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 by Gale Is Not a Puppet

Chinese Information: 楚天以南 by 大风不是木偶 (dà fēng bú shì mù ǒu)

Novel Status in Country of Origin: 108 Chapters (Complete)

Translator: Fefe

Editor: Addis

~~~~Brought to you by ExR~~~~


Tang Heng gets into trouble while playing in a band and meets Li Yuechi, who comes to his rescue. As they get to know each other, Tang Heng falls in love with Li Yuechi despite their polar opposite family backgrounds, but Li Yuechi is imprisoned for stabbing Tang Heng’s uncle. Six years later, Tang Heng is now a university teacher. He’s reunited with Li Yuechi again during a poverty alleviation project and the truth of what happened back then is revealed little by little…

Tang Heng witnesses the cruelty and reality of the world and the dark side of people. He suffers from the blow brought by the truth but never forgets the original heart and faces it bravely… Through the main character’s experience, the story makes us believe more firmly that as long as we have justice in mind and go forward, we can definitely see the light.

Chapter 1: Karma for Lying

Translated by Fefe of Exiled Rebels Scanlations

Editor: Addis


During a soft April drizzle, beneath the darkening sky, a bus drove down the highway in Tongren.

Tang Heng closed his eyes. It was dark, so nobody noticed his expression. His brows were furrowed and his thin lips were pressed into a line, the corners of his lips turning down—he felt like he would throw up the next second if he didn’t have such strong willpower.

He was carsick. He’d always been prone to carsickness and was in a hurry this time, so he forgot to bring a motion sickness patch. What made things worse was the buffet he’d eaten in Tongren City one hour ago. The hotel chef probably thought they’d reincarnated from starving ghosts and had all sorts of chicken, duck, beef, mutton and fish, but no vegetables or porridge. Tang Heng had forced himself to take some bites of the beef. He’d wanted to go downstairs before the students finished eating and smoke a cigarette to refresh himself when the officers from the Poverty Alleviation Agency came over.

Director Xu put on the airs as the leader and said he’d stopped drinking for years, so he would drink tea in place of alcohol. As the only woman, no one pressured Lu Yue to drink either, so the drinking task fell onto Tang Heng and Sun Jihao. The other group had a lot of people—various directors and secretaries—and they clinked glasses in rounds. Even though Tang Heng only took sips, he ended up drinking more than three cups of baijiu.

“This drink’s pretty good.” Sun Jihao was kind of enjoying it, “Shidi, are you ok?”

“I’m fine,” Tang Heng said.

After dinner, they got onto the bus immediately. The accompanying workers said that Shijiang was about three hours away from Tongren. Tang Heng had a bad feeling and he quickly put a mint in his mouth, but less than half an hour later, the nausea still came surging. Anyone who has been carsick before knows that you can’t eat too much before getting into a car, because you could throw up.

So, at the moment, Tang Heng felt like two hands had reached into his body. One was mixing up his brain; one was mixing up his stomach. Meanwhile, Sun Jihao was next to him, discussing with the student in front about her thesis. You have to rewrite the abstract, quote a different person here, he’s not suitable, you can quote Tang-laoshi’s paper published this year, about poverty alleviation in Jiangxi Province… No, no, not Tang Heng-laoshi, it’s Tang Guomu-laoshi.

Tang Heng wanted to ask if they could stop, but he couldn’t say it. He was scared he’d throw up if he opened his mouth. He rarely left the school and he’d always remember the motion sickness patch when he went out. This time had been too rushed. He’d taught in the afternoon, then Director Xu’s call came at night. “Xiao Tang, pack up and come on a work trip with us tomorrow.”

Tang Heng couldn’t process it. “What?”

“It’s urgent.” Director Xu sighed. “Wang Shan was going to go with us, but that guy, he got hospitalized due to asthma at noon today!”

Tang Heng: …

“Come take Wang Shan’s place. We’re meeting up tomorrow morning at 6:20 at the entrance of the teacher’s dorm. Xiao Sun will send you the details later.”

“Wait, Director Xu!” Tang Heng’s mind went blank. “I have classes and I have a meeting in Hong Kong next Friday—”

“Find a substitute or take some days off and make it up when you get back.” Director Xu paused, “This project is very important. We already did it last year. After we come back, our department plans on applying for a national project. Xiao Tang, this is a great chance.”

Since Director Xu said all this, Tang Heng couldn’t keep refusing. But at that time, he had no clue that the project destination would be Shijiang County in Tongren. Mainland China had 2851 counties, but they just had to go to Shijiang—what kind of crazy luck was this?

