The plane flew all the way for two hours and finally arrived at the capital’s airport.
Tao Mu and the others came out of the airport and raised their heads——hey, it turned out to be a bright sunny day.
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )
“There is no smog!” Da Mao and Xiao Pang exclaimed: “It seems that the weather in the capital is still quite friendly to us returnees!”
Yun Yi smiled and asked Tao Mu: “How are you guys going to get home? How about——”
Before he finished speaking, there was a loud and excited “Brother Mu Mu Mu Mu!!!” Coming from the front. Everyone followed the sound and saw a darkly tanned and thin child standing in front of a large black Cherokee car and excitedly waving at Tao Mu. Behind him were two adults——one with good looks and a gentle aura, the other with a sturdy figure, thick eyebrows, and fierce aura.
“Brother Mu Mu Mu Mu, you, you, you, you are finally back. I, I, miss you so much!” The dark and thin child jumped at Tao Mu like a monkey and reached out to take Tao Mu’s suitcase, saying eagerly: “When, when you went, why, why, why didn’t you take me, me. Take these, these, two wastes over, what’s the use. If they don’t give, give, give you trouble, then one should burn, burn, burn incense and worship Buddha in thanks.”
“Aiyo hey, I say, little stutter monster Feng Yuan, how can you talk like that? I fed you all those big pork shoulders and fried chicken legs for nothing? You just look down on your brother Da Mao like that?”
“And your brother Xiao Pang.” Xiao Pang added.
Feng Yuan snorted and then bear hugged his brother Tao Mu: “That’s, that’s, a different, different matter. No matter how many things you, you, you feed me, you can’t stop, stop me from telling the truth in front of brother Mu, Mu!”
“Your, your brother Mu, Mu is that good? Even, even, even all of our love these many years can’t compete?” Xiao Pang deliberately talked like Feng Yuan. The kid blushed down to his neck, and stubbornly suggested to his brother Xiao Pang: “You, you, don’t talk, talk like me!”
“Why, why, why? Huh?” Xiao Pang continued to poke fun at the other.
Feng Yuan was so anxious he could barely speak: “Dean, dean, dean Tao said that, talking like me will also, also make people get a stutter, and can’t change, change, change——”
“And can’t change it, right?” Xiao Pang finished and laughed at Feng Yuan: “Is it that hard to say.”
Feng Yuan gave Xiao Pang an eyeroll, and stood next to Tao Mu, his mouth pressed tight and silent.
Tao Mu laughed and rubbed Feng Yuan’s prickly little head: “Your brother Pangzi is teasing you. I bought you all many gifts. Help this brother get it all in the car.”
“Ai, okay!” Feng Yuan agreed happily. Without further ado, he immediately ran to the trunk with the suitcase. Tao Mu walked up to Liu Yao and Meng Qi on his own, and called shyly and embarrassedly: “Brother Yao, brother Xiao Qi.”
“It’s good to be back.” Meng Qi stretched out his hand and patted Tao Mu on the shoulder: “Are you hungry? Uncle Song made a table at home and we’ll send you over there.”
Tao Mu was a little surprised. Although Liu Yao, Meng Qi, and the old man all treat him really well, these two different sides happened to dislike each other. The old man thought that Liu Yao and his people were all gangsters, or “that kind of people”. And add to the fact that there were a bunch of sissy men with heavy makeup that minced around in the club, he was afraid that they would influence Tao Mu badly. Liu Yao didn’t like the old man’s odd temper and stuffy feudalistic ways. The two sides of people would quarrel whenever they meet.
But what was this today?
Liu Yao crossed his arms and snorted, looking up at the sky and ignoring Tao Mu.
So Tao Mu siddled over in front of brother Yao and looked at Liu Yao pitifully. His words also softly trailed: “Brother Yao…..”
Liu Yao snorted again, but before he could even finish putting on airs, he was pushed by Meng Qi: “Stop it already! I’ll fight you if you make the child cry.”
Liu Yao then looked at Tao Mu, and said in a deep voice, “Get in the car!”
