Two days later.
The time had finally come for Shentu Ren’s treatment after a week’s preparations. Xia Lei had progressed from rabbits to Shentu Tian-Yin in this week and, having conducted experiment after experiment, his acupuncture skills had risen to a new level and so had the chance of success.
“Lei, what do you need me to do?” Shentu Tian-Yin looked nervous.
“Just go outside and wait for me,” said Xia Lei.
“Okay, I’ll go and wait for you outside. I won’t be of help if I stayed anyway,” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
Xia Lei sent her to the door.
Shentu Tian-Yin stopped at the door. “Lei, if you cure my father how would you like me to repay you?”
Xia Lei paused. “Don’t say things like that. We’re friends - I don’t want any repayment.”
“But…” Shentu Tian-Yin started to say something, then stopped.
Xia Lei smiled. “Go on out. Don’t you want to be able to chat with your father as soon as possible? And don’t bring up the topic of repayment anymore; it’ll annoy me.”
Shentu Tian-Yin gave Xia Lei a long look and didn’t say anything. She left the room.
Xia Lei closed the door and walked to the bedside. He opened his medicine case, took out a shaver and started shaving Shentu Ren’s hair away....
Outside, Shentu Tian-Yin watched the door silently. She looked calm but she was anxious inside. Fu Chuan-Fu and Fu Ming-Mei waited with her, and both of them stared at the tightly shut door with her.
“Can Xia Lei really cure Uncle Ren, Big Sister Tian-Yin?” Fu Ming-Mei couldn’t help asking after a period of time.
“Why do you ask?” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
“It’s normal for me to ask. He’s a mechanic! I’ll believe it if he does surgery on a machine but he’s operating on Uncle Ren. I can’t suspend my disbelief for something like this. Dad, what do you think?”
Fu Chuan-Fu was quiet before he spoke. “I am worried too. He isn’t a doctor either and Master’s illness couldn’t be treated even in the big hospitals overseas so how can a mechanic who tinkers with machines treat Master’s condition?”
Fu Ming-Mei added, “Big Sister Tian-Yin, tell him to stop before he begins treatment. I’m afraid that he… Uncle Ren…” She did not say more but her meaning was clear. She feared that Xia Lei would cause Shentu Ren’s death.
Shentu Tian-Yin spoke in a soft voice, “You don’t trust him, I understand. I thought the same way in the beginning but these past few days, I’ve… Never mind. Anyway, I trust him.”
“These past few days… you what, Big Sister Tian-Yin?” Fu Ming-Mei looked fairly curious.
Shentu Tian-Yin rolled her eyes at her and said nothing. She had taken her clothes off for Xia Lei to hit her - how could she tell anyone this?
In the room, Xia Lei was done shaving Shentu Ren’s head. He picked up a silver needle and his left eye focused on a section of his head. His hand moved and the silver needle pierced into skin…
Time went ticking by without a sound.
Shentu Tian-Yin maintained calm for an hour before she caved. She paced back and forth in front of the door, unable to settle down.
“It’s no use so stop being so anxious, Big Sister Tian-Yin,” said Fu Ming-Mei worriedly, “How about we go in and take a look? See what he’s doing in there.”
“No, we’ll disturb him if we go in. I’ve already chosen to trust him so I have to trust him to the end. I believe he will cure my father. I have a feeling that he’ll definitely do it,” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
“What percentage did he guarantee?” asked Fu Chuan-Fu.
“Fifty percent,” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
“Fifty percent?” Fu Chuan-Fu sighed and smiled wryly, “That’s half and half. This Xia Lei sure is daring.”
“Humph!” Fu Ming-Mei wrinkled her nose. “I’ll hound him to the ends of the Earth if he can’t cure Uncle Ren!”
“And if he cures him?” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
“Then I’ll…” Fu Ming-Mei suddenly grinned, “Then it’s up to you to do something, eh? It’s enough for me to say my thanks. Oh, right, Big Sister Tian-Yin, how are you going to repay him if he cures Uncle Ren?”
“Me? Um…” Shentu Tian-Yin looked a little lost. “He said he didn’t want any repayment. I don’t know what to do.”
Fu Ming-Mei drew close to Shentu Tian-Yin’s ear and whispered, “Might as well learn from movies and give your heart to him. You two can become another story too, heh heh.”
