Because of the discovery of the copaiba balsam tree, Lu Lingxi and his party stayed in Kunnan for more than half a month. By the time they finished watching the orchid exhibition, packed up and prepared to return to Fengcheng, it was already the end of May and the beginning of June. In addition to the four people who originally came to Kunnan, there were also Wang Chaoliang and Elder Min.
In the past half a month, Wang Chaoliang had repeatedly studied and experimented with the “tree oil” found in the rainforest. He had finally determined that the sap from the tree Lu Lingxi called a copaiba balsam tree could be completely used as a substitute for diesel oil, did not require any processing and was easy to produce. In addition, the sap did not contain sulphur and combustion wouldn’t form acid rain to pollute the atmosphere. Moreover, it was also very safe, didn’t explode and didn’t cause major ecological damage if it leaked. Even more importantly, the trees could be planted to restore the ecological environment and at the same time, the oil could be continuously extracted, creating a rare renewable resource.
Wang Chaoliang put the report together and it was taken seriously by the Botanical Garden even before it was published. Before they left Kunnan, the Botanical Garden had sent someone to the workstation at the edge of the rainforest with the intention of transplanting a copaiba balsam tree to the botanical garden for further research.
Lu Lingxi had left all these follow-ups to Yan Yue and Wang Chaoliang, and his whole mind was now on his return home. Before coming to Kunnan, Lu Lingxi had been looking forward to his first time out, but after spending so much time outside, he missed Wang Shuxiu and Dahei more than anything else, and missed the familiarity of Tiny Garden.
On the plane, Elder Min sighed to Elder Zhang in a low voice, “Originally, I came to Kunnan just to see my old friends, but I never thought I would get so much out of it. With this new type of energy, if the things in Fengcheng are well planned, it will slowly reduce its dependence on coal and steel, and the environment will be greatly changed after the economic structure is adjusted.”
Hearing Elder Min’s sigh, Elder Zhang smiled. Fengcheng’s economic structure needed to be adjusted, but the environment… he laughed, “Lao Min, you haven’t been back to Fengcheng for a few years, right?”
Elder Min wasn’t happy, “What a few years, I haven’t been back just for two years!”
“Then that’s it.” Thinking about the changes in Fengcheng this year, Elder Zhang smiled and said, “Then you’ll have to take a good look at it later, the environment in Fengcheng isn’t what you think it is anymore.”
Elder Zhang smiled and stopped talking, deliberately trying to keep listeners in suspense.
Elder Min glared at him bitterly, but his curiosity was aroused.
Soon after they took a nap they arrived in Fengcheng. When he first got off the plane, Elder Min didn’t notice anything, but as soon as he left the airport hall, he was stunned. As far as the eye could see, apart from the parking lot in the middle and the surrounding clearly planned traffic lanes, all the other areas were covered with green grass, like a carpet covering the entire periphery of the airport. He glanced behind him at the glass facade, the surrounding street lamp posts, the railings separating the coming and leaving vehicles… Everywhere he could see, green vines were crawling over the railings, covered in small purple flowers, and the breeze made the flowers smell delicious.
“What’s going on here?” Elder Min looked at everyone in surprise.
Elder Zhang was also a little surprised; the surroundings were obviously different again from before he left. But he quickly reacted and said smugly, “That’s what you can see. How is it? Not worse than Kunnan, right?”
Elder Min was a little incredulous and deliberately looked up overhead. The blue sky was clear and crisp, with white clouds drifting by. Surprisingly, a sunny day in Fengcheng was rare, as far as he remembered.
Before Elder Min finished wondering, An Jie had already driven the car in front of them. Yan Yue mentioned to Elder Zhang in advance that he would arrange for someone to pick them up. They would send Elder Zhang back first, and he and Xiao Xi would be the last to return. Sitting in the car, Elder Min was still thinking about the changes in Fengcheng. At first, he thought that everything he saw was the layout made by the airport staff, but when he got out of the airport, he realised that it was not just the airport, but the entire Fengcheng seemed to be different from what he remembered.
As far as he could remember, the stretch of road from the airport to the city was dotted with various small mechanical processing plants. Whenever he passed this stretch of the road in the past, all he could see when he looked up was smog and all he could smell was the pungent smell of tar. When a car passed on the road, because of the dust in the air the car window couldn’t be opened, otherwise the car would have to be washed. But in just two years, not only had the smog disappeared, but all kinds of green plants had grown on both sides of the road. Through the greenery one could still see a mechanical processing plant, but what used to be an iron gate had turned into a sea of vines, full of the small purple flowers Elder Min had seen at the airport.
