Chapter 46: Gunshot Wound
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
“Mom.” He shouted again.
“Go away!” The woman was agitated by the word and shouted suddenly as she shook the boy’s hand off.
Little Li Sui was shocked, he reached out his hand again in a hurry to grab the rim of the woman’s skirt, “Mom, don’t leave me behind.”
“How many times have I told you? Don’t call me mom. Call me Aunt Li!” The woman glared angrily.
Little Li Sui was very scared, he didn’t understand why. She was his mother, so he called her “mom”. Everyone else had a mother, so why couldn’t he call his mother “mum”? But even if he was reluctant, he changed his words shyly, “Aunt Li.”
The woman seemed to be in good spirits after that and turned to the house. Little Li Sui trotted closely behind her.
This place was a huge traditional style complex with interconnected wooden buildings, it was a large place. A pond was in front the complex and a garden was behind it, in the middle was a tree with a trunk that had a circumference of three human arm-spans. The outermost part of the complex was surrounded by a tall wall, a dense and cold network of iron thorns atop the wall, making the house completely isolated from the outside world.
Li Sui had lived in the complex from the earliest moments of his memories, he remembered going outside was rare. Occasionally, he would go outside, but he was in a car and it was always with Mr. Xu.
Mr. Xu was a tall man in his fifties, he was a little fat, but always wore a suit that didn’t fit well, he looked like a man in an airtight bag.
When little Li Sui was still very young, Mr. Xu often came to see him. The man taught Li Sui how to read and write, bought him candies, gave him toys, and even took him out to see the lanterns. Those were Li Sui’s happiest childhood memory. Whenever the sun went down, little Li Sui would sit on the doorstep and wait for Mr. Xu to come pick him up.
In his eyes, although Mr. Xu was not as good-looking as other people’s father, he was more easygoing, he never forced Li Sui to do his homework, nor scolded him, he even took him on car rides. One time, when Mr. Xu came to pick him up, little Li Sui asked him in a tiny voice, “Are you my father?”
“I’m your father.”
“Then can I call you my father then?”
Mr. Xu smiled and said, “Yes”.
Little Li Sui slipped away from him and ran quickly in the front, he said, “I have a father!”
When he returned home that day, little Li Sui just couldn’t wait to tell his mother about it. Unexpectedly, when she heard it, she was furious. His mother threw all of his candies and toys into the lotus pond, even his favorite Monkey King action figure.
“If I hear that from you again, I’ll throw you in there too. Do you hear me?”
little Li Sui did not cry, but his tears were rolling in his eye sockets.
From that day onwards, he seldom saw Mr. Xu. He didn’t even come over for the New Years. Later, when he grew older and became more sensible. Li Sui heard fragments from the cooks working in the complex, he gradually pieced everything together to get the whole story.
His mother was a beauty in a remote town, and his father, Mr. Xu was a high-ranking official. When Mr. Xu accompanied another official on a visit to the town, he took a fancy to his mother. Mr. Xu already had a family at that time, but he was lonely and wanted to seek some excitement. He repeatedly hinted at the lady but had no results. So, at the end, he simply kidnapped his mother and locked her up in this complex, that continued for eight years.
Although his mother was not from a big city, she had a distinguished appearance and had dignity. Her family was neither powerful nor influential, so she could get angry and swallow her breath, she dared not voice out her anger. At first, she tried committing suicide, but she was always saved. Only to get more humiliation after retaliating. Later on, she gradually became tired, she just sat in the house in silence every day.
After around two years, Li Sui was born. He was born good-looking, with eyes like that of his mother’s. He had an adorable face, but for some reason was never loved by anyone working in the complex. In this walled-complex, besides Mr. Xu giving him a little warmth occasionally, no one wanted to be close to him, even his own mother thought of Li Sui as the proof of her humiliation.
Little Li Sui grew up to become six years old, growing in such a complicated environment. One day, the iron gate was smashed open. A large group of men in uniform rushed in, kicking down each and every door inside the house. At that time, Little Li Sui and his mother were in the backyard garden. Amidst the chaos, they heard some people outside shouting that official Xu had fallen, they were here to liquidate his assets and confiscate his dirty money.