Shentu Tian-Yin glared at Fu Ming-Mei. “No spouting rubbish. He has a girlfriend.”
“So what?” said Fu Ming-Mei, “Have the marriage and divorce rates decreased? If you find it too embarrassing, I can tell him. You two even have engagement rings on now. Now, if you two get together it’ll be a match made in heaven. Success will follow naturally when the conditions are right…”
Fu Chuan-Fu suddenly slapped Fu Ming-Mei on the back of her head. “Shut your mouth, you wench, nobody thinks you’re mute. You haven’t even had a relationship before so what are you masquerading as a love guru for?”
Fu Ming-Mei was speechless.
Shentu Tian-Yin changed the topic. “Right, Uncle Fu, has there been anything going on within my Second Uncle’s family the past few days?”
“It is calm at the family residence. Most of the clan have taken a neutral stance after the great uproar Xia Lei caused that day,” said Fu Chuan-Fu, “But your Second Uncle and Shentu Tian-Feng have been coming and going more regularly these days and meeting lots of people. Some are business friends and some are unknown.”
“Unknown? Looks like my Second Uncle’s family are getting antsy.” A cold smile appeared in the corners of Shentu Tian-Yin’s lips. “Good. It’s also good to get this settled quickly. I don’t want to keep dragging this on.”
Fu Chuan-Fu continued, “There’s also the Gu clan. There have been big movements within the clan recently. Gu Ke-Wen and Gu Ke-Wu have visibly increased the number of bodyguards around themselves but Dong Wu and Qin Qi seem to have vanished into thin air. It is difficult to find out their whereabouts. I fear that they are looking for an opportunity to settle their score with Xia Lei.”
Ice flashed in Shentu Tian-Yin’s doe-like eyes. “The enmity between Xia Lei and the Gu clan is because of me. If the Gu clan dares touch him I’ll attack their stocks in the market. I’ll stick my hand in any business they have their eye on. There is a price for doing bad deeds and I’d like to see if they can afford to pay this price!”
“Do not move against the Gu clan just yet, Milady. Dealing with your Second Uncle is our top priority right now,” said Fu Chuan-Fu.
Shentu Tian-Yin nodded. “I know. It is better to deal with internal strife before going up against outside aggressors. Don’t worry, this matter will come to a close very soon.”
The three of them talked while a very different scene was playing out in the room on the other side of the door.
Shentu Ren’s head was so full of needles that he looked like white hedgehog. Xia Lei looked nervous and exhausted. The weather had turned cold but he was sweating. However, he was focused and there was nothing else he could see in the world other than the blood vessels in Shentu Ren’s head.
Another needle went into a blood vessel, followed by a trickle of internal energy. It was like an unseen flood gushing into the blocked channel, pushing and attacking things in its way till the blockage was cleared.
Shentu Ren’s eyelids suddenly twitched. He did not open his eyes but this reaction was a pleasant surprise.
‘It’s as I’d thought - this method is working! I can make him regain consciousness!’ Xia Lei was excited. His left eye focused on another clogged blood vessel and he raise a silver needle to pierce it into skin…
Three hours later.
“Can he do it or not?” Fu Ming-Mei lost her last bit of patience. “It’s been half a day and there hasn’t been a peep from inside. Nope, I have to go in and take a look.”
Fu Chuan-Fu did not stop her this time. He had actually run out of patience too and wanted very much to know what was going on in the room.
“Ming-Mei!” Shentu Tian-Yin stopped her. “You can leave if you don’t want to wait. Don’t go in and disturb Xia Lei.”
“You trust him this much, Big Sister Tian-Yin? I suspect he’s already failed. He’s just too afraid to come out!” said Fu Ming-Mei.
Fu Chuan-Fu spoke up too. “Milady, what if you go in to take a look? You won’t disturb him if you’re quiet. It’s been so long and he’s not a licensed doctor. I fear…”
Shentu Tian-Yin hesitated, but still nodded in the end. Just as she was about to open the door, however, it opened. Xia Lei appeared in the doorway, his head beaded with sweat. His clothing was completely soaked too and it was as if he’d just climbed out of a swimming pool. He was also at the very limit of his consciousness and in a state very much like if he had neither eaten nor slept for a few days.
This was the aftereffect of overuse of his X-ray vision.
