Ring The Chime Of Grievance Chapter 1 part1

Ring The Chime Of Grievance Chapter 1 part1

The plane arrived in Lanzhou at about 7pm. A young woman raised the window shade and looked down at the mountains and gullies that went on endlessly.

After exiting the plane, Ji Tangtang boarded the airport shuttle. From her research, the ride into the city would take another half hour.

Sitting next to her was a tanned man. When the ticket seller came to collect payment, Ji Tangtang overheard their conversation with the man, and he spoke in the local dialect.

China was a big place and people spoke a different language in every town. It was well within reason that Ji Tangtang couldn’t understand them. She turned her head to the side, about to rest a bit, when the man asked her, “Is this your bag?”

Likely because he could tell she was from out of town, he spoke to her with rough Mandarin. Ji Tangtang looked to where he pointed. It was the backpack that she’d stuffed full—60 liters full. A camping groundsheet sat on the top, and a hiking pole hung off the side.

“Mm.”

“You a backpacker?” the man asked with a laugh.

His laugh made Ji Tangtang feel a bit uncomfortable. She turned her head away and ignored him.

“Traveling by yourself?” he continued to ask.

“No.” She gave a short reply and quickly closed her eyes.

The man didn’t speak again, but Ji Tangtang could still feel his eyes on her. Such an undisguised stare would make anyone uneasy. She didn’t open her eyes, but a frown appeared on her face.

Not too long after that, the bus came to a sudden stop. The ticket seller cleared his voice and announced, “We’ve arrived downtown. Move quickly if you’re getting off.”

Ji Tangtang immediately stood up, and the man made space for her. He looked up, as if about to say something to her, but she ignored him. She grabbed her 60 liter bag and hopped off the bus.

A bearded man sitting behind them laughed. He gave the other man a pat on the back and said, “That kind’s not good for picking up.”

“For real!” the man replied without much concern. After having a laugh, he stood up and grabbed his own bag from the luggage rack.

He glanced out the window and saw Ji Tangtang getting into a green taxi.

The taxi pulled up to the entrance of a hotel, The Guest’s Home. Ji Tangtang paid the driver and then walked inside and up to the reception desk.

A sunny-faced young man greeted her with a smile. “Hello, Miss. Do you have a reservation?”

Ji Tangtang shook her head and pulled out her ID and three 100 yuan bills. “Single room.”

The young man accepted the money and then pushed one of the bills back to her. “Single rooms are only ¥188.”

Ji Tangtang smiled and responded, “Please book me a ticket to Xiahe for the morning.”

He seemed a bit taken aback. His eyes swept over her backpack, and then he asked, “You’re going there… for leisure?”

“Mm.”

“By yourself?” He was definitely surprised.

“Yes.” Ji Tangtang wasn’t as wary as she’d previously been.

The young man didn’t say anything to that. He lowered his head and booked her room, and then he handed over her change and room card. “Third floor, 310.”

As Ji Tangtang put her change into her wallet, the young man hesitated, but finally called out, “Ms… Ji?”

“Yes?” Ji Tangtang looked up.

“If possible, it’s best to avoid traveling there alone.” The young man seemed a bit nervous as he added, “It’s… a Tibetan region there.”

“And? Are the Tibetans unfriendly?” Ji Tangtang asked with a smile.

“That’s not it. But… We have different customs, so it’s easy for conflict to arise.”

He looked up and exchanged a glance with her. His face reddened a bit, and he quickly lowered his head again.

“Oh…” Ji Tangtang nodded. “I see.”

She didn’t mention a change in her plans as she headed up with her backpack.

The young man watched as she left, and suddenly, a hand landed on his back. “Lin, what are you looking at?”

From just his voice, he knew it was Wang, who also worked at the reception desk. Lin glanced over towards where Ji Tangtang had disappeared. “That girl’s going to Xiahe tomorrow morning. Get a ticket for an early bus.”

“By herself?” Wang asked with surprise. He couldn’t quite believe it as he asked again, “By herself?”

“Right?” Lin sighed.

“She’s courting death,” Wang scoffed. “Where’s she from?”

“Beijing.”

“Instead of staying in her nice city, she’s going to that god-forsaken place? She thinks it’s still our land and that everyone’s content with their lot…” Wang muttered a bit and then leaned into Lin. “Hey, who was that girl before? Ling Xiaowan? Did they ever find her?”

Ling Xiaowan had made a reservation at the hotel last month. She reserved a room for her third day out of Lanzhou, having planned to spend just two days in Xiahe. But when the third day of her trip came, she didn’t arrive at the hotel. On the fourth and fifth days, there was still no sign of her person, though some of her luggage had arrived. At first, no one had thought much about it. But when her family called asking about her, they found out that she’d gone missing.

Later on, they found out that Ling Xiaowan had gotten off the bus on the way to Xiahe. She’d apparently met some other backpackers on the bus, and they’d decided to book their own car and check out some scenic spots. And that was the last they’d heard of her.

Lin had been working the reception desk for three years now, and he’d seen at least four or five instances of travelers going missing. It wasn’t so rare as to be surprising, but he felt a bit of sympathy for the girls. They were all quite young, but then they vanished, just like that.

Ji Tangtang had a nice look to her. Lin thought she was quite amiable, and he didn’t want to send her into danger, however small the chance was.