Yan Yue opened the car window, and there was no trace of dust on the road. The faint fragrance of flowers floated, calming people’s mood unconsciously. Elder Min had the illusion that the entire Fengcheng seemed to be wrapped in green floral fragrance, and the closer he got to the city, the more obvious this feeling became.
He was amazed all the way, and everyone looked at him and smiled slightly.
Yan Yue asked Lu Lingxi in a low voice when no one was paying attention, “The purification of the soil is already this extensive?”
Lu Lingxi nodded and also whispered, “The weather is warmer and it seems that the soil is purifying faster than it did in winter. And now that there are green plants everywhere, it also speeds up the purification accordingly.”
In fact, when they left Fengcheng at the end of April, the surroundings hadn’t changed that much. By the time spring bloomed in May, which was supposed to be the season for plants to grow, along with the effect of the purified soil, it was as if the greenery throughout Fengcheng had been given a collective growth stimulant.
Half an hour later, An Jie pulled up in front of the community where Elder Zhang lived. Today happened to be Saturday, and quite a few people had gathered at the entrance of the community. It seemed the property management was organising a collective weeding by the owners from the community. Elder Min had already seen quite a few similar scenes along the way and didn’t even bother to be surprised. “What are you doing with all this grass?” Elder Min asked casually.
Elder Zhang smiled and said, “Send it to the cattle farms in the western suburbs. They’ll drive over here to collect it. A cart of grass only sells for ten or so yuan, much cheaper than if they bought feed.”
Elder Min: “……”
The three of them got out of the car and in no time at all Lu Lingxi saw the outer walls of the Hongfu Community through the car window. Just like what they had seen in the city, the outer walls of the community were covered with small purple flowers, with long vines stretching from the outer wall to the closest building, forming a purple corridor of flowers at the entrance. Lu Lingxi had already heard Wang Shuxiu talk about it on the phone, and it seemed that this flower corridor had become a famous “scenic spot” nearby, with many newlyweds coming to the entrance of the community to take wedding photos just to use this flower corridor as a backdrop. Wang Shuxiu and Xiao Feng also took a few photos to catch up with the trend and said that they would take Lu Lingxi along for a family photo when he returned.
After Lu Lingxi finished looking at the flower gallery, he turned around and heard Yan Yue say, “Take a shower and sleep when you get home, I’ll come to see you tonight.”
Because he didn’t know Wang Shuxiu’s attitude towards him, Yan Yue was worried that he wouldn’t be able to see Lu Lingxi when he returned, so he took the time to instruct him. Although Wang Shuxiu looked like she had agreed before they left, Yan Yue couldn’t help but feel his heart pounding.
Lu Lingxi nodded seriously and reminded in a small voice, “Don’t forget to bring the gift you bought for Mom when you come over.”
Yan Yue chuckled and lowered his head to give Lu Lingxi a kiss on the cheek, “I know.”
Lu Lingxi was a little embarrassed to be seen by An Jie and pushed Yan Yue away and was about to say something when a dog’s barking reached him from outside. Dahei had excitedly run out of the building and put his two front paws on the car window. Behind Dahei, Xiao Baiwan followed suit and also put his paws on the car window.
“Dahei, Xiao Baiwan.”
Lu Lingxi was so happy that he pushed the door open and got out of the car, hugging Dahei tightly and refusing to let go. Xiao Baiwan excitedly rubbed over him, his chubby body squeezing hard as he tried to squeeze into Lu Lingxi’s arms just like Dahei. Lu Lingxi was amused by Xiao Baiwan’s actions and stretched out his arms to hug him as well. “Dahei, I missed you.” He looked at Dahei and whispered.
Dahei leaned forward and licked Lu Lingxi’s face, his black eyes looking at Lu Lingxi tenderly as he gave a low bark.
The corner of Lu Lingxi’s mouth curled up, “I know.”
He and Dahei seemed to have endless words when meeting again after a long time. Wang Shuxiu heard the commotion and came out, glaring at Lu Lingxi, “You’re at the door and still don’t go home.”
“Mom.” Lu Lingxi ingratiatingly went over and took Wang Shuxiu’s arm. Wang Shuxiu smiled. She took Lu Lingxi and turned around to go back to the house, but after thinking of something, she turned back and said after a pause, “Yan Yue, why don’t you also come along, Xiao Xi’s uncle is also here, so we can have a meal together.”
Yan Yue: “……”
The happiness came so suddenly that even Yan Yue was stunned for a moment. Lu Lingxi’s reaction was even more direct as he immediately looked at Wang Shuxiu. Wang Shuxiu casually slapped him, “Don’t recognise your mom or what?”