Liu Yao’s voice was extremely deep, with a hint of hoarseness. It was the bass voice type highly regarded in the later years. When he was unhappy, his words would make a muffled resonance from his chest, which could make people feel nervous just hearing it. Everyone at Night would all become afraid whenever they saw Liu Yao’s unsmiling face and muffled talking.
But Tao Mu was not afraid. Because when he was pushed into a desperate corner in his last life and was cursed at by the whole Internet, Liu Yao used this exact voice to stand up for him. Later, he was implicated by Tao Mu and was forced by Shen Yu’s admirers to be unable to stay in Beijing. When he left, he also used this voice to comfort him.
So Tao Mu felt safe, at ease and comfortable when he heard this voice. Like a little kid who had the protection of his parents, no matter how much he had suffered or been wronged outside, even if he was taught a lesson at home, he would still have confidence that his family would always be on his side.
“Brother Yao, don’t be angry with me.” Tao Mu put his arms around brother Yao, who had a thick waist, and wheedled softly, “I know I was wrong.”
“Piss off! Who taught you to act so sticky. Do you also plan to let loose two drops of cat urine (TN: cat urine slang for tears)?” Liu Yao rolled his eyes impatiently, but didn’t break away, instead placing his big hand on Tao Mu’s head. He rubbed it hard: “Get in the car quickly. The whole house is waiting for you so we can eat!”
Inexplicably, this remark poked Tao Mu in the heart. The child felt his eyes grow hot, and immediately let go of his brother Yao’s arm: “You wait for me for a while. I have to go say some farewells.”
After Tao Mu finished this sentence, he strode towards the Yun family in a long stride, a happy and joyous expression in his eyes, something that had not been present while in H Town: “Thanks, but I won’t be going with you. My family has come to pick me up.”
Everyone in the Yun family took a look at Liu Yao, who made a very fierce image and Meng Qi, who attracted the gazes of all passerbys, and all understood. Yun Yi smiled and said, “Be careful on the road. We will keep in touch later.”
Yun Duo held mother Yun’s arm and said reluctantly, “Brother Xiao Mu, don’t forget me. Remember to call me.”
As soon as she spoke, she felt that this kind of thing was likely not possible, so she changed it to: “You have to answer when I call you. Don’t say that the phone is almost out of power as soon as you get my call!”
Don’t know what was up with Tao Mu. Every time he answered her phone, the first sentence that came out of his mouth would be “If you have something to say, then say it quickly, my phone is going to run out of battery.” If he didn’t like to talk to her, just say it straight. Always using this excuse every time.
Tao Mu remained unaffected and nodded at Yun Xingjian and his wife: “Goodbye, uncle and aunt Yun.”
He glanced at his semi-golden thigh again: “Goodbye brother Yun.”
Everyone in the Yun family watched Tao Mu jump into the big Cherokee car with joy, and suddenly felt that the child appeared a lot younger than he did before——finally he looked like an eighteen-year-old boy.
On the other side, Liu Yao’s face sank as he watched Tao Mu walking towards the Yun family. He asked Da Mao and Xiao Pang: “Was Xiao Mu bullied in H Town?”
Da Mao and Xiao Pang had always been slightly afraid of Liu Yao. Hearing this, Tao Mu’s harsh warning to them immediately flashed through their mind. The two looked at each other and said obediently: “How can our brother Mu be the one being bullied? Those grandsons are really snobbish, and they didn’t like brother Mu at first. But brother Mu was able to conquer them in a matter of moments——”
“Okay!” Liu Yao waved his hand, interrupting Da Mao and Xiao Pang’s lie: “Don’t talk about it now. We’ll talk later.”
Liu Yao looked at Tao Mu, who ran back in quick steps, and motioned everyone to get in the car.
The big Cherokee car drove all the way back from the airport, got off the expressway and cut into the 3rd Ring Road. Without any surprise they were met with a traffic jam. The entire 3rd Ring Road had been basically turned into a parking lot. Liu Yao said without looking back: “There are snacks in the car.”
