Chapter 604: Ding Miao’s fate
Standing on the deck, after sending Xu Tingsheng one final text, Tongtong clenched her teeth and forcefully threw her phone into the deep, boundless ocean before her.
She had come from a poor, out-of-the-way, little mountain village. Having an unfortunate family and encounters, she had been forced to do things against her will. She had lived in a city close to the sea. Yet, this was the first time she had the chance to see the sea, the first time she was in such a big ship and enjoying such a good wind…
“If I could live life again, I definitely wouldn’t let you go so easily, Xu Tingsheng.”
“In my next life, I’ll be squeaky clean. I’ll study, be independent, wait for that person named Xu Tingsheng to appear and fall in love with him...not feel inferior, not be sad, not run away from things. I won’t be afraid of anything at all. At least I’d have to sleep with you, handing you the cleanest me! Make you never be able to forget it…”
In this life, she was destined only to be able to say some things to the great ocean itself.
Calming her emotions, Tongtong headed to the cafeteria, put together some of the remaining food and brought them down to Dongzi and Old Dog who were hiding at the bottom of the ship, along with Ding Miao in the cargo box.
Before she had arrived, she heard Dongzi cursing ‘bitch’ and ‘heartless’.
Suddenly, Tongtong could not help but laugh as she exclaimed, “Dongzi, were you just scolding me?”
Dongzi was nearly crying by now. First, he was panicked, wondering how he might explain away his earlier words. Second, he was happy. He had hot food to eat, and Tongtong whom he had thought he would never see again in this life had suddenly, miraculously appeared before him.
“What, so you’re leaving the country with us?” Old Dog helped Dongzi out of his predicament, asking what he was wondering about.
“Yes, I want to go out for a look around,” Tongtong smiled.
“Just for a look? So, you’ll be returning very soon?” Dongzi asked hastily.
Tongtong shook her head, “I may never come back.”
“Woah!” Dongzi hiccupped in his joy as he beat down on his chest and shamelessly asked, “So, will you be bringing the two of us along in whatever you’ll be doing?”
Two fiery gazes fell on Tongtong as it was just like when people drifting on the sea surface had spotted a vessel. In truth, living independently overseas for the two of them was not that much different from being thrown overboard and dumped into the sea.
“The two of you?” Tongtong smiled and asked, “Tell me, what can the two of you do?”
The two froze for a bit.
“We can protect you!” Dongzi said, “You, a vulnerable girl outside...if anyone bullies you, we can risk our lives and fight with them.”
“I believe that. You have already proven it,” Looking at them, Tongtong nodded earnestly before saying, “Still, that isn’t enough. Do the two of you know English? How to run a business?”
Seeing the two of them silent, she paused for a bit before asking, “If you don’t...can you learn?”
“Well, we...aren’t cut of that cloth,” Old Dog had a troubled look on his face as Dongzi who was beside him nodded helplessly too.
“How do you know you aren’t cut of that cloth? Have you even tried? You aren’t willing to learn or even give it a shot?” Tongtong put on a stern face, saying, “In that case, forget it. I don’t want to bring along two good-for-nothing burdens. When we arrive, we’ll just go our separate ways…”
“Learn. I’ll learn! Who doesn’t learn is a grandson,” Dongzi immediately responded decisively.
Old Dog shot him a look and said helplessly, “In that case, I’ll give it a shot too.”
Tongtong’s gaze flitted between the two of them before she finally smiled and nodded, saying, “Well, alright then. We’ll look after one another in the future, see how it goes. Still, if the two of you really are useless, don’t blame me afterwards for using and then discarding you!”
Dongzi hastily chimed, “Of course not, of course not.”
Old Dog suddenly seemed to have thought of something as he frowned, saying a bit dismally, “Thank you for your willingness to give us a chance. Still, honestly speaking, we’ll be illegal immigrants over there...no identities, unable to see the light of day. How can we help you?”
“You can rest assured on this. People will help us to take care of our identities over there,” Tongtong said, “It’s not only you two; us three will all receive brand new identities. After which...we’ll get a fresh start at life.”
Could there be any better news than this in this world? Dongzi and Old Dog both exchanged disbelieving looks, hot tears virtually spilling out of their eyelids.
“In the future, no one will be able to find us and threaten him,” Tongtong said.
The two naturally knew who the ‘him’ Tongtong was referring to was. Old Dog continued to be excited beyond himself while Dongzi looked a bit pitiful on top of his excitement...why had this woman before them discarded everything in leaving their country? So, it was ultimately still because of that Xu Tingsheng.
Something like being jealous comes automatically, even though one might know that the possibility of fruition might really be close to nil.
“Let’s permanently say goodbye to all the indelible stains on our pasts in starting over,” Tongtong said.
