The Great Worm Lich Chapter 86
"It's my pleasure to provide my services. Let's go, my customer." Hearing that Zhang Lisheng agreed to buy the jelly gem, the native young man ran out of the store barefooted to the attached mud hut not far away. He strenuously pushed out a worn out three-wheeled motorcycle that was almost as tall as him. He stepped on the motorcycle's engine with all of his might. 'Rrr', the native young man shouted in the midst of the rumbling noise, "Get up sir, let's go."
"I hope you have your driver's license," Zhang Lisheng mumbled in the dark and went into the motorcycle's side bucket. The motorcycle started moving in a wobbly manner, though it was gradually getting faster. It dashed forward on the bumpy streets with potholes. Some ten minutes later, the motorcycle parked relatively far from a brightly lit hotel.
The young man looked at the hotel; there was indescribable fondness sparkling in his eyes, "Sir, that's the Grand Forest Hotel. The hotel head said that we can't go to such a place, you can only walk there yourself and deliver me the money later. I'll be waiting for you here."
Zhang Lisheng had just found out that civilizations did not mix with the wild, thanks to the Tatetutu locals. There was a clear division between the two.
"Don't worry, I'll come back as soon as I can." He went off the motorcycle bucket and walked to the hotel far away with big steps. The 300-meter difference gave Zhang Lisheng the feeling that he had returned to civilization. The attendants standing at the Grand Forest Hotel's entrance ignored Zhang Lisheng who looked filthy. They were serving him courteously.
It was the Amazon, many tourists who stayed there would come back looking messy after their adventure. There was an ATM machine in the hotel. After Zhang Lisheng got himself a room. He then withdrew some money and went back to deliver it to the native young when suddenly, 'chirp chirp chirp', his phone in his backpack began ringing.
The questioning would come anyway. He looked at the screen and picked up his phone. He said directly without bothering if what he was going to say didn't make any sense, "I'm sorry Tina, I'm no longer in Tuikano now. I went for a walk this afternoon and went onto a big bus by accident. I didn't expect to come all the way to Lunuk City. But don't worry, I'll get back to Paradise Hotel by tomorrow"
Tina who wanted to ask Zhang Lisheng to dinner was stunned for a while before asking, "Lunuk, where's that?"
"I'm not too sure. I only know it's approximately 100 kilometers away from Tuikano. Okay, my phone's running out of battery soon. We'll talk more tomorrow when we meet." Zhang Lisheng then hung up the call quickly.
Tina who sat at a round table in Paradise Hotel's Western restaurant put down her phone while looking lost. "Lisheng said he went onto a big bus unintentionally when he was taking a walk this afternoon. He has left Tuikano and he's in a city called Lunuk, he'll only be back tomorrow."
"Don't worry, Ms. Tina. Lunuk is a bustling city 120 kilometers on Tuikano's west. Of course, it's only bustling in Tatetutu standards. Most of the residents came from the gatherer tribes Yekadidu and Mexilinlin. It has a simple culture and the safety's great there. There are buses straight to Tuikano every Tuesday and Thursday" Seeing Tina's worried expression, an old man with white hair and beard who wore an old, gray suit that sat across her comforted her caringly.
He looked like a native, but his charisma was completely different from those jungle natives. The terms wise and knowledgeable seemed to have been imprinted in his high, skinny cheekbones. He had the calmness of an old fashioned gentleman, he gave a feeling that he was highly educated no matter what he did.
"Buses that go straight to Tuikano only appear every Tuesday and Thursday. That means there are no buses today, Professor Tubalin." Shittu who was sitting beside suddenly said loudly and indignantly, "That Zhang Lisheng's lying, I wonder where he's fooling around now"
"Shut up Shittu." Noticing Tina's expression that was still concerned, Sheila grabbed onto her boyfriend and said softly.
"Oh, maybe I got it wrong, or maybe there's a bus operating on Monday coming to Tuikano from Lunuk. After all, it's been half a year since I went into the jungle this time. Many things have changed," Tubalin said apologetically, realizing he said something wrong.
"I can't believe that you defended a brat that you've never met before. Professor Tubalin, you're such a gentleman. I can't imagine that you're from Tatetutu I mean, your charisma and demeanor makes one think think"
"Young man, it seems like you have some stereotypes on our Tatetutu. But it's okay, it's just like how the British sent its convicts to America 300 years ago, where the poor were begging to survive. Although my country's poor and low right now, I believe it will catch up to the other countries' pace on this planet one day. By then, nobody will look down on it. I believe this will happen in the near future. I went out of the country to study at Cambridge University 45 years ago because of this goal," Tubalin looked at Shittu while smiling and said in pride.
Compared to those patriots who would fight or even curse whenever they heard negative comments, people who were rational and respectable would be undoubtedly more convincing. Hearing what he said, Shittu, whose character was rude, stood up in a formal manner and bowed, "I'm gravely embarrassed of what I've done, Professor Tubalin. Compared to you, I'm more like an uncivilized barbarian. Please forgive me."
