Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue had a meal at Uncle Li’s house at noon, and in the afternoon they slipped away to take a look at the Lingshui River.
Last year the two of them discussed the idea of renting a few more acres of land by the Lingshui River and digging a larger pond. At that time, there were a lot of things to do, so the idea of the pond was never implemented. This time, they planned to stay at the plant nursery for a day and sign the contract to rent the land. Uncle Li had already negotiated everything; the price and the number of years of the lease had all been agreed, and they just needed to come and finalise it.
The two of them were going to sign the contract after dinner, but it turned out that the other party happened to go out to visit relatives today and wouldn’t be back until the evening. Lu Lingxi thought that there was no hurry anyway, so they should go to the river first and plan how to divert the water easily.
The two of them walked slowly, with Dahei quietly following Lu Lingxi. Although it was early spring, it wasn’t cold outside at all, and the sun shone warmly. Before leaving home, Yan Yue had insisted that Lu Lingxi put on a down jacket, but he himself only wore a woollen coat. Lu Lingxi protested for a long time before he managed not to wear the down jacket; it was too hot to wear it. He remembered Uncle Li’s reminder and discussed with Yan Yue whether he should find someone to drill a well, as Uncle Li was worried that there would be a drought in the spring.
To put it mildly, Uncle Li wasn’t worrying unreasonably. The weather had been a bit strange since last winter. At the beginning of November last year, the temperature in Fengcheng suddenly dropped sharply. There was no heating at that time and it was freezing cold at home. Many people were frozen to the point of catching a cold and the cold medicines at the drug stores were wiped out. Then Fengcheng had the heating turned on ten days early, and experienced old farmers said they expected a cold winter. Who knew that it would only be cold for a month in total, and as soon as December passed the weather started to warm up again. After that it didn’t snow for two whole months, and the good weather lasted until the New Year.
The ice on the Lingshui River melted as soon as spring started, and it looked like “spring was in full bloom”. Uncle Li was a bit worried and told Lu Lingxi privately that the weather was going to be very dry. But he couldn’t say for sure and he didn’t know what was going on. In recent years, it seemed God was playing with them like a child, with things changing at the drop of a hat. For example, in Guangdong, where Uncle Li’s son worked, there was a severe drought at the beginning of spring last year, and many homes had difficulty in getting water. After a few months of hardships, it started to rain, and the rain didn’t stop, turning into a huge flood. In short, it wasn’t a good thing that the weather was so unpredictable, so Uncle Li thought of building a well to prepare for it.
Lu Lingxi didn’t know much about these things, but he trusted Uncle Li’s judgement. After he said that, Yan Yue agreed. Anything was fine with him, as long as Lu Lingxi was happy.
“There’s also the Qiu Tian plant nursery and Dad’s vegetable greenhouse.” Lu Lingxi added, and after some thought said to Yan Yue, “Why don’t we pay for a well for the village too? It’s convenient to dig two together anyway. Just in case there’s a real drought.”
Tiny Garden and Lingshui Village had always worked well together, and the residents of the village also looked after Lu Lingxi. Lu Lingxi somewhat considered this place to be his second home, and his feelings for Lingshui Village were much deeper than those for Zhongjing. He had always wanted to do something to help the village. It wouldn’t cost much to build a well and it would also be convenient for the village to get water in the event of a major drought.
When Lu Lingxi finished speaking, he looked at Yan Yue expectantly. Yan Yue smiled lightly and agreed, “Okay.”
Yan Yue himself was used to doing things from the perspective of profit, but he liked Lu Lingxi’s softness and kindness. He rubbed Lu Lingxi’s hair in a slightly doting manner and joked, “Xiao Xi is the boss, Big Brother Yan listens to Xiao Xi.”
Lu Lingxi glanced at him angrily with a bulging face, curved his eyes and laughed.
The two of them wandered all the way to the Lingshui River, and from a distance they heard the sound of the river’s rushing water. This was the first time Lu Lingxi had come over since the Lingshui River had been completely purified. Unlike the blue water flow he had seen on the panel, the Lingshui River in front of him was crystal clear, and under the sunlight, it seemed that even the patterns on the pebbles at the bottom of the river could be seen clearly.
Because of the warmth of the day, there was already tender green grass sprouting from the damp soil at the river’s edge. Lu Lingxi squatted by the river and excitedly reached out to touch it, calling Yan Yue to come over to see it together. Last year, when the Lingshui River was at its most polluted, apart from the mutated eelgrass at the bottom of the river, almost nothing was growing along the river, and it was so bare that it was unsightly. The tender green grass in front of him wasn’t yet very conspicuous, but in Lu Lingxi’s eyes, it looked better than anything else.
“Brother Xiao Xi.”
Xiao Shi ran from the village with Ah Huang, calling out Lu Lingxi’s name as he ran. Lu Lingxi smiled, getting up, and Xiao Shi was going to pounce into his arms like a little cannonball. Yan Yue was worried that Lu Lingxi wouldn’t be able to hold Xiao Shi, so he reached out and gently stopped Xiao Shi, taking him into his own arms. Xiao Shi’s mouth deflated and he whined softly, “Brother Xiao Xi…”
Lu Lingxi stood by Yan Yue’s side, amused, and stroked Xiao Shi’s face, “Happy New Year, Xiao Shi.”
Xiao Shi immediately cheered up, showing his teeth in a smile, “Brother Xiao Xi, Happy New Year.”
Lu Lingxi took out two red envelopes from Yan Yue’s jacket pocket and handed them to Xiao Shi. He had been receiving red envelopes throughout the New Year and finally had the chance to give some. “Here, Brothers give them to you.”
Xiao Shi blinked and shook his head, “Mom said she wouldn’t let me receive red envelopes from others.”