After Sun Jihao finished discussing the thesis with the female student, they started chatting about which restaurants were good. Tang Heng glanced out the window with annoyance. A neon green sign flashed under the gray sky. It said: Shijiang, 124 KM

He didn’t know how long 124 KM would take. Maybe they’re almost there, but the view outside was always dark mountains and bare boulders. It made him feel like they’d never reach their destination. Sun Jihao turned around and asked, “You didn’t eat enough tonight, right? I saw you only took a few bites… Let’s go eat more when we get to Shijiang.”

Before Tang Heng could reply, he continued, “Shijiang’s known for their fen rice noodles. Have you had mutton fen before? I heard it’s meat from mountain goats. It’s different from what we usually eat.”

Tang Heng was already nauseous. Hearing his words made him even dizzier.

“Later,” Tang Heng muttered.

“Seriously, you gotta try it. Last time we went to Guiyang, Lu Yue and I went to eat mutton fen every morning…”

Sun Jihao was the biggest foodie in the sociology department. The food he ate made his face as white and round as a ball of dough. He was only 35 years old, but he was already looking as benevolent as the Maitreya Buddha.

Tang Heng didn’t respond. He just asked, “How much longer will it take?”

“Around an hour.”

“Okay.” As soon as he spoke, the nauseous feeling surged again. Tang Heng hurriedly pressed down his stomach. Thankfully, he had a jacket, so it covered his hand.

At 8PM, the bus stopped at the main entrance of Shijiang Hot Spring Hotel. Tang Heng got off from the front and when he passed by the rearview mirror, he saw his face, as pale as paper, and furrowed brows. He looked like a ghost here to take lives.

The cold, damp air hit him as soon as he got off the bus and Tang Heng felt much better. Unlike Macao, the sky felt very, very high up, making the place seem vast and empty. He looked up. It was his second time in Guizhou—the night sky of the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau still had no stars.

A man in a suit and tie walked over, “Hello, you must be tired from the travels.” He shook Director Xu’s hand while introducing himself, “I’m the manager of Shijiang Hot Spring Hotel. You all can call me Xiao Qi. Qi as in the singer Qi Qin, haha.”

Director Xu nodded politely, while Sun Jihao walked over to have small talk with him. “Manager Qi, haha, hello.”

“You’re too polite! Just call me Xiao Qi! It’ll be hard on all of you for the next few days. There’s nowhere to have fun in a poor place like here. I’m very sorry…”

“It’s nothing,” Sun Jihao said with a laugh. “We’re here to help alleviate poverty, after all.”

Manager Qi continued chatting with Sun Jihao, while finding chances to talk to Director Xu and bringing the four of them into the hotel at the same time; he was quite good at multitasking. The hot spring hotel looked very dignified; there was an ancient-style hallway after entering through the door. Tang Heng walked by Lu Yue and seeing how she crossed her arms and walked without saying anything, he asked, “Shijie, do you feel unwell?”

“I’m fine.” Lu Yue managed to smile, “Just a bit tired.”

Tang Heng nodded and didn’t say anything else. They’d spent the entire day on transportation. In the morning, they flew from Macao to Guiyang, took the high speed train at noon from Guiyang to Tongren, then took the bus after dinner. It was indeed exhausting.

They crossed the hallway, passing by two fountains, and finally reached the guest rooms. A chandelier hung from the tall ceiling, casting overlapping shadows on the malachite green marble floor. An attendant stood by the elevator. Seeing them arrive, he smiled and bowed, then pressed the elevator button for them.

“The students will live with two people in a room on the second floor,” Manager Qi explained, “The teachers’ single rooms are on the third floor.”

“We have a couple that can stay in one room,” Director Xu said casually.

“Huh?” Manager Qi looked between the four of them and immediately said, “I’m so sorry. There are double suites on the third floor as well. I’ll arrange it right now—”

“No need,” Lu Yue interrupted. “Let’s just do it like this.”

Sun Jihao nodded too. “Yes, yes, let’s just do this. No need to change rooms. Everyone’s tired today.”

Thus, the four of them took their room cards and were led to their own rooms by attendants.

The single rooms that Manager Qi had mentioned were actually spacious suites. Their suitcases had been brought over beforehand and all the lights were on in the rooms. There was a bedroom, office, living room, bathroom, and a semicircle-shaped balcony. A faint fragrance floated in the air, but it was hard to tell what kind of fragrance. Tang Heng still wanted to throw up, so he took off his jacket and went to the balcony.

There was a man lying on the recliner next door. It was Sun Jihao.

