It dawns early during June.
During the misty morning, a small truck entered into Qingyao Village, a suburb of A City, humming as it stopped in front of a small courtyard’s door.
The small house was beautifully built and well managed, with thriving pots of green plants all over the yard.
The courtyard had no large fence, just a symbolic row of bamboo fences, about the height of an adult’s waist. There were emerald green vines climbing across the bamboo fence, filling the entire yard with life.
The truck driver was a middle-aged man with white hair and wrinkles on his face.
He got out of the car and looked at the beautiful fence with flowers growing on the vines, but stayed far away and had no interest in heading towards that direction.
He knew very well that although this bamboo fence looked harmless and beautiful, there were actually sharp nails and bamboo spikes hidden under the vines. Whoever wanted to jump over without consent would have a large layer of meat scraped from their hands to hip.
The yard was also full of surveillance cameras and didn’t have a single dead spot. There was no need to fear thieves at all.
The driver went to the door and rang the bell.
Hearing the doorbell, Lin Mu opened the window and shouted a reply, hastily wiped the oil stains off his hands and ran down the stairs.
Lin Mu went down to open the door, the smile on his face as vibrant as the plants in his yard and there even were two cute dimples at the corner of his mouth, Uncle De1Not his birth uncle, but a term of address/respect., good morning!”
“Morning, Xiao Lin2Pet name. Xiao means small/little, Lin is his surname. So Little Lin/Small Lin!” Uncle De nodded his head and walked into the yard.
“Breakfast is being kept warm in the pot, large meat buns3, you4Respectful version of you, generally used in polite language or to address the older generation go have some first.” Lin Mu said, and took a brick to stop the gate from closing as he turned to move the flowerpots in the courtyard.
Uncle De entered the kitchen and lifted the lid of the steamer on the stove. He saw six white large meat buns, each as big as a palm, and there were two bowls of beancurds5 being warmed next to it.
Old rules, four out of the six were Uncle De’s, the other two were Lin Mu’s, since he ate less.
Uncle De took a bowl for the steam buns and carried the beancurd to the door threshold to sit. Whilst he ate, he looked at Lin Mu who was carrying around flower pots in the yard.
Lin Mu was very good at taking care of flowers and plants. The well-kept and beautiful potted in his courtyard were are all tended to, and ready to be supplied to some big hotels and institutions in A City.
Uncle De was the one responsible for transportation, and he had been working with Lin Mu on and off for several years.
He always found it a pity that Lin Mu was self-employed and that the output and prices couldn’t be increased that much.
The honest Uncle De felt that since there was an opportunity to make money, why not let the whole village earn together? Both the output and income could be increased.
But this idea was just a fleeting thought, only crossing his mind for a moment.
One couldn’t just look at Lin Mu’s warm and gentle scholarly appearance, who with a single smile could fascinate a whole group of young ladies. The truth was, he was a famous bully in Qingyao Village.
— It wasn’t exactly accurate to call him a bully, but no one dared to provoke him.
Lin Mu and his mother, who died early, were outsiders.
In the countryside, there would always be people who get excluded, and anybody could bully a widow and her child.
When they first arrived, Lin Mu was still a little baby. His mother had a gentle and kind character, so she suffered a lot in this kind of place, where honest people would get deceived.
After a few years, Lin Mu studied and grew up. Initially, his character followed his mother and was kind and gentle, and was even a little cowardly child. But nobody knew where he learnt how to swear and act like a street thug. He waved around a broom and brick, cursed and swore at the leech who came to rip them off, chased him away and almost broke open his head.
A thirty-something year old man couldn’t win over an eight year old small child, even if one said it, nobody would believe it.
It didn’t take for the villagers to find out that Lin Mu was really naturally talented.
The little child was extremely vengeful, and became confident after chasing away one, so chased all the people who bullied his mother around the village, and no matter if they were men or women, and gave them all a good beating.
After that, nobody dared to bully the mother and child anymore, and there were a few sensible ones that treated this widowed mother and child well.
Uncle De was one of those.
Unfortunately, Lin Mu’s mother wasn’t in good health, and it seemed as if she fell ill when Lin Mu was born. When he was eighteen and received his university admission notice, she died.
Before she died, she told Lin Mu to get his grandfather to come and collect her body.
