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The Secret of Sanhuang: Chapter 1
(Click on the green and grey buttons below to listen to the story.)

I opened my eyes. I did not know where I was! It took me a moment to understand where I was. I was just in my own bed. It was all just a wonderful dream and I was slowly waking up! I was now just me, just plain, simple and ordinary Zhou Di. I was not a super hero anymore and I was no longer fighting with monsters and bad people to help save the world. I could no longer fly. I no longer had the strength of a thousand men. I no longer had my sweetheart Xiao xiao with me. Yes! I was now just a simple twelve year old boy waking up on a Saturday morning. It felt so good to sleep in late and stay in bed where it was so cozy, comfortable and warm, but there were things to do today! I stayed like this just a little longer.

My head was on my pillow and I was looking up at the ceiling. The sunlight was streaming in through the bedroom window and bouncing around off of the mirror and the walls; bouncing everywhere. There were many shapes of light and shadows that were moving everywhere. My eyes moved with them and my imagination saw many things. I looked very hard and I could see all kinds of things in the light. I could see a man’s face and then it changed. There was a horse, and then it disappeared! I kept looking and following, imagining and playing. I was having fun! Then I heard my phone ringing. It sounded like someone was ringing my door bell but then I realized that it was my phone. I picked it up and saw, to my surprise, that it was only 7 a.m. I could not believe it was so early! I thought that it was at least ten o’clock! It was my good friend Liu yue!

“Good morning lazy boy,” she said! “Do you want to do something special with me this morning?” she added.

“Sure! What would you like to do Yue?”

“Can it be a surprise?”

“I guess so,” I said.

“I am outside your home! Bring your backpack and some water! Don’t make me wait! Hurry,” she screamed to me!

Well this is an interesting start to my day. Liu yue is my best friend. We have always been best friends for as long as I can remember. I can’t even remember when we were not together doing everything, every day! We were always in the same class once we started school and it seemed like we most often got the same grades in every test we took. We always seemed to push each other harder when we studied, and we studied a lot. Our teacher would look very surprised sometimes when handing back our exam papers if there was not a score of 100. Yeah! We always worked so hard together. I know when I got 100 I felt very good. Not because I was able to please the teacher or even my mother, but it was that Yue would be happy for me the same way I was always happy for her when she did so well!

Well! I rushed out the door with my backpack and water and a big smile on my face as I saw my good friend! There she was standing and holding onto her bike. She was dressed all in white; her shoes, shorts, t-shirt and even her helmet! They all matched her bike! Liu has grown so much recently. Even her hair was so much longer. It was very straight but she tied it tight around her head with a special hair band and it hung down her back and it looked kind of like a pony tail. I didn’t realize her hair was so long and it was almost as long as her shirt. She stood there smiling at me. I didn’t think about it much, but she had a very nice smile and she really was quite beautiful too!

“Hurry up Zhou Di! We have a great adventure today! Grab your bike and let’s get started,” she said with a very happy look on her face.

I didn’t ask where we were going. I figured the answer would come soon enough. We rode side by side down the bikeway along Houhai Road towards Wan Xia village. Liu stayed a little ahead to lead the way but close enough for us to talk easily. The traffic was as crazy as usual and we had to keep our eyes out looking for those wild scooter drivers. There were lots of people walking and driving and everyone was just so busy about doing something. I guess they all had their own special little adventures too! Lots and lots of adventures happening this morning!

We made it to Zhou Shang Road and headed toward Seaworld. I still didn’t know where we were headed. We made it to Seaworld along Taizi Road, but then instead of turning left we kept going a little further and turned right. I began to smile! Liu looked back and saw me smiling and that made her smile even more! There it was, so big, but still a little far away and it was now obvious where we were going. She was taking me to climb Nanshan. We finally made it to the entrance road and began our climb, still on our bikes. The first part was quite easy, but I felt we were going too fast because we seemed to be missing way too much. I said to Liu that we should stop riding and walk our way up more slowly. She agreed and we began to walk. It was nice to walk up this part because the leaves from all the trees hung over us like they were a giant umbrella and we felt like we were inside this long green tunnel. Many of the trees and bushes were in bloom and the flowers were mostly deep pink and white. It felt good to be here with Liu and we both loved the smell of all the flowers. The road began to make a slow right bend and soon we made it to Turtle Park. I don’t think it is really called Turtle Park but it is what we call it because of the huge stone turtles that decorate the large pond just underneath the waterfall. We put our bikes in the bike parking area and locked them up, then made our way over to the pond.

