Before Tiny Garden closed, the police brought Dahei back.
After Lu Lingxi checked that Dahei was unharmed, he politely thanked the policeman who brought Dahei. The police officer complimented Dahei in front of Lu Lingxi, and Lu Lingxi happily took out a bag of grapes for the man to take back to eat. The police officer was very pleased when he saw it. He thought that since Fang Lei could borrow the dog from here, he probably knew Lu Lingxi, so he didn’t refuse too much.
Not long after the police left, Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue packed up and took Dahei to Xiaohua’s Home Cooking Restaurant.
The restaurant had been open for some time and had gained a firm foothold in the neighbourhood. When the people mentioned it, they all said the food was delicious. The lady boss was a real deal, and the food was clean so that people could eat with confidence. Every day, from noon to night, business was booming. There were also people who came from other places to eat, and they gave it a thumbs up after eating.
A few days ago, Xiao Feng also had a discussion with Wang Shuxiu. After the two got married, they would look at expanding the area of the small restaurant and recruiting a few more people. Wang Shuxiu wouldn’t be so tired then and would just be the boss with peace of mind. Wang Shuxiu didn’t say anything, but she was happy to hear it in her heart. Life now was like a dream to her. Half a year ago, she never thought that one day she would live so comfortably.
When Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue came over, there were still many people in the restaurant. The two of them rolled up their sleeves to help, but Wang Shuxiu stopped them. Business had been good for a while, and the restaurant had just recruited two waiters, so there were already enough people in the kitchen and there was no need for them to add to the mess. “Go upstairs and wait for dinner, I’ve stewed a chicken for you, it’s a tonic for the cold weather. It’s been stewed at noon, I’ll just fry it later.” Wang Shuxiu said and went to fry it, sending Yi Hang upstairs as well, so that the three of them could eat together.
“Lao San, Brother Yan.”
Yi Hang brought up a bowl of grapes, greeted them and went to squeeze in with Lu Lingxi. He was so used to being close to Lu Lingxi that he completely ignored Yan Yue’s black face. Yan Yue had a sour taste in his mouth. Lu Lingxi and Yi Hang looked the same age, and every time seeing them together, Yan Yue would wonder if he was getting a bit old. Yi Hang didn’t care what Yan Yue thought and pulled Lu Lingxi closer to chat with him. What he talked about was Zheng Tan and Bai Yuan.
It seemed that Zheng Tan had a good life. He already liked cars, so learning to repair cars was also a hobby. Bai Yuan was a bit pitiful, though. He had been learning to cook for a few months now and was still practising cutting radishes. He said that his father had enrolled him in a “gold medal chef” class, which took two years to complete, of which half a year was spent on cutting radishes alone.
After Lu Lingxi’s “lost his memeory”, in Zheng Tan’s and Bai Yuan’s words, he became a lot more boring, plus they were far away, so they would just call and text to ask about Lu Lingxi’s health. The two of them usually chatted with Yi Hang about trivial matters of life, and then Yi Hang passed them onto Lu Lingxi to gossip.
As expected, Lu Lingxi was a little surprised to hear that Bai Yuan was still cutting radishes, “To cut radishes for half a year?”
Yi Hang nodded with quite a bit of sympathy, “Lao Si (Old Fourth) is not as good as me. I have no problem getting my hands on stir-frying now but he is probably afraid of touching a pan.” When he said that, Yi Hang’s eyes suddenly brightened, and he pulled Lu Lingxi closer and lowered his voice, “Lao San, how about you let Lao Si come here and follow your mother? It’s much better than learning from a gold medal chef.”
It was definitely okay for Bai Yuan to come to the small restaurant, but… Lu Lingxi said worriedly: “Will Uncle Bai agree?”
Yi Hang snorted, “Lao San, are you stupid, this thing must be done before asked, ah, have you forgotten the past, la?”
