Chapter 4: Secret Uncle Zhao
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Wen Yu didn’t see Zhao Zheng until Friday. Every time he went home and saw the black umbrella hanging on the wall, he felt a little stuffy.
It was strange that this man appeared suddenly and then disappeared just as quickly.
On Saturday morning, he received a WeChat message from his mother, reminding him to visit the uncle who came out of nowhere. Wen Yu used the excuse that he had a tutoring class today and could only go tomorrow. As a result, just after he hung up the phone, the tutor’s mother called and asked for leave to say that there was something going on today and the whole family was not at home. She asked if the class could be changed to tomorrow.
After hanging up, Wen Yu was a little depressed. He was going to put it off. Maybe his mother would forget that he needed to visit the uncle. But now it seemed that he should go as soon as possible and get it over with.
Today, there was a heavy haze. Wen Yu went downstairs wearing a mask and a scarf. He bought two kinds of fruits. He searched for the address on the mobile phone and decided to not take a taxi and instead took the bus.
Wen Yu would take a taxi when he was in a hurry, today he thought about how he didn’t want to go and got on the bus with the two kinds of fruits. 1
There were many people on the bus this Saturday morning. There were still people eating meat buns on the bus. The smell intermingled and the car was stuffy and crowded the entire way. Wen Yu’s face was white when he got off the bus. He had been retching silently for a long time. He felt more comfortable after drinking half a bottle of ice water. He didn’t want to take the bus any longer. He directly stopped the next taxi he saw.
Half an hour later, he finally arrived at Yanxi Villa, it was surrounded by Qianling Mountain and Qinglong lake, 2 with a quiet natural scenery and pleasant environment.
Wen Yu stood still for the first time. He took out his mobile phone and repeatedly confirmed that the address was correct.
“Here we are.”
He ended up at the deepest garden villa, it’s European style iron gates were closed. Beyond them was a curving road, and between the green trees, he could see a corner of the villa. Wen Yu paid to get out of the car and stood outside the iron gate. The shock in his eyes had now been replaced with retreat. He wanted to give up.
He stood for a few seconds and turned to look at the taxi.
The iron door opened slowly. Behind it, someone called out, “Master Wen, please come in.”
Wen Yu turned his head. The one who called out was a middle-aged man in a Chinese style jacket. He was tall and thin, and his skin was an unhealthy white and he had short hair. Now he bowed. When he looked up, his voice was a little sharp and deliberately lowered. He said, “I’m the butler. Let me lead the way for you.”
“You know me?”
The butler smiled, took the fruit bag in Wen Yu’s hand with both hands, and said, “Mr. Wen sent your photo to us earlier. Let’s talk about it later.”
Wen Yu saw that the big black iron gate was open, and the inside was deep and quiet, like a black coffin. He was hesitant, but his feet didn’t listen to the order from his brain and he followed the butler in. The iron gate behind him creaked as it closed again. His heart was shaking, and he felt it was strange here, but he couldn’t say anything.
Today, the sunshine was not very abundant. The trees here were flourishing, which blocked out any light. There was not a lot of sunlight left, making the courtyard particularly dark.
Wen Yu looked at the butler in front of him. His back was mixed with the shadows of the trees. He felt everything was a bit gloomy.
Soon they arrived at the gate of the villa, the wooden door opened, and out came a seventeen to eighteen-year-old girl with long and thin willow-leaf eyebrows, an oval face, and very white skin. He saw that she was also bowing low with her head down.
Wen Yu finally realized why it felt weird. The butler and the young girl made him feel like he had walked into an illusion. It was not like he was in modern civilized society at all. The butler called him “Master” and the girl’s attitude was too respectful. Which nanny would do this in modern times?
He was thinking, when the butler’s unique voice said, “Master Wen, please come with me, sir is waiting for you.”
Wen Yu actually wanted to leave. Since he received his mother’s call to visit this uncle, it was weird. Was this a triad gang? While thinking about it, he heard the butler say, “Master, 3 master Wen is here.”
He looked up and saw the man on the sofa. He was stunned, then he said happily, “Zhao Zheng! How are you?” Because he was so happy, the curly hair on his head also jumped up. Thinking of today’s goal, his apricot eyes stared at him, “Are you the uncle?”
On the sofa, it was the Zhao Zheng that Wen Yu had been looking for all week. He sat on the sofa leisurely and had a picture beside himself. Wen Yu naturally forgot his past thought and now felt that like was full of novelty and fate. Unexpectedly, the uncle he didn’t want to see was Zhao Zheng.
“Hungry?” Zhao Zheng looked at the butler and said, “Dinner.”
The butler nodded to get ready.
Wen Yu was hungry now, but it was more of a stomach problem. He said, “I’ve never heard of Uncle Zhao. When you left last time, you forgot to grab your umbrella and give me your contact information. I’m going to call you Uncle Zhao now. It’s amazing.”
“I only knew it by chance, too.” Zhao Zheng handed a teacup to Wen Yu and said, “Last time after I separated from you, our company’s business was in Yuncheng, and I happened to meet Mr. Wen, your father. I only knew that there was such a distant relationship between us after chatting. It’s really amazing.”
Wen Yu drank half a cup of hot tea and thought it was amazing too. The butler nearby said that the food was ready.
“Eat first.” Zhao Zheng got up and Wen Yu followed him to the table.
There were plenty of dishes, including meat and vegetables. Wen Yu had a southern taste and liked lighter and sweeter foods. There was a pineapple sparerib dish on the table, which was a golden orange color. 4 Zhao Zheng couldn’t help laughing when he saw Wen Yu swallowing saliva after looking at the dish. He looked serious and cold, but the smile was special, which fascinated Wen Yu.
