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Chapter 22

An Enchanting Spring


       Swally didn't think dying was very difficult. He had already died nine times.

       He was still alive.

       It felt as if he was lying on a soft and comfortable bed. Everything around him looked exquisite, his surroundings were so beautiful it felt as if he was in another world.

       The last time he came to, that place seemed like hell, but now this place seemed like some kind of heaven.

       But what would heaven be like without Big G?

       Big G? Did he actually go to hell?

       Swally struggled to get up, he could see Big G.

       He simply couldn't believe his eyes.

       There was a table in the room full of food and drink with Big G sitting there, and he was enjoying himself thoroughly.


       He noticed Swally looking at him and put down his chopsticks: "You were having such a good rest I didn't want to disturb you. I have been enjoying myself, but the good news is there is so much to eat here, ten people couldn't even finish it all," he said with a smile.

       Swally: "Did you bring me here?"

       Big G: "Nope."

       Swally: "What is this place?"

       Big G: "I have no idea."

       "Do you know anything?" He said spitefully while glaring at him.

       Big G just smiled, "All I know is that whoever made this is a great cook, and the drink is fine, so what are you waiting for?" He was still laughing, "It would be a shame to waste such good food, do you know what I am saying?"

       "I know what you're saying," Swally couldn't help but smile sweetly.

       There was not only a door in the room, but windows as well.

×      ×      ×

       The fragrance of plum blossoms was wafting in from outside.

       Swally: "Did you go outside?"

       Big G: "Nope."

       Swally frowned, "Why didn't you go outside and have a look?"

       Big G smiled, "I was too busy eating, no time to look around as my stomach is more important than my eyes."

       Swally: "You should have at least found out who the master of this place is before starting to eat."

       Big G: "I'm sure he will come looking for us so what is the point of rushing to find him."

       As soon as he finished speaking, they heard a knock coming from outside.

       A young girl dressed in pure white walked in carrying two kettles, with bright eyes she was smiling cheerfully. She even had the appearance of some kind of heavenly being.

       Big G was staring blankly. Swally looked at him and then coughed a couple of times. He sat up strait, "I was just thinking that I could use a drink," he smiled.

       "Since you're already here, you can have whatever you want," the girl in white smiled with pursed lips.

       Swally: "How did we get here?"

       "Obviously it was the master who saved you and brought you here."

       Big G: "Are you the master of this place?"

       The girl in white blinked, "Do I look like a master?"

       Big G: "Not really."

       "I didn't think so," she said sweetly.

       Big G: "Then who is the master of this place? Do we know them?"

       "All I know is that the master definitely knows you."

       Big G: "Why?"

       The young lady dressed all in white smiled, "Because, she said you eat more than five people combined. She had me prepare extra food and drink. How could they know so much about you without knowing you?"

       Big G laughed loudly, "Sounds like he not only knows me, they must be a good friend."

       The young lady dressed in white flickered her eyes and smiled, "Anyone who treats you to a drink is your good friend?"

       "That's correct," Swally said coldly.

       Big G suddenly realized something, his face turned a little pale and he quickly put down his chopsticks.

       Big G glanced at Swally and didn't dare to say anything else.

       "When the two of you are finished eating, I will take you to see the master, he has been waiting."

       Swally stood up abruptly, "I'm already full."

       "How is it that your full just by looking at me?" The young lady dressed in white said flirtingly.


       "Because your better looking than a slab of pork," Swally said casually.

×      ×      ×

       Plum blossoms white as snow, the corridors stretched round and the columns were impressively carved.

       The young lady dressed in white led the way, she kept a straight face without smiling or saying a word.

       She was really quite sweet, and beautiful, but a little on the chubby side.

       Swally just had to compare her to a piece of pork, which didn't require much of an imagination. Big G was looking at Swally, he wanted to laugh, but held it back.

       Because Swally's complexion still looked a little pale. He didn't know why, but Swally seemed to despise women, especially when they were making jokes with Big G.

       He must have been take advantage by a women before, must have been tricked somehow, Big G thought to himself.

       Big G decided to wait for a good opportunity to enlighten him, to let him know that not all women are like that. Some are even lovelier than all of the men in the whole world combined.


       The long corridor was coming to an end.

       There was a curtain made of pearls hanging in front of the entrance. As soon as they stopped outside, they heard laughter from behind the curtain, "You two again? Please come in."

       Madame Wei! Shockingly it was the voice of Madame Wei.

       The master was Madame Wei.

       She poisoned them, pretended to be the devil, and even went through all the trouble of scaring them with an ancient cannon. But now she had saved them, and entertained them with the best of food and drink. Big G and Swally stared at each other, they had no idea what was going on with this lady.

       ×      ×      ×


       Madame Wei had an exquisite smile, more than powerful enough to move the hearts of men.

       She was looking at Swally and Big G, "Don't bother about asking what my motives are, nobody has ever been able to anticipate my true intentions," she said smiling.

       Big G sighed, "I believe you."

       Madame Wei: "There is something else that you should believe."

       Big G: "What's that?"

       Madame Wei: "You two are free to leave, whenever you want. Regardless of where you plan on going, there is absolutely no way I will have you followed."

       Big G was shocked, "You don't want us dead?"

       Madame Wei: "No."

       Big G: "Don't you want to know where Forest is?"

       Madame Wei: "Not for now at least."

       Big G: "You spent all that time trying to get us to talk, and now you're just going to let us walk away."

       Madame Wei: "That's right."

       Big G sighed again, "I am having troubles believing you."

       Madame Wei: "You don't believe what I have to say?"

       Big G: "Why should I believe you?"

       Madame Wei: "Do you know who I am?"

       Big G: "I know you are very wealthy and powerful, and are extremely talented, but more often than not you shouldn't believe what these kind of people say."

       Madame Wei stared intently at him, suddenly laughing, "You must think I have a strange way of doing things, but if you knew who I really was, you wouldn't think there was anything strange about what I did."

       "Then who are you?" Swally couldn't help but ask.

       "I'm Forest's mother," she said slowly one word at a time.

       Big G and Swally were completely stunned.

       They couldn't believe it, but they had to believe it now.

       Even if Madame Wei had lied before, she certainly did not appear to be lying now.

       Big G: "I truly believe that you are Forest's real mom, but what kind of mother doesn't even know where her son is."

       She sighed gently, "And that is the tragedy of being a mother, when our sons grows up, they always have a way of making decisions that we can't understand," she said gloomily.

       She suddenly smiled before adding, "Perhaps that is because he has gradually become a man."

       "What did he do?" Big G had to ask.

       Madame Wei sighed, "He didn't do anything, he merely ran away from home."

       Big G was shocked, "He ran away from home? Why would he run away?"

       Madame Wei: "To avoid getting married."

       "Marriage?" Big G was still astounded.

       Madame Wei smiled bitterly, "He was getting older so I arranged a bride for him, who would have thought that he secretly ran away the day before the wedding, "

       It took Big G a moment to process everything, "I understand now, he must not have liked that girl," he said grinning.

       Madame Wei: "He hadn't even met her."

       Big G couldn't help but find it a little strange, "Since he had never seen her before, how did he know if she was a good match or not?"

       "He had no idea," she said.

       "Since he had no idea, why did he run away?" Big G asked.

       Madame Wei sighed, "Because I was the one who arranged it, so he wasn't happy about that."

       Big G laughed again, "You should be able to choose your own wife. Maybe if you let him meet her first he wouldn't have ran away."

       His expression suddenly became very serious, "This has nothing to do with him respecting you, but when a man grows up, he should be able to make some decisions for himself, otherwise he's not really a man."

       Madame Wei slowly nodded her head, "I was pretty upset at first, but after giving it some thought, I even felt a little happy about how things turned out."

       "You should be happy, because there aren't a lot of men in this world who are good at making their own decisions," Swally suddenly said.

       Big G: "There aren't many now, but there will gradually be more."

       "So I have already changed my mind, I am not going to try and force him to get married," she said with smile on her face.

