Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue took Dahei to the plant nursery again. Although Uncle Li said on the phone that everything was fine, Lu Lingxi was still a bit worried and wanted to go and see what was going on.
When he heard that Lu Lingxi was coming over in the evening, Uncle Li was very touched, and after finishing with the plant nursery hurried back and ordered Auntie Li to make more food for Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue. As soon as Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue entered the village, they were blocked by Uncle Li.
“The food is ready, we are waiting for you.”
Lu Lingxi was a little embarrassed that he had to bother Uncle Li again. But Uncle Li didn’t think it was a bother. People were most afraid of loneliness when they were old. His children were both working far away and only could come back to see their parents during the New Year; sometimes they were too busy to even make a phone call. Although Uncle Li understood that it was not easy to work hard outside, sometimes he really wanted children. Fortunately, there used to be Du Lin who came to the plant nursery from time to time, and Uncle Li treated Du Lin as his own daughter in his heart. Now that Du Lin had gone back home and the plant nursery had been given to Lu Lingxi, Uncle Li was even happier. The child was so good-looking and well-behaved that in Uncle Li’s eyes Lu Lingxi was almost the same as his grandson and he couldn’t wait for Lu Lingxi to come to the plant nursery every day.
When they returned home, Auntie Li smiled at Lu Lingxi from afar. She remembered that Lu Lingxi liked to eat oat noodles rolled in a nest, so she took the time to make another pot this afternoon. This time, instead of diced mushroom and meat sauce, she served a pot of lamb stew, which was even more delicious.
“Xiao Xi, eat more.” Auntie Li lovingly gave Lu Lingxi a big bowl of it and said, “Look at how thin the child is.”
Lu Lingxi smiled shyly and took the bowl while secretly glancing at Yan Yue, knowing that Yan Yue must have heard it and would probably force him to eat again when they went back. He actually didn’t think he was skinny at all; Yi Hang even laughed at him last time that he was about to pinch the flesh on his face. He also didn’t understand why everyone thought he was thin, as if he didn’t eat properly every day.
Uncle Li also nodded and echoed, “A bit thin, a bit fatter would be good.”
Lu Lingxi stopped talking, lowered his head and started eating.
Yan Yue chuckled lightly and gave Lu Lingxi a doting glance, holding another chopstick of food for him.
When everyone had almost finished eating, Uncle Li began to talk about the afternoon’s events. The matter was simple: the director of Songjia Village’s plastic factory had encouraged a few kids who worked in the factory to come to Lingshui Village to demand a settlement. The rash youngsters didn’t expect the village people, who were somewhat old, to oppose them, so they rushed over as soon as they were urged. As a result, they were seen by Xu San just as they reached the plant nursery.
Uncle Li glanced at Yan Yue meaningfully when he said this. Regarding Xu San, Uncle Li felt strange at first. Why did Xu San still wander around the plant nursery every day after he was beaten up? Was he waiting for revenge? But after watching him for a few days, Uncle Li could see that something was wrong. Xu San didn’t look like he wanted to do something bad. Rather, he was more concerned about the plant nursery than anyone else, and he was quicker than anyone else to react to anything that happened in the plant nursery. Uncle Li pondered a little and realised something, so he didn’t care about Xu San anymore.
As soon as Xu San saw the youngsters coming today, he immediately alarmed Uncle Li. Uncle Li thought that those guys were going to make trouble in the plant nursery. As soon as the youngsters appeared, half of the village blocked them. When the two sides had a conversation, they realised that the kids were from Songjia and they were here to ask for compensation. Now the people of Lingshui were furious. Songjia would drain waste water into the Lingshui River every day, so they couldn’t stand the stench and had to walk around the river all the way, and now they righteously came to demand compensation?
Telling this, Uncle Li couldn’t help laughing. Lu Lingxi had never seen village people quarrel, especially village women quarrel. That was a really powerful sight. A group of old ladies, led by Auntie Li, surrounded those rash youngsters and lectured them for two hours, from their grandfathers to the present, one by one, scolding them like their own grandchildren. And whenever the youngsters had a bad attitude, the men of the village took care of them. Don’t look down at those in Lingshui Villagers who were left behind; they were old but they were born to do farming work. Especially recently they were in good health, so they had no problem scaring those little brats.
