Chapter 1: Arc 1 – Rural Love
In the cold winter of the twelfth lunar month, the wind was laced with blades. When it blew onto one’s face, it was accompanied by a sad and sharp cry akin to the wails of ghosts and wolves. It felt extremely painful against the skin and flesh.
When his work had ended, Huang Dan walked through the neighborhood area. An electric car stopped in front of him, and looking at the logo, it was a Mercedes-Benz.
Sitting inside the car was a young boy in a suit. He was arrogant and despotic. “Quickly scram to the side for this Master, it would serve you right if you get knocked down!”
Huang Dan’s mouth twitched. Were children nowadays so arrogant?
He continued walking.
In the next moment, Huang Dan’s eyes blurred for a second and the electric car became a tractor.
The young boy was gone and instead, a middle-aged man was seated inside. He stared at him with bloodshot eyes and scolded roundly, “Move away, you fucker. Are you looking for death–”
Huang Dan watched as the tractor pulled away and disappeared with a string of pulsating sound rushing into his eardrums. This shrew kind of atrocious behavior was really inducing a splitting headache for him.
His line of sight went down and Huang Dan blinked. The neighborhood area was now standing on a ground of cracked, dirty yellow mud.
What happened? A time leap?
Huang Dan’s pupils constricted, this was probably not an ordinary transmigration.
The leather shoes that he had worn on his feet had turned into sneakers. It was dirty and uncomfortable. The front had even opened a hole.
The black trousers that were worn out with holes had been replaced with grey trousers that had patches . His legs had a pile of leg hair that were dancing wildly. His top was no longer the woolen cloth overcoat but a green short-sleeved gown with serious pilling.
Huang Dan stretched out his hands. The skin of his ten fingers was rough and there was mud in his nails. He flipped over to the other side, and there were many callus on his palms.
He took a deep breath.
He had transmigrated into someone’s body.
At this moment, Huang Dan’s brain was abruptly stuffed with a pile of memories.
Zhang Dong Tian, 23 years old, introverted, withdrawn and a little paranoid. Any stimulation would cause him to come into conflict with others.
When he was young, his father drowned in the river thus, the biggest labor force in his family disappeared from his roof. He then became the sole breadwinner.
Mother Chen Jin Hua was a lame and had inconvenience in mobility.
All his family’s expenses were dependent on Zhang Dong Tian. He worked in a construction site outside the village and beat a worker until he had a bruised nose and a swollen face because of a girl. As soon as the medical expenses were compensated, he packed up and went home.
When asked by the villagers, Zhang Dong Tian faltered and lied that he was homesick and made a few more random remarks.
Huang Dan scrunched up his eyebrows. It seemed that these memories belonged to this body. When he transmigrated through, he naturally knew about it.
“Ding, hello Mr. Huang. It’s my pleasure to receive you.”
The electronic sound came so suddenly that Huang Dan stopped his action of wiping his sweat. “Who are you?”
“I am your guardian, responsible for issuing tasks to you.”
“How may I address you?”
“Call me System.”
System, “The task has been issued, please check and receive.”
A baseless screen appeared in front of Huang Dan with the word ‘task’ written on the upper left corner.
[Li Da Gui’s anger: Two years ago, I fought by the river and was hit in the back of my head and died. I want to know who is the murderer!]
When Huang Dan finished reading the last word and the screen disappeared, he asked, “If I finish this task, can I go back?”
The system said, “Sorry, this humble one has no authority and is unable to answer you.”
Huang Dan asked, “Now that I’ve appeared here, what will happen to the me that was in the neighborhood area?”
The system said, “Sorry, this humble one has no authority and is unable to answer you.”
Huang Dan said, “Are you responding automatically?”
[Mr. Huang, your guardian has send you a copy of “Cheer on” fireworks. Please accept it so that you can enjoy the fireworks immediately.]
Huang Dan wiped his head and his hands were full of sweat. “I’m in a bad mood now. I can’t appreciate the fireworks. Give them to me next time.”
System, “…All the best then.”
