Chapter 230 Heart-warming
“Grandpa, is there anything we can do?” Gong Luo asked urgently.
The old man shook his head and sighed. “The human body is like a pail of water. It can be filled with water or drained of it. When the pail is full then the person has reached their peak. No matter how hard they train, it’s difficult for them to progress any further. Even if you tip the pail over, the walls and bottom of the pail will still be wet so that it’s impossible to eliminate every trace of water. My son…your water has dried up, and your pail has broken. Although you’ve survived by some miracle, no matter how much water is added, you won’t be able to maintain it any more. All that remains is the droplets that cling to the pail. Do you understand what I mean?”
Ye Wuchen nodded. How could he not understand the state of his own body?
“Is there really nothing we can do?” Gong Luo seemed dejected by how quickly his grandfather had rejected the notion.
“My son, you also seem to be someone forced into this world. The fact that you destroyed your own potential to this extent means that you have superhuman determination. Your presence here must be the will of the heavens. Be at peace and stay with us now. All I can do is help you nurture your body and see whether or not there might be some slight change.” The old man comforted Ye Wuchen as he placed a hand on his shoulder. Seeing that instead of disappointment the young man was still smiling understandingly, he thought to himself that this man must be quite the character back in his own world too. The fact that he had survived his journey here meant that he was even more remarkable.
“Old Grandpa…” Ning Xue called out. Suddenly her body dropped and she kneeled in front of him. “Please, save my Big Bro, he only did this for me, please…please, grandpa, save him, I promise that I’ll pay you back however I can…”
Seeing Ning Xue like this, Ye Wuchen wanted nothing more than to reach out and pull her back. But his body was so weak that he had no strength to do so. But before Ning Xue could kneel down fully a gentle strength stopped her, preventing her from falling all the way to the ground. The trembling sound of her tearful voice seeped into everyone’s heart, sending through them a wave of pity and bitterness. Only the kind of sound that one made with one’s soul could touch a heart like this.
The old man spoke again. “My dear, don’t worry too much. Nothing on this world is absolute. Although this is the first time I’ve encountered someone in your brother’s situation, it’s not for sure that there’s no way to heal him. Come on, stand up.”
His aura moved, pushing the half-kneeling Ning Xue upright with a gentle force. This was the second time she had kneeled. The first time was also for Ye Wuchen, she had kneeled in front of her god-grandfather Long Zheng, begging him to save her brother.
“Thank you, Grandpa,” Ning Xue said in a small voice.
Ye Wuchen took her under his arm and said quietly, “Xue, remember never to kneel for anyone again, okay? Trust me, I won’t just collapse like this. For my Xue…to make sure that no one in this earth is worthy of you kneeling to, I will get better…I’ll get better.”
His voice also came straight from his soul, infecting all that were there. This was a feeble young man, one that could probably be toppled by just a gust of strong wind. But his quiet words didn’t make anyone feel repulsed, or that he was being arrogant. Some even started to guess at what kind of man he was in the mysterious outside world, what kind of role he must have played.
He was very weak. But his clothes, appearance, mannerisms, and aura were incomparable. On him, they perceived a kind of nobility.
“Big Bro…yeah! I believe that you’ll get better, because there’s nothing you can’t do.” Ning Xue’s tears turned into a smile. The smile that showed on that slightly frightening face was a full expression of a young girl’s excitement and confidence, making even the onlookers feel soothed.
The old man glanced at Ye Wuchen again. “Young man, I’ll go search for a method to help you. Everyone here is your family now. If you need anything, no need to be formal with us. Heh, why don’t you get to know them now?”
He turned to leave. The crowd automatically parted, allowing him a way through.
After he left, the crowd surged up, each of them speaking at the same time.
“Here, young man. This is a ‘dew pill’ passed down from my grandparents. Back then even when my son was suffering a great illness I still saved it and didn’t give it to him. Take it, young man, perhaps it’ll help your body.” A big man with a bushy beard pulled a small, dirty-looking pill from his pocket, pushing it into Ye Wuchen’s hands.
“Here, here, take this. This is a ten thousand year old blood ginseng root that’s been in my family for years. I’ve heard that it’ll even bring dead people back to life, so it should be handy.” A middle-aged woman said with a smile.
