While Rui anxiously pushes Diablo to go faster LiMei and Baobei are eating the cold chicken.
After Baobei devours the last piece of meat on the plump drumstick in his fleshy hand he moves closer to Jack. Staring at the unconscious black hawk with a worried expression he asks, “Sister LiMei, when will Jack wake up?”
LiMei wants to comfort Baobei but doesn’t know what will happen. When Jack fell he hit branches on his way down so the impact on the ground was lessened but he sustained other injuries. “It is hard to say. I checked Jack, his breathing was more stable and his heartbeat was steady. When he does wakes up we can feed him the Dragon Eye fruit to help him recover.”
As the thunderstorm storm rages, bursts of thunder and the crackle of lightning echo in the cave. Torrential rain pounds the ground outside and water begins to pool at the entrance. The cold wind swirls at the entrance threatening to extinguish the fire she painstakingly lit.
LiMei pushes up the sleeve of the oversized black sweater and stokes the fire with a thin branch. She takes another piece of the firewood and puts it on the fire. If the fire goes out we will be in trouble, the temperature in the cave has been steadily dropping.
Baobei watches LiMei , “Do you go camping with that man? I didn’t think you would be able to start a fire.”
LiMei thinks for a minute, it seemed to come naturally when she found a knife in the wooden chest. First, she made a v shaped hole in a piece of wood then rolled a spindle to create an ember that fell on a piece of bark she placed there. “Maybe.”
She rubs his head and laughs when she notices his puzzled expression, “Well, I must have. Come sit on my lap, you are shivering.”
Suddenly there is a rustling at the front of the cave that sounds like an animal might be seeking refuge from the storm. LiMei nervously puts her finger to her mouth, “Shh.” Lowering her head she whispers in his ear, “Go to the back of the cave and hide under a blanket.” He doesn’t budge and she says, “Go.”
He moves his chubby legs as fast as he can into the darkness. As he passes by the bed he grabs a blanket then drags it behind him. When Baobei reaches the rear of the cave he picks up a few stones then curls into a ball under the cover.
He peeks out a corner of the blanket to see what is going on in the front of the cave. He grips one of the stones in his hand , if Sister needs me I can make a sneak attack from here. I wish I had brought my sword!
LiMei picks up the knife by the fire and steps into the shadows thinking possibly a wolf is approaching. She takes a deep breath trying to stabilize her turbulent emotions. She is very afraid, her hand clutching the knife is trembling. I need to be strong to protect the little guy. She steadies her hand, you can do it LiMei!
Wong Kai sees the fire inside the cave and has a dagger ready to confront the intruder. He cautiously enters and can hear breathing in the shadows. Swiftly locating LiMei’s position in a flash has his hand on her neck pressing her delicate body against the cold stone. He growls in a low and threatening tone that sends shivers down LiMei’s spine. “Who sent you? Speak!”
LiMei bumped her back on a protruding rock from his forceful push. She winces in pain and can’t catch her breath let alone speak.
Baobei recognizes Wong Kai’s voice and crawls out from his hiding place. He runs towards the sound of the familiar man, pulling on his muddy wet pant leg he pleads, “ Old Hermit! Don’t hurt Sister LiMei! She is my friend!”
Wong Kai lets go of LiMei’s throat.
LiMei coughs, “Keke..Keke..Old Hermit?”
He apologizes, “Ahh…sorry…the kid is never here at night and…” I thought you were sent to eliminate me. Of course if I hadn’t been up for three days straight I wouldn’t have jumped to conclusions. No assassin would light up the cave and have a roaring fire going.
They step into the light and LiMei stutters looking at the incredibly handsome man that can’t be older than thirty. She points her slender finger at him and has an incredulous expression, ‘YOU..YOU..are Old Hermit?”
The tall handsome man has a deep and melodious laugh, “Haha..well when I first met the kid I had been burning some papers. The wind suddenly shifted so I was covered in ash and the little guy said, “Old man, what are you doing by my cave?”
“So… I don’t know why..haha..” He rubs his chin, “ I told him my name is Old Hermit.” I didn’t want to kill the runt and I thought if he mentioned me they would think I was just some harmless old guy.
Baobei gazes up at Wong Kai with a quizzical look, “It isn’t?”
LiMei shivers, “Let’s go by the fire. It is too cold right here.”
Wong Kai follows them, wary of LiMei he asks, “Why are you here?”
Baobei holds LiMei’s hand, “I wanted to show Sister LiMei my cave but I didn’t think it would thunderstorm.”
Wong Kai stares at LiMei wearing his clothes and she notices he doesn’t look happy.
LiMei blushes, “I’m sorry I had to borrow your clothes. My clothes were soaking wet.”
Baobei puts his hands on his hips, “Old Hermit, don’t be stingy. I will bring you a new set next time I come.”
“Okay, don’t call me Old Hermit. You can call me..hmm…” I am too fucking tired to make up a name. “Just keep it, Old Hermit.” He changes the subject. “Does your grandfather know you are here?” I don’t need the old fart sending someone to look for you. I planned on finding some Myrahia to get rid of the poison then sleeping here for a few days. Once I recover I have a job in Shanghai.
