Chapter 5- To-do list
Lilia raised her head up high, feeling the wind caressing her cheeks. The scenery was constantly moving as she ran as swift as the wind.
There was no way someone who ran 18.3 seconds in a 100 meter dash could be considered fast, not to mention as swift as the wind.
Currently, she was being piggybacked by Su Ming. At first Su Ming was dragging her but in less than a minute decided to just carry her. He felt sorry hearing her gasping for air behind him not to mention she seemed to stumble at every root, shrub and stone. The look of confusion on his face as he offered to carry her made Lilia wondered what he was thinking but soon forgot. She had something more important to think about first.
I wonder what I should do now. I still don’t know where I am? Being carried, Lilia had a lot of time to think about what happened and what she should do now.
First thing first, find a contact. Her uncles have always said if you arrived at a new place finding a local is important. It should be someone who knows the area and the people in it. Whether in a city, a company or a gang, an insider is indispensable. Luckily she met someone already. And he was a good guy too!
(Su Ming who was carrying her shivered and looked at his surrounding thinking there were enemies. When he didn’t notice anything he continued to walk, confused.)
Secondly, overcome the language barrier. She needed to get the hang of the local language or she might meet someone who wasn’t as open-minded as Su Ming. After all she looked very suspicious with her clothes and her bag. She might get into trouble later and be unable defend herself just because she couldn’t adapt to the local dialect.
Lastly, and most importantly, she needed money. She needed to change her clothes, to eat and sleep under a roof. All of these costed money. Lilia didn’t know how she was going to find money. Should she sell some of her things? Will it even be okay to sell her things?
The last on her to-do list will have to be postponed until she gets to a proper place. For now she needed to do something about the local language. With that in mind Lilia talked to Su Ming for the past few hours.
“A thousand people?” Lilia exclaimed in surprise. “That’s already a whole battalion from where I come from.”
“What?” The man called Su Ming asked answered in confusion. “You talked•••••• fast•••repeat•••••understand•••not.”
“I mean that’s a lot of people. Is it the highest position before the general?” Lilia spoke slowly, emphasizing each word. Su Ming nodded his head indicating he understood what Lilia said.
“There •••••• still•••lot of rank••••••two-thousand•••three-thousand•••a lot••••commander•••••leading the soldiers••••”
Lilia listened more to what Su Ming was saying not because she was interested but because she needed to learn the words he was using. For some reason their conversation led to military structures and ranking. Even Lilia couldn’t remember how their topic got to this point. She was pretty sure the conversation was about the weather earlier.
She kept chatting with Su Ming, trying to familiarize her ears and tongue with the unique yet familiar language the man was using. She was slowly adapting and it helped greatly that Su Ming was willing to explain to her the words she did not understand. As someone who was multilingual, she understood that just learning conversation level language was enough for now. It’s not like she needed to recite poetry or anything to survive.
“So what is your rank Uncle Su Ming?” Lilia asked.
Su Ming frowned then sighed. Lilia was sure it wasn’t because she kept calling him uncle. Sure, he was surprised the first time she referred him as uncle. He even tried to make her stop however he gave up after the sixth time she called him uncle.
“A five hundred-man commander.” Su Ming replied in a small voice.
“Oh? A five hund- huh? A five hundred-man commander!” Lilia practically shouted the last words. Su Ming winced as her face was just a few inches away from his ears. “You’re amazing uncle! You are someone important!”
Considering her botched plan of interrogating someone because of Su Ming, Lilia thought he was just a low ranking soldier. Someone who is a leader should realize the importance of information. This man didn’t. It seems like he wasn’t even sure why he was ambushed and being chased persistently.
Instead of raising his head in pride or showing humility by saying the position was just a small one, Su Ming just gave another deep sigh.
“Uncle?” Lilia was sure she didn’t say anything bad but was still nervous. She couldn’t take the risk of losing this guy’s favor especially now that she knew he was someone important.
“•••••• not a good commander.” Su Ming spoke unhappily. ”•••unlucky••••••since I•••leader••••••losing soldiers.”
“•••••••••••••••••••••my family•••uncle••••••general•••••••••my cousins•••••••••••••••••• talent••••••I did not••••••army••••••••••••retreat••••••called •••••••••••••••shameful•••” Like a broken dam, Su Ming rambled bitterly.
Lilia panicked! She could no longer understand most of the words Su Ming said. He was talking too fast! Right now she felt like she was listening to a k-pop song with a few English words. It was frustrating.
“It’s going to be okay uncle! I’m right here!” Lilia shouted at the top of her lungs. Su Ming jumped in surprise and for the first time in a while, turned his head to look at her in his back.
Lilia gave him a big sweet smile. She began to speak in a conspiratorial tone.
“You know uncle. I’m really lucky. I’ll share my luck to you. I’m sure good things will happen to you from now on.”
Su Ming stared at the girl at his back. Her cheeks turned rosy pink. Her large round eyes sparkled. Her smile showed perfectly white teeth. With that expression full of confidence, he felt ashamed. To think he was complaining about his troubles in front of a child.
“I don’t know what happened in your work uncle but what matters is the future. It’s what you are going to do from now on is what is important. I’m sure you’ll get your chance someday uncle.”
He looked at her for a few seconds before what she said finally sink in. He stared at the sky before he suddenly laughed out loud.
“True! My ••••••••••better••••••escape with your help••••••” After saying those words, Su Ming resumed walking. His humor and morale restored.
He was focused on the path in front of him again thus he didn’t see Lilia’s sweet smile changed into a look of relief. Truthfully, Lilia did not understand Su Ming’s trouble. It was some kind of trouble with the family and some kind of running away. So she said some random words to get his attention.
She wanted him to look at her. Her uncles would always say that whenever they see her laughing and enjoying herself, they would forget their troubles. It wasn’t just them. Everyone likes to be given attention by someone good-looking. Even an adorable pet or lovely scenery can make one feel better. This was an undeniable fact.
Of course if she was ugly, the rate of success will be less than fifty percent. Having a pretty face will always give you more advantage when it comes to interpersonal relationships.