Chapter 17 – E City Tour Guide (1)
Chen Jing thought of it and also voiced it out.
Xiao Pang pondered for two seconds, then waved his hand, saying, “These patterns all look similar. You must have seen the flyers for ads somewhere.”
It was difficult to get hold of the invitation letter. Objectively speaking, they couldn’t currently reach the social strata that casually threw away such letters.
He said, “I’ll take care of the invitation letter, and you think about how to ask Lu Dongcheng about it later.”
For the time being, this matter was considered settled. Xiao Pang put away the photocopies and remembered the people in the living room outside, asking, “Has Uncle always been running the office here?”
Chen Jing started to say something but then stopped, falling silent.
It was only then that he realized he seemed to know nothing about Jiang Yujin’s past, only that there was already an office here when he was brought in.
He couldn’t give an answer. Xiao Pang realized he’d asked an unanswerable question, so he changed the subject, asking, “Why didn’t Zhang Xin come today?”
Chen Jing said, “Her school went on an educational trip to the neighboring E City. She went to school this morning to prepare and will be there for the whole week.”
Xiao Pang nodded, pursed his lips, and said, “That’s nice.”
He sighed while looking at Chen Jing, who stood up and took the exam paper from the desk. He opened his eyes wide, asking, “What are you doing?”
Chen Jing put down the exam paper. “Study.”
When he returned and said they were going to study, there was absolutely no falseness in his words.
And they really studied, uninterrupted for two hours. When the door reopened, Xiao Pang almost fled, not daring to turn around and look behind him.
When they came out, the person who had originally been sitting on the sofa watching TV had already turned off the television, cleared the table of the empty liquor bottles, was currently on the phone, quickly jotting something down with a pen and paper on the table. He noticed them, waved, and smiled.
Xiao Pang remained silent, waving back, put on his shoes, and left.
When Chen Jing returned after seeing Xiao Pang off downstairs, the person who had been in the living room were nowhere to be seen, and there was noise coming from the bedroom.
He went to take a look and saw Jiang Yujin tilting his head, holding a phone while still listening to it, both hands rummaging through the wardrobe, pulling out a few pieces of clothing.
When the other person hung up the phone, Chen Jing asked, “What are you doing?”
Putting the clothes aside, Jiang Yujin briefly said, “Accepted a commission.”
Several buses were cruising along the road, filled with students in matching uniforms happily chatting, their faces lit up with excitement. The air inside the bus carried the aroma of snacks and beverages, filled with the joy of not having to attend classes.
Amidst the noisy conversations, Zhang Xin sat by the window, calmly closing her eyes, undisturbed by the outside commotion.
After several days of seeking information about strange species during the nights, this was her rare resting time.
The bus halted at a rest stop, students disembarked to use the restroom, causing slight movements among those seated. Zhang Xin instantly opened her eyes, reaching for the folded fruit knife placed beside her.
Xiao Mei, seated nearby and just starting to stand up, paused halfway, apologetically asking, “Did I wake you up?”
With the knife still in hand, Zhang Xin casually rose and took an apple, replying, “No, I woke up hungry myself.”
She leisurely peeled the apple, dividing it into slices.
When Xiao Mei returned from the restroom, she brought back some news, saying, “I heard we have a new tour guide.”
Zhang Xin handed the apple slices to Xiao Mei, acknowledging with a ‘hmm’.
In the last few minutes before the break ended, a stranger gradually appeared at the front door of the bus. Clad in a white shirt, with slightly long disheveled hair obscuring his eyebrows and eyes, only a rough outline of his face was visible.
He had a blue work badge hanging from his neck, his sleeves rolled halfway, indicating his identity quite clearly.
Xiao Mei nudged Zhang Xin’s arm, whispering, “Looks like a handsome guy.”
Then, they watched as the handsome guy walked closer and sat in front of them. Both of them were seated in the front rows of the bus, with the seats in front of them kept empty for the guide’s preparations.
Noticing their gaze, the person sitting in front turned slightly, politely greeting them.
He had a really pleasant voice.
Xiao Mei whispered, “He must be a good guide.”
Then they observed the good guide sitting down and opening up his tablet, live searching for a comprehensive guide to the attractions in E City for the study tour.
Xiao Mei: “…”
Zhang Xin: “…”
Jiang Yujin swiftly revised his lessons, cramming back things that had already left his mind.
He had taken up this temporary gig after being invited by a former colleague, who went to an evening gathering and ended up with food poisoning and landed in the hospital along with others.
He wasn’t particularly interested in this assignment, but the client offered double the usual fee, and the school had arranged everything, from accommodation to other facilities; he only needed to provide the tour guide service.
So here he was.
Zhang Xin, seated at the back, didn’t continue sleeping after waking up, her gaze fixed on the scenery outside the window as she chatted with Xiao Mei.
When they glanced back at the guide in the front, they noticed he wasn’t browsing the “E City Attraction Guide” anymore. He had already moved on to playing a game on his phone with undivided attention after finishing up with his former colleague lying in the hospital.
As the bus entered the E City area, they saw him put away his phone.
