Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Wang Chao didn’t understand.
However, he looked up the mine pointed out by his boss, which was indeed once one of Zaratul’s industries. In recent years, all the rare metals there had been dug up, and the mining area was abandoned as a result.
He didn’t know how his boss deduced that Zaratul would drive the entire Gaomeng Tribe to the mining area. This matter was essentially unreasonable, but what was reason in a broken place like Dana? Perhaps Zaratul just wanted to take their men to play with human lives on a whim, so they decided to flatten the Gaomeng Tribe, which wasn’t impossible.
In short, it was right to trust his boss’ judgment. As a good dog leg, Wang Chao began to search for the fastest route to the mining area.
There were two ways to get to the abandoned mine from where they were. One was the water route, and the other was the land route that was roughly reclaimed by various forces in order to cut down trees to open paths to the mines.
But no matter which route they took; they would encounter the heavily guarded Zaratul Tribe.
Comrade Xiao Wang Chao looked at the vast river of the rainforest in the distance and didn’t understand. He was playing games at home a few days ago and ordering lemon black tea for takeout. Why did he suddenly have to go to the rainforest dungeon to defeat Zaratul the Great Demon King?
He finally looked up at the cloudy sky. Life was truly unpredictable…
However, his boss obviously didn’t have these thoughts. As soon as he could figure out the target location, he immediately jumped back onto the boat, setting off on the water route.
Compared to the land route, the water route had no cover, which wasn’t conducive for concealment, but seeing his boss look like he couldn’t wait to go home, Wang Chao didn’t even dare let out a fart.
The further they went, the more turbid the water of the Dana River became. It was full of muddy sludge, turning brick red. The scene on both sides of the river wasn’t as green and pleasing as before, and a large number of trees had been cut down. The Dana Rainforest was rich in expensive wood species, such as mahogany, ebony, and rosewood. Whenever expensive wood species grew, there were a large number of laborers and armed men with guns.
Every time Wang Chao saw these places on the banks of the river, he felt like his heart was going to jump out of his throat.
Perhaps it was the intimidating force that made the whole world retreat on his boss’ sour face; surprisingly, they didn’t encounter any recklessly armed militants along the way.
At night, they tied the boat to the shore and camped by the river.
They didn’t expect to see any starry skies in the rainforest. It had already rained a while ago, and now it seemed like it was going to rain again. Wang Chao had killed all the mosquitoes in the tent and looked towards the river. In the dark night, his boss was barefoot, sitting alone on the banks of the river, smoking a cigarette. It was unknown what he was thinking.
“What’s the matter with the boss recently? He looks kind of weird.” Kang An leaned over to Wang Chao and asked.
“I don’t know,” Wang Chao said succinctly.
“Is it lovelorn?”
Hearing this, Wang Chao gave Kang An a blank look. “How could that be?”
“Then what else?”
Wang Chao turned around, put his hands on Kang An’s shoulders, and shook him. “You dare ask what’s wrong? How dare you ask this? If you didn’t bring the boss to this place where birds don’t shit*, why would he be so weird?!”
*(鸟不拉屎) Metaphor used to describe a barren and remote place where birds rarely fly by.
“But there’s a lot of bird shit here.” Kang An pointed to a pile of something that was pulled down from the top of the tent by a macaw or some other kind of bird as he said this.
Comrade Xiao Wang hurriedly dodged to the side and almost spat out.
“If it’s not lovelorn, then the boss is in love,” Kang An said suddenly.
Wang Chao opened his mouth wide, wanting to marvel at Kang An’s reflex arc.
“It’s the Mr. Lin you’re always peeking at, isn’t it? The boss turns out to be gay.”
Kang An’s tone was so calm that Wang Chao pounded the ground and said, “Can’t you talk about the boss’ sexual orientation without using that tone of ‘oh, so the boss likes men’?”
“It’s normal to be gay. After all, I’m gay.”
Wang Chao looked up at the sky and sighed, wanting to return to normal society and speak with people with normal brains.
“But Mr. Lin doesn’t seem to be the type that the boss likes.”
“Wait, how do you know?”
