Is it as Fu Yiming and Cheng Jiayi said? That Cheng Muyun’s actions will only lead to everyone’s eventual deaths?
Chapter 12.2 — This Avici Hell (2)
For the entire day, she was in a deep sleep.
Then, in the middle of the night, Wen Han’s heartbeat suddenly sped up, and she started awake in a flash, gasping heavily. Amidst her panic, someone clasped her hand firmly in the darkness.
This warmth was too familiar to her. It was him.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead
The oxygen mask on her face was removed. She opened her mouth slightly. Her throat was so parched it ached somewhat. As if knowing what she in this moment wanted, Cheng Muyun brought his lips against Wen Han’s. Icy water slowly slid from his mouth past her lips, the stream passing her throat and flowing downwards.
After a few times of this, he stopped. “Feeling better?”
A furrow formed between Wen Hans’ brows. Muddled, she was unable to differentiate whether this was reality or a dream, and her heart throbbing with fear, she gazed into his eyes. In that long stretch of quiet, she slowly found her awareness again. “I… actually am not feeling unwell.” Yes, it was true; she was not feeling as bad as what her appearance might make her seem.
Apart from that moment when she had lost consciousness and been unable to breathe and speak, and also, when she woke those few times during the daytime with total numbness in her limbs such that she had been unable to move, she actually had not really felt anything.
This was what she found most frightening.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead
“Is that so?” he answered simply.<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy, from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
“I don’t think I have done anything.” Wen Han’s voice was scratchy. Having only just awoken, even enunciating each word was laborious. “Why? The issue… was in the mangoes?”
She could not think of any particular thing that could cause her to be like this.
Moreover, because she had not seen Zhuang Yan when she regained consciousness that first time this morning, a deep sense of uneasiness had pervaded in her subconscious the entire time.
“It was the mangoes.” He confirmed her speculation.
Wen Han immediately wanted to ask how Zhuang Yan was, but because she was too anxious and hurried, she began coughing violently. Cheng Muyun tossed aside the breathing device on her body that had been confining her and picked her up, putting her on his lap and patting her back. When Wen Han recovered from this, he set her back onto the bed and lifted the pillow up for her to lean back into.
In the corner of the room, someone coughed.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead
Only now did Wen Han notice that there were not only herself and Cheng Muyun inside the room. There, in the corner, stood a shadowy figure as well, smoking a cigarette while facing the barred window that was open. She could not tell who it was.
“Xiao Zhuang?” she softly asked.<>Please support the original translation at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
That person who had coughed seemed to choke on his cigarette smoke and began coughing even more severely.
Cheng Muyun did not reply, instead beginning to help her remove that large, loose hospital gown, which drafts of air could slip into. From the corner of the bed, he brought over some clean clothing and began putting it on for her. As he helped her get dressed, he shifted his body slightly to the side, blocking the line of sight from the window.
“Where’s Zhuang Yan?” She was growing increasingly apprehensive.
Crouching down slightly, Cheng Muyun stuffed her feet into a pair of sneakers, tying the shoelaces for her in the same way as before, with non-slip knots. “I will bring you to see him.”
Her nerves, which had been tightly strung this whole time, at last loosened somewhat. At least he was still here and still fine and had not tried to run away. At least it was not him. So good that it was not him. However, after she walked out of the room with Cheng Muyun and followed the stairs all the way to the first floor, then to the first basement level, and then to end of the staircase on the second basement level, that peace of mind was utterly no more.
These were not patients’ rooms at all.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead
From the beginning to the end of the corridor, there were only a few rooms, and only the door on one of those rooms was locked. And it was in front of that locked door that several unfamiliar Indian men stood. Fu Yiming and Cheng Jiayi were there as well. The remaining person, Chen Yuan, had followed behind Wen Han and Cheng Muyun and come down with them.
Wen Han looked all around and then, in somewhat of a panic, turned her eyes on Cheng Muyun. “What do you mean by this? Is he here? Where? Why don’t I see him?”
No, it was not possible. It couldn’t be. How could that be? …
Even she did not felt unwell. It was just something that made people lose consciousness. It was not possible…<>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.
Fu Yiming had originally been arguing with those several Indian men, but the instant he saw Cheng Muyun, a cuss burst from his lips, and with large strides, he charged toward Cheng Muyun.
In a mere flash, a gun suddenly appeared in his hand, its muzzle pointing directly at Cheng Muyun’s heart. “He was only nineteen! He’s been with me since he was a kid. Now is everything great? Huh? He’s dead! His death proves that he’s innocent, that he’s not the mole, right? This is your method?!”
“Put down the gun.” At the same time, a gun also pressed into Fu Yiming’s temple. Coughing, Chen Yuan gave this warning to Fu Yiming.
