Gu Jing laid on the sofa and Dou Dou rolled on her stomach.
Gu Jing tickled Dou Dou, he laughed and revealed his baby teeth.
Gu Jing hugged Dou Dou like a pillow. She squeezed his cheek and patted his bottom. He laughed and dribbled on her clothes.
‘Little boy, only you and aunty have nothing to do. Let aunty squeeze your cheeks. You’re not allowed to grow up,’ Gu Jing said.
Gu Jing stayed at her parents’ house with nothing to do for three days. Her dad worked and he played chess at home. Her mum did housework and she looked after Dou Dou.
Gu Jing hated to be close to males, but adorable little boys like Dou Dou were exceptions. She especially loved looking after chubby children like Dou Dou.
Mrs Gu shook Dou Dou’s milk bottle in her hand. ‘Little girl, why aren’t you going back to work? Are you here to wait for death?’
Gu Jing couldn’t believe her mum didn’t appreciate her visiting her mum and dad.
Gu Jing accepted Dou Dou’s milk bottle. She tested two drops of milk on her wrist, she felt satisfied the milk was warm and not hot. She gave the bottle to Dou Dou. ‘Am I not allowed to miss home?’
‘If you miss home then make a new home yourself. I can see clearly how much you love children,’ Mrs Gu said. She sat on a chair opposite the sofa and she peeled a bowl of onions. ‘You’re allowed to miss home, but you cooped yourself here for nearly a week. I’m certain you’re hiding from someone. Confess, what did you do to offend someone in the city?’
‘Nothing happened. I’m living a good life in the city,’ Gu Jing said.
Gu Jing’s loud voice startled Dou Dou and he choked on milk. She put Dou Dou’s milk bottle on the coffee table and she gently patted his back.
‘Since you were a child you had a stubborn mouth. Even if I beat you to death you wouldn’t confess. I’m certain you hit someone severe enough to send them to the hospital and that’s why you ran home to hide. I’m going to call Lang Lang,’ Mrs Gu said.
‘You can’t call him! Mum, there’s no need for you to call him!’ Gu Jing said.
Mrs Gu put the bowl of onions on the coffee table and she lifted the startled Dou Dou into her arms. She patted his back and she glared at her daughter. ‘Look at how worked up you are, I’m certain you did something wrong.’
‘I didn’t!’ Gu Jing said. She saw Dou Dou’s scared eyes and she calmed down. ‘I told you a month ago I’ll be coming home to visit you and dad. If I did something wrong why did I wait until now to come home and hide?’
‘Um. That makes sense,’ Mrs Gu said. She pa.s.sed Dou Dou to her daughter. ‘Look after Dou Dou. I need to cook.’
Dou Dou hugged Gu Jing’s neck. He laughed and he dribbled milk on her neck.
Gu Jing grabbed a tissue and she wiped milk off Dou Dou’s mouth. ‘What are you dribbling for? If you dribble on aunty again then aunty won’t hug you.’
Dou Dou laughed and gurgled.
Gu Jing carried Dou Dou to the kitchen. ‘Mum, later I’m going to visit master then I’ll visit aunty and uncle Zhen.’
‘Ok,’ Mrs Gu said.
Later that day Gu Jing stood outside master’s Taekwondo training venue. She looked inside the venue at the memorabilia and photos on the walls and she felt nostalgic.
Gu Jing saw master held up a kick pad in front of one of his young pupils.
‘Kick higher with more force like your big sister-’ master said.
‘Like big sister Gu Jing!’ a chorus of young pupils said.
Master coughed. ‘It’s good you all know. Continue training.’
A little pupil pulled the sleeve of master’s V-neck jacket. ‘Master, you say big sister Gu Jing is your best pupil but why haven’t I seen big sister Gu Jing come and visit you?’
‘Um. Everyone here shouldn’t be unfilial like big sister Gu Jing,’ master said.
Gu Jing laughed and she entered the venue. ‘Master tomorrow I wanted to treat you to a dinner. But I didn’t know master hated me this much, I think it’s best if I leave.’
Gu Jing stood in front of master and she bowed. ‘Master, I haven’t seen you for a year and you look chubbier. I’m certain you haven’t been training.’
Master scoffed. ‘One year? Last New Year’s Day I took a group of my pupils to compete in a tournament. I came back after the tournament and I found two bottles of wine, but the person who gave them to me disappeared.’
