Nan Ge Er realized something was really wrong! He didn’t mean there was something wrong with the state of affairs in the district. Instead, it was about the o great Mo Shu’s attitude towards him, which had a slight change from before.
To be specific, Mo Shu began to love going out together with him and forbid anyone from having any bodily contact with him. Sometimes, he would even harass him via actions like rubbing or touching… Although Nan Ge Er always expressed disdain towards Mo Shu, he noticed he didn’t really dislike Mo Shu touching him—but it would be best if he could stop being so annoying. The year was peaceful as always; Nan Ge Er requested others to purchase a few plum trees again.
As usual, he opened his stall, accompanied Mo Shu on a stroll whenever he was free, occasionally getting mad at Mo Shu after that, and found himself not knowing whether to cry or to laugh at the residents’ teasing… Every day was normal and peaceful as always. One day, during autumn, Xiao Xia went looking for Nan Ge Er, wanting to play together with him.
Due to the accumulated documents Mo Shu had to look through, he was unable to go along. Thus, he warned Nan Ge Er repeatedly not to let Xiao Xia touch him, while also hinting and stating that Nan Ge Er belonged to him, and requested Xiao Xia not to get his fingers on him. In the end, he only relented when Nan Ge Er, being at the end of his patience, summoned Zhu Xi. He pitifully looked on as the two similarly aged children went away to the river bank. Zhu Xi even threw a few words at him coldly, “Old man, there’s no use being envious, they are of the same age.”
Usually being the culprit who frustrated others, the fellow finally became the victim who was angered and rendered speechless by another. His face was filled with worry and despair as he looked at the two walking out of the office door. Little kiddo Xia JiaFu always liked picking up people from the river bank. Of course, he still went to the river bank today. As usual, he found someone there. Nan Ge Er squatted in front of an unconscious man, having no words as he looked at Xiao Xia…Do you have some kind of peculiar magnetic field?!
Xiao Xia didn’t look astonished at all. He joyfully squatted down too, poking the body with a stick from who knows where, “Another one.” His expression appeared to be rather cheery. That made Nan Ge Er even more speechless.
“How are you planning to deal with that?” Nan Ge Er asked after thinking for quite some time.
“How to deal with that?” Xiao Xia seemed to find Nan Ge Er’s question weird as he shot a dumbfounded glance at him, “Return him, of course.”
“Return him?” Nan Ge Er didn’t understand.
“Guang Tian doesn’t need outsiders.” Xiao Xia’s smile elatedly.
“…At the start, I was an outsider too.” Nan Ge Er reminded.
“Mn, but you’re just like a dead person with that state of yours.” Xiao Xia laughed, “Most probably, not only did the people you met in the past wanted you to die, they wanted to torture you to death too.” He looked at Nan Ge Er with his head tilted, “So, even if you were brought back alive, you would still lose all interest in the outside world.”
Despite knowing the wretched state he was in then, he still felt a little stifled when that was bluntly stated by Xiao Xia…So, at that time, I was forced into a state where my willpower will still be lost even if alive?
He still remembered the reason why he arrived here and the three years he spent in the pitch black, day less, damp water prison. He even remembered he was formerly a prince in Bei Jun. He only knew the days then were dark and unendurable, but had gradually forgotten the anguish and despair suffered during that period. Maybe he instinctively was unwilling to remember the pitiful situation then, so his brain wiped those memories clean.
“That’s why Nan Ge Er belongs to Guang Tian.” Xiao Xia laughed before dropping his line of sight down towards the unconscious man on the river bank, “As for this person, although his body has wounds, they aren’t life-threatening. Although he’s unconscious, he doesn’t have any internal injuries. It would be bad for Guang Tian if he stayed.”
“He might let out the existence of Guang Tian?” Nan Ge Er asked.
Xiao Xia smiled, “As expected, Nan Ge Er knows.”
“Mn.” He nodded. In truth, he had already surmised that Guang Tian’s existence was probably unknown to the four countries in the continent. If not, it was impossible for the people in Guang Tian to live such cozy lives, since kings really wouldn’t feel at ease about the concealed strength of Guang Tian.
The river bank was probably the only place freely accessible to the outside, which was why Xiao Xia was specifically in charge of the area and would patrol there daily.
Pondering for a bit, Xiao Xia poked Nan Ge Er with his finger, “Do you like it here?” He asked again, “Do you like us?”
Nan Ge Er paused for a while before replying, “What if I said no? Will you push me into the river too?”
Xiao Xia widened his eyes, “How is that possible?” He laughed, “Since all of us like you, so if you dislike us, it means that we aren’t doing enough. We will have to treat you even better, and make you like it here, and us.”
“Huh?” Nan Ge Er froze a little.
“Isn’t that so?” Xiao Xia asked, “Liking someone means yielding to that someone. That’s what my mum told me.”
A slight moment of silence later, Nan Ge Er smiled, “Mn.”
“What do you mean by ‘Mn’?” Xiao Xia was always a dense little doll; Nan Ge Er’s reply confused him even more.
Nan Ge Er heaved a small sigh before answering with a laugh, “I mean I like it here too; I like Guang Tian and you all.”
Now, he finally understood. It’s alright; it wasn’t late. Or should I say, I was only able to understand all that due to everyone accommodating to me?
Nan Ge Er stood up and spoke to Xiao Xia, “In that case, push him into the water.”
Xiao Xia was a little dumbfounded as he replied, “I thought you wouldn’t approve of it.”
