Editor(s): Amelea and FistFullOfDollars
Yu Hao suddenly said to Fu Liqun, “Thank you.”
“What are you thanking me for?” Fu Liqun asked in bewilderment. He had an arm around Yu Hao as they leaned against the railings of the plank walkway, then extended his arm to capture a selfie with him.
Sometimes, Yu Hao really couldn’t tell if Fu Liqun was just acting dumb or if he was honestly dumb. He always felt that this guy was often aware and had insight into many things, but he would just refrain from disclosing what he knew.
“You’re too tall, walk inside.” Yu Hao motioned for him to walk along the inner part of the walkway. After Fu Liqun became more familiar with Yu Hao, he was fond of putting his arm around Yu Hao’s shoulders.
“This is pretty good.” Fu Liqun said.
Yu Hao, “I’m not your hiking stick!”
Fu Liqun said, “You’re about the same height as my wife, so this is really comfortable.”
Yu Hao, “You guys reconciled?”
Fu Liqun, “Nope, ex-wife.”
Yu Hao, “……”
Yu Hao thought, he’s quite pitiful actually, then said, “Go reconcile ba.”
“No.” Fu Liqun can be very stubborn.
Yu Hao said, “Why? The two of you are still in love anyway.” When he said this, he thought, at least the two of you are in love with each other, and mutual love can conquer anything. If Zhou Sheng liked him, then he would be undaunted no matter what others said about them.
Yu Hao frequently saw Fu Liqun scroll through QQ spaces and his circle of friend’s WeChat -- and whose would it be? His ex-girlfriend’s, of course. When he spoke, he couldn’t go three sentences without talking about Cen Shan. He refused to move on from her, and always paid attention to her every move. He clearly wanted to get back together with her, but just lacked an opportunity to do so.
Yu Hao wanted to talk some sense into him, but then he thought, I should probably just let nature take its course, even I’m not being pitied by people yet. So he raised his spirits and said, “Let me tell you about these stone inscriptions ba.”
“Tour guide, please.” Fu Liqun was very cooperative.
Yu Hao began to tell Fu Liqun about the stories in Buddhist texts as they passed by the stone inscriptions that were carved into the precipice. Most of the stories urged people to be kind, and explored how to absolve people from their suffering. And the so-called “heart demons” were very frequently mentioned in them. As he spoke, Yu Hao remembered the “dark self” in his inner heart, and thought that perhaps, heart demons were an inherent part of human nature.
Fu Liqun, “Wah, you’re really good at telling those stories.”
Yu Hao said modestly, “You’re flattering me too much.”
Fu Liqun, “You study that?”
Yu Hao, “We’re in the same college.”
Fu Liqun, “I meant, you studied history in your spare time?”
Yu Hao, “I read about it at the last minute on the bus just now……”
Both of them were relatively speechless. Fu Liqun said, “When my wife and I went out to play, she would always talk to me about this and that because she read a lot of books. She said that Buddha was actually a guy, and said Bage Shanren……”
“It’s Bada Shanren!” Yu Hao said, “Bada Shanren’s a person! You clearly didn’t hear a word she said.”
Yu Hao thought, it must have been hard on Cen Shan, how on earth did you manage to find such a good girlfriend?
Fu Liqun smiled abashedly, then placed his arm around Yu Hao’s shoulders again. He said in a daze, “Actually, I really didn’t hear anything she said. I only remember how earnest she looked while she was talking to me, and how she looked as she smiled at me. She seemed just like a fairy that had walked out of a mural. Do you know? Yu Hao……”
Fu Liqun sighed ruefully, “She seemed like she was shining, and you wouldn’t want to take your eyes away from her for even a moment. It was as if, just standing by her side would illuminate the entire world.”
Yu Hao thought, I take back my previous misunderstanding, you’re actually not that bad.
“You’re so good at saying such romantic words.” Yu Hao said, “Say it to her then.”
“Forget it.” Fu Liqun answered with overwhelming despondence, “It’s not like we can be together anyway, I don’t want to break her heart anymore.”
Yu Hao, “Sigh——”
Fu Liqun, “Sigh——”
They didn’t know where Zhou Sheng had walked off to. The next time they saw Chen Yekai was at the buffet restaurant located at the mountain’s midpoint. Chen Yekai was sitting with a look of helplessness on his face as he watched over the girls’ bags for them, while the girls had all gone to the washroom.
“Liqun, could you help me tide it over just once this afternoon?” Chen Yekai asked sincerely.
“Nope.” Fu Liqun said.
Chen Yekai, “Next month, Lifan VS Evergrande, two tickets for the match.”
Fu Liqun, “I’ve already broken up, so one ticket’s enough. I’ll help you until we reach the rest station at Cloud Pier.