In the end, it was Song Wancai who rushed over to apologise before the matter was settled.
Lu Lingxi also laughed as he listened; although he hadn’t seen it personally, but listening to the tone of Uncle Li, he thought he knew that those guys must have gone back in disgrace. He was relieved that no one in the village had suffered a loss.
At the end of his speech, Uncle Li didn’t forget to praise Xu San, “As the old saying goes, a prodigal son returned home is worth more than gold, and Xu San, I’m not sure he can be considered a prodigal son, but he did well today and didn’t disgrace Lingshui Village.”
He said this specifically for Yan Yue. The old man was soft-hearted, and even though Xu San was a bad person, he had grown up in front of Uncle Li’s eyes. In the past, Uncle Li had hated him with a passion, but now that he saw that Xu San had changed for the better, he hurried to give him a hand. No matter what Yan Yue did, it was good for Xu San, and Uncle Li privately wanted Yan Yue to do more so that Xu San would not go back to his old ways.
Yan Yue understood what Uncle Li meant, smiled and didn’t say anything, but he was actually a bit surprised. He didn’t care much about Xu San, but he didn’t expect the other party to be so concerned. The guy was good to use, and Yan Yue felt that he needed to talk to Xu San again.
After they had finished eating and helping Auntie Li clean up, Uncle Li rushed Lu Lingxi to go back to rest. “It’s getting cold, go to bed early.”
It was already the end of October and the temperature was indeed a bit low. Lu Lingxi agreed and Yan Yue took Dahei outside. The two of them were about to go back to the plant nursery when Dahei sniffed the air and suddenly barked in the direction of the Lingshui River.
Lu Lingxi frowned; it seemed that there was something going on at the Lingshui River. Yan Yue made an immediate decision, “Let’s go and take a look.”
The two of them and Dahei didn’t go back to the plant nursery and turned directly towards the Lingshui River. It was already dark at this time of the year, but the moon was good tonight, the moonlight spreading like water, so there was no need to worry about not being able to see the road. As Yan Yue led Lu Lingxi along slowly, Lu Lingxi thought of something and said with a hint of regret, “I should have gone back to the plant nursery to get a bucket and fetch a bucket of water on the way back.”
Yan Yue’s eyes were full of laughter as he nodded approvingly, “Xiao Xi is right, we didn’t plan well.”
It was clear that Yan Yue was agreeing with him, but Lu Lingxi just felt that something wasn’t right there. He glanced at Yan Yue suspiciously and Yan Yue couldn’t help but laugh aloud, reaching out to rub the boy’s hair indulgently.
Lu Lingxi slightly turned his head away, but Yan Yue was undeterred, quickly leaned over, cupped his chin and gave him a kiss, coaxing, “What Xiao Xi said was right.”
Lu Lingxi: “……”
Yan Yue laughed even louder.
The two of them walked all the way to the Lingshui River. At night, the “Black Water River” was flowing slowly. Lu Lingxi looked at the river for a long time but couldn’t see anything, so he hesitantly looked at Dahei. Dahei whimpered, biting at Yan Yue’s trouser leg and dragging him forward. Yan Yue took a few steps, walked to the river and leaned down to take a closer look, his brow furrowing tightly.
“What’s wrong?” Lu Lingxi looked at his reaction and was about to move forward as well.
Yan Yue stopped him quickly; the smell of the river was really unpleasant. He whispered, “Waste water is probably still discharged upstream.” Meeting the young man’s puzzled look, Yan Yue explained, “It’s an old trick. Once these small factories are inspected and reported, they pretend to stop working during the day and continue to work at night. No one can catch them.”
“Then what should we do?” Lu Lingxi was a bit anxious. He could imagine that if he reported it again, the other party would definitely not admit it. Besides, even if he reported it, the people from the Environmental Protection Bureau would not come to inspect it in the middle of the night.
Yan Yue’s expression slightly darkened as he rubbed Lu Lingxi’s hair soothingly, “Don’t worry, I’ll think of a way.” His voice was serene and confident, with a calming power, and Lu Lingxi felt relieved.
