Yan Mu and Yu Yuan went back to the bookstore.
Yu Yuan was still holding her hand without letting go. She was about to refuse, but then saw him facing her with that beautiful face.
His beautiful black black eyes seemed to contain the entire vast universe.
Such dazzling eyes had only her reflection in them.
Yan Mu’s face flushed, and she suddenly couldn’t speak.
“I’m your foster brother, Ah Mu won’t mind holding hands, right?” Yu Yuan calmly said. “Although we need to keep our distance, excessive estrangement will only make others think that we have a bad relationship.”
……There’re no one else here.
Yan Mu was helpless.
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Yan Mu didn’t argue with him. She put the food aside, ready to untie him.
“Ah Mu, this kid is suspicious, if you untie him, he’ll definitely run away,” Yu Yuan disapproved. “Why don’t we send him to the officials tomorrow and properly interrogate where this boy is really from.”
There were no minor protection laws in this era, so this child would inevitably get a severe beating if he was sent in.
“He didn’t do anything, let it go,” Yan Mu persuaded.
After speaking, she let go of the child and handed him the oilpaper bag.
“These are pine nut goose oil rolls and soy-marinated dried salted duck, would you like some?” Yan Mu asked with a smile.
The boy was going to refuse, but once he heard what was inside, he hesitated.
“Are these pine nut goose oil rolls and soy-marinated dried salted duck from Restaurant Baoyue?” The child looked up and asked.
Perhaps he was hungry, so the boy stopped making a fuss.
“That’s right, it’s the restaurant next to the shop,” Yan Mu said.
Without a word, the child took the food and stuffed it into his mouth.
His cheeks were bulging, and he didn’t stop until he couldn’t stuff anymore into his mouth.
As he was stuffing food into his mouth, he suddenly started crying.
“Don’t cry!” Yan Mu panicked.
She was most afraid of children crying.
Yan Mu was suddenly at a loss.
Yu Yuan’s reaction was more straightforward1干脆利落 (gāncuì-lìluo) – be clear-cut; come straight to the point; (of speech or actions) direct and efficient; without fooling around.
He directly drew out his sword and coldly said to the child, “Shut up.”
“……Wuu.” The little boy shuddered and immediately held back his tears.
“What’s wrong?” Yan Mu hurriedly asked, “Do you not like it?”
“My parents always used to buy me these two dishes,” the child softly sobbed.
“Then, where are your parents now?” Yan Mu asked, “We can send you home……”
Before she could finish her words, the boy suddenly looked up and said, “They’re all dead.”
There was a hint of hatred in the child’s clear eyes that didn’t match his age.
In a trance, Yan Mu seemed to see Yu Yuan from when she first met him.
The child’s and Yu Yuan’s figure gradually overlapped, and Yan Mu’s heart grew even softer.
“Is there anything that I can do for you?” Yan Mu asked sincerely.
The boy stopped sobbing, after thinking it over, he choked out, “……Then don’t send me to the officials.”
Come to think of it, other than pretending to be a ghost to scare people, he really didn’t seem to have done anything bad.
“Let me ask you, were you the one haunting the shop before?” Yan Mu asked.
“If sister takes me in, I’ll tell you.” Seeing that Yan Mu was good-natured, the child actually talked terms with her.
Yu Yuan snorted coldly, then drew out a section of his sword.
The blade flashed with a dazzling gleam, and the threat was self-evident.
The child instantly shrank back.
“It was all my doing,” the child honestly said.
“Why were you pretending to be a ghost to scare people?” Yan Mu pulled out a handkerchief and wiped an oil stain off the corner of his mouth.
The child originally didn’t want to say it, but seeing Yan Mu’s gentle expression, he actually answered.
“……Because I don’t want anyone else to buy the shop, I want to stay here forever.” As soon as the words left his mouth, he hurriedly covered it.
Yu Yuan’s gaze instantly sharpened.
Being looked at by such a gaze, he actually had the illusion that Yu Yuan had guessed his true identity.
In a panic, he hurriedly hid behind Yan Mu and grabbed her sleeve.
Yu Yuan’s eyes grew even colder.
He wanted to ask the child to stay away from Yan Mu, but when he saw how she treated the boy, he was afraid that if he did then she’d dislike him.
Yu Yuan was very frustrated, and in the end, he could only glare at the kid.
The child didn’t dare to make a sound.
He assumed that the two would definitely continue to press him for the reason why.
