It took He Chusan three days to write a story that was uncreative, talked for thousands of times over in rumors – a girl from a wealthy family fell in love with a poor boy, but the girl was carried to the headquarters of a mafia boss who grabbed common girls with a sack. The poor boy bravely fought with the boss with his life, and this little couple ran away happily.
Xia Liuyi casually took a fish ball with a stick, rolled it around in the curry sauce*1, “This boss uses double knives?”
He Chusan stood before him nicely and praised sincerely, “That’s cool.”
Xia Liuyi waved his hand.
As soon as He Chusan walked close, he was thrown onto the desk. His hair was lifted and his head was smashed downward! A noise was created. He Chusan’s front head bled at once. Went through the daze, he opened his eyes and cold sweat wetted his cloth instantly – Xia Liuyi was gonna stab his eye with the stick!
Accepted his fate, He Chusan closed his eyes. He waited for a while but nothing happened. He opened his eyes again with confusion, but Xia Liuyi simply changed the direction of the stick, touched his eyelid with the blunt side with a little bit of his strength.
“You don’t say much but think a lot! Denouncing me with implication, huh?” Said Xia Liuyi, “Don’t play tricks before your Boss Liuyi. F*ck off and write another one!”
Wrapped his wounded head like “Indi*n a-sirs’” turban*2, He Chusan wrote for another three days obediently. His dad asked him what happened. He said his head was broken by a flower pot that fell from the higher floor. He still went out in early daylight with his little backpack. As he passed the turning point of the alleyway, he would be lifted to the company by a few big men, and wrote for a whole day, and packed by a few big men again to send him back.
Three days later he handed in a new script: An unconstrained, handsome mafia hatchet man fell in love with a beautiful woman who was driven to prostitution. After their faithful true love was depicted, the woman was grabbed by the rival triad. To save his lover, the hatchet man fought in a blood shower, killing over forty people with a pair of knives on his own. Killed a blood way out in the narrow alleyway……
Little Ma felt stranger and stranger as he listened more and more aside. He whispered to his underling, “Hacked forty people with double knives on his own? Why does this sound like our Boss Liuyi saving Master Azure Dragon in that year……”
“Uh-uh! I heard nothing, Boss Little Ma.”
Listening to the script concentratedly, Xia Liuyi’s face became darker and darker. However, He Chusan knew nothing about it and kept lowering his head and reading the storyline. He thought he shouldn’t be beaten since he had turned criticizing the mafia into praising the mafia.
He finished his reading diligently and stood still to wait for comments. The room was so quiet that even the slightest sound couldn’t be found here. Little Ma read his Boss Liuyi’s countenance, moving his finger joint in secret, preparing to beat for his boss.
“Where did you get the story?” Tapping his finger joint on the desk lightly, Xia Liuyi asked.
“I heard about it.” Said He Chusan. He lifted his head, stole glances at Xia Liuyi. He finally realized the atmosphere was a bit dangerous.
“From whom?” Xia Liuyi continued asking.
“All the people say……” Without finishing his sentence, his entire body flew away!
His leaner body knocked off two chairs, and mixed with the broken chair legs, he hit the wall. His head and face were covered with dust when he fell to the floor. He groveled and coughed a few times. Unexpectedly, he coughed out some blood.
“Eighty percent of strength!” Bystander Little Ma read the index quietly in his mind.
Xia Liuyi took a large step towards him, lifted the broken leg of the chair, and hit him for another time!
He Chusan couldn’t help screaming miserably. The ruptured iron nail on the chair scratched his arm and he bled at once. He lowered his head and stared at his blood in pain and bewilderment. He couldn’t understand why this unpredictable mafia boss was angry with him again.
Xia Liuyi switched the side of the chair leg he held and turned the sharp side towards He Chusan. He lifted his hand with no expression on his face. The leg was gonna stab down!
The door was abruptly opened by someone in the yell of the guarding underling, “Big Boss!” “Big Boss!”