Baobei’s big round eyes widen, he blinks a few times, “Ummm…maybe now.”
LiMei sees Wong Kai is soaking wet, his clothes completely drenched from the rain and covered in mud., “It is too miserable out there and it doesn’t appear the thunderstorm will be ending anytime soon. You will catch your death of cold if you leave.”
He stares at LiMei holding Baobei on her lap debating if he should stay. It took all of his internal energy to make it up the back of the mountain. He inwardly sighs, I will face death if my father finds me here. He made it clear when he disowned me not to show my face in front of him ever again if I wanted to live. But this Island is too full of rare medicinal plants and I like spending time with my little nephew. The incident wasn’t even my fault at the time but the stubborn old goat was too angry to listen to my explanation.
“Well, I will stay until the storm lets up.”
“Old Hermit, why were you gone for so long?”
“I was working.”
“Did you assassinate anyone?”
Wong Kai laughs as he waves his hand, “Miss, don’t listen to the kid. I told those fantastic stories cause Baobei likes to hear them.”
LiMei chuckles, “Baobei said he missed you because you told the best stories. You should change out of your wet clothes. I will put another piece of wood on the fire.”
He hurriedly grabs the piece of wood, “I can do it.” Looking at LiMei’s tender looking small hands he is curious,The little girl looks rather delicate, how did she start the fire? Who is she? A new disciple?
LiMei takes the piece of wood, “Seriously, go change!”
“I will sit by the fire the clothes will dry.”
“We already have an injured bird and frankly, you don’t look well.” She teases, “I’m a married woman.” LiMei’s face pales thinking about Rui but then she smiles brightly, “I promise I won’t look.”
Baobei nods his head, “Sister LiMei won’t peek…I changed earlier and she didn’t look.”
Wong Kai walks to the wooden chest and takes out a towel, jeans and a black sweater. He lazily stretches his long legs towards the back of the cave. While he is changing he is curious about LiMei’s identity. She is married? Who is her husband? Not one of the disciples, they are all single dogs. A visitor to the Island…the man must be someone important. Well that might work out …If there is a problem I can take the little woman with me to escape.
Baobei comfortably snuggles in LiMei’s embrace while sitting by the flickering fire. After the treacherous climb up the mountain, the exhausted little boy’s eyelashes are fluttering as he tries to stay awake.
LiMei is also having trouble keeping her eyes open but is wary of Wong Kai. Old Hermit..what a ridiculous name ..he is obviously not old… or a hermit. .. he said he made up the stories he told Baobei but he exudes an extremely dangerous aura. The man easily took the knife from my hand and didn’t hesitate to ruthlessly press me against the stone wall. The black dagger at my throat was invisible in the dark, very much like an assassin’s weapon. I felt a bone chilling coldness as he demanded to know my identity. If Baobei hadn’t called out in time I seriously think would have killed me without blinking.
She contemplates the situation. No..I don’t trust the man at all..When Old Hermit smiled at Baobei his eyes were gentle but when he was talking to me the smile didn’t reach his cold dark eyes. He stared at me as though he was calculating if I was worth keeping alive.
LiMei viligantly watches Wong Kai walk over to a black backpack. He can feel her eyes boring a hole in his back and chuckles, the little woman is afraid of me…He has the urge to tease LiMei. Turning around he steps toward LiMei and extends his fist. She stiffens and wraps her thin arms around the sleeping little boy in her lap in a protective gesture. Wong Kai opens his hand and in his palm are bright red berries, “These are good to ward off the cold.”
When she doesn’t take the berries he has a devilish grin, “The berries aren’t poisonous.” He pops a few into his mouth. Little Missy…If I wanted to kill you…you would already be dead.
She hesitantly takes a few of the bright red berries. “Old Hermit…or whatever your name is…I don’t care. When Baobei and I go back tomorrow I won’t mention I saw you. Let’s get along until then.”
LiMei puts the small red berries in her mouth, as she chews her face scrunches up from the assault on her taste buds...so bitter..bitter..bitter. LiMei looks at Wong Kai with watery eyes, after she swallows she purses her lips. “Ahhh.. the taste ..so terrible!”
He hands her a small purple leaf, “Chew this. It will get the bitter taste out of your mouth.”
She looks up at him with an aggrieved expression, “I don’t want.” The amused expression on his face is annoying…he could have warned me!
He eats a piece of leaf and smirks, “Suit yourself, but I will warn you the bitter taste won’t go away by itself. Your tongue might swell up too.”
“Really? You don’t look fine.”
When she feels her tongue beginning to swell, she grabs a leaf and stuffs it into her mouth. The cooling sweet sensation makes her beautiful green eyes bend in a crescent shape. She takes another leaf from him, “So sweet…like a piece of toffee.
Baobei hears the word sweet and drowsily opens his eyes, “Old Hermit, you brought me toffee?”