In early summer, every part of Qingshui Village was filled with warmth. The midday sun shone through the tree leaves, casting mottled shadows.
In a simple peasant family’s little courtyard, several glistening yellow chicks were chirping and fighting for food. Today was the day when Father Yan went to the market. He had bought the chicks in order to make Yan Mu happy.
“Eat slower.” She slightly bent her waist and sprinkled the chicken feed from the bowl to the ground.
The chicks were like little rolling yellow balls, playing and having fun around Yan Mu. A hint of a smile appeared on Yan Mu’s face, but unfortunately, before she could laugh, her expression changed and she started to cough violently.
“Daughter.” Father Yan, who was originally standing aside, immediately stepped forward. His expression looked nervous, “Your body has just gotten a little better. It’s sunny outside, so why don’t you go inside and rest?‘
“Dad, it’s alright.”
Yan Mu only felt that her sight had turned dark. She held onto the wall and patted her chest. She stood still for a long time before she could somewhat catch her breath.
Now that she thought about it, it had been half a month since she transmigrated into this world. Because of the incompatibility between her soul and the body, she was seriously ill for half a month and was only just able to get out of bed today.
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This matter was something that had to be given further thought.
Father Yan who was beside her, looking at her unpredictable expression, only thought that she was depressed because of her sickly body. “Daughter, you have been in poor health since you were a child. Half a month ago, you had a serious illness. I nearly thought you wouldn’t make it, but fortunately, you survived. Dad will make sure that your body gets better, even if I have to sacrifice everything I have.” Father Yan said while wiping his tears.
His wife had a difficult delivery and died after giving birth to Yan Mu. For the past fourteen years, he had never remarried. He guarded a few acres of barren fields to maintain his family’s livelihood and spent all the money he earned on Yan Mu.
“Dad, don’t worry. I’m alright,” seeing Father Yan’s appearance, Yan Mu felt a little sad in her heart. The original owner’s name was also Yan Mu, she must have died from that serious illness half a month ago, and thus she was able to occupy this body.
And she discovered that due to this body being only sixteen years old, her mind seemed to be affected as well, experiencing the so-called cognitive decline.
The care and attention that Father Yan gave her during this half month she had transmigrated over made Yan Mu, this transmigrator, grow sincere feelings towards him.
While Yan Mu’s side was filled with silent warmth, the neighbouring Hunter Zhang’s house was a reign of terror3血雨腥风 (xuèyǔ-xīngfēng) – foul wind and rain of blood, reign of terror. Both houses were only separated by a short wall, and any loud noises could be clearly heard.
The sound of dishes shattering was heard, followed by a man’s shouting and cursing.
“Little b*stard, laozi 4I, your father (a way to call himself when angry, he’s not his father)asked you to wash the dishes, but you actually dropped them! Today, I must beat you to death!”
“Dad, this little b*stard must have done it on purpose. You must teach him a lesson,” a male voice jeered with schadenfreude.
A wind-splitting sound could be heard, followed by the muffled sound of a bamboo strip hitting flesh.
“Here we go again.” Father Yan couldn’t bear to listen to it anymore and turned his head away, “This Hunter Zhang is really inhuman. If an adult sets a bad example, the child will follow.5上梁不正下梁歪 (shàngliáng bù zhèng xiàliáng wāi) – If the upper beam is not straight, the lower ones will go aslant. — When those above behave unworthily, those below will do the same. Even his son, Dog Egg Zhang6狗蛋 (gǒu dàn) – direct translation would mean dog egg and 张 (zhāng) is his surname, is not a good person.”
“They are beating Yu Yuan again?” Yan Mu frowned.
Yu Yuan was Hunter Zhang’s nephew and was now living in his house.
But, because of Yu Yuan’s unknown birth, Hunter Zhang and his family did not treat his nephew well. Not only did he not care about his meals, but he also made Yu Yuan do heavy work every day. If he wasn’t satisfied, he would beat or scold him. Most of all, Hunter Zhang’s son, Dog Egg Zhang, had been explicitly and implicitly bullying Yu Yuan. He even instigated the children in the village to ostracise Yu Yuan.
After transmigrating, she had been lying in the room for half a month because she was very ill. But even inside the house, she could still hear the sounds of the whole Hunter Zhang family abusing and insulting Yu Yuan every day.
“Exactly.” Father Yan let out a sigh, “After chopping firewood for the whole morning, he was beaten as soon as he got home, and he didn’t even have a bite to eat. This child is really pitiful.”
Yan Mu’s face grew paler and paler and she pursed her lips. She found a small crack on the short wall and peered through to look at Hunter Zhang’s house.
“Little b*stard, you only know how to eat and live for free all day long. I ask you to wash the dishes, and you purposely drop laozi’s bowls!” Hunter Zhang’s hand was holding a bamboo strip. He spat and started to wield the bamboo strip, whipping it on the teenager like a tempest.
The bamboo strip was thin but extremely tough. With every stroke, an additional horrifying bloody mark appeared on the teenager’s body.
Yan Mu felt terrified and her skin trembled after looking at it. As a superficial dog, she only prayed that Hunter Zhang would not hurt Yu Yuan’s face.
Dog Egg Zhang moved a wooden stool and sat to the side. He watched Yu Yuan get beaten, but his face showed not a hint of sympathy, and he was even laughing heartily.
“A bastard who doesn’t even know who his dad is isn’t worthy to live in our house, ptui7sound effect for spitting!” After he said that, he followed Hunter Zhang’s example and spit on Yu Yuan’s face.