Lu Lingxi: “……”
“That’s right, you really forgot.” Yi Hang responded with a sigh, “Lao Er even said to me last time, how nice it would be if Lao San could remember what happened before.”
After these words Lu Lingxi fell silent; every time something like that was said, he didn’t know how to face Yi Hang. Yi Hang saw that he didn’t say anything and secretly cursed himself for mentioning this sensitive matter. “Okay, let’s not talk about it, even if you can’t remember, it’s fine now. By the way, the old geezer you worked with came over today and gave Sister Xiaohua a bottle of perfume, do you know?”
Lu Lingxi: “……”
He didn’t know, but Xiao Feng did.
When Tiger was delivering grapes to the shop in the afternoon, he was just in time to see Gao Yongliang come over. Gao Yongliang’s attitude was casual, as if he was unintentionally passing by, which was indeed the case. The last time they met, Gao Yongliang had a good impression of Wang Shuxiu. Perhaps people have preconceptions; as he met Lu Lingxi first, he subconsciously thought that a mother that could raise a child like Lu Lingxi would definitely not be bad. When he met Wang Shuxiu, although she was different from the gentle woman he had imagined, he was impressed by her unique brightness and cheerfulness.
Today he had originally passed by the neighbourhood unintentionally, and then he had a thought of going to Xiaohua’s Home Cooking Restaurant. As a man who had lived abroad for many years and had good habits, Gao Yongliang naturally would not come empty-handed and brought with him his newly developed perfume. He didn’t expect to be seen by Tiger just in time.
Tiger was furious. Brother Feng was about to marry the lady boss, and this old geezer still dared to come and dig in Brother Feng’s corner. He turned and told Xiao Feng about the incident, asking over the phone in righteous indignation, “Do you want me and Erfei to beat him up?”
Xiao Feng was amused to hear this and scolded him outright, “Hurry up and get back, don’t make trouble for Lao Tzu.”
“Come on, he can look at Xiaohua, but Xiaohua doesn’t look at him.”
When Xiao Feng said this, Tiger came back to his senses. Xiaohua’s lady boss had fallen for Brother Feng, so what did Brother Feng have to be angry about? While Tiger put the matter behind him, Xiao Feng was thinking about what Tiger said about Gao Yongliang bringing Wang Shuxiu a gift. He had never given Wang Shuxiu a gift, even though he had known her for so long. He hadn’t even thought about it. He was going to give the family property to Wang Shuxiu to spend. There were no these so-called romantic feelings.
He thought about it and left the vegetable greenhouse to Ding Er, drove all the way back to the city, found a jewellery shop and picked out a bracelet for Wang Shuxiu. Considering that Wang Shuxiu was also busy in the kitchen every day, Xiao Feng didn’t pick any jade or the like, just in case Xiaohua couldn’t bring herself to wear it for fear of bumping it.
Once Xiao Feng arrived at the small restaurant, Yi Hang saw him from the upstairs window. “Lao San, look, Brother Feng is here.”
Lu Lingxi together with Yan Yue was teasing Dahei when he heard these words and glanced out the window. It was really Xiao Feng coming over.
Yi Hang winked at Lu Lingxi, “Brother Feng definitely brought a gift for Sister Xiaohua. What do you think Brother Feng will give?”
Lu Lingxi gave Yi Hang a speechless glare; how would he know?
Yan Yue, who had been stroking Dahei’s head with a carefree expression, also became interested when he heard Yi Hang’s question. The three men and the dog squeezed downstairs in a leisurely manner to see a beautifully carved bracelet on Wang Shuxiu’s wrist. When Xiao Feng saw the three of them coming down, he guessed what was going on and couldn’t help but smile lightly. When he smiled, Wang Shuxiu inexplicably felt embarrassed, glaring angrily at them, and couldn’t help but laugh herself.
This incident soon became known to Lin Mei. The next day, when the restaurant was empty, she teased Wang Shuxiu about it. “Come on, come on, let me see your bracelet quickly. Xiao Feng is so cool, he is not afraid of your hand being too heavy.”
