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Chapter 4: Sorry, but we’ve planned to drop explosives on you (Part 2)
The phone fell with a “bang” onto the floor of the carriage along with tears.
“As of now, G1HD1 has destroyed five cities, and the current casualty estimation is three million…,” An Siran said with a serious face and a hoarse voice.
If the accident continues, it would not only be beyond the Minister of Transport to assume responsibility, but also the whole of humanity.
The ‘Chaos’ continues.
It has entered its sixth city.
“At the moment, we haven’t identified the cause for the loss of control of the train. In order to avoid any more casualties, we’ve decided to…” An Siran paused, averting his eyes from the camera.
In ‘Chaos’, the people in each carriage were staring at the small screen in front of them.
They wished to hear the news of being saved.
“…Destroy ‘Chaos’.” An Siran spoke slowly, but his tone was completely firm.
Everyone was confused for a moment, then they were in a state of disbelief.
“What do you mean?” Someone asked blankly.
Yu Jiaoniang’s phone vibrated. She resisted being overwhelmed by confusion and fear, and subconsciously opened it to see it was a message from her father.
[Your Second Uncle Wang’s business is doing better than before. Had to queue for an hour to buy it for you.]
A selfie of her father holding Second Uncle Wang’s Chinese pork burger. Her father had his face covered with the Chinese pork burger, but his laughing mouth was still showing.
Second Uncle Wang was famous far and wide, and Yu Jiaoniang has loved it ever since she was given it as a snack.
Since she left home for study and work, her father would buy a Second Uncle Wang’s Chinese pork burger everytime she came home. The rich and flavourful pork meat wrapped in the refreshing taste of green peppers that is accompanied by the crispy and soft bun. Any person will feel at ease after taking a bite.
[Go directly to the hospital when you arrive. There’s no food at home.]
Yu Jiaoniang closed her eyes. Her hands were shaking uncontrollably.
“Are you okay?” The person beside her asked.
It was the boy from seat 15D.
He had followed Yu Jiaoniang to the sixth carriage and sat next to her.
Yu Jiaoniang opened her eyes as if she didn’t hear him, and looked at the photos sent by her father on her phone. Her eyes suddenly blurred.
Her fingers moved around the screen. Typing, deleting, typing again, and deleting again.
The moment her tears hit the screen of her phone, she was overwhelmed with all different kinds of emotions. She was afraid of the current situation, feeling guilty and angry for her parents, frustrated with the train…
She gripped the phone tightly, not knowing how to reply to her father’s message.
On the screen, An Siran probably expected his words to cause a commotion. He took a deep breath before continuing.
“Sorry. We have arranged to drop explosives on the train in ten minutes.” The inside of the carriage instantly freaked out.
“You’re going to blow us up?!”
“How can you do that? Do our lives not matter? Do we deserve to die just because we are aboard this train?”
“Then why did all of us move before? If we knew that we were going to die, we might as well be killed right now!”
“No! He has no right to decide this about our lives!”
The protest against this was loud. Others sat quietly like they were accepting their fate.
A voice pulled Yu Jiaoniang out from her overwhelmed state of emotions. She heard the couple behind her talking.
“If we die in exchange for the lives of the whole country, I think it’ll be good.”
“Hey, does this count as a sacrifice for our country?”
“That’s right. You’ll be a hero of the people.”
“That makes the both of us.”
Yu Jiaoniang looked at the back. The two of them didn’t seem to be in their twenties. They should still be students.
Meeting Yu Jiaoniang’s gaze, the young girl arched her brows and smiled at her.
The conversation between the couple made her think of the classic proposition – should a person give up their life to save a group of people?
The first time she saw this proposition was in her second year of high school, and Yu Jiaoniang’s answer was no.
At that time, she was ranking the top of the grade in every test without fail, and according to her teachers, she was a rare prodigy.
She could sit through the most boring and tedious study periods, and run three kilometres in the sports competition that everyone wanted to skip.
She was spoiled by her parents and relatives at home, and loved by her teachers and classmates at school. Seventeen years of excellence have nurtured her confidence and dexterity.
She stubbornly believes that everyone is admirable and irreplaceable, just like herself, and that a person’s life is one that is equivalent in value to the lives of a group of people.
The value of a life shouldn’t be measured by the quantity, but by the quality of the individual.
The second time she saw this proposition, she was a senior, and Yu Jiaoniang’s answer was yes.