Hao Chengqing was welcomed by a dull noise.
This Big Boss inherited the triad when he was twenty-five years old. In these ten years, he had experienced countless events in mafia life and became calm in his actions. He didn’t mind the strange sound but simply swept through the room with his sight indifferently, “Where’s Liuyi?”
Little Ma with his mouth opening wide, together with the big men, looked to the back of the door in sweat—
The door creaked open. Xia Liuyi jumped out awkwardly, covering the back of his head. He threw the chair in his hand away casually, “My Mr. Big.”
Hao Chengqing frowned his confusion.
“I was beating someone at the back of the door, Mr. Big!” Xia Liuyi said injuredly, gasping and kneading his head, “Can you just let me know before you come in next time?”
Hao Chengqing smiled, held his shoulder, and got him close, kneading the back of his head gently, “Does it hurt?”
“It does!” Xia Liuyi said with no intention to please the boss, “You shall pay compensation!”
“I will let you manage the new nightclub. Is that enough?”
“Yes! Yes!” Xia Liuyi received it in a hurry. He turned his head and killed Little Ma and the other underlings with a glance. They brought tea and cleaned the dust swiftly, and invited Boss Azure Dragon to the sofa.
He Chusan, who was still struggling on the floor behind the door, was also lifted away by two big men. He didn’t get to bother the bosses at all.
Having their tasks done, these underlings closed the door from outside with full respect, so that only Azure Dragon and Xia Liuyi were left in the room. Xia Liuyi walked close in big steps, sat beside Azure Dragon crisply, “My Mr. Big, why are you here?”
“Xiao Man said she wanted to see the set……”
Xia Liuyi stood up and glared before he finished his words, “Xiao Man’s also here? Where’s she?”
Azure Dragon’s countenance was indifferent. He took a cigar out from the cigar case on the tea table.
Xia Liuyi sat back obediently and lit the cigar for him, “I’m sorry, my Mr. Big. I snatched your words again. Please speak. I’m listening.”
Azure Dragon had a cloud of smoke in leisure and passed the cigar to him, watched Xia Liuyi take it and hold it in his mouth with a bite, and then continued, “We were reaching the door. She said she felt dizzy and I let someone send her back first.”
“She’s still not in good health? How’s her mood recently?”
Azure Dragon shook his head, “I was too busy to care for her. Come and be with her more often if you get time.”
“Okay,” Xia Liuyi nodded. He thought and asked, “Are you really giving me the new nightclub?”
Azure Dragon got another cigar, “Have your Mr. Big ever cheated you?”
“I don’t think it’s a good choice,” Xia Liuyi lit the cigar for him and snitched, “Xu Ying was annoyed about me recently. He placed a few people in my place again after the previous 49er was moved. The business out of the walled city was always his. These happened because I crossed the line and bothered him.”
“You don’t need to care about him,” Said Azure Dragon, “If there’s something you can’t understand on the accounts, ask Dongdong for it.”
Xia Liuyi lowered his head, went through everything quietly in his mind, “Okay, don’t worry. I’ll manage it well.”
Azure Dragon smiled, “You are nice. Your Mr. Big never worries for you.”
They talked about some other business. Azure Dragon noticed that there was a little hand-written paper messed on the floor and some of them were stained by blood, “What’s this?”
“The script for the new film,” Xia Liuyi became awkward at once, “I found a college student to write it, but that brat made up things randomly……”
His aid came too late. Azure Dragon has already picked up a piece of them which fell near the tea table, read, and said, “Pick up the rest.”
Xia Liuyi could only bow his waist obediently, dug around randomly, and picked a pile back.
He watched Azure Dragon read more and more pieces with a rigid face. His heart pounded. He tried his best to explain, “The brat’s brain was stuck and I had beaten him up for that. I……”
“That’s good,” Azure Dragon said indifferently, “Shoot as it says.”