All of a sudden, scores of people were in the backyard garden, everyone was hurryingly taking and moving things. Little Li Sui had never seen so many barbaric strangers running around before, so he was frightened. He did not even remember when his mother began to drag him out of the complex with her in the commotion. When Little Li Sui finally came to, they were already in a forest in the countryside.
It was getting dark, and little Li Sui ran for so long already, he was exhausted. little Li Sui tripped over the roots of a tree on the ground and fell down, feeling the sudden emptiness in her hands, his mother stopped and looked down at him.
It was around the time when people have lantern shows, the cold moonlight sipped through the gaps in the leaves, shining on both of their eyes. little Li Sui raised his head up from the ground with difficulty. When their eyes met, little Li Sui could see the intentions in his mother’s eyes, she didn’t want him anymore.
The next second, sounds of rapid footsteps echoed the forest. Looking at the person who fled alone in front of his eyes, an unspeakable fear rose in his heart. Almost instinctively, little Li Sui climbed up from the ground and chased her, he cried and ran.
little Li Sui was still so small, there was no way he could catch up with an adult so easily, he fell to the ground again.
little Li Sui cried till he was out of breath, he screamed with a hoarse voice, “… Mom!” He had no relatives, he only had his mother left, even if his mother didn’t treat him well, she was still his mother.
His voice echoed in the woods, when the woman in the distant heard the voice, she stopped suddenly and glared back at Li Sui fiercely.
little Li Sui was frightened and helpless, he couldn’t stop trembling. He lowered his head to wipe his tears, which was when he was knocked on the head. He was shocked, raising his head up, he saw his mother standing in front of him angrily. Her teeth were grinding so hard that little Li Sui could hear them.
His head was beaten hard again, “What did you call me? What did I say you should call me?”
little Li Sui was in a trance for a moment, he stammered and said, “Li… Aunt Li…”
“Hey, what’s going on over there? Are you kidnapping children?!” Two patrolling officers appeared on the side of the woods, they were probably attracted by the crying, and swung the flashlight over to them.
Both of them were shocked, thinking that someone was going to catch them. They escaped in confusion and dared not stay there any longer, so they left in a hurry.
They left bringing nothing, they had no money, no phone, and no ID card. Having been imprisoned for many years, Li Sui’s mother had long been out of touch with the world. She did not know how the world was now and whether she could turn to the police for help.
When the gate was broken, her first reaction was to flee, but after escaping, she realized that being imprisoned for eight years didn’t only apply physically, a wall was also gradually built around her heart.
To be safe, she decided not to go to the police but bring little Li Sui home with her.
Without money, she had to beg door to door to pay for the journey, for fear of being discovered by Xu’s family, she dared not go to crowded places. She only went to nearby villages and towns to seek food and travelling expenses. The people living there were mostly uneducated, they were traditional and conservative. Some men noticed her beauty and had evil ideas, they wanted to catch her to sell for money. Fortunately, several passing villagers rescued her.
Li Sui’s mother was frightened, she fled with little Li Sui overnight, not even daring to beg for money anymore. They walked along the route in her memories. When they passed through another village, all of their money was used up and they didn’t have food anymore. Li Sui’s mother was severely ill, she coughed all the time and could no longer walk.
Little Li Sui was scared and anxious, he went around the village asking for help. The barefoot doctor in the village was a nice person, he sympathized with little Li Sui and his mother. The doctor did a simple check-up on little Li Sui’s mother, upon checking, the doctor was shocked.
“This isn’t a simple cold, I think she might have something wrong in her lungs. I suggest you go get an X-ray from major cities,” The doctor said.
After hearing that Li Sui’s mother only shook her head, while little Li Sui said in a childish voice, “But we don’t have money.”
The doctor seemed to find this difficult as well, he pointed in a direction and said, “There are some people in the village buying blood, they buy blood with quite a high price. Maybe you can ask them about it?”
After hesitating a bit, Li Sui’s mother brought Li Sui to the selling booth with her. There was quite a line at the selling booth, mostly villagers from nearby places. This place was obviously unauthorised, they lacked even the most basic of hygienic precautions, the needles were often reused.