Now this struck close to the heart.
The next moment, the trio stood with their backs against the wall, exhaling deeply as they gazed at the faint light coming from up above. People with darkness in their pasts...it was really difficult to bear.
After a while, Dongzi laid out a shirt on the floor for Tongtong to sit on while he finished eating his food.
“What will we do when we’re out then? Rest assured, the two of us are filled with strength,” He probed.
Looking at him flexing his muscles, Tongtong smiled, saying, “Regarding the specifics, they can wait for when we get there. My initial idea right now is dealing in wine...I’m rather more familiar with this and know where to start and find channels too. Also, the profits from selling Western wine to China are actually very great, really profitable.”
Hearing how very reliable this sounded, the eyes of Old Dog and Dongzi both shone as they nodded excitedly and exclaimed, “This is good, this is good.”
To them, everything had once been dark and devoid of hope. Now, they were suddenly filled with hope…
Tongtong got up and said, “I’ll be going up first then, today. I’ll send you food again when it’s convenient. You’ll still have to bear with this for quite some time. It’ll be tough on you.”
Dongzi and Old Dog both expressed that this was really nothing to them.
“Right, open the box and give this to him,” Holding that remaining portion of food, Tongtong indicated towards the box containing Ding Miao.
“Give it to him? Hey...we can just find a chance and push him into the sea in the middle of the night. We don’t have to waste it, right?” Old Dog asked.
“We can’t just let him starve to death. Open it,” Tongtong said.
Dongzi opened the box. Ding Miao was tied up tightly, a cloth stuffed in his mouth. He was lying amidst a bunch of pickled mustard, biscuits and bottles of mineral water, jostled up quite tightly.
As light appeared before his eyes, Ding Miao looked up and glanced at Tongtong, releasing a fiery, pleading gaze.
“Have some food and water,” Tongtong said, “We’ll help you to remove the cloth in your mouth. Don’t call out!”
“If you dare to call out, this old man will immediately beat you dead and throw you into the sea,” Dongzi threatened beside her.
Ding Miao hurriedly nodded.
Indeed, he dared not utter a sound when the cloth was removed.
Tongtong got Dongzi to give him some water before feeding him some food.
“Can you, can you give me a chance? Actually, I won’t be able to go back too. I heard you guys talking about starting a business earlier. I’m good at that. I can help,” Ding Miao said with a sincere look on his face.
“Dream on,” Dongzi gnashed his teeth.
Ding Miao ignored him and focused on Tongtong. He knew who called the shots here.
“Don’t look at me. I feel that Dongzi is right...you, dream on,” Tongtong smiled and shook her head, saying, “Don’t waste your effort, Ding Miao. It’s useless. People like you aren’t worthy of any trust or sympathy whatsoever. I know that I am not as smart as you. So, I also won’t be that stupid.”
Once Ding Miao had finished eating, he despondently had the cloth stuffed into his mouth again and the box closed.
As Tongtong was about to leave, Old Dog asked, “When do we throw him off?”
“We should wait till the ship has sailed for another two more days,” Tongtong answered.
Inside the box, Ding Miao wet himself on the spot.
Two days later, late at night amidst the vast ocean, when most of the crew were already asleep, the people who were following Ye Qing’s instructions released a small boat to the sea’s surface. Then, without even glancing at it, they returned to the ship to sleep.
Having been sailors before, Dongzi and Old Dog were very familiar with everything about the sea. They carried the box up the boat and brought Tongtong over as well.
The small boat traversed that pitch black sea surface for about twenty minutes and arrived before a deserted island.
Dongzi and Old Dog got off the boat and carried the box to the shore where they opened it, untied the ropes binding Ding Miao and pulled him out.
Suddenly discovering himself amidst a body of shallow water, Ding Miao did not move at all as he was incomparably bewildered.
“Bro Zhong said that life and death are predestined...your outcome shall be left to the heavens to decide,” Tongtong pointed at the deserted island behind him, “We will leave you here. As for whether you can survive, that’s all up to yourself.”
This...was really too random. What were they doing? Was this a joke? After hearing Tongtong’s words, Ding Miao’s mind was a chaotic jumble for a time as he did not know what he should do.
He had originally thought that he was a goner. Now that he still had a chance at life, of course he should be happy. Yet, while Ding Miao had read Robinson Crusoe before, never in his wildest dreams had he thought that...such a day might actually also come for himself.
He also knew that he was probably unable to match Robinson.
Having graduated from an Ivy League university, he was a business elite, a great schemer, a strategist, a charismatic person...but all that was useless here!
As Tongtong spoke, Dongzi and Old Dog took some water, biscuits and pickled mustard from the box and set them down on the sand.