Chen Yekai, “I’ll add another CBA League ticket. Until the Golden peak."
Fu Liqun began to hesitate, but Chen Yekai added, “And another box of Maidong."
Fu Liqun, “Deal!”
Chen Yekai got up in an instant and ran even faster than a rabbit, “Yu Hao! Go! Let’s eat upstairs!”
Yu Hao, “……”
Fu Liqun waved goodbye at them. Chen Yekai took Yu Hao to the second floor to order some dishes, but Yu Hao quickly said, “I’ll just have the buffet……”
Chen Yekai, “Just treat it as you’re accompanying me for a meal, we don’t have many chances left.”
Yu Hao, “!!!”
Chen Yekai realised that he had said something he wasn’t supposed to, so he explained, “The college doesn’t like having such a huge group of people out to tread the green, they’re concerned about complications.”
Yu Hao heaved a sigh of relief, he had thought that Chen Yekai was leaving. The two of them ordered some dishes on the second floor. Suddenly, Yu Hao discovered that Zhou Sheng was here as well, and was chatting and laughing idly with the girl sitting across from him. He clearly looked very happy. When he saw that Yu Hao was here too, he threw him a blank glance and pointed at his phone on the table, “Transfer some money to my WeChat.”
Zhou Sheng didn’t add a card to his WeChat and Alipay, because his bank cards are linked to his mother’s phone. Whenever Mama Zhou received a notification, she liked to ask her son what he had bought and her questions would go on and on. Last semester, he charged most of his money to his WeChat, and would withdraw cash once in awhile, when he needed to. This semester, there was still quite a bit of money remaining from their wages. Yu Hao transfers a few hundred to him every week. Zhou Sheng is usually quite muddle-headed too; he doesn’t keep track of how much he spends, and would just look for Yu Hao once he finished spending everything.
“Finish eating first ba, let’s leave together later.” Zhou Sheng passed by Yu Hao on his way to settle the bill, but the girl had already settled it after she went to the washroom.
Chen Yekai looked at Yu Hao. Yu Hao didn’t respond. At that moment, he kind of wanted to lament about his grievances to Chen Yekai. Chen Yekai would definitely understand why he was so distressed. But Yu Hao couldn’t say that he had seen the two shirts that were hung together like in Brokeback Mountain when he was at his house.
I live such a conflicted life, Yu Hao mocked in his heart. After his previous worries had been resolved, new troubles arose to bother him.
“When will your project start?” Yu Hao asked Chen Yekai.
Chen Yekai snapped out of his daze and answered, “I’ll notify you when we officially start. Why, can’t wait?”
Yu Hao said, “I feel like I need a heavy workload to get my mind off some other things.”
“Un.” Chen Yekai didn’t ask why, and instead answered, “I feel like I need that too.”
When they were almost done with their meal, Chen Yekai said, “Shimu’s condition is much better now.”
Yu Hao nodded, “That’s good then.”
Chen Yekai, “But it will take a long time for her to regain consciousness.
Yu Hao, “What exactly happened?”
Chen Yekai said, “On New Year’s Eve, Laoshi brought Shimu over to their friend’s house to celebrate the New Year. They got into an accident on the way, and Shimu didn’t fasten her seatbelt, so she had been flung out. It was already considered fortunate for her to have survived.”
“The safety airbags?” Yu Hao didn’t expect it to be so grave.
“It had little effect.” Chen Yekai said, “It was a problem with the angle. The car windows had all been smashed into pieces.”
Yu Hao fell silent, then nodded. Chen Yekai said, “The passenger’s seat is the most dangerous position to be in, you must remember to fasten your seatbelt in the future.”
Yu Hao responded with an “un”, “She’ll get better.”
“I believe that.” Chen Yekai seemed like he had gradually come to terms with it after such a long time had passed. He called a waiter over to settle the bill, “Let’s go ba.”
Yu Hao was extremely apprehensive about calling Zhou Sheng, but Zhou Sheng had gone to the washroom and only the girl remained at her seat. She even turned around to smile and wave at Chen Yekai.
“Let’s walk ahead.” Chen Yekai said to the girl, “Catch up later.”
“Okay! Go ahead first ba Kaikai!”
“Zhou Sheng doesn’t seem to be very interested in Ye Jin.” A hint of a smile hung on Chen Yekai’s lips as he walked downstairs with Yu Hao, “But he’s very good at taking care of other people’s feelings. He’s really kind too, and very gentlemanly, so I’m guessing that he’ll definitely accompany her to the peak.”
Yu Hao thought, all of you are human, I really wonder where you guys have been cultivating.
