Chapter 412 Of Midnight Chats And Black Tea
“Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for helping me!”
The chemistry teacher wouldn’t stop thanking the two under the bridge. As per the agreement, he took a wad of money from the leather bag and handed it to Zhang Heng. Obviously relieved and satisfied, he looked forward to another encounter in the future.
“Any chance of employing your help again for the next transaction?”
Zhang Heng looked toward Little Boy in the back row, raising his eyebrows as a gesture.
Little Boy pondered for a while before speaking. “Call this number. Whether someone answers or not, hang up immediately after hearing the dialing tone. Call again in half an hour. Don’t anything unnecessary. Don’t reveal your identity. This spot will be our meeting place, and all you need to say is the time to meet.”
“Okay, okay,” repeated the teacher. He then stuffed the leather bag into the innermost part of his jacket.
“Good luck to you,” said Zhang Heng as he started up the car.
The silhouette of the chemistry teacher grew smaller in the rearview mirror until he completely disappeared in the darkness.
“I’m in luck today. I just made 4,000 euros in one night,” Zhang Heng said. He drew ten 200 euro banknotes from the stack of cash and passed it to Little Boy.
Little Boy frowned when she saw how much she’d been given.
“You don’t owe me that much,” she said.
“This is not what I owe you, but your share of the reward for the work we completed together.”
“I don’t want it. You did it all yourself. I didn’t even get off the car,” Little Boy said.
“The knowledge that you shared about using modern information systems to track someone down is definitely worth this much.”
“But, I’m starting to regret…”
“Because you don’t seem like a good person, after all. Why were you so good at dealing with those Albanians? Is there no fear in your heart? How did you bring down four people all by yourself? Where did the gun come from? How did you know that they would let us go by threatening them with Jonathan? Have you done something similar before? Did you really lose your ID, or is it really because you are a wanted man?”
“It seems that you have lots of questions about me. If I can’t give you a satisfactory explanation, what would you do? Call the police, or just ask me to stay away from you?”
Little Boy snorted, “If I make you stay away, you’d just join the Albanians and become a real criminal. Don’t even think about it. I’d prefer to keep my eye on you.” “Yes.”
Zhang Heng took out another thousand euros from the two thousand euro stack. “This is for this month’s rental and whatever I owe you.”
Little Boy willingly took the money this time. “There are still food expenses, and I will come up with a number at the end of the month,” she didn’t forget to add. “Okay.”
After returning the car at the parking lot, Zhang Heng rode the bus home with Little Boy. However, it started to rain halfway, and both of them did not have an umbrella. Cold and drenched, it was almost midnight when they finally returned home.
They took turns to shower and changed into a clean set of clothes. The cold rain and warm shower seemed to have awakened the two, and since nobody was sleepy, Little Boy went ahead to prepare a pot of black tea.
“Want a cup of tea?” she asked Zhang Heng.
“And how much would that cost me?”
“Do I look that miserly to you?”
“I don’t know, are you?”
Little Boy rolled her eyes as she passed the cup of black tea to Zhang Heng.
“Sorry, the time I spent with you was not too long, I haven’t had time to get to know you.”
As the tea cooled down a little, Zhang Heng took a sip. It was bland and unremarkable, where its sweetness after the bitterness wasn’t very prominent. It tasted like something from the budget bin of the supermarket.
Little Boy poured herself another cup of tea, took a cushion, and put it under the window. After that, she took her slippers off and sat down with her legs crossed, rubbing Baby Croc with one hand while holding the teacup in the other.
She let out a satisfied sigh after taking a sip of the warm brew.
The rain pattered the glass with a pleasant ticking, and streams of rainwater flowed down the window carving along with it a network of estuaries and arteries. The two didn’t speak for a long while, sipping on their tea while enjoying the hypnotizing rain in silence.
Zhang Heng’s voice suddenly pierced the surroundings. “You persuaded Jonathan to give up and accept reality. Why don’t you accept it yourself.”
“You said that you’re fighting an unwinnable battle. So, why fight?”
Little Boy squinted. “Why should I answer your question?” she asked. She shifted a little, changed her sitting position, and stretched her legs twice.
“Anyway, I’m always available.”
“Ha! Don’t try to extract information from me. The 01 has trained me well in this area. I got A+ for this skill. Why don’t you answer me first? Why did you spy for Black Nest?”
“Because… they look more like the winners at the end of it all?” Zhang Heng replied.
“Yeah, if you only work for the winner, you can never lose. Hence, the ‘logic’ of smart people,” Little Boy sneered, “But do you know the problem with smart people? They are sometimes too smart for their own good. Forget it. Let’s not talk about me. Let’s talk about you. You can try to make up for your parallel universe story. I almost forgot what the world was like twelve years ago. Come on, let’s see how many memories you can bring back to me.”
“Uhh, it’s actually not much different from the way it is now. You know, it’s still a cesspool, and people are still incredibly selfish. Compared to real problems with politics and the economy, everyone cares more about their wallets than anything else. Some brave souls took to the internet to speak up for the weak and to uphold justice. That’s all. On the contrary, you have changed a lot after twelve years.”
“Really, what’s changed?”
“At that time, you lived up to your reputation as a tomboy. You were very uptight, and you couldn’t stop trying to prove yourself. I simply can’t imagine how you lived your life.”
“Hmph,” Little Boy grunted and took another sip of her tea.
“…but I’m glad that you haven’t changed much. You still hide your kindness and sense of justice under all that coldness.”
“You do know that even if you say nice things about me, I won’t lower your rent, right?” Little Boy said sternly.
“You brought me black tea. I had to do something nice for you too.”
“Well, you didn’t pass the test. Your story is filled with loopholes. I can’t bear hearing any more of your high tales…” Little Boy paused, put her empty teacup on the window sill. She picked up Baby Croc and laid it on her lap.
“I guess I can tell you that… you had a lot of dreams as a kid, and you were ambitious. Then as a teenager, you felt like the master of the world. Whenever you saw something wrong, you would want to fix it, to fit all the blocks into their right places again. You were compelled to clean up the dust on the table. At that time, you really wanted to make the world a better place. When you got older, however, you found that it wasn’t what you thought it was, and people really didn’t care about right or wrong… “…the adult world only cared about benefits and profits. You could see the injustice and saw how badly everything needed to be corrected, but everyone remained silent. Nobody resisted, with everyone convincing themselves that this is what the world is like. They were like sheep, blindly following the rules, and enduring injustice just because the cost of change was simply too great. You thought I can’t do it alone, and my voice is too small… and that’s why at times, the world seems to be a whole big ball of a black comedy…”
“I mean, I understand how the world works. I understand that everything is about profit, but it certainly doesn’t mean that right and wrong do not exist outside it. What is right is right, and what is wrong will remain wrong
—this is not philosophical relational dialectics. I think Black Nest made a mistake. I have to admit that they may be the winners in the end, but unfortunately, victory does not mean justice. I know what they are doing is wrong, and as long as I can, I will continue to fight, 01 will continue to fight, even if no one is on our side,” Little Boy proclaimed with an unwavering and resolute tone.