A quarter of an hour later, we are already sitting in a private room of a restaurant, outside the building is lively and full of people, inside the building is filled with the tender voices of chatting women, bringing along a different kind of refined vibe. Yuwen Rui is currently talking about the old days with Bai Wei’s older brother, and Bai Wei is also explaining what had happened with a smile.
That trio of scoundrels from before are the famous wealthy playboys of Qing Yun City, one time, they held wretched intentions after seeing the young and beautiful Bai Wei at the temple, just as they were about to lay their hands on her, that oldest brother of the Bai Clan – Bai Jian Fei – had arrived just in time, giving the three of them a good beating. The Bai Clan is amongst the top tier of wealthy families in the city, those three people may have borne the thoughts for revenge, but they are unable to do anything to Bai Jian Fei in the open, hence why the scene of them dealing with Bai Wei in the shadows had occurred before. The three of them had sent a beautiful woman to occupy Bai Jian Fei, originally thinking that they are finally able to smoothly carry out a bad deed this time, but didn’t think that Yuwen Rui and I would suddenly pop up, and even tragically gotten a hefty beating from Yuwen Rui……
Those three scoundrels sure are rather miserable.
Not to mention, turns out that Bai Jian Fei and Yuwen Rui are old acquaintances, three years ago, Bai Jian Fei was taking his first younger sister back to the estate, and stayed at an inn during the journey. Who knew that inn is a shady business, the worker seized his first sister to threaten Bai Jian Fei, just that when Bai Jian Fei was ready to submit himself under a moment of helplessness, in came a handsome gentleman, the gentleman lazily shows up with a look of displeasure, casually raising his hand and quickly takes care of the worker holding the hostage, and lightly says two words: “So noisy.”
……I’m speechless, may I ask, did he only come out because his sleep was disturbed?
But regardless of what Yuwen Rui’s original intentions were, that group of robbers had indeed all been beaten down by him, and Bai Jian Fei also saw this handsome gentleman that ‘acted out of righteousness’ ‘fighting back in face of injustice’ as a life saviour ––– of course, I sincerely believe that Great Master Yuwen had only thrown a grumpy morning temper.
Three years after that meeting, Bai Jian Fei encounters Yuwen Rui once again, and this time, Yuwen Rui had once again swept in to save his second younger sister, at this point, Bai Jian Fei is stirred up.
“Yu Wen, after the farewell three years ago, I was still thinking when we will ever meet again, didn’t think that when we meet again, you had once again saved a younger sister of mine! Hahaha, every time we meet, I have to owe you a favour, truly is shameful, shameful ah!” Bai Jian Fei says this with a bright smile.
I crunch down on the green fruit, thinking to myself, had Bai Jian Fei been at the scene before, what reaction would he have? But when I see the admiration for Yuwen Rui in his eyes, not concealed in the slightest, I sigh, guessing that even if he was there at the scene, he would still be able to twist the facts to say Yuwen Rui had the intention to save people.
Blindness is far too frightening, *shivers*.
Compared to Bai Jian Fei’s enthusiasm, Yuwen Rui appears much more calm and courteous, “Brother Bai is too courteous.”
“A great brat, haven’t seen for a few years and you still have this tone.” Bai Jian Fei lightly punches Yuwen Rui’s chest, “Really haven’t changed one bit!”
A smile flows out from within Yuwen Rui’s eyes, “Brother Bai hasn’t changed one bit either.”
“Haha, I shall hold a feast at the estate tomorrow, to greatly thank you, you mustn’t reject this now.”
“Since that is so, obedience is better than politeness.”
“I shall be waiting for you at the estate tomorrow then!” Bai Jian Fei looks towards me, asking with a smile: “I almost forgotten, this lady is Yu Wen’s……”
I spit out the seed, “Cousin.”
Yuwen Rui’s long eyes slightly narrows, a cold shine flashing past.
“So Yu Wen has such an adorable cousin.” Bai Jian Fei says: “Does Yu Wen perhaps still remember my first younger sister?”
Yuwen Rui takes a moment to think about it, lightly saying: “Called Bai Qiang, right?”
“Yu Wen has great memory.” Bai Jian Fei’s smile slightly fades, sighing as he says: “I remember Qiang-er had even spoken up to call you Yu Wen back then……ai~, you will also be able to see her tomorrow.”
Yuwen Rui somewhat isn’t able to buy his sadness, only responding with a sound of “en” and nothing else.
Bai Wei leans into my ear, helplessly laughing, “May Lady be forgiving, my brother is just such a frank character.”
I stuff a plum into my mouth, “A frank character is good.” Only those of a frank character can become friends with a mensao, is that not right?
On the way back to the inn, Great Master Yuwen is still maintaining a cold expression on that pretty face, he takes the lead in walking in front of me, just that when the distance between us widens a little, he would unknowingly slow down his steps, until we restore the original distance. Step by step, I walk on his stretched-out shadow, when there is always someone waiting for you in front, some things become taken for granted.
