Chapter 19 - Tang Can's Intuition
Even though all of them saw the dog’s head gold roll into a small patch of grass, none of them could find it. Not even a glimmer of gold could be found.
Despite that, they searched until the light of dawn lit the campsite. Nothing. The gold had just disappeared into thin air!
Exhausted by the events of the previous night, Mazha sat on the ground, grumbling angrily. Shen Yu could hear him muttering about the strange occurrence that night. Curses punctuated the air.
At the side, Zhang Fei was also mumbling under her breath. The female soldier stole a look at Tang Can who was frowning slightly. Gradually, the volume of her voice increased until everyone could hear what she was saying. Predictably, she was holding Shen Yu accountable for this entire mess.
“If it was really dog’s head gold, you would be able to see it instantly!” she snarled. “But it was only in that one tiny area of that rock. Also, how come no one was able find it after it got dropped? Does anyone else feel that something fishy is going on? That stupid piece of rock was just a red herring! I personally think we’re all getting tricked by the convict’s successor! Blood will always tell!” She glared at Shen Yu.
At first, Tang Can didn’t quite understand what Zhang Fei was trying to say. Once he heard her trying to shift the blame onto Shen Yu again, he lost his temper. Who was the one who was actually responsible for losing the gold?
He made eye contact with Zhang Fei, his eyes dark with fury. “I was the one who said that it was dog’s head gold. If you want to curse me out, Comrade Zhang Fei, that’s fine. But don’t think you can curse my grandfather’s name without any consequences!”
Zhang Fei’s expression immediately changed. She replied instantly, trying to defend herself, “I was not cursing your grandfather’s name!”
“Uh huh, is that so?” said Tang Can frostily. His entire face showed his displeasure.
When she saw that he was angry, Zhang Fei started to panic. No matter how she tried to explain things, her commanding officer did not change his stance. It got to the point that Zhang Fei wanted to start crying again. At this moment, Mazha stepped in and tried to say a few good words for her. Normally he liked to bicker with Zhang Fei but he somehow felt sorry for her. Regardless, both of their efforts were in vain. Tang Can ignored them, his face stoic with displeasure. He seemed to be focusing his attention on Shen Yu, who was sitting calmly at the side.
Shen Yu sat in silence and kept still the entire time the other team members were bickering. She didn’t even twitch when Zhang Fei had tried to blame her for the previous night’s events. She was deep in thought, trying to remember exactly what the villagers’ said about Uncle Li’s mining efforts. If the stories were correct, when Uncle Li started his expeditions, he had actually found dog’s head gold early on during the dig. Unfortunately, he didn’t know it at the time. By the time he figured it out, it was too late. The gold that he was searching for had disappeared forever.
Now, there was also that phrase that Uncle Li liked to holler when he was still alive. “Gold is everywhere, simply waiting for the fortunate one.”
Funny how last night’s events seemed to follow what Uncle Li liked to say, Shen Yu mused.
When Shen Yu started to pay attention to her surroundings again, she found Wheaty by her side. Wheaty was laying next to the rock that Shen Yu was currently perched on. The yellow colored dog whuffed quietly when she noticed Shen Yu looking at her. The dog seemed to have a sorrowful look on her furry face, as if she was grieving for something. Shen Yu felt a burst of pain in her heart. She held Wheaty’s head in her hands and tears started to form again. She had a feeling that Wheaty knew that Blackie had passed away.
“Let’s go back!” Tang Can walked to Shen Yu and held out a hand to help her up. Shen Yu kissed Wheaty on the head before looking up. Ignoring the proffered hand, she got up and walked down the hill.
Tang Can stood awkwardly for a second, his hand still in the air. He smiled bitterly and then followed Shen Yu silently.
Subdued, Zhang Fei obediently followed them, her entire manner quiet and meek. Back at the campsite, she helped Mazha set up breakfast, which she had never done before. Her inexperience showed. Some of the food got burned and ash covered her face when she cleaned up the mess.
