Chapter 294: Retrieval of Memory
Ling Zhang hastily finished packing and then went to check on his father one last time. “Father, I need to pay a visit to the capital city. I hope you’ll understand and forgive me for leaving after you wake up. You and I still have so much to talk about.”
After taking his leave of Ling Zhaowu, Ling Zhang left Tanyang in great haste with Miao Shisan, galloping non-stop towards the capital city.
One day later. In the Ling family.
This was the day when Ling Zhaowu was supposed to wake up with all his memories recovered. All people in the Ling family were waiting.
Mr. Mu went into the room to feel Ling Zhaowu’s pulse every two hours. At noon, Ling Zhaowu who’d been in deep sleep all along finally began to show signs of awaking.
Ling Xingzhong, Ling Zhaowen, Fu Caiwei, Ling Maomao, Ji Yin and Mr. Mu were all standing at the bedside, gazing expectantly at Ling Zhaowu who was slowly opening his eyes after a twitch of his fingers.
Ling Zhaowen was the first to lose his composure and called in excitement, “Big Brother!”
Ling Zhaowu’s eyes were still somewhat glazed when he opened them, but gradually, emotions began to show in them, and the expression in them was no longer as vacant as a piece of blank paper. On hearing Ling Zhaowen’s voice, he turned his head around to look at him.
“Younger…Brother?” Maybe because he hadn’t used this form of address for too long, Ling Zhaowu sounded very inarticulate and even his voice was trembling. His eyes fixed incredulously at Ling Zhaowen and then slowly moved to Ling Xingzhong. “Father!”
“Big Brother!” Ling Zhaowen stepped closer in rapture. “You can remember? You remember us now?!”
Ling Zhaowu’s eyes quickly reddened, his lips quivering. “I never thought I’d be able to see you again. This is not a dream, right?”
“Stop the nonsense, Big Brother. You’re home now. Our family is reunited!” said Ling Zhaowen.
Ling Xingzhong also walked over and sighed in excitement, “Finally, you wake up, you unfilial son. You’re already a grown man. How could you be so reckless and make such a mess of yourself? All of us have been on pins and needles.”Read more chapters at L istnovel.com
With Ling Zhaowen’s help, Ling Zhaowu sat up, removed the quilt over him, struggled out of bed and knelt down before Ling Xingzhong, tears trickling down his cheeks. “Father, I failed you. I’m an undutiful son!”
After saying this, he started kowtowing repeatedly, making a loud bang each time his forehead hit the ground. This sight struck everybody else present as unbearably poignant.
Apart from anything else, Ling Xingzhong still loved his son. Seeing that Ling Zhaowu had skinned his forehead but still refused to stop, he reproached, “That’s enough. Stand up right away. Your body is still so feeble. Physician Mu had a hard job curing you. If anything else happens to you, how am I supposed to survive?!”
Ling Zhaowen conveniently supported Ling Zhaowu to his feet. “You should stand up and sit on your bed, Big Brother. You’ll need more rest and nourishment to make a full recovery.”
After being raised up, Ling Zhaowu was still a little unsteady on his feet. Tottering, he sobbed, “I’m useless. I’m so useless!”
Eyes red, Ling Xingzhong flared, “Sit down. Now!”
Ling Zhaowen helped Ling Zhaowu sit back onto the bed, two streams of tears flowing from his eyes. “Big Brother, you must take your health seriously. We cannot afford to let anything else happen to you.”
All three of them were quite emotional, which made the others feel it inappropriate to disturb them. After a while, when the three of them calm down somewhat, Fu Caiwei, bringing Ling Maomao with her, stepped over to introduce herself to Ling Zhaowu as a courtesy.
“Nice to meet you, Big Brother. I’m your sister-in-law.”
“Nice to meet you, Uncle. I’m your nephew.”
