Chapter 35: Duck Leg Combo MeaL
Translated by Yan of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
When there were still three days remaining, Yang Xiao fled. In reality, there wasn’t anywhere he could go, but he had already been scared out of his wits by that person’s call. He kept feeling as if staying at home was just sitting around waiting for his death. Holding the thought that perhaps he could escape if he left, he ran away.
By the time Zhao XueMei followed him out, there was nobody there outside anymore.
Zhao XueMei was both startled and afraid, and she couldn’t think of where Yang Xiao could go during this kind of time at all.
Actually, there were only a few people who knew of Yang Xiao’s situation right now. Yang Xiao was afraid of exposing the address of his house. Even when Zhao XueMei had gone out to borrow money, she didn’t say exactly why, so where else could Yang Xiao go right now.
Zhao XueMei was crying so hard that she was gasping for air. The continuous stress and not eating properly for several days finally was too much for Zhao XueMei to bear, and she fainted.
After Yang Xiao left, he also discovered that there was simply nowhere he could go. But he didn’t want to go back, because as long as he went back he would remember the call that those people gave. His strained mental state was already about to collapse.
Yang Xiao tried hard to calm down and think of a place where he could hide. After thinking for quite a while, he actually couldn’t come up with a single place. All his former friends were merely drinking buddies, and he didn’t have a single one that would sincerely help him. No friends, he couldn’t go to relatives’ houses either. Yang Xiao wandered around aimlessly for a while before he finally went to a very unremarkable internet café and holed up in there.
Yang Xiao had already become someone who was frightened easily because of his past experiences. He would be scared out of his mind if the wind so much blew or the grass rustled. His mental state had been strained for too long, almost to the point where he couldn’t handle it any longer. If he heard the sound of the phone, he would look around nervously. Finally, he really couldn’t take it any longer and he put in earphones before he played some loud music. At last, amidst the chaos, he closed his eyes and fell asleep.
He holed up for an entire two days without taking a single step outside. He sat in the corner, eating instant noodles, drinking mineral water, muddling along to the point that he didn’t act the least bit how a human should. However, Yang Xiao did feel quite relieved. As long as those people couldn’t find him, he was safe.
During those few days, he didn’t call home either. Zhao XueMei was worried to death, but he didn’t even think of giving Zhao XueMei a call to inform her of his safety.
Zhao XueMei woke up in the hospital. Yang JianGuo sat silently beside her.
Zhao XueMei’s eyes grew red the moment she saw him. She grabbed Yang JianGuo’s clothes. “Where’s Xiao Xiao? Have you seen Xiao Xiao!”
Yang JianGuo shook his head. “Xiao Xiao was with you the entire time. How would I have seen him?”
Zhao XueMei almost fainted again. When she saw that it was already the second day at noon and that there were only two days remaining, but Xiao Xiao had disappeared, Zhao XueMei finally knew what it felt like to have a knife being twisted in her heart. She was about to pull out the IV from her hand when she was stopped by Yang JianGuo. “Where are you going? You’re still receiving the injection.”
Zhao XueMei slapped Yang JianGuo in the face. “I don’t need you to care about me! Xiao Xiao is gone, but you’re still in the mood to sit here and talk to me about that stuff? Didn’t you stop caring about us? I’m telling you, if Xiao Xiao has some unexpected accident, I’ll hound your Yang family forever!!”
Yang JianGuo was slapped completely by Zhao XueMei, but he didn’t say anything. It seemed like he had resumed his previous ‘don’t-fight-back-if-beaten, don’t-talk-back-if-scolded’ temperament. But something was still different. He released Zhao XueMei’s hand and said, “Let’s tell the police. Continuing like this is no solution.”
His calm and collected appearance made it seem like what he was saying was true.
Zhao XueMei shrieked, “Even a vicious tiger won’t eat its cubs! Yang JianGuo, are you trying to push Xiao Xiao into hell!! How did I not know you were this kind of person before!”