The teenager’s figure was thin and weak. His head was hanging low and his hair was swinging down, covering his face. He didn’t cry out in pain, try to extend his hand to block, or even tilt his head.
Even if he was shaking uncontrollably from the pain, he would still kneel there without saying a word, like an isolated island, cut off from the rest of the world.
The teenager’s hands were behind his back. From Yan Mu’s direction, she could see the teenager’s hands were covered with cuts, and the fingertips of his ten fingers were still oozing blood. No wonder he couldn’t hold the dishes properly while he was washing them. Those two hands covered with gashes must have hurt badly when soaked in the plant ash water used to wash the dishes.
Yan Mu was having mixed feelings. The future Grand Councilor of Ye Nation was a powerful minister only under one person and above all others8Only under the Emperor and rank above everyone else who made countless people terrified to even hear his name9闻风丧胆 (wénfēng-sàngdǎn) – the idiom’s direct translation: hear the wind and lose gall – become terror-stricken (or panic-stricken, terrified) at the news. At this moment, he was kneeling in a peasant family’s courtyard in a remote mountain village, being whipped to death with a bamboo strip.
Yu Yuan was the male lead that she had created, so he could be counted as half her child. Although this was all written by her, when she saw Yu Yuan being bullied with her own eyes, Yan Mu still felt uncomfortable at the bottom of her heart.
“Little b*stard.” Tired from beating him, Hunter Zhang sat on a bench and smoked on a pumpkin leaf to rest.
Yu Yuan was still kneeling on the ground. His body moved and half of his blood and sweat-stained face was revealed.
“Uncle10Husband of mother’s sister, his aunt’s husband has given a good beating.” Yu Yuan looked up and showed an empty smile. He looked like a mannequin no matter what he said, his facial expression still looked extremely hollow and thin. But Yan Mu felt that even a vacant expression on that slightly childish face was still breathtaking.
His brows were slightly frowning, and his long fine lashes resembled a butterfly spreading its wings. The teenager’s pupils were extremely black, like condensed ink. The sunlight was fermenting in his eyes, and even the clouds were intoxicated by them. He had a very fair complexion, it could even be said to be sickly pale, like a block of ice emitting cold air under sunlight. This sickly pallor made his eyes seem even darker.
His lips were red as blood, exuding an alluring beauty.
He was simply too handsome, to the point that Yan Mu’s legs felt like jelly. When she had first created Yu Yuan’s persona, she had designed his face to be hundred percent in line with her own aesthetics.
She had only imagined it in her mind before this, but when she really saw Yu Yuan’s face, Yan Mu finally understood what “beauty critical hit” meant.
Tsk tsk tsk11tongue clicking sound, what a waste of a treasure. Facing such a handsome face, how did Hunter Zhang and his son bear to ruin it?
Yan Mu felt so sorry for him that her little face was all scrunched up.
“Sweep up the broken pieces. If you leave out a single shard, laozi will break your legs!” Hunter Zhang took a few strong puffs of pumpkin leaf and said without even looking at Yu Yuan, “What bad luck to see your girly face!”
“Alright, uncle.” Yu Yuan lowered his head and slowly climbed up from the ground.
His thin clothes were torn and tattered by the bamboo strip strokes, and they were also stained with blood. His exposed skin was covered with old and new crisscrossing scars, and some were even festering.
Yu Yuan was completely indifferent towards his wounds, his back was still as straight as a pine in winter.
“By the way, I’m going hunting tomorrow. You’ll have to prepare the meal and water and follow along.” Hunter Zhang suddenly added, “You aren’t allowed to steal food, there’s no portion for you.” Yu Yuan’s movements suddenly slowed, and he soon paused to think about something before he whispered an “okay.”
Having just gone through such a severe beating, Yu Yuan had a hard time walking. He limped past the short wall, and as if sensing something, he abruptly turned his head around.
Yan Mu, who was hiding behind the wall and peeping, was startled and hurriedly tilted her body sideways.
Even though Yan Mu knew that Yu Yuan couldn’t have seen her, after all, she had peeped first, so she felt extremely guilty.
Across the short wall, she heard Hunter Zhang impatiently ask, “What’s wrong?”
“It’s nothing, uncle,” Yu Yuan replied obediently, “This wall is a little worn out, I’ll take some mud to fix it some other day.”
“Okay,” Hunter Zhang snorted in satisfaction.
Listening to Yu Yuan’s footsteps fading away, Yan Mu’s wildly beating heart only slowly calmed down.
This weak body was unable to tolerate any scares. Yan Mu’s sight had turned dark, so she remained still to recover.
After recovering, Yan Mu summoned the courage to go in front and have a look again. As expected, Yu Yuan had already left.
…… Yu Yuan shouldn’t have seen her, right? Yan Mu was a little torn.
As the author, shouldn’t she help the male lead? After all, every month, she would need Yu Yuan’s kiss to replenish her lifespan. She must at least have a good relationship with Yu Yuan, otherwise, she wouldn’t be able to get close to him, let alone kissing?
“What’s wrong, daughter?” Father Yan was looking at Yan Mu’s expression with a trace of uncertainty, “What did you see?”
“Dad, I……” Yan Mu stammered for some time, but in the end, she still changed what she was about to say, “It’s nothing.”
The Yan Family was indeed not well-off, and they all depended on Father Yan alone to support them. On top of that, Yan Mu’s monthly medical expenses were like a bottomless pit.
There was really no extra money in the house. Although she really wanted to help Yu Yuan, she had no face to ask for money from Father Yan.
Anyway, she had to find a way to get closer to Yu Yuan……
Yan Mu secretly made up her mind.
Edited by: Gaze