Lu Lingxi hurriedly shook his head and curved his eyes in a smile.
Yan Yue was about to follow him when he thought of An Jie who was still there and who was already prepared to leave sensibly. An Jie waved his hand at Yan Yue through the car window and lowered his voice, “Go for it, boss, I’ll go first, remember to make the red envelope thicker at the end of the year.”
Yan Yue: “……”
As Wang Shuxiu said, this meal was the first time Yan Yue was eating as part of Lu Lingxi’s family. When they saw him come in, everyone reacted as usual. Yan Yue was relieved; it meant that Xiao Xi’s family had accepted his presence.
“Go wash your hands and get ready to eat.” Wang Shuxiu urged.
Lu Lingxi obediently went to wash his hands and called Yan Yue to come along. The two of them were crammed into the small bathroom, and Lu Lingxi rubbed hand sanitizer onto Yan Yue’s hands, and Yan Yue watched it with the corners of his lips slowly rising up. Lu Lingxi washed his hands clean, and while Yan Yue was washing his hands, he stood on tiptoe and kissed him. Yan Yue’s eyes lit up, as if a flame had ignited. As soon as he wanted to kiss Lu Lingxi back, Wang Shuxiu coughed at the door. Lu Lingxi’s body suddenly froze, and the tips of his ears reddened at the thought that Wang Shuxiu had just seen him kiss Yan Yue. Yan Yue laughed soundlessly.
After the two of them washed their hands, the dinner was on the table. Lu Lingxi chatted about the interesting events on his trip to Kunnan, with emphasis on the copaiba balsam tree. Yan Yue occasionally added a few words, and the two of them cooperated very well. Xiao Hong was very interested to hear about trees that could produce oil. He had just finished taking care of all his business in his hometown in the northwest and had nothing to do, so it seemed that planting trees would be a good way out. Of course, it was up to Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue to decide on this matter, but that was what Xiao Hong had in mind.
When he mentioned it, Yan Yue and Lu Lingxi looked at each other and readily agreed. There were more and more things to do with Tiny Garden, and he and Xiao Xi were simply too busy. With Xiao Hong’s help, it would be easier for them.
“Good.” Xiao Hong slapped Yan Yue’s shoulder vigorously and laughed, “Let’s plant trees well from now on. Regardless of whether we can make money or not, just think of it as improving the environment.” Xiao Hong felt that he had more or less destroyed the environment with his coal mine in the past, and now planting trees was a way to make up for it, at least bringing him peace of mind.
Xiao Hong slapped hard, and Yan Yue endured it silently. Although Xiao Hong looked genuinely happy, there was no guarantee that applying such force was not intentional. Perhaps it was a little warning on behalf of Xiao Feng but Yan Yue acted as if nothing had happened, and Xiao Hong’s eyes flashed with a hint of surprise, while Xiao Feng looked at them and laughed helplessly.
The family finished their meal happily. Zhou Xiaoman and Xiao Hong took the initiative to clean up the dishes. When Lu Lingxi wanted to help, Wang Shuxiu stopped him, “Xiao Xi, your dad and I have something to say to you.”
Yan Yue knew what Wang Shuxiu was going to say as soon as he heard it. He gave Lu Lingxi a worried look and sat beside him silently. Although he felt that Wang Shuxiu didn’t necessarily want him to be present at this time, he knew more than Wang Shuxiu and knew that the news Wang Shuxiu was going to say was not just a simple matter of his origin to Lu Lingxi. He was afraid that…
Yan Yue reached under the cover of the dining table and held Lu Lingxi’s hand. Lu Lingxi faintly felt that something was wrong. He looked at Wang Shuxiu and then at Yan Yue, and whispered, “What happened?”
Wang Shuxiu noticed Yan Yue’s small movements but didn’t stop him, just settled down and slowly said, “Lu Yishui… your father’s relatives are looking for you and want you to recognise your ancestors and return to the family. Of course your mom certainly doesn’t agree.”
She said it directly, making her attitude clear. Xiao Feng looked at her helplessly; everything the two of them had discussed before was in vain.
Yan Yue also didn’t expect Wang Shuxiu to be so straightforward and was quite a bit surprised. On the contrary, Lu Lingxi didn’t feel anything strange, he just subconsciously asked, “Who are they?”
Wang Shuxiu said reluctantly, “Lu Hengchuan, the man from the Lu family in Zhongjing, is your grandfather.”
A few simple words were said, but it was tantamount to a thunderbolt in the clear sky, and Lu Lingxi’s face turned white in an instant.