“You will like it.” Zhao Zheng grabbed a sparerib with his chopsticks and put it in Wen Yu’s bowl.
Wen Yu took a bite, the taste was sour, sweet, and delicious with pineapple fragrance. He nodded his head and gave it to Zhao Zheng, “You can try it, it’s delicious.”
“I don’t like sweets.” Zhao Zheng explained.
At the end of the meal, he moved to the living room again. The butler served tea and a fruit plate, and said with a smile, “It was brought by the young master, sir. Have a taste.”
Wen Yu bought apples and grapes. The apples were cut into stars and placed in a shingled stack. The grapes were still filled with juice. He pinched one and found that the seed inside had been removed. He could not help looking at the butler thinking that even eating fruit had become a delicacy. He didn’t know what to say.
Zhao Zheng ate two apple slices, nodded his head, and said in a cold voice, “Good.”
The butler, with a happy smile on his face, hurriedly retired.
Wen Yu gnawed at an apple star and looked at the back of the butler with puzzled eyes. Zhao Zheng next to him wiped his hands with a towel and said, “He has followed me for a long time. He is old-fashioned and will not change his mind.”
Wen Yu didn’t think much about it.
After eating the fruit, Zhao Zheng saw Wen Yu had become sleepy and said, “Go to a room and sleep. You are welcome here.”
“It’s too much trouble.” Wen Yu was sorry. He couldn’t sleep in someone’s house on his first visit.
“It’s no problem. I have a room for you.” Zhao Zheng got up and said, “I’ll take you to the room and have a look. Just tell me if there is something you don’t like.”
When they got to the second floor, Wen Yu found that he had not seen anyone else except the butler and nanny since he entered the door. He asked, “Uncle Zhao, is there no one else?”
“I’m the only one at home.” Zhao Zheng opened the door.
Wen Yu stood at the door and saw it. He couldn’t help saying, “Isn’t this room too big?” There was a terrace, cloakroom, and the bedroom. Now the sun had come out and sprinkled rays all over the room.
“It’s for you.”
“Me?” Wen Yu couldn’t believe it. He thought it was too exaggerated.
Zhao Zheng nodded, “I have no relatives. If you have time, you can often come here to play. Treat it as your own home.” Then he rubbed Wen Yu’s head and said, “Go and take a nap.”
Wen Yu couldn’t sleep now, but Zhao Zheng had closed the door and left.
He turned around the room and found that the cloakroom was full of clothes. At first sight, he could tell that they were his size. Until he lay on the bed, he was full of starchy thoughts about him and Zhao Zheng and realized that he had only met three times now, and the other side was very kind to him. If he was a girl, he could think of some pink plots, but he was a boy, and the other side was also frank with him, but it was strange that he could be nice to him for no reason.
Was it true that Uncle Zhao was a distant relative?
Wen Yu didn’t believe it. He fell asleep thinking of this like an obsession.
It was evening when he woke up. It was dark outside the window and the room was heated. He woke up and stepped on the wooden floor barefoot. There was water on the entrance room table outside and when he drank it, he found it was warm. He was thirsty and went downstairs in slippers.
The first floor was full of lights and Zhao Zheng was reading a book. When he came down, he closed the book and put it on the table. Wen Yu saw that the book was a history book.
“If you are not hungry, let’s go out for a walk first.” Zhao Zheng said this and the butler had already taken out a coat. Zhao Zheng took it and the butler grabbed a coat for Wen Yu as well, and Zhao Zheng helped him put it on. Wen Yu was so scared that he quickly waved his hand and went out with Zhao Zheng.
Even though the air was fresh, it was cold and the yard was lit up brightly. They walked back along the path, and Wen Yu found that it was really big here. In such a place like Beijing, where there was no land and no money, such a big villa was worth a lot.
He was really curious about Zhao Zheng now. He couldn’t help but look up at the man at his side.
“Do I have flowers on my face?” Zhao Zheng asked.
“No.” Wen Yu quickly turned his head and did not look askance again. After meeting his eyes, he couldn’t help but say, “I just think Uncle Zhao is very special. He seems to have some secrets.”
He said this and then heard Zhao Zheng’s deep laughter. “What’s going on in your head?”
Wen Yu was a bit embarrassed when he was teased. He also thought that his imagination might be too much.
After a round trip through the garden, they went back to the room and the dining room was ready for dinner. It was clear porridge and a few small dishes. Wen Yu was hungry and his appetite returned.
After having dinner, Wen Yu thought of going back. He found that he had been with Uncle Zhao for a day, and was very comfortable. He was a bit happy.
“It’s late. I’ll send you back tomorrow.” Zhao Zheng added, “Just accompany me.”
Wen Yu heard a trace of solitude from the words. He nodded and agreed to stay for one night without thinking.
The author has something to say:
I stewed pears yesterday, and I want to eat them again today…
It’s really hard to lose weight in winter.
- In China, it is very common and an old practice to gift fruit to the elderly or anyone. Usually, it is the type of gift one brings when going to another’s house or for a holiday. Most fruit in China has a different symbolism when gifting it. Such as pears. Giving pears is a big no-no. The Chinese word for ‘pear’ (梨; lí) sounds the same as ‘to separate’ or ‘to part from’ (离; lí), so giving pears indicates that you hope the recipient’s family will separate (in death or divorce). If you’d like to check out more meanings behind different fruit, check out this website: http://www.flavorandfortune.com/dataaccess/article.php?ID=27
- Qianling Mountain is an inner-city mountain located at Guiyang, Guizhou, China. The mountain’s name refers to Qian, which is the short name of Guizhou province. As an inner-city mountain, its attractions include a temperate forest and lake.
- The master here used is 主子 which can also mean Your Majesty.
- Braised Pineapple Spare Ribs