Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
While saying this, Fangzheng felt a tug at his heart. The lass before him was probably not even as big as a piece of cardboard, right? Imagining the scene of her rummaging through the garbage to pick these things up, Fangzheng felt upset.
The little girl shook her head and smiled. “I only pick up the small ones, not the big ones. The big ones are given to me by the uncles and aunties, grandpas and grandmas in the estate. They give me the cardboard boxes whenever they buy televisions or refrigerators. Also, some grandpas and grandmas who also pick stuff up share some with me, saying it’s a trade rule that half has to be split when we meet. They are really nice people…”
The little lass smiled.
Fangzheng didn’t say a word as he looked at the girl’s smile. However, he felt very uneasy. He didn’t know if it was because of the hardship the lass had experienced or whether it was because he was touched by the good will of the nameless people. Looking up at the sky, he saw it was also already winter in the south. Although there wasn’t a heater, it didn’t seem too cold… Golden sunlight scattered all over his body. The warmth made him wish he could take a short nap.
At that moment, the tinkling sound of the rag-and-bone man came from below. Fangzheng looked down and saw a swarthy elder enter the alley on a tricycle. The moment he arrived, he looked up and shouted. “Keke, do you have anything? Grandpa will come up to take them!”
Keke immediately replied, “Grandpa, yes! Lots!”
The grandpa below chuckled. “Alright. Grandpa will be right up.”
Keke hurriedly jumped off her stool and ran to the door to open it. Then, she inspected the number of cardboard boxes and bottles, and she counted her inventory. “Ten cents. Twenty cents, thirty cents…”
Fangzheng looked at the serious Keke and went over, asking, “Keke, are you afraid the Grandpa will give you too little? Why are you counting so carefully?”
Keke shook her head and said seriously, “Not at all. Grandpa Lu always gives me too much. Mommy says that I can’t take so much, so I need to count ahead of time. I’ve counted it numerous times, so I’m just confirming one more time. I just can’t be certain of the newspapers’ weight…” As she said that, the lass looked stumped.
Fangzheng was stunned when he heard that. He rubbed the little girl’s head and said, “You have a good mommy.”
Then, Fangzheng began helping Keke count the mineral bottles and other items.
However, it was obvious that they wouldn’t finish counting quickly enough, because Grandpa Lu had already arrived. The moment he entered, he didn’t say a word and directly started putting the items into a huge bag. As he stuffed them in, he counted. “Ten cents, twenty cents…”
As he counted, Fangzheng realized that the elderly man had counted an additional bottle.
At this point, the alert Keke immediately cried out. “Grandpa, too much! Too much! You counted wrongly.”
The elderly man glared like an old manchild and denied it. “Impossible. There’s definitely a problem with your mathematical skills. It’s however much I count.”
Then the elderly man continued counting. As he did, he would throw a glance at Keke every now and then, adding one more count the moment Keke’s mind wandered.
Fangzheng looked at the duo—one trying to cheat by giving more money, while the other was seriously watching to ensure that not one bit more was given—and immediately felt amused and infuriated. Even if the elderly man gave more, how many more cents could that be? These few cents wouldn’t even be enough to buy a bottle of mineral water outside. But over here, these few cents were as heavy as a mountain, yet they were also as warm as a little furnace.
Grandpa Lu was fast, so he quickly finished counting the pile of items. Keke stood by the side, guarding them sternly. However, she was ultimately too young. She hadn’t been educated much, so accounting was a weakness of hers. Naturally, she fell for the “shrewd” old man’s schemes, ending up with an additional ten yuan and a bit.
After stuffing the money into her hands, Grandpa Lu began to carry the cardboard boxes and bottles downstairs. Fangzheng hurriedly offered to help, along with Lone Wolf.
On the way down, Fangzheng asked Grandpa Lu, “Are bottles these days worth so much? Ten cents a bottle?”
Grandpa Lu glared at Fangzheng. “Who’s the rag-and-bone man? You or me? Why don’t I give you my job and you do the work, huh?”
Fine, so this elderly man has quite an obstinate temper. Fangzheng hurriedly said, “Apologies. Apologies.”
Only then did Grandpa Lu stuff the items back onto his vehicle.
The duo made two trips before finally getting all the items down. Grandpa Lu got onto his tricycle before glaring at Fangzheng. “Don’t you go wagging your tongue at the little girl!”
Fangzheng fell silent and only after he guaranteed Grandpa Lu his silence did he cycle off.
Back upstairs, Keke waved the thirty plus yuan in her hands like she was offering a treasure. “Daddy! Daddy! Look! I have money now!”
Fangzheng smiled. “Wow, that much? Keke is going to be our millionaire!”
“Of course!” Keke smiled happily.
Keke got tired after having some fun. She ran into the room to accompany Zhang Huixin before falling asleep. Fangzheng lay down on Keke’s bed and looked at the ceiling, his mind replaying the scenes of today…
Lone Wolf lay beside him and whispered. “Master, don’t you have medical skills? You should be able to treat Patron Zhang’s problem, right? Why don’t you?”
Fangzheng glared at him and turned his body around. “What do you know? You know nothing! Silly dog, sleep.”
Lone Wolf wore a confounded look. Why was he silly? Wasn’t what he said right? Then he looked at Fangzheng as though Fangzheng was the silly one before lying down to sleep. This fellow could instantly wake up in the case of a disturbance, but he could fall asleep just as quickly once he was on a bed. In the blink of an eye, he was snoring.
However, Fangzheng couldn’t fall asleep.
He could obviously treat Zhang Huixin’s medical condition, but he also knew that he’d have to leave once she recovered. Although Fangzheng had extricated himself from the mortal world, Keke gave him a completely new feeling. The balmy feeling he got from her was a result of the loveliness, mischievousness, and warmth she had. It made him a little reluctant to part with her.
Therefore, Fangzheng didn’t take action and instead waited. The reason he gave himself for that was that if he suddenly claimed that he could treat her of her condition, Zhang Huixin might write him off as a lunatic.
Although it was supposed to be an afternoon nap, Fang Ke ended up sleeping the entire afternoon in Zhang Huixin’s embrace. She wore an extremely peaceful look, occasionally curling up the corners of her mouth as if she was smiling.
Zhang Huixin woke up after a short nap. When she heard footsteps at the door, she knew that it was Fangzheng. She said with a faint smile, “This child hasn’t had such a sound nap in a very long time. Normally, she would have long woken up already to go pick up bottles downstairs.”
Fangzheng said, “She’s a good child.”
Zhang Huixin hugged Fang Ke with a look of satisfaction. “Yes, she’s my darling. With her, I have the motivation and hope to live on.”
Fangzheng pressed his palms together. “Amitabha.”
Fangzheng took the responsibility of cooking dinner. After making a round of meat dishes, Fangzheng discovered that it wasn’t that difficult. All he needed to do was throw the ingredients into the wok and heat them up, adding some salt and oil in the process.
Keke looked at the charred spicy meat on the table and looked at the blushing Fangzheng before grinning. “Daddy, did you rob a soy sauce merchant?”