Azure Dragon put down the script and stood up, patted his hair, “I got things to do and I shall leave now. Remember to come and see Xiao Man frequently.”
“Ah, that’s……” Xia Liuyi still dwelled on it. The door was opened from outside and two clever guards welcomed Azure Dragon out. Azure Dragon waved his hand as he walked, saying there’s no need to send him.
Xia Liuyi sent Azure Dragon’s back with his eyes until it left the range of his sight. After the door was closed, he leaned on the back of the door instantly. He looked at the pile of the script, having his mind absent for a while with a stiff face. He sighed.
He found a cigarette frustratedly, tilted his head, and lit it.
“Take the brat to check his wound.”
He Chusan’s chest and arm were wrapped for rounds and he failed to take off the turban on his head. From his head to his feet, he has leveled up from Indi*n a-sir to mummy a-sir. He lowered his head, sitting beside the film set, watching a group of punks running around to place props under the director’s command. If all the people stopped their actions abruptly and greeted deferentially, it should be Xia Liuyi coming and inspecting.
Everyone flattered Xia Liuyi but him. He showed no reactions and continued writing the dialogue of the next scene, to do a little revolt.
People here were all rascals, and Xia Liuyi was the rascal among rascals. He only wanted to finish all the dialogues as soon as he could and finish the filming, and then go back to school to have classes.
He had been absent from his classes for two weeks and his attendance fell drastically. He must lose the scholarships for this term and he had to ask his dad for next term’s tuition. He was already twenty-one years of age but he couldn’t reciprocate his dad and even had to use his dad’s money. Simply thinking about it made him sad.
He wrote fast with sorrows on his face and was suddenly surprised by a tender voice. His pen was flown away.
“What’s your name?”
It was a woman with delicate makeup. This was exactly the female lead of this film, Xiao Man, the wife of Azure Dragon, and the sister-in-law of Xiao Qi Tong. She has been here for these filming days. He Chusan only saw her far away with little interest and did not take a close look.
Seeing her suddenly in this way, he realized this sister-in-law had a pure face and a warm, elegant feeling for the first time. She was the contrast of those coquettish or pungent secular women in his neighborhood.
However, he didn’t know why he thought she looked like the head of those rascals in some way, especially the rising shape of the corner of her eye. The only difference was that Xia Liuyi had a countenance that was lazy with some schemes hidden behind, but her eyes were misty and distracting. She had a look that lived in depression for years.
He stayed quiet, looked like that he was scared and still had his mind away. Xiao Man didn’t mind it and asked one more time, “What’s your name?”
Xiao Man smiled, “You were born on Chu San in the New Year days?”
She laughed and kneaded his turban like kneading a puppy. For no exact reason, He Chusan thought her sight was a little dull and her actions were a bit weird.
“I heard you’re a college student?”
“That’s great. I didn’t even attend primary school. Is college interesting?”
He Chusan thought for a moment, answered her illogically, “There are many books in the library.”
“I don’t like reading. I love singing,” Xiao Man also answered him illogically. She looked around and found no one was paying attention to her, and she sang a short part for He Chusan in a low volume, secretly.
He Chusan strengthened the thought that she was weird, but he didn’t state it. He listened to her singing concentratedly. She was a good singer with a bright voice, sounded like a songbird in spring.
“Sis-in-law! We’re gonna start shooting!” Someone called over there.
Xiao Man straightened her body and glimpsed that person. Her expressions disappeared in just a moment and had a look of a solemn, noble sister-in-law. The person dared not urge her anymore at once but stood over there to wait.
Xiao Man turned back and continued asking: “What’s wrong with your head? You’re hurt?”
“Who did it?”
Xiao Man sighed, “Little Liu. He’s not being nice again. I’ll preach him for you.”
“No, no.” He Chusan was scared.
“I should,” Xiao Man opened her hollow eyes wide, shook her head, “He’s always in this way and he can’t even make friends. Please don’t be angry with him. He simply has no one to play with. How poor he was at that time. We only had each other.”
