Yu Yuan seemed surprised by her words and didn’t immediately react.
Yan Mu propped up her chin and looked at Yu Yuan, watching the teenager’s almost transparently pale white ears gradually turn into a peachy pink, and then to a gorgeous, camellia red. He sullenly turned his head away and flipped through the textbook by himself.
Yan Mu lowered her head and smiled like the cat that got the canary1偷吃灯油的小耗子 – like a little mouse that had stolen the oil lamp; someone looks very proud or satisfied about something he or she has done.
Seeing that Yu Yuan no longer noticed him, the male student who had just spoken to Yan Mu felt secretly relieved. He whispered to her, “Yan Mu, you just explained the part halfway, I don’t really understand it yet, can you explain it to me again……”
As soon as he spoke, Yu Yuan jerked around, looked directly at the male student, and said word by word, “She’s busy.”
“H-how do you know she’s busy?” The male student was startled, but his youthful pride kept him stubborn.
“……” Yu Yuan didn’t speak but just coldly looked at the male student.
Seeing that the situation was getting out of control, Yan Mu hurriedly came to mediate, “I’m sorry, I promised Teacher that I’d help Yu Yuan with the lessons he missed.”
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Ekvb vbyv, pbl pxkzle y zkvvzl yrszstlvknyzzu yv vbl xyzl pvweldv.
Fllkdt Zyd Yw ynvwyzzu pxkzl yv bkx, bkp qynl pweeldzu czwpble ellr ale yde bl pvyxxlale, “L-dlhla xkde. R’zz fwpv ypj Mlynbla ekalnvzu obld bl nsxlp.”
Tl saktkdyzzu oydvle vs nsdvkdwl prlyjkdt vs Zyd Yw, cwv yp pssd yp bl vwadle bkp blye, bl pyo Zw Zwyd’p nsze yde tzssxu tygl. Mbl xyzl pvweldv qlzv y nbkzz esod bkp prkdl yde oyp pweeldzu yv y zspp qsa osaep, ps bl ckvvlazu vwadle bkp blye cynj.
Zw Zwyd alvaynvle bkp tygl qasx vbl xyzl pvweldv yde ralvldele vs cl sclekldv yp bl zsolale bkp blye vs pvweu.
“Ebknb ryav es usw dsv wdelapvyde?” Tl blyae vbl pollv hsknl sq vbl uswdt tkaz akdtkdt kd bkp lyap. Zw Zwyd zssjle esod yde pkxrzu rskdvle vs y nlavykd rytl kd vbl cssj, “Mbkp rytl, R esd’v wdelapvyde yduvbkdt”
“…… Mblal’p y zsv usw esd’v jdso.” Zyd Yw’p pxkzl qasgl.
“Elzz, vbyv’p clnywpl R dlhla pvwekle clqsal dso.” Zw Zwyd zssjle wr okvbswv nbydtkdt bkp lmralppksd yde bkp blyav eked’v lhld pjkr y clyv2Gnv/zkl okvbswv qllzkdt twkzvu, alhlyzkdt fwpv vbl aktbv bkdv sq hwzdlayckzkvu sd bkp qynl, “Ps usw byvl vbyv R’x ps vaswczlpsxl?”
“R esd’v, R esd’v.” Zyd Yw oyp y pwrlaqknkyz est. Fllkdt Zw Zwyd’p bwav lmralppksd, bla blyav kxxlekyvlzu xlzvle.
The corners of his mouth raised up into an almost unperceivable curve. Yu Yuan slightly turned his head to look at the young girl who was seriously explaining.
A cool breeze blew past, rippling the fragrance on the young girl’s body and dispersing the stuffy summer heat. Small beads of sweat appeared on her forehead and were wiped off by her sleeve.
“Do you understand?” Yan Mu’s mouth was dry from speaking and she subconsciously reached for her canteen, only to discover that it was already empty.
Yu Yuan was about to say that he didn’t understand, but looking at the empty canteen and the sweat on Yan Mu’s forehead, he answered somewhat against his will, “I understand.”
He noticed that Yan Mu’s lips had slightly cracked. Remembering that he’d vengefully finished all the water, he suddenly felt a little guilty.
He was about to refill Yan Mu’s canteen for her, but Teacher had already entered and took out his textbook, ready to start the class. Yu Yuan could only sit back down again.
Yan Mu was already in poor health and now was thirsty without water to drink. Out of her body’s self-protection mechanism, she felt a little sleepy.
Once Teacher ended his lesson, she leaned against the table and drowsily fell asleep. When she woke up again, her canteen was already refilled with water and there was a small handful of mulberries on her table.
The mulberries were purplish-black and stacked like a small mountain on a mulberry leaf.
Am I dreaming? Yan Mu rubbed her eyes with disbelief.
