Chapter 3 – The Soaring Grasshopper
Awaking from my slumber, I arose and turned my body, only to see Song Han – he was 24 years old, and one of my buddies from the previous game. His nickname is Xiao Lang and he filled the role of an assassin in our group. Furthermore, he was considered the best player in our group.
I knitted my eyebrows. If Song Han and my other buddies who viewed me as a hero found out I was evicted today, and was forced to sleep in the lawn and wake up drenched with morning dew, I would not be able to bear the shame.
I whispered in a low voice: “Recently I’ve been learning a new style of high-class martial arts, which requires me to absorb nature – wind, rain, cold and even the morning dew. As such, I decided to sleep outside yesterday. What brings you here?”
Song Han looks at the toothbrush and bowls next to me. His frowns and says: “No matter how I look at it, you have been evicted. How long did you not pay your rent?”
I shake my head, “It’s all a false image, we are both adults now. We need to look past outer appearances and into the true nature of the situation. Has your ethics teacher not taught you that before?”
Song Han grins, saying: “Brother Xiao Yao, don’t lie to yourself, was it the stingy old landlady that gave you problems?”
I shake my head again, answering: “How can that be? You’re imagining things…”
At that moment, a door to my right opened and the landlady poked her head out to look. She acts as if she didn’t see the both of us and snided: “Oh, that Li Xiao Yao bugger, he didn’t come home last night. I can ignore it if he didn’t pay the rent, but to not pay the water and electricity bills as well? He even asked for a few days of extension! What has happened to the youths of today? Since their body is so strong, why don’t they go out and work a little? Can’t even pay the rent, no future prospects, it’s this kind of people that don’t deserve a girlfriend for their entire lifetime!”
I solemnly thought: “You can scold me for being poor, but to insult me and curse me to never get a girlfriend? That’s too cruel!”
Song Han smiled wickedly and said: “She really is annoying, how did Brother Xiao Yao endure her for so long? It really has been hard on you. Do you want me to get rid of her, to chop her head off?”
“Relax and put down the butcher knife, young one…”
“Then wait for me for half an hour!”
“You’ll know in a while!”
I packed up all my stuff, tying them into bundles. This way, I could travel with ease. After waiting awhile Song Han returned. In his hands were a big bucket which was filled with yellow dung. Noticing that, I couldn’t help but knit my eyebrows. “Xiao Lang, what’s up with that?”
Song Han smiles, taking a small disposable bag out from his pocket, which was filled with dirty grasshoppers and other such insects, saying: “I went to Master Liu’s house to collect these little flies, and then went to Grandma Wang’s house to catch a bunch of crickets and grasshoppers. Since that landlady of yours doesn’t care about pride, let’s give her something from lost times – a grasshopper-dung bomb1!”
My whole body shuddered as I thought of what to expect next.
“Brother Xiao Yao, hide further away!”
I lugged all my stuff and sprinted about 10 meters away, while Song Han smeared the dung on the landlady’s house walls and poured the disposable bag of insects into her house. He also purposely scratched her windows below leaving. That definitely wouldn’t be able to be washed away.
Taking a deep breath, I strongly patted Song Han’s shoulder: “Xiao Lang, you really are my long lost brother!”
Song Han giggles and proclaims: “We should leave here quickly, hell will break loose!”
As we left, the screams of the landlady could be heard, but whatever, I don’t plan to meet her any time soon.
On the street, Song Han helped me carry the plates and bowls while I slinged the bundles of clothes over my back.
“Brother Xiao Yao, I came to find you for a reason, he said, shaking a porcelain bowl.
I nodded my head in agreement, saying: “I know, say it. What have you come to find me for?”
Song Han stopped and clenched his fists. Eyes full of fighting spirit, he smiled and said: “I looked for you because Lao K and Hu Li want to rebuild the Zhan Long office. We could leave more records of us in heroic destinies. How about it?”
I looked him in the eye and said: “Do you have enough for the helmet?”
“That’s no good, wait a little more, we need to earn money first!”
“Brother Xiao Yao, you’ve already been evicted, where do you live from now on?” Song Han asked with obvious worry.
“Don’t worry, how could this little matter affect me? I can ask for the company to give me a night shift, and from then on sleep in the building’s foyer. There are water coolers and toilets, so you don’t have to worry at all.” I smiled rashly and replied.
Song Han nods his head. “That’s good, let’s leave it at that for the moment. I’ll return when I have saved enough for the Zhan Long office!”
“No problem, take your time. What’s your latest job?”
“Ah, I’ve applied to be a pastor, to help people arrange and conclude their wedding ceremonies!”
“Good, there are future prospects in that.” I gave him a thumbs up. “Go and help me get the pastor license as well, we can help to arrange people’s marriages together!”
At the company.
The security head slammed the chair and table, pointing at me: “There’s no slots! The night shift isn’t something you can just apply for and get. Our department has so many security guards, and everyone wants to get the night shift. Do you think that by applying, I’ll give it to you? Dream on! And besides, what are you trying to do with the blanket and quilt in your hand? Are you trying to go on strike?”
