Chapter 157: The Real Song Nianmu
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Han Liang sat at the restaurant on the street in S City where he saw Xia Qingyi for the first time.
A cup of water sat on the table in front of him. He had been sitting here for half an hour, and the cup of water had turned from boiling hot to cold. He only stared through the window at the streets where they had gazed at each other from afar that day.
He originally thought that she would not suspect so soon. He originally thought that he could let her fall in love with him first before she discovered that something was wrong. Even if she found out the truth at that time, she probably would not leave him.
He had not expected everything to happen so soon.
“I’m sorry… a little late. There was a traffic jam,” Xia Qingyi hurriedly came and found Han Liang.
“It’s okay.” Han Liang behaved just like in the past, gently smiling at her, and even asked her as he would normally do, “Do you want to go anywhere else after eating?”
“I think there’s no need to. Let’s go back after we’ve finished eating and talking.”
“Alright… we’ll go back together later.”
Xia Qingyi interrupted him. “Han Liang! Don’t you understand? I won’t go back with you, I’m not Song Yuenian!”
Han Liang’s expression immediately changed, and he also put down the cup he had lifted to his mouth. He kept looking down and only smiled lightly.
Xia Qingyi took out the old photograph that got slightly wet from the rain yesterday and placed it on the table. “This then is the… real Song Yuenian. It’s no wonder we’re so alike, since we’re twins after all.”
In the old photograph, there were two eleven-year-old girls with ponytails standing hand in hand in front of that house in F City. What was different was that the girl on the left holding a doll was smiling, but the girl on the right with a book in her hands had a grumpy look on her face, as though she was not too happy to take a photograph.
“The one on the right is me, isn’t it, and the one on the left is my younger sister. Also the Song Yuenian who you’ve been trying to find, right?”
“You got your memories back?” Han Liang asked.
“No, I still only remember Mom. Only some things from when I was young. I deduced all the rest myself. I was still a little unsure on my way here in the taxi, but now that I’ve met up with you, I guess I’m probably right.”
“How did you know which girl in the photograph is you, and which is the one you think is Song Yuenian?”
“Even though I lost my memory, my intuition has always been accurate. Perhaps you’re not able to understand it, but when I saw this photograph I felt that the girl on the right was me. I can feel that her expression is similar to mine.”
“You can’t convince me with that reason.”
Xia Qingyi smiled. “I heard Xiao Mei said that Song Yuenian liked to grow flowers, so there are a lot of small potted plants in the house. Those were probably kept by her. But coincidentally, I don’t really like flowers. And also, the most important point is that Xiao Mei said she loved you a lot, but I had completely no feelings for you after I returned. This is why I felt that something was wrong. I always felt that the current me does not match up with the Song Yuenian from the past.”
Han Liang nodded thoughtfully. “It seemed that only she loved me that much.” He finally admitted that the woman in front of him was not Song Yuenian, even if they had looked exactly the same. He was suddenly able to understand what Nian Nian’s mother was talking about that day.
She said that everyone in the world was unique. Other than their appearances, they had nothing else in common.
“She… has passed away, hasn’t she?” Xia Qingyi said.
“She’s not dead!” Han Liang suddenly became hysterical.
“I heard the conversation between you and Mom that night. The police have probably found her body,” Xia Qingyi’s voice was steady.
“Don’t act as though you know everything! You thought that just because you did a little investigation, you can say that you’re not Song Yuenian, and determine that she’s already dead yourself?! I’m telling you, we’re childhood friends, I’ve lived together with Nian Nian for ten years, do you know how long it was? How could I not know whether she had left here or not?! Han Liang was practically roaring by now.
Their surroundings became silent. Xia Qingyi and Han Liang each sat at one side of the table, facing each other. Neither of them spoke.
“Exactly what had happened half a year ago?” Xia Qingyi spoke with her head lowered.
“I was also… not very sure about exactly what happened half a year ago. It seemed as though everything happened in an instant, and even now it feels like a dream to me.” Han Liang said slowly, “Half a year ago, I was handling a bill at work when I received a call from an unknown number. He said that he had Nian Nian, and wanted me to prepare one million yuan in cash in exchange for her. I still remembered that I had laughed at that time, I felt that it was impossible. Nian Nian had called me an hour ago and told me to go and pick her up, how could she be kidnapped in such a short time.”
