When BaiShiWu who stood by the side of CaoHongYuan recognized it’s LiuMing’s voice his heart missed a beat then he almost fainted and cold sweats beaded out all over—she’s LiuMing, the one he had fallen in love. She actually joint the Eight Routes Army. Now he joint the spy agency and be captive. It’s really that one can’t avoid his enemy! He dare not raise up his head never mention to make a sound. He’d rather find a split in the ground and plunge into it. This moment CaoHongYuan handed over the rope on which tied BaiShiWu to one of his self defence soldiers and said something in low voice to him. Then two of the soldiers dragged BaiShiWu hard on the rope and drew him like a lamb to a pile of manure.
“Comrade, many of you must have known this CaoHongYuan, aren’t you? He just came back from the enemy occupied area. He heard from our cadre of the district committee that we would pass by so he’s here to meet us with the big traitor he captured. It’s a first rate present to the committee!……”
Before YanFeng could finish his words people who know or do not know CaoHongYuan encircled him in the middle of the path all of a sudden.
“Little Cao, you came back at last!” WangFuLai rushed a step forward to grip the hand of Cao. He smiled to said with tears in the eyes: “How are you? Isn’t it you who captured the evil BaiShiWu?……Its too good! Let’s move to the plain together.”
“How are you? Brother Cao.” WangYongTai recalled that CaoHongYuan had been blamed for “escape” so he didn’t know what to say with tears in the eyes too.
“Hi! Hi! Don’t circle around him so tight. LiuMing and I have even no chance to talk with him so far. Please move a little away.” MiaoHong clutched HongYuan’s arm and drew him under the willow with a distance to the crowd. LiuMing’s heart beated fast when she followed MiaoHong to the place. A dream like fancy made her feel as if in high fevor—a half conscious state.
“Little Liu, Little Miao, I meet again! How are you? Here I bring you letter from your family too.”HongYuan held the hand of MiaoHong in delight and felt out two letters to hand over: “Professor Miao had been arrested by Umemura and suffered corporal punishment. But he’d rather die than subject. He’s a real warrior and you should learn the example of your father’s”
Hearing this MiaoHong shouted out in surprise suddenly. She shook the hand of HongYuan constantly and inquired in detail:
“You mean my father! How he is now?”
“He’s out of danger now. Don’t worry! I have met the parents of you two before I set off my return journey. They’re all right and you will know this after you read the letter.”
MiaoHong suppressed her excitement and read the envelope. Then she turn to LiuMing to say: “This one is for you. You’re happy now, aren’t you?”
LiuMing glanced sideway at HongYuan. She had too much to express while felt like something stuck at the throat that she couldn’t make it.
As LiuMing and CaoHongYuan encountered at night in the wild another pair of good friends bumped into each other also.
YanFeng was walking back and force in the military group. When he walked into the civil propaganda team someone called him in low voice:
“Old Lu, brother Lu, are you LuJiaChuan?……”
YanFeng turned back all of a sudden. He couldn’t help staring at the one who spoke to him and made a cry:
“It’s you! LinDaoJing!……”
“Brother Lu. No, comrade Lu, I had never expected that I could encounter you here. Why? They said that you had sacrified but now you’re still alive! ……My present name’s LuFang……”LinDaoJing in the name of LuFang was incoherent in her expression from which we can see her exitment.
“Little Lin, No, I shouldn’t call you as before now. I did not die. By chance a senior GuoMinDang officer rescued me……That’s a long story and I would tell you it later……I believe that you’ve been in the line of party these years. How about old Jiang now? Do you have any information of him?”
“Old Lu, oh, I shall call you comrade YanFeng now. I’ve married him three or five years before. But I have no information from him for a long time……”LuFang’s voice turned lower and lower and almost unrecognizable in the roaring of wind in the wild.
YanFeng couldn’t help holding her hand—cold and quivering hand …… He felt his heart in great disturb. How much emotions that had been buried deep in his heart boiled up this moment. He fixed his eyes to that familiar while strange face with his eyes wet unconsciously……
“I’ve been gathering your information all these years. Oh, have you received my letter from jail?”