After they left the mountain’s midpoint, an abundance of clouds and mist had emerged without forewarning. The mountain now had an ethereal quality to it, its plank walkway meandered through a convoluted path that constantly changed its course. Chen Yekai asked some passers-by to take pictures for him and Yu Hao. Yu Hao had been roped into taking photos with them for most of the day, yet he didn’t even get a single one of those photos.
“Let me see?”
“You look good in what you’re wearing today.” Chen Yekai said, “You’re finally willing to tidy yourself up.”
“Zhou Sheng bought it for me.” Yu Hao answered honestly. After school had resumed, he, Zhou Sheng and Fu Liqun went to buy some clothes for the New Year. Zhou Sheng’s mother is in the clothing business, so her son’s fashion and sense of aesthetics weren’t too bad. He didn’t pay much mind to his own attire, but the clothes he picked out for Yu Hao and Fu Liqun made them look very handsome and flattered their physiques.
“The two of you have a pretty good relationship.” Chen Yekai said.
“Yeah.” Yu Hao smiled, “And we’re always being misunderstood by others too.”
Chen Yekai, “Misunderstood?” As he spoke, he looked down from the walkway. It looked like a bottomless ravine. Yu Hao quickly pulled him back.
“Do you want to jump down?” Chen Yekai said.
Yu Hao’s face immediately changed, “You definitely can’t!”
Chen Yekai said, “I went to the Iguazu Falls before. After hiking for a really long time, I reached a very high place, and I was suddenly struck by a strong impulse to fall all the way down……have you watched《Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon》?”
“I’ve watched it.” Yu Hao remembered Yu Jiao and Xiao Hu from the movie, “In our hometown, we have a legend: if someone dared to jump down from that mountain, the Gods would grant him one wish, and it would only work if one believes in it sincerely.”
Chen Yekai said, “Hopefully the one who’s in a deep slumber can awake, and the dead can come back to life.”
It's better to leave that last breath for training the mind to return to the void ba.” Yu Hao smiled as he said, then pushed Chen Yekai, “Let’s go.”
A peal of hysterical shrieks carried over from a distance. Presumably, they were walking along the Heavenly suspension bridge between the two mountain peaks.
As expected, after they left the precipice, they arrived in front of a suspension bridge that led into a dense fog. There was a plaque erected in front that was inscribed with the words “Cloud Peak Walkway”. The opposite side was difficult to see; only a vast expanse of white was discernible.
“Do you dare to walk across?” Chen Yekai said, “There’s just the two of us here, do you want to wait for a few more people to go together?”
“I……should be ok ba.” Yu Hao answered, “It looks a bit scary. Let’s go. Don’t wait any longer.”
The suspension bridge looked like it could collapse at any moment. The misty clouds were still rolling towards them, carried by the wind. As they drifted past the suspension bridge, each one that swept by would drench one’s clothes.
Yu Hao and Chen Yekai held onto the rope of the suspension bridge for support as they crossed it. Yu Hao couldn’t help but tighten his grip on the rope as a gust of wind wailed. The suspension bridge was swaying a lot. Chen Yekai firmly grabbed Yu Hao’s other arm.
Yu Hao thought of the famous “suspension bridge effect” in psychology. In the face of danger, the violent beating of a person’s heart and the rapid rise of their adrenaline resembles the physiological reactions of falling in love. Thus, in your subconscious, it is easy to unconsciously regard it as an impulse to fall in love, so you would mistake the feelings that arose as love for your partner.
If he pulled Zhou Sheng over to walk on the suspension bridge or go bungee jumping together, maybe he would……
“Don’t be too nervous.” Chen Yekai said, “Most of the time, we’re just scaring ourselves.”
Yu Hao smiled, “It looks very dangerous, but once you make up your mind to walk across it, you’ll be on the other side before you know it. Sometimes, once you try doing something, you’ll realise that it’s far less difficult than it seems.”
Chen Yekai uttered an “un”, “There are some things, that are far less difficult than they seem.”
Yu Hao always felt that Chen Yekai seemed a little strange recently, though he couldn’t exactly pinpoint what was off.
After they passed through the suspension bridge, Chen Yekai and Yu Hao looked back. Cold sweat had broken out all over Yu Hao’s back. That suspension bridge was too dilapidated, it was just like a straw rope as it swung in the wind.
“Walk back and forth again?” Chen Yekai suddenly said.
“No thanks!” Yu Hao decisively declined. He said that he wasn’t scared, but his face had already blanched. Chen Yekai laughed, and it was as if the two of them had just accomplished something together.
“There used to be a saying here.” Chen Yekai said.
“What saying?” Yu Hao turned back again to take a look. Chen Yekai brought him to the Golden peak and casually said, “Un……I forgot. In any case, I remember that the suspension bridge was related to some classic.”
