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In any case, he never had any good reputation in the village. What was there for him to lose? So what if they saw him?
The two walked in tandem. It was a peculiar combination that made everyone take a second look, but Gu Lao Si did not mind. Moreover, Lu Xiao Shu did not mind at all anyway since the one losing face was not her!
Besides, all she had on her mind was her father, whose whereabouts and life was still uncertain.
Gu Lao Si could still feel the burning pain running through his body. His muscles were shaking with every step he took, and as for running away, there was no way he could do it. He hung his head low as he continued ahead.
Suddenly, he ran into a man who came out from an inclined alley. “Ouch!” They yelped and looked at each other.
The man was an old man who was not as young and fit as Gu Lao Si. He toppled over after being knocked down. The old man held his leg and glanced at them. He was at first shocked, but he soon recognized who the clumsy was. The old man huffed and complained, “Watch where you’re going, Gu Lao Si!”
Gu Lao Si had nowhere to vent his anger, so he glared at him and snapped, “You’re the one who should watch where you’re going, Old Man Zhang! Why else would you walk right into me?”
There was a saying that if the tiger went down to level land, he would be insulted by dogs. How dare this old man snap at him?
Lu Xiao Shu noticed that the old man had on old worn khaki shorts. His beard was silvery-white and his wrinkles lined his darkened face like gullies. He was skinny and weak as he sat on the ground, swaying.
“Enough!” Lu Xiao Shu glared at Gu Lao Si and said in dissatisfaction, “It was obviously you who knocked the old man down. How dare you blame him?”
Gu Lao Si calmed his angry nerves down as he huffed, but he did not dare to talk back at Lu Xiao Shu. Instead, he continued walking ahead.
“Stay where you are!” Lu Xiao Shu’s voice was cold.
Gu Lao Si restrained himself from bursting out as he turned around and explained gently, “My lady, the pier is still a distance away. I think we better be on our way soon. Aren’t we in a hurry?”
Lu Xiao Shu scoffed, “Help the old man up and send him home first! Heh! You better pray that his legs are fine. Otherwise, I’ll break yours too!”
Gu Lao Si was momentarily stunned. His face twisted as his expression changed from gloomy and calm back and forth. However, he did not dare to speak against her. It was obvious that he was trying very hard to restrain himself.
Old Man Zhang, who was still on the ground, heeded no attention to his aching leg. Instead, his eyes were wide open and his mouth hung open as he stared at the two of them in amazement.
He did not know what it meant to defy the natural order of the world, but at that moment, he was experiencing the defiance of nature!
God! Was he seeing things? Was that really Gu Lao Si and a little girl? Gu Lao Si, who was irrational and wild, was speaking humbly to a little girl?
Old Man Zhang shook his head and blinked hard.
“What are you waiting for?!” Lu Xiao Shu snarled as she kicked Gu Lao Si’s knee.
Gu Lao Si yowled as he staggered. He held himself back with a dark expression while he helped the old man up.
Old Man Zhang was shocked. How would he dare to let Gu Lao Si help him up? He hastily swatted his hands away and grumbled, “There’s no need! I can get up by myself! You, you should go on with your business.”
“Don’t be so pesky!” Gu Lao Si glared at him as he continued helping him up.
Old Man Zhang was stupefied. It was as though his legs turned to jelly and he could not stand up himself, so he let Gu Lao Si help him. He thought to himself: I said that there’s no need! You’re the one who wanted to help me up. So, you better don’t come ruining my day later!
Lu Xiao Shu noticed with one look that the old man’s leg must have gotten injured. It would be inconvenient for him to walk, so she asked, “Where’s your house? We’ll send you back.”
Old Man Zhang was just about to say “no thanks” but he nearly tripped over when he tried to walk by himself. Thus, he did not reject her offer as he smiled and nodded at Lu Xiao Shu, “Thank you, young lady.”
Lu Xiao Shu shook her head gently as she smiled.
Of course, Gu Lao Si did not dare to make his stand clear. He restrained himself while supporting the old man. “Let’s go. I’ll send you home.”
His tone sounded like he was grinding his teeth as he forced the sentence out.
Gu Lao Si was already very sullen. Now, he was praying that no one would see him on the way. Or else, his legendary reputation would be completely ruined!
He was the one and only Gu Lao Si! To see him helping Old Man Zhang go home was something out of this world!
Old Man Zhang’s house was located across the zig-zag alley. They walked for some time before finally arriving.
“Thank you so much! Do both of you want some tea?” Old Man Zhang offered with a smile.
Lu Xiao Shu shook her head at first, but she nodded afterwards with an explanation, “Sounds good. You can sit down in the house and I’ll check if your injury is serious or not.”
“It’s fine! Hoho! We villagers are not nobles who can’t take a few falls!” Old Man Zhang waved his hand and smiled in refusal.
“Just let me take a look so that I’ll feel better about it.” Lu Xiao Shu chuckled before gesturing Gu Lao Si to help Old Man Zhang into the house.