Ling Zhaowu hurriedly raised his hands and carelessly wiped the tears off his face with his sleeves. Eyes staring at Fu Caiwei and Ling Maomao, he hurriedly said, “Nice to meet you, too. Nice to meet you, too.”
Then he reached out his hand at Ling Maomao, who stepped up, held it and called him uncle once again.
Ling Zhaowu stretched out his other hand to stroke Ling Maomao’s cheek. Eyes red, he said, “Alas, my dear nephew, I finally meet you.”
This remark sounded somewhat weird. Members of the Ling family were too delighted to perceive the abnormality of it, but Mr. Mu and Ji Yin exchanged glances after hearing it.
“You’ve grown so much. It’s very useless of me not to have found a chance to meet you earlier,” Ling Zhaowu continued.
“Big Brother, our family is reunited now. We’ll never part again,” observed Ling Zhaowen.
Holding Ling Maomao in his arms, Ling Zhaowu looked up at his brother’s cheeks with his deep, affectionate eyes. Suddenly, he lowered his head and raised his hand to wipe the corners of his eyes. “You’re right. We’ll be together forever. Alas, this really feels like a dream, and I really fear that when this dream is over, I’d wake up and find that I’m still that…”
“What did you just say, Brother?” Ling Zhaowen didn’t quite hear the latter half of Ling Zhaowu’s mutter, looking at him in puzzlement.
Ling Zhaowu hastily shook his head. “Nothing. I just feel that this is kind of unreal, and I’m worried I’m in a dream.”
“It’s very easy to confirm whether or not you’re in a dream,” Mr. Mu said with a beam, took a step forward, suddenly took out a needle and stuck it into one of Ling Zhaowu’s acupoints.
Ling Zhaowu shuddered and gasped from pain, as though every nerve in his body tensed fleetingly. His mind instantly became clearer.
After Mr. Mu pulled the needle out of his skin, Ling Zhaowu’s eyes slowly swept across every face in the room with a mixture of incredulity, yearning and a strange inscrutability in them, as though he was thinking back to the distant past.
Eventually, his eyes rested on Ji Yin and he called, “Father-in-law.”
Ji Yin’s heart gave a lurch. “It seems that you’ve regained your memories of what happened half a year before.”
Ling Zhaowu released Ling Maomao, walked up to Ji Yin, knelt down and kowtowed to him. “Thank you for saving my life, Father-in-law.”
Ji Yin raised him to his feet. “Helping you recover is the best way to comfort my deceased daughter’s spirit. Also, I did this to pay back the debt I owe you.”
Ling Zhaowu shook his head, his eyes gazing at Ji Yin deeply. “No. I failed to take good care of her. It was all my fault.”
At the mention of Ji shi, Ling Zhaowen and the others were rather worried that Ling Zhaowu might become as bigoted as he’d been when he’d left home years ago, but to their surprise, they found that Ling Zhaowu appeared quite poised and there was no trace on him whatsoever of that fickle, intransigent man he’d been over ten years ago, as though he was a whole new person.
Then Ling Zhaowu knelt before Mr. Mu and expressed his gratitude to him for saving his life. After that, his eyes slowly raked everybody else in the room once again, as though they were some kind of treasure that he had previously lost and just recovered. This struck the others as a little odd, but they all believed that it was because he was having a sense of unreality after suffering from amnesia for so many years.
But most of them failed to notice that Ling Zhaowu’s clenched fists were shivering, as though he was trying very hard to subdue something.
“Where’s Zhang’er?” asked Ling Zhaowu. Having observed that Ling Zhang wasn’t present, he shifted his gaze to the doorway, expectantly waiting to see Ling Zhang show up.
The others exchanged looks and then Ling Zhaowen explained, “There’s an emergency in the capital city. Yesterday Zhang’er went back there on short notice to attend to it.”
“What happened?!” Ling Zhaowu persisted with his questioning, the worry and fear on his face manifest.
