Chang Le’s family had a fishing net, which Yu Qingze noticed when he woke up on the first day.
After waking up from his afternoon nap, Chang Le took out the fishing net and placed it in a wooden barrel. He carried the long bamboo pole on his shoulder and was ready to set off.
At this time, Chang Hao was still sound asleep, snoring away.
“Brother Le, aren’t you waiting for Xiaohao?” Yu Qingze woke up upon hearing the movement and saw Chang Le, who was already prepared near the kitchen door. He asked because he could sense Chang Hao’s excitement about going fishing from earlier in the morning.
Chang Le waved his hand, indicating that he was going alone. After gesturing, he started walking outside.
Yu Qingze quickly caught up and said, “I’ll come with you.”
Chang Le blinked and shook his head, disagreeing with the idea.
Yu Qingze said, “Brother Le, I’ve never caught fish before and I want to learn from you.”
Chang Le made a swimming motion with his hand.
Yu Qingze guessed that he was asking if he knew how to swim, so he nodded and said, “I know how to swim, and I’m pretty good at it.”
Chang Le had initially wanted to refuse, but when he saw Chang Hao turn over in the main room, he quickly nodded and headed outside. If they didn’t leave soon, Chang Hao would wake up, and he didn’t want to take his younger brother along.
Their home was not far from the riverbank, and they arrived in less than ten minutes.
There was a simple wooden pier by the river, built by the villagers themselves using stones. There were also some stone slabs nearby for washing clothes. Sometimes, when the water in the creek was low during winter, the villagers would come here to do their laundry. On the other side of the pier, there were three wooden stakes with three small fishing boats tied to them.
There was a small wooden hut on the bank, where an old man was repairing fishing nets at the entrance. When he saw Chang Le, he greeted him cheerfully, “Brother Le, are you going fishing today? Finished your work in the fields?”
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
Chang Le nodded with a smile and made a gesture.
The old man replied, “I didn’t go today. The net was torn yesterday, and I’m repairing it. You should go quickly. Right now, most of the fish are hiding in the shade.”
Chang Le nodded and led Yu Qingze towards the small boat.
The old man called out from behind, “Don’t go too far. Call me if you need anything!”
Chang Le nodded, waved to the old man, then bent down to untie the rope of the small boat on the right. He dragged the boat to the edge of the shore and waited for Yu Qingze to climb aboard before getting on himself.
When Yu Qingze was a child, he had also ridden in this type of small fishing boat at his grandfather’s house. Once on board, the boat would sway back and forth, and back then he was always afraid that the boat would tip over and he would fall into the river. He had to tightly grip the sides of the boat. His grandfather used to laugh at him, joking that he was afraid he would jump off the boat.
Now he wasn’t afraid anymore, but his grandfather was no longer there.
Yu Qingze shook his head, adjusting his emotions, and sat down at the other end of the boat.
Chang Le arranged the fishing net and water bucket in place. He pushed the long bamboo pole against the riverbed, and the small boat gradually moved away from the shore.
At that moment, a small figure rushed to the shore, shouting, “Brother! Big Brother Yu Qingze! Wait for me!”
However, the boat didn’t stop or turn back.
Seeing this, Chang Hao became both anxious and angry. His brother didn’t take him along! He was so mad!
The old man laughed and said, “Oh, you missed it again. What a pity…”
Chang Hao glared at the old man, feeling both angry and frustrated. “Grandpa, why didn’t you ask my brother to wait for me for a little while!”
The old man, who seemed to be quite familiar with them, replied, “Your brother has his reasons for not wanting you to come along. What can I do about it?”
Chang Hao remained silent upon hearing the words and sat on a stone, gazing eagerly at the small boat.
Yu Qingze noticed the young boy sitting by the shore and asked Chang Le, “Is it always like this between you?”
Chang Le turned around, nodded with a hint of helplessness on his face. His little brother always wanted to follow him, but he was still young, and Chang Le was worried…
The river was wide, and looking across, the other side was only a blurry shadow, at least a kilometer or two away. The water surface glistened with ripples, and occasionally, river gulls would fly by.
