Chapter 84: Acrobat 1
T/N: New arc… Yoohooo… Anyway.. There will be 13 chapters for this arc. So, if you want to read it as a whole, you can wait until the end of this month. [Promise~ I still have 5 chapters to translate and 4 to proofread.]
We will continue with Adorb villain on October.
“Old Jiang, how much money did you make this time around, ah?”
“Little Jiang, so many big bags, how much stuff did you bring back, ah?”
Jiang Liu walked along the mountain path, and occasionally met few villagers who greeted him warmly.
All his peers called him old Jiang while the elders called him little Jiang, but he hardly met any of his peers along the way. Most of the people living in this village were older people and children left behind by their parent who works outside.
Shi’ao Village of the Damin County situated in the deep mountains. It was the poorest village in this impoverished county.
With the development of the new era, more and more people can’t bear to live in this poor and desolate mountains. Many of them moved to other villages down the mountain and stayed there. Most of the people who still lived here were the low-income family who could not move their nests to other places.
Of course, there was also an exception, and that was the Jiang family.
No one can say which year did the Jiang family moved to this place. However, since the people in the village can remember, the conditions of the Jiang family were never bad.
Jiang Liu’s grandfather took his only son to this remote mountain and used the rare bacon and wine to find the village head at that time to buy the land here. Then, after he built the house, Jiang Liu’s paternal grandfather married a girl from a prosperous local family in the village. Since then, he stood firm in this small isolated village.
In the years of the Cultural Revolution, the Jiang family was like any ordinary villagers. They worked in the fields to earn work points. Occasionally, Jiang Liu’s grandfather will go down the mountain and bring something good from outside. He was also an incredibly generous person. He never forgets to share something with his neighbours, and therefore had a good reputation in this village.
Since he was also an outsider, Jiang Liu’s father also married a girl from the village. For several generations, when Jiang Liu was born, they had wholly integrated into the village’s community.
At that time, society had changed with each passing day. Many bulls, ghosts and snakes was defeated and rehabilitated one after another during the Cultural Revolution. In the Republic of China, many lower ranks people who could only hide before are now gradually regained their old jobs. At that time, the villagers finally knew that the man who hid in their village with his only son back then was a famous “ghost”, Zhang Yihe.[T/N: In China history, there were four ranks of occupation, which were the shi (gentry scholars), the nong (peasant farmers), the gong (artisans and craftsmen), and the shang (merchants and traders). The four occupations were not always arranged in this order. For example, during the cultural revolution, the nong was considered as the higher among the profession. That’s why the scholar was forced to go to the village and worked at the farm. You might have stumbled upon this if you read enough QT type of story]
According to a rumour, Zhang Yihe had once performed a juggling show for the warlord of Beiyang. Under the full view of the public, he managed to stuff his body into a small box. His bones and muscles are like cotton, which can be compressed and folded at will. Due to this magic, Zhang Yihe used to be a frequent performer at many celebrities’ banquets. With this skill, he made a lot of silver during the period of the warlord era.
Later, after the war, Zhang Yihe disappeared. Many people thought he was dead, and this stunt ended in his generation.
But in fact, not only did he not die, but he also cultivated a perfect descendant, namely Jiang Sanchun, Jiang Liu’s father.
In the 1980s, Jiang Sanchun was also a well-known figure in the entertainment world. He led a theatrical troupe to perform around and saved a lot of money.
Many people who had seen him perform were amazed by this shrinking stunt. It was a pity that Jiang Sanchun is a loner and does not like to perform with others. This had also led to his weak team strength. In the absence of sufficient momentum, it was hard for their troupe to get famous.
However, the theatrical troupe team alone made enough money from the tour. Relying on this ability, Jiang Sanchun finally rebuilt the house on the mountain. Apart from that, he also built a three-story bungalow at the foot of the mountain. He added a TV, radio, and refrigerator to the house. There were also a majestic motorcycle and a Santana [A Volkswagen]. In this poor small village, Jiang Sanchun was the richest man.
Many people envied the Jiang family’s ability and wanted to send their children to the Jiang family as apprentices. However, they were all rejected by the Jiang family. Their attitude was apparent. They can help the villagers to improve their living within their capacity, yet, this skill is something that will never be passed on to outsiders.
Not only the Jiang family was like this. Many other artisans were also like this. Yet, this mentality had led many secret recipes and unique skills lost in due times.
The descendant of the Jiang family’s generation was precisely the objects of Jiang Liu’s possession in this world.
Many people only see the handsome style of making a lot of money after practising the bone-shrinking skill. Yet, they were also blindly ignoring the difficulty of practising bone reduction skills.
When Jiang Liu looked over the original body’s memory, he found that the original body had cried almost every day during the first few years when he started practising the bone-shrinking skill.
The key to practice the bone shrinking was through joint dislocation. When the original body was young, his father, Jiang Sanchun, would dislocate several bones on his body using special techniques that were passed down from the family. He then will put the bones back to its place, before applying special ointment to it.
This kind of procedure was almost repeated in every few days. The pain of bone dislocation was generally difficult for people to tolerate, not to mention having multiple bones being frequently dislocated and aligned.