Liu took my hand and we walked slowly. We always held hands. It made us feel a little more close; closer than just being good friends. The pond was really very beautiful but the only thing that was real about it was the waterfall. The water fell from the tall rock face that was about ten meters high and it splashed into the pond. It was only a little loud but it was a very peaceful loud and we could still hear ourselves clearly when we were talking. The pond was all manmade and there was a short wall that held the water into a large winding pool. It was a good place to sit and rest and spend some time just watching everyone as they came to climb. We didn’t say anything. We just sat, held hands and enjoyed everything that was there.

Liu gave my hand a little squeeze and said, “Let’s go!”

There were two different trails that went up the mountain and we decided to take the far one. We walked past this beautiful pagoda that looked so good surrounded by all the blossoming trees. Many people were sitting there getting prepared for their climb. We walked through the pagoda going first up the steps and then back down again, and we continued to follow the path. Liu pointed out the mountain steps that were just a little ahead of us and we were soon there. There were so many trees around us and over us. Some trees seemed to grow right in the centre of the steps. I liked this very much! It meant that the tree was important and was not cut down just to make way for the steps. We took our first step and began the first level. I started with my left foot and so did Liu. Our steps seemed to match most of the time but often one of us would stop to check something of interest that caught our attention, like a frog or a snake or a very pretty flower. I was really enjoying my day so far!

The second set of stairs was very steep and we both needed to work really hard, and we had to hang on to the hand rails for safety. We both looked up to see where we were going but we couldn’t see anything because the steep stairway blocked our view of the entire mountain. We just got a little further and we began to hear many voices that were coming from above. Something strange seemed to be happening but we were not sure. The voices were sounding very upset so we both started to climb faster. Once we got to the top we could see a crowd of people all gathered together at the bottom of the next stairway. Liu and I moved slowly toward them to see what was going on. Liu saw first and she let out a small scream at the sight that appeared before her. I went around the people, because there were so many of them, to check and take a look. I climbed up a few steps to get a better view. It was an old man. He must have fallen and it must have been from a greater height because there was a lot of blood and he looked like he had many broken bones. Liu got over to me and held onto my arm and looked up at me with an expression of deep concern on her face.

“Nobody is doing anything Zhou Di! He is still breathing and needs help fast! Did you bring your cell phone? We need to call,” she spoke so quickly! I took out my phone and called the emergency line. I told them the situation and our exact location and they said the paramedics would be there right away. I gave them our names and told them that the old man looked in very bad condition and they needed to hurry! I let the crowd of people know and they were already trying to make him more comfortable. I told Liu that we should continue. She got a little upset at me saying that we can’t leave him, but she soon agreed that everyone that was there was doing what needed to be done and that we were really just in the way. So, we kept climbing and kept looking back. We paused once we got to the top of the level and looked back for a long time. We could already hear the sirens from the ambulance and Liu pointed so I could see where the paramedics were. They still had a long way to come. We moved on!

We tried to hurry to make it to the top so we could get a better view. The last 3 levels were really difficult but once we made it to the top we could see everything a lot better. The ambulance was close and nearly at the base of the mountain. The crowd around the old man had become even larger! There was another nice pagoda very near and we sat down for a break and to have some water.

Liu looked at me and said, “I hope he will be OK! Do you think he is going to be all right? I wonder if they can reach his family. How will they find out?” she asked.

“They have their methods and ways,” I explained. “Don’t worry Liu. We will check out to see how he is later. OK?” I asked. She just nodded her head and held my hand. It felt nice, and I smiled. I don’t know if it was for her or because I was just happy to be with her. We walked along the top of the mountain for quite some time and decided to stop and sit again for a little while once we got to the next pagoda. Everything up here was really quite quiet. We seemed to be the only people up this far. We sat in silence for what seemed to be a very long time and then Liu looked at me. She whispered softly. “Can you hear that?” she asked. “We need to listen closer. Come with me!”

