Despite their near-legendary status in folklore, the people from the corpse recovery team looked very ordinary. They paddled in unison across the water with stunning speed, much faster than other competing boats. Only the soldier team managed to catch up with them.
The three of them had been watching their training for a while when someone from the construction site called Jiang Feiyang away.
With nothing to do, Jiang Lan and Xue Meng decided to stroll along the lake. With a grass sticking from his mouth, Xue Meng said. “This job is much better than I thought. I think the corpse recovery team had a good chance of winning this race.”
“You are a man of great insight.”
A coarse voice expressed his pleasure at Xue Meng’s comment.
They turned around to look in the direction of that voice. The man saying this just stood behind them. He was a burly man with a whisker and half a head taller than Jiang Lan. Judging by his appearances, Jiang Lan thought he was in his twenties.
He sounded much kinder than his rough appearance when he began to introduce himself.” My name is Guan Shui. I am the senior apprentice in my team and the big brother to that bunch of guys on the boat.”
Sociable Xue Meng quickly started chatting.” Oh, your reputation precedes you. I have already heard about you. I haven’t seen Master Guan here.”
Master Guan was the man who helped bring that girl to surface without any equipment and thus became the main character of countless spooky stories about the corpse recovery team.
Guan Shui said.” Master is an old man now and doesn’t like noisy events like this. I was charged with bringing my teammates out to get some fresh air.”
Xue Meng cottoned up to him.” Has any bookie taken an interest in this race? I think the odds of you winning this race are very high.”
With a knowing smile, Guan Shui said.” My brothers earn their livelihood in the water. It’s natural we are very skilled boatmen.”
He seemed to be very proud of his trade.
Jiang Lan was surprised by this attitude.
He had read some articles about this corpse recovery trade. Unlike the brotherhood of this Jiang City corpse recovery team, most people in this trade operate alone, or with a partner at the most. Most of their time was spent with dead people and consequently the whole society considered it bad luck to associate with them. They were shunned by the society to such an extent that their relatives never invited them to any family gatherings. For meager income,they worked under immense pressure and in extremely dangerous conditions.
Government tried to encourage the establishment of privately run emergency rescue teams with standardized practice. But this job was so demanding that there was a severe lack of qualified candidates interested in entering this trade. Hence, this trade was in a gradual decline.
But judging by the way Guan Shui talked about his job, Jiang Lan sensed he was proud of his job. The people in this team seemed to genuinely feel they had a promising career.
Despite being an outsider, Jiang Lan couldn’t help feeling glad for them. He kindly reminded him.” You can bring your pet along during training. But during the race, the referee might object to its presence.”
“What pet?” Guan Shui seemed confused.” We don’t have any pets!”
Jiang Lan was surprised by his response. He had seen a big turtle following their boat since he arrived at the lake. The turtle had a shell almost half a meter long and had been following them quietly.
It’s impossible for the team not to notice a turtle as big as this one. So Jiang Lan assumed this turtle must be a kind of pet to the corpse recovery team.
According to the new reporting Jiang Lan had read, some people in this trade would adopt aquatic animals as companions to dispel loneliness.
Sensing Guan Shui’s confusion, Jiang Lan realized he must be mistaken. Pointing to the bottom of the boat, he said.” A very big turtle had been following you for a while.”
Xue Meng felt a little strange.” I haven’t seen any turtles….”
Suddenly Guan Shui darted to the lake side and with panic in his voice, he shouted to his teammates.” Get off boat, get off boat!”
After that, he whistled long and hard, as if sending a signal. The yellow boat in the lead suddenly turned around and paddled to the dock quickly. With no clue about what’s going on, the other boats were alarmed and followed the yellow boat to paddle towards the shore, thinking something terrible must have happened.
Someone shouted.” What’s going on?”
Jiang Lan and Xue Meng had no idea what just happened. They watched the boats docked and the teammates jumped off the boat in a hurry.
Noticing the chaotic scenes here, Jiang Feiyang hurried towards them.” What happened? Who just shouted?”
In this confusion, nobody could answer him.
Xue Meng and Jiang Lan looked towards Guan Shui in unison.
Guan Shui had an apologetic smile on his face.” I am so sorry. We had an urgent task to attend to. We had to go back.”