Meng Qi, who was sitting in the co-pilot, smiled and turned his head and said, “Before your brother Yao came to the airport he deliberately took a lot of dried fruit snacks from the club with us. They are all your favorite snacks, Xiao Mu. But don’t eat too much or else uncle Song will be nagging you again.”
Tao Mu was startled when he heard these words, and watched Meng Qi pull out packets of pistachios, figs, broad beans, and braised peanuts from the small car refrigerator. There was also the sweet-scented osmanthus cakes and kidney bean cakes that Tao Mu loved.
He stretched out his hand to take the things in brother Xiao Qi’s hand, and thanked him with a smile.
Liu Yao was annoyed by the traffic jam. He rolled down the glass window, lit a cigarette, and observed their family’s little puppy in the inverted mirror. He saw Tao Mu tearing the snack bags and then dividing the snacks among Da Mao, Xiao Pang and Feng Yuan.
The expressions and manners were no different from before.
Meng Qi smiled and asked Tao Mu: “How’s your time in H Town? Have you seen a few big stars?”
Da Mao and Xiao Pang subconsciously wanted to take over the conversation, but feared that their mouths would let slip something which would result in Tao Mu being angry. They could only stuff their mouths with food sheepishly.
Tao Mu smiled and talked to the two about his troubles in H Town. During the retelling, he emphatically described how much money he had made from trading stocks: “Brother Xiao Qi, am I amazing? Do you want to think about it and let me take care of your private money. I promise you that in at least a year your money will be ten times more, and you won’t even be charged for handling fees!”
While Tao Mu was talking, he didn’t forget to peep at his brother Yao. Ai, this situation was just like a scumbag who had fooled around outside and wronged his wife, now he just wanted to make up for it. But there was no good method he could find, so he could only make it up materially.
Meng Qi chuckled lightly. He didn’t take Tao Mu’s words seriously, and coaxed him like a child: “Yo, is our Mu Mu that amazing?”
“Come on~” Tao Mu was lying on the backrest of the co-pilot. He bent his slender index finger and scratched the back of his brother Xiao Qi’s carefully done hair: “I’m amazing. Definitely better than that financial advisor brother Xiao Qi uses now. By the way, he didn’t cause you to lose money, did he?”
“No.” Meng Qi said with a smile: “In the middle of the year, your brother Yao felt that the situation was not very good, so I took the money out of the stock market.”
Tao Mu immediately gave his brother Yao a thumbs up, with an expression of flattery like a sycophantic villain: “Brother Yao is a wise man.”
“Piss off.” Seeing Tao Mu scooching over, Liu Yao pressed out the remaining half of the cigarette——completely unaware that the little puppy he had watched grow up had already learned to smoke.
The big Cherokee inched along the 3rd Ring Road that had turned into a parking lot, and headed towards Houhai lake. When they arrived at the orphanage, it was already more than two o’clock in the afternoon.
Dean Tao and the other children in the orphanage were waiting in old man Song’s small restaurant. The large group of people were so hungry their stomachs felt as if it had flattened to touch their backs, but no one shouted to eat. Hearing the noise of the car, they immediately swarmed out from the small restaurant: “Brother Mu, brother Mu you’re back~”
Tao Mu pushed the door and got out of the car, looking at the old man Song who was standing behind the threshold of the restaurant’s front door. The golden afternoon sun poured down, engulfing everything in a hazy and dazzling golden halo. Tao Mu blinked in a daze, and stepped forward to greet him: “Old man, I’m back.”
Song Daozhen snorted coldly and scowled with his hands behind his back: “Why are you so late? Everyone is waiting for you, hurry up and get inside.” The way he said it, it was as if he completely did not see Liu Yao and Meng Qi who were following behind at all.
Liu Yao snorted from his nose. Feeling that his wrist was being pulled, he looked back and saw Meng Qi smile at him with warm eyes and a calming expression.
Liu Yao snorted again. Forget it, a grown man like him won’t bother arguing with an old man who had half a foot in the grave.
Dean Tao walked out of the room with an apron around her waist, smiling with kind eyes, “Xiao Mu is back? Are you hungry? Come in to eat!”