I smile pleasantly and reply: “No way, I don’t have that kind of courage, security head.”
“Ou, whatever, since you know now, stick to your afternoon shift and get rid of that lousy blanket!”
Carrying my blanket out of the company’s gates, “Hmm, I’ve been rejected again. I can’t use the ‘sleep in company foyer’ plan any more. Whatever. Even if the world rejects me a million times, I’ll still ask with the same pleasant attitude. That’s because attitude is the determining factor in everything. There’s no choice but to find another way.” I thought to myself.
Just then, a police car drove up beside me, and the door opened. Out came the silhouette of someone I was very familiar with. It was the S.W.A.T team head and previously my superior, Wang Xin!
“Get in!” Wang Xin says.
I nodded, threw the blanket into the car and got in. “Leader Wang, you’re not inviting me to tea, are you? I’ve left the S.W.A.T team for almost 2 years now, surely everything’s been wiped clean, right?”
He smiles and replies: “You little brat! Ah, from a special agent to a S.W.A.T member, from a S.W.A.T member to a traffic police officer, from a traffic police officer to an auxiliary police officer, and now you’re a security guard. Normal people rise up the promotion ladder, are you taking the opposite path?”
I was slightly embarrassed by his words and said: “It’s nothing…”
Wang Xin gave me a good look before speaking. “When you were being kicked out of the S.W.A.T team, I knew, the fault wasn’t yours was it? However, you were too obvious. Cases that nobody touched, you alone took. Although you managed to find the culprit, they also have methods to get rid of low-ranking officers. I really wanted to help you at that time, you know? But as they say, wanting to help doesn’t mean it actually is possible2. Surely, you wouldn’t blame me right?”
I shake my head, softly replying with a smile: “It’s all in the past, I have already forgotten about it…”
“Mm, that’s good”
Wang Xin tells me, “This time, I’ve come to look for you to offer you a job, a very serious and important job, and I hope you can consider.”
“What job?” I ask.
He replies: “Tian Xi Corporation, you’ve heard of it before right? It’s currently the biggest science and technology corporation in South-East China, and is the forefront of modern technology.”
“Yea, I know of it. What gives?”
“Tian Xi Corporation is apparently so large it attracted the attention of several groups, and even foreign influence is seeping in. The CEO of Tian Xi is of military nature, and so he’s not afraid of the threats. However, his weak point lies in his daughter. He’s hired many bodyguards to protect her but all of them were not up to standard. He asked me for help, and I immediately thought of you…”
I smile coldy and say: “No thanks, don’t involve me in this kinds of missions any more, I don’t want to get backstabbed again. I’ve had enough!”
“Don’t be like this… Your only job is to protect the young lady and ensure she doesn’t get hurt, furthermore, the pay is quite high.”
My eyes suddenly gleamed: “How much?”
“8000RMB a month!”
I consider it for awhile, but I declined: “Forget it, I don’t want to do these kinds of life-threatening jobs any more. I feel the security guard job is quite decent, the only danger I have seen is a water dispenser falling over.”
After several moments, Wang Xin looks at me and says: “Okay, how about this? I’ll increase the price specially for you, how does 10000RMB sounds? Surely it’s enough, right? Besides assassinations, I doubt you could get a higher-paying job.”
It looked like was I suffocating there, fighting the battle of greed against logic. Finally, I said: “This much, I still have to consider. After all, I don’t want to sign a contract of servitude again.”
Wang Xin looks at my luggage and says: “Then… how about 10000RMB plus an airy blanket? It’s feathered!”
I shudder in excitement, tightly clenching my fist: “An airy blanket, feathered as well… There’s no way anyone in the world could resist. Okay, I’ll do it!”
Wang Xin smiled, saying “Nice!”
I thought about it some more, and then added: “Though, you’ll have to return me my partner. There’s no way I’m relying on my fists to protect the young lady.”
Wang Xin nods, saying: “Of course, your buddy is already in the trunk, take it yourself! After you take it, I’ll bring you to the employer. If there’s no problems, the contract can be signed immediately!”
Getting off the car, I opened the trunk and in it was a long, black cloth bag. The exterior was exquisite, decorations and all. Within the bag, there was a old-fashioned long-sword. I grabbed the familiar long-sword and the nostalgia overwhelmed me. I could not resist saying: “Xiao Hei, we haven’t seen each other for two years now!”
Wang Xin stood at the side, saying: “I vouched for you with my life to get that dangerous weapon out of our armory. You’re really an oddball, you know? Using this kind of sword to threaten the city bureau committee member. You really know no bounds, huh?”
I said lightly: “Whatever it is, if no one wants to do it, I’ll do it instead.”
“Come, let’s go see your employer!”
Ten minutes later, the car stops gently next to an extravagant training ground. With the black cloth bag in hand, I walk into the training grounds. In the distance, the sounds of swords clashing could be heard. Woah, there was an expert!