Cheng Muyun only needs to sit on a couch and then… Um, here’s some tissue. I know some of you might be focusing on the very end of this chapter (ahem, ahem), but there’s little bits of food for thought sprinkled throughout, especially in the conversation with Meng Liangchuan.
Chapter 4.2 — Night in Lumbini (2)
Wen Han unconsciously took half a step forward.
He pulled up the hood of his hiking jacket, slipped it on, and, with his face partially concealed, ambled toward her. “Don’t be anxious. I will come find you tonight.” Then, he brushed past her.
Nepal’s scent of incense drifted in through the seam of the door.
Meng Liangchuan hopped over the threshold, nearly bumping into a female traveller who wanted to step outside. With a shrug of his shoulders, he gave an apologetic smile, then tossed a bag of flatbread to Cheng Muyun. “Eat it while it’s hot.”
In only a short period of time, the four of them—she, Cheng Muyun, Meng Liangchuan, and that female traveller whom she did not know—had all passed by the doorway, as if they were all the most ordinary of backpackers with no connection whatsoever between them.
The two men headed directly up the staircase to the second floor.
Before the outline of their figures disappeared from view, Wang Wenhao caught a glimpse in his peripheral vision of Meng Liangchuan’s backside. Meng Liangchuan was also looking at him and quickly flipped a middle finger at him before springing up to the second floor. Acting as if nothing had happened, Wang Wenhao lowered his head and continued writing out his passport information. But his left hand, which was on the counter, was clenched tightly in a fist.
The second floor was a very simple hallway.
Cheng Muyun walked to the very end, pulled out a copper-coloured key from his pocket, and opened the lock.
“Just now when I was buying the bread, I kept having a feeling that I’ve missed something.” Biting down on a flatbread, Meng Liangchuan followed him into the room, pulled over a folding chair, and sat down.
“Oh? What have you missed?” he offhandedly asked in reply.
Meng Liangchuan’s brows twisted together, his index finger tapping against his temple. “I haven’t sorted it out in my mind yet.”
From Kathmandu, when they intentionally moved Wang Wenhao’s rafting trip one day ahead of schedule to throw a wrench in Wang Wenhao’s plans, and then followed him and spied out when the goods would be exchanged…
To when they had seized the opportunity, on the same night the poachers attacked, to switch out Wang Wenhao’s goods and then leave behind a message seemingly from another criminal entity, stating that Wang Wenhao should personally come to Lumbini to “buy back” his own things…
To now—<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy, taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
“Why did we need to come to Lumbini?” Meng Liangchuan at last threw out his first question.
“Because Buddha is here. I am here on a pilgrimage.”
“……” Dropping his head, Meng Liangchuan simply carried on eating his flatbread.
“This place here is a holy place to all Buddhists of the entire world. Every day, there are large numbers of travellers who arrive here from all different places. The security here is extremely tight. Even beneath that large tree on the park grounds of Lumbini Garden, there are armed soldiers standing guard. No one dares to rashly engage in any armed confrontation here that will shed blood. It is just like how no one would dare cause trouble in the holy city of Mecca or Jerusalem. Whether it is a bystander or your own heart, neither will allow such a thing to happen.” When Cheng Muyun finished saying this, he also reflected for a moment on his own words. “This reason sounds unimpeachable, doesn’t it?”
At least, here in this place, her safety factor would be the highest.
Meng Liangchuan gave up on pressing for answers.
Simply put, irrespective of what this man before him said or did, he always left people’s hearts feeling uneasy. There must be something more real, more tangible that was being hidden away and kept secret.<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the translation has been taken without consent of the translator.
Three hours later.<>Please read this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead
Wen Han had already washed all of her dirty clothes and hung them out to dry on the balcony that was cloaked by night. She stared at her fingernails, which were so clean from soaking in laundry detergent that they were white, as well as the henna design on her hand that had not yet faded. Under the moonlight, she could see that he had been extremely meticulous and detailed in his drawing.
If this man opened up a henna shop, his doorstep would probably be destroyed from all the customers trampling across it?
The light bulb in the room suddenly went out.
Wen Han jumped in shock.<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy, taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
Sounds of laughter echoed up from downstairs as well as low gripes of “Power outage again” and “Nepal is honestly the country in the world that most loves to have power outages.” It was not just here. She could see that the few shops on the street not far away were also without lights, and some people had already lit candles.
Next door, there was the sound of a telephone ringing.
The finish of this place was really crude. Through the single wooden wall, one could listen in on any slightly louder sounds in the neighbouring room. In the other room, Wang Wenhao picked up the telephone receiver.
