IRNDGL - Chapter 42: Do You Understand?
Lin Jie was rather satisfied with what he considered a deep, thought-provoking opener.
An hour in the morning is worth two in the evening.
Just like how a composition needed a good introduction and thesis statement to outline one's viewpoint.
On such a fine morning where there was already a customer, starting the day with a classic fable couldn't have been any better.
Indeed, this story had been deliberately narrated for Old Wil.
An empty nester like Old Wil needed to maintain vigilance and care in his ordinary everyday life.
Today, Old Wil had come over before Lin Jie had even opened the shop.
Everyday, Lin Jie would get up at 6.30 a.m. and open for business at 7. It was ten minutes away from his opening time and the sky outside was still pitch black and no different from night.
Old Wil lived quite a distance away from the bookstore. Judging from their past conversations, it required approximately an hour's journey to reach here.
Heavy rain, lightning, and strong gales made traveling along slippery ground slightly dangerous in this darkness.
In such horrendous weather, Old Wil had traveled quite a distance all by himself early in the morning. If any accidents were to happen along the way, perhaps nobody would even notice it and Old Wilmight justvanish quietly in the heavy downpour without anyone knowing.
These weren't merely Lin Jie's groundless fears. Previously, the news had reported several buildings collapsing and it hadn't occurred too far away from here. Clearly, the outside situation was rather dangerous right now.
Wouldn't an aged and crippled man out gallivanting in this weather be a perfect recipe for a tragedy?
Alas, how worrying...
At this moment, Wilde was feeling as if a bolt of lightning had struck his heart. His hand holding on to the cup trembled slightly.
After forcibly controlling the tremors, he answered, "The farmer wasn't wrong. He was merely showing kindness. The snake wasn't at fault either, it was merely exhibiting its instincts."
Lin Jie strolled over to his seat behind the counter and sat down. "A decent and neutral opinion. In the end, this was a tragic outcome borne from coincidence. It appears that there isn't anything much to dispute about it.
"However, this story isn't a story on fairness. The farmer extended his so-called kindness and yet it resulted in his death. What do you think goes through his mind just before he dies?"
Wilde stayed silent for some time before he muttered, "Probably regret."
Lin Jie smiled. "Have more confidence in yourself, remove the word 'probably'. This is a story about humanism and requires one to ponder from the viewpoint of a person.
"Now, change your viewpoint. If you were this farmer, what would you be thinking about?
"The farmer's greatest regrets would definitely have been his inability to see through the snake's intrinsic nature from the start and why he himself had such unnecessary and blind kindness.
"There are many bad people in the world but not every one of them would have the face of a bad person. Some may have disguises or some might use others. A seemingly harmless and pitiful person can make use of feelings to do bad. Perhaps to you, or perhaps to others.
"Do not trust easily, and do not deceive others. Most importantly, do not be soft-hearted.
"If onedoes not have a heart, how can he be touched by you? Such a person might smile at you merely because he feels happy at you letting your guard down."
Powerful and resonating words were thrown out by Lin Jie.
Wilde's emotions got more and more conflicted and miserable as he met the bookstore owner's stern warning gaze. When he heard the line "He does not have a heart", Wilde's eyes narrowed and he relaxed his clenched fist.
Beneath the mask, a self-derisory smile appeared on his face.
Haa... Can one still be alive if he doesn't have a heart?
So, Mr. Lin actually... No, he still knows.
"Do you understand all that I'm saying, Old Wil?" Lin Jie crossed his arms and watched him.
Wilde took a deep breath and nodded. "Yes."
But he still...
"It's good if you do," Lin Jie said with satisfaction.
He reached out and poured more tea for Wilde.
Lin Jie then took a hard look at Wilde once more. Besides his unusual visit today, Wilde seemed preoccupied with something and had a gloomy expression on his face.
A thought came into Lin Jie's mind.
Old Wil had left home early in the morning without a care for his own safety and specially came running to the rundown bookstore. However, it didn't seem like he had any desire to borrow or purchase books.
On the contrary, after their short chat, Old Wil seemed much more relaxed as if a great weight had been lifted off his mind.
That meant to say that Old Wil's intention was to have a heart-to-heart chat.
Teacher Lin who was rather adept at solving psychological issues raised an eyebrow. It didn't seem like a simple matter.
Firstly, Old Wilde had come to return the book not too long ago and had given Lin Jie the dreamcatcher as thanks.
Therefore, it wasn't any academic troubles but rather... it was a life problem.
A widowed elderly living all by himself would surely face many troubles in life. However, being all alone for so long and getting used to such circumstances meant that most trifles wouldn't pose much of a problem.
Therefore, what remained was the other huge problem that troubled old widowed individuals.
And from what Lin Jie knew, Old Wil didn't have any other relatives, just two children that weren't very good to him. Both of them were adopted.
One had gone away for work and hadn't returned in many years nor was there any news from him.
The other was even more shameless and turned against Old Wil when he found his birth parents. Old Wil would get extremely upset every time this was brought up.
Lin Jie felt that it was basically impossible for the latter to return.
Moreover, Old Wil wouldn't be acting this way if he did return and would have a black face instead.
Therefore, it could only be the former.
"Haa, I still want to say that regarding Charles..."
Lin Jie decided to try putting out some feelers.
Wilde sighed. "Yes, of course you knew. He has returned."
Lin Jie nodded his head. He now had a clearer picture since Old Wil had put it like this.
A common trope portrayed in many serial dramas on television was how widowed elderly divided their assets and inheritance.
When an old person living all on his own suddenly fell ill, a whole bunch of strange relatives would come running over.
And when those relatives away for many years and not finding much success outside came running back suddenly, the reason was mostly just one thing—money.
"Although what I say might upset you, I still feel the need to warn you," Lin Jie said. "Did he return all of a sudden? Did he tell you about his hardships over the past few years, how he misses you, loves you, and other such stuff that makes you warm and fuzzy inside?
"In actuality, he might be implicitly trying to get you to promise something."
That's right, 'Charles' wanted Wilde to impart the remaining incantation techniques to him.
Even as a widely known cruel black magician, Wilde would still feel significantly dejected at such a tragic truth. Before he was a black magician, Wilde was first and foremost a person.
"What you wish for is the son that remains within the beautiful memories of your heart. However, is it really him that returned at this moment?" Lin Jie's gaze intensified as he continued on heavily. "Even though saying this might be a little cruel, however, it's like what I just said... Do you wish to become that farmer? Do you want to pass your sentiments to a venomous viper that has no feelings?"
Wilde was silent for some time. Finally, he sighed, "I just... wanted to accompany him a little more, even if it meant deceiving myself. However, some dreams have to be woken up from. He is no longer my Charles.
"Thank you. This is the second time you have given me such important guidance!" Wilde raised his head and said. "I know what I have to do..."
Special thanks to Tetra & Aco for editing and pr-ing
BeetleBarker's Discord: https://discord.gg/bEr3QYN