Chapter 2 – Jiaming and Lingjing
When the sun rose from the grasslands, a little girl’s crisp and vigorous cries could be heard in the middle of a large group of old people conducting the morning discipline. The elegant looking little girl had her hair done in two braids, and she was earnestly practicing the Wing Chun Fist. The little boy called Gu Jiaming was just sitting on the grass, feeling bored while watching this group of people practice.
It had been two months and the child had already recovered quite a bit.
During that time period, for the first ten days or so, he pretended to be deaf and dumb and he eventually learned everything about the current situation. He was currently located at Jianghai City, one of the cities with the largest domestic markets since the reform. This place received plentiful opportunities and its economic strength increased very rapidly. Generally speaking, at this time, the upper layers of Jianghai were basically controlled by several family businesses. These families had a deep foundation as well as a lot of connections with the central authorities. They were also not really affected by the turmoil that had been happening for these past several years. The Huang family was one of these family businesses.
His mother was supposed to be part of the main branch of the Huang family, however there was a family rule where if Huang family women were to be married, the male had to become a member of her family. However, his father was proud and arrogant and secretly eloped with his mother and the Huang family had basically disowned them. Not long after he was born, the two of them lost their lives to a landslide. However, due to how young he was, the Huang family showed some compassion and took him in and raised him.
As the caretakers knew his identity, they called him “young master”, but he was not given the official title of “young master”. This was due to the situation with his mother and the shame it brought to the family. Within the family, there were children of different ages that also knew about this and they bullied and ridiculed him for it. That time he had run away because he could not stand it anymore, but it just so happened that he was found by the two assassins from Peroka who were looking for fresh blood.
During this past half year, the only one he was relatively familiar with was the little girl, Ye Lingjing. Her family could be considered a very distant relative of the Huang family. His father and Lingjing’s father, Ye Han, the owner of a martial arts school, were really good friends. When his parents died the Ye family originally wanted to adopt him, however the Huang family were better qualified to take him in.
Even though he lived at the Huang family mansion for the past year, he would often visit the Ye family to play. Even though Lingjing was a girl, she would stand up for him and was like a protector goddess if he was being bullied or teased. Thus, even though this was his new reborn life, Jiaming just went along with what the little girl arranged for him and passed the time as a child would.
It would be a completely new experience for him to to go an ordinary school. There was no strict military instructor, no attending classes while reeking of blood and no need to worry about his life being in danger at any time. The freedom was unfathomable to him and the only restriction he had was when he was in class. Ye Lingjing, who sat at the same table as him, would nudge him sternly to put both hands on top of the table as well as sit up straight. She was the captain of one of the school’s Young Pioneers squads and was in charge of supervising the students.
He tried hard to imitate his previous writing as well as get barely passing grades on his tests. It was not difficult for Jiaming as a child's world was very enjoyable and he could sit quietly on the side and watch them. However it was also annoying sometimes because they liked to go wild with childish games and activities. As a captain, Ye Lingjing would pull him along when there were any performances or activities outside of classes. Every time the children played really happily, Jiaming would be very exhausted after.
In terms of his home situation, he was an ignored child. If the other children wanted someone to bully, they would look for him and the adults treated him like he was air. Every night, he was not allowed to sit with the family at the dinner table and had to eat in the pantry or in his room. Every month, the caretaker would give him the same amount of allowance as the other children, but by the same evening, the other children would have already snatched it away.
For the him right now, being ignored was part of his dream come true. As for his allowance being snatched, he easily took it back and then took their homework on the way and burned it. The next day, the whole residence was chaotic as they discovered their missing homework. Because their grades were generally bad, the adults thought that they were trying to find an excuse for not having done their homework. The children were severely scolded and Jiaming smirked while watching on the side.
Every day at 3am, he would wake and head to the suburbs to train. His ten year old body was still pretty frail and not to even mention anything about fighting, even the recoil from using a gun would dislocate his shoulder. Using his previous life’s assassin training regimen, he would complete a set and return home by around 5:30 am. At 6 am, Lingjing, in an athletic outfit, would sneak in through the back gate and knock on his window. She did not like the other children that he was living with, and because Jiaming’s room was the last one on the first floor of the residence, it was easy for him to jump out the window after changing his clothes. Then the two of them would slowly jog to the outskirts.
Currently, Jianghai City did not have a lot of leisure parks, so the grasslands at the outskirt of the city was where people that did morning exercise liked to frequent. Jiaming would lie on the grass to rest, while Lingjing would follow along and practice martial arts.
