Devil’s WarmthChapters List
Chapter 4: He is not dirty
Bei Yao’s illness did not heal until August. The four-year-old’s body was intensely rejecting the memories of her last life. Therefore as soon as Bei Yao became conscious, she went to write the remaining memories in the notebook. Then she hid it in the crevice between the bedside table and the cupboard as Zhao Zhilan wouldn’t clean it.
Waiting until early August, it was the hottest time of summer.
Bei Yao’s memories finally stabilized and she ended up with the memories till the third grade of elementary school. It was the limit of this soft, small body. She vaguely knew that she was reborn and that she had to be nice to Pei Chuan, but she couldn’t tell the reason why she had to take care of him.
With the education of third grade level, she couldn’t even read the notebook when she looked it up again. She knew some of the words, but not all. However, the high tension inside her made her hide the notebook again.
Bei Yao’s illness this time worried Zhao Zhilan and Bei Licai. Bei Licai smoked a cigarette while promising Zhao Zhilan, “Wait for Yaoyao’s fourth birthday, we’ll set off firecrackers to bid off her bad luck.” The premature child mortality rate in the nineties was much higher than in later years. Bei Yao is the couple’s first child. During those years, the idea of patriarchy had not yet been dismissed. Bei Yao’s grandmother didn’t like her, but the couple cherished their daughter.
When Bei Yao got better, she naturally had to be sent to kindergarten again.
Now she was looking at the world from the perspective of a third-grade elementary school student. However, she was much better now. She was not impatient anymore, and her clear eyes had more yearning and curiosity for the world.
The road to the kindergarten was filled with summer flowers.
Bei Yao couldn’t stop staring at the lotus blossoms in the pond.
Finally, she begged Zhao Zhilan to pick one.
Zhao Zhilan had a terrible headache. Their community was not completely built yet and it still consisted of demolished houses. Therefore the lotus flowers seemed to be raised by someone else. Zhao Zhilan tried to scare her, “This is someone else’s house. If you were caught, they’ll catch you and lock you up!”
Bei Yao looked up with her clear eyes, “Then we’ll buy.”
“Ok. It works.” Zhao Zhilan looked around and asked the owner of the lotus flower. Then she spent fifty cents on a lotus flower, and hooked up a long branch with a big flower before plucking it for her.
Bei Yao knew that fifty cents was a lot of money, because her New Year’s red envelope consisted of only one yuan.
Zhao Zhilan felt distressed for her daughter as she was sick for such a long time. Therefore she bought the flower.
Zhao Zhilan felt sorry for the fifty cents and so she plucked the long stem of a big lotus flower. Little Bei Yao was so small that when she held the flower carefully in her arms, the flower was all over her face.
At the kindergarten, Teacher Wu had come back. She was even gentler than Miss Zhao, as she had taken half a month off for her wedding. Teacher Wu was slightly chubby and smiled a bit more because of the joy of a newlywed woman. When she saw Bei Yao, she said, “Yaoyao’s flower is so pretty. Come and let’s play games with the other children.”
Teacher Wu led her inside.
Teacher Zhao was distributing sandwich cookies.
Sandwich cookies were only handed out once a month, and usually they were very ordinary round biscuits. For the children, this day of the month was particularly exciting.
Bei Yao held the flower and looked around.
The round table was full of children. Each child licked the biscuit with a great relish and then took a small bite. A cookie like this could take their ten minutes to eat.
Bei Yao saw Pei Chuan right away.
He had a cookie in front of him but he left it on the table without moving. It seemed as if it was not a cookie that children liked, but a piece of charcoal.
Bei Yao realized that he seemed a little thinner compared to the other day.
A skinny little boy in a dark blue summer dress, seemed to be empty beneath his clothes.
With dark eyes, he looked at the Chinese Cedar tree outside the window.
When Bei Yao walked in with the flower, he gave a faint glance at her and moved his eyes out the window.
Xiang Tongtong was gnawing on her own cookie like a little hamster, and her eyes lit up when she saw Bei Yao coming, “Yaoyao! Your flower look so good.”
Bei Yao nodded and her almond eyes curved slightly as she responded, “Tongtong.”
Xiang Tongtong was her kindergarten classmate and would be a primary school classmate in the future.
“Can I have this flower?”
“Yes.” Bei Yao’s little chubby hand carefully pressed down the outermost petals of the flower and handed it to her.
Xiang Tongtong sniffed it, “Ah! It is so fragrant!”
Bei Yao knew she had to be nice to Pei Chuan, but she was small and her mind was not firm. This flower was originally for Pei Chuan, but now she couldn’t let go of it and looked at it again and again. Then she intended to give it to Pei Chuan after she and Xiang Tongtong had seen enough of it together.
