Every city has what are called poor and rich areas, without a doubt, Qingshan Alley is a slum in Summer Sun City.
The houses here are obviously short and old, the alleys are crowded, and the people who pass by all have faces stained with dirt, their bent backs under the pressure of poverty are their mark.
Inquiring about Mrs. Hao here was easy. After asking just one household, Jiang Chu found Mrs. Hao’s residence.
It was a place like a chaotic courtyard, with several families living in the large yard. When Jiang Chu walked by, someone was feeding a child in the courtyard, some were chatting on small stools.
Jiang Chu couldn’t help but look down at her clothes.
It’s essential to be low-key when traveling, especially when still feeling unfamiliar with this world. Therefore, she deliberately chose a plain outfit when she went out. Although the fabric was soft and comfortable, it wouldn’t attract too much attention for being too ornate.
Luckily so, she didn’t attract stares for being out of place with her surroundings during her walk.
“Who are you?”
An old woman asked her as Jiang Chu approached.
“Excuse me, which room does Mrs. Hao live in?” Jiang Chu asked.
“Oh, Yu Fen, that one in the west room.” Someone pointed for her.
Jiang Chu thanked them and then asked, “Has her daughter been found?”
“Ah, no, she’s been missing for four days now, I’m afraid the odds are not good.” An old woman with no teeth and unclear speech started shaking her head and sighing when she heard Jiang Chu ask, “These two are really unfortunate. The husband was a good man but died early, leaving them to rely on each other. Now Yue Yue is missing too; isn’t this killing Yu Fen?”
“She searched without eating or drinking for three days. The person wasn’t found, and she herself fell ill.”
“Young lady, are you her distant relative? I haven’t seen you before.”
They began to chat back and forth.
“How did Yue Yue go missing?”
Jiang Chu’s footsteps paused, and she simply started chatting with them.
Most of the people here were wives and mothers-in-law. Where there were more women, there were more words, and more information could be obtained from various sources.
She knew very little about Mrs. Hao’s situation, so it was better to inquire before going to see her, especially since the person was already sick, and she might not be able to ask anything if she went in now.
“They went shopping, Yu Fen went to buy medicine, and Yue Yue went to the nearby shop to buy thread and needles. Then she disappeared and never came back. Yu Fen went to the thread shop to ask, only to find that Yue Yue was led away by an old woman after buying the thread.”
“That old woman was a stranger! Never seen her before!”
“Yue Yue, a little girl, looking lovely. I’m afraid she’ll never come back now that she’s lost.”
“What a good child, just gone like that, such a tragedy.”
. . . . . .
Jiang Chu gathered the general situation, and as these women began to talk about other topics, she didn’t linger and stepped into the western room where Mrs. Hao was.
She knocked on the door, but there was no movement. Jiang Chu pushed the door open.
The room was dim, and the furnishings inside couldn’t be more simple, but it was very clean, without any strange smells.
“Mrs. Hao?” Jiang Chu called softly.
“Cough cough. . . . . . Who?”
A weak female voice came from inside.
“I heard you were looking for your daughter, and I wanted to help. I have a friend who is highly skilled in martial arts; perhaps he can assist you.”
Jiang Chu said as she walked towards the inner room.
Wu Yu looked blankly – a friend, highly skilled in martial arts?
Was she talking about herself?
“Come in, come in.”
She entered the inner room, and on the wooden bed lay a thin figure, who was now trying to sit up, supported by the bed’s edge.
Wu Yu hurried over and helped her sit up.
But Jiang Chu was frozen in place.
She stared blankly at the person on the bed, and especially, at the green light emitting from her head.
This green light was identical to the green light on the dudou that fell from the sky!
Jiang Chu: . . . . . .
Mrs., why are you green, Mrs.!
But as Jiang Chu approached, the green light slowly disappeared after shining for a while.
Jiang Chu was thoughtful. . . . . .
A green dudou, corresponding to a green person.
So does this green light on the head mean that she found the person corresponding to the item?
But why green of all colors?
Jiang Chu was momentarily complex, looking at Mrs. Hao several times.
But the more she looked, the more something felt wrong.
She and Wu Yu were right in front of Mrs. Hao, but her eyes were dull, staring straight ahead, not looking at them.
Her eyes were somewhat scattered, without focus, woodenly.
“Mrs, your eyes…” Jiang Chu asked softly.
“Yue Yue’s father died in vain, and I cried until I couldn’t see,” Mrs. Hao’s voice was calm in its weakness.
Jiang Chu pursed her lips, “How did he. . . . . .pass away?”
“It’s a long-standing matter, no need to mention it. I’m only worried about my daughter now. . . . . .How should I address you two young ladies?” Mrs. Hao turned her head towards them.
“My surname is Jiang, and my friend’s name is Wu Yu.”
“Miss Jiang, Miss Wu Yu, are you really willing to help me find Yue Yue?” Mrs. Hao’s hand clutched the edge of the blanket, leaning towards them, “I cannot see, and have been asking around on the streets for three days without any news of Yue Yue. She must have been kidnapped by villains! My poor Yue Yue, she has done everything since she was little to take care of me, her blind mother, and has suffered enough. Please, help me find her. It’s been four days already, and I’m really afraid she might. . . . . .”
Mrs. Hao began to cry as she spoke.
She hadn’t eaten in days, and her speech was weak. Now, crying, she seemed to be gasping for breath.
“Wu Yu, go into the house and find a bowl, go next door and buy some liquid food,” Jiang Chu instructed.
Wu Yu nodded and stood up to leave.
Now was dinner time, and it was easy to buy food. As long as there was money, one could buy porridge from any shop.
“Thank you, miss, you are really kind. . . . . .” Mrs. Hao seemed as if she wanted to kowtow, but her body wavered as she moved, nearly fainting.
“Don’t worry for now, can you tell me in detail about the day Yue Yue went missing? Don’t leave out any details,” Jiang Chu supported Mrs. Hao and began to inquire about what had happened.
Mrs. Hao had no strength left, but the willingness of Jiang Chu and Wu Yu to help gave her hope, and she managed to summon the energy to tell the story.
After her husband’s departure, Mrs. Hao cried herself blind, but she and her daughter still needed to live. It was hard for a blind person to earn money, but fortunately, the neighbors helped, allowing her to do some laundry work.
Her daughter Yue Yue had been sensible since she was little. When Mrs. Hao washed clothes, Yue Yue would sit beside her and point out the dirty spots, and also help her hang and collect the clothes. Later, as Yue Yue grew older, she learned more, diligent and eager to learn, teaching herself embroidery from the aunties and grandmothers in the courtyard.
(End of Chapter)