For Yan Yue, whether it was economic development or environmental protection, he didn’t care much about these things himself; it was only because of Lu Lingxi that he was somewhat concerned about the matter of the Lingshui River. In his opinion, with Ye Cheng’s orders and Lu Lingxi’s report, it was enough to shut down the plastic factory. Yan Yue had a few thoughts passing through his head, thinking of how to solve this matter. But before he could say anything, Dahei had already let out a “woo” towards the village.
Yan Yue had heard all sorts of barks from Dahei, but this was the first time he had ever heard such a sound that almost resembled a wolf’s howl. As soon as Dahei’s bark came out, the whole village immediately boiled up. Dogs barked from everywhere, as if in response to Dahei’s call. Some stray dogs joined in the fun from across the river and howled along with the others.
Dahei glanced calmly across the river, tilted his head and gave another howl. He then trotted over to Lu Lingxi’s side, rubbed himself affectionately against Lu Lingxi’s leg and gave a low whimper, as if saying something. After saying that, Dahei glanced at Lu Lingxi and ran along the Lingshui River upstream towards Songjia Village.
Lu Lingxi guessed what Dahei meant and felt a little incredulous. He was still at a loss when he saw dogs running out of the village one after another, following Dahei. Even the pack of stray dogs across the river had not been left behind, following closely behind Dahei.
In the rural areas of China, basically every household kept a dog to watch the door. In the past, most of the families kept simple dogs, but later on, as people became richer, they also started to keep pet dogs like the city people. Lu Lingxi now watched as several pugs rushed out of the village, vigorously paddling their short legs and chasing the big dog in front of them.
Yan Yue: “……”
This time it was his turn to be bewildered.
Lu Lingxi didn’t know what to say and reacted only after a while, “Big Brother Yan, should we follow and take a look?”
Yan Yue looked a little helpless, but he had a lot of confidence in Dahei. “Don’t worry, Dahei knows the measure, nothing will happen.”
“But Dahei…” Lu Lingxi was a little worried about Dahei.
Yan Yue smiled and affirmed, “Dahei will be more than fine, Xiao Xi has forgotten how powerful Dahei is.”
Lu Lingxi thought about it and reluctantly calmed down.
Seeing that he was still worried, Yan Yue patiently explained, “Dahei and the others are going to make trouble, and no one knows what’s going on in the dark. If we follow them, we’ll definitely be seen by the people over there. Songjia now suspects that it was the people from Lingshui who reported the factory. If they see us, it’ll be troublesome.”
This explanation convinced Lu Lingxi, and he hesitantly looked at Yan Yue, “Big Brother Yan, do we have to wait here for Dahei?”
Yan Yue didn’t answer immediately, but first touched Lu Lingxi’s face. The wind was a little cold and he said decisively, “Let’s go back, Dahei knows the way.”
Lu Lingxi nodded obediently.
The two of them slowly walked back to the village. The whole village was in chaos. Someone recognised Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue and greeted them loudly, “Are you also out looking for the dogs?”
Lu Lingxi nodded unusually sheepishly.
The man looked puzzled and said, “I don’t know what’s going on, but the dogs are all running out like crazy. Even if you close the door, they’ll drill a hole. They can’t be stopped at all.” The man finished speaking and tried to comfort Lu Lingxi, “Don’t worry, child, I’ve seen your dog. If I see it, I’ll catch it for you.”
“……” Lu Lingxi: “Please.”
After saying a few words, the man wandered away to find his dog. Lu Lingxi followed Yan Yue and slowly walked back. As soon as he took two steps, he heard a small dog scratching frantically at the door in the yard of a house down the road.
The man’s voice came out, “If it wants to go out, let it go out, our dog can’t lose its way.”
The woman shouted back, “What are you talking about? Can’t you hear the people outside yelling that the dogs are running away? Those are big dogs, our dog is only four months old, what if it doesn’t come back?”
Lu Lingxi looked at Yan Yue with some embarrassment. Yan Yue held back his laughter and let Lu Lingxi walk a bit faster, whispering soothingly, “It’s okay, those dogs will probably be back in a while.”
But Lu Lingxi somehow thought of those little short-legged pugs, and while he felt funny, he was also worried for them. They wouldn’t run away and have no energy to come back, would they?