This short update marks the end of Book II. As you could probably guess from the updates leading up to it, it ends on a sad note. Although not in detail, we finally kind of learn what happened…
Chapter 19.2 — The Two Opposite Ends of Life (2)
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The week after Jǐ Yi arrived in Hong Kong, she received an email sent out to a group distribution list.
The subject line was “Our farewell to the one who forever will be our Class Prefect.”
She never did open this email. That unread email that carried with it the cherished memories of that optimistic, cheerful boy was stored away and sealed in the deepest part of her QQ email inbox. Never would it be deleted, but she could not bring herself to open it.
The summer of 2005.
Jǐ Yi completed her one year of life and studies as an exchange student at the University of Hong Kong. Before leaving, she and her classmates went as a group to Tsim Sha Tsui and roamed around. The dozen or so of them were all dressed in white t-shirts and blue pants, and on their backs, they each wore a backpack. As they were from all different parts of the world, they all communicated in English. When Jǐ Yi came to the pier, she saw an ice cream van and bought a box of ice cream.
The brilliant sunshine was blistering. Sitting in a shady, cool area under the covered walkway by the harbour front, she began scooping out that tangerine-yellow ice cream and bringing it to her mouth.
One more year. One more year and then she would be graduating from university.<>Copyright of
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Her mobile phone was ringing, but she could not be bothered to answer it.
This continued until the person calling had already stepped up behind her and was watching as she, with head bent low, unhurriedly, spoonful after spoonful, scooped at her ice cream. She ate very slowly, occasionally holding some on the tip of her tongue as a way to ease the heat of summer.
Jumping with shock, she whipped her head around.
Wang Haoran toyed with the mobile phone in his hand, looking at her rather resignedly. “I arranged with you that I was going to call you at this time. Why didn’t you answer?”
It was evident that Jǐ Yi had already forgotten about this “arrangement,” and very sheepishly, she gave a little smile. “It’s too hot. My mind’s a little muddled from the sun beating down on me.”
By chance, Wang Haoran was in Hong Kong at this time, and learning that she would be returning to Beijing, he had arranged a time to meet up with her, wanting to take her around Hong Kong to have some fun.
Jǐ Yi did not actually have any place that she really wanted to see in Hong Kong. After contemplating for a moment, she suggested, “How about going to see the dolphins and giant pandas, then?”
When it came to Jǐ Yi, Wang Haoran belonged to the type who would readily go along with whatever she said. From that first time that he encountered her and saw her crying outside the window of her own home, Wang Haoran had thought, this little girl very much stirred up in people a desire to take care of her, and he had found himself keeping her on his mind all these years. During that period, he had not really dared to get too close to her, for fear that the age difference would scare the little girl, and at most, he had only mentioned to Jì Chengyang… the Lolita temptation.
Jǐ Yi gave a brief explanation to her schoolmates, and then she and Wang Haoran hailed a taxi and went to Ocean Park. In this last year that she had been here, she had actually never revisited this trip—the one that she and Jì Chengyang had taken together that year. By the time they took the cable car to the hill summit, it happened to be approaching twelve o’clock, the time for the dolphin show.
Relying on her memories from last time, Jǐ Yi led the way for Wang Haoran and took short, jogging steps to hurry to make the dolphin performance time. But as she ran and ran, she forgot about that person behind her. When she pantingly stood at the highest point of the spectator stands, amidst the music that had reached a climax, she caught sight of the dolphins just as they were springing out from the surface of the water. A huge roar of delight exploded from the stands.
Unblinking, she watched those dolphins. Her gaze searched hard for that spot where she and Jì Chengyang had once sat. So much time had passed, yet from the imprints on her memory, she was still immediately able to recognize it.
There, beneath the blazing sun, the seats were empty.
There was no one.
She could even still remember how, at that time, Jì Chengyang had held her hand and, with countless eyes watching them, walked with her into the sunlight, and how, unable to even open her eyes because of the brilliant sunshine, she had sat on that seat that was scorching hot from being out in the sweltering sun…
Her eyes stung. She especially wanted to cry.
Or was she… already crying?
She touched her face, stealthily wiping away her tears.
There was a love in the bottom of her heart that was so intense and deeply engrained, yet no one knew about it. Only she still remembered everything.
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Out of nowhere, a hat came down and covered her head, and an ice cream was held up in front of her eyes. Wang Haoran had specially bought a bright-pink sun hat for her with the words “Ocean Park” blazoned on it, and in addition, an ice cream that could relieve some of the summer heat. Smiling, he told her, “It’s too sunny here. If you don’t wear a hat, I’m scared you really will get heatstroke.”
In that instant, a familiar figure superimposed itself on the scene in front of her eyes.
She took the ice cream, dropped her head down, and began to eat it.
“I thought of something.” Gazing out at the dolphins, Wang Haoran spoke leisurely. He appeared to be in an extremely good mood. “Jì Chengyang is married. Reportedly, it was a wedding ceremony out in the combat zone. How romantic.”
Jǐ Yi looked back up vacantly.
Tears suddenly fell.
Her chest, body, temples, eyes—an ache suffused through all of her. This pain left her not daring even to breathe.
“What’s wrong?” Wang Haoran had originally been watching the show. Perceiving that no sound was coming from her, he had turned his head, but what he saw were her tear-streaked face and her eyes that were frightfully red.
Truly alarmed at this, he put his arms around her shoulders and pressed, “Xixi? What’s wrong?”
On the other side of the ocean, in that house that Jì Chengyang had once lived in, an email was sent out from Jì Chengyang’s email account. It was sent to a list of specified email addresses, and its content was simple and clear: Married. No need to worry about me. Jì Chengyang.
To date, the owner of this email account had been missing from the war zone for a full two years already.
This dwelling had once housed three people. Besides the financial journalist who still lived here, the remaining two people, who held anti-war sentiments, had disappeared in the Iraq War. Both had travelled to Iraq as contracted correspondents of a news agency, but after their attempts at gathering news and getting interviews were repeatedly blocked, they had decided to resign from their official positions and enter as freelance journalists into the heart of Iraq—the area surrounding Baghdad.
Since then, there had been no more news from them.
This entrusted financial journalist was now acting according to the instructions that they had given prior to their departure and was continuing to help them take care of follow-up matters.
The Iraq War was a war that had bypassed the United Nations Security Council and was, in true sense and meaning, an illegal war.
From when the war broke out in 2003 up to May 2005, after two Iraqi journalists were kidnapped and murdered by unidentified armed militants, the number of journalists killed in that country had already reached one hundred. By August 2005, the death toll of journalists in this war already exceeded the total number of reporters who had died over the twenty years of the Vietnam War.
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My dear friends, though no one will remember your names, you are true crownless kings.
End of BOOK II
 无冕之王 “wu mian zhi wang.” In China, journalists are called “crownless kings,” because, though they hold no official appointed positions of power, they, like kings, can wield much power, giving life or death with their words. This title does not always have positive connotations. However, in these internal thoughts of this friend of Jì Chengyang, he truly is sighing in remembrance and declaring his friends, Jì Chengyang and Jì Chengyang’s university roommate, as true journalists, with sentiments that they, these crownless kings, are unsung heroes.
47 of 69 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue