar came to knock on the door, wanting to have something delicious at the beginning of the new year.

He was ignored.

Huang Dan didn’t bother about Li Gen. When he passed by Li Gen, he also didn’t look up at him. He went to the village head to report and seek advice, and the village head agreed.

When Huang Dan came back, Li Gen was no longer around.

He breathed a sigh of relief. He was afraid that Li Gen couldn’t control himself and would come up to him to beat him. Then, by accident, beat him to death.

Chen Jin Hua was buried in a hillside that was leaning on a forest. It was just her alone and it was quiet.

When Zhang Ying Xiong’s parents knew that Chen Jin Hua was dead, they didn’t show joy or delight. When a person had passed away, any words or actions wouldn’t bring any more meaning.

Huang Dan fed the chickens and ducks at home. During the day, he would draw on a book with a pencil. At night, he would light the kerosene lamp and stared at the illumination while daydreaming. Li Gen hadn’t come back. He reckoned that he probably wouldn’t get to see him even until he left this world.

Ashes to ashes, earth to earth, the grudges of the previous generation disappeared with the death of the previous generation, there wasn’t any need to mix it into the future.

This was Huang Dan’s understanding.

He couldn’t request Li Gen to have the same thoughts as himself.

After all, Huang Dan was just a bystander, an outsider. He was different from Li Gen who was the son of an involved party.

When the canola flowers blossomed, Li Gen came back.

Huang Dan was drawing in the courtyard. Before he could even respond, he was dragged into the house by Li Gen.

His points had already been used up. The chrysanthemum essence given by Mr. System was not enough. Huang Dan asked to purchase it on credit. Mr. System also tried its best and managed to get three of them.

The result was that it wasn’t enough.

Huang Dan, who was forced to suffer, died of pain.

When Huang Dan opened his eyes, he was still in the room. He was alive again. “Mr. System, what is going on?”

The system said, “Mr. Huang, perhaps, it is not the time for you to leave.”

Huang Dan swept his sight and was frightened by a savage man in front of him. He opened his eyes wide. “Ge?”

His voice was hoarse. He probably had been lying down for a few days.

System, “Five days.”

Huang Dan asked, “Then why didn’t Li Gen bury me?”

The system showed him a saved data video.

Huang Dan was silent.

After Huang Dan died of pain, Li Gen was stunned, helpless and angry. He cursed as he hugged his body and cried bitterly. His tears were all over his face. He sported a pitiful and sorry figure.

Li Gen fetched water to wash Huang Dan’s body. He put on clean clothes for him, held him in his arms, sang to him, said a lot of words in a soft voice, and then began to cry again. They were those silent cries instead of those wailings.

After the video was played, Huang Dan came back to his senses. He looked at the man. His beard was unkempt, his eyes were sunken, his cheeks were thin and his cheekbones were protruding. His clothes were the exact same clothes that he had worn at that time. He hadn’t changed his clothes and there was his blood on them.

The room was quiet.

It was dusk, the wind blew from the window inward, and the afterglow of the setting sun came through the gap, swallowing up the lingering gloom.

Li Gen’s trembling hands reached over to touch the young man. He touched his hair, his eyes, nose, and mouth.

Huang Dan said, “Ge, Your touch is a little painful.”

Li Gen was in a daze. “Ge will be gentle.”

Huang Dan grabbed one part of hair of the man’s stubble and pulled with some strength.

Li Gen was startled for a moment like he just came out of a dream. He embraced the young man into his arms and tightened his hold.

Huang Dan was aching so much. He was aching all over his body. “Didn’t you say you will be gentle? You lied to me.”

Sobs were coming out from Li Gen’s throat. He was agitated, surprised, and talked incoherently, “I’m sorry, Ge is wrong, Dong Tian, don’t leave, I beg you, Ge really knows that he is wrong.”

Huang Dan said, “I forgive you.”

Li Geng raised his head fiercely and carefully probed, “Really?”

Huang Dan said, “En, really.”

Li Gen cried out.