Even though she was isolated from the world for years, she still had basic public health knowledge. She was afraid of getting infected, but after asking around, everyone said there was no contagious disease outbreaks nearby. She only dared selling her blood after obtaining that information.
Technically, a patient like herself should not be selling blood here, but she couldn’t care about that now. If she waited any longer, they might just die here before they could ever reach home.
She got 400 Yuan for selling 600mL of blood, that bit of money was barely enough for road fares. Her gaze fell onto little Li Sui, he seemed to have sensed something and raised his arm up willingly.
The fake doctor doing the aspiration looked at little Li Sui in shock and said, “Aren’t this kid too young, are you sure you want me to take his blood?”
She hardened his heart and said, “Yes.”
Another person who was responsible for aspirating blood looked their way and said, “You need money that badly? We’ll do an examination on him first, if anything happens, we aren’t responsible.”
After that little Li Sui was brought into a dark room, there were a few people inside, both male and female. Throughout the whole process little Li Sui was in a trance, he only knew that the people hooked him up to some kind of machines, he also heard some weird dripping sounds for his whole duration in the room.
After the examinations, the fake doctor aspirated 100mL of blood from little Li Sui. He began feeling dizzy after that, his mother took the money and picked little Li Sui up, bringing him to have some food.
After resting for a night, they were planning on hiring a motorcycle near the entrance of the village. Just when they got to the village entrance, they were stopped by a pair of masked couple, they were clearly not good people.
“Will you sell your kid?” The man asked directly.
His mother instinctively pulled little Li Sui closer to herself and asked, “Who are you people?”
“You don’t have to care who we are, we are just here to ask if you will sell your son to us. We’ll give you a million Yuan.”
Li Sui’s mother was in shock, her hand loosened.
little Li Sui immediately grabbed his mother’s hand back, afraid that she would sell him off. He opened his innocent eyes wide and said in a meek voice, “Mum.”
Li Sui’s mother glanced at the boy, though she didn’t love the child all that much, she even thought of him as an obstacle in her life, when it came down to this, she still hesitated.
“Not selling.” She pushed the two people away, picked up little Li Sui and ran.
Hiding and fleeing the whole trip, they finally arrived at their home. When they opened the door to the house though, they found that the people inside were gone, they had moved away. She only knew after asking an old lady in the house, the village got flooded three years ago, the house and the farmland were all soaked. In order to survive, her family moved away to the city for work, as for where they were right now, even the old lady didn’t know.
She was in despair, she had hope the entire way of her journey. The only hope she had was to reunite with her family, now that her only wish was scattered, she just couldn’t hold on, she fell to the ground.
“Aunt Li,” Li Sui said as he immediately went to support her.
She looked at Li Sui with empty eyes, then the despair in her eyes turned into anger, her hands were shaking. Li Sui was instinctively scared, he moved backwards a few steps. Her disease was never healed, after getting this emotional bomb, she just got worse. She spitted out some blood and fainted.
little Li Sui was extremely frightened, he had no idea what to do. Luckily, an old man who was carrying wood on his back passed by, little Li Sui and the man carried her to the aid centre nearby. The doctor stationed there was a volunteer doctor from the city, he was experienced. After examining her condition, he said with a grim expression, “It’s lung cancer.”
After hearing that, all the adults gasped, little Li Sui was young, he had no idea what that was, but he knew how to observe people’s expression. He felt something rang in his heart, he asked the doctor in a hurry, “Is my mum going to die?”
The doctor didn’t answer his question directly, he said, “Prepare some money and go to a major city to get treatment, maybe she can live for a few years more.”
The adults there looked at each other, they were more than willingly to help move the lady here, helping people with just some hard work was fine. When it came to money though, all of them were not willing. No one could really blame them for being like that, this disease was basically an infinitely deep hole, it was also the one-way trip kind. The village flooded in recent years, the rich ones would have moved away already, the ones who remained were all poor themselves, no one had the extra money to help them.
Li Sui’s mother lived in the aid centre for two days, she really could not pay her stay, so she moved out after that. Luckily the old lady in her old house was kind, she tidied up two rooms for them to live in.