Chang Le didn’t row the boat towards the middle of the river. Instead, he positioned it a little downstream, about a hundred meters away from the shore. He switched from the pole to the oar and paddled while observing. In the hot weather like this, many fish would gather near the shore to cool off. Finally, Chang Le seemed to spot a school of fish and stopped.
Since Yu Qingze had never fished before, he watched from the side.
Chang Le dropped the anchor, took the fishing net, and straightened it out. He held one-third of the net and part of the net floats with his left hand, while he hung the net floats on his thumb with his right hand. Then, he aimed at the water surface and cast the fishing net.
Chang Le’s movements were smooth and fluent. The fishing net spread open, resembling a large canopy as it plunged into the water.
When the fishing net reached its limit, it sank into the water. After a while, Chang Le began to slowly reel in the net.
The fishing net surfaced, and Yu Qingze was pleasantly surprised to see that there were indeed fish inside, about three or four of them.
“Hey, there are four! Huh, what kind of fish is this?” When Chang Le brought the net onto the deck, Yu Qingze went over to help remove the fish. However, he found that he didn’t recognize the fish with patterns on its back, which was slightly larger. It might be a species unique to this area.
ChangBrother Lestured twice, but unfortunately, Yu Qingze couldn’t understand.
The two of them stared at each other for a moment.
Chang Le opened his mouth as if he wanted to say something, but in the end, he couldn’t utter a word. He deflated and shrugged his shoulders.
Yu Qingze scratched his head and apologized, “Let’s ask Xiao Hao and Grandpa when we get back.”
Chang Le could only nod helplessly.
They removed the fish from the net, and there was one that was relatively small, so Chang Le released it back into the water. Then they tried casting the net in different places, sometimes catching fish and sometimes not.
“Brother Le, can I give it a try?” Yu Qingze felt the itch to try after watching Chang Le cast the net a few times.
Chang Le readily nodded and handed him the neatly arranged fishing net.
Yu Qingze took it and recalled Chang Le’s movements. He made sure to grab where he should grab and hold where he should hold, feeling confident that there shouldn’t be any problem. He asked Chang Le, “Like this?”
Chang Le raised the rope at the top of the net in front of him.
“Oh, I forgot, this should be wrapped around the hand,” Yu Qingze embarrassedly took it back and rewrapped it.
That was close. What if he had thrown the entire net away? They would have to go into the river to retrieve it.
Then, following Chang Le’s example, Yu Qingze turned his body to the right and forcefully cast the fishing net toward the area where the fish were swimming.
With the sound of the wind as the net was thrown and the splash as it landed in the water, there was also Yu Qingze’s startled cry.
“Ah!” He exerted too much force, causing the small boat to sway. His body, pulled by the net’s inertia, lost balance, and he was about to fall into the river. Yu Qingze instinctively closed his eyes, thinking that he was definitely going to fall into the water.
How embarrassing! It happened right in front of Brother Le. These thoughts flashed through Yu Qingze’s mind.
At the critical moment, a strong arm wrapped around Yu Qingze’s waist and pulled him back.
With quick reflexes and swift actions, it was done in one fluid motion, without any hesitation.
Chang Le held Yu Qingze tightly in his arms, and as they moved, the small boat became unsteady, rocking from side to side.
Yu Qingze didn’t have much experience in sitting in such a small boat, so he couldn’t find his balance right away, causing his body to sway uncontrollably.
With each sway, the small boat rocked even more vigorously, as if the river water was about to spill in.
Seeing this, Chang Le, who was behind him, had no choice. He couldn’t speak, so he wrapped his other arm around Yu Qingze as well. With both arms exerting force, he simply held Yu Qingze in his arms.
“Wow!” Suddenly, Yu Qingze’s feet left the ground, and his body lost its point of contact. He let out a frightened scream.
After realizing what had happened, he felt extremely embarrassed.
Yu Qingze: … I’d rather have fallen into the river!
After a while, without his “disruptions,” the small boat calmed down and gently swayed along with the river’s current.
Still shaken, another wave of embarrassment washed over Yu Qingze.
He lowered his head and felt the slender arm around his waist securely holding him. He could clearly feel the strength and warmth of Chang Le’s arm, as well as the sensation of their bodies pressed closely together through their clothes.