She squatted down to check on Old Man Zhang. Luckily, he did not suffer any serious injury other than some bruising and swelling. At most, he sprained his leg and needed a few days to recuperate and he would be fine afterward. Finally, she was satisfied and she smiled, “Good! You just need to rest and stay put at home for a couple of days and you’ll be good to go!”
At the same time, she placed two silvers and some change on his table. She smiled, “Please take these little change as compensation.”
“Dear me! I can’t! I can’t take it!” Old Man Zhang was surprised and shocked. How would he dare to take any money from Lu Xiao Shu? He did not know anything about her. What if Gu Lao Si came back for revenge? He would then have to suffer under his hands.
“Just take it since I’m giving it to you!” As Lu Xiao Shu insisted, she glanced at Gu Lao Si twice and smirked, “No one would dare to take the money that I have given to you. If anyone dares to, they’ll be punished severely. Am I right, Gu Lao Si?”
Gu Lao Si restrained himself as he forced out a reply, “Yes! Yes! You should just accept it!”
Finally, Old Man Zhang accepted the money while still doubtful, but he thanked them happily.
“Sir, what’s going on?” A warm and thick voice belonging to a middle-aged man emerged from the side. Apparently, there was someone in the room beside them. He must have heard the commotion and came out to check.
“Nothing! It’s nothing! You don’t need to come outside!” Old Man Zhang waved his hand before freezing mid-air.
Gu Lao Si too realized the change in atmosphere as he saw the middle-aged man and Lu Xiao Shu staring at each other with eyes wide open.
“Father! Father!” Lu Xiao Shu threw herself into Lu Zhong’s arms as she hugged him tightly. She dissolved into tears and wailed loudly.
“Don’t cry! My darling daughter, what’s wrong? Don’t cry…” Lu Zhong was confused by his daughter’s sudden action. He was touched but baffled to see her in tears. Bending down to hug her back, he patted her back and comforted her gently.
“Father! Why, why are you here? Father, you’ve alive! Thank god!” Lu Xiao Shu sobbed for a moment before finally calming down. She wiped her tears, but when she glanced at her father, she felt like smiling and crying at the same time.
Lu Zhong laughed helplessly and said gently, “Of course I’m alive! I don’t even have a scratch on me. Oh, right! How did you end up here?”
“I came looking for you! I was so worried that something had happened to you! You scared me and my mother, not to mention my sister, uncle and auntie. We’re all so worried for you!” Lu Xiao Shu sobbed.
Lu Zhong chuckled, “Silly child, I was out buying things. What is there to worry about? Did something happen back at home?”
“No,” She shook her head and blubbered, “But you were away for such a long time. Of course, we were worried…”
Lu Zhong was stunned, but he smiled, “It’s all my fault. There was a small incident and I was resting at Old Man Zhang’s house for a few days. I was just about to go home tomorrow! Who knew you’d show up! Who— came with you?”
Lu Xiao Shu got back to her senses as she turned to look at Gu Lao Si.
Gu Lao Si was dumbfounded at the scene that had unfolded in front of him. Her sharp eyes shook him up from his trance. He tried to turn around and escape.
Would Lu Xiao Shu let him go now that he had missed his chance? She growled lowly, “Gu Lao Si!”
Gu Lao Si froze as he turned back around and smiled, “Lady, look, you found your father. So, I have nothing to do with this anymore, right? I, erm, I’ll be off now! You should catch up with your father!”
“Leave?” Lu Xiao Shu said indifferently, “What if I have something else that needs your help? Why are you in a hurry? You should help others until the very end, don’t you think that’s right?”
The father and daughter sat down to talk in detail, only then Lu Zhong knew what happened. He could not help feeling anxious and troubled, “I did not expect that to happen! I had only hurt my leg and rested at Old Man Zhang’s house to recover. He doesn’t usually go to the pier, so I knew nothing about it! Gosh, I should’ve sent word to your mother if I have known. I’ve made you all worry for nothing! How’s your mother? Is she okay?”
Lu Xiao Shu pouted as she answered rather blamingly, “How can she be okay? She was so anxious that she had been crying because she was very sad about it! Oh, mother also wanted to come look for you with uncle.”
“So, where are they? You— came alone?” Lu Zhong demanded anxiously. Watching his daughter, he was very suspicious of her.
Lu Xiao Shu was momentarily guilty as she hung her head low with an explanation, “No, no. Coincidentally, Lin Fang had something to do here. So, I came with him. Father, we should return as soon as possible so that mother won’t have to worry anymore! Oh no! Perhaps she and uncle have already arrived here. Wouldn’t it be bad if we missed them? Oh dear, father, mother is very mad about it! You have to think of a way to cheer her up!”
Lu Zhong’s expression turned, “What should I do…” Of course, he had completely forgotten about his daughter’s trip.
Gu Lao Si was watching them, and he thought to himself: What a smart girl! She could even coax her father to get out of trouble. I guess I can’t be blamed for falling for her tricks!
Synopsis: The online game <