Chapter 2:Living with great joy, dying with no regrets
Translated by: Chua
Edited by:I and Elkassar
A year ago, after Dasi bought the old boat, Fu Yuan, Sheyan immediately left his current job to return to assist Dasi without hesitation. At that time, he was already the second in command on a 500 ton cargo ship from Panama, and the captain was going to retire in a year. Even after much persuasion from the captain, Sheyan remained firm and returned to the tattered and old boat, Fu Yuan, to be an ordinary fisherman. He even used his earnings to pay off Dasi’s debts, and the small shed that he and Sanzi was built from what was left of it .
Even after walking for a short while, his shoes were soaked with ice cold mud, giving off a chilling to the bones feeling and a squishy sound with each step making it extremely uncomfortable. Upon reaching Sanzi’s hut, he did not look back, offering just a small wave of his handkerchief as a small greeting. He then stretched his back as he pushed open the door and entered the hut.
As Sheyan was about to retire to his room, the house door swung open as a wet headed Sanzi emerged with an envious and respectful look on his face:
Bro Yan , do you remember when we were caught by waves as tall as a few meters and even Uncle Dasi and Uncle Fa couldn’t do anything, how did you manage to strike the fat headed beast with such precision?”
Although Sanzi was younger than Sheyan by a few months, his way of thinking as well as experience could not be compared to the Sheyan who labored outside for 5 years. It was not even a close fight. That was why he has always been respectful and idolized his foster brother Sheyan. Upon hearing this, Sheyan give off a slight laugh as he squinted his eyes:
“I only blindly aimed, and got lucky.”
Sheyan lit the lantern beside him, and took out a dry handkerchief from his drenched coat to wipe his head. He had a height of about 1.8m, sturdy physique, thick black brows, beneath his tight vest was a bulging outline of his chest muscles and his few years at sea gave him a healthy cinnamon looking complexion. With neat and tidy hair coupled with his sharp brows, giving an impression of a high quality fitness trainer. However the stern look from his arched lips and cold gaze made people wanting to stay a thousand miles away from him.
Looking objectively, this hut was extremely simple that measured 78 square meters; made out of scrap objects and low quality raw materials, even the interior contained nothing much. A small single bed, one washing bowl and a simple clothes hanging line. However upon entering, there was a strangely warm feeling, a feeling of home which could never be replaced by even a 5-star hotel.
The only decoration was a small picture atop the bed frame. The picture frame had already faded to a yellowish colour over time, and it contained 3 people: Sheyan, Uncle Dasi,and Sanzi. That photo was taken before Sheyan left the house to work. Looking at Uncle Dasi in the picture, there was a look of respect and admiration in Sheyan’s moist eyes. He was an honest and simple man who painstakingly endured all hardships to raise him and Sanzi up. The greatest point was that he never once covered up their birth origin, and did not allow them to address him as Father. This was because, Dasi was a devout believer in Feng Shui (Geomancy), and upon having his fortune told that he would have a lonely life of hardships he refused to allow this ill fate to infect the two kids, preferring to grow old alone childless.
However, this gave an ignorant but noble feeling to the honorable and filial Dasi….
Thinking back about the past, Sheyan sighed. He was an extremely strong willed person, ever since he came of age, he did not treat the parents who abandoned him with intense hatred but infact had great gratitude for Uncle Dasi . Although he addressed Dasi as uncle, but deep in his heart he treated him as a father. Pasted upon his bed frame, was a paper written with straight characters – living with great joy, dying with no regrets! These words were seen from a tattered novel that Sheyan had read, he fell in love with the meaning of the words, and thus showcased it atop his bed frame.
After daydreaming while looking at the photo, Sheyan extinguished the lantern and slept. After the initial weariness, he soon slept deeper. In his heart he harboured a certain uneasiness, as though something big was about to happen.
Sheyan’s instincts has always been accurate, this was why he was often praised by others as he could often pinpoint the root of a problem and come up with a solution. People rarely bet against him as he often miraculously triumphed even without the upper hand at the start. Beforehand Sanzi questioned Sheyan how he could slaughter the fat headed beast even in the raging storm, in actual fact it was because Sheyan had been operating on his extremely keen instincts.
The pouring rain consistently hammered against the rooftop as Sheyan kept tossing and turning in bed. He suddenly sat up and lit up the lantern. Unintentionally, he caught a glimpse of something red in the opposite mirror. Lowering his head, he shockingly discovered several red-crossed scars across his chest as though someone had clawed and grabbed at him. After feeling it, he realized it was not painful and therefore did not think much of it.
At this time, Sheyan felt thirsty, he went to grab a cup of water, while humming to himself, he suddenly noticed a splashing water sound other than himself. This irregular splashing sound sounded like someone was intensely struggling inside the mud. In a matter of seconds, the sound of banging on Sheyan’s door echoed throughout the hut, followed by panicky coarse unclear shoutings.
“Coming!” Sheyan’s heart trembled slightly, charging to open his door. As the door opened slightly, the cold outer winds rushed in, suddenly a hand drenched in blood shot out grabbing the door frame tightly. Using his full strength, a person covered in blood and mud entered. It was actually the one who lived with Uncle Dasi, Gao Qiang! Sheyan tried to support him but this was in vain as Gao Qiang collapsed onto the ground, clutching tightly onto Sheyan’s leg with both arms, he wailed in despair:
“Bro Yan , it’s a disaster!”
