After Elder Zhang had checked his pulse, Xiao Hong began to drink bitter medicine every day.
Zhou Xiaoman was worried that he was having a hard time and took the initiative to comfort Xiao Hong, “If we don’t have a child, then we don’t have a child. It’s my fault for thinking too much about it. When Xiaohua has a child, and with Xiao Xi being here, our family will also be busy. In the future, if we settle in Fengcheng, we don’t have to be afraid of being lonely in our old age, no matter if we have children or not.”
Xiao Hong didn’t show it on his face when he heard her words, but in his heart, he was relieved. In the past few days, he had been thinking about what Elder Zhang said about Xiaoman’s depression. This matter could be big or small. It would be fine if taken care of, but it would affect her health if ignored. Now, no matter what Xiaoman thought, the reason for not having a child was on his head, so Xiaoman was finally less likely to blame herself.
After a week of drinking Chinese medicine, Xiao Hong calculated that it was time to go back to the northwest. This time, Xiao Feng had to go back with him as there were more things to do. Before he left, Xiao Feng found a chance to talk to Yan Yue and entrusted him with the family and the vegetable greenhouse. He wasn’t worried about anything happening; he was just afraid that if something happened, he wouldn’t be back in time, so there needed to be someone to make a decision.
When they left, it was the end of February and the first spring rain since the beginning of spring came to Fengcheng.
It was evening when the rain fell, and the thin threads of rain drifted down, crocheting a huge net in the air and enveloping the whole of Fengcheng. Because of the darkness, all the shops on the street of Tiny Garden had their lights on. The scattered lights filtered through the glass windows along the street, stringing up the raindrops outside and covering the whole street with a layer of soft bizarre colours.
Lu Lingxi stood at the door of Tiny Garden and caught a few drops of rain. It felt very cold to the touch, but there wasn’t much coolness in the air, rather a warm and moist aura. He tapped on the panel in passing and what was displayed in front of him was a large white translucent area. Above the transparent pattern flowed a light layer of ink-blue water, representing the rainwater that had gathered on the ground. Lu Lingxi remembered that the rain he saw at first was black, but now it had gradually faded and transformed into ink blue. This meant that there was much less smog over Fengcheng, and the rain was correspondingly much cleaner.
Dahei, who had been squatting calmly at Lu Lingxi’s feet, looked sharply in the direction of the opposite side of the street and barked in warning.
Lu Lingxi looked there; across the street, the silvery grey husky was crouching in front of the pet shop, looking as if it was eager to rush over. But because of Dahei’s presence, the husky didn’t dare to really rush over and just took a few tentative steps forward.
The husky wagged its tail sorrowfully at Lu Lingxi, who couldn’t help but laugh. He remembered that when Dahei had just returned, this husky was completely unafraid of Dahei’s majesty and often rushed to Lu Lingxi head over heels, boldly teasing Dahei in the process. After a few times, Dahei couldn’t stand it any longer and gave the husky a strict lesson. Only then did the husky remember how powerful Dahei was and no longer dared to tease him.
Lu Lingxi guessed that the husky might have sensed the panel’s scent and became excited. He didn’t mind and continued to tap down on the white panel. As his fingers moved, the translucent area on the panel continued to expand. Judging from the scope of the purification, the whole street of Tiny Garden was included, and the purified area was still extending towards the surrounding streets. Seeing this, Lu Lingxi was somewhat pleased. After half a year’s effort, about one tenth of the entire Fengcheng City area had been purified. These purified areas were faintly forming a circle, attempting to encompass the entire Fengcheng City.
He was a little too absorbed and hadn’t noticed until Yan Yue stood in front of him.
“Xiao Xi.” Yan Yue draped the coat over Lu Lingxi’s shoulders, took his hand and frowned slightly, “Why are your hands so cold?”
Lu Lingxi returned to his senses and put away the panel before realising that he had been standing at the door for too long and his clothes were faintly wet from the rain. He shook his head, “It’s okay, it’s actually not too cold.” Before Yan Yue could say anything, Lu Lingxi quickly changed the subject, “Big Brother Yan, are you done with your work?”
Yan Yue helplessly tightened his grip on Lu Lingxi’s hand and cooperated in changing the topic. “There’s nothing more to do at work, I’ve come to pick you up and take you home.”
Lu Lingxi glanced at the time; unnoticeably, it was almost six o’clock. These days when Xiao Feng was away, he had to go back early every day to keep Wang Shuxiu company. “Wait for me to pack up, I’ll be ready soon,” he said as he moved the few pots of flowers that were placed at the entrance back to the shop, and Yan Yue rolled up his sleeves and tidied up with him.
After the two of them had cleaned up the shop and put away some bits and pieces, Lu Lingxi turned off the lights, locked the shop door and followed Yan Yue all the way to the car.
Across the street, the husky looked at Lu Lingxi with bated breath, whimpering repeatedly.
Yan Yue opened the window, “What’s wrong with that husky?”
“Maybe it’s a bit lonely.”
“It seems like it’s been at Dong Zhi’s place for almost a month.” Yan Yue said casually.
Lu Lingxi let out a sigh and waved to the husky from the window, explaining to Yan Yue, “Its owner has left the country. Brother Dong said he had gone to Africa and wouldn’t be back for three years. He couldn’t take the husky along, so he asked Brother Dong to find another owner for it.”