From that day onwards, little Li Sui learned to cook and take care of his mother. Before the sun rises, little Li Sui would already be up the mountain picking up wood for burning. Then at night, little Li Sui would go to the farmlands to help the farmers pick up the fallen paddies to earn some rice. Those days only lasted for a short while, his mother couldn’t hold out anymore, without the help of medicines, the disease bare its fangs. In just two months, she lost 30 kg of weight, even her face caved in.
little Li Sui watched as her turned thinner and thinner, he knew that this couldn’t go on. Just as he was thinking about that, someone came to him.
Li Sui stared at the man who had his face covered in scars, he remembered that this person was the man who stopped his mother and him at the village entrance before. little Li Sui instinctively got cautious, he said, “You are a bad person.”
“Kid, you are correct,” The man said with an odd accent, he continued after a short pause, “I’m a bad person, but I have money. Do you want to come with me, if you do, your mother can get treatment.”
little Li Sui was tempted, he hesitated for a bit, then asked, “Other people have kids too, why do you want me?”
The man with scars and holding a cigarette laughed, thinking how this kid was smart in his heart, then he said, “I definitely am not interested in following you all the way here, so I’ll tell you the truth. There’s someone rich who wants your heart, if you follow me, you’ll be dead, but I can promise you that your mother will get treatment in the best hospital in the city.”
little Li Sui was suspicious of him, he wasn’t stupid. Who knew whether this person would treat his mother’s illness once he was gone.
The man seemed to have noticed his concern, he said, “Don’t worry, I’ll do what I promised, it’s not my money anyways. Everything is paid by the boss, he said that it’s your choice, you must want to yourself and he’s not doing anything to harm people.”
little Li Sui hesitated, he didn’t answer right away. The man was not in a hurry either, he just sat aside with his cigarette and waited for him. Around the time when the sky turned dark, little Li Sui finally made a decision, “I’ll go with you.”
That night, little Li Sui got on the man’s car, he saw people moving his mother into the hospital with his own two eyes as his hands clenched into fists.
“Can we go yet?”
The car bumped, shaking sideways as it moved on the road, giving out sharp exhaust noises. little Li Sui was anxious and homesick, he turned his head back again and again, but the car did not stop. He saw his homeland slowly disappearing from his view.
After that was days of travelling, the man drove him all the way to a city hospital. After getting out of the car, a doctor did a detailed body check-up on him, he arranged for him to living in the hospital for a few days.
One day, little Li Sui woke up from his nap, he heard people talking outside. little Li Sui listened to their conversation carefully, he could vaguely hear something like “he’s a match” and “he’s too young, so we suggest raising him in a good facility first”.
little Li Sui felt like they were talking about him, just as he thought, the next day, a bunch of people came to the hospital. They finished the papers for his discharge and sent him to an orphanage.
There were a lot of children in the orphanage, most of them there were deaf or mute. At the beginning, little Li Sui tried conversing with them, but slowly, he realized that they had no idea what he was talking about, it was as if he was isolated.
From the oddness at the beginning to getting completely accustomed. Perhaps it was because he lacked love growing up, now that he was with all these deaf and mute children, he found life simpler. Except for not being able to go out freely, his day to day life was quite good, he could basically get whatever he asked for, his food and clothes were all prepared.
Half-a-year had past, little Li Sui learned a lot in the orphanage, he was also a lot healthier than before. Even so, little Li Sui had still never seen “the boss” the scarred man spoke of, no one was here to take his heart. He was just left in the orphanage, it was as if he had been forgotten completely.
However, the peaceful days finally came to an end on a rainy night with lightning covering the sky.
That night, little Li Sui was about to go to bed. All of a sudden, the door was opened and in came a black shadow. The shadow grabbed him and covered his mouth, it pulled him out the room and ran after that.
little Li Sui was scared, he was about to struggle, then his nose began taking in the familiar smell of the person, he froze, “Mum?”
“Mum? Is that you, mum?” He asked as he ran with the person.