Ling Zhaowen told him about Yuwen Tong’s being poisoned. “Zhang’er went to the capital city to deliver the antidote. Originally he’d wanted to wait until you woke up, but that matter was great urgency, so he had no choice but to go there immediately.”
Ling Zhaowu slowly heaved a sigh of relief, but his eyebrows were still knitted, a deeply worried expression on his face.
In addition, the look in his eyes suggested that what was happening struck him as somewhat illusory, as though he was terribly baffled by something.
He had gradually recalled what had happened during the past half a year. Most importantly, his memories of the things that had occurred over the last month had come back to him. He remembered his son’s great presence and handsome looks, the way he’d called him father, how he’d held his hand and looked after him; he remembered Ling Zhang saying there was a lot of things he’d like to ask him about; and he also remembered Yuwen Tong…
But these memories seemed to be making Ling Zhaowu more bemused, surprise and bewilderment hidden in the depths of his eyes.
“Brother, your body is still feeble. Given that you’ve just regained your memory, it’s inadvisable for you to think too much. You should stay in bed and have some more rest,” remarked Ling Zhaowen.
Mr. Mu also said, “Lie down and let me examine you once again.”
With a somewhat faraway expression on his face, Ling Zhaowu walked to the bed, sat down and then looked up at Mr. Mu very earnestly, as though trying to find some kind of traces on Mr. Mu’s face. Mr. Mu was unsurprised. It seemed that he believed anybody who had suffered amnesia for a long time would act like this. “There’s no need to hurry. I know that you have a lot of questions. You may ask them one by one. Just now you felt the pain, so you should know that this is not a dream.”
Ling Zhaowu bobbed his head, his face growing more relaxed. He sat leaning against the headboard to let Mr. Mu feel his pulse and examine his body, his eyes looking over Mr. Mu at the others.
“What year is it? Ho–How long was I asleep?”
Ling Zhaowen told him what year it was and how long it had been since he’d left home.
The look in Ling Zhaowu’s eyes gradually became thoughtful. There was no telling what he was pondering about. After a few moments, he asked another two questions. “What happened during the many years that I was away from home? Is our family facing any trouble?”
Ling Zhaowen generally filled him in on the big events that the Ling family had been through during the past over ten years. Then he added, “Speaking of trouble, a few months ago we were indeed faced with some tricky issues, but we’ve got all of them handled already. Currently, we count as one of the most powerful families in Tanyang. Hardly anybody dares mess with us.”
The expression in Ling Zhaowu’s eyes changed at these words and with that he looked at Ling Zhaowen.
Seeing that he wanted to know the details, Ling Zhaowen gave him a minute account of what happened in Tanyang half a year ago, including Zhang Chong, the Jia family, Yuwen Tong’s arrival as well as the new configuration of Tanyang.
“We own three herb farms now. Doing my job in the yamen and managing the herb farms at the same time is driving me crazy. Now that you’ve come back, you’ll be able to replace me as the pillar of our family, and I’ll finally get some leisure.” Ling Zhaowen appeared to be greatly relieved at the prospect of someone sharing his burden.
Ling Zhaowu said in a guilty tone of voice, “I’m sorry to have put my part of the familial responsibility on your shoulder for so many years.”
While he was making this remark, there was some kind of gleam in the depths of his eyes.
After examining Ling Zhaowu, Mr. Mu said, “Okay. You two may find another time to continue your talk. You’ve just woken up and shouldn’t think about anything for too long. It’s best if you rest for another two days before talking about these matters with others.”
“Mr. Mu, how is my brother’s physical condition? He’ll never suffer from headache and amnesia again, right?” inquired Ling Zhaowen.
Mr. Mu inclined his head. “Rest assured, his illness is cured. With a rest cure and some tonics, he’ll be as good as new.”
People of the Ling family were overjoyed to hear this and thanked Mr. Mu again and again.
“You should get some rest, Big Brother. When you feel better, I’ll tell you everything you want to know,” Ling Zhaowen said to Ling Zhaowu.