Waking Up (1)
Translator: Mr Voltaire
At an area in between Beijing and Bei Zhou [TLN: ‘Bei’ means North and ‘Zhou’ means region or province].
There were wild trees, flowers, and grass as far as the eye could see. It seemed to be a mountainous forest region, which was quite rare in this day and age, due to the gradual urbanisation of these sorts of areas. Further north, there were quite a few pieces of farmland, both big and small, and even further north, there were some roughly built houses.
This place was probably a small village.
The little girl looked around ten years old, and her light blue dress had many holes on it. Her little legs were covered with scratches, blood and mud, and her hair was a complete mess. Her face was also covered in mud, and there were many cuts on her head, presumably from falling over many times. However, her eyes were pure and sparkling like a precious gem. She opened the wooden door, and anxiously looked at the smiling forty-year old housewife. She embarrassedly asked, “Aunty, can you… give me some more sugar?”
“You finished it? Come, child, sit down with me. I’ve got a lot of yummy things here.” The middle-aged housewife said with a kind smile. The first time she met this girl was three days ago. Seeing her condition, she deduced that she had probably fallen from a hill somewhere. Many people had often fallen from that hill before. Although her clothes were tattered and dirty, they still looked quite pretty. When she had first met her, the girl’s face had been full of anxiousness and fear, but she had still mustered up the courage to ask for some white sugar… the woman later found out that the girl had gone to many different houses, asking for some sugar, and finally left with the sugar and some porridge.
There were less than a hundred families living in this village, and they were all fairly well off, as well as kind and generous. This girl had an incredibly beautiful pair of eyes, and she was so cute that anyone would instantly like her. As such, all of the villagers who had any of the things she wanted gladly gave them to her… on the first day, she hugged a big bag of white sugar as she left. She ran very quickly, as if she was in a hurry. Those who were curious and wanted to follow her could only give up.
Yesterday, she had once again come and asked for some food. She looked quite anxious, and softly said a “thank you”, then hurriedly left again.
This time, when she saw her again, she looked slightly skinnier than before. Anyone seeing her like this would feel compassion for her. She wanted to let this girl stay and have a good meal, as well as a bath. She was probably an incredibly pretty girl under all the blood and mud on her. However, the girl shook her head, “Thank you aunty, but… but I can’t leave for too long. I just need some sugar, aunty…”
Seeing how incredibly anxious she looked, the housewife could only give in as she immediately replied, “Alright, alright, I’ll go get some for you now.”
Very soon, the housewife returned with a very large bag, and put it in the girl’s arms as she said, “Here, this is for you.”
This was almost everything she had. It was more than what the girl had received from all the villagers on the first day. The girl received it, and tightly hugged it. Her eyes trembled as she sincerely said, “Thank you, aunty. In future, I’ll definitely repay you.”
“Don’t worry about that. Just take care of yourself, otherwise your family will worry about you.” The housewife said warmly.
“I… I will. Goodbye, aunty.”
“Ah… I also have some fruit…”
After receiving the things, the girl immediately ran off, as if there was something incredibly important that she needed to do. She didn’t hear the housewife’s call at all. The middle-aged housewife shook her head as she said to herself, “Why did she want so much white sugar… it doesn’t seem like it was for herself.”
After running past a small forest and a creek, the girl arrived at a place where there were many rocks and wild grasses. She ran as fast as she could, afraid that she would not get back in time. Very soon, she saw the largest rock in the area, and ran over.
A person was lying on the other side of the rock…He was lying on a very thick pile of soft grass, and the rock blocked the sunlight from shining on his body. His facial features couldn’t be clearly seen, due to the blood and wounds on his face. His clothes had almost been completely destroyed, and his entire body was red from being covered in blood, and emanated a bloody stench.
Three days and nights had passed. Today was the fourth day, and yet he still had not shown any signs of waking.
The girl came to his side, and seeing how peacefully he was sleeping, her worries disappeared. She picked up a small bowl and looked at him as she softly said, “Big brother, wait for a bit while I make some food.”
She took the bowl and some sugar to the creek. She poured some clear creek water into the bowl, then washed her hands in the creek. She poured some of the sugar into the bowl, and stirred the water, watching as the sugar dissolved into the water.
The creek was so clear that the bottom of the creek could be clearly seen. On the surface of the water, the girl saw her bloodied and dirtied face. She was a girl who liked to look pretty, and before, even if she wasn’t going out, she would ask her big sister to put on pretty clothes for her and do her hair. She was the type who would take baths or showers twice a day, but now, she couldn’t afford to worry about such things… her entire world had collapsed in a single night, and the only person she had left was her big brother, who was still unconscious.
A breeze blew past, and the surface of the water became distorted. As she stirred the water in the bowl, blankly staring into the water, she could almost see a scene from the past…
“Tian Tian’s very pretty, no matter what she wears. She’s even prettier than the princesses in stories. When she grows up, there’ll definitely be a lot of boys falling for her. Ah… big brother, come and give Tian Tian a kiss as well.”
“Tian Tian, what do you want to eat today? Do you want to learn how to cook from big sister?”
“Here Tian Tian, these are all your favourites. You have to eat slowly though- if you eat too fast, it’ll be bad for your body.”
“We’re a family now, so of course we’ll always be together.”
“Big sister… Big sister… wuuu… Big sister…”
By the time she had finished crying, the sugar had finished dissolving. The girl wiped off her tears, and carefully held the bowl as she walked back. She would be strong for her big brother- even if she was going to cry, she wouldn’t cry in front of him.
The creek water mixed with the sugar became very sweet. The girl struggled as she propped up the man against the rock. She brought the bowl to her mouth, and took in a large mouthful. She then put down the bowl, and opened the man’s pale lips. She pressed her lips against his, and carefully transferred the sweet water into his mouth, bit by bit. Her actions were incredibly gentle, as if he was a delicate doll.
On the night he had come back incredibly injured, he had been unconscious for three days. The girl remembered that her big sister would feed him sugared water like this every day. She said that because he was unconscious, he would be unable to eat, and it would be best for him not to eat any oily food or meats. As such, while he was unconscious, the girl mustered up her courage to ask around for sugar, and made it into sugared water, then fed it to him just like her big sister had done.
All of the people here were very friendly and kind, but she didn’t want them to know about her big brother. Although she didn’t know exactly what was going on, she knew that there were a lot of people who wanted to catch them. As such, she didn’t want to take any risks.
It had been three days and three nights since she had woken up. It was only three days, but she felt that it was an incredibly long time. Every minute spent waiting for her big brother to wake up was extremely painful.
Her efforts did not go unrewarded. Every day, the man’s breathing became calmer and calmer, as well as stronger and stronger. The countless wounds on his body also began to close. Now, half of them had healed already. Many of the minor injuries had already fully healed… this sort of monstrous recovery was seen only in movies.
These changes also gave the girl much hope and motivation. Apart from when she was asking for some food from the villagers, she would stay by his side, afraid that he would wake up when she wasn’t there.
After a long time, she finally finished feeding the bowl of sugared water to him. The girl helped him back down onto the soft grass, and curled up, leaning against the big rock. She stared at him as she waited…
Big brother, hurry and wake up… you said that you would protect me and take of me forever… you promised…
The girl’s eyes once again became damp. However, she bit her lips and forced the tears back.
At this moment, Ling Chen’s right pinky finger slightly moved.