“Shidi!” Sun Jihao said with a grin. “Let’s go into the city. I asked and it’s a 10-minute car ride.”

“No thanks.” Tang Heng rested his hands on the railing. His white collared shirt had long become wrinkly. “I’m kinda tired.”

“Aiyo, those girls will be disappointed. They begged me specifically to ask you. They’d wanted to chat with you on the bus earlier, but you had a bitch face, so they didn’t dare.”


“Fine.” Sun Jihao got up and rolled his neck. “I’ll get going. I have to buy medicine for Lu Yue.”

“What’s wrong with her?”

“Nothing, but she might need some ibuprofen for a few days…”

Speaking of medicine, Tang Heng finally remembered the motion sickness patches. They had to go into the poor villages for research the next few days and it would all be mountain roads. It would be hell without the patches. After hesitating for a moment, Tang Heng said, “I’ll go with you guys.”   

“Ah? Do you need to buy something?” Sun Jihao looked at him. “You’re pretty tired, right? I can bring it back for you.”

“…No need. I’ll go with you guys.”

Around 20 minutes later, the group arrived at the main road of Shijiang.   

Manager Qi and the driver had brought them here together and was now acting as their tour guides. They walked in the front with a few students, enthusiastically introducing the local characteristics to them. Shijiang wasn’t big. A small river passed through the city and you could faintly smell the water along the riverside.

They passed a pharmacy. Sun Jihao bought a box of ibuprofen, but they didn’t have motion sickness patches. They only had pills, so Sun Jihao said, “Then we’ll take the pills. Ring up these two boxes together.”

Before Tang Heng could stop him, he’d already taken out his wallet and quickly handed over a 50-kuai bill. Tang Heng had no choice but to accept the medicine and thank him.

“No problem!” Sun Jihao said in a carefree way.

The group followed Manager Qi through the night market. It was 10 PM, but the market was still lively, illuminated by yellow lights all around. Two students brought over the fried yangyu they’d just bought. It was in a single-use box and sprinkled with green onions and cumin.

“Laoshi, they call potatoes yangyu here and it’s only four-kuai for this giant serving!” the student exclaimed as if it was an incredible thing.

“They produce small potatoes here. I don’t know if this is it.” Sun Jihao stuck a toothpick into one and popped it in his mouth. “Mm, the potato taste is strong.”

“Hao-ge, what’s a small potato?” another girl asked.

“Like a regular potato but small.” Sun Jihao showed the size with his forefinger and thumb. “Around this size. We ate it when we had a trip to Guiyang last year.”

“You guys already came here last year?!”

“Last year, it was Director Xu, Wang Shan, me and Lu Yue.” Sun Jihao glanced at Tang Heng. “Shidi, it’s your first time, right?”

“…” Tang Heng clutched the fried yangyu. He didn’t eat it, but he felt choked up from it.

Sun Jihao looked at him. The students looked at him. Even Manager Qi looked over and said conversationally, “Tang-laoshi, it’s your first time here, right? It’s a high altitude. Are you feeling ok?”

Tang Heng stared at the golden potato and mumbled, “First time here.” 

“Ah! The economy isn’t great here, but the views are lovely,” Manager Qi said excitedly. “Tang-laoshi, how about this? I’ll bring you all to Fanjing Mountain with the natural oxygen when you’re all done with work—it’ll feel great to climb the mountain!”

“No need.” Tang Heng’s voice was a bit cold. “Manager Qi, you should know, we have strict rules.”

Manager Qi smiled abashedly. “But we’ll feel bad. You all work so hard…”

“It’s alright,” Sun Jihao cut in. “We’ll have more chances in the future.”

Tang Heng didn’t want to listen to their small talk, so he lowered his head and started eating the potatoes. He couldn’t remember the last time he ate this—of course, he was sure it was in Wuhan. But where in Wuhan? Zhuodao Spring Night Market, Lingdao Street, or Wansong Park? He couldn’t remember. After all, it was six years ago.

It was too long ago. More and more memories became insignificant.

The group gradually made their way to the end of the night market. They stepped onto the stone path, the river’s undercurrents below their feet, each step emitting an empty echo. There were single-use chopsticks and containers all over the ground. “Be careful,” Tang Heng heard one of the girls remind the others. “The ground is so dirty.”

“Sun-laoshi, Tang-laoshi.” Manager Qi walked over and pointed at the front. “There’s a local specialty store over here. Would you like to take a look?”

Sun Jihao shook his head. “No need. There’s nothing we need to buy.”