Huang Dan didn’t respond. This guardian could be summed up in two words: completely ignorant.
It would better to do it himself than to beg for help from others. If he got the job done, he would come to know what would happen in the future.
Without wasting time to be in daze, confusion, and bewilderment, Huang Dan looked around. He followed the memory of the original owner as he walked along the road and turned to the left side of the path.
The ground was pitted and it was difficult for him to walk. He crossed a pond ridge, a mountain forest and finally appeared in the village.
It was just during the time of scorching summer. The sun was strong at noon where men, women, and children were all resting at home. Nobody came out to fool around.
Huang Dan was gasping and his back was soaked. He quickened his pace and went straight to the house with a row of peach trees in front of the door.
In the shaded area of the courtyard, Chen Jin Hua held a sewing basket as the needle and string battled.
She was sewing the soles of her shoes and she started nagging when she saw that the man who was running in was her son.
“The sun rays are very toxic this noon. It is awfully scorching outside. Instead of taking a nap at home, you went to the river to catch loaches, but where are the loaches?”
Huang Dan was sweating profusely. He took off his sweater and threw it into the pool. It made a snapping sound. “The water was too deep, I didn’t get to catch anything.”
Chen Jin Hua started nagging about something again. “There’s mung bean soup in the jar on the table.”
Huang Dan immediately ran into the house when he heard this. He held the jar and started to drink away.
It was fine if he had been just walking and was suddenly transmigrated, but he had to cross over to this weather that was his most hated, summer.
That was still fine, but in the countryside…
It was not that Huang Dan discriminated against farmers but he was unfamiliar with the environment. He had never been in contact nor did he have any understanding of farming. He was afraid that his disguise was unlikely and would reveal some flaws.
At that point of time, the murderer would not be found but he would be suspected and have to worry for his life.
Huang Dan drank till the jar was empty and simulated the original owner’s personality. He turned his head and asked in a low voice, “Mom, is there any more mung bean soup?”
Chen Jin Hua swept and pulled at the big needle on the sole of her shoes for a few times. She expressed that there was no more. “That’s from Li Gen’s house. If you want to drink it, Mom will make a pot for you tomorrow.”
Huang Dan put down the jar and searched the memory of the original owner. He found fragments about Li Gen.
Li Gen was Li Da Gui’s elder brother, a good looking and tall man. He was an upright individual that was hardworking and capable and although he was in his late thirties, he still had no bed warmer.
He had married before, in fact twice, but both of them had passed away.
It was rumored that Li Gen would curse his wife.
Originally, Li Gen worked in a big city but his mother was suddenly paralyzed and refused to leave the village for medical treatment. She said that if she was to die, she had to die in the village. He had no choice but to come back and take care of her.
Many girls were charmed by Li Gen. There were some families that resolutely disagreed while there were also those that seeked death.
Huang Dan sat on the bench and now that it was mentioned, that Li Da Gui’s mother was also paralyzed two years ago.
Just what had happened two years ago?
Unfortunately, at that time, the original owner was working outside of the village. He only knew about Li Da Gui’s death after he had returned to the village on New Year’s Day.
Huang Dan sat for a long time before he remembered that he was still bare-chested. He looked around in several rooms and held a cattail leaf fan in his hand.
He decided that he would take a bath in the evening. The weather was so hot, there was no air-conditioner and it was dusty all around. It would be a waste to take a bath.
Chen Jin Hua had difficulty in moving and her health was also not good. She dragged a rope on the paddy bed and used it to chase away the chickens that came to eat it. From time to time, she would turn over the rice crops.
Different households came out one after another and started working, the noise of the village sounding one after another.
Huang Dan’s head held a straw hat and he gasped a sickle in his hand. He looked very proper and went around the grave before going towards the field beside the pond.
From the left came a few people, some were talking and laughing. The man in the middle was tall and tough. He was bare-chested and it clearly revealed the visible abdomen muscles and mermaid lines. The tense muscles on the flesh had fine sweat beads clinging onto it, glittering with golden light.
That man was Li Gen.