“How’s my father?” asked Shentu Tian-Yin anxiously.
“I’m done. You can go in and take a look,” said Xia Lei. He had no spare energy to explain further. He sat his ass on a chair by the door when he finished his sentence.
Shentu Tian-Yin rushed into the room with Fu Ming-Mei and Fu Chuan-Fu in tow. They went to the bedside and looked anxiously at Shentu Ren lying on the bed.
Shentu Ren lay quietly on the bed, motionless. He did not seem to be in a better state than he was before.
“Father? Father?” Shentu Tian-Yin tried calling him twice.
There was no response from Shentu Ren. He lay motionless.
“Master?” Fu Chuan-Fu tried calling out too.
There was no change in his condition. Shentu Ren remained unresponsive.
Fu Ming-Mei sighed. “It was a failure as expected then. Xia Lei, you must have failed long ago but deliberately dragged it on for a few hours more before opening the door, right?”
Xia Lei looked at her. He had no energy to give a rebuttal in the face of such doubt.
Fu Ming-Mei was not about to let him off. Her little mouth was quick to say, “I knew it! You’re a machinist, not a doctor. How can you do something which doctors cannot? You acted like you could do it but look - only my Uncle Ren’s hair is gone. He’s got the short end of the stick while you got to boast. Well, you sure did a great job!”
Shentu Ren suddenly opened his eyes at that moment and his fingers moved slightly.
This development gave Shentu Tian-Yin, Fu Chuan-Fu and Fu Ming-Mei a great shock.
“Father! Father!” Shentu Tian-Yin jumped in excitement after her brief bout of shock. “My father opened his eyes! Did you see that? Did you see that?”
Fu Chuan-Fu and Fu Ming-Mei were still staring at Shentu Ren and didn’t seem to have heard her.
“Father! Look at me - it’s Tian-Yin. I’m Tian-Yin!” Shentu Tian-Yin was losing it.
Shentu Ren’s lips moved a little but no words came. He closed his eyes.
Xia Lei, who had recovered a little energy by then, said tiredly, “You guys should leave the room. Let him rest. He’s too weak now and needs some time to build strength before he can speak.”
Shentu Tian-Yin suddenly ran towards Xia Lei and descended on him with an unhesitant kiss on his cheek. However, she had not taken notice of Xia Lei’s current state. He had no strength at all to maintain balance; her rush at him, and her kiss made him topple to the ground and the two of them came to a rolling stop on the floor.
Fu Ming-Mei stared at the two of them on the ground and suddenly smiled. “This punk’s good. He can make a haughty woman like Big Sister Tian-Yin lose her composure around him.”
Fu Chuan-Fu slapped the back of her head.
“Why hit me again, Dad?” Fu Ming-Mei said angrily, “Who’s still going to want me after you’ve smacked me silly?”
Fu Chuan-Fu gave her a stern glare and twisted his lips to point at the doorway with his mouth.
Fu Ming-Mei got the message and left the room with Fu Chuan-Fu.
On the ground, Shentu Tian-Yin was beside herself with joy and words kept pouring out. “You didn’t get hurt in the fall, did you? So sorry, I’m just so excited. You know what? This is the most exciting day of my life. I was praying for my father to wake up even in my dreams. Anything would do, even a few lines about everyday topics but the gods and spirits took no heed of my pleading. You helped me make this dream come true. I truly have no idea how I can thank you. You don’t know how you… Hello? Hello? Are you asleep?”
“Zzz… ZZzzzzz…” Xia Lei really was asleep - he was too tired.
Shentu Tian-Yin looked at him quietly and watched him for a bit before saying, “Sleep. I’ll be your pillow.”
Fu Ming-Mei stuck her head through the doorway to peek in on them, then quietly shut the door.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Hello everyone! Chapter 200 is coming soon so I'll be having another Q&A, this time with the author himself! I managed to contact him via WeChat and he has graciously agreed to answer our questions. He seems like a pretty laid-back guy, this Li Xianyu :D
*ahem* He also posts nice pictures male readers would enjoy in his WeChat group. If you can read Chinese and use Wechat, you can subscribe to him by searching for 李闲鱼
Please post your questions here in the comment section and up-vote those you'd really like answered. I'll translate the questions for the author and publish his answers with Chapter 200.
Now let's see those questions!