Fu Yiming was treating the gun muzzle against his head entirely as if it did not even exist, and sneeringly, he glared at Cheng Muyun. “You might as well just get straight to it. Kill us all and be over with it. Or be good about this and just let me end this pointless game.”
Narrowing his eyes slightly, Cheng Muyun extended an arm, stretched it around Fu Yiming’s shoulders, and viciously pulled Fu Yiming in front of himself. This sudden narrowing of the distance between them caused Fu Yiming’s gun to collide hard into Cheng Muyun’s chest. “You want to kill me?”
Fu Yiming did not answer. He slid the safety catch of the pistol to “off.”
Cheng Muyun looked right at Fu Yiming, once more torturingly interrogating the other party’s soul. “You really want to kill me?”
Two guns, three people.<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy, taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
A dangerous world had been built from these.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead
Wen Han seemed as if she was isolated on the outside of that world.
It was as if, beside her, there was a deep abyss continuously collapsing in on itself, and buildings and cars were constantly plummeting into that giant, caving pit, causing her to want to flee for her life, to leave that place…
You cannot flee!<>Please support the original translation of this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead
She suddenly grabbed Fu Yiming’s gun.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead
As a result of this unexpected action, everyone’s eyes fell on Wen Han.
“Zhuang Yan said—” She tried hard to speak every word very clearly. “He was very happy that on the train, from the very first glance when he saw Cheng Muyun, Cheng Muyun had already viewed him as a brother. He was very happy that he could follow Cheng Muyun…” When that adolescent boy sat on the staircase and told her this, he must have been sincere. She could sense Zhuang Yan’s worship of Cheng Muyun.
Silence.<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy, taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
No one responded.<>Please support the original translation of this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead
Wen Han’s hands began to tremble, but still, she would not loosen her hold.
“Get the hell away!” In the end, it was Fu Yiming who threw her off of himself.
Cheng Jiayi, who had rushed over, caught Wen Han.
Fu Yiming took his hand that gripped the gun and slammed it fiercely into the wall.
Wen Han swore she heard, in that instant, the sound of bone splitting.
His eyes scarlet, Fu Yiming pulled the gun out of that hand that was in severe pain and put it behind his waist. Forcing out every word to form a coherent thought, he stated, “Your woman is right, Cheng Muyun. Zhuang Yan worshipped you like you’re a hero. Cheng Muyun, the mistake is on me. He had never even seen you before and is the one person who has the least connection to you. It was just so that he could see you that I brought him along here.”
As Fu Yiming spoke, the view before him began to grow hazy. A mist obscured everything in front of his eyes. “You were suspicious of him only because he was someone who followed me everywhere. The mistake is on me. All of it is on me…”
He shut his eyes. After regaining control of himself for a few seconds, he opened them again and directed his gaze at Chen Yuan and Cheng Jiayi.
“No matter who out of the two of you did it, whoever it was, I will rip your tendons out and flay you with my own hands. Trust me. I, Fu Yiming, am a man of my word.”
Turning, he strode to that locked door, gave it a vicious kick, and then walked toward a different staircase, where his figure disappeared at the end of the corridor.<>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.
This altercation had happened too abruptly, too quickly.
Those five or six Indian men were dazed and did not even whisper amongst themselves, each one merely staring blankly in their direction. Wen Han’s mind seemed to awaken and pull itself out from that fierce confrontation a moment ago. Slowly, she could feel the chill that permeated into the very crevices of her bones. She knew that Zhuang Yan’s body must be in that room.
But she did not dare go inside to see.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead
When the Indian men had recovered themselves, they walked over and began to communicate with Cheng Muyun in English, saying that they would immediately do as Cheng Muyun had requested and arrange for an autopsy. With a wave of his hand, Cheng Muyun told them it was not necessary and there was no need to do any examination. Someone would be coming in a few days to take away the body.
Pulling Wen Han over to him, he softly asked her, did she want to go in for a look?
Wen Han shook her head.<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy, taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
She could not accept that she would be going in for this so-called last look, this final farewell.
She would rather her memory stay frozen on that ordinary Indian train, where the nearby Indian travellers were gathered together, chatting and, in the night hours, even singing along to instruments. And there, in that compartment, she still had not known that those passengers were harbouring ill intentions, and everyone had simply exchanged stories of what they had seen and heard in their travels.
That train had jolted forward very rhythmically along the tracks.
He, in the garbs of a lama, had been leafing through a book.
She had lain on the upper berth, watching him.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead
Their occasional deliberate communication had all been about Buddhist scriptures—amla fruit, to become entrapped in a cocoon of your own spinning.