At that time, she had spent four years in the top universities of the country, and she saw so many talented people who possessed unlimited potential to improve the quality of life.
Yu Jiaoniang was still excelling, but it wasn’t unusual.
There are many ways to live an excellent and wonderful life, and her vision was gradually matching the colours of the world.
She began to understand that neither quantity nor quality was a measure of the value of life.
Live and live bravely to create infinite possibilities with a limited life. Even if you’re poor, a failure, or suffering from illness, you must live even with tears in your eyes. Ths was the meaning of life.
So when she was presented with this proposition, she chose to let more people live.
It was too lonely to be alone after all. The world was beautiful and colourful because of more people.
At the current moment, the proposition changed slightly – should a train full of people be destroyed to save the world?
She was no longer the high-ranking answerer this time. She had become the one who was part of the proposition to live or die on the train.
But Yu Jiaoniang still gave her own answer.
They should die and the world should live.
Like in her senior year, she was still afraid of loneliness, so she hoped that the world would always be full of people. For people to be complete, they need to live with all kinds of people.
Yu Jiaoniang smiled back at the girl. Her heart, that was uneasy, calmed down a little.
She opened the photo sent by her father again. Still wanting to cry, but she no longer trembled with fear.
On the screen, An Siran got up and behind him stood the many employees of the Ministry of Transport.
“I don’t want to hide from everyone, because I want to say sorry to everyone.”
An Siran adjusted his clothes and bowed solemnly to the camera. Everyone behind him bowed, reluctant to get up for a long time – really sorry for giving up on you.
In the carriage, the noise gradually stopped and the sound of weeping started.
“But this… this is not our fault.”
Someone grabbed the train attendant’s walkie-talkie. His voice was trembling and hoarse as he tried to talk to Ji Zhaokun who had just led the entire train.
“What kind of officer are you? Refuse this! You reject this plan! I don’t want to die!”
A few seconds later, Ji Zhaokun’s voice sounded from the walkie-talkie.
“I’m sorry. I’m a soldier and it’s my job to obey orders.”
“But… but you also want to live, don’t you? Or you wouldn’t have let us all move the luggage to the back.”
“Survival in desperate conditions is a human instinct. Serving the country and the people is the responsibility of a soldier.” Ji Zhaokun said.
The man smashed the walkie-talkie to the ground.
“I am not that courageous!” He roared angrily, “The lives of the people out there matter, but so does mine! What does their death have to do with me? Why do I need to die for them?”
Some people realised what he was saying and tried to persuade him, “Nothing can be changed right now. Why even bother making a fuss about it?”
“Why can’t it be changed? Is it wrong for me to want to live? They are going to kill people. I…” His rant abruptly stopped. His eyes were fixed on something outside the train as if the person was struck by lightning.
The train had entered the residential area of the sixth city. It was moving at a low level and slowing down so that you could see the faces of the people on the ground from inside the train.
Everyone was crying and running for their lives.
“Honey?” The man stared at a woman in the crowd. The whole person was frozen in place. The woman was caught in the running crowd, holding her three year old daughter in her arms.
“Xiaoxiao…” The man sounded like he was dreaming.
The next second, he jerked awake.
“Run! Honey, run!” The train was fast. He ran from the front of the carriage to the back of the carriage to try and see the welfare of his wife and daughter.
They weren’t able to escape it.
The train hit a big tree in the area. The tree fell down and crushed a group of people, including them.
The man saw the scene clearly. His leg slumped to the ground of the carriage, and a painful cry came from his throat.
His soul seemed to have been hit by the large tree and turned him into an empty shell of himself.
No one stepped up to comfort him. No one in the carriage could comfort anyone else at this moment.
The train broadcast was turned on and Ji Zhaokun’s voice sounded from the radio in the carriage, “Please make good use of these final ten minutes. Don’t waste this opportunity to say farewell to the people you cherish.”
That brought everyone to reality.
People who were still in a state of fear of death, took out their mobile phones with tears in their eyes, choking out their irredeemable regrets.
Yu Jiaoniang looked at her phone. Her mother had just sent a message.
[Where’s my baby at?]
Yu Jiaoniang thought to herself, ‘What should I say? Mum, I’m probably going to the sky. Hahaha, that’s ridiculous.’
She took a few deep breaths and called her mother.