While they were talking, a chubby hand reached over and took away the cookie in front of Pei Chuan.
Pei Chuan turned his head abruptly and stared at Chen Hu with a blank expression.
Chen Hu gulped but soon raised his fist at him before saying, “What’s wrong? Anyway you can’t beat me.”
Pei Chuan wasn’t eating it anyway, so what’s wrong with giving it to him! And once Pei Chuan’s cookie went into his stomach, nothing would happen.
Chen Hu thought so and hurriedly licked the cookie while the teacher wasn’t paying attention. Seeing that Pei Chuan was still looking at him coldly, Chen Hu was both guilty and annoyed.
Fang Minjun’s face was full of arrogance that was unbecoming of her age. She said to Chen Hu, “His biscuits are dirty. Chen Hu, don’t eat them.”
Chen Hu’s face was even worse now. He threw the cookie he had nibbled on in front of Pei Chuan and planned not to eat it anymore.
‘Minmin is right. Pei Chuan would pee in his pants, so his cookies must be dirty.’
The sandwich cookie was thrown inaccurately and it ended up grazing the edge of the table thus landing next to Pei Chuan’s wheelchair.
Pei Chuan’s pale hand suddenly gripped the wheelchair and went over to Chen Hu’s side. Then he grabbed Chen Hu’s collar and dragged him over.
Chen Hu was stunned, “You dumb, what are you doing?”
Since he broke his leg, Pei Chuan didn’t talk to children anymore.
At first, they all called him Pei Chuan, but now they call him mute.
Chen Hu, who was a sturdy man, naturally wouldn’t just “wait for death” and pushed Pei Chuan. The boy’s thin chest was pushed backward by the little bull Chen Hu. Pei Chuan’s eyes were dark and silent. Suddenly, he grabbed Chen Hu’s arm and bit it down.
“Waaaahhh…” Chen Hu cried on the spot in pain.
Teacher Wu was the first to notice that something had happened.
She rushed over intending to pull the child away.
The kindergarten was in a state of chaos.
Bei Yao was holding the flower and at once noticed Pei Chuan’s eyes. He was sweating as he was biting Chen Hu’s arm, and was looking at her through several children.
When Bei Yao looked over, he closed his eyes again. However, his mouth didn’t relax, as if he wanted to bite off a piece of flesh from the little fatty.
Chen Hu cried while beating Pei Chuan on the head.
Pei Chuan was like a painless robot, he bit even tighter in the next second.
Teacher Wu couldn’t pull them off. She had no choice but to tightly squeeze Pei Chuan’s jaw with all her might and saying, “Pei Chuan, loosen your mouth!”
It was the first time the children had seen such a battle, and they were all scared.
Pei Chuan began to bleed from the corners of his mouth. No one knew who was bleeding because Pei Chuan was still biting Chen Hu’s arm.
Teacher Wu was in a hurry.
'Oh my God, she is squeezing the child’s jaw so hard without losing it for once.’ Teacher Zhao hurriedly came in after hearing the noise and her heart was about to burst when she saw this scene.
She hurriedly came over and tenderly stroked Pei Chuan’s head before saying, “Xiao Chuan, let go of him. Will you? The teacher is here now…”
Pei Chuan opened his eyes and sluggishly loosened his mouth.
Teacher Wu hurriedly took Chen Hu’s arm. A deep tooth mark imprinted on Chen Hu’s arm was oozing blood.
Both teachers stared at each other, their faces turned white.
Teacher Wu picked Chen Hu up and coaxed him, and Teacher Zhao went to quickly inform his parents.
It was an August day and Chen Hu was crying with snot bubbles coming out of his nose.
The children were terrified and stayed away from Pei Chuan.
Xiang Tongtong had tears in her eyes. She cried out, “He’s so scary and he bites.”
Bei Yao was still holding the lotus flower as tall as her and found that no one cared about Pei Chuan. Pei Chuan wiped off the blood from the corners of his mouth and silently looked at the crushed cookie on the ground.
Chen Hu was crying for a long time. He was out of breath as he sat in his teacher’s arms and said to her, “Teacher, go, go…”
“Good, teacher will carry you out.”
Fang Minjun was pale. She had just been beside Pei Chuan and Chen Hu when they fought. She could hardly hold back her tears - because her mother told her that the Hong Kong star was a cold beauty. So as a “little jade girl” she could not cry.
At this time, she didn’t sit around Pei Chuan anymore and ran out of the classroom in one breath.