But the sister in front of him just gently smiled and said, “Alright, if you don’t want to talk about it, I won’t ask anymore.”
The child was stunned.
He grabbed Yan Mu’s sleeve and looked at her in a daze.
“My name is Yan Mu, and his name is Yu Yuan,” Yan Mu introduced. “What about you? What’s your name?”
“……My name is Ah Yu2钰 (yù) – treasure; hard metal.” The child softly said, “I’m eight years old this year.”
“Okay.” Yan Mu stroked the child’s head and said in a soft voice, “Then, from now on, you’ll be our shop’s employee.”
“Become an employee in this shop, and you can always stay here,” Yan Mu smiled and said.
Ah Yu looked at Yan Mu in stunned surprise.
After a long while, he grabbed the marinated dried salted duck and agreed in a low voice.
“You’ve been staring at me since then, do you have something to ask?” Yan Mu turned around and asked Yu Yuan.
The night was slightly cool, and a few leaves fluttered down.
Before they knew it, summer was almost over.
Yu Yuan reached out his hand to catch a leaf and played with it with his head down.
After a long time, he quietly asked, “When Ah Mu helped me back then, did you feel the same as when you helped this child now?”
Yan Mu was stunned and didn’t speak.
“Ah Mu helped me because you sympathized with me, right?” Yu Yuan sullenly said, “In such a situation, even if it was a different person, even if that person wasn’t me, Ah Mu is so kind-hearted, you still would’ve helped them, right?”
Before, he always reassured himself that it wasn’t a big deal.
As long as Ah Mu was around, no matter what state of mind she was in when she helped him back then, in this life, he would never let her leave again.
However, today, when he saw Ah Mu being so gentle and thoughtful to that child, the fear and helplessness that were buried deep in his heart completely erupted.
He was greedy. He wanted to be the most special person in Ah Mu’s heart.
He wanted her smile to bloom just for him.
Yu Yuan didn’t dare to raise his head to look at Yan Mu’s expression, he was afraid that his guess would be right.
So, he could only lower his head and play with the fallen leaf in his hands to avoid facing reality.
He didn’t know how long had passed before the young girl suddenly let out an extremely soft sigh.
Yu Yuan’s heart was anxious as well.
He laughed at himself, somewhat regretting that he’d even asked.
If the question hadn’t been asked, then his heart could still have a bit of hope, and he could continue to deceive and comfort himself.
An inexplicable sense of panic surged in his heart.
Yu Yuan suddenly raised his head, interrupting Yan Mu who was about to speak.
“Ah Mu, don’t say it, I was just asking,” Yu Yuan said and was about to leave.
However, he was suddenly stopped by the young girl behind him.
“I’m sorry.” He heard the young girl’s helpless apology.
Yu Yuan’s back was towards Yan Mu, and at an angle that she couldn’t see, he closed his eyes and laughed at himself.
“Never mind, it’s my own problem.”
Yan Mu was the only person who’d held out her hand to him, and it was already his greatest luck to have met her.
Why dwell on these minor details?
Yu Yuan’s eyes looked lonely, and his fingernails dug deep into his palm.
“It’s not that.” Yan Mu took a few steps forward, taking the initiative to pull Yu Yuan’s hand and say, “It’s not like what you think.”
The young girl moved in front of him and looked at him very seriously.
“Believe it or not, Yu Yuan, I came here for you.” The young girl’s gaze was sincere and her mouth curled up into a soft smile, “You’re different from everyone else.”
Something seemed to hit his heart.
Yu Yuan’s breath hitched too.
His entire body stood frozen in place and he didn’t react for a long time.
“I’m sorry, I never made it clear to you, that’s why you thought that way.” Yan Mu stood on tiptoe and gave the teenager a hug.
“Yu Yuan, your existence is the most precious,” Yan Mu said softly.
Yu Yuan was silent for a while, then lowered his head and let out a “mmm”.
He hugged Yan Mu and buried his head into the nook of the young girl’s neck like he always did.
The sweet scene lingered on his nose, and his restless heart suddenly calmed down just like that.
“This is a hug from a sister to her brother,” Yan Mu added, somewhat embarrassed.
Yu Yuan didn’t answer, but his arms around the young girl wrapped even tighter.
Edited by: Gaze
Translator’s Note: Happy Lunar New Year eve to those who celebrate it!!! Have a nice reunion dinner!!!