And on the other end of the telephone line, Meng Liangchuan stated, “Wang Laoban, welcome to Lumbini.”
At the same time, the phone in Wen Han’s room also began to ring.
Hastily wiping her hands dry, she ran over and lifted the receiver.
“Open your room door and follow the hallway on the right all the way to the end. I will wait for you in the room that has been left unlocked.” In the receiver, even the sound of the breeze in his room was especially clear.
With a click, the call was hung up. All that remained was a rhythmic beep, beep.
Still clutching the telephone receiver, she heard her own heartbeat.
She grabbed her room key and, without taking anything else, shut the door behind her as she stepped out of the room. Several foreigners who had been downstairs earlier happened to be coming up now. As Wen Han brushed shoulders with them, she heard them talking in Kyrgyz. The two words “Sunauli” and “Bhairahawa” appeared twice in their discussion. She vaguely recalled that these were Indian names of places and were both border entry points.
Perhaps because they detected that Wen Han could understand what they were saying, those several men lifted their eyes and glanced at her.
Purposely putting on a shy smile, she stepped aside to let them pass.
She had been like this since she was a child, always unable to refrain from paying attention to strangers and what they were saying, and every time she was noticed, she would do this to cover up for it.
When she reached the end of the hallway, indeed, as he had said, there was one room with an engaged lock hanging on the door and another with its door unlocked. Pressing down on the door handle of the latter, she quietly slipped inside.
Inside the room, a candle burned on the folding chair.
Her breathing was light as she shut the door behind her.
He sat leaning back into a small couch, his upper body bare. On a little table on one side of the couch, there was, surprisingly, a small radio, and coming out from it was a language that she did not understand but seemed as if it was being spoken in a very emotionally roused way.
“What are you listening to?” She moved closer to him.
By the light cast by the candle, she could see his tall, lean body and also those wounds crisscrossing his chest and back that were enough to cause anyone who saw them to feel deeply disconcerted.
A faint sense of turmoil stirred in her eyes.<>Please read this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
“Are you thinking just how horrible were you that you actually deepened and worsened these wounds with your own hands?” Pulling the radio over, he turned the volume to the maximum. “I am listening to the news. There is a general strike going on in several cities in Nepal. I surmise that you will need some extra patience regarding your return trip to your home country this time around.” He was actually answering in seriousness the question she had thrown out to try to cover up for her unease. His eyes, though, were taking in the long, blue skirt she was wearing as well as her little actions—how she nibbled lightly on her lip, how the curve of her chest rose and fell—that were a result of her bit of self-restraint, where she wanted to walk up to him but yet remained where she was in hesitation.
She realized after the fact that she, too, was observing him as he sat before her.
Aside from the shock brought by those wounds, she also clued in that this was the first time she had seen him without a shirt on. Every line of this man’s body, from his shoulders to his pelvis, was very sharp and defined. His posture now, as he sat with legs apart, very clearly allowed her to see—
An obvious red hue climbed onto Wen Han’s cheeks.
“How about this? From here to India, you only need a single car ride.” At last, in the midst of this gaze being exchanged between them that was both reserved and suggestive, he was the first to cross the boundary, pulling on the corner of her skirt so that she had no choice but to come closer to him once more until she fell into his lap. “I will take you to Sunauli. You can return to Moscow from there if you so choose.”
“But I just came here from India.”
As her hand came in contact with his scorching chest, the tips of her fingers curled inward. His skin did not have the fineness and smoothness of women’s skin, but it gave her an unfamiliar sense of pressure and a real, rough-feeling heat.
The type of heat that belonged to a man—
Cheng Muyun grabbed her hand. Those eyes that were beneath his lashes were fixed on her.
His gaze was moist and sexy.<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy, taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
“All right, darling, this topic has now come to an end. Let us engage in something else.” He lifted her hand and gently touched his tongue to her palm.
The tingling in the centre of her hand caused her body to grow even more limp. “The soundproofing doesn’t seem to be very good here.”
She remembered, in Kathmandu…
Every moment between the two of them, before they had quarreled. Though it had only been a very short period, it even now still caused her body to heat up as she thought back on it.
“I know. Look, there is a radio over there.” In that narrow space, he turned her so that she was beneath him. “They can only hear the news about the general strike.”
With a buzz, the little light bulb above their heads suddenly lit up.
