Chapter 49: Never Give Up
The woman was urgently sent into the surgery ward. Lying on the stretcher was a haggard and thin body. It was as if all the nutrients were absorbed into the bulging abdomen. Sweat rained down amidst the chaotic shakiness as she held onto tightly onto her husband’s hand.
“… name him Xiao Yu.”
During her pregnancy, the woman was troubled with nightmares every single night. In those dreams, the world had its sky hung low. She would be standing at the center of a bridge made of steel. Something was approaching her fast and furiously. At the other end of the bridge was a castle. An enormous python wrapped itself around the bridge’s pillar, followed by a nine-tailed fox whose body was covered in fiery red color. The leopard that was running at flashing speed, the unicorn whose shining in silvery glow in the sky… as well as many other beasts of different kinds but the woman couldn’t see clearly as they quickly flew past her as if she was invisible. She could sensed that a sinister evil force was awakening and it was waiting for them at the other end of that castle… she wanted to stop them from moving forward, because she knew that they could not stop that evil force.
At the end of the troop was a human shadow. He was riding a giant white canine speeding his way forward. That human’s appearance was sacred like a deity.
“DING DONG – DING DONG – “the bell rung at the top of the castle. The purple flowers scattered on the ground started to wither rapidly… the colors in the sky and the land began to change as the dark sinister glow started to spread throughout the entire world from the castle.
The sacred war had begun.
The Evil Source stood at the end of the heaven and land as he slowly opened his eyes. In that instant, his piercing gaze turned towards the woman –
The woman could hear her own tearful screaming…
They lived in a housing estate named “Tong Zi Lou”, just like how it was named, the entire house was designed tube-shaped; narrow and crude. They lived at the lowest level where there was no sunlight during the cold winter, dark and damp during the summer. The neighbors that lived above them would throw their garbage directly into their backyard very frequently. Flies would cover their curtains and when they opened their window, the rotting stench would enter the house together with the hot air.
That year, Gu Ting Yu was seven.
His mother was bedridden for many years. His father once sold wontons in the back streets, and opened a noodle stall. Now, he could barely manage a fast food restaurant on his own. Gu Ting Yu would get food from his father’s restaurant every day after he was released from school and then pack food back home for his mother.
“Xiao Yu.” The man who just turned thirty wore a pair of spectacles. He was tall and skinny with obvious dark circles below his eyes due to the years of fatigue. The man saw his young son walking over as he carried a dying stray kitten in his arms.
“Xiao Yu,” the man repeated as the steam from the wok caused him to sweat even more, “You get inside first, dad will get you a bowl with an extra poached egg.”
When that bowl of steaming hot beef noodles was served on the table, the man was shocked to find the stray kitten that was supposedly not moving already was now struggling to get up from his son’s arms, trying to lick the soup.
“Dad…” Gu Ting Yu’s face was visibly paler.
“Xiao Yu, I think, it would be better if you go and live with your great uncle.”
The young Gu Ting Yu stubbornly shook his head. The thin pale face had tears that didn’t belong to his age group. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Few years passed. During that period, the great uncle has always expressed interest in adopting the obedient Gu Ting Yu as he had no son of his own. But the offer was always rejected by Gu Ting Yu. The story that the Gu family was taking care of a lunatic woman spread like wildfire. The gaze when the neighbors saw Gu Ting Yu started to fill with differences and pity. The restaurant that Gu Ting Yu’s father was operating started to fail, the customers became lesser and the pressure soon forced the weak man to collapse.
Exactly ten years, Gu Ting Yu changed from a boy who couldn’t even reach the stove to a young man who could cook a decent meal for his parents.
When Gu Ting Yu got home, the dark walls were painted with deep red curses. The living room was chucked with kitchen ingredients and utensils that came from his father’s restaurant. The walkway was already narrow and there was a black, old bicycle parked at the side. The entire house was like a storeroom.
“Umm… umm…” the strange sound came from the bedroom.
Gu Ting Yu put down his bag and entered the room. In the room, a woman with messy hair was drawing on the wall with her lipstick. Those gorgeous words seemed like a weird charm. The woman mutters to herself then suddenly throws the lipstick away and screams.
“Mom!” Gu Ting Yu ran over and pulled the woman into his arms. The woman tried to break free like a caged beast. As the two struggled, the woman soon calmed down.
Gu Ting Yu laid the quiet woman onto the bed. Just when he wanted to pull up the blanket for her, he noticed the woman’s damp clothing.
The woman peed herself.