‘Ok master, it’s been two years,’ Gu Jing said.
Master waved his young pupils to gather around him and Gu Jing. ‘This is your big sister Gu Jing. Let’s see which one of you can defeat your big sister Gu Jing.’
Gu Jing saw master’s troop of young pupils looked like obedient oxen prepared to battle. She laughed and she ran around the venue away from master’s troop. ‘Old man, I’m not treating you wine today.’
‘As long as someone can defeat big sister Gu Jing then tomorrow no one needs to train,’ master said sternly.
Gu Jing ran around in circles away from master’s troop. ‘Old man, you ambushed me!’
Master laughed. ‘That year I ran many miles to catch you. Is it because you’re older you can’t run anymore?’
Gu Jing laughed. She ran fast and slow to avoid being captured by master’s troop.
Master watched little girl Gu Jing ran around crazily like in the past and he smiled. He felt the little girl was still the lively monkey he chased that year to get her to be his pupil.
Master remembered that year he wanted to hand pick a group of young pupils suitable for Taekwondo training. He searched for children from the third grade and higher. He found a few children to be his pupils, but they didn’t meet his expectations.
Master remembered that fateful day clearly. He saw a handsome little boy who looked like a doll was chased by a group of boys bigger than the little boy, but the cold calmness in the little boy’s eyes startled him.
Master expected the little boy was going to be beaten by the group of bigger boys, but suddenly the little boy cried out. ‘Gu Jing! They want to fight!’
Another little boy jumped down from a tree like a monkey. The little monkey jumped around, kicked the bigger boys’ stomachs and hit their cheeks.
The little boy stood nearby the little monkey and the little boy calmly instructed the little monkey where to kick and hit the bigger boys. ‘Kick higher. Don’t hit their cheeks, hit their noses.’
Master was shocked to see such a young little boy could antic.i.p.ate their opponents’ moves and the lively little monkey’s natural powerful physical strength.
Within a blink of an eye the defeated group of seven of eight bigger boys ran away and the little monkey stuck its bottom out.
Master couldn’t believe his eyes, the little monkey was a little girl!
The little girl rubbed her nose and she held the little boy’s hand. ‘Today I want a lollipop.’
The little boy laughed happily and the cold calmness in the little boy’s eyes disappeared. The little boy opened his school bag. He took out a lollipop and he gave it to the little girl. ‘Let’s go home.’
Master was deeply moved and he worried the little boy and the little girl would disappear. So he ran toward them, but the little boy saw him from a distance. ‘Gu Jing, run!’
The little girl put her lollipop in her mouth and she ran. The little boy calmly stayed in one spot.
When master stood five steps from the little boy, the little boy took two steps back. ‘Mr, you are whose dad?’
‘Master… master is a teacher,’ master said.
The little boy didn’t say anything and the little girl who ran for a short distance turned around and she scrutinised master.
‘Are you actually a teacher?’ the little boy asked.
‘Master is a martial arts teacher, I teach Taekwondo. If you follow master and train hard then perhaps you can become a Taekwondo champion. Can you tell me your name? Is the little girl over there named Gu Jing? Can you ask her to come back for me to take a closer look at her?’ master said.
Master stood two steps in front of the little boy and the little boy smiled like an angel. But the little angel suddenly screamed like a little demon and the scream spread to the elementary school. ‘Teachers! Princ.i.p.al! There is a bad man who wants to kidnap children! Ah! Ah! Ah!’
Master couldn’t believe despite his fame in the martial arts world and many parents knocked on his door and begged him to train their children, he was surrounded by an elementary school’s teachers and princ.i.p.al. The little boy glanced at him and smiled and the little girl bit the same lollipop then they escaped together.
Gu Jing ran around the venue three times. The master’s troop were breathless but she breathed steadily. ‘Hey old man, today you have a cla.s.s. I won’t treat you to wine today. What do you think about me treating you wine tomorrow night?’
Gu Jing’s voice broke master’s thoughts about past memories.
Master laughed. ‘Just you? Did Zhen Lang come home too? Are you two going to treat me wine tomorrow?’
Gu Jing’s body froze and the master’s troop jumped onto her. She fell on the ground and more than a dozen little children sat on her.
‘Old man, if you mention his name again then I will cut all ties with you!’ Gu Jing said.
Master laughed. He thought it had been more than ten years since he met Gu Jing and Zhen Lang, but nothing changed.
End of Chapter Thirty-Five