He Chusan heard she described the Children’s-Day villain that nobody dared to bother like a pitiful abandoned puppy. He crept. In order to stop the topic from getting stranger, he said carefully, “Sis-in-law, don’t you go acting?”
Xiao Man smiled faintly, “Act for what? No matter how much I acted, he wouldn’t watch any.”
He Chusan misunderstood this “he” as Xia Liuyi. As he was writing mafia love-and-hate stories, he associated a story that this sister-in-law fell in love with hatchet underling Xia Liuyi in the days they relied on each other and their love and hate twisted, and they experienced miserable partings……
Luckily, a voice interrupted at this time and ended his gossip imagination, “Big sister, the shooting is starting. Why are you still here?”
He Chusan’s eyes turned round, watched Xia Xiaoman*3 stand on her tiptoes and lower Xia Liuyi’s head. She kissed his front head intimately and kneaded his hair like kneading a puppy again.
With a head of messy hair, Xia Liuyi smiled gently as if a lion ate veggies, “Go, big sister. Everyone’s waiting for you.”
Xia Xiaoman lowered her head and smiled to He Chusan, left light-footedly on her tiptoes.
He Chusan’s mind was still blown away, looking at her back. Xia Liuyi patted on his head with a plate of beef entrails, frightened him, “What’re you looking at? Dig out your eyeballs!”
“She……is your sister?”
“Call her sis-in-law!”
He Chusan stared at Xia Liuyi sitting on his desk and eating beef entrails secretly. His head, chest, arms all started aching indistinctly. He felt Xia Liuyi would suddenly be unhappy and bowing waist to hit him with a chair.
Can’t you not sit here? I can’t write in front of you. He thought gloomily.
He was gloomy on his own here, but Xia Liuyi was in a very light mood. He got a conflict with a little leader from Sha Jia Gang days ago and a group of people from Sha Jia Gang came to a casino under his name to ruin his business. Little Ma who managed there left with money and his people cleverly. Only the two people from Deputy Xu stayed there. People from Sha Jia Gang found little money after destroying the entire casino, so they beat the two unlucky guys severely. On the next day, Xia Liuyi went to the certificate-less clinic and condoled the two “brothers”. He lifted the sheets and appreciated their terrible wounds, and reasonably filled their positions with his own underlings. Then he rightly destroyed three shops of Sha Jia Gang with his brothers and looted over a million of cash from their tills.
Sha Jia Gang’s Dragon Head called Azure Dragon to ask for an explanation. Azure Dragon declared that this was a minor issue between juniors and it wasn’t good for big bosses like us to interfere. Then he soothed Boss Sha for a while, said after all Liuyi would always listen to me, well then, I’ll let him do me a favor to withdraw all the brothers in your shops, and we two gangs shall never bother each other from now on.
Boss Sha was almost occupied by anger: killed people and looted money, and claimed “never bother each other from now on”! That’s a f*cking good play! However, he lost too much in the battle and could not recover well. The only choice for him was to bear the pain and marked this loan on Xia Liuyi’s accounts.
Xia Liuyi counted the money happily and he has gained face for his triad and Boss Azure. How could he care about the minor hatred from Boss Sha – he started his career on edge when he was fourteen and lived in mafia life for ten years. There were already countless loans on his accounts.
Eating the beef entrails on his desk and calculating the accounts for a bit, he waved his hand towards Little Ma who guarded beside the film set. He was going to let him split the money with other brothers to have fun.
Little Ma jogged towards him with small steps. Before he got close, he opened his mouth wide and made a terrified yell, “Watch out Boss Liuyi!”
He Chusan’s pen was flown away in fear for the second time on this day. His instinct lifted his head – an iron beam along with two big and long fluorescent lights formed a huge iron block, and because of disrepair, the block rumbled and fell!