“Because I always thought a guy like the boss would like someone who is naïve and sweet, like those soft boys and girls who are like cakes,” Kang An replied.
“You perverted. Why am I discussing this topic with you!”
“Mr. Lin is different. Mr. Lin looks aloof and indifferent. When you take a bite, it’s like biting into crystals, making your teeth ache. It turns out that the boss’ taste is so hard that he truly lives up to his reputation.” Kang An sighed.
“Isn’t that good?!”
“I don’t think so.”
“You’re so annoying. What’s wrong?!”
“Two people who are in love should complement each other. Look at me, I’m a smelly and hard stone in a toilet while your Xiao Wu Ge is like a blooming flower in the wind.”
“I don’t get what Xiao Wu Ge sees in you.”
“Hey. But the boss and Mr. Lin look more like the same type of person.”
“I don’t see it. How do you know? Have you met before?”
“No, no, it’s just a feeling that one is strong and the other is stronger. It’s okay when things are good, but if they have conflict, given our boss’ personality, do you think he might directly confront and overpower the other person?”
“Kang An.” Comrade Xiao Wang looked at his boss smoking by the river and suddenly wanted to light a cigarette.
Comrade Xiao Wang kicked him to the ground and grabbed Kang An by the neck as he shouted, “Don’t fucking set up a flag* for laozi!”
On the vast sea, the dilapidated fishing boat was still adrift.
In the dark cabin at the bottom of the fishing boat, Lin Chen didn’t know that he had become the object of gossip.
He was incredibly thirsty, and his lips were peeling. He was so hungry that his chest was pressed to his back. The cabin smelled of dead fish and excrement. With the lurching of the waves, he estimated according to his own biological rhythm that the fishing boat had been traveling on the sea surface for more than 12 hours. They had most likely arrived in the territorial waters of another country. Experienced smuggling groups must have relatively safe routes, so the likelihood of being intercepted by the coastal guard of another country was slim. They could only leave their fate to chance.
He leaned against the bulkhead and sat in the most energy-saving way. Duan Yang was taking care of a patient not far from him.
During the 12-hour voyage without seeing the sun, the wound on his palm became painful and itchy, and there was no sign it was healing, but it wasn’t he who fell ill first, but the middle-aged man who had talked to them before.
A few hours ago, the middle-aged man had sudden, acute abdominal pain. The cry of pain almost overwhelmed the roaring fishing boat motor. The first reaction of the villagers who were locked in the bottom of the cabin was to knock on the cabin ceiling. However, the people above deck simply asked “What’s the matter” and left.
There were still footsteps above their heads, but the sealed deck showed no sign of opening again.
The villagers beat on the deck angrily, but got no response. Without food for 12 hours, they quickly lost the strength to riot. Their emotions changed from anger to panic, and they realized that this gold rush wasn’t as good as they imagined.
Without any medical equipment, Duan Yang could only make a simple diagnosis for the villagers. The preliminary judgment was that it was an acute gastric perforation. Although he didn’t know the cause of the disease, in the vast sea, even if he knew, it would be meaningless.
The middle-aged man curled up in a ball. His face was as white as a dead body, and his expression looked like he was in extreme pain. His previous cries had exhausted all his strength, and he was in so much pain that he could no longer shout.
Two villagers, together with Duan Yang, stayed by his side. One of them grabbed Duan Yang and said anxiously, “Doctor, please save my brother. Can you save him?”
Dung Yang’s fingers kept resting on the middle-aged man’s neck, while the other hand lightly pressed his abdomen without saying a word.
The villager knelt down in front of Duan Yang and banged his head on the floor, kowtowing. “You’re a doctor, so you can save people. My brother has five children. If something happens to him, his cruel wife will throw them all away and remarry. You must save him!”
Perhaps hearing mentions of children, the curled-up middle-aged man suddenly opened his eyes and looked at Duan Yang with tears. Not knowing where the strength came from, he grabbed Duan Yang’s arm with one hand and held it tightly.
Seeing this situation, Lin Chen finally stood up. He leaned against the bulkhead as he walked to Duan Yang and sat down beside the seriously ill middle-aged man.