No one here seemed willing to come forward to blame a burly apologetic man for causing this chaotic scene. Dismissing this false alarm, most of the teams went back to their training.
The yellow team still remained here with a palpable sense of fear and anxiety in the air. Before Guan Shui issued any instructions, they just waited with solemn looks on their faces.
“Sorry.” The relaxing look on Guan Shui’s face was gone, replaced by a solemn look. He repeated what he just said.” We have to leave now, we have an urgent task.”
Then they trooped out.
Xue Meng was still confused.” Where is the turtle? I haven’t seen any turtles. But what’s so scary about a turtle anyway?”
Jiang Lan couldn’t explain their reaction.” Maybe it is one of their taboos?”
It made total sense to Xue Meng. The corpse recovery team had many inexplicable taboos and rules. It was said that they would carry a rooster with them every time they work. If their job was successful, the rooster would be sacrificed to the river and lake deities.
Considering this, Xue Meng now thought it wasn’t very strange to run away at the sight of a turtle.
This incident didn’t leave much impression on them. After a leisurely morning, they had supper with Jiang Feiyang. In the afternoon, they went to Wang Qing’s office, seeking his help to arrange a police security team for the Dragon Boat Festival.
After the Sunny Doll affair, Wang Qing hadn’t seen Jiang Lan for a while. He gave them a very warm reception.
In the reception room, they learned that Wang Qing had just earned his new position in the criminal investigation department on account of his excellent performance.
Wang Qing said to Jiang Lan.” After meeting you, I felt a door to that new world has been opened for me.”
His original plan was to become an ordinary cop serving his community and lead an uneventful life. After the sunny doll affair, he felt his job had become much more stimulating.
What he said seemed to strike a chord with Xue Meng. Grabbing Wang Qing’s hand, Xue Meng said.” As God’s chosen ones, we are destined for this life and burdens.”
Wang Qing seemed to be a little embarrassed by this. Withdrawing his hand, he tried to give a polite smile.
This comrade was too theatrical.
After pleasantries were exchanged, they got down to business. A couple of police officers were introduced and they agreed to help: A few days before the dragon boat festival, a team will be sent to the site to iron out all the details of the festival’s security arrangements.
After that, Jiang Lan sent a message to Jiang Feiyang, telling him their progress so far.
Jiang Feiyang told them no more work was needed from them and they could spend the rest of the day as they saw fit.
With a lot of time on their hands, Xue Meng suggested they watch a movie together.
Jiang Lan gladly agreed.
When they arrived at a cinema, it suddenly occurred to Jiang Lan that Ying Qiao had invited him to a movie yesterday afternoon. Since his fourth brother hadn’t left that time, he refused him.
Recalling this, Jiang Lan sent a photo of the cinema to Ying Qiao, asking him if he was available to watch a movie together.
Ying Qiao was relieved that Jiang Lan’s message didn’t mention anything about the punishment announcements.
[Sure, you are in the movie theater?]
Jiang Lan sent him the location of the movie theater.
Ying Qiao promptly agreed to meet him in the movie theater, claiming his boss had left the office and he wasn’t assigned any new work right now.
Jiang Lan bought three movie tickets. There were about twenty minutes left until the start of the movie, so they bought a bottle of Coca-Cola and some popcorn and sat down in the hall to wait for Ying Qiao.
Ying Qiao summoned Cheng Hua through the intercom and transferred some unfinished works to him.
Cheng Hua instantly understood.” You are going to leave early?”
In a self-assured manner, Ying Qiao answered.” Jiang Lan asked me to watch a movie together.”
So he is on a date.
According to the love guidance books he read, romantic dates were the ideal way to bring a relationship to the next level.
“I almost forgot, you knew nothing about love.” Ying Qiao gave him a side-eye.” You are a single dog.”
You talked as if you are already in a relationship. Where is your confidence coming from?
He tapped the desk angrily.” For this, I will claim compensation for my psychological injury from the financial department.”
Ying Qiao.” You can claim all you want.” And I won’t authorize the payout anyway.
Then he left.
Cheng Hua cursed loudly to a pile of documents on Ying Qiao’s desk.
Watching a movie?
Are you sure there is only Jiang Lan there?