“Yes, I can’t name the inspiration it gave to me. Thank you so much brother Lu. Are you moving to the plain now? ……But I have to go to North China Bureau for a report. We should have chance to meet again. Don’t you think so? ”
“Of course! Of course! Little Lin. I’m so happy that you should have good health. We can’t talk too much and we’re about to set on our journey once more. You can inquire him concerning me but now we have to say goodby.” YanFeng gripped the hand of LuFang once again. In such manner LinDaoJing and LuChuan met in the haste and parted in the haste.
YanFeng turned back to the army while LuFang caught up again to say in heavy breath: “Don’t forget to write to me again brother Lu! Write a letter to me!”This time she gripped the hand of LuJiaChuan first. She gripped so hard.
“Old Cao, let’s move to the plain together.”MiaoHong spoke again, “We will march across the railway line this night. Follow us please.” Miao Hong smiled in the talking and she behaved like a child who drags her company into a play.
HongYuan glanced LiuMing affectionately then turned to speak to MiaoHong:
“How is it possible? I have to report to the North China Bureau. You set off the journey first. I might be assigned to work there.” HongYuan couldn’t suppress his emotion and turned back to look at LiuMing to speak in low voice again, “Little Liu. Have you parted from the hospital? You joined the civil propaganda team again? Write to me as you reached the plain, all right?……”
“OK,” LiuMing dare not look at HongYuan once more. She bend her head low. This unexpected encounter in delightfulness mixed deeply in pain and regretful separation, “When he returned I will set off ……When he returned I have to set off……”She repeated the phrase silently in the heart. Then she suddenly raised up her head to inquire:
“Old Cao, how did you captured BaiShiWu? He……”LiuMing looked back and saw a mushroom like thing was swaying in the dim light. That’s the hat of BaiShiWu which was trembling in the wind. Now a complex feeling surged LiuMing: How can I encounter that fellow in such an occasion? …HongYuan answered LiuMing after a short break: “That’s a long story. Let’s talk about it later. You’ll set off soon and I would leave too. Goodby then!” An instance later he added: “Don’t be sorry LiuMing!”
“Oh, comrade Cao I’ve never expected to meet you here at mid night in this wild place.” ChangLiPing made his appearance at uncertain time,“Congratulations on your success and victorious back home. We should learn your example.” In the mean time he looked at LiuMing and CaoHongYuan then smiled strangely.
HongYuan hastely reached out his hand to grip ChangLiPing’s and said enthusiastically: “How are you,ChangLiPing. YanFeng told me that you’re the chief of civil propaganda team. Now you would open a new revolutionary base in the plain area and that’s realy the tough work.”
ChangLiPing shook his head to say:
“You praised me too much. You will have the chance to go to the plain, won’t you?”
Before HongYuan could make the answer YanFeng walked ahead. He gripped the hand of Cao and said in low voice:
“Little Cao, it’s a pity that you can’t follow us. We’re about to set off so it is with you. Please take more care of LuFang. Find a cadre in the nearby village. Find a good landlord and have a good rest then set off in the evening. We have quite good civil foundation here, so no problem could rise up. Now we have to part temporarily……hope we can meet soon on the plain.”
“Oh, you know LuFang! No wonder you kept looking at LiuMing. They grow alike so much. Don’t worry, She’s a good comrade and I will take good care of her……”
YanFeng gripped the hand of CaoHongYuan and his eyes were searching the figure of CaoHongYuan in the darkness……
The army started to move now. The north wind was whistling on the plain when the long troup started to move ahead on the winding course. CaoHongYuan and LuFang lead another troup heading for the west with the captured BaiShiWu.
The troup marched forward in its original speed. Soon they departed the place for rest—LuFang and Cao HongYuan disappeared from the view, so it is with BaiShiWu and the two soldiers who tied him with the rope.