“The call was very noisy, and that person let me hear Nian Nian’s voice. The voice kept crying, I wasn’t very sure whether she was Nian Nian or not, as she stumbled over her words. I was actually still a little suspicious that I was being cheated even after I hung up the call.”
“I called Nian Nian after that, but no one picked up. I went to her school to look for her, but her classmates said they saw her leave after making a phone call one hour ago. I went to look for her at the restaurant and at home, but I couldn’t find her anywhere.”
“I started to believe in that phone call. So I prepared one million yuan and waited for the kidnapper to call to exchange for Nian Nian. I didn’t care about the amount of money, I only wanted Nian Nian to come back. But the kidnapper never got back to me.”
“Don’t you think it’s laughable? I’d already prepared the money. I never thought of calling the police, I only wanted Nian Nian to come back safely. But the police came to find me of their own accord, they said that they found a few male bodies in a basement in the downtown area a few days ago, the autopsy report said that they died from gas poisoning. The basement contained a lot of information on us, and also a broken rope.”
“I asked where Nian Nian was. Do you know what they said? They said they didn’t know where she was.”
Han Liang probably had not had such a good talk with someone for a long time. He kept talking quietly, and Xia Qingyi listened in silence.
“They said that Nian Nian’s situation looked grim. There was a big pool of blood in the room and when they checked it, they found out that it was Nian Nian’s.”
Xia Qingyi said, “So you kept on searching like this?”
“Actually, your mother kept saying that Nian Nian was already dead. The police contacted me two months ago, and said that they had found Nian Nian’s body. They said that it was an accident. Nian Nian fell into a very deep ditch when she was escaping. She already had some injuries on her body, and there was no-one around to save her, so the blood loss was too great.”
He stopped and did not continue talking. He seemed to be immersed in the past, so Xia Qingyi decided to soothe his emotions and change the topic and asked, “Then what about me? How did I lose my memory?”
After hearing Han Liang speak so much, Xia Qingyi realized that there was not a single piece of information about her for these past six months. She could not really understand it. She thought something had happened to her at the same time as Song Yuenian, but after hearing what Han Liang said, it did not seem like it.
Han Liang looked at her, and said a little exasperatedly, “Actually, I don’t know how you lost your memories. I only met with you once, and it was on the street that day.”
Xia Qingyi’s eyes widened. This was rather astounding.
“When I was young, there was only Nian Nian left when I met her. I only heard about it before that Nian Nian had a twin sister who had passed away in an accident. After that, when I accidentally met you on the street, I went back to question them, and only then they realized at that time that you were not dead.”
Xia Qingyi felt more and more confused, unsure how things had become like this.
“Two years ago, your mother wanted to bring you back, but you refused. You said that you were no longer with them, that you were doing well, and that you no longer wished to see them.”
Xia Qingyi was suspicious about the credibility behind his words.
Han Liang seemed to see that she did not believe him and said, “Actually, I didn’t believe it as well two years ago. How do I say this? I only saw you once, but I could see the hostility in your eyes immediately. The way you talk was also cold and distant, I couldn’t even believe that you’re Nian Nian’s twin sister.”
He added, “I’m actually not very sure about your circumstances. You left when you were 11, as for why I also don’t know about it. Your mother probably knows the reason, you can go and ask her.”
A sudden realization came to Xia Qingyi. “I’m talking about why I can only remember things from when I was young when I came back home with you.”
“You’re different from when I met you two years ago. At that time, you were cold and distant, and you always looked sharply at me,” Han Liang recalled.
“Then… what about my name? My real name,” Xia Qingyi asked.
Xia Qingyu repeated the words softly, her memories once again like strings of silk tangling within her mind.
“Except that you didn’t seem to like this name two years ago, and you made us call you Lina.”
“Lina?” Xia Qingyi furrowed her eyebrows.
“Yup. You seemed like you didn’t like us looking for you too. I remember that when I came with your family to see you, you told your family to take it as though they’d never seen you, and to treat Song Nianmu as dead. When we went to find you again after that, we discovered that you had changed your address and moved away. From then on we never saw you anymore.”
Xia Qingyi felt strange hearing him talk about the her from two years ago.
Was she really the person who he spoke of? Why did it feel different from her current self; could they have recognized the wrong person?