It was then that Lin Mu found out his grandfather was the chairman of a well-known company in A City.
Lin Mu thought about how soft of a person his mother was, about how she did not go back to ask for help even after all these years, and felt that there was something fishy, so he didn’t go for help, and instead silently did everything by himself.
But how big was Qingyao Village? The matter had spread quickly, and some bored folks posted the matter onto the Internet, attracting his grandfather.
But his grandfather had a poisonous mouth and looked down on Lin Mu, but felt that at least he was a boy. So, he put on a charitable attitude to get Lin Mu to return with him, but after being mocked by Lin Mu, he angrily rushed away.
Lin Mu was the type of person to hold a grudge, and at that time hated everybody so much he nailed all the fences in the courtyard that very day and threw piles of broken glass and wood all over the yard, causing those reporters that tried to climb over his walls and nosy villagers to be taken to the hospital.
That was the mess that happened at that time, and now he had a way to make money, of course he wouldn’t want to share it with others.
Uncle De truly liked Lin Mu, this little child, and always felt that after staying with Lin Mu for a while, he would calm down and forget all his troubles.
Maybe it was because Lin Mu was really good-looking. When he laughed, when his mouth widened, and those two small dimples would run out, looking extremely sweet.
Uncle De bit the steamed bun and looked that the young man effortlessly holding the large flower pot. He thought about the matter that they had chatted about before and asked, “Xiao Lin, last time you said you wanted to take the civil service exams6Guokao – a yearly extremely difficult exam to get a chance to enroll as a government employee.
“En7Sound of acknowledgement, usually used to express agreement.
https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E5%97%AF*, I got it.” Lin Mu placed the potted plant in his hand into the truck, smiled and said, “I’m going to check in today. The unit isn’t that far from us, the train can be used to travel.”
Uncle De knew that recently, a new train station was built about four lis82km away from the village.
“The government office isn’t the same as our village, so don’t act like you do here and start fighting without saying a word.” After he finished, Uncle De took a look at the bamboo fence, “it’s not good to put stuff like that in the office.”
Lin Mu didn’t know whether to cry or laugh, “how could I fight? It’s not some government office, just a subdistrict office.”
Uncle De warned again, “that’s still a decent office, an iron rice bowl9铁饭碗 – lit, iron rice bowl. Fig. a good, secure job. An rice bowl (than can store rice/food) but made of iron (can’t be shattered) instead of porcelain (can be broken). Always having something for food.. You can’t offend people.”
Lin Mu said a pile of ‘okays’, and finished moving all the potted plants that needed to be moved, then patted away the dust on his hand, “alright, pay attention to safety on the road, don’t knock or bang into anything.”
Uncle De finished the rest of his breakfast in a few big bites and said, “it’s other people that have to be afraid of me on the road.”
“Okay.” Lin Mu nodded, watched Uncle De leave, and turned back into the house for breakfast.
Lin Mu had just graduated a year ago, and smoothly obtained the civil servant’s registration certification. Now, it was almost time and Lin Mu was ready to go to the office to report.
Lin Mu did not have any great ambition. He had no interest in his grandfather’s assets. He simply wanted to go along day by day, save up some money and complete his mother’s last wish and open a flower shop. He did not want to go and find his father, and just live his own life in peace.
Lin Mu’s mother didn’t have any special hobbies and simply liked to study flowers and plants.
She had an elder and younger brother in the family, and didn’t have that likable of a character at home. Her mother died early, so there was no one to show any consideration for her. Also, she had never listened to her father and obediently went to study finance and go on blind dates. Not speaking of her taking botany as her major during university, she also often broke her blind date appointments to follow her team out and study nature.
This was no problem, but once she ran out for half a year, and came back pregnant.
And until the end, she did not say who was the father, and didn’t want to abort the child, then she was kicked out of her home by her father who was greatly embarrassed.
Therefore, out of his own personal vendetta, Lin Mu planned to open his flower shop opposite the A City’s Financial Tower, so that his grandfather and uncles who looked down on him would have to see him everyday when they went to work, and shove his presence in their faces.
They couldn’t stand the look of him yet couldn’t kill him, and everyday they would be angry yet worried that he would go to the media and expose the family issues, wouldn’t this be the best?
