“Depends only on the heart?” Liu Fangfang held her chest and fell into deep thought.Had he really left her all these years? Was what she saw daily while standing by the riverside truly empty boats? Did he not return?
Moments later, Liu Fangfang opened the door to the monastery and quietly left. Behind, Monkey scratched his head, completely at a loss as to what had happened.
Fangzheng had given up his facade of being a esteemed master. He raised his cell phone and told everything he had seen to Jing Yan.
“Sob… It’s so touching… sob…” Jing Yan was in tears after hearing the recount.
Fangzheng was also left speechless as he quickly said, “Amitabha. Patron, you might be touched, but there are things you need to do. Listen to This Penniless Monk. That dock must not be demolished! Also, help her find Yu Guanghua. End her final regret.”
“Don’t worry. I will. Eh, you did not persuade her to give up the dock?” asked Jing Yan as she wiped away her tears.
“Does it matter if she gives up or not?” Fangzheng hung up after saying that. He had things he wanted to say but he realized that he had exhausted all the tricks available to him. He did not know what to say and only felt a little sour deep down. As for Liu Fangfang, Fangzheng completely gave up the thought of persuading her to abandon the dock after seeing her memories. He only wished for her to have a happier, more peaceful and relaxing life for the years she had left.
Jing Yan was taken aback as she ruminated over the matter.She picked up her cell phone to say something.
“Jing Yan, don’t tell me that. Tell it to everyone. Let’s see what everyone has to say… We happen to be in a meeting. Tell us what you know and heard.” A stern voice sounded from the other end of the line.
In Black Mountain City’s governmental office, a middle-aged man turned on speaker mode and placed his cell phone on the table, before saying, “Everyone, listen before we discuss the demolishing issue.”
Jing Yan’s heart thumped for she never expected the phone call to be that timely. She had called in the middle of a city meeting!
Jing Yan refused to succumb to anxiety. She took a deep breath and quickly gathered her thoughts with the information that Fangzheng had told her. She then arranged it into a story and told it… Jing Yan gave up her identity as a reporter for the first time. She did not give a flat narration but put herself into Liu Fangfang’s shoes. She emotionally described the love story, one that had come to a stop because of war but continued progressing because of one’s heart. She cried as she recounted it. Only when she was done did she realize that she had articulated it beyond her usual abilities! The past her would not have been able to articulate a story as well as she just had.
There was silence once she finished telling them the story. Jing Yan’s heart tensed up.Would they listen to her? Would they be touched by the story?
At that moment, a voice sounded from the other end of the line. “I never expected the Ghost of Songhua River to have such a backstory.”
“A hero might have departed, but a return path is necessary.”
“I suggest we leave the old dock behind. It’s for a soldier’s wife like Liu Fangfang, as well as the thousands of them in China. We cannot let a sacrificed soldier’s loved ones be without hope.”
“I endorse that!”
Jing Yan cried amid smiles when she heard the comments on the other end of the line. It was quite weird.
Before long, Liu Fangfang reached the foot of the mountain. Jing Yan took a deep breath and stopped crying. Simultaneously, she was a little unsure what to say to the stubborn elder in front of her. She was supposed to be the one to bring her up the mountain but she ended up being left in the lurch.
But eventually, everything ended with a smile.
After they entered the car, Jing Yan asked, “Aunt Liu, where do you want to go?”
“To the old dock. I wish to take a look,” said Liu Fangfang softly.
Jing Yan’s heart skipped a beat when she heard that.Had Liu Fangfang not thought things through? Was she still insistent on heading there to suffer the elements?
The duo did not speak along the way. When they arrived at the old dock, Jing Yan said, “Aunt Liu, we are here.” Jing Yan secretly heaved a sigh of relief when she saw an intact old dock.
“We’ve arrived. Then, let’s go,” said Liu Fangfang suddenly.
Jing Yan was taken aback. “Go? Where to?”
“I wish to go back to my hometown. Daliu Village. I have no idea if that white birch forest still exists.”
Jing Yan was once again taken aback before she said with a smile, “Aunt Liu, are you planning on returning home?”
“Yes. Since the person I have been waiting has returned, I obviously have to return home.” Liu Fangfang smiled as she leaned back into the chair before closing her eyes.
Jing Yan smiled, thinking to herself, “He did not disappoint me after all. He’s truly remarkable…”
Jing Yan left but many residents at the old dock were left astounded.What exactly happened?Numerous excavators had come in the morning and it was said that they were here to demolish the old dock. But by noon, all of them were gone.Were they practicing urban demolishing?
But days later, a story spread. When everyone learned of Liu Fangfang’s past, all of them blamed themselves. Many people sought out Liu Fangfang, hoping to say one thing to her: “Sorry.”
Unfortunately, Liu Fangfang had long left Black Mountain City and returned to her hometown. No one leaked the information as to where her hometown was. Liu Fangfang would enter the white birch forest every day to look at the carved text. When she did she would smile like a child.
“Phew. She’s getting old, with her memory failing her. Thankfully, we managed to fool her.” Far off, Daliu Village’s village chief squatted in the bushes as he muttered.
“That’s right. Who knew that something we carved at the last moment would be useful. Heh heh…” said another man with a chuckle.
However, the two complacent men did not hear Liu Fangfang muttering in front of the tree. “Although it’s fake, I’d still like to thank them…”
Ten years later, Liu Fangfang received a letter from the military department. There were two items, one being the picture she had given Yu Guanhua years ago, and the other was a military meritorious medal! There was also a letter that described Yu Guanghua’s valiant efforts in battle. Furthermore, it confirmed that Yu Guanghua had sacrificed himself.
Three years later, Liu Fangfang passed away with the military meritorious medal and the picture in hand. As for the old dock, an additional bronze statue was erected. It was that of a woman dressed in a qipao, looking far into the east. The locals called it: “Awaiting a Soldier’s Return.”
Fangzheng did not know what would happen in the future. All he knew was that he was currently feeling frustrated because…
“Lone Wolf, do you know how important this table is to us?” Fangzheng looked at the table with a broken leg as he spoke through gritted teeth.
“Abbot, I didn’t do it on purpose…” Lone Wolf lowered his head, looking like a child that had done something wrong.
Monkey hugged a broom to the side and gloated, “Abbot, I can testify that this guy was suffering from teething problems, so he had bitten the table leg, only to snap it…”
Lone Wolf glared at Monkey, who looked up into the sky, as though he had not said anything.
Lone Wolf did not dare to utter another word when Fangzheng looked back at him.
Fangzheng did not say anything either. He was thinking about the problem of their meals now that the table was broken. The glorious days of setting up a huge table and placing bowls and utensils on them with flair were gone. Did they have to collectively squat by the wall to eat with their bowls?
Lone Wolf felt extremely pressured with Fangzheng’s silence. He thought that Fangzheng was ruminating over a way to punish him as he asked carefully, “Abbot Fangzheng, what… should we do?”
Fangzheng shot a glance at Lone Wolf and sighed, “If you are living well, then the skies are clear.”
“What happens if I’m not living well?” asked Lone Wolf.