Chapter 457: A dam solidified millennia
The first three days of their vacation would be spent in Chengdu. The fourteen of them moved as a group on the first day, visiting acclaimed tourist destinations like Chengdu’s Panda Base, Wide and Narrow Alley, Wu Hou Shrine and Jinli Street etcetera. They had two big feasts of local delicacies in the process.
After daringly trying some ultra-spicy local food the next day, the moaning and complaining became incessant.
Little Xiang Ning had it better. Aware that she would be having pimples in a few years, Xu Tingsheng kept a watchful eye on her as he dared not let her eat too much of that.
And so the enthusiasm levels went downhill for the guys from the second day onwards, their party hence starting to disband.
Besides the conscientious Zhang Ninglang who accompanied his girlfriend to shop and even helped her carry her handbag, the rest of them found a teahouse where they sipped tea, played cards and listened to music. So it was said: Stealing a half day’s rest from this empty, hollow life.
It was also from the second night that the five room cards started to be of use.
Xu Tingsheng paid this heed. So long as Old Wai and Tan Yao did not vanish together, this meant that at least one of Li Linlin and Ye Qing was still accompanying Little Xiang Ning. It hence meant that there was no need for him to worry.
On the third day, Xu Tingsheng went out alone with Little Xiang Ning. In truth, he was really somewhat worried that she might be uncomfortable while on this tour. After all, she was the youngest of them all and knew no one there besides Li Linlin.
Fortunately, Little Xiang Ning still had the exact same optimistic, cheerful personality as in his previous life.
On the fourth day, the main character of this tour, Song Ni, proposed that they go to Dujiangyan.
Dujiangyan was itself a historical site while also being a county...for some reason, although they could travel straight to the tourist sites by car, Song Ni insisted that they get off in the city district and tour around for a bit first before going to that world-famous hydraulic engineering site.
They walked and walked, going from a simple town to a place filled with greenery as their faces felt cooler and the air fresher. Directions were actually unnecessary here. One only needed to follow the crowd or simply head where it felt cooler and fresher and they would not go wrong.
‘Water worship, Dujiangyan’ - this was the tenor of water.
The legendary Dujiangyan soon appeared before their eyes.
While approaching, the water was not too loud. After all, much construction had been done over the years. The phrase ‘having seen Gezhouba, spectacular’ was pretty much not much related to this place.
As they finally gathered and followed the crowd up ahead, they were suddenly startled by the sound of water. They had arrived in front of Fulong Temple. Fulong Temple was a temple built in commemoration of Li Bing. Legend had it that Li Bing and his son once subdued a dragon of Minjiang before sealing it in the dragon pond beneath Lidui in their controlling of the waters.
On the left was the mouth of the river where the turbulent waters surged momentously. At the highest point of the temple was constructed a pavilion that had two levels and eight corners. Gazing into the distance, one could see a suspension bridge and a ‘fish’s mouth’, Minjiang rapids and Xiling snowy peaks.
They stopped there for a look around.
Most people were either taking photos, watching the scenery or playing around in high spirits…
Xu Tingsheng’s mind had drifted off somewhat. Having studied history in his previous life, he would naturally be more overcome by emotion than others when at historical sites like these. Considering that Li Bing, that massive undertaking and the intelligence behind it under such conditions-what a dam solidified millennia it was.
Song Ni tugged at his arm.
Xu Tingsheng turned to look at her.
Next was Huang Yaming, then Fu Cheng…
Asked what was up, Song Ni replied, “Shh, look.”
Up top, three people.
An auntie in her fifties, a young woman and a teensy little girl in the woman’s arms.
The three were walking at the very end of a group of people.
The baby girl was crying. The woman hesitated for a bit before passing her to the old woman. Next, she took a supersized thermos flask and left, probably going to look for some hot water.
The old woman held the child in her embrace and stayed there, coaxing her and trying to calm her down...
That woman who had just walked away was called Fang Yunyao.
Xu Tingsheng realised why Song Ni had chosen Chengdu and this location for her trip. When Ms Fang had called her, even the public telephone used had revealed the local district. That time’s call would surely have been from her current general whereabouts and not elsewhere..
Xu Tingsheng realised why Song Ni had dragged her classmates outside and roamed about everywhere right after they had arrived in Chengdu, why they had toured the city district first after arriving in Dujiangyan.
This graduation trip was a continuation of that strange doggedness of hers...even though this was really no different from searching for a needle in a haystack…
“I just thought that since we were going out to play anyway, along the way, maybe, who knows…” Song Ni muttered aloud in a daze.