Saying so, she reached out and touched the sweaty heads of Da Mao, Xiao Pang and little Feng Yuan: “Look at these hot sweaty heads, go and wash your faces.”
The city of Beijing at the end of August was the time when there was always an autumn hot spell. At noon it reached 37 degrees. Because Meng Qi had poor health, he couldn’t use the air conditioner. The whole way back everyone had sweated quite a lot.
Da Mao and Xiao Pang responded and ran towards the bathroom. Feng Yuan followed closely behind, running even faster than the two of them. When the children in the orphanage saw this, they followed in a swarm, screaming and laughing around the room.
Dean Tao glanced at the children adoringly, and then talked to Liu Yao and Meng Qi: “You met a traffic jam outside, right? The way I see it, this Beijing city is good everywhere except for one thing, traffic jams all day long, it truly delays things.”
Meng Qi smiled and said, “We’re used to it. It’s just, Xiao Mu hasn’t eaten since this morning and he’s starving.”
“The meal will begin right away.” Dean Tao said, and couldn’t help touching Tao Mu who had been watching her silently: “What’s the matter?”
“Dean Tao.” Tao Mu looked at the kindly smiling old lady with some sorrow. Counting his previous life, he hadn’t seen dean Tao in four or five years. The only impression in his mind was that smiling face on the black and white photo.
Tao Mu didn’t know dean Tao’s personal affairs. As far as he could remember, dean Tao had already been the dean of the orphanage. She had no family, no husband, no children. Her whole life and her whole heart had been dedicated to this small orphanage and to the children in the orphanage. She treated all the children in the orphanage as if they were her own blood. She had been running the orphanage for so many years but hadn’t even received any salary. Her retirement wages were all used in the daily expenses of the orphanage. She hadn’t even bought herself new clothes for so many years.
However, those evil hearted real estate developers actually hired the Internet water army to slander dean Tao, saying she embezzled the funds of the orphanage, just because she did not agree to sell the land of the orphanage to developers to build real estate. They even bribed insiders to “report” dean Tao.
Dean Tao probably never thought that people’s hearts could be so sinister. Faced with accusations and doubts from the news media and netizens who didn’t know the truth, an old lady who was over 60 years old and didn’t even know how to navigate the Internet was simply unable to even tell her side of the story. In the end, she suffered a heart attack caused by the abuse from those marketing accounts and died tragically in an ambulance.
In this life, Tao Mu absolutely won’t let that happen again!
“Xiao Mu? Xiao Mu?”
Tao Mu came back to his senses, and saw dean Tao looking at him with a smile: “What are you thinking about, so distracted, hurry up and wash your hands and eat.”
“Oh.” Tao Mu replied and went to wash his hands obediently.
Dean Tao, Song Daozhen, and two workers in the restaurant started serving dishes. Meng Qi also went into the kitchen to help.
Liu Yao sat at the dinner table solemnly, watching old man Song bring out a large plate of tender longevity peaches. He couldn’t help but feel a little dazed: “Is anyone celebrating his birthday today?”
Old man Song glanced at Liu Yao and snorted without saying a word.
Liu Yao suddenly realized: Oh, this was for Tao Mu’s birthday!
The two of them only communicated with one question and one snort, not even a look from the eyes and yet they completely understood each other.
Tao Mu was also stunned when he came out of the bathroom. Aside from the fact that the table was full of his favorite dishes, there was even a plate of longevity peaches right in the middle of the table——it was definitely dean Tao who heard his moment of idiocy on the phone that day and relayed it to the old man.
Then the old man took it seriously. Eagerly waiting for the day he came back to present him with a large plate.
This was to make up for his birthday!
Could it be that in the previous life, this stubborn and mulish old man also carefully prepared such a table full of dishes, only for him to not even show up?
And he never saw him show up in the rest of his life!
Tao Mu’s eyes reddened: Tao Mu, you really are a bastard! A complete bastard! The number 1 stupid idiot!