“I heard that you’re from above, did you hurt yourself in the fall? This is a red jade connective salve, it’ll help you recover right away.”
“Young man, rest and take care of your body. No one here will pick on you. If you want to go on a stroll anywhere, just let me know. Big Tiger’s got plenty of strength.” A huge, towering man said with a steadfast chuckle as he flexed his muscles.
“All right, all right, stop clamoring. You’ll scare him!” Auntie Chun shouted. She looked down with a kind smile. “My dear, you’ve walked so far today. You must be tired. How about you stay in the room next to my son San Luzi’s, it’s been empty all this time with no one to fill it up.”
A young man standing on the edge of the crowd nodded with a big grin. He was probably San Luzi.
“Aiya,” another middle-aged woman interrupted her, “I’m not trying to call you out, but this young man is a guest from a faraway land. That empty room in your house is a complete mess. Young man, why don’t you come with me? The room at my place is clean and big, and the land is very nice. Plus, Dashengzi at home has always wanted to have a friend…”
Ning Xue also had plenty of people attending to her. A little girl of no more than five or six who looked like a little porcelain doll and was dressed in rough fabric clothes took out two very rough candies and offered them to Ning Xue, speaking in her high, childish voice. “Little sister, don’t be sad. There won’t be any bad people here. See, these are candies that my mom made me, and I kept saving them until now. You should eat one of them so you won’t be sad anymore.”
“Were the wounds are your faces from bad people? If bad people come, I’ll get my daddy to beat them up.”
All of this loving care enveloped Ye Wuchen like a warm flood, leaving him speechless. He never knew that such a paradise existed in the world.
Even though it was the first time meeting these people, they were not hostile, not repulsed, not ill-intentioned. After learning about their physical conditions, they extended a helping hand without reservations, even producing medicines that they themselves had been saving for the future. Their care came from the heart and had no falsehoods. From the perspective of someone from his old world, they were being silly, so very silly. But if everyone in the world were as silly as they were, how perfect that world would be!
This was a pure world, without sin, selfishness, envy, mockery, hunger, war, filth, petty competition. A world like this is what everyone yearns for, but no one could actually believe in. And now it was here before his eyes.
The names of the people here were crude, but soothing and familiar to the ear. In a world without fame or fortune, names were nothing more than a marker. Whether or not it sounded good didn’t matter; the people only remembered the name and its owner, without minding its crudeness, without mocking or laughing at it.
His heart felt warm as he raised his eyes to look at every face around him, smiling, as he said the only words he could speak, “Thank you all…”
Perhaps to them this was just a completely normal thing to do, even something they should do. But for someone like Ye Wuchen who had experienced so many of the hardships life had to offer, this was a warmth and empathy he’d never felt before. He couldn’t keep his gratitude in.
“Heh heh, stop being so noisy.” The old man had returned. The crowd separated, letting him walk. After he glanced around, he said with a bitter smile, “All of you, his body is currently incredibly weak. All these medicines that you’ve kept hidden for years not only won’t help him, but will harm his feeble body and increase his inner fire. Take them home.”
Only then did everyone pocket their medicine, their faces full of shame for not being able to help. Just from what he saw, Ye Wuchen estimated that all the cures that they had taken out were incredibly valuable, so much so that they were almost beyond the value of money. He couldn’t help but try to imagine what kind of people had fallen into this place a hundred years ago.
“All right, it’s time for everyone to go home. I know everyone wants to hear his story and hear him talk about the outside world. I do too. But he’s just come a long way and is still weak, so rest is most important now. We’ll talk about this all at night. Three, take him into the house. I had Er Ya* boil some soup for him, we’ll see if it works.”
“All righty!” Gong Luo responded, helping Ye Wuchen up, “Could everyone move aside, if there’s anything else tonight we’ll talk then. Come on, my brother, my sister. Let’s go in.”
Everyone stepped aside immediately, watching Gong Luo walk away with Ye Wuchen. It’s true, they did want to hear what the outside world was like, and his story.
* Er means two in Chinese, and Ya means girl. Basically her name here means “Second girl”, but to keep the ridiculousness low in English I’ve done it phonetically…