Yu Hao, “Why did you say it if you had forgotten?”
Chen Yekai smiled, “I was asking if you knew about it.”
The corners of Yu Hao’s mouth twitched.
Chen Yekai looked at his watch. They still had a lot of time. There wasn’t anyone ahead or behind them, and Yu Hao thought, Zhou Sheng hasn’t caught up after such a long time has passed, he’s probably chatting with that girl called Ye Jin as they walk over.
Chen Yekai was walking in front, and would reach over to pull him along once in awhile. Yu Hao waved his hand to convey that he could walk by himself.
“Let’s rest for awhile ba. Have you ever thought of what kind of person you want to be in the future?”
“I’ve thought about it.” Yu Hao answered sincerely, “But I haven’t figured it out.”
The steps that led to the Golden peak were very steep. They had to stop for awhile after they walked up a few steps. Yu Hao leaned against the precipice as he gasped for breath, “You asked me that question before, so I began thinking about it. Perhaps it will take me a very, very long time to figure it out, but, I do have an initial goal that I want to achieve.”
Chen Yekai said, “Have you imagined what you’ll be like in 10 years?”
Yu Hao struggled to climb up a few more steps. He was drenched in sweat, “Find a job, and earn a salary of about four to five thousand a month.”
“That’s it?” Chen Yekai said.
“Of course not.” Yu Hao exerted a little more strength and passed Chen Yekai. When he was in front of him, he turned around to ask, “Chen Laoshi, may I ask you a question?”
Chen Yekai made an effort to climb up. He was slightly fitter than Yu Hao, who was really too skinny.
“Usually when you phrase it like that, it’s useless even if I tell you not to ask.” Chen Yekai smiled.
Yu Hao said, “Why did you give up the opportunity to work abroad, and instead came back here to be a form teacher?”
“Because I wanted to find myself.” Chen Yekai passed Yu Hao, “Life abroad isn’t what I want.”
“How can we find ourselves?”
“Find a job that you’re willing to devote your life to.” Chen Yekai said, “Be with a person whom you truly love: without being trapped by fame and profit, without the disturbance of the secular world, without being burdened by money. Don’t suffer because of choices, or abandonment, and truly, find your freedom.”
Yu Hao leapt up and caught up to Chen Yekai within a few steps, “I haven’t reached that kind of realm yet.”
“You will understand very soon.” Chen Yekai said, “We’re here.”
A vast, encompassing scene emerged before them. Only then did Yu Hao realise that he had actually arrived at the peak just like that, and suddenly the misty clouds that had enveloped the mountain peaks retreated. The bells that signalled the advent of dusk rang out with a “dang, dang” in the old Buddhist temple hidden within the ravine in the distance. And at the same time, Yu Hao suddenly felt like he had seen the light.
“You’re really great.” Yu Hao murmured, “Chen Laoshi.”
Chen Yekai, “?”
Yu Hao, “You’re willing to devote your life to being a teacher.”
“Of course not.” Chen Yekai said, “I’m about to die of annoyance from taking care of students, but it’s not annoying to take care of you.” He added, “I want to do academic research, and my next topic is on mental health. But I think I have some psychological troubles of my own.”
Yu Hao smiled, “You have no problem at all. Eat a good meal, fall in love and you’ll be fine.”
Chen Yekai said, “Have you fallen in love?”
Yu Hao, “Uh……”
Chen Yekai, “You’re a very good example. Within just a month, you’ve made a complete recovery. Now you’re just like a little sun. Let’s buy a cup of coffee ba, it’s so cold at the peak.”
Yu Hao said, “I’ll buy it this time.”
Yu Hao went to buy coffee for Chen Yekai, while Chen Yekai walked around taking pictures. The Golden peak was very spacious, and a lot of students had already gone down after they reached the Golden peak. A lot of students nearby had seen him and greeted him. Their expressions were a little strange, and it seemed as if it was because Yu Hao had actually walked over with Chen Yukai.
“Yeah, it’s really windy on the mountain today……”
A girl was streaming, holding a selfie stick while wearing earphones.
Yu Hao looked left and right. Nobody noticed him. Now no one should talk about me and Zhou Sheng anymore…… Yu Hao thought, don’t start gossiping about me and Chen Yekai next. But Chen Yekai is a teacher, and was unintimidated by them.
He went to the shop on the peak to buy two cups of instant coffee. But as soon as he turned around, he suddenly saw Zhou Sheng.
Dollars: votes that YH and Kaikai should walk the bridge together 5 more times.
Ame: A wild hubby appears
Zryuu: YH, stay strong.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), juurensha.