However, what Tao Mu didn’t expect was that old man Song had carefully prepared more things than he had imagined.
After dinner, without waiting for Liu Yao and Meng Qi to speak, old man Song took out a set of keys and handed them to Tao Mu: “The house price has plummeted recently, and there is no use for the money I saved in the bank. So I wanted to buy a house to collect rent in the future. I bought this new house, which happens to be in Dongcheng District, opposite Beijing Film. Aren’t you going to school in Beijing Film? It just so happens that this house will be perfect for your four years in the school.”
Tao Mu looked at the keys handed in front of him, a dazed look flashing across his face.
Liu Yao was also taken aback. He turned his head and glanced at old man Song, and sneered: “I say, old man, you going out of your way to buy a house, how big is it?”
“38 square meters.” Old man Song glanced at Liu Yao and emphasized: “The kind of apartment that is very popular now.”
“Yo, that’s not small at all!” Liu Yao snorted and turned to whisper with Meng Qi. But his voice was so loud the whole table could hear: “I wonder if it can even fit all the clothes of the little puppy!”
Tao Mu spent money lavishly, and learned from the young masters and princesses of Night, who loved to collect famous brands. After these many years, the clothes, shoes and hats could at least fill three houses. Thirty-eight square meters, compared to the employee dormitory he gave their little puppy it was much too cramped——
That’s right, boss Liu was extremely generous and was often known for his generosity in jianghu. The dormitories for his employees were all luxury villas or high rise apartments——basically they were all properties owned by boss Liu himself, but he was too lazy to rent them out and just used them as employee benefits.
“I think it’s better to let Yao’er (TN: pet name for a child, basically translates to ‘little child’) live in his brother Xiao Qi’s——”
Before he finished speaking, Meng Qi grabbed his arm and interrupted him.
“Actually, Yao’er can live anywhere. Uncle Song’s house is close to the school. If he were to live at my place, he would have to take the transit for two stops.” Meng Qi only had to look at Tao Mu to know that Tao Mu was already completely touched, looking eagerly at uncle Song. But he also didn’t want to disappoint his brother Yao. His little conflicted expression was simply distressing to watch.
Liu Yao looked at Meng Qi unhappily!
The house he had cleaned up all night long! He also redecorated it! He also bought new household appliances! Darn it, just a few words, and all the hard work they spent a week on was in vain!
Meng Qi’s little finger hooked Liu Yao’s palm, and consoled the other: “Let the child live in uncle Song’s house. But if he wants to hold a party or something on the weekend, it can be at our place. The best of both worlds. The best of both worlds.”
Liu Yao was silent this time.
Old man Song had been covertly staring at Tao Mu’s face from the moment Liu Yao uttered his first sentence. Later, seeing Meng Qi coming out to smooth things over and that Tao Mu did not object, he was finally relieved——
To be honest, he was really worried that Tao Mu would look down on his little apartment. But with his ability, his life savings, he could only afford such a small apartment less than forty square meters.
Fortunately, the stinky boy didn’t complain about him this time!
Old man Song thought this way, and quickly struck the iron while it was hot: “Xiao Qi, you drove your car over right, so why don’t you drive us over to check out the place. Let Xiao Mu recognize the address. He must be tired after a day of travel, so he can just directly sleep over there. After all, doesn’t he have to report to school in the morning tomorrow!”
Dean Tao also helped old man Song speak: “That’s the truth. Xiao Qi, we must trouble you.”
“It’s not troublesome.” Meng Qi smiled and looked at Tao Mu, then reached out and rubbed the boy’s head: “Let’s go!”
What was Tao Mu’s mood now? He felt as if a scoop of pepper was stuck in his throat. Choking him up, as if it would choke out the snot and tears if he let out his voice. Tao Mu didn’t want to cry in front of so many people, he didn’t dare to speak, so he just hung his head and nodded fiercely.
Everyone at the table could see that Tao Mu was affected. But no one pointed it out.