This was the mystery of bone-shrinking art. The reason for doing this from a young age is because these children bones are yet to be fixed. Therefore, by learning this art from a young age, it will allow them to dislocate and align at will.
After practising this skill to the later stage, they will no longer feel pain because of the frequent dislocating and resetting.
However, the most painful thing about practising this art was not the process of the practice, but the environment of the course. They not only need to practice all year long; they even need to do it during the three months of winter and three months of summer. Even if the weather conditions were bad, the original body still had to wear thin training clothes outdoor while practising basic skills such as sitting in the lotus position, crab walking and basic bending exercises.
The original body didn’t dare to stop practising, because he knew that this was something that their family used to keep for living, and in his generation, he was the only one left.
So he gritted his teeth and swallowed the pain in his mouth. No matter how tired and bitter he was, he only dared to cry while sleeping. When he was 16 years old, he could be considered a master of this skill. He then began to follow his dad to go north and south, relying on this acrobatics art to make money.
It was just that the life of the original body was not good. Just a few years after he started to set up a family, his father and his mother died of illness. After he married his wife, because of the difficult labour, he lost both of his wife and son.
The original body, who was hit by this blow one after another, was very depressed and moved back to the mountain from the beautiful small bungalow at the foot of the mountain. After staying at home for three full years, he finally in a good mood and picked up his old business again.
It just that, because he couldn’t let go of his deceased wife, the original body had never remarried. Now he was nearly 40, yet there is no child in the family to inherit this skill.
This time, the original body came back because he was planning on finding a few apprentices. He didn’t want this craft to be broken in his own hands. Even if it needs to be passed to the outsider, he wanted the art to continue living.
And Jiang Liu had come into this body at this time.
And his mission was also related to this matter.
Following the trajectory of the previous life, the original body had found three apprentices in the village. These three children happened to be the children of the three most difficult families in the village.
The barrenness of this village was hard for the outsiders to imagine. The average annual income per capita is less than 800 yuan. The village was basically occupied by the left-behind elderly and children by those handfuls of young couples who went outside to earn money. Furthermore, many of them left and never come back. No one knew what happened to them or whether they plan to abandon these drags and starts a new life.
In this village, many people’s houses made fro cow dung, mud and straw. These houses will leak water on a rainy day and not to mention of its foul smell. They did not even have any decent furniture in it. It was usual for a family of seven or eight people to crowd themselves on a single wooden bed.
The status quo of life that seemed impossible to many people was everywhere on this mountain.
The family situation of the original’s apprentice, Xiao Binbin was the most miserable.
The 6-year-old Xiao Binbin had a pair of twin sisters. Because he could not afford these two newborn daughters, Xiao Binbin’s father went out to work and never returned. After Xiao Binbin’s father, Xiao Guohui, disappeared, his mother Zhang Yanfen began to feel unwell. At first, she only regarded it as the reason for not having enough rest after childbirth. Later, the symptoms of physical discomfort became more intense. For the sake of her three children, Zhang Yanfen spent some money to go to the hospital at the foot of the mountain for examination, but the result was a piece of bad news. She had uremia, and she needed to do dialysis to secure her life.
Zhang Yanfen didn’t tell anyone about it. After all, such a high cost was not something that their family could afford to. She secretly returned to the mountain, and then as if nothing happened, she gritted her teeth and worked to give her children enough food for a few years.
But such a severe illness, where could she ever sustain it.
Zhang Yanfen passed out while working in the field and was sent to the hospital. At that time, the villagers finally knew what disease she had.
Although every household was short of money, everyone still had some savings. They collected some from everyone and adding the 20,000 yuan given by the original body at that time and under the strong request of Xiao Binbin, Zhang Yanfen received a period of treatment.
Even so, after a while, the money for the medical expenses finally ran out. Zhang Yanfen moved back home from the hospital, relying on some herbal medicines from some unknown sources to continue her life.
Therefore, Xiao Binbin was the first to sign up.
Although he was only six years old, he knew too much about the importance of money. Learning this technique might be difficult, but only this way can he make money and save his mother, while also supporting his two sisters.
The other two apprentices, Xu Quanjun and Wang Gouzi, were children abandoned by their parents. They live with their elderly grandparents instead. Their families, like Xiao Binbin, were told in advance that it was difficult to practice this skill, but they can earn big money and live a good life like the original body in the future. Because of this, they agreed without hesitation and were selected among a bunch of competitors by the original body.
Children from low-income families can endure hardships beyond everyone’s imagination, especially these children who were determined and persistent. They thought that, as long as they have enough time, they will be able to learn this skill well. That way, by relying on this art, they will be able to improve their current embarrassing life.
It was just an accident in the middle of it.
A group of backpackers who strayed into this mountain village took pictures of the original body teaching those few children and dislocating their joints. After Xiao Binbin and others’ videos showing themselves with red eyes but not daring to speak were posted on the Internet, the original body suddenly became a target of public criticism. What made the original body even more unacceptable was the betrayal of his several apprentices who he had already regarded as his children.
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