Sheyan raised his sharp, pitch black brows, but in his heart he felt a slight deja vu: Something really came up. The uneasiness he felt was here. Although his heart was in chaos, he calmly replied loudly:
“It’s Uncle Fa, that bastard! Uncle Dasi wanted to use the money earned from the fragrant cream to pass down to you and Sanzi as inheritance, but when everyone was asleep he secretly went to find Huashan Fei* and sold everything. An entire 9 Kg of fragrant cream! But Huashan Fei only paid him a hundred dollars!”
(*Huashan Fei is the big brother of the town from chapter 1 who people had to pay protection fees to)
Upon hearing the name “Huashan Fei” , Sheyan’s heart sank. That punk can be said to be the ruler of Si Qiao town, and everyone with status paid him protection fees. He himself would engage in illegal trade, smuggling and drug peddling, while still running a legit business upfront having tens of bodyguards around him. There were even rumors of him being the backbone of the infamous 3rd ranked ghost clan in Vietnam, and was a capable subordinate of the clan head known as the Black Devil. Once he set his sights on the ambergris, even if one’s teeth all fell out and stomach was full of blood, one still had to suck it in.
Gao Qiang struggled and swallowed his saliva, as he continued wailing:
“No matter how unwilling Uncle Dasi is, he could only let Huashan Fei have his way. At least, Huashan Fei gave some face by proclaiming that Dasi did not need to pay protection fees anymore. However, I could never bottle up such unfairness, cursing to myself in anger and was actually overheard by someone alongside Huashan Fei, Xide. Such unluckiness! This unknown fella is so strange, even Huashan Fei had to show face to him. He was merciless; in addition to the bastard Uncle Fa adding oil to the fire with his unnecessary comments, Xide demanded to burn the boat, Fu Yuan!”
If one wasn’t raised by the seaside, it was impossible to understand the deep relationship a fishermen had with his boat. They practically grew up alongside their boat, and the boat has become their second home, even spending more time on it than on their family. Under this kind of circumstance, the boat has naturally become a part of the fishermen, even upon death would the fishermen request his coffin to be shaped like this boat.
To Uncle Dasi , his feelings toward Fu Yuan had already far exceeded the lifesavings he used to buy the boat. If Xide really burned that boat, he would rather offer up his own life.
After hearing this, the wrinkles on Sheyan’s forehead tensed up. Gao Qiao continued with tears in his eyes.
“After hearing this, I could not control myself anymore and impulsively fought him head on. Huashan Fei immediately signalled to his underlings and in the end…. Hais! That coward Xide actually was scared stiff, and could only hide behind others barking like mad dog. After I fled, I could hear him shouting to burn Uncle Dasi along with his boat. One of the neighbor, Mr Gui, wanted to step in to mediate but ended up with 7 less teeth with one blow from Huashan Fei to the mouth. Bro Yan what should we do?!”
Gao Qiang spoke of Mr Gui, who was quite an accomplished person in Si Qiao, and was even on good terms with Huashan Fei, but was still reduced to such a state. Dasi’s fate was now an unimaginable one. Fate with such a situation, yet Sheyan could still remain composed. He first treated Gao Qiang’s shoulder and provided him with new dry clothes, lighting a cigarette in his mouth he calmly declared:
“Swiftly notify Sanzi, the both of you will immediately report this to the governor!”
Ever since Gao Qiang arrived, he had been trembling uncontrollably as though he was cold or extremely fearful. However, after hearing the resolution within Sheyan’s steady voice, he summoned up his courage, sucked in his chest and took in a deep breath responding:
“Alright Bro Yan , I will go immediately.”
Suddenly, he realized something, and started panicking as he spoke:
“How about you Bro Yan, aren’t you coming with us?”
Sheyan calmly replied:
“I will never allow Uncle Dasi and his boat to be burned without doing anything. Huashan Fei collected thousands in protection fees every year from us, yet he robbed us of a fortune of fragrant cream, I will go and reason it out with him! After speaking with him, this mess should be settled, hurry along you two, if anything bad happens to me, i will have to rely on you guys to rescue us.”
After hearing this, Gao Qiang found it logical, he himself being someone without much of a plan could only nod his head and set off to find Sanzi. Sheyan waited for him to leave, with a grim look in his eyes retrieved a sharpened knife from the behind the door.
This knife was used to kill huge fish and cut them up, it was approximately a foot in length, and was made with scrap metals through Sheyan’s persistent efforts of shaping the knife. The pitch black knife, shimmered in the moonlight giving off a threatening cold aura, as Sheyan wiped it with a cloth in preparation for its inevitable usage.
Sheyan actually only wanted to trick GaoQiang and Sanzi away , because he already knew this was a matter of utmost complications. The injured Xide was actually the infamous Black Devil’s son! The only negotiable method would be this knife! Living with great joy, dying without regrets! Although Uncle Dasi wasn’t his blood father, however the bonds between them were so strong that to give his life for him, would be an honor that did not allow him to look back!