LiuMing strode forward without look aback though she was so eager to have another look at CaoHongYuan. The moment a few peotic line in the back of her mind awoke:
Swallow fly to the east and wild goose the west.
I was drunken before alcoholic taken.
My eyes bleed and heart ashes turned.
LiuMin learned the line from the Romance of the Western Chamer when she was a high school student and casually made the recitation. In such thick combat atomosphere these lines should have been jumped out secretely when she encountered CaoHongYuan. The line circled there and jumped there repeatedly to make a taste of bitter sweatness.
Thirty miles further on the men in the front pass down words again:
“Be quiet. We’re going to pass the rail line. Don’t speak anything! Don’t cough!”
The military group walked faster and faster so the civil propaganda team walked faster in the follow. Suddenly the atomosphere intensed. Everyone was on the attention. They get prepared for the pass and for possible combat too.
In the dim star light the high railway base could be perceived now. suddenly order was passed down:
“Lie down! Pass the order!”
The solemn intense tone scared LiuMing and MiaoHong. They held up the breath and lied down on the cold ground in the follow.
The star were twinkling in the sky and the human figures on the ground blurred. Shining rails stretch themselves on the dark plain. LiuMing and MiaoHong can not suppress their fast heart beats on their first way across the railline. There’s no movement for a moment after they lied down and MiaoHong could endure no longer. She murmured to the ear of LiuMing:
“There’s no even a figure on the way. Why don’t we run across the line quickly? For what we were waiting for here on the ground?”
LiuMing poked MiaoHong with her hand.
This moment four search lights flashed on all in a sudden like four beasts eyes. They shot out dazzling lights that swept the ground by the two sides from the railway base. The lights pressed down the head of LiuMing and of MiaoHong and made their eyes shut. Next moment the shriek of wheels on the rails spreaded there. It approached nearer and nearer from the line base.
Some one said in low voice:
MiaoHong and LiuMing forced open their eyes to watch in curiosity. Surely they are! Two tiger skin painted armored vehicles were slowly approaching. Four search lights in the front searched like beasts eyes in the hunting for foods, which made the dark plain pale white.
The search lights stopped somewhere as if they had discovered something. A group of soldiers just lie down under. LiuMing and MiaoHong gripped their hands together and they did not know whether it was out of terror or nervous or bilateral concern……other members in the civil propaganda team also felt the intensity. Of course there’re cowards like GaoYongYa who couldn’t help quivering all over……While under the base in a short distance ahead the Eight Routes Army soldiers targeted their guns on the vehicle calmly like archers with their arrow on the arch.
The armored train still stay on the base with its blazing search lights in the searching. Machines guns by the sides of compartment aimed covetously at passers by.
People did not cough or made a sound in ignorance of the cold.
Detachment chief YanFeng lie under the earth step nearest to the railway base. He was weighing all kinds of the likely events in his mind: “If there should be combat. It’s possible that they can not pass the line and had to return…… In any case the safty of comrades should be promised.
MiaoHong hugged the arm of LiuMing. Suddenly she felt something cold dropped onto her hand.
“Oh, you cried!”
“No.”LiuMing shook his head.
“No, you cried. Why? For what you’re afraid of? ……Yes, I know its for CaoHongYuan……”MiaoHong stoop over LiuMing’s ears and murmured.
“Stop it!”LiuMing cooled down and murmured to stop MiaoHong, “Be prepared to pass the line at any moment!”
“Ok!” MiaoHong hugged LiuMing even tighter.
The armored train of the enemy still run back and forth on the rails. The detachment which was about to open new revolutionary base on the plain endured the penetrating cold and kept lying on the freezing ground motionless.
Analysis: The novel ended but not yet the story. Everything was half way here. The anti-Japanese war. The life story of LiuMing and even the fate of big traitor BaiShiWu was not yet determined. It might meaning that the series would be continued. Anyhow it could be counted as a temporary end for the old life in the mountain region and the struggle beyond the enemy line had drawn to an end. The plain life would be a new one and the struggle there would be different. If the author wanted to continue then for sure the railway line can’t kill them.