“Why?” Nan Ge Er asked with a chuckle.
“When you saw the guy, your eyes widened a bit, so I thought he’s probably your acquaintance.” Xiao Xia remarked.
Nan Ge Er nodded, “He is, formerly.” He then laughed, “The only people I know now are you guys.” The man was a military officer in Bei Jun, who he had seen before. Even high-level officers drifted here with injuries; Bei Jun’s military state seemed to be dire, huh?
Xiao Xia stood up as well, reaching his hand out to stroke Nan Ge Er’s head, “Poor Nan Ge Er, you must have recalled some terrible memories.” He was just a bit taller than Nan Ge Er, so touching Nan Ge Er’s head was easy for him.
Nan Ge Er made a face, “I don’t need your pity at all.” Exactly how miserable am I that this moronic guy ended up pitying me?
With a kick, Xiao Xia sent the unfortunate guy back into the river, “Alright, let’s go.” The efficiency of his actions made it evident that he was actually skilled at it… However, the strength of his kick probably wasn’t small; the injuries might have worsened …
Nan Ge Er squinted his eyes at the fellow drifting on the river, speaking after some thought, “Fish him up.”
“Huh?” Xiao Xia had already walked two steps ahead; he turned around after hearing Nan Ge Er’s words, feeling a little flabbergasted.
“I saw his fingers move just now.” Nan Ge Er commented flatly.
In a slight daze, Xiao Xia asked, “Kill him?”
“Mn.” Nan Ge Er’s reply was instant.
“Of course.” Nan Ge Er revealed a smile, “I’ve made such decisions too many times.” When I was in Bei Jun then, who knows how many people were executed due to an ill-considered thought of mine. The present me can do so as well. If the existence of Guang Tian were exposed, the peacefulness now would instantly turn into bubbles, and some might even die from it. The possibility of people, who stated their love for me, dying due to my negligence… I definitely can’t tolerate that. I don’t know if he would survive, but I can’t afford to gamble. I’m someone who doesn’t like to take chances, never doing something I have no certainty of. No matter if I’m in that palace or Guang Tian, this part of me will never change.
Hearing Nan Ge Er’s words, Xiao Xia stopped talking. He jumped high up the sky straightaway, stepping onto the water. The cold knife in his hand was raised up, before plunging down. The guy, who began struggling, was chopped into pieces in an instant. Even his cries were cut short; the bloodied waters were the only thing left behind to be swept away by the river. Xiao Xia sheathed his knife and stepped out from the waters, not a single trace of blood in sight.
Noticing Xiao Xia’s grave expression, Nan Ge Er laughed with slight resignation, “Are you thinking that I’m quite different from the fragile Nan Ge Er in your mind? That I’m scary?”
Xiao Xia walked towards Nan Ge Er’s side, turning his head to him. Although his clothes were clean, due to the murder committed just then, the smell of blood on him was unavoidable.
“Nope.” Xiao Xia shook his head, “I’ve done such acts quite a number of times.” Pondering for a while, he continued, “Actually, I noticed the guy was awake too; I realized he was breathing. I was planning to let someone swim in the river and intercept him.”
“You didn’t want me to see that?” Nan Ge Er smiled.
“Mn.” Xiao Xia nodded while placing his knife on to his waist, stroking Nan Ge Er’s head with his hand after that, “Nan Ge Er must have met really terrible situations, and so became like us.” Nan Ge Er was stunned. “You must have turned cruel due to the desire of protecting something, but ended up still drifting here?” Xiao Xia’s tone had a slight resignation to it. Nan Ge Er smiled, not a single word uttered.
“Don’t do this kind of stuff next time.” Xiao Xia rubbed on Nan Ge Er’s hair as he laughed, “We will do that; you don’t have to.”
Nan Ge Er’s body shook a little, he gazed at Xiao Xia, looking a little dumb.
“I think that’s what everyone hopes for too.” Xiao Xia chuckled, “Just live here peacefully, accompany Mo Shu-xiansheng, chat and bicker with neighbors, storytell near the government office doors during free time. All of that will be enough. You shouldn’t do this kind of stuff. You are so weak, and your body’s condition isn’t good too; such stuff isn’t suitable for you. You only have to take good care of yourself. Don’t worry about anything else; we will deal with that. We only hope Nan Ge Er can live here peacefully.”
Nan Ge Er lifted his head up in a daze, looking at Xiao Xia’s youthful face. His sight slowly turned blurry. Maybe I’m always hoping for someone to tell me that. There’s no need to do something with all your might; do whatever you please, so long as you live freely, it’s fine.
“So, do whatever you like, you don’t have to care about us, because we will protect you. You can live whatever life you want. We still feel that Nan Ge Er is more suited to a normal life, greeting everyone with a smile. Mn, that’s that. So… Huh? Hey! Why are you crying?! Ugh, don’t cry, I wasn’t bullying you just now! Don’t cry! Oh no, oh no, Mo Shu-xiansheng will definitely get even with me! Hey, hey! Nan Ge Er, don’t cry anymore, Sorry. Why not next time I –erm- I will stop snatching away your food next time, alright? Uh, I- I- I heard you like fish. I’ll catch one in the river now, wait for me. Please don’t cry, Da Ye!”
“Idiot, the river was stained by murder just now, how would I be able to stomach a fish from it?” Nan Ge Er still made a face while having blobs of tears raining down heavily on his face.