Chapter 30: Bu Qingwen (Part 2/2)
“Nan…… Junior Nan?” Xie Junping called out towards Luo Nan in a probing manner, but he still didn’t receive any response.
Luo Nan stood there in a daze until he finally budged ten seconds later. He resurveyed the setup of the narrow space, but the coordination between his neck and body was stiff like a rusted machine; it seemed as if he was exhausted, that the last bit of his battery could be drained at any time to leave him stuck here for eternity.
But Luo Nan was ultimately able to control his body. He supported himself against the inner tree wall and slowly walked down the stairs. He was in a trance; it was as if he was sleepwalking.
At first Xie Junping wanted to catch up with Luo Nan, but he stopped after thinking things through. He continued to operate his wristband, searching within the Order Club’s database. And sure enough, he retrieved some new information.
Bu Qingwen. Graduated in the year 72 with a PHD in Architecture. A veteran member of the Order Club. A digital photograph of her earlier years clearly revealed the pretty nature of a lady. It matched with the layout of the tree house quite well.
Perhaps it was the strong first impression, but all Xie Junping felt was that this lady’s facial features were somewhat similar to Luo Nan’s. His mind was 70~80% certain of this.
Right when he was pondering whether or not to make the next step in verifying this, his wristband notified him of an incoming call. Xie Junping ground his teeth when he saw the incoming number and put the call through. He really wanted to speak out with large curses, but he forcefully stuffed his anger back down his throat and into his stomach when he thought of Luo Nan downstairs. He walked cautiously and solemnly next to the viewing window before speaking in a low voice:
“Hu Saner. You nearly killed me you motherf*cker…… You’re still talking? You said that the defense system was some dogsh*t toy! Mmm. A new investor? You sure? He’s come for a tour? Right now?”
Xie Junping was a bit surprised and he was finally able to control his mood. He pondered for a moment before giving Hu Saner a few instructions. In the end he still warned him seriously: “Remember this. I’ll smash your family to kingdom come if there’s another situation!”
When things ended, Xie Junping made his way down softly and quietly. He reached out with a probing head from the staircase to take a look.
He didn’t dare to turn on his light. The dusky darkness of the tree hole differed only slightly with the light of the sky and he could barely make out Luo Nan standing in the center of the resting room. If Luo Nan were to slightly stretch out his hands, he would be able to touch the four sides of the wall. Somehow, Luo Nan maintained this nearly touching, yet not touching stiff posture. It was as if he wanted to embrace some incorporeal shadow in the darkness.
In the end, Luo Nan’s figure slowly slumped down gradually to be submerged within the darkness. Only the slight trembling of his back, which was like a boat that could flip and capsize at any moment, could be faintly discerned.
Xie Junping felt that it wasn’t proper to continue looking on. Softly and quietly, he made his way back up to burn some time in front of the viewing window. The color of the sky grew all the more darker as time passed. He thought about the information provided by Hu Saner, and he inevitably found it problematic.
The sounds of footsteps echoed right when Xie Junping was at a loss. Luo Nan emerged at the head of the stairs, the dusky light preventing his face from being clearly seen.
Xie Junping was just about to open his mouth with delight, but he discovered that Luo Nan wasn’t casting any attention towards him at all. Luo Nan remained like a zombie. He walked in front of the unfolded table and hesitated slightly before finally extending his arm across. He picked up the base of the disc and was dazed once more.
Ack! Wait a bit man. Xie Junping’s breathing slowed. He just wished that Luo Nan would recover back to normal as soon as possible…...
“Senior. Let me trouble you with something.”
The sudden voice startled Xie Junping. Frankly speaking, he still wasn’t too used to Luo Nan’s soft manner of speaking. Moreover, Luo Nan’s voice was a bit hoarse and nasally…… It couldn’t be that Luo Nan had been crying?
A subtle misalignment appeared between the Luo Nan before his eyes and the impression within his memories.
Xie Junping was a bit mentally shocked, but the fact that Luo Nan had started the conversation on his own accord was a good thing. Xie Junping went “Oh oh” twice before he rushed to respond:
“Speak up, speak up.”