And in such an atmosphere, the youth had appeared.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
……<>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 hospital arranged for a simple medical examination for Wen Han. After verifying that there was nothing abnormal with her body, they cautioned Cheng Muyun that, although at the moment no aftereffects could be detected, this did not mean there were no issues. That very responsible Indian doctor even insisted on writing a detailed medical record in English and told Cheng Muyun to make sure he kept it, so that when they returned to Moscow, it could be referenced during Wen Han’s follow-up checks.
Wen Han only asked a few careful questions when the doctor was explaining some of the words on her medical record that she could not read clearly. She confirmed that Cheng Muyun had not lied to her. Her loss of consciousness had indeed been food-related.
There was no autopsy performed on Zhuang Yan. His cause of death was established to be food poisoning.
The manor lord sent a vehicle and driver to take them back to the estate.
Cheng Muyun sat in the front passenger seat. Wen Han sat in the spot directly behind him. The remaining three people were also within this same vehicle, so some bumping and contact between arms and legs were unavoidable. However, it was evident that the happy and harmonious atmosphere had completely dissipated.
Every person sat in silence, each occupied with his or her own thoughts.
No one spoke.<>Please support the original translation of this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead
How had this whole incident happened? Wen Han gazed out her window, the entire way unable to figure out the answer.
Cheng Muyun had bought those mangoes and brought them back. When it was time to eat them, only she and Zhuang Yan had expressed any interest. What had happened in between?
With bowed head, she stared at her right hand, her heart quivering.
Hard. Cold. Carrying a sense of subjugation of life.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead
That was the feeling she had had in that first time in her life that she touched a gun.
Cheng Muyun sent the other three back to that little white building, but he brought Wen Han with himself back to that austere, two-level building. She surmised that tonight, he wanted to stay in a place that could allow his heart to quieten.
The peafowls had long since entered the straw shed far back in the fenced area. The bonfire outside the building was still burning brightly. There were another two days. The day after tomorrow was the big day of the manor lord’s monastic induction.
Reportedly, this bonfire would not be extinguished prior to that.
The weather was already very cold, but those sadhus seated around the bonfire were still garbed only with a rag of cloth around their lower bodies. They sat around the fire not for warmth, but only to have some light.
The entire way here, Cheng Muyun had been silent.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead
When they arrived here, the tautness in him had seemed to loosen somewhat. In the cold wind, he removed his jacket and shirt, tossing them by his feet, and sat down cross-legged as well. Asking for a bowl of cold water from the sadhu beside him, he drank it down in two mouthfuls. The cool water poured into him, and the biting wind blew on him. In this way, he allowed himself to maintain a clear head.
Wen Han sat down close beside him.<>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.
Zhou Ke. Zhuang Yan.
It seemed that every time she just learned their real names, they would die. It was like a curse. She thought of Fu Yiming, and also thought of Cheng Jiayi, and then did not dare continue thinking in this direction. She would rather she never knew what their actual names were, and she could reminisce about that scene from their very first meeting on the coffee plantation grounds, when they had each introduced themselves using fake and ordinary names…
“There are times when I am very envious of these sadhus. From when they enter into monkhood, there is no love or hate. They forsake fame and glory, abandon sexual desires, and lay down the joys of relationships.” Cheng Muyun unexpectedly spoke up.
Wen Han looked at him.<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy, taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com
For the whole night, she had been immersed in her own grief and had neglected that this man was actually the one who most needed comfort. Zhuang Yan’s death, Fu Yiming’s gun muzzle pointed at him, and also Cheng Jiayi’s malicious speculations about Zhou Ke. She had only just caught a glimpse of the tip of the iceberg and was already feeling that she could not bear this. And she was not even well acquainted with these people, let alone did she have any deep emotional bonds or relationships with them.
She could see the lines of his taut muscles and the numerous wounds and scars on him.
“What they desire is liberation, true liberation.” Cheng Muyun set down that wooden bowl, which was covered in filth. Turning his head, he laid his icy palm against her warm cheek. “All things of the past are gone as yesterday; all things of the future are born today.”
However, being unable to lay down all the hatreds of the past was Cheng Muyun’s greatest karmic hindrance.<>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.
 从前种种，譬如昨日死，以后种种，譬如今日生. This well-known line is quoted from《了凡四训》Liaofan’s Four Lessons, which was written in the Ming dynasty by Yuan Liaofan. My translation here is more literal and less interpretational in order to fit with the feeling of this scene, where Cheng Muyun is actually quoting from an ancient text. There are multiple translations of this book, including http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/liaofan.pdf. In the link on buddhanet, the interpretation of this line is “Live as though everything of the past dissolved yesterday, and all of the future begins today.”<>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.
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