“You don’t have to buy anything. I just want to show you the specialties of Shijiang.” Manager Qi’s expression was enthusiastic. “Shijiang didn’t have any factories to make these things in the past. Everyone just did their own thing. The factories only started up these past two years after Macao gave us the capital.”

“Hao-ge!” The students grew excited. “Let’s go look!”

Sun Jihao looked over helplessly. “Shidi, do you want to go?”

Tang Heng understood his gesture—Manager Qi probably wanted to take this chance to give them gifts. But the fried yangyu from earlier was so salty that it turned bitter, like he’d swallowed a clump of salt doused with oil. The nausea and dizziness hit him again.

Tang Heng nodded without thinking. “Then let’s go see.”

Later, when he thought back to this, he felt like it was karma’s revenge—the karma from lying.

They walked for around five minutes and Manager Qi led them into a small alley. The store in the alley wasn’t too eye-catching and the door was locked.

“Huh?” Manager Qi walked over and jiggled the lock. “It’s usually not closed so early. Please wait a moment. I’ll call them.”

“We can go,” Sun Jihao said. “It’s getting late.”

“No, no problem. I’ll just ask—Hello? Where are you? I have a few guests who want to check out your store. Oh… sure, sure.”

Manager Qi hung up. “He’ll be back soon. He went to meet his girlfriend earlier.”

The group had nothing to say and just waited in the alley. Tang Heng pushed up his glasses. He studied the store’s sign under the murky night sky. It was an ordinary blue sign with white words, saying: Shijiang Local Specialties Retail (Main Branch)

This is the main branch? Tang Heng thought vaguely. It was probably the only branch! He couldn’t stomach the fried yangyu anymore, but there weren’t any trash cans around, so he could only keep holding it. The smell kept wafting up. Tang Heng frowned and thought belatedly that maybe he indeed had altitude sickness.

Bright headlights shone over from the alley entrance. The scooter stopped, was locked, and a tall, thin figure walked towards them. “These are the officials from Macao,” Manager Qi said. “They’re here for observations and just arrived today.”

“Ah, welcome, welcome.” The man shook Sun Jihao’s hand and pulled out his key to open the door. It was like he didn’t notice Tang Heng, but Tang Heng’s eyes widened the instant he heard the voice. The door opened and white light flooded the space with a click. The students swarmed in. Tang Heng stood in place. At this time, Manager Qi said, “Xiao Li, this is the other teacher in charge, Tang-laoshi.”

Tang Heng stepped back subconsciously. His back was almost pressed against the alley wall. It was cold. He still couldn’t see the man’s face clearly. All he heard was the man saying, “Mn” with the tone going up like a question.

He walked over.

“Tang-laoshi?” he asked calmly, stopping before him. Maybe he saw Tang Heng’s face clearly, maybe he didn’t. They had around five to six steps between them, while his shadow was stretched out, pressing down. The smell of the cold fried yangyu rolled up; Tang Heng felt the world spin.

“Tang Heng, is it you?” he asked.

“…” Tang Heng didn’t even dare to look at his face. The world was spinning and he couldn’t see anything clearly. “…Li Yuechi?” The three syllables felt like a mouthful of scalding water, burning from the tip of his tongue to his chest.

Bu Li Yuechi actually smiled and said easily, “It’s me. I didn’t expect you to come to Guizhou again.”


Come to Guizhou again.

As expected, you had to pay for lying.

Tang Heng’s Adam’s apple bobbed. Two seconds later, he couldn’t hold it in. He opened his mouth and vomited. 


Author’s note: The story between a rich master and poor guy has started! Thanks for the support!

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August 24, 2023 10:07 am

As someone who has issues with nausea and motion sickness, I admire his ability to hold it back all day!
Thank you for translating!!

Sue R
Sue R
August 24, 2023 12:36 pm

Oh…no, the disaster first time re-meet.
I was also the motion sickness in a back of the car especially when it was poor ventilation, absolutely no reading no looking down no bending at all while the car was moving.

August 24, 2023 5:48 pm

Thank you for the translation! Is it HE or BE?

August 25, 2023 3:29 am

Nice surprise, a new novel!

I had to look up… Kuai is a colloquial name for the currency Yuan and literally means ‘lump’ as in lump of silver (for anyone else who doesn’t know either).

I have never had motion sickness, but really felt for Tang Heng.

LY didn’t show any animosity, so good start.

From the summary, I think this might be an emotional novel… buckle up! 😉

Thanks Fefe and Addis, for translating and editing.

Last edited 1 month ago by WangXian31

Official LMW release!

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