Half of Tang Can’s anger dissipated when he saw Zhang Fei’s improved attitude. However, Shen Yu's continued moodiness made him feel uneasy. Ever since they got back to the campsite, all she did was sit under a tree and stay silent. Tang Can wanted to say something to raise her spirits but didn’t know what to say.
At the riverbank, Mazha was spearing fish. Wheaty followed him to join in on the hunt. The dog splashed in the water and somehow managed to catch a fish about a foot long. The fish dangled and struggled energetically in the yellow dog’s mouth.
“Good dog! You caught a big fish!” praised Mazha when he saw Wheaty’s catch.
At the side, Zhang Fei was waiting for Mazha to bring her fish so that she could finish cooking the meal. When she saw that Wheaty had caught the first fish, she snorted in disdain at Mazha’s lack of skill. Even a dog hunted fish better than he did! She went over and tried to take the fish from Wheaty.
Mazha straightened from his crouched over position in the creek. “Let it go. Why do we need to fight to take food from a dog?”
After thinking for a bit, Zhang Fei had to admit that his words made sense. She watched blankly as the dog dragged the fish over to the riverbank. The fish flopped and jumped on land, trying to escape. Wheaty casually swiped at the fish with a paw, but clearly was not in a hurry to start eating. Finally, the fish stopped moving and was dead. The dog slowly started eating in delicate bites as if it was a well bred lady.
A faint smile crossed Shen Yu’s face when she saw Wheaty eating. It was as if a bit of sunshine had suddenly peeked around the dark clouds. Relieved, Tang Can let out a breath, his eyes gentle as he watched Shen Yu.
As they were eating their meal, Mazha started mumbling, “What the hell is going on in Old Mr. Yun’s head? He changes his mind too quickly.”
Tang Can leveled a glare at the soldier. Sensing his commanding officer’s displeasure, Mazha immediately shut his mouth and swallowed what else he wanted to say. He glanced stealthily at Shen Yu, nervous that she had detected something wrong.
Shen Yu feigned ignorance. A cold smile quickly crossed her face.
Tang Can smiled brightly at her. “You should rest in a bit. Old Mr. Yun has invited you to go to the mining camp. Looks like you can finally try panning for gold yourself.”
Shen Yu made a quiet noise in reply and continued to slowly eat porridge. Her expression was as bland and as expressionless as it was before. Zhang Fei hated this expression the most. The female soldier threw down her chopsticks in a fit of pique and no longer had any appetite to continue eating.
“I’ll go feed Blackie,” said Tang Can. He stood up and ladled some porridge into a bowl. When he reached Blackie’s nest, he noticed that the dog was nowhere to be found. Surprised, he came back to where the others were sitting and told them what had happened. Fat rolls of tears dripped down Shen Yu’s face and into her bowl of food.
Wheaty was laying down next to Shen Yu and seemed to understand what Tang Can was saying. The yellow colored raised its head from the ground and howled softly, as if in grief.
Tang Can stared in shock for a second before all of the pieces finally came together. Shen Yu must have found Blackie was missing the previous night and gone off to find the dog. Blackie was injured seriously, so it was likely the dog had died. Her downcast mood was because she was grieving for the dog. He sat down next to her and opened up his cell phone. After selecting a photo stored on the phone, he showed it to her.
Shen Yu was not in the mood to interact with anyone, but Tang Can had already shoved the cell phone in front of her. She took a glimpse at the photo. It was a picture of him frolicking with a black colored dog. On closer look, she noticed that the dog’s coat alternated between the colors black and white and had a scraggly white beard like Santa Claus. The fur was also long and beautiful. Shen Yu had never seen a dog as stunning as this one. “What kind of dog is this?”
Tang Can smiled when he noticed that she was interested. “This is a border collie that I’m raising. A lot of people like to call it by “Oreo” because its coat is black and white in color!”
Shen Yu burst out in laughter, “That’s the name of a cookie!”
Previous Chapter Next Chapter