Coming Home (part 1)
The walls around Alice’s manor were not too high, only around two meters high. Walking to the walls, with a single jump, Linley leapt on top of the walls. Then, with a single leap, he descended in front of Alice, as though he had flown to her.
“Quick, lie down.” Alice urgently tugged at Linley.
Suspicious, Linley obediently sat down.
“Shhh.” Alice cautiously looked around before finally letting out her breath as she turned to Linley. “Good thing everyone’s asleep. If someone saw something, then I would be in for a lot of trouble.”
Linley suddenly understood.
“Let’s sit down. If we talk while sitting down, the wall will prevent anyone from seeing us.” Alice smiled delightedly, like a sly little fox. She casually wiped down the floor with a nearby cloth, then sat down alongside Linley.
Linley was also very delighted to be able to run into Alice again.
“Big brother Linley, what are you doing out here on the streets so late at night? Right, didn’t you say you are a student at the Ernst Institute? What are you doing here in Fenlai City?” In one breathe, Alice asked several questions.
Why was he in Fenlai City?
Linley felt rather awkward. After all, he couldn’t say that he had come here to visit the Jade Water Paradise with three friends, could he?
“I came with a few close friends to have fun in the city. At night time, I thought it was really stuffy inside, so I came out for a stroll.” Linley could only give this rather unclear answer.
“Alice, what are you doing up awake so late at night?” Linley asked.
Alice chewed her lower lips helplessly. “I fell asleep really early, but just as I was enjoying my rest, I got woken up out of a beautiful dream by my father, who drank too much and was totally smashed. You don’t know how excessive my father is. He goes gambling every day and drinking every day. After getting drunk, he causes trouble at home. I’m so annoyed!”
“To have a father like this, all I can say that is that I’m unlucky. How about you, Linley? What is your father like?” Alice was looking at Linley, who was seated across from her.
“My father?” Linley couldn’t help but think about his own father. “My father doesn’t gamble. Although he does drink, he doesn’t get drunk. But my father is extremely strict. He’s been like that since I was young.”
Alice sighed with jealousy. “Big brother Linley, you are so lucky. Unlike me.”
Under the moonlight, a young man and a young woman were chatting happily on a balcony. From the topic of fathers, they switched to education, then to their schools, and then to each other’s friends. Finally, they started talking about things they did with their friends…
Linley was very happy while chatting with her. The more they chatted, the more Linley began to understand what Alice’s life was like.
Slowly, the night wore on, and the first rays of light began to peek out from the east. The entire earth began to be filled up with the fresh morning air. But Linley and Alice, both happily immersed in conversation, didn’t notice the passage of time at all. Only when the sky was bright did the two of them realize how much time had passed.
“Oh, it’s day already.” Only now did Linley notice the time.
Alice finally realized as well. “I’m so embarrassed, big brother Linley. I’ve forced you to keep me company all night.”
Suddenly, Linley and Alice stopped talking. They felt a bit awkward.
“Right. Time for me to go.” Linley could feel that the atmosphere was a bit strange. He couldn’t help but suddenly feel nervous, and so he immediately stood up.
“Big brother Linley, in the future, will you come back to Fenlai City?” Alice asked.
“I will, as long as I have free time.” Gripping the railings with his hands, Linley somersaulted over, landing on the wall, then with a leap, jumped down to the street below, almost ten meters away from the wall.
Linley didn’t look back, just casually, weakly waving goodbye.
Alice watched as Linley departed. Only after he disappeared into the streets did she rather forlornly return to her own room.
The summer sun in August was like a huge ball of flame, baking the land. After having lunch with his three bros, Linley headed directly towards his hometown, Wushan township. He carried with him his backpack with over 70,000 gold coins worth of magicite cores.
“Squeak squeak.” On Linley’s back, Bebe began to excitedly squeak as well.
Linley glanced at Bebe, then began laughing as well. He mentally said, “Bebe, you are excited about going back to Wushan township as well, eh? Right, I’ve never asked you before, but how and why did you appear in my family’s courtyard, back then?”
“I dunno either.” Bebe helplessly shook his little head. “As far back as I can remember, I was there in your family’s back courtyard. I don’t know who my parents are either. But I do remember one thing; a voice, which seemed to say, ‘Stay here, don’t run around.’”
“Stay here, don’t run around?” Linley heart throbbed.
Could that voice have been that of Bebe’s father or mother?
“At the beginning, I just ate rocks. I obeyed that voice, so I didn’t leave your family’s courtyard. But then, boss, you found me and fed me a wild hare. In the whole wide world, there isn’t anybody who treats me better than you, boss. I don’t want to ever leave ya, boss.” Bebe wrinkled his little nose.
Linley, too, reminisced about what had happened before.
Back then, Bebe really did hesitate for a while at the entrance to Wushan township, but in the end, upon seeing Linley really was going to leave, Bebe had made the decision to bite Linley and initiate their soul binding contract.
“Alright, Bebe, we’ll always be together, okay?” Linley lovingly stroked Bebe’s little head, and Bebe, comforted, closed his little eyes happily.
Linley didn’t walk too fast, traveling around twenty kilometers per hour. By the time he arrived at the borders of Wushan township, it was already night. As he made his way into town, he heard a familiar voice…
“All of you, straighten and tighten up those waists! Don’t bend! If anyone’s buttocks touches those branches and gets stained by the dye, they’ll be considered to have broken the rules. Double training for them!” Hillman’s voice could be heard from far away.
Linley stared towards him.
On that familiar, empty field in the east side of Wushan township, next to a row of trees, a group of kids from age six to sixteen were standing in three divisions. Under the strict supervision of Hillman and the other two, they were engaged in tough training. Sweat had totally drenched all of the children’s clothes.
“Back in the day, I did this training as well.” Seeing this, Linley felt very moved.
“Linley?” Hillman saw Linley from far off. After giving some instructions to Roger and Lorry, he immediately ran over towards Linley, immediately giving Linley a big bear hug.
“Uncle Hillman, long time no see!” Linley was very happy as well.
“Haha, let’s go! Let’s go home first. Lord Hogg will be so happy to see you.” Hillman chortled as he spoke, and then led Linley into Wushan township proper.
“Young master Linley.” Roger and Lorry greeted Linley warmly from afar.
“Uncle Roger, Uncle Lorry.” Linley also waved at them happily, and then followed Hillman towards his own manor.
“Linley, you brought a backpack with you? It seems heavy. What’s inside?” Hillman noticed the backpack on Linley’s back, and asked with a laugh.
Linley smiled mysteriously. “A present, a present for my father!”