       She stared intently off into the distance, "I think it's good for a young man to be out in the world on his own, to learn through living, it will be good for him," she said slowly.

       Big G sighed, "Why didn't you tell us this earlier?" he said smiling bitterly.

       Madame Wei smiled, "I didn't say anything before because I was still a little worried."

       Big G: "Worried about what?"

       Madame Wei: "I was worried about his friends."

       Big G: "So you did all of that just to test us?"

       "Since you two are his good friends, I am sure you won't blame me," she said smiling.

       Big G: "Are you rest assured now?"

       "I know now that his friends were willing to starve for him, to die for him, and resist all kinds of temptation, in my eyes, that is a lot harder to accomplish than merely dying," she said softly.

       She sighed before adding: "It truly is a blessing he could find friends like you guys, what else could I be worried about?"

×      ×      ×

       Although a grown man no longer belongs to his mother, a mother will always be a mother.

       No matter where their child is, he will always be her son.

       When a mother is capable of understanding this, her mourning will turn to joy.


       There is always something simple and quiet about small cities. Some places never change, but people change, their hearts continually being transformed.

       But some people will never change. When Swally and Big G returned, Dash was still lying on his bed, not even moving.

       "We haven't seen you for six or seven days, and there is nothing you want to ask us?" Big G couldn't help say.

       Dash yawned lazily, "Ask what?"

       Big G: "You should at least ask us how we have been for the last few days."

       Dash: "Not necessary."

       Big G: "Why not?"

       Dash: "The two of you making it back alive is already pretty good."

       Swally blinked, "You should at least want to ask, who Skinned Alive ended up skinning?"

       Dash: "Not necessary."

       Swally: "Why?"

       Dash smiled, "People like that, other than hurting himself who could he possibly have skinned?" he said casually.

×      ×      ×

              Other than that time he took care of The Phoenix, no matter what Forest was doing, he seemed a little slower than everybody else. Whether it was eating, talking, or even walking, he always took his time. He never seemed anxious or in a rush, even if there was a fire burning under his brow, he wouldn't appear worried.

       Big G often thought that he moved like an old man.

       He wasn't like Dash, he wasn't lazy. He just had a sort of lukewarm temperament.

       Big G and Swally had already been back for half of the day, before he finally strolled on over. He was dressed up nicely and his hair was done.

       Not matter what time of the day it was, no matter where he was, Forest always looked like a freshly peeled piece of fruit, fresh and clean.

       It was as if this guy was always ready to be called in for an audience with the emperor. 

       After one look at him, Big G and Swally couldn't help but smile.

       Because the thought of Madame Wei reminded them of Forest, because only someone like her could have produced a son like him.

       Rotten fruit doesn't grow on healthy trees.

       Forest was watching them, but he had no idea what they were smiling about, "Seems like you two had a lot of fun these last few days," he mumbled.

       "So amazing," Big G laughed.

       Forest: "Did you two know that Skinned Alive has disappeared, and there is a new boss at Profiteers?"

       Big G: "Nope."

       Forest: "You didn't even know about this, what have the two of you been doing for the last couple of days?"

       Big G and Swally looked at each other, and started smiling again, they had already decided that they wouldn't tell anyone what happened to them these last few days.

       Because they thought it would be better if Forest didn't know about it. They didn't want to influence Forest's decision, and they didn't need him to feel grateful for what they had done.

       They only hoped that Forest could live with them happy and carefree for a while. That way he would continue to grow stronger, to grow wiser and more mature.

       This was also the hope of Madame Wei.

       Big G smiled, "We didn't do anything these past couple of days, this person merely poisoned us, then we met the devil, and were blown away by an ancient cannon, and then this person treated us to a nice meal, and now we're back."

       Forest stared at them, for a long time, "I knew you could tell a good story, but I think you went a little too far this time, not even a three year old child would believe what you just said," he laughed loudly.

       Big G lied down comfortably, closed his eyes, exhaled deeply and smiled, "I knew there was no way anyone would believe us."

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