When a handsome man with a sturdy body cried, it was very deadly. Huang Dan sighed, “Ge, don’t cry anymore. It’s very ugly.”

Li Gen was stupefied for a while. He wiped his face, and the tears flowing down his eyes were filled with happiness. “Okay, Ge will do whatever you say.”

Seeing that the man was leaning closer in order to kiss himself, Huang Dan said, “Go brush your teeth and wash your face first.”

Li Gen, “…”

Huang Dan wondered why Li Gen was not curious and didn’t ask anything. After all, a man who was dead for five days had come back to life again. Regardless of who it was, it would be very strange and impossible to believe at all.

He soon found out the reason.

Li Gen was normal, sober and also crazy.

Whenever Huang Dan went to the latrine, he would follow him all the way.

When nothing was happening, Li Gen would stare at Huang Dan every once in a while and even touch him. It was even more absurd when he was sleeping. He didn’t know how many times Li Gen would wake up in the middle of the night just to check if he was alive. This was clearly a neurotic behavior.

Huang Dan had tried to appease him, but it was no use.

The grief of losing his lover had left a great psychological trauma to Li Gen, so after he regained back what he had again, he took care of it carefully and didn’t dare to recall what had happened at that time.

Huang Dan was worried that Li Gen would have psychological trauma and wouldn’t be able to get it up because he died of pain while doing the deed.

As a result, after Huang Dan spent the afternoon in the canola flower field, he knew that he had overthought. Li Gen was very good, there was no problem at all.

In May, Li Gen had made good preparation. While the villagers were still dreaming, he took a piece of small luggage and Huang Dan away to the big city.

The big city was an insatiable place that seized dreams and courage. It cruelly looked at the majority of the people as they struggled, felt disappointed, gave up, and suffered, yet it only gave a minority of people an acknowledged place.

Huang Dan had followed Li Gen all the while. He saw Li Gen changing from working for others to others working for him, and from the few hundred savings he had to be a person of astonishing value.

Phone, computer, television, car, building, they had everything.

But all they had were still each other.

The matters regarding Shatang Village and those individuals were rummaging in the long river of memory, slowly descending into stillness and never to be dug out again.

For Li Gen, the loss he had experienced that time made him realise that there was nothing more important than those who were still around. Those gratitudes and grudges, he had chosen to slowly forget them.

Just when Huang Dan thought that he was going to stay in the world until he died of old age, an accident happened.

That day was the 10th anniversary of the company and the 10th anniversary of Huang Dan and Li Gen’s coming to the city. They were involved in a series of car accidents on their way home.

Miraculous, Huang Dan only suffered some superficial injuries. This was reported by the media as a miracle that had never been seen before.

That’s right, because it wasn’t his time to leave yet.

But Li Gen couldn’t, because it was his fate to die today and to die in a car accident.

Huang Dan went to the ward and saw that the man on the bed was covered in blood. His eyelids keep twitching and only after a long while, he took the hand that the man had extended to himself.

Li Gen was spitting blood from his mouth, “Ge… Ge made a wish to the meteor Cough… Wife… We… We will be together in the next life… the next, next life…”

He stopped breathing and his heart stopped beating.

Huang Dan sighed, “Making a wish upon the meteor is fake.”

The boss had an accident and the company’s shares fell. So Huang Dan took over, he didn’t let Li Gen’s business suffer a heavy blow.

Li Gen was buried in the cemetery.

Huang Dan squatted in front of the tombstone and put a white chrysanthemum on it. Looking at the handsome man in the photo, he said to himself, “Mr. System, I’m the only one left.”

System, “My condolences.”

Huang Dan stood up and headed to the entrance of the cemetery. He stopped suddenly and looked back at the tombstone. “Goodbye, Li Gen.”

After going back, Huang Dan took some time to choose a suitable child and passed Li Gen’s business to him.

He was someone who would be leaving.

In the second half of the year after Li Gen’s death, Huang Dan woke up and was standing in the residential area. The electric Mercedes Benz toy car had bumped into him. The little boy in a suit shouted from the car, “Are you deaf? I told you to get out of the way, so get out of the way!”