Bei Yao saw the teacher coaxing Chen Hu and her eyes lit up. With her short legs she walked over to Pei Chuan and put the lotus flower in his arms.
“It’s for you.”
She turned to look at the door where Teacher Wu was patting Chen Hu’s back as she carried him in her arms and coaxing, “It doesn’t hurt anymore ah no pain ah no pain…”
Bei Yao turned back again. She looked up at the little boy in the wheelchair. With her height she could only gently pat his little arm while gently coaxing him in her soft milky tone, “No pain ah no pain…”
The corners of his lips were still stained with unwiped blood, and there was an outrageously large lotus flower in front of him.
The delicate scent of the lotus blossom, mixed with the milky scent of the little girl, surrounded him. As her chubby little hands were patting him gently, he noticed her bare arms were really soft. She was like a tender dragonfly that had quietly snuck over in the summer.
The head that had just been beaten by Chen Hu still hurt.
He lowered his eyes to look at her, her soft almond eyes seemed to contain a pool of water, “It doesn’t hurt ah…”
The sun was bright and dazzling, burning people’s eyes. Noticing this he set the lotus flower down on the table and brushed her small hand away. He pushed the wheelchair away from her.
Bei Yao watched the little boy’s thin back in dismay, then walked towards Xiangtong.
The little girl’s nose turned red. She grabbed Bei Yao’s hand and was trying to pull her away.
The boy in the classroom who had the best time with Chen Hu was named Li Da. At this time, Li Da shouted, “Pei Chuan is a puppy!”
Immediately several children nodded in agreement.
Bei Yao turned back to look at Pei Chuan, his thin back was motionless.
“Mom said that the kid who bites is a puppy. Yaoyao, we’re not going to play with him anymore.”
Bei Yao had big eyes with long shadowy eyelashes. Her lashes fluttered as she blinked her eyes making people want to touch her head. She shook her head with serious expressions on her face saying, “He’s not a puppy.” Then she told Tongtong and other children aloud, “His name is Pei Chuan, my mother said, ‘Chuan’ stands for ‘river’ and a river is very clean.”
Pei Chuan’s eyes dropped down.
The little girl’s voice was tender and clear, like a set of wind chime.
With his legs broken, many people thought he was dirty.
All the kindergarten children still remembered that pee.
In fact, he was not dirty. He had been putting on his own clothes and pants since very early on. He would wash his hands three times when he went to the toilet. Pei Chuan was even much smarter than other children of his age. He could do arithmetic problems now. But it was as if because of the broken legs he had a dirty existence.
When his father gave him a name, he named him after the meaning of “hǎi nà bǎi chuān.” (T/N- It literally means ‘all rivers run into the sea’, while another use of this is as an ‘idiom’ which means ‘use different means to obtain the same result’)
He didn’t know what it meant, but he knew it was a good name.
However, even this glorious and honest name was also stained with dust and lost its soul by the severing of his legs.
Chen Hu’s parents came first. Today his father and mother both came to the kindergarten.
The children were all familiar to Chen Hu’s father, an uncle with a tiger’s back and bear’s waist. His eyes were as big as a copper bell and he pointed at Pei Chuan, “You stinky boy, if anything happened to my Xiao Hu, I’d kill you!”
When Chen Hu heard this, he cried even more aggrievedly.
Chen Hu’s mother also glared at Pei Chuan and held her child to go to the clinic to see the injury.
Teacher Wu stood aside awkwardly, “Sorry...sorry, it’s us who didn’t take care of the children. Please quickly take Xiao Hu to the clinic to have a look.”
Only then did the couple left with the child in their arms.
After about half an hour, Pei Chuan’s mother Jiang Wenjuan arrived. She was pretty beautiful and with her hair tied up neatly behind her head she looked quite neat and clean.
This was a very gentle looking woman. With his handsome eyebrows, Pei Chuan resembled his mother more, but because of his three-point appearance like his father, he had a deeper profile.
Jiang Wenjuan walked towards the classroom. She heard the full story of the incident from Teacher Zhao on the way there.
The woman was silent all the way. After reaching the classroom she came over and smiled at Pei Chuan first, then lightly embraced Pei Chuan in her arms.
Bei Yao clearly saw the silent little boy’s eyes gradually lit up with colours.
Like spring returning to the earth and the withered trees spotted with green branches, the starry light added more color to his dark eyes. As his mother pushed the wheelchair out, Bei Yao heard the boy’s hoarse tone giving a soft cry, “Mama.”
He could speak, but just a few words.
The young child had a scale in his heart, with clearly defined boundaries.
Bei Yao blinked her eyes. She laid beside the door, staring at their backs.
When would Pei Chuan be willing to talk to her?
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