Liu Yao picked up the car keys and walked out, while old man Song and Meng Qi dragged Tao Mu to follow. Tao Mu held the luggage in one hand and supported the old man with the other. Dean Tao stayed behind in the restaurant to collect the leftovers and cold dishes, and little Feng Yuan and the other children in the orphanage also gathered to help. Da Mao and Xiao Pang looked at Tao Mu eagerly, although they wanted to follow up and join in the fun, but unfortunately the car had no more room. Besides, it was getting late and they should be going home too——for the sake of this meal, neither of them told their families they were coming back today.
They only had this bit of ambition!
Da Mao and Xiao Pang sighed and called their family members to pick them up. Without a doubt, they were treated to a scolding from their parents.
After putting down the phone, Da Mao told Tao Mu: “If you have time in these two days, stop by at our house. My dad has something to talk with you about.” Boss Wang saw his son’s pocket money snowballing in the stock market and couldn’t resist it anymore. This time that Tao Mu was invited to come over, it was estimated that they would be talking about it.
Tao Mu nodded. Helping the old man sit into the big Cherokee car.
Liu Yao silently drove the car all the way to the gate of the neighborhood where Song Daozhen bought the apartment. Across the street was the front gates of Beijing Film, and indeed it was really close.
It seemed that the old man had been deliberately planning this, don’t know how long he had been aiming for this place.
Careless! He was really careless!
Liu Yao snorted inwardly. If he knew earlier he would have bought a place here in advance. Choose the one with the largest area, the best apartment, and the best daylight. That way he wouldn’t have lost to 38 square meters.
Liu Yao grumbled in his heart as he followed the old man Song all the way.
Old man Song had limited funds but wanted to choose a good location. So other conditions would naturally take a back seat. The apartment he chose was basically the smallest in the entire neighborhood. And it was also on the top floor. Old man Song was worried about too much sun so when decorating, he specially asked the decorators to make a layer of sun protection on top of the waterproofing. He also chose an air conditioner that had the most powerful function.
Inside the small apartment, there was a kitchen, dining room, bedroom, study, and bathroom. Old man Song asked the decorator to open up all the partition walls except the load-bearing wall, so that the apartment would appear bigger and the lighting would be better.
Going in from the door, on the left hand side was the shoe cabinet and the photo wall hung with several photos of Tao Mu. On the right was the bathroom. There was a mirror sliding door installed that would fully take care of the stinky brat’s vanity. Inside was the most popular toilet in the market, and next to it was the shower, separated by a frosted bath screen glass.
Going back to the living room, there were white walls, warm yellow furniture, and a light green fabric sofa on the opposite side of the LCD TV hanging on the wall. Behind the fabric sofa, two large cabinets with sliding doors were installed into the wall, hung with Tao Mu’s most beloved brand-name clothes and hats. Old man Song and dean Tao had moved it all here specially from the orphanage.
Further inside was the dining room, where a small table was set with two small exquisitely made dining lamps hanging over the table.
Further inside past the dining room was the bedroom and kitchen separated by two partitions, one horizontal and one vertical. There was only one bed in the bedroom. Next to the bed was a desk and bookshelf. There was also an Apple desktop computer on the desk. Old man Song asked the young workers in his store to accompany him to the computer shop to choose it himself. It was said to be the best brand.
As for the kitchen, that was the easiest. With the expertise of old man Song, he definitely arranged the various utensils in the kitchen clearly and organized.
Extending further in was a small balcony with glass walls. There were several pots of green plants placed out on it. There was also a pot of pepper tree, a pot of persimmon tree, and a pot of kumquat tree that he took from the restaurant. It was currently the harvest season, so the small balcony was full of colorful autumn colors, adding a bit of nature to the overall apartment.
It filled the house with a sense of home.
The apartment was not big and the decoration was not luxurious. It could be said to be the most simple house Tao Mu had lived in in his two lifetimes. However, Tao Mu could feel the sense of home from every furnishing in this house.
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )
It was the “new home” for Tao Mu that Song Daozhen had been building and adding to little by little for who knew how many days and nights.
If you like the content (or want more ;p) then please consider supporting the translator! ლ(⌒εー)ლPrevious