Zhao XueMei hit him and threw a fit, but Yang JianGuo didn’t say a single word. Once Zhao XueMei finished releasing her temper, Yang JianGuo said, “There are still two days left. During the past few days, I’ve already scoured all the places I can, and I’ve borrowed all that I can borrow. Didn’t you also put the house up for sale? Nobody wants it, you’re selling it so hastily and you also want so much cash, who can give it to you so fast? Xiao Xiao has already been so frightened that he’s lost his rationality and he’s run out to hide on his own, but how long can he hide? If those people are truly lawless individuals who are ruthless and vicious, do you think they won’t come looking? Do you want to see Xiao Xiao live like this for the rest of his life?”
Zhao XueMei didn’t listen to his explanation. “I don’t care I don’t care! I don’t even know where Xiao Xiao is right now, what will you do if they find out you’ve reported to the police? Do you want to hound Xiao Xiao to death? Why didn’t you go to gather the money!! Why didn’t you go ask for some from your father!!”
Yang JianGuo didn’t say anything else, but once Zhao XueMei felt like she got to the main point of the argument, there was nowhere to release the feelings pent up inside her. She could only release them all on Yang JianGuo, while the subject centered on Old Man Yang.
Zhao XueMei repeated herself for a long time before she finally stopped. When she saw that Yang JianGuo didn’t respond the entire time, she pushed his shoulders. “Why aren’t you saying anything?!”
Yang JianGuo fished out a card from his bag and placed it in Zhao XueMei’s hand. “This is the money I’ve borrowed during the past few days. Everything that I could sell has been sold. In total, there’s 300,000. Since you aren’t willing to report to the police, you can take this money. See if they can extend the deadline a few days. I’ve already finished writing the divorce contract, and I left it in the house. Whenever you want to sign it, you can; I don’t want anything from the house. Xiao Xiao has already grown up as well, and he’ll become someone who will get married soon. It’s best if you don’t spoil him anymore. We’ve all played a role in creating his current temperament. I’m leaving now, take care of yourself.”
Yang JianGuo said a whole bunch of stuff before standing up and walking outside on his own. Zhao XueMei remained in her original position, stunned, not even remembering to go and stop him. What’s more, this entire time she had thought that Yang JianGuo had only brought up divorce because he was furious after what Old Man Yang had said. Only now did she realize that Yang JianGuo was serious.
There was still remaining warmth on her hand, but Zhao XueMei didn’t even have the tears to cry anymore.
Yang Xiao hid in the internet café for two more days without any problems. With no abnormalities, he finally relaxed a little, and the feeling that hiding like this wasn’t all that bad either slowly rose in his heart. Perhaps those people only knew by chance where his house was. Now that he was hiding, they wouldn’t be able to find him.
On the last day at noon, Yang Xiao finally ordered some takeout from one of the menus stuck in the internet café: a duck leg combo meal, a Shaxian delicacy. After eating instant noodles for several days, he wanted to throw up just from the smell of it. After he finally relaxed, he remembered at last that he should contact Zhao XueMei. Most importantly, he didn’t bring a lot of money when he left the house, so now he no longer had any.
(t/n: shaxian (or sha county) is an area of Fujian known for their snacks/delicacies)
Zhao XueMei felt apprehensive for numerous days before Yang Xiao finally called her. When she heard about how Yang Xiao had lived outside during the past few days, she felt so distressed that she kept crying, but Yang Xiao interrupted the sound of her sobbing quite impatiently. “Stop crying, I don’t dare to go outside right now, so send me some money.” He thought a bit before he spoke again. “Don’t come yourself. Be a bit more careful and find someone to send me the money, you must not be found out by someone. Okay?”
Zhao XueMei nodded. “Okay, okay. I’ll go now.”
Unfortunately, before Zhao XueMei’s money could arrive, Yang Xiao was caught by them head-on in the internet café.
The man held the takeout box in his hand, and he was followed by a horde of people who didn’t have good intentions just from the look of them. He looked at Yang Xiao before he crooked the corner of his mouth. “Xiao Zi, you’ve really made me look all over. Do you still remember what I told you when you left? It seems like your memory isn’t very good, eh? Duck leg meal? You’re still living quite well, aren’t you? Big bro hasn’t eaten at all yet, you know? Let’s eat together?!”
Yang Xiao’s pupils shrank, and he pedaled backwards in fear. But he was blocked by people in front of him, and behind him was the wall. There was simply nowhere he could go.
He was hoisted up by the arms by a few people, and Yang Xiao finally started to howl like a pig on its way to slaughter. “Save me! Save me! Mom, hurry and come save me!”