Lingjing practiced martial arts with her father since she was young and she was most familiar with Wing Chun Fist and Tai Chi. She was also the champion of the regional martial arts competition – naturally this competition was the performance type. On the way back, they would frequently meet an uncle selling steamed buns; Lingjing would foot the bill and buy two, then they would eat it on the way back to the Ye family’s martial arts school.
Even though Lingjing’s father Ye Han had a refined name, he was actually a burly fellow with sideburns. He was the master of the martial arts school while Lingjing’s mother, Duan Jingxian, was a well-known physician and as beautiful as her name. The two of them, one in charge of fighting, the other in charge of treatment, complemented each other and were the perfect couple. The two of them were good-natured and compassionate; in a sense, this family was whom Jiaming would actually consider as his own relatives in this world.
Time slowly passed. As the end of the year arrived, the weather got colder and Red Star Elementary School closed for winter vacation. New Year's Eve was February 3rd, Jiaming and Lingjing’s exams finished on January 23rd. On the 27th, the school mailed out the results and this time Jiaming got 70 on his language exam and 75 on his math exam. This was much better than his previous results. Even though Lingjing got 100 on both exams, she was more happy about his results because she thought it was due to her guidance. Because he had improved so much, Ye Han and the whole family were very happy. Ye Han thought that because Jiaming got shot and became smarter, Jiaming should get shot more; Ye Han got reprimanded by Duan Jingxian for a whole night for saying that. They also decided that Jiaming should learn martial arts over the winter vacation.
Jiaming naturally declined vehemently, he had a lot of vacation homework, the Huang family’s fatties were looking for him every day. He was imitating being a son of one of those rich families – one of those “prince” or “young master” types. He used to be bullied, but now he had to prevent others from realizing that he was not the same person. He did not want a situation like in “The Eagle Shooting Heroes” to happen, “Your position is too awesome, I can't help but want to kick your foot, I haven't done that in a while.” It would just be extremely troublesome. The him now wanted to pass his time like an ordinary person.
Though to Jiaming, what was it like to live an ordinary life?
He thought his current situation should be a section of an ordinary life. An ordinary person would finish elementary school, middle school, high school then university; possibly fall in love a few times in high school or university, then start working; work at an ordinary position in an ordinary job, find a suitable spouse after a few years and then continue on that path. During this life span, one should have around one or two dreams and they should work hard towards them. Of course, the main point was to work hard, whether the dream comes true or not does not matter. Finally, when one has many descendants and reaches the ripe age of sixty to seventy, one should quietly pass away. There would be people that would cry and there would be people that would be happy about it, however they would both quickly forget about the one that passed away. Even though it was hard to imagine this situation as every day was currently full of troublesome children, but a lot of books described this type of blessed and happy life, so should it not be like that?
With that type of thinking, the time passed in a blink of an eye and the year drew to a close. As to learning martial arts, he was able to dodge the issue due to his many excuses and Ye Lingjing did not push the issue or expose his excuses. On February 2nd, a large snow flurry hit Jianghai City and the television station said that this timely snowstorm meant it was an omen of an upcoming prosperous year.
The 3rd was New Year’s Eve, the early morning was as usual, he and Lingjing went out through the back door for morning exercise. When they returned, at the main gate of the Huang family residence, many cars were entering and leaving. They were mostly Audi 100, at that time those type of cars were trending and government officials used them. Large crowds of people entered and exited the living room to drop by for the New Year greetings; the amount of people visiting continuously to suck up to the Huang family demonstrated the position that the Huang family had in Jianghai City. The children played noisily in the garden – they played tag, threw snowballs or set off firecrackers. Jiaming and Lingjing watched for a bit, then repulsed by those children, Lingjing said, “Come, let’s not stay here any longer. Let’s go back to my place, because Papa secretly bought a lot of firecrackers.”
Just the thought of wasting a whole morning setting off firecrackers with another kid, Jiaming wanted to use those firecrackers to blow up the whole world. Just as he was thinking about how to get out of that situation, his name was called several times from the garden. Then a group of little fatties swiftly and fiercely ran towards them.
 Young Pioneers is a youth organization for kids between 6 to 14 set up by the Communist Party. Sort of like Boy Scouts but the purpose is to be loyal to the Communist Party. ↩
 Chinese New Year is generally in February (based on the lunisolar Chinese calendar). ↩
 “The Eagle Shooting Heroes” - a parody film of ‘The Legend of The Condor Heroes’. ↩