When she looked again, the canteen was still full and the mulberries still smelled sweet and tempting.
She hesitated for a moment, but still couldn’t resist her dry throat and picked up the canteen to drink. Once she had drunk her fill of water, she reached out her little hand to take a mulberry and put it in her mouth.
The mulberries were fully ripe and with just a gentle press of her tongue, the sweet juice inside burst out.
Yan Mu’s eyes suddenly lit up.
She ate one after another, and in no time, she finished the small handful of mulberries.
Yan Mu’s tongue had turned black from eating, and even her fingers were dyed purple. She covered her stomach in satisfaction and slumped against her chair.
Who brought the water and mulberries? Yan Mu felt a little curious.
Could it be…… Yan Mu turned her head to look at Yu Yuan.
Yu Yuan had left at some point and his seat was empty.
It wasn’t until the break was over that Yu Yuan unhurriedly came in from outside the classroom. Both of his hands were hidden within his sleeves, which were slightly damp.
“Yu Yuan.” Yan Mu hesitated again and again, but still lowered her voice and asked, “Do you know who refilled my water and brought me mulberries?”
Yu Yuan’s eyes seemed to flicker for a moment, then he turned around as if nothing had happened, “I don’t know.”
“That’s strange……” Yan Mu frowned and mumbled, “I still thought that it was you.”
Yu Yuan’s eyelashes trembled slightly as he retracted his hands into his sleeves and indifferently denied it, “It wasn’t me.”
“Alright then……” Yan Mu said with a hint of disappointment.
If it wasn’t Yu Yuan, who could it have been? Yan Mu thought for a while and couldn’t figure it out, so she finally gave up for now and attentively listened to the class.
Teacher was holding the Three Character Classic while enthusiastically lecturing on the platform. Especially when it came to Qu Yuan3屈原 – Qu Yuan (340-278 BC), famous Warring States statesman and poet, author of Sorrow at Parting 离骚 Lisao in Songs of Chu 楚辞, his face was full of respect. He spoke with excitement and in the end, the homework he assigned was a short essay on the topic “Discussion on Qu Yuan.”
Anguished wailing suddenly started up from below. Teacher smiled and said that the Dragon Boat Festival was approaching, so the top student would be rewarded with a bag of rice dumplings4粽子 (zòngzi) – pyramid-shaped dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves (usu. eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival)
Image of it: .
In the barren mountain village, even eating a meal of rice was a luxury, so as soon as Teacher mentioned the reward, the students below burst into joy. But Yan Mu felt that Yu Yuan wasn’t too happy.
At noon after class, Yan Mu went home with Yu Yuan as usual.
“What’s wrong with you?” Yan Mu tugged at Yu Yuan’s sleeve, “I feel like after Teacher assigned us homework, you became unhappy”
“Could it be that……” Yan Mu asked, somewhat curiously, “Could it be that you don’t want to do the homework?”
After all, Yu Yuan was a sixteen-year-old teenager. Even if he didn’t want to do his homework, it was normal.
“…… I don’t have the Four Treasures of the Study5文房四宝 (wénfángsìbǎo) – namely 笔(bǐ): writing brush, 墨 (mò): ink stick, 纸 (zhǐ): paper and 砚 (yàn): ink slab.” Yu Yuan glanced at Yan Mu, then answered.
“Hahaha,” Yan Mu laughed at his embarrassment, then in order to make it up to him she said, “You can come to my house. I remember we still have a few sheets of paper left.”
“But……” Yu Yuan’s expression was a little torn. He hesitated for a long time, but still shook his head and said, “Forget it.”
After speaking, he unconsciously quickened his steps as if to hide the dejected look on his face.
Yan Mu knew that Yu Yuan was thinking that the Four Treasures of the Study were expensive, so he didn’t want to trouble her. But when she thought that his handsome face might contain a lost or sad expression, her heart felt strange.
She tugged at Yu Yuan’s sleeve like she always did, but her sharp eyes noticed that his fingertips had a purple tinge.
She suddenly remembered the canteen that was filled with water along with the handful of mulberries. She now realised why Yu Yuan had been hiding his hands in his sleeves all morning.
The corners of her mouth curled up.
What a tsundere.
“Let’s write together.” Her voice was sweet and soft, “Take it as…… your reward for fetching water and picking mulberries for me.”
At her words, Yu Yuan suddenly stopped in his tracks as if he was startled. Yan Mu couldn’t stop in time and directly bumped into him.
The author has something to say:
Yu Yuan: I was discovered, discovered, discovered…… (loop)
Edited by: Gaze
Translator’s Note: Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year to those who celebrate it!!!!! May you have a prosperous year ahead!!! 虎虎生威！！！Roarr (☞ﾟヮﾟ)☞