As he said this, Dahei suddenly peeked his head over from the rear car seat and looked at Lu Lingxi with a gentle gaze. Lu Lingxi smiled faintly and reached out to scratch Dahei’s chin. He understood what Dahei meant; even though it was due to a special situation, this husky’s owner still abandoned the husky. Dahei was probably thinking of himself and that was why he acted this way.
Yan Yue also seemed to sense Dahei’s mood and freed a hand to pet Dahei’s head. He thought for a moment and asked, “Does the other party have any requirements for the adopter?”
“Big Brother Yan?” Lu Lingxi was a little surprised.
Yan Yue smiled lightly, “Ye Kang has always wanted to have a dog. He will be coming to Fengcheng City in a few days, so it’s the perfect time to find something for him to do.”
“…Brother Ye.” Lu Lingxi pondered for a while and felt that Ye Kang was also quite reliable. At least Ye Kang had money and shouldn’t abandon the husky again halfway.
“I’ll go ask Brother Dong tomorrow.”
Yan Yue thought of Ye Kang completely accidentally, but the more he thought about it, the more he felt Ye Kang and the husky were quite a good match. Ye Kang had been looking forward to taking his dog out to car racing at night, and apart from Dahei’s calm nature, only a dog with the husky’s “lively” nature would be willing to cooperate with him.
Twenty minutes later, Yan Yue drove Lu Lingxi to the door. During these days, he picked up Lu Lingxi in the morning and brought him back in the evening, and from time to time, he would wander around in front of Wang Shuxiu. Wang Shuxiu’s attitude had softened more and more; from her initial silence she moved to occasionally being able to say hello to Yan Yue.
“Big Brother Yan, I’ll go back first.” Pulling out the keys from his pocket, Lu Lingxi whispered to Yan Yue.
Yan Yue smiled and nodded as he went from Unit 3 to Unit 2. Before he could unlock the door, Xiao Feng’s phone call came. Yan Yue was a little surprised, thinking that Xiao Feng had some problem, but when he picked up, he realised that Xiao Feng was looking for him because of Lu Yishui.
This time Xiao Feng followed Xiao Hong back to the northwest, and the two of them spent half a month disposing of the properties under their respective names resolutely. They sold them off, except for two homes that were left behind to facilitate their return to pay respects to their ancestors in the future. The most troublesome was the coal mine under Xiao Hong’s name. It wasn’t that no one was interested in the coal mine, but there were so many people interested that Xiao Hong had to sift through them for a long time.
Unlike other properties, Xiao Hong had real feelings for this coal mine. He asked the party that took over to make sure that the workers inside were properly housed and fed, and especially to keep an eye on Lu Yishui. Now that Wang Shuxiu was pregnant, not to mention Xiao Feng, Xiao Hong couldn’t let Lu Yishui come back to torment Wang Shuxiu. In this way, the selling of the coal mine was not about whoever gave more money.
In any case, Xiao Feng called Yan Yue just to say that Lu Yishui’s issue had been settled down. Lu Yishui would continue to dig coal in the northwest, but Xiao Feng didn’t want his wages and Lu Yishui could save them. When Lu Yishui was old and could no longer work, he would use this money as his pension. Lu Yihui was Lu Lingxi’s father, so Xiao Feng had to give Lu Lingxi face and leave Lu Yishui a way to live.
Yan Yue didn’t question Xiao Feng’s arrangement as long as he made sure that Lu Yishui didn’t appear in front of Lu Lingxi.
After Xiao Feng talked to Yan Yue, he called Wang Shuxiu. Wang Shuxiu’s life was now comfortable, and when Lu Yishui was mentioned, she wasn’t as disgusted as before. She sighed over the phone and didn’t say anything. This is good, Lu Yishui has a decent job, he can keep the money he earns, he can eat and drink and he doesn’t have to burden Lu Lingxi. Wang Shuxiu finally instructed Xiao Feng to hide this from Lu Lingxi, so that the little bastard wouldn’t feel uncomfortable. This was also Yan Yue’s intention.
Lu Lingxi didn’t know that his mother and Yan Yue were unexpectedly united on the matter of Lu Yishui. After giving Dahei a bath, he habitually hugged Dahei and read a book.
The rain outside the window continued to drizzle from afternoon to evening. Lu Lingxi read for a while, talked to Yan Yue on the phone again, and got ready for bed but the rain had not stopped. He stood by the window and watched for a while. Although the rain kept falling, there was no stagnant water in the yards of the community because the rain wasn’t too heavy. The rain that fell on the ground quickly penetrated into the soil and was absorbed and stored by the underground hibernating roots.
After a good night’s sleep, Lu Lingxi didn’t even notice when the rain stopped. He slept until seven o’clock, pulled the curtains open and the spring morning light shone through the window, the golden light floating in the air, making the room warm and comfortable.
Lu Lingxi unconsciously looked out the window and suddenly opened his eyes wide. In front of Building 3, several willow trees planted in the community had sprouted green shoots overnight. As the morning breeze stirred them, the graceful branches danced lightly in the air, full of spring colours. He quickly washed up, pulled open the balcony door and ran out. On the ground in the backyard, tufts of grass sprouted from the ground. The golden morning glow, the clear dew, the tender grass, all woven together, put people in a good mood for no reason.
It was not only the backyard of the community. In the morning when Yan Yue picked up Lu Lingxi to go to the shop, all along the way, the willow trees along the street were sprouting new shoots. On both sides of the street, in the crevices of the stones, there was visible grass everywhere, and occasionally there were small pink flowers swaying in the wind. The whole city swept away the heaviness of winter and was alive with a vibrant vitality.