On the afternoon of the next day, we go to the Bai Estate, Bai Jian Fei warmly receives us, just that a little problem occurred in the middle of it. Yuwen Rui sits on the left of Bai Jian Fei, and when I was about to sit on Yuwen Rui’s left, I was invited by Bai Jian Fei to sit on his right, sitting opposite to Yuwen Rui. Not long after, Bai Wei and an approximately thirteen/fourteen year old young woman enters, Bai Wei greets us with a smile, and that young woman just sets her gaze on Yuwen Rui, not saying a word.
That young woman is fair-skinned, facial features rather ordinary, but lucky to have a pair of black sparkling eyes, brightening up that face a lot more. The young woman appears a little cold, not sparing anyone a glance when entering, she just looks at Yuwen Rui like that, as though he is the only person in here.
Just as I have guessed who this young woman is, I hear Bai Jian Fei call out: “Qiang-er, you’re here.” He stands and walks over to that young woman, bringing her to sit down on the seat beside Yuwen Rui, pointing at Yuwen Rui as he says: “Does Qiang-er perhaps still remember who he is?”
Bai Qiang falls silent for a long time, finally nodding very lightly.
“Haha, Yu Wen, Qiang-er deeply remembers you – this life saviour ah.” Bai Jian Fei says as though joking around.
Yuwen Rui lightly hooks up his thin lips, lightly smiling, “Eldest Young Lady Bai, long time no see.”
Bai Qiang is still silently gazing at him, exceptionally focused.
Seeing this, Bai Jian Fei is even more elated, ordering the maid to serve the dishes and then returns to his own seat. Meanwhile, Bai Wei had already seated herself beside me, she tugs at me sleeve under the table, writing six words on the palm of my hand, “My sister doesn’t like to speak.”
I smile at her, but inside, I feel rather surprised, that Bai Qiang only looks about thirteen/fourteen years old, whilst Bai Wei is at least fifteen/sixteen years old, but Bai Wei is Bai Qiang’s younger sister……
I pour myself a cup of tea, see no discourtesy, hear no discourtesy, think of no discourtesy, it’s useless to overthink it.
After the dishes have been served, Bai Jian Fei reminisces the days with Yuwen Rui that year, Yuwen Rui would add in a few words from time to time too, then Bai Jian Fei would divert the topic of conversation onto Bai Qiang, nothing more than “does Qiang-er perhaps still remember……” “back then, Qiang-er towards Yu Wen……” and so on, towards this, Yuwen Rui is still quietly maintaining that faint smile, and towards Yuwen Rui, the look in Bai Qiang’s eyes would warm up a little.
This Bai Jian Fei’s intentions sure are very blatant.
As I observe that side of the table, I stuff the shrimp – head removed, tail removed, shell not yet removed – into my mouth, after chewing it a few times, I swallow the shrimp meat with the shell, just when I was thinking this shrimp sure is delicious, I abruptly meet Yuwen Rui’s cold and sharp eyes, frightening me into biting my own tongue with a slight tremble.
I tearfully bear the pain as I lower my head, Cousin, I didn’t deliberately not remove the shell, just that removing the shell is such a nuisance, I think that with the time spent on removing the shells, I could eat a few more shrimps……
After receiving such a glare from him, I don’t even dare to eat another shrimp, just as I picked up the chopsticks to choose from the dishes, I see Yuwen Rui say something to the maid behind him, then that maid directly takes the little plate that Yuwen Rui passes to her and walks over to my side. Only after the plate is placed down, do I see that it is a plate of neat and clean shrimps, removed from the shells, I don’t hold back in the slightest as I stuff a big piece of shrimp meat into my mouth, leaving the deliciously fresh shrimp taste to spread.
At this time, Bai Jian Fei’s smile immediately stiffens, whilst Bai Qiang’s face abruptly turns cold, towards all this, Yuwen Rui remains unaffected, a clear and cold voice lightly saying: “My cousin has considerably clumsy hands.”
I chew on the shrimp meat, calmly deciding to ignore these words, is it a sin to have clumsy hands? Of course not.
Bai Jian Fei’s expression is very quickly adjusted, just that one can still sense that he is no longer as excited as before, and Bai Qiang is still quiet and cold, not saying a word, as though she’s someone that doesn’t exist.
The meal was eaten within a strange atmosphere.
After the meal, Bai Jian Fei takes Yuwen Rui to take a look at his weapon collection, and Bai Qiang is taken back to her room by the servants to drink her medicine, I wander around the garden with Bai Wei, occasionally teasing Xiao Bai who keeps chasing its tail in circles.
“Lady Mu.” Bai Wei suddenly speaks up, sounding a little apologetic as she says: “I’m truly sorry for what happened just now, my older brother really does act inappropriately.”
I hold Xiao Bai and grab its tail, smiling towards her, “It’s nothing.”
Bai Wei strokes Xiao Bai’s head, softly saying: “My older sister had an accident when she was seven, ever since then, her growth has become a lot slower than the average person, and she has no longer spoke to other people again. The trip three years ago was Brother taking Sister out to play and relax, but who would have thought that a problem would arise. Luckily Gentleman Yu Wen had offered a helping hand to save them, and on the day they separated with Gentleman Yu Wen, Sister had actually called out gentleman’s name……”
She lets out a sigh, “Brother had always felt that Sister’s accident was caused by him, so throughout all these years, he has been wanting to make my sister happy. He knows that Sister must like Gentleman Yu Wen, three years ago, he knew of this too late, so right now, he is thinking of ways to bring the two together……” She covers her mouth and lightly giggles, mischievously looking at me, “But who would have known that Gentleman Yu Wen already has someone in his heart.”