She pulled me with her but we moved very slowly and silently as we approached some voices. Their words were getting louder and louder. We stopped. They were just around the other side of this very large rock but we could now hear them clearly. There were two young men and they were talking about the old man. We found out that they had stolen his wallet and pushed him down the stairs. Liu took my phone and climbed around behind and up on top of the rock. She could see them from up there and she took photos using the phone camera. She also took a quick video. She came back down and we quietly walked away back to the pagoda.

“I am going to call the police and send them the photos. I will tell them what really happened,” she whispered.

“That’s a great idea Liu! We should stay close to them in case they try to escape, but I’m sure they already think they have,” I mentioned!

She called and the police were so slow. They wanted to know who we were, where we lived, ….and so on. Liu got quite angry and just told them to hurry and she ended the call. We could still hear the men talking. It was difficult to hear but we were able to hear just enough to know they were still there. We had been still for some time just sitting and waiting when Liu spotted something. She told me to stay where I was and then she walked back along the path and went behind some bushes. I could see her bend down and she soon came running back to me. She was very careful and she handed me something. It was the old man’s wallet. I kept it close and hidden from view and then I checked it out. It was completely empty except for one small slip of paper that had the name Zhang written on it. It must have been the old man’s name.

The men were moving. They came from behind the large rock and headed straight for us. They were getting closer and closer. I could see Liu was going to panic so I just reached over, put my arm around her shoulder and pulled her close. She looked at me a little surprised. Then I moved closer and kissed her. I could feel her hand reach up and thought she was going to push me away, but she did not. She pulled me closer. The men walked by us and said nothing and just kept moving further away. After a few more moments I pulled away because I thought my clever move to keep her quiet was no longer needed. As I pulled away from Liu she pulled me back and gave me another short but sweet kiss. We then got up and followed the men without saying a word to each other, but Liu kept looking at me and kept smiling!

We followed them along to the other trail of stairs that led back down the mountain. They had already gone down two levels when we got to the top of the steps. We could see everything. The paramedics had Mr. Zhang all tied in and secured to the stretcher and six men were carrying him slowly down. The Police had reached the park entrance and were on their way up the stairs but they were going to miss getting these bad men because they were on the wrong set of stairs. Liu grabbed my phone and called the police to let them know. Wow! Instantly I could see them moving over and surrounding the bad guys! We followed down to check the situation out. By the time we got to them the police had the two men secured in handcuffs. We walked by them and we were very close. The guys looked at us but didn’t even know how they got caught. They looked so surprised! Then just as we got beside them Liu took my phone and raised it up so they could both see the photo we took of them. Liu just looked back at them with such an angry glare and just smiled!

When we got to the bottom it was a very busy scene. The ambulance and the police and so many people that were looking on made quite a crowd. We made our way toward the ambulance just as they were putting Mr. Zhang inside. Liu got close and could see the old man was awake. He did not look very good but she went up next to him and handed him his wallet.

She said, “We found your wallet Mr. Zhang.”

He replied with simple words, “My name is not Zhang! Thank you for my wallet.”

Well, Liu was right! We did have a great adventure! It was an amazing day! Neither of us knew or even understood how important this day was for us and how it would completely change our lives. We did not know what the meaning was of Zhang but soon we would. Soon, our lives would be changed forever!

On Monday I was in class when my English teacher came to my math class door. It seems a little odd for her to be here and even more odd that she was asking to see me. She asked me to follow her and she took me down to see the headmaster. When we got there Liu was already there sitting across from him and talking to him. She turned and waved for me to come and sit next to her. The headmaster congratulated us both and gave us both certificate awards for good citizenship and also handed to me and Liu an envelope. Inside was a very special invitation for the two of us to join Mr. Cao, the old man’s real name, for dinner at his home. It was for two weeks time because he was still in the hospital and had to stay there for at least one more week to recover.

The head master told us that Cao was the wealthiest man in Shenzhen and maybe even in all of Guangdong. Liu reached over and took my hand. She didn’t care that we were in front of the headmaster. He actually did not say a word and I could see a smile on his face.

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