Someone in the cabin began to sob softly because of his movement.
Lin Chen looked at Duan Yang, and to his surprise, the young man’s eyes weren’t red. His expression was calm and solemn as he let go of the fingers holding the middle-aged man’s neck, which felt like bitter bark, and took his hand.
“I’m so tired.” In the next moment, the middle-aged man was relieved. Lin Chen saw a hint of hope appearing in his gloomy expression. “Isn’t it okay to die?”
“Yes, that’s a relief,” Lin Chen said.
“My child will still grow up.”
“Even if your wife is unwilling to raise them, our country’s welfare system will ensure that they grow up to the age of 18 safely.”
“It’s okay. My parents are still alive, but I can’t be filial anymore.”
“They might think you made a lot of money in Dana and don’t want to go home.”
“Yes, they probably will.”
The middle-aged man laughed, and at the last moment of his life, he kept a smiling face as he let go of everything.
After Lin Chen finished speaking, he put his hands on the middle-aged man’s face and gently closed his eyelids.
The soft sobs in the cabin turned into howls, and the death of the middle-aged man seemed to make everyone foresee their own future.
Lin Chen pulled Duan Yang back to their previous positions and sat down.
Duan Yang touched his forehead first, then simply measured his heartbeat. He pulled Lin Chen’s hand to check the wound and finally heaved a sigh of relief.
Lin Chen kept looking at him. Probably because he stared at him for too long, Duan Yang touched his face and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“You’re not as I imagined.”
“Why so different? Do you think I’ll cry bitterly?”
Lin Chen didn’t answer.
“After all, I am a doctor. I have seen deaths that are much more tragic than this. Compared to you police officers, I’m the one who deals with death every day.”
“Very early on, the first time I went to the hospital for an internship, it was teacher who took me.”
The young man was stunned for a moment and suddenly felt relieved. He scratched his head. “It was. I like him very much. No. To be precise. I love him.”
Lin Chen was surprised by the confession that came so suddenly. “I didn’t ask you this.”
“There’s nothing to hide. I just like him. I remember the first time I saw a patient die. I was very sad, and I rushed out of the ward crying. I still remember the feeling of heartache. I thought it was my fault that I couldn’t save that person. My teacher, who was in the ward at that time, knew about it.”
“Then teacher transferred me to the ICU and asked me to face critically ill patients every day.”
Lin Chen was surprised. “So strict?”
“During that time, I probably cried every day, and I didn’t want to be a doctor anymore. But then it was fine. After a long time, it was almost the end of my internship period when teacher suddenly came to me.”
“He took me to the morgue.” Duan Yang grimaced. “Teacher asked me what I have experienced during this time.”
“What did you say?”
“I said numbness, but it wasn’t uncomfortable.” Duan Yang sighed. “Teacher looked at me solemnly when he heard this. He said that a person who is numb to death can’t become a good doctor and wanted me to change my major as soon as possible.”
“But you didn’t.”
“Yes, I didn’t. After all, I still want to be a good doctor. At that time, I thought, if doctors aren’t numb to death, how can they endure so many separations of life and death every day? So I asked my teacher this.”
The young man’s eyes were beautiful as Lin Chen looked at them quietly.
“Teacher told me that doctors cannot be numb to death. What doctors have to do is respect death. What we respect is not the result of death but the entire life process of human beings, from birth to death. People always want to live longer and avoid death, but there must be death in life. This is the law of nature. A painful but also a beautiful process. As doctors, we must look up to the course of life, straighten our waists, and face every challenge that death poses to us.”
After the young man finished speaking, there was still crying in the cabin. The speed of the fishing boat gradually slowed down, but the sound of the motor was still loud.
He looked at the sole electric light in the cabin and said, “It’s great.”
What Duan Yang is talking about is compassion fatigue or burnout, which is basically what he experienced by witnessing so much death.
People who experience compassion fatigue may exhibit a variety of symptoms, including lowered concentration, numbness or feelings of helplessness, irritability, lack of self-satisfaction, withdrawal, aches and pains, or work absenteeism.
According to studies, between 16-85% of healthcare workers in various fields develop compassion fatigue.
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