For some reason, he felt a slight heat around his waist and the area where his back was pressed against Chang Le’s chest and abdomen…
Yu Qingze’s heart skipped a beat. This was the first time he had such intimate physical contact with an adult male. It was different from the physical contact he had with his comrades in the military, more ambiguous. It made his breathing suddenly become rapid, his face flushed, and his heartbeat uncontrollably accelerate. It made him have some improper thoughts about this contact.
Yu Qingze: … Although the position isn’t quite right at the moment, after 28 years of being single, this kind of physical contact is making my heart flutter. It must be because the boat is swaying!
He was attracted to men, and he was a young man who was physically fit and full of energy despite being single for 28 years!
Being embraced from behind by a good-looking man, his heart couldn’t stay calm. It thumped rapidly, and his hands wanted to reach down and hold onto those slender wrists, then turn around…
Feeling that his thoughts were becoming impure, Yu Qingze secretly despised himself in his heart and quickly shook his head to prevent his “spring heart” from continuing to flutter.
He cleared his throat and whispered, “Um, well, Brother Le, thank you. I really owe you one; otherwise, I would have fallen into the river.”
Chang Le seemed to have realized that he was still holding onto a guy and immediately released him with a “thud,” letting go of his arms.
Yu Qingze straightened his clothes and then turned his head, only to find Chang Le already crouching in front of a water bucket with his back to him. He wasn’t sure what he was doing, but his ears had turned red.
Yu Qingze blinked his eyes, thinking…
Maybe I should wait a while before speaking.
Yu Qingze still had the rope of the fishing net in his right hand, and by now, the net had completely sunk. He waited for a while, but Chang Le didn’t turn around, so he decided to put the net away himself.
“Hey, Brother Le, we’ve got fish!” When he dragged the fishing net closer, Yu Qingze saw two fish trapped inside, instantly forgetting the previous awkwardness and feeling happy.
It was the first time in his life that he had caught fish with a net. Despite not casting the net properly and almost falling into the water, he still managed to catch two fish!
He was thrilled!
Upon hearing Yu Qingze’s words, Chang Le finally turned around, his face still slightly flushed. But seeing no strange expression on Yu Qingze’s face, he quietly breathed a sigh of relief. He had been quite rude just now, but fortunately, it seemed like the other party didn’t take it to heart.
Soon, he was infected by Yu Qingze’s happiness and eagerly helped him lift the fishing net.
After that, the two of them tacitly avoided mentioning the previous incident.
By the time they returned, the bucket was filled with a dozen or so fish of various sizes.
Chang Hao was still waiting for them on the rock.
Once they reached the shore, curious, he asked, “How did you end up hugging each other earlier?” He was distracted for a moment and said something inappropriate, causing the two men to feel embarrassed.
Naturally, Chang Le couldn’t be the one to answer, so Yu Qingze considerately explained, poking the sore spot himself, “… I accidentally lost my balance and almost fell into the river. Your brother pulled me out.”
It was a very simple and innocent rescue incident, and Yu Qingze truthfully stated the facts. However, both Yu Qingze and Chang Le blushed, though for different reasons.
Chang Hao simply responded with an “Oh,” although he felt that something was amiss, he couldn’t pinpoint what exactly was wrong. He could only reluctantly believe their explanation.
Soon, he started recalling past grievances for being left behind. He looked at them with accusing eyes, causing Yu Qingze and Chang Le to be at a loss, not knowing whether to cry or laugh.
Later, Yu Qingze finally learned that the unfamiliar fish he caught was called Qingyu, a unique species found in Qing River, known for its tender and delicious meat.
He steamed one for dinner and found the taste to be quite good.
The next morning, while it was still dim outside, they set off for the city.
Chang Le carried vegetables on one end and fish on the other, walking effortlessly ahead.
Chang Hao and Yu Qingze followed behind.
After walking on the village’s small path for a few minutes, they reached the official road and continued for about half an hour until they arrived at Tongshan City.
Yu Qingze: … I must be on a fake boat!
Chang Le silently gave the boat a thumbs up.
Author: Swing up~~