His seat was placed against the wall and his chair was fixed by friction. In that single moment, it was impossible for him to push the chair away to hide – he could barely watch the huge iron block falling towards his own head!
At this exact moment, Liuyi could jump aside easily, but he hopped forward swiftly! He bowed to hold He Chusan in his arms and waved a punch upward at the same time!
“Bang--!” A heavy noise! He hit the iron block away for real!
He Chusan put his head on Xia Liuyi’s chest in astonishment. The beef entrails’ scent from this rascal filled his nose. It was chill recently but this rascal only wore a thin vest. When He Chusan’s warm lips rubbed on a little hard spot, his cold sweat was frightened out at once.
That place of Xia Liuyi was unexpectedly sensitive. His face turned dark and he pushed on He Chusan, “What the heck are you rubbing for! Milk?!”
He Chusan was stunned, looking at Xia Liuyi, and then lowered his head, looking at his own shoulder – there was a bloody palm mark.
A group of underlings yelled and came front, “Boss Liuyi!” “Are you okay?!” “You bled!”
Blood covered Xia Liuyi’s hands, shoulder, and front head. He was scratched by the iron beam. He didn’t think it was severe but those underlings were terrified and anxious. They surrounded Xia Liuyi and intended to send him to dress his wounds. Taking few steps forward, a harsh scream of a woman broke out.
Xia Xiaoman split the crowd and rushed in as if she was crazy. Her fingers with bright red nail polish nipped into Xia Liuyi’s arm at once. She screamed miserably as if she was tearing her heart apart, “Little Hao! What’s wrong with you! Don’t die! Little Hao! Ahhhh……”
She held Xia Liuyi with all her might and started crying out. Her madness was completely out of the range of normal people’s. The underlings questioned each other with their sight. They watched Xia Liuyi be killed by her hands before by his wounds.
Eventually, Little Ma went forward bravely and pulled her carefully, “Sis-in-law.”
“Ah--!” The harsh scream from Xia Xiaoman scared Little Ma. He stumbled.
“Don’t come here! Stop beating! Stop!” Xia Xiaoman released Xia Liuyi. She cowered and began shivering and screamed a few sentences. She suddenly struggled back, covering Xia Liuyi with her meager body in a deadly strength, “No! Beat me! Beat me! Don’t beat Little Hao! I beg you! You are gonna beat him dead! Ah……Little Hao……”
“I’m fine, big sis.” Xia Liuyi said weakly. He was held too tight to breathe.
“Ahh……Don’t die……Little Hao……Ahh……”
“I’m really fine, big sis. You are scared. Let me send you back.”
Xia Liuyi turned his face and put his command in a glance. A few underlings came forward to hold them up. Xia Xiaoman was still holding his wounded arm with all her might. Pain covered Xia Liuyi’s face, but he showed no intention to get out from her. He put the other hand on the back of her hand. They were sent away by the crowd of underlings in this way one after another.
Little Ma stayed in the film set to organize. He grabbed an older underling, lowered his voice, and asked, “Hey, why sis-in-law called Boss Liuyi Little Hao just now?”
“It seems to be the name that Boss Liuyi used before,” the underling lowered his voice, “I heard that his name before he followed Big Boss wasn’t Liuyi. He changed that after he followed Big Boss.”
They all forgot He Chusan, who was sitting straight in front of the desk – this unfortunate kid escaped from death, was staring at the plate of blood-stained beef entrails on the desk, having his mind absent.
- *Curry fishball is a famous Hong Kong snack. ↑
- *Wearing a turban was a typical Indian stereotype at that time. The stereotypes could even be stronger in Walled City because it was somewhere that history stopped moving. ↑
- *Xia is Xia Liuyi’s sister Xia Xiaoman’s last name. Xiao Man is a solar term in the Chinese calendar which usually happens between 5/21 and 6/5 in the Gregorian calendar. Her name could indicate that she was born during this period. ↑