The person pulling Li Sui didn’t answer, the person just continued pulling him out to the rain. little Li Sui instinctively trusted the person, he followed close behind the shadow. They ran towards the exit under the roaring thunders and the bright lightning. The usually packed security room was empty, they just walked out the door smoothly without any obstacles. When they reached the side of the river, the person in front turned back to slap little Li Sui’s face, she shouted, “You ran out somewhere for half-a-year and you still dare call me you mother?”
little Li Sui was slapped hard and fell into a trance, rainwater slid down his hair, he felt a burning sensation on his face. He even forgot to cry, when he looked up at his mother, he just felt wronged.
Above their heads, there were lightnings and thunders. Li Sui’s mother was panting, she panted and panted, then she cried. She hugged Li Sui tightly and said, “I searched for you for half-a-year……”
Sobs went into Li Sui’s ears, he was shocked, he thought his mother would never look for him. After all, in all their years living together, she had shown nothing but hate towards him.
After the two of them tidied up their emotions, a round-faced man appeared beside the river with them, he was holding something. The something was wrapped in a piece of cloth, from the shape, it looked like a weapon.
Li Sui’s mother realised that something was wrong, “What are you doing? Didn’t you say you’d help me find my son?”
The man laughed creepily, he said, “Yes, I helped you find your son, without you, why would he ever get out of the orphanage, and he would never have left the Lu family’s turf, and would never just happen to fall into my hands.”
“What are you going to do, you——”
Before she finished her sentence, the man unwrapped the thing in his hand. A lightning slashed down, shining on the object in his hand, it was a gun.
“Idiot woman, I said I’d help you and you really believed me.” The round-faced man pulled the safety off, then aimed the gun at Li Sui, “Kid, sorry. It’s not that I want to kill you, but your heart is a threat to us. I guess we will have to take out our hate for the Lu family on you.”
After he finished, the man was going to pull the trigger. Li Sui’s mother’s eyes widened, suddenly she was filled with strength and she went over to the man, pushing him away and fighting with him. She said as she pushed the man, “Quickly, run away. There’s a wooden boat, run!”
little Li Sui’s brain was chaotic, his little head couldn’t process so many information at once. He only managed to follow his mother’s instructions, he ran towards the river like his life depended on it.
Li Sui just got to the river and untied the string tying the wooden boat to the shore, that was when he heard a sharp gunshot. little Li Sui turned his head around slowly to see his mother falling to the ground, she didn’t budge anymore, blood trickled out of her body, then got washed off by the rainwater.
Seeing that, little Li Sui didn’t even know how to close his eyelids anymore. He seemed to have forgotten how to feel sad, his limbs were stiff as he climbed onto the wooden boat, he pushed himself out to the river with his legs. The rain was heavy, so the water level of the river was high. After the rope was untied, the boat flowed out almost immediately.
The round-faced man ran to the river with a scary expression, he stood at the riverside, aiming his gun at Li Sui’s head and was about to shoot. Just then, a car drove to the shore at high speed, an armed man got out of the car. He shot the round-faced man’s leg almost exactly when he was shooting at Li Sui.
The round-faced man shook, he lost his aim and the stray bullet hit Li Sui. Li Sui was shot at his waist, his whole body shook, then he fell face down onto the boat.
The rain was still falling, heartlessly hitting Li Sui’s head. The boat floated across the river, Li Sui could hear the commotion at the riverside. little Li Sui opened his mouth, he used all the strength he had left to turn his face around. Before his consciousness faded, Li Sui looked at the riverside one last time, in the leading car, he saw a face, a young and extremely familiar face—— that face was with no doubt belonged to Lu Shang, who was in his teens.
Stimulated by the scene, Li Sui was shocked, he suddenly woke up from his dreams and his eyes flung open.
The voice in his ear became clearer, Li Sui was panting and he was covered in sweat. He heard Dr. Leung asking him something, he was also patting his forehead.
Li Sui lifted his hand up to his own face, only to find it covered in tears. He didn’t have the leisure to deal with that, he grabbed Leung ZiRui’s white lab coat and asked in a shaky voice, “He knows, doesn’t he? Lu Shang, he…… knew all along who I was, didn’t he?”