“I’ve already submitted my entrance application for the Order Club, so let me trouble Senior to give the approval.”
“Oh. Sure. No problem.”
This was none other than the original purpose which Xie Junping had dragged Luo Nan over here for. Preparations were naturally made ready well beforehand:
“Junior, right now you’re a newly entered member of the Order Club. There are now 13 members total in the club, including you. Of course, you can just ignore the other people. They were dealt disciplinary action and have been suspended from the school at the very least. There's just some formal requirements you need to fulfill. Just spend a bit of effort over the next two days. Mm. I'll run the whole thing over with you and things be fine.”
He operated his wristband as he spoke, but he felt something was off towards the end. He raised his head suddenly and saw Luo Nan facing him with a 90 degree bow.
The shock nearly caused Xie Junping to fall out of the window. He rushed to support Luo Nan up: “Oh man. What the heck Junior Nan?”
Luo Nan looked straight at Xie Junping’s face and spoke softly: “Today Senior has taken the initiative to have me enter the society. It's only because of this that I’ve received this chance to find out that my mother had created this work Gear during her lifetime. I was even able to see her former residence……”
Xie Junping felt a bit awkward: “This is just a coincidence……”
“It really isn't! My mother sadly died when I was born. My grandpa went crazy before that and my father went far away; his family really didn't know much about my mother. So today I’ve found out more about my mother than the past sixteen years combined! No matter what intentions Senior had beforehand, I, Luo Nan, will never forget these deep sentiments.”
Although Luo Nan sputtered these words, his words were truly heavy and weren't false at all.
Xie Junping really couldn't stand this proper and solemn attitude of Luo Nan’s. And, he felt that Luo Nan's current mental state was far too abnormal. He pondered for a long time before finally asking cautiously and solemnly: “She’s really your mother…..”
Luo Nan nodded slightly and he gave some electric charge to the projector through an unknown method. Now the projector could be started as normal, and the lively picture of a woman was displayed.
She seemed to be under the trunk of this very tree, back before the water levels of the marshlands had flooded the sandbar. She was dressed casually and was leaning lightly against the withered tree. She was facing towards the camera with a splendid and bright smile that was far more lively and animated than the picture in her records; she possessed a special air of confidence.
Xie Junping thought about how such a talented and good looking woman had suffered an early death and it left quite a bad taste in his heart. He really didn't know what to say for a time and could only try comforting Luo Nan:
“Your mother passed too early, not leaving behind many things. Junior, you’ve discovered this legacy of hers. This is a big and good thing. You should be happy……”
And only at this moment did Xie Junping suddenly remember that the Luo Nan before him was only a sixteen year old boy. Pealing away his cold and hard shell would reveal nothing more than a bruised and scar-riddled heart from a broken family, a husk whose father left him and whose mother died.
Yea, this was way too heartbreaking….. But Xie Junping really didn't like this feeling. Especially when he saw Luo Nan's circumstances. He absolutely wouldn't leave things like this tonight. This wouldn't do!
Xie Junping spoke with frustration and tried to engage with Luo Nan in a conversation: “Junior Nan, we have a problem right now. Before there was mainly the Builder Society and the Mystic Arts Research Society duking it out like dragons fighting for treasure. However a new investor suddenly appeared who wants to take immediate action with Gear. He wants to come over and take a look today.”
“I’ve already entered the society. Can he kick me out?”
“Hic. Things won't go that far……”
“Then it's fine.”
It was quite clear that Luo Nan's state of mind was completely enveloped with memorial sentiments of his mother right now. He no longer cared about any other news at all, and this included the inner matters of the Mystic Arts Research Society.
Xie Junping suddenly felt exhausted. Weren't you the one who was doing all the decision making before? For some inexplicable reason, it was now Xie Junping’s turn to wrack his brain with all his might. To fix things before things turn worse, he reminded Luo Nan to pay attention:
“The problem is that there's only one way out of this place. Let's not get blocked up here by those people okay.”