“These are for life-saving exigencies. Don’t eat them all up in a single go! This place is not on the navigation route. There may not be any ships passing by in the short term. You’ve got to depend on yourself. There are caves on the island, sources of water, fruits and animals you could eat...there’s also food you can obtain from the shore...forget it, you should be the one properly studying it on your own,” Tongtong spread her hands apart and said.
“This is a private beach that we discovered. It’s now yours...Young Master Ding, oh, no, Island Master Ding...don’t get too comfortable basking in the sunlight!” Old Dog quipped.
Once, when Old Dog and Dongzi had been on a smuggling run, they had discovered this deserted island by accident following a mishap with their ship. Just as Tongtong had said, survival was possible on this island.
Although the two of them had been able to survive for over two months on this island and ultimately been rescued, that did not mean that it was possible for Ding Miao...in this sort of environment, of those elites and wealthy people in society, ten of them were not a match for a healthy, experienced sailor who was able to clench their teeth and soldier on.
Also, this deserted island was also really not on the navigation route. Under normal circumstances, a few months to half a year could pass without any ships passing by at all. Additionally, even if one did pass by...he might not discover it or be discovered by it.
Everything would be left to the heavens to decide. It would also depend on Ding Miao’s own will and fate.
The three returned to the boat, setting off back for the ship.
“Hey, what are you guys doing? Sob...don’t go!” A dazed Ding Miao finally regained his wits, realising that this was really happening...it was neither a movie nor a novel…
“I beg you. Please don’t go!”
“Don’t leave me all alone here…”
“I can’t do it! Spare me!”
Ding Miao chased after them, but was deterred when he found that the seawater had passed his chest level.
“Where are the water sources?”“Where are the caves?”
“Are there any snakes on this island? Are they poisonous?”
“Hey...fire, leave me a few more lighters!”
“I’ve never learnt how to create fires with branches…”
The boat grew increasingly distant over the horizon, gradually vanishing.
Lying on the beach, Ding Miao raised the lighter that he had found amongst the pile of food high and burst into tears…
In modern society, in a civilised world...just what was this?!
Amidst the darkness, the small boat made its way back to the ship.
Old Dog steered while Tongtong and Dongzi sat facing each other.
“Do you think Ding Miao might successfully make it off that island alive?” Dongzi asked.
Actually, he judged that the chances of that were not high...he did not believe that Ding Miao possessed such a will, constitution and outdoor survival skills.
Also, loneliness and despair are actually better able to kill than a difficult environment. It might also be the case that the more books a person has read, the more abundant their thoughts and feelings, the more torturous this will mentally be for them.
“I don’t know. I’m not as knowledgeable as you two in this aspect,” Tongtong said calmly.
“In the off chance that he does survive and flags down a ship…” Dongzi ventured.
Tongtong said composedly, “By then, it will already be established fact that he absconded out of guilt. Also, don’t forget that it’s true Ding Sen’s matter was done by him. His underling whom he nearly silenced is still there...do you think he would dare to openly return?! I think that if he truly survives, he might do the same as us at best, finding a place to settle down and start life afresh. Maybe he’ll have become like another person, having gained enlightenment on many things in life.”
“That’s true,” Dongzi said, “I’m just worried that if he’s deranged and again goes to…”
“Bro Zhong said that if that really does happen, we can treat it like it’s destined that there’ll be this tribulation in Xu Tingsheng’s life. We should also believe that...he can withstand this. He’s Xu Tingsheng, after all!”
Xu Tingsheng again. Dongzi felt envious.
“Right. You said that you’ll likely not be returning. Will you be marrying a foreigner in the future then?” Dongzi deliberately smiled and asked.
“I’m not marrying a foreigner,” Tongtong shook her head.
“In that case...I feel that, I think...we had best go to a place with very few countrymen. The fewer the better…” Dongzi said this very softly, his voice dissipating in the wind.
“What did you say?” Tongtong asked.
Dongzi inhaled deeply, emboldening himself, “I was saying, do you think that...in the future, there is the possibility that you’ll accidentally end up giving me a chance?”
“Huh?” Tongtong looked at him and laughed, “When you have money, can speak foreign languages and lead a stable life...it’s very easy to find a woman even overseas...all the Western women! Why would you want a chance from me? Is it even worth it…”
“I just think it is. I just want to do that,” Dongzi mustered up his courage and asked, “Just tell me if you think there is this possibility.”
“Before I forget Xu Tingsheng, there’s no possibility of that happening.”
Dongzi even felt like plunging headfirst into the ocean now.
“Isn’t that equivalent to saying that it’s impossible…”
“Who said that?” Tongtong asked, “Time and environment can change many things. I will also try hard to forget him.”
In the early hours of the morning, the sun was set to rise above the ocean surface, faint light rippling across the water.
There will always be hope in life.Previous Chapter Next Chapter