The sour stench soon filled the small environment. Gu Ting Yu carried his mother with his thin arms and placed her onto the yellow leather couch. Then he proceeded, as usual, by rolling up his sleeves as he tidied the stained bedding.
Water gushing sounds could be heard from the washroom as Gu Ting Yu put the bedding into a plastic pail. The harsh winter made the water icy cold. Gu Ting Yu squated in front of the pail and started washing. His hands already lost sensation due to the freezing temperature. The delicate, straight fingers were now covered with purplish red frostbite.
He heard the woman’s calling as Gu Ting Yu abruptly stood up. But because of the numbness from squatting too long, he falls onto the ground, toppling the pail as the dirty, soapy water splashes onto the floor.
But Gu Ting Yu didn’t care about all these; it has been way too long since he heard his mother’s clear voice calling him again.
The woman would occasionally regain her consciousness. She looked at the wall filled with eerie lipstick drawings then she hugged her knees in fear, “Xiao Yu… did I act up again?”
“You didn’t.” Gu Ting Yu hugged her, “It’s okay… it’s okay. You go change into a set of clean clothes, I’ll go make something nice to eat okay?”
The woman leaned against her son’s embrace as she choked up emotionally, unable to speak for a long time. Many years had passed, her son has already grown up so much.
After giving birth, Gu Ting Yu’s mother suddenly became mentally unstable due to unknown reasons. Very often, she would go insane. This kind of sickness would vary from light attacks to serious ones. As Gu Ting Yu grew older, the woman’s unconsciousness would drag on for longer periods of time.
“Xiao Yu, I don’t want to burden you anymore.”
“Mum, you’ll get better soon. I’ve applied for medical school. The teachers have already applied for the scholarship for me too.”
“Xiao Yu…” the woman hugged Gu Ting Yu tightly with her hands as she sobbed quietly, “Why don’t you feel dissatisfied? Why are you such an obedient child…”
Her son’s aloof appearance was a contrast to his deep emotional inner side. Once he understood the other party’s situation, he would do his best to forgive them. Such a pleasant son, how could she bear to let go off him?
Gu Ting Yu never allowed himself to act like a spoiled child… if there was anything in this world that this woman wanted to see, then it would be to see her own son show feelings like weakness and desires like how a normal child would.
“I am always dreaming. In those dreams, I feel like another person, a very powerful person.” The woman grabs onto Gu Ting Yu’s hand as she tries to recall her memories, “It’s like the world is coming to an end, Xiao Yu, I think I’m forgetting something really important.”
The cold icy gaze flashed through her mind. Pain tears through her mind as the woman covers her ears and shuts her eyes as she once again slips into confusion. She starts to struggle desperately as Gu Ting Yu pulls the woman firmly into his embrace. The shrill screaming echoed off the walls inside the tiny room.
Amidst the struggling, the woman’s nails scratched Gu Ting Yu’s cheeks making him frown painfully. But those small wounds cannot be compared to the heartache; these were nothing compared to it.
“Even when life becomes unbearable, even if the world’s end is coming, mom, I have never given up on you.”
A few shooting stars appeared in the night sky like the falling tears… Gu Ting Yu silently looked outside of the window and swore to himself, that everything would get better. Simply because he was alive, everything would have a chance of possibility.
[… I will not give up on any single life.]
“Do you know why the First God chose this human as the God’s Messenger?”
At the bottom of the cliff, the wind roared through the valley.
The dark green hair covered Huan Sheng’s eyes as he walked towards Gu Ting Yu. Then he continued with a hoarse voice, “That’s because, he’s the son of the First God.”
The sacred war that happened a thousand years ago, when the Evil Source and the First God fought, even though the Evil Source’s actual form was scattered, he continued to rest deep within the Twelve Palaces waiting for his revival. The First God fell into the distorted time and completely disappeared from this world. She lost her powers and memories, and turned into a normal human being in a different world.
Before the First God disappeared, she left a legacy that the God’s descendants abided for a thousand years:
[Before the Evil Source awakens, a God’s messenger will descend on this land. He will light up the hopes of humanity…]
The First God from a thousand years ago, she placed her God’s duty onto her own child so that he could save this world on behalf of her.
But the First God a thousand years later, when she was just a mother, her only wish was to protect her precious child.
T/N: Xiao Yu is a short form (affectionate kind) of GTY’s name, usually for chinese people, we add xiao, which means ‘little’ in front of our name when we want to call someone in an affectionate way. *hint* You’ll see this affectionate name calling again in the future chapter. 😉