Huang Dan had transmigrated back.

He was wearing a customized gray suit with a tie under the collar of his shirt and straight trousers on his legs. He was also wearing a pair of newly bought leather shoes, and had a briefcase in his hand.

It really was a sudden transmigration and he was suddenly back.

Huang Dan stood at the spot for a long time. When he came back to his senses, the little boy who was driving the toy car had disappeared.

Someone passed by and Huang Dan stepped away from the passerby. He didn’t even get to walk a few steps when his phone in the briefcase rang. It was the voice of his former classmate, “Huang Dan, remember to come for tomorrow’s class gathering.”

Huang Dan said, “Okay.”

The voice was still circling around his ears, “Did you hear me?”

As soon as Huang Dan tried to answer, there was a gust of wind, and he couldn’t open his eyes. The voice became unfamiliar. It was no longer his classmate who had a northern dialect accent, but it sounded rather old, like an elderly woman.

That babbling continued, “Did you hear me? Did you hear me?”

Huang Dan was very weak. He wanted to move his body but he couldn’t. He struggled to open his eyes until there was a small slit. An elderly woman donning a beautiful robe with a face full of creases appeared in that gap.

“Ah Wang, you are the only heir in the several generations of our Song Family. You can’t just do foolish things and leave Grandma alone because of the affairs between women and men.”

Huang Dan, “…”

At this time, a pile of information burst in his mind.

Song Wang was the son of the first wife of Song Family. His parents passed away shortly after his birth due to internal strife within the family. He was brought up by his grandmother, who placed great hopes on him. When he was young, he was sent abroad to study. Two months ago, he returned to the town to inherit his family business. Last night, Song Wang fainted in the west street for unknown reasons.

Huang Dan hopped out of the original owner’s memories. He didn’t even have the mood to wash up.

Didn’t he just transmigrate back to the real world? What did he transmigrate again? Can’t he take a rest first? Could it be that the residential area was something similar to a transfer station? The people in the residential area… were actually NPCs that would come and pick him up for transmigration?

Huang Dan was having a headache. The distance to get to his house from the residential area was just two to three streets apart. Why was it so difficult for him to go home? “Mr. system, is it still you?”

System, “It is this humbled one.”

Huang Dan asked, “What’s the matter with me, Mr. system?”

System, “Sorry, this humbled one does not have the authority to answer you.”

Huang Dan asked again, “Mr. System, how many times do I have to transmigrate before I can go home?”

The system still gave the same answer.

The system was just something that issued tasks. It was powerless.

A block of screen appeared in front of Huang Dan. It was still the familiar typesetting, but the word “task” in the upper left corner had been replaced with traditional Chinese characters, likewise, the task content on the screen was also in the same traditional Chinese characters.

He was getting dizzy from looking at it, so he asked the system to change it to simplified Chinese characters.

[Guess who I am: Hehehe, I am a demon. Recently, I arrived at Yueshan Town and transformed into one of the people. I have already eaten several people secretly. Guess who I am ya~.]

Huang Dan, “…”

Chapter 23 | Chapter 25

TN: a-ancient setting. GOODBYE LI GEN

13 thoughts on “IHAS – 24

  1. Ancient setting: how far in the past? Because he was sent abroad to study. So that means not too far in the past.

  2. This is such a long and packed chapter. Thank you for the translation. I really liked this first arc and am looking forward to the next one. I hope MC learns to smile more with his ML 🙂

  3. who dared to cut onions ??? Im so sad but also surprised there was a lot of grudges between both mothers
    And Ge you better keep your promise (iДi)
    Thanks for the translation

  4. A few hours ago I read this and at that moment because of my emotions I did not realize certain details … Dong Tian’s body was in the house 5 days after he died … his corpse was not decomposing ??? and also that part of the author that says that Ligen was normal, sober and crazy ???

  5. I’m crying sad and happy tears! Still on Arc 1 of the story, and it veers off beyond anything I’ve read so far. I’m both content and looking forward to how the story will progress. Thank you so much to the translators for translating this novel! 😆

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