“Baby,” Her mother’s voice on the phone sounded good, not as breathless like it was after surgery, “Your father bought you Chinese Pork Burgers. The whole ward smells of meat. So fragrant. How long will it take for you to come to eat?”
“I…” Yu Jiaoniang realised that she was wrong as soon as she opened her mouth. Her voice was trembling. She cleared her throat, “Is dad next to you?”
“Yeah. I’m eating an apple.”
“Mum turned on the speakerphone.”
“What’s wrong? Your voice doesn’t sound good. Is something wrong?” Her mother had immediately heard it.
On the phone, her father’s voice also asked, “What’s the matter?”
“Dad. Mum. Listen to me.” Yu Jiaoniang stared at the narrow seat in front of her, trying her best to keep calm.
“My deposits are all in the stock market. I’ll send you the account password in a bit, and then you can ask my older cousin and let him teach you how to get money out. But I think it’s fine to put it in there. The few stocks that I bought make more money every year.”
“What are you talking about?” Her mother was confused.
“The apartment I bought in the neighbourhood in front of our house is in your names, but Sister Ruirui didn’t let me tell you because you would’ve shown it off to my sister-in-law, and Ruirui would be the one who’ll be disliked and seen as useless.
“Why are you telling us this?” Her father took a bite of the apple, “Your tone sounds as if you’re arranging your will.”
“Tch! Foul mouth!!” Her mother slapped her father, “What’s wrong?”
“Mum…” Yu Jiaoniang’s voice was sobbing and he quickly sniffed.
“Mum. Dad. I can’t see you anymore…” She finally broke down and tears fell.
On the other side of the phone, her mother and father panicked, “Aren’t you on the train? What happened? Should I call the police for you?”
“It’s the train,” Yu Jiaoniang wiped away the tears, “The train is in the sky.”
“The train is in the sky?!” Her father’s voice echoed through the ward.
There were other patients in the ward, and hearing this, his voice suddenly became agitated, “G1HD1 Chaos?”
“Yes…” Yu Jiaoniang said, “I’m on this train, and I don’t know what’s going on. Anyways, I just can’t come back…”
Her mother’s eyes darkened. She could barely sit down with her hands on the edge of the bed. The apple in her father’s hand rolled onto the ground. He stared at the phone and his face turned pale.
“Don’t panic. Don’t panic,” Yu Jiaoniang wiped away her tears, “I still have time to talk to you.
Mum. Dad. You two should always be well,” Yu Jiaoninag cried, “You should eat and drink. Don’t always think about saving money. Your health is more important than anything else. Mum, just buy the clothes you want. You’ve been hesitating for half a year… Oh, forget it. I’ll place an order later. Dad, don’t keep smoking. I know you and this old addiction and me nagging you once again. Smoking once in a while is okay, but it’s better to quit.”
“Baby, baby,” Her mother cried and interrupted her, “Mum doesn’t want clothes. I want you to come back…” Yu Jiaoniang tried to take a deep breath to not let herself cry too loudly.
“Dad. Mum. You two must promise me that you won’t fight again in the future and will live a good life.”
“My child…,” Her father also bursted into tears.
“Promise me quickly,” Yu Jiaoniang urged in a hoarse voice.
“You come back so you can make sure that the two of us…” Her mother said.
Yu Jiaoniang turned her head. She saw the helicopter outside the train’s window.
They hovered over ‘Chaos’, densely surrounding the train.
There were enough explosives to blow up the train.
She could not go back.
“I’m sorry, Mum and Dad. If I knew this was how it was going to be, I would’ve never left you.”
‘There were so many regrets in this life,’ Yu Jiaoniang thought.
She failed to accompany her parents to the end. She failed to meet her soulmate. She failed to leave an unforgettable mark of herself in this world.
It was really sad to have to leave like this.
“Baby, Mum and Dad love you,” On the other end of the phone, Mum and Dad’s voices were hazy and nasally.
“I love you too.”
The only good thing was that she had gained the purest and the strongest affection in the world. The love her family gave her was unconditional, allowing her to enjoy the most selfless and beautiful thing in the world.
In this way, it was not in vain to come to this world to live a life.
The hatches of all the helicopters opened. Five hundred tons of explosives were ready to go.
The train arrived at its seventh city. The piling casualties made it impossible for those outside the train to wait any longer.
“Beep Boop!” Yu Jiaoniang suddenly heard the sound of the phone call drop. The signal was busy and the phone call was cut.