Right. Fu Cheng had spent over a year painstakingly searching for her but to no avail. This time, though, whether it was out of doggedness or a mere coincidence, right here, right now...having been nowhere to be found for almost two years already, here Fang Yunyao was just like that…
Yet, did it still matter at this point? Or was it simply for Fu Cheng to have another look at her?
“I just can’t believe it. Sorry...I didn’t know that it’d be like this, that she’d already have a child,” Song Ni said mortifiedly.
Fu Cheng said nothing. He had seen her.
White jacket, brown pants, black shoes, hair tied into a ponytail with a band, some stray strands dangling by her forehead and temples. She was walking forward with a very big thermos in hand as she swept her messy hair back behind her ear…
She was dressed very simply. Perhaps women with children just easily overlook themselves, no longer dressing up so intricately.
Ms Fang was still beautiful, but looked much frailer than before.
At 26 years of age, sitting amongst the audience at the freshman welcoming party, no one had been able to tell that she was truthfully no longer a university student. Back then, she had been moved to the point of tears as she had smiled like a young girl, blushing as she asked Fu Cheng who had just confessed to her, “What am I to do now?”
Right now, while her face was calm, the years had left their mark. When looking at her child, she still had a beautiful, warm smile on her face. Yet, she was really much frailer than before, with less than two years having passed.
Fu Cheng was trembling, still not saying a word.
“What should we do?” Huang Yaming asked on his behalf.
At this point, of the three besides Fu Cheng who were in the know, they were virtually all rather dazed and at a loss. Song Ni was feeling guilty, Huang Yaming was asking for thoughts, and Xu Tingsheng’s mind was totally blank.
Go, or stay?
Ask after her, or pretend to have seen nothing?
After all, Fu Cheng had once gone to her home village where he had heard that her family had distributed wedding sweets, that she was already married. Afterwards, she had also personally told him, “I’m married. I’m very happy. Please don’t look for me anymore.”
“Let’s go,” Huang Yaming said.
“Can any one of you tell approximately how old that little girl is?” Having been trembling slightly all this while whilst lost for words, Fu Cheng suddenly spoke.
“Can any one of you tell approximately how old that little girl is?” Fu Cheng’s gaze did not shift even an inch as he repeated numbly, soullessly, still looking at the baby girl in the old woman’s embrace.
Tell how old the child was? This was really very difficult for a bunch of people in their twenties. Having absolutely no experience in this area, they had naturally not taken notice of this earlier.
This was especially challenging with it being winter and the little girl wrapped up thoroughly too.
“At least a year old,” The girl with the long plait, Ning Xia suddenly said, not knowing exactly what was going on but still sensing the gravity of the situation.
“Are you sure?” Fu Cheng turned to look at her, his gaze completely different from usual.
“Yes, I’m certain. My Mum and Dad secretly got me a little brother the year before last. He’s so much younger than me. Because of that, I was the one taking care of him when I was at home. That’s why I know the approximate age of little children…” Ning Xia explained earnestly.
Fu Cheng looked at Xu Tingsheng, at Huang Yaming, at Song Ni...
“Say, does that little girl look like me?”
Xu Tingsheng, Huang Yaming, Song Ni...they all understood at once...their hairs stood on end…
“Fu Cheng’s kid.”
“Ms Fang gave birth to a daughter for Fu Cheng.”
“How can we tell from looking? Let’s go straight and ask.”
Little Xiang Ning made funny faces for the little girl, trying to get her to laugh.
“Granny, she’s so pretty,” Little Xiang Ning said.
“What’s your name, little precious?” She imitated a toddler’s voice and asked the little girl, her head tilted to one side.
“My name is Niannian,” Old Mrs Fang answered for the little girl.
She would naturally not be guarded against a young girl like Little Xiang Ning. Moreover, Little Xiang Ning was really very lovable and good at cheering up little children too.
“Come on, tell this big sis. Precious is called Niannian, Niannian…”
Encouraged by her grandmother, the little girl chuckled as she repeated indistinctly in a childish yet clear tone, “Niannian...Niannian…”
She was already able to articulate simple sounds. This seemed to prove that Ning Xia was right.
“Granny, Niannian is a pet name, right? What’s her full name then?”
“It’s Fu Qing…”
Niannian(念念)...unable to forget(念念不忘)…
Fu Qing(付晴)…Relationship Forsaken(负情)?
She was surnamed Fu.
Fu Cheng choked on something and fell to his knees, his hold on Xu Tingsheng’s arm so tight he felt it might leave a bruise.Previous Chapter Next Chapter