Many young people in the village called him big brother, not because of his age, but because he was capable.
As for the rumors about him fated to mourn his wife’s death, it was the girls, not the guys.
Glancing at the man, Huang Dan’s mouth was dry as if he saw barbecued meat brushed with sauce. He slowed down his pace and was getting nearer. He did not smell any meat but only the nasty smell of sweat.
Li Gen couldn’t see the color of his unlined garment that was on his shoulder. As he took a step, the key on his trousers waist shook and made a crisp noise.
Huang Dan looked at that bunch of keys. It didn’t drop? His eyes swept and the others were also hanging the keys.
After a little pondering, Huang Dan turned around and went back. When he came out again, he had a key on his trousers and wore it on a red rope. He swung it back and forth.
Only when he followed the custom and integrated into the masses would he regard himself as the original owner as soon as possible.
When Huang Dan arrived at the field, he saw that the golden rice covering the whole field like a golden blanket. He immediately lost his courage to go to the field.
A dark-skinned boy holding a straw hat that was yellowing in his hand came later. “Dong Tian, after you cut this one-eighth portion, there’s only one or two acres left. Give me a hand afterwards. It’s still an early harvest for your family.”
From under the straw hat, Huang Dan raised his eyes and looked at the visitor. He was Zhang Ying Xiong, the cousin of the original owner.
He did not speak.
Zhang Ying Xiong didn’t wonder about it as he stood directly on the high ridge and jumped into the field to the right.
Huang Dan didn’t jump but walked honestly for a long time.
As a person who had only seen white rice and had never been in the field and seen the rice crops, Huang Dan did not know how to cut them.
He was extremely afraid of pain. He was worried about cutting his hand but unexpectedly, he did not expect that the moment he touched the rice ear, his posture of holding the sickle unconsciously changed.
It should be the original owner’s influence.
Huang Dan breathed a sigh of relief and grabbed the rice crops sharply. He exerted strength on his wrist and brought the knife down. There was a click in his ear.
He put the rice neatly at his feet and looked at the rice stumps with a sense of achievement.
Soon, the sense of accomplishment disappeared and only fatigue was left.
When the sun went down, people in the fields around them hurriedly cut more rice since it was not that hot anymore.
A little while later, many mosquitoes started coming out.
Huang Dan’s waist was breaking. He arched his back and slowly walked to the ridge. He had been cutting the rice crops for several hours, which was more tiring than him staying on the construction site for several days.
Behind him was a sound of water, Huang Dan turned his head and saw Li Gen who was lying on a stone slab. His back muscles with clear lines of flesh, the strong arms on both sides and his head was stretched out into the pond to drink the water.
Huang Dan was thirsty so he got up and went over and squatted down beside Li Gen. He washed his hands and then paddled the water downstream before carrying a handful of water to his mouth.
The water rushed down from the fingertips and there was little left when he raised it up to his mouth. Huang Dan scooped several times before he learned to drink, laying on the ground like the man beside him.
His arm was suddenly pulled and Huang Dan choked.
He raised his head and coughed incessantly. The water trickled down his face and his eyes turned red when the water went in.
Li Gen joked, “Dong Tian, why did you drink water until you choked like this?”
Huang Dan coughed a few times, “Ge, what did you pull me for?”
Li Gen said, “I was afraid you would choke out a misfortunate since you didn’t come up.”
Huang Dan fished out the water from his ears and said, “Oh, thank you, Ge.”
He rubbed his eyes. “The mung bean soup you send to me at noon was delicious.”
Li Gen wiped off the water that was on his chin. “The mung beans were brought to my house by your mother. I saw that none of them were bad. They were sure to be delicious when cooked.”
Huang Dan concealed his surprise. He did not find this in the memory of the original owner, and eighty percent of the reasons were that it was too messy, so some trivial parts were omitted.
At this time, a poor quality radio voice came from a distance, “Villagers, tonight, there will be a film playing on the playground of Tong Miao Primary School. Please bring a stool to watch it after dinner. Adults look after the children and remember to lock the door!”