Well, she’s really not good at saying goodbyes like that.
One more second and she would have a meltdown.
Yu Jiaoniang wrote the things that should be explained in a memo and sent it to her mother.
When she exited the chat, she saw Senior, and after thinking about it, Yu Jiaoniang wrote him a paragraph.
[Senior, I understand your feelings, but please believe that I love our base as much as you do. Don’t accuse me of such things. I also have a right to decide my own life, right?
But it’s useless to say these things now. I wish you the best.]
“You get emotional pretty fast,” Someone beside him suddenly said, softly.
Yu Jiaoniang was startled and turned to look.
It was that boy.
He looked the same as before. There was no trace of sadness in his eyes.
He seemed out of place in the carriage full of misery.
“Candy?” He took out a candy corn from his pocket and handed it over.
Yu Jiaoniang tore open the package and put it into his mouth. It was sweet.
Her mum’s favourite snack was candy corn.
Yu Jiaoniang let out a long sigh.
Her parents must be very sad now. If people really have souls after death, she’ll rush over to see them as soon as possible.
“Thank you,” Yu Jiaoniang said. She guessed the reason for the boy’s expression, “You… didn’t tell your family?”
“No family,” The boy said.
Yu Jiaoniang looked at him.
The teenager shrugged his shoulders, “No family. No friends. No one will miss me and I don’t miss anyone.”
Yu Jiaoniang didn’t ask for the reason. The teenager probably had a long story to tell, but they didn’t have time to talk about it.
“The candy is quite sweet,” Yu Jiaoniang said.
The teenager smiled nonchalantly, “My name is Yue Chengtian. Can you remember my name?”
“I’ve never been remembered before and now that I think about it, I feel like a failure,” He explained in a quiet tone.
“Yue Chengtian,” Yu Jiaoniang smiled at him, “I’ll remember it.”
The boy’s eyes lit up. He took out another candy from his pocket and put it in his mouth, and chewed the mouthful that was filled with both sweetness and loneliness.
Yu Jiaoniang reached out and touched his head.
The boy’s eyes suddenly reddened. He turned his head and turned his face to the other side.
Yu Jiaoniang couldn’t understand his emotion at the moment, but she felt that he had merged with the sadness of this train, and patted him on his back with her palm as the final comfort to him on the road to the Yellow Springs.
Glancing inadvertently to the front, Yu Jiaoniang’s heart shrank suddenly.
Ji Zhaokun was leaning against the wall in the middle of the carriage, looking in her direction.
Less domineering when they first met, but more complicated and unpredictable.
She didn’t know how long he’d been standing there and didn’t know what he was thinking. He just stood there silently, as if this critical moment was normal to him. He was calm all over.
Everyone in the carriage was noisy. The desperate and broken cries for help were interwoven into a final echo, but at that moment, there was no sound in Yu Jiaoniang’s ears.
She just looked into Ji Zhaokun’s eyes and felt that there were regrets in them.
If only she hadn’t met him before she died, maybe something would have happened between them.
This short life has yet another regret, which makes people sigh as fate is playing tricks on people.
Yu Jiaoniang struggled to look away. She saw the pilot in the helicopter was already gesturing.
The train began to speed up, but the loud whirring sound of the propeller remained above the train.
No matter which direction the train flies, it can’t escape the encirclement of the helicopters.
Yu Jiaoniang couldn’t control herself and looked at Ji Zhaokun again.
He was still looking at her.
Some thoughts appeared in Yu Jiaoniang’s mind. Could it be that he knew her, or did he want to say something to her?
At the moment when death was coming, she was full of curiosity about his hesitating words.
Ji Zhaokun seemed to have made up his mind and walked towards her.
Yu Jiaoniang stood up abruptly.
There were only two people standing in the entire carriage. There was a split second of life surrounded by the suffocating sadness.
Ji Zhaokun opened his mouth to say something, but Yu Jiaoniang couldn’t hear it.
The explosion was loud, shaking the world.
The train was hit and fell down. Yu Jiaoniang fell onto the seat.
Someone swooped towards her, wrapping her in their strong arms.
She could feel his breath so close, falling onto her neck. So warm that it made people cry.
Was he stupid? How can the human body resist such an explosion?
肉夹馍 – Chinese Pork Burger
黄泉 – The Yellow Springs – The Underworld in Chinese mythology
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