Gantes looked at the money in his hands. He remembered his past when he was still living in the city. It was that time when he stole a money from a tourist but was eventually caught by Mr. Ricardo - the kind and most patient policeman he ever knew.
He remembered the wise words the unforgettable police answered to his question.
"Mr. Ricardo, which is more important. Money or friends?" The young Gantes asked.
"I am pretty sure that Jagua have told you that money matters the most am I right?" Mr. Ricardo asked Gantes that left him amazed. Just how did he know? Gantes thought.
"Well, Gantes, altough money is quite an important necessity, friends are more important for me. Time will come that you would lose all your money but you will still have that true friend that will stick with you no matter what."
Mr. Ricardo spoke with confidence while Gantes looked at his magnificent figure with deep respect and admiration. Then, Mr. Ricardo added:
"A true friend will accept you no matter who you are Gantes. They will never judge you and will help you and even protect you in times of need. When time comes that you meet this kind of people, listen to your heart and keep them okay?"
The young Gantes nodded in response.
At present, back in the forest, Gantes has a faint smile in his face. His hand pulled out the five hundred peso bill from his pocket which he stole a while ago and handed it to Chiko.
"Here is your money. I am sorry for stealing it from you and thank you for understanding me." Gantes said with a warm smile to Chiko. Despite Gantes's troublesome nature, he is actually a good hearted man.
Chiko's hand stopped him and pushed the money back slowly while shaking his head. He is convinced that Gantes is still a good man despite of his scary and intimidating appearance. His eyes glowed with respect and admiration with the man's action.
"Why don't we eat first." Chiko said as he slowly turned around towards the exit.
This simple yet meaningful action only means that he harboured no hate nor enmity towards Gantes. He could not help but respect Chiko's character.
"But this is your money, take it first!" Gantes shouted to the leaving Chiko.
"You need it more than I do, so it is yours. If you got money, you can pay me later on with additional five percent interest. Mind you, the interest will double after one month." Chiko looked back and started talking about terms and condition for payment which left Gantes in confusion and helplessness.
"I am just joking bro. It is only natural to help one another. Time will come that I or other people might need your help too. When that comes, I hope we can depend on your kindness too.." Chiko added with a warm smile towards Gantes.
Gantes was taken aback with Chiko's words. It was the kind of words that Mr. Ricardo would usually say to him, but this time, this simple looking young man before him is spouting those same words. He looked at the latter and his eyes widened in surprise. He can see an image of Mr. Ricardo standing beside Chiko as if the latter is introducing him to the young man.
Gantes rubbed his eyes to make sure he is seeing perfectly fine but when he looked back, the image of Mr. Ricardo is gone. However, Gantes already got his message. He has found a true friend in this young man before him.
Gantes shook his head in awe of this seemingly business-minded but honest and sincere person. Suddenly, Yang came in from the entrance and suddenly collapsed to the ground while catching his breath. He was too tired to stand and talk after tracking the two for almost an hour in the middle of the forest.
Seeing his friend catching his breath on the ground, Chiko seems to have recalled something and a light flashed through his eyes. He turned around to face Gantes and said:
"Actually, I have a proposition to you that you might find interesting." Chiko looked at Gantes with interest and the latter gazed back in curiosity.
"You see, this friend here of mine and I is actually in need of a third member to complete our team for the sepak takraw try-out," Chiko said excitedly.
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