I lightly say: “How could you be so sure that he likes me, should you have guessed wrongly, then you would have ruined your older sister’s marriage fate.”
“See wrong?” Bai Wei harrumphs, “How is that possible?”
“The way Gentleman Yu Wen looked at you last night……” She curls her finger and gently knocks it onto my forehead, “As long as one is human, they would know how annoyed at you he was, and how much he was annoyed with you, represents how much he cares about you.”
I’m a little surprised, is Yuwen Rui that obvious? Or is Bai Wei overthinking it?
“You ah, you,” Bai Wei shakes her head, “Unable to appreciate the happiness you own.”
“Happiness?” I raise my brows, lightly smiling as I say: “And how would you know if it is happiness?” I point at the lotus in full bloom, inside the pond not far from us, and say: “We only know how beautiful the lotus flower is able to bloom, but just how many people are able to see the filth underneath?”
Bai Wei slightly pauses, then tenderly smiles, “Silly.”
“The roots of the lotus are filthy, this is a fact.” Her soft and gentle voice slowly says, speaking as gently as the slight breeze that blows across the surface of the water, “But would you deny its beauty because of its underlying filth?”
I lower my eyes, “The period of blooming is so short-lived, but it is different for people.” Because the period of living is far too long, hence the existence of far too many unknown changes, causing people to be afraid, to be at unease, lest everything will be lost in the end.
“Truly silly.” Bai Wei’s voice may be soft, but it carries a firmness that cannot be denied, “I often hear the aunties say that the men of the world are all fickle-hearted, I have also liked a fickle-hearted man before, but I still remember my mother telling me, in this world there are thousands and thousands of fickle-hearted people, but amongst the many people, there will ultimately be a man that is only able to hold one person in their eyes, would stingily be unwilling to share the slightest trace of tender feelings with another, only loving that one person from start to end, affections running deep, will never do her wrong.”
Her delicately slender fingers lifts my hair, shallowly smiling as she says: “Lady Mu, do you believe this?”
I suddenly find it funny, mumbling: “Hold one person in their eyes, would stingily be unwilling to share the slightest trace of tender feelings with another, only loving that one person from start to end, affections running deep, will never do her wrong……”
“Why not believe it?” She takes Xiao Bai from my arms, rubbing against it, “Should there come a day he marries someone else……”
Yuwen Rui marry someone else?
I raise my eyes, hooking my lips into a smile, “How is that possible?”
“Look at your arrogance.” Bai Wei says in dissatisfaction: “Afraid you have already reached a final decision yourself, just that you don’t want Gentleman Yu Wen to have it easy.”
I lightly smile and say nothing, Bai Wei ah, Bai Wei, do you perhaps know of men’s inferiority? The easier it is to get, the less they would cherish it, the more difficult it is to obtain, only then, would they put their all into doting and loving. Should I love somebody again, I must have that person love me to the bones first, their eyes unable to hold anyone else at all, must have him remain firm and unyielding, no matter how many obstacles are faced, he wouldn’t change his original intentions, no matter if he loves me or hates me, he mustn’t bear to leave me behind.
Love is no more than a war, whoever perseveres the longest, whoever shall stand triumphant in the end.
Two days later, the three siblings of the Bai Clan came to the city gates to send us away, Bai Jian Fei said a whole lot of words to keep us behind, but Yuwen Rui just lightly smiles and says there are still matters to attend to. Bai Qiang is still gazing at Yuwen Rui quietly, lips trembling a few times, but still no words come out.
Yuwen Rui’s handsome face carries a light smile, “Brother Jian Fei, Eldest Young Lady, Second Young Lady, no need to send us off any further, let us bid our farewells here now, may we meet again in future.”
Bai Qiang’s body is shook upon hearing these words, her hand reaching out, wanting to grab Yuwen Rui’s hand, but was avoided with his casual turn of the body. Yuwen Rui seems to have not seen Bai Qiang’s action, raising his eyes to coldly say to me: “Aren’t you going to quickly get in the carriage?”
Bai Wei leans in towards my ear and quietly say, “Gentleman Yu Wen sure is pitiful.”
I ignore her, taking the snacks she’s gifted me and head towards the horse carriage, just that, right when I walked in front of Yuwen Rui, I feel a sudden pain in my knee, followed by my entire person crashing into his arms. Yuwen Rui does not hold back at all in holding my waist, all whilst using a helpless and apologetic tone as he says to Bai Jian Fei: “How embarrassing, Cousin isn’t just clumsy with her hands, is even clumsy with her feet.”
I angrily widen my eyes in his arms, heck Yuwen Rui, you’re really able to say that out loud, could it be that the little stone just now, had flown into my knee by itself then?
I couldn’t help but to start deeply thinking about one question: between Yuwen Rui and I, exactly who is the more pitiful one?