The two were sitting in a corner of the kitchen picking vegetables at the moment. Wang Shuxiu instantly gave Lin Mei a nonchalant glare. Lin Mei happily nudged Wang Shuxiu, “Eh, seriously, that Gao Yongliang isn’t really interested in you, is he?”
“How is that possible?” Wang Shuxiu’s hands kept working as she chatted with Lin Mei: “We’re not even close to be the same kind of people.”
She said it simply, and Lin Mei also abandoned her joking thoughts and sighed. They were really not the same kind of people. Not to mention the other things, that Gao Yongliang and Xiaohua had completely different life levels and life experiences. Even if they were momentarily attracted to each other, they simply couldn’t get along without some common language. Don’t think Brother Feng is not as good as someone coming from abroad; what you need to live your life is something real, not what the others think looks good.
Lin Mei thought and laughed, “The old saying is right, there’s a perfect match for everyone.”
Wang Shuxiu thought for a while, then nodded.
That evening, Yan Yue and Lu Lingxi went to the plant nursery again. Early in the morning Uncle Li got to know that they were coming and asked them to come to his house for dinner, and Lu Lingxi didn’t refuse. When he took Dahei out of the car, a black head the size of a thumb slowly poked out from under a yellowing leaf of the big willow tree at the entrance of the village. The little black snake that had escaped from the northern suburban market moved out from under the leaves a little. Half of the little black snake’s body poked up and its golden eyes looked curiously in the direction of the small courtyard. It vaguely felt that there was something over there that seemed to be attracting it, more so than the tree that it had finally found. After waiting for a while, it flicked its tail and prepared to slither over to have a look.
The little black snake had just slipped along the tree trunk to the ground when Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue led Dahei out of the small courtyard. The direction of the two men and the dog was clearly this side of the big willow tree. Halfway down the path, Dahei, who was trotting ahead, suddenly stopped in his tracks and stood in front of the two people, baring his teeth and letting out a threatening low growl. Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue froze and cautiously looked in the direction of the big willow tree. It was dark early in the winter, so Yan Yue shone his flashlight around and saw nothing.
Dahei arched his back and took a defensive posture. Lu Lingxi could see that Dahei was wary, but he didn’t know what Dahei was wary of.
Under the willow tree, the little black snake looked at Dahei hesitantly, remembering Dahei’s scent. It gingerly turned in a circle and crawled back along the original path to the top of the tree, retreating back under the dead yellow leaves, only poking its head and looking down secretly.
Dahei slowly relaxed his guard and called out to Lu Lingxi in a low voice. Lu Lingxi understood his meaning and glanced at the big willow tree with some confusion, gesturing for Yan Yue to go first.
“What’s wrong?” Yan Yue asked.
Lu Lingxi whispered, “There seems to be something in the tree that makes Dahei very wary.”
Yan Yue pondered, “Could it be a snake?”
Only snakes could hide their bodies in the night. If it was any other animal, they would have discovered it by the flashlight. But how could there be a snake here?
Lu Lingxi shook his head; he wasn’t at all sure what was going on either.
The two of them left the big willow tree with Dahei and turned into the courtyard of Uncle Li’s house. Uncle Li was very happy to see them coming and hurriedly sent them to wash their hands and get ready for dinner. The hot pot was set on the table, surrounded by four plates of thinly sliced lamb and some other side dishes. As soon as the pot was boiling, a rich aroma filled their nostrils.
Everyone was sweating as they ate, and the aroma from inside the house spread out and wafted downwind to the entrance of the village. On the willow tree, the little black snake once again poked its head out from under the leaves and looked yearningly at the courtyard of Uncle Li’s house, its saliva unconsciously dripping down.