This young New Yorker who came from a wealthy family had proper etiquette lessons before. He seemed eloquent when he thought through what he was going to say.
"Oh young man, god will forgive you even if you did something wrong, let alone me."
Shittu's little unintended mistake was remedied perfectly. The waiters began serving food. Later on, the dinner was getting more and more harmonious. Among those who were eating, Tina was the only one who seemed distracted. She excused herself after eating the appetizer and main course. She walked out of the restaurant in big steps and called Zhang Lisheng again.
"Zhang Lisheng, the buses from Tuikano to Lunuk only operate every Tuesday and Thursday. How do you explain that?"
Zhang Lisheng on the other side fell into silence for a moment, "Okay, I didn't take the bus. I lost my way when I was walking in the jungle with the help of some special tools and went all the way to Lunuk."
"Special tool," Tina shouted out of shock. "What kind of special tool could bring you up to 100 kilometers away in the Amazon rainforest in just a couple of hours!"
"Lower your voice, Tina. I don't want the whole world to know about this. Remember, I have my little secret. Stop asking. You'll see it when you see it."
"Lisheng, your vague statement makes it hard to believe what you're saying. Perhaps you've never left Tuikano, but you're somewhere in the city doing god knows what. A 16-year-old young man, or perhaps you should be a 17-year-old now. Oh, seriously" Tina prodded him on purpose.
"It's fine by me if that's what you think. I'm having dinner now so I'll stop talking. See you tomorrow." Zhang Lisheng did not take her prodding and hung up the phone as he removed the $100 jelly gem that he tied on his finger. The jelly gem turned into an oval shape slowly after it was removed.
Zhang Lisheng sat on the bed of Grand Forest Hotel's room and studied the piece of strange rubber closely while eating a burger. His effort was to no avail in the end. He slammed it into a pancake-shape casually and stuck it on his wrist. He took out Mountoad from his backpack after turning off the lights and began cultivating his secret method.
After a night of cultivation, Zhang Lisheng went off the bed and washed for the next morning. He then went to the Grand Forest Hotel's front desk to ask where the Lunuk's long-distance bus stand was. There were foreign tourists who tried living like a native when they came to Tatetutu. However, there were not many of them who managed to adapt to that. The lady wearing a grass skirt at the front desk reminded him courteously, "Sir, of course, you can try taking the Lunuk bus if you're not rushing. But I must remind you that the journey's going to be very rough no matter where you're going. It will take much longer than what you're expecting."
"So apart from the long-distance bus, is there any other way to go to Tuikano?" Zhang Lisheng asked, stunned upon taking the person's advice.
"Of course, there are other ways such as taking the canoe to Tuikano, following the water. But of course, that'll take even longer. The fastest way is to take a plane, and the most comfortable way is to take our hotel's limousine. We can send you straight to Tuikano."
"Plane, there's an airport here?"
"That's great. I love flying across the blue sky, please send me to the airport."
"Please give me a moment, I'll get you a car."
"Thanks, I'll wait outside." Zhang Lisheng carried his heavy canvas backpack and walked out of the hotel. The air outside was refreshing, as it was the rainforest climate over here. The sun that just rose not long ago was shining bright, the raindrops were clear on the ground in the sunlight.
Sunshowers were very common in Tatetutu, but it was Zhang Lisheng's first time seeing it. He was confused, he walked to the shade at the corner of the corridor and extended his arm with the attempt to catch the raindrops. His arm, whose wrist was stuck with a colorful pattern was completely drenched now.
At that moment, someone asked in fluent English behind him, "Sir, may I know if it's you who requested for a limousine ride to the airport?"
"Yes, let's go." Zhang Lisheng turned around and smiled to the native chauffeur in agreen uniform with a round hat. He removed the colorful jelly gem off his wrist by instinct and tied it around his palm. Then, he went into the antique Mercedes Benz. Noticing that the guest had entered, the hotel chauffeur closed the door and walked to the driver's seat quickly. He then started to drive to Lunuk airport. The limousine pulled over at a flat wilderness, not long after driving on the road filled with potholes.
"Sir, we've arrived at the airport."
Zhang Lisheng looked at the few small propeller planes that were parked near the cement houses which was far away in the wilderness, yet he had no idea on how old they were. He was speechless. He asked after a moment of surprise, "How much would it cost if I changed my mind and wanted to go to Tuikano in this limousine?"
"We charge by kilometer, $10 per kilometer."
"Okay, that's still affordable. What are we waiting for? Let's go to Paradise Hotel in Tuikano."
"We will go right after I contact the hotel." The chauffeur showed eight, white teeth and spoke to the car's walkie-talkie in a local language that sounded like gibberish. He then turned the car around and drove on the bumpy road again.