Lu Lingxi looked at his little face with a serious expression and smiled faintly, “It’s from Brother Xiao Xi and Big Brother Yan, not others.”
Xiao Shi happily accepted the red envelopes and grinned, “Thank you, Brother Xiao Xi and Uncle Yan.”
Yan Yue: “……”
Lu Lingxi was about to laugh to death; Xiao Shi was obviously doing it on purpose. He held back his laughter, unable to look at Yan Yue’s expression, and reached out to pinch Xiao Shi’s face. “Little villain.”
Xiao Shi hugged Lu Lingxi’s arm flatteringly and squeezed from Yan Yue’s arms to Lu Lingxi’s. After the lesson from last time, Xiao Shi had been quite obedient during this period of time. Every day, he either stayed at home or followed Yu Xiaojuan to the plant nursery. When Lu Lingxi called him on the first day of the New Year to say that he would come to Lingshui Village after the New Year, Xiao Shi began to look forward to it. Finally, when Lu Lingxi came over, Xiao Shi went to the plant nursery but found no one there. However, Ah Huang sniffed the smell of Dahei and showed the way.
Lu Lingxi accompanied Xiao Shi to play by the river for a while until it was almost three o’clock. Yan Yue touched Lu Lingxi’s face. Although it wasn’t very cold outside, after staying out for a long time, Lu Lingxi’s face was still a bit cold. When Xiao Shi saw his action, his eyes twinkled and he said obediently, “Brother Xiao Xi, let’s go back.”
Lu Lingxi also felt that he had stayed outside for a bit too long, so he nodded at these words.
With his back to Lu Lingxi, Xiao Shi made a face at Yan Yue. Yan Yue unceremoniously stretched out his hand and caught Xiao Shi. “Uncle Yan will carry you.” Yan Yue focused on the word “Uncle”. Xiao Shi wanted to break free, but he couldn’t resist Yan Yue’s strength. He opened his mouth and looked at Lu Lingxi, aggrieved.
Lu Lingxi didn’t know whether to cry or to laugh. He couldn’t do anything about the two of them. He was about to speak when a dog barked from far away in the village. Dahei suddenly stopped in his tracks, barked in a low voice at Lu Lingxi and darted towards the village.
Ah Huang followed closely behind Dahei, and Yan Yue frowned slightly, “What’s wrong?”
Lu Lingxi looked oddly in the direction of the village and said, “Dahei said that the village dog was being bullied.”
“It’s that grey cat, it must be that grey cat.” Xiao Shi immediately jumped up, forgetting for a moment his disagreement with Yan Yue and shouting angrily.
“What grey cat?” Lu Lingxi was a little confused.
Xiao Shi clenched both hands into fists and angrily explained to Lu Lingxi, “I don’t know when a big grey cat came to the village. That cat is so annoying, and it bullies the dogs in the village. Ah Huang fought with it twice. Every time that big cat couldn’t beat Ah Huang, it ran away, and when Ah Huang was gone, it came back to bully the village dogs.”
Xiao Shi, because he could communicate with Ah Huang, subconsciously saw himself as being on the same side as the village dogs. Every time he watched the village dogs being bullied, Xiao Shi felt the anger of sharing a common enemy.
Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue looked at each other; both of them felt that this cat was probably not an ordinary cat; it should have evolved. “Let’s go and have a look,” Yan Yue said.
Lu Lingxi nodded.
The three of them entered the village and followed the dog’s barking all the way. They soon saw a big grey cat crouching on the roof of a house with its eyes narrowed as it looked down at Dahei. Dahei stared at the cat warily with his back arched. A small white dog that looked familiar happily ran around Dahei, barking provocatively at the grey cat every now and then. The grey cat didn’t bother with the little white dog at all, keeping its eyes on Dahei. On the contrary, Dahei was distracted by the little white dog, and whenever the little white dog left his reach, Dahei would stop it with his paw. The little white dog seemed to think that Dahei was playing a game with it, sticking its tongue out and licking Dahei’s face affectionately as it ran even more happily.
The grey cat on the roof heard the sound of Lu Lingxi’s footsteps and lazily turned its head to look over. When it saw Lu Lingxi, it gave up confronting Dahei and meowed at Lu Lingxi.
Lu Lingxi met the grey cat’s golden pupils and had a vague feeling that he seemed to have seen this cat somewhere before. Yan Yue reminded him, “Last time in the south of the city.”
Lu Lingxi recalled suddenly. The last time he and Yan Yue had gone to the south of the city to see the purification of the soil there, they had happened to meet this cat. At that time, this cat was lying in the sun on a tree and even meowed at him. But the south of the city was a long way away, so how could this cat have come so far to this place?
Dahei saw Lu Lingxi trotting to him, and the grey cat took another look at Lu Lingxi, turned around, jumped and disappeared.
“That’s it.” Xiao Shi said angrily.
Lu Lingxi soothingly coaxed Xiao Shi, who felt even more angry than Dahei, as if he was the one being bullied.
“Wait until we catch it next time and teach it a lesson, okay?”
Xiao Shi nodded vigorously, “We must teach it a lesson, we can’t let it keep bullying the village dogs.”
Lu Lingxi agreed with a smile.
After coaxing Xiao Shi, the two of them sent Xiao Shi back home. On the way back to the plant nursery, Lu Lingxi talked to Yan Yue about the cat. He remembered that he had also found Xiaohei in the village last time, and this time the cat was found in the village. Presumably both had been attracted to the big willow tree. To some extent, animals were much more perceptive than humans.
Lu Lingxi thought of this and tilted his head to look at the big willow tree not far away. Through the panel as an intermediary, he had a wonderful connection with the big willow tree. Lu Lingxi had a vague feeling that the big willow tree seemed to be about to evolve once again.