A half-hearted guide unexpectedly turned out to be reliable, knowledgeable about a bit of everything, with a cheerful voice and a relaxed demeanor.
Getting such a good job out of the blue made Jiang Yujin quite happy.
Halfway through the journey, a middle-aged man successfully mingled among the students, chatting and getting along with several male high school students, linking arms and shoulders. It was only when they found out he also had a high schooler child that the others gasped in surprise, not expecting him to have such an old son.
Jiang Yujin didn’t explain but simply nodded and smiled.
When the bus stopped in front of the hotel, Jiang Yujin stood to the side, hands in pockets, watching the teacher herd the students into the hotel like she was herding ducks, a smirk playing on his lips.
Dinner was provided by the school, served at the hotel, and the school seemed quite generous; the dishes were all pretty good.
Evening turned into a time for students to visit each other’s rooms and play around, unrelated to the adults.
Jiang Yujin found himself playing games in his room and chatting with Xu Gao, whom he had exchanged contact information with earlier.
Xu Gao didn’t have any outstanding abilities, but he was excellent with gossip, always having fresh stories every day.
That night passed uneventfully, and before dawn, it began to rain.
The next morning, as Jiang Yujin stumbled downstairs with messy hair, the other students were already seated in the hotel lobby, bright-eyed and fresh-spirited, a stark contrast to him.
Yesterday, he had barely managed to look presentable, but today he had reverted back to his usual self, yawning as he ate breakfast. When he passed by Zhang Xin and Xiao Mei’s table, he casually greeted them, nearly going unrecognized by the two.
The students were supposed to visit a museum that day, but the weather didn’t cooperate. What was expected to be a sunny day turned gloomy with rain pouring down, dampening everything outside the hotel, creating a cold atmosphere.
However, the rain couldn’t dampen the students’ enthusiasm. Teachers distributed raincoats, but Jiang Yujin, not being a student, had to manage with his own umbrella as he boarded the bus.
E City and A City were close by but quite different. A City still relied on other provinces for drinking water, while E City had no shortage of water. Along the way, one could see large rivers and bridges.
Jiang Yujin stood up, leaning back against the chair, narrating about the long river they were passing by. His gaze swept over the dark surface of the river being lashed by rain, pausing for a moment before continuing his narration, his expression unchanged.
Zhang Xin, sitting by the window, looked down at the surging river, her brow slightly furrowed.
After finishing the explanation about the river, Jiang Yujin glanced down to send a message on his phone before pocketing it
The museum was half an hour away from the hotel. The students woke up too early and felt drowsy on the way after breakfast. They arrived at the museum’s entrance still in a half-asleep state. When they got off the bus, one of them slipped, but thankfully, the enthusiastic guide, Mr. Jiang, who was holding an umbrella, lent a hand to steady him.
The museum had its own guides, and Jiang Yujin, having finished his morning work, felt idle and restless. He didn’t plan on staying inside the vehicle with the older driver for a chat and followed along into the museum.
There were quite a few schools on a study tour at this time. He casually roamed the first floor and saw many students in different uniforms.
The museum had six floors, with a resting area on the top floor. After a quick tour of the first floor, he headed straight to the sixth floor, comfortably seated and ready to indulge in a day of gaming.
After playing a few rounds and successfully passing a difficult level, he finally glanced up and noticed that many students had also arrived on this floor.
Zhang Xin and Xiao Mei were there too, just opening a bottle of mineral water.
As they took a sip, someone by the huge floor-to-ceiling window looking at the scenery outside let out exclamations, mixed with some screams.
With a sense of foreboding, Zhang Xin instantly stood up. Xiao Mei, beside her, was startled by the exclamation and choked on her drink, patting her chest in response.
Some people by the window were stepping back while others curiously moved forward.
Zhang Xin stood by the window, peering through the rain-drenched glass along with the others, and spotted a large, dark figure slowly forming in the distance, concealed within the mist.
The river, at a distance, surged at an extraordinary speed, waves crashing over the bridge they had crossed earlier, flipping the cars driving over it in an instant.
“What is that thing?”
“The car flipped! There might be people inside!”
The alarm blared, piercing their eardrums.
All students were instructed to gather on the first floor immediately. The teacher, sweating profusely, counted heads in the crowd, becoming dizzy from the count.
“Teacher,” Xiao Mei, standing in a corner, raised her hand weakly, her voice tinged with panic as if she was on the verge of tears, “Zhang Xin is missing.”
The guide was also nowhere to be found.
The rain intensified. Jiang Yujin walked with an umbrella, along the streets, stepping on the cobblestones, arriving at the riverside, gazing down at the still surging river while leaning on the railing.
Near the city center, broadcasts quickly urged citizens to evacuate. Roads were cleared by designated personnel, pedestrians and vehicles dispersed, and after a prolonged period of hustle and bustle, the streets returned to tranquility.
Amidst the rain and shadows, Jiang Yujin walked on the deserted street with his umbrella. He lifted his drooping eyelids slightly, gazing at the increasingly towering dark silhouette.
The faint sound of footsteps disappeared into the heavy rain beating against the ground.