It was already eight o’clock in the evening when the meal was served. Uncle Li had helped Lu Lingxi heat the kang bed when they came over. The fire should be burning brightly at this time of night, and Uncle Li instructed Yan Yue to remember to add more charcoal when they returned. He had already prepared the charcoal right outside the house.
Yan Yue nodded, found a hat to put on Lu Lingxi and wrapped a scarf around him, and the two of them held hands as they left the courtyard of Uncle Li’s house. This time when they passed by the big willow tree, Dahei wasn’t as wary as he had been when they came. Yan Yue frowned slightly, “It seems that the thing in the tree is gone.”
Lu Lingxi let out a sigh of relief. It was the first time he had seen Dahei so wary about something. The two of them went back to the courtyard and were about to enter the house when Dahei, who had been quiet all the way, suddenly barked, arching his back and snarling angrily at the door.
Yan Yue stopped in front of Lu Lingxi and gently pushed the door open. In the flashlight, a small black snake, as thick as a finger, kept crawling into the house and stared at them dumbly. Perhaps it was startled by their movement. The tip of the small black snake’s thin tail flicked on the ground, and Lu Lingxi somehow thought of the way Dahei wagged his tail.
“Ssss.” The little black snake hissed.
Yan Yue frowned slightly. He felt that he seemed to understand what the little black snake was saying. Without waiting for Yan Yue to react, the little black snake glanced at the two of them, saw that they didn’t seem to be going to stop it, and continued to slowly crawl towards the inner room.
When Dahei saw the little black snake enter the house, he was a bit grumpy. Lu Lingxi stroked Dahei’s head soothingly, wondering why Dahei was afraid of this little black snake. Dahei rubbed against Lu Lingxi’s palm and followed him in with his back arched. Inside the house, the little black snake was struggling to climb up the kang along the edge of the bed. It was halfway up when they entered and suddenly flopped down with a “pop”. Dazed and dizzy, the little black snake went in a circle, twisting and turning as it struggled on towards its destination. This time, just like the last time, the little black snake also crawled halfway and fell to the ground again.
Lu Lingxi & Yan Yue: “……”
After three consecutive times, even Dahei’s face showed a human-like expression as if he couldn’t bear to look at it.
The little black snake foolishly circled around on the ground and turned towards Lu Lingxi, “Ssss.”
Yan Yue’s brow furrowed as he stepped forward, picked up the little black snake’s tail and threw the snake onto the bed. The little black snake seemed to be very comfortable and moved a little to the kang’s head. It probably intended to make a few happy circles but ended up going around and around and tying itself into a knot that it couldn’t untie.
The little black snake stayed on the kang in a knot. Yan Yue took his laptop and googled it for a long time but couldn’t find out exactly what species the little black snake was. The only thing that was certain was that it was a non-venomous snake.
When Lu Lingxi came back from washing his face, he saw the little black snake still trying to untie itself, but unfortunately it wasn’t going in the right direction every time. Dahei squatted aside and watched it, his original vigilance long gone, replaced by his usual calmness.
Lu Lingxi couldn’t help but smile and turned to ask Yan Yue, “Will we leave it here for the night?”
Yan Yue lowered his head and kissed Lu Lingxi on the forehead, saying deliberately, “I’ll find a box to keep it in. It’ll be good if it can untie the knot before tomorrow morning.” After he finished speaking he looked thoughtfully at the little black snake. To make Dahei react so much, this little black snake must be not an ordinary snake. However, watching the little black snake trying to untie itself made Yan Yue have a headache. Even if it was a powerful species, what use could it be if it was so stupid?
What made Yan Yue’s head ache even more was that he seemed to be able to really understand what the little black snake was saying.
He and Lu Lingxi had discussed the evolution of animals and humans, and the few examples of “evolution” that had emerged so far all seemed to involve the formation of communication between humans and animals. But this kind of communication was one-to-one, and they weren’t sure if there would be a one-to-many situation.
But if it was one-to-one, had he evolved to listen to a stupid snake shouting as it spun around in circles and was getting dizzy?