Even though there were still a few people in the internet café, nobody dared to look over in this kind of situation, never mind saving him.
Yang Xiao was dragged away just like that in front of everybody. By the time Zhao XueMei arrived, only the frightened, unsteady bystanders were left.
When Zhao XueMei heard that Yang Xiao was taken away by a group of gangsters, she was so scared she almost passed out. Under everyone else’s reminders, she finally called the police, hands ice-cold, but more of that would come later.
Yang Xiao shouted and sobbed loudly the entire way there. The man seemed to find him annoying, so he smacked him viciously on the head once before Yang Xiao finally passed out from the pain.
Once he woke again, it was because someone splashed water in his face. He was bound against a pillar, and the man who he had once called his brother was standing in front of him.
“You’re awake?” There was a cigarette in the man’s mouth. He narrowed his mouth and sucked in a breath before he spat the smoke out into Yang Xiao’s face. “If you’re awake, then stop pretending to be dead. Tell me directly, where’s the money?”
Yang Xiao was so afraid that he was shaking. If he could’ve, he would’ve kneeled down and kowtowed to the man already. “Bro, bro, I’m begging you, let me go. My – my mom is thinking of a way to get the money, call her, she’ll definitely give it to you!! I’m begging you, let me go.”
“Let you go? What’ll happen to my money then? Your family’s house hasn’t been sold up until now, your mom will have the money to give me?” The man produced a knife out of nowhere, and he fiddled with it in his hand. Yang Xiao’s eyes never left the knife, extremely afraid that if his attention slipped it would end up somewhere in his body.
“Xiao Zi, I gave you ten days’ worth of time. Tell me, what did you do during that time? What’s more, you even hid? What? Do you think I’m easy to trick?” The man changed the topic, and his tone of voice also because fierce. He twirled the knife twice in his hand before he pressed it against Yang Xiao’s face.
Yang Xiao started to squeal loudly at once. “Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me! I don’t want to die yet, I’m begging you, don’t kill me!”
The man laughed. “Why would I kill you? I would have to shoot you for that. At the most, I’ll just make a few slices on your body and sell your kidneys so you can return the debt, that’s all. Relax, you won’t die.” As he spoke, he jabbed the sharp tip of the knife against Yang Xiao’s chest, poking it a tiny bit into the flesh.
“Ah!!!” The abrupt pain made Yang Xiao start sobbing loudly all at once as he trembled, but there was nowhere he could retreat to. He watched as the tip of the knife slowly stabbed inward, and Yang Xiao was in so much pain that he felt like he would rather die on the spot.
“This is nothing. If the money doesn’t come today, you’ll be in even more pain tomorrow.”
Yang Xiao finally couldn’t endure it any more and lose control of his bladder.
The man frowned and lost the mood to scare him immediately. “So gross. The phone is here. No matter what way you come up with, you have to return the money today, or else…”
Yang Xiao’s pained consciousness didn’t clear up, and his mind was filled with: money, money, where can I get money. Then, a light bulb went off in his head. “I, I know where there’s money…”
When he remembered Old Man Yang’s aged face and what he said not long ago, Yang Xiao finally clenched his teeth. “My grandpa has money! He loves me a lot! Go ask him for it! He definitely has it!”
The man narrowed his eyes. “Your grandpa?”
“Yes, he’s on ChaoYang Street! His name is Yang CongJun!”
The man patted the knife, which was dyed with a bit of blood, against Yang Xiao’s pale face. “Selling out your own grandpa just because of a tiny bit of pain. You’re really something. But I don’t care that much either. If I can’t get the money from your grandpa, then you can just wait for me to slice open your stomach.”
A flash of freeing light flashed through Yang Xiao’s eyes. Even though he clearly knew that these people weren’t good people, he still sold out Old Man Yang. Yang Xiao closed his eyes and continuously excused himself from guilt in his mind. They only wanted money, that was all, as long as his grandpa gathered the money and gave it to them, they shouldn’t hurt him. In any case, his grandpa didn’t want them anymore either. He didn’t do anything wrong, he didn’t do anything wrong! He wanted to live! He didn’t want to die!
(t/n: can he get any more despicable lmao)