Lin Mu washed the bowl and went upstairs, taking the sealed file and his registration card out from the drawer. After making sure that all the surveillance cameras were working properly, he locked the door, took his small scooter and tooted his way out of the gate.
A City Central Plains, Qingyao Road No.404, Qingyao Subdistrict Office.10Central Plains. Zhong Yuan. In a broader term, it represents China as a whole, and is similar to the concept of Huaxia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhongyuan
This was where Lin Mu was going to be employed.
The area was remote. So remote until there were only a pitiable amount of pedestrians.
Lin Mu followed along the navigation for a long time before finally standing in front of a door.
He held his phone, confirmed the door number, and looked down at the address mentioned in the mail.
And eventually looked incredulously at the dilapidated old house in front of him.
How shabby was this house?
An ordinary house, with some parts of the outer wall was peeled off, revealing the red brick inside. The window had a hole, which was covered up by a newspaper.
The door was an olden type green door, only enough for a single person to enter, outside it was an iron gate, also a single-entry type*.
The lock on the iron gate had been broken for goodness knows how long — because it had already rusted.
Something like this but shabbier
Even the few words ‘Qingyao Subdristrict Office’ were not on plaques or signs, but instead written with chalk on the door. After being battered by wind and rain, one could only make out a fuzzy ‘Qingyao’ and ‘Office’.
The only thing that proved Lin Mu didn’t find the wrong place was the the dangerous-looking building with the 403 sign on the left, and the dirty looking unopened small restaurant with the 405 sign on the right.
On the left 403, on the right 405, in the middle 404. This must be right.
Lin Mu: “……”
But it was really very shabby.
How could it be so shabby.
How was it so shabby till this extent.
Lin Mu felt puzzled.
He fell silent for a moment, but still opened the rusty iron gate and raised his hand to knock on the door.
With this knock, the weather-beaten green door that was covered in patches responded by falling.
Lin Mu’s whole body jumped: “???”
What’s going on!!
Lin Mu stood at the doorway and was stunned for a while, he looked inside and found that it was clean and tidy. There were a few desks arranged in an orderly manner with work tools on the table, but no one was around.
The situation inside the office made Lin Mu feel slightly relieved. He looked at the time and found that it was only half past eight.
Nine to five, half an hour before work, it was normal to have nobody around.
Lin Mu stood at the doorway and thought for five minutes, felt that it wasn’t a big problem to let the door lie there, so he simply entered the door, and with his own strength, re-inserted the door into the door frame and pretended it was still intact.
After finishing, Lin Mu took several steps back, looked at the results of his work, and felt that it was Fine and OK11Fine & OK were written in English.
Just as Lin Mu was ready to find a stool to sit down and quietly wait for someone to come into work, the door that he had just placed into the door was kicked open. The person walked in, ramblings and unbuttoning his shirt at the same time, “Old Turtle, it’s already been half a year, have you found the person I’m looking for! How long has it been, I’m in a hurry okay!”
Lin Mu was shocked to see this man who undressed as he entered the door, so shocked until he didn’t know what to say. Finally, he politely issued a string of ellipsis that no one could hear.
The man didn’t receive any reply, felt impatient unbuttoning his clothes, simply released his hands and grumbled, “dammit, human clothes are really damn uncomfortable!”
Lin Mu stared with his eyes wide open, and watched as after the living large man in front of him swore and turned into a large living black dog.
Lin Mu shivered, there were five parts horror, four parts shock, and one part confusion*12五分惊恐四分震撼还有一分茫然 – 十分 (lit. ten out of ten), means very, extremely, etc. The author split this 十分 up into five parts horror, four parts shock, and one part confusion., open his mouth, and hiccuped.
The large wolfdog was completely blind to anybody in the office. He was madly shaking his head and ass, trying to get out of the human clothes that trapped him.
He struggled for a while, and eventually tore up the button shirt with his claws, and angrily raised his head, meeting Lin Mu’s gaze, who was silently gazing at him.
A person and a dog were both muddled.
Lin Mu: “……”
The large wolfdog: “……”
What’s going on!
Lin Mu frantically clutched his file bag, and suspected that he was going to be silenced.
What’s going on!
The large wolfdog frantically clutched his tail, and suspected that he was going to be silenced.
A person and a dog faced each other, and their hearts were in a panic.