Images also began playing on the television in the corner of the room, simultaneously describing the same situation as the radio. The picture showed the march staged by the general-strike participants taking place in the dark of night, as well as physical clashes and armed clashes—
The sounds produced were noisy.<>Please read this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
In this constantly-changing country of Nepal, in addition to the weather, the political situation was unpredictable as well.
His lips, right now, right this moment, were like fire searing her.
“I have never asked you for your age.”
“I just had my twentieth birthday last month.”
“More or less what I guessed.” His voice was very light and right by her ear.
Wen Han’s body arched slightly.<>Please read this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
Unconsciously, her hands slid up to wrap around his neck.
Desire, to those who have just begun to try it and give in to it, is absolutely the most potent of drugs and can easily cause people to become addicted. And she realized that, if the one giving the drug—the poison—was this man, no one would be able to find an antidote for it.
She had once translated some material about rosemary.
In Europe, this intense, aromatic herb was scattered by Italians into the graves of the departed to represent remembrance that would carry on forever. And in the Victorian era of long ago, rosemary was also a symbol of remembrance—of an everlasting, devoted, and steadfast love.
Her chest heaved and her head felt dizzy from this thought that had arisen in her mind. The scene before her eyes rocked fiercely, as if she had sunk to the bottom of water and was looking up at the ceiling through its silent currents.
……<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy, taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
All this time and even now, he never took things to the final step.
However, he already knew her body like the back of his hand and knew how to most quickly bring her to completely release her passion. And then, lowering his head again, he continued to kiss her ceaselessly until, exhausted, she calmed.
“I have gotten into a little bit of trouble.” He saw her to the door.
Her heart skipped a beat, and she halted her steps.
“So tonight, there is no way I can spend the entire night with you.” He brought his head down to whisper by her ear, “Right now, pick up your skirt, go back to your own bed, and sleep. Do not go wandering around.”<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the translation has been taken without consent of the translator.
 The Lumbini Development Zone, also known as Lumbini Garden in Nepal (not to be confused with the Lumbini Gardens in India) is a UNESCO project of creating a large park with the purpose of protecting and preserving the archeological and historical remains of the birthplace of Buddha, including the Maya Devi Temple, a sacred garden that contains the pillar of Ashoka, a large Bodhi tree (which was mentioned in the text, here), etc.
 There is an India/Nepal border crossing point that is generally referred to as “Sunuali,” but technically Sunuali is the Indian side and Belahiya is the Nepalese side. Bhairahawa (its official name is Siddhartha Nagar) is actually in Nepal, close to Lumbini, but is only 3 km north of the Indian border at Sunauli.<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the translation has been taken without consent of the translator.
I know most of you aren’t fond of Wang Wenhao. I share the same sentiments. I LOL every time I get to this part:
Before the outline of their figures disappeared from view, Wang Wenhao caught a glimpse of Meng Liangchuan’s backside in his peripheral vision. Meng Liangchuan was also looking at him and quickly flipped a middle finger at him before springing up to the second floor.
Also wanted to make a mention about Cheng Muyun. Yes, Cheng Muyun definitely has a physical attraction to Wen Han. That’s undeniable. However, he’s not just trying to satisfy his carnal desires with her. First, we learned from chapter 2.3 that his initial “move” on her was out of suspicion because she, too, was coincidentally in Kathmandu. He was actually trying to determine whether she had ulterior motives.
“I have touched every inch of skin on her and the frame of her entire body. I know her body better than she knows it herself. That body is very straightforward and pure.” There were absolutely no traces of having been put through any training.
But look at this line from this chapter.
At least, here in this place, her safety factor would be the highest.
What he said to her, that their time could only be this brief period before she returned to Moscow, may be the truth, that whatever relationship they may have, it can only be temporary. However, he is not completely unconcerned about her. He risked his life to save her, thrusting her away from the crocodile jaws first before he fell into the water. He took Wang Wenhao’s goods and left a note telling Wang Wenhao to come to Lumbini, knowing that Wen Han would come along. She may not be the only consideration for choosing Lumbini to be the location of executing his plan, but it does cross his mind that “her safety factor would be the highest” there.
And look also at what he says to her:
“How about this? From here to India, you only need a single car ride… I will take you to Sunauli. You can return to Moscow from there if you so choose.”
Why do you think he is offering to send her away, to Sunauli and then back to Moscow, to be home and safe? Think he’s offering her a way to get away, so she can be away from the danger? Not saying it’s true love (I don’t think it’s love between them yet… it will happen, though!), but neither is it, well, just to get into her pants. (And as per this chapter, he actually hasn’t even “gotten into her pants.”)
1 of 1 Prologue
11 of 50 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue