Vol. 1: chapter five – lan yu (part 1)

As the day drew to a close, Li Xinwen was suddenly overcome with a warm feeling as he realized just how fortunate he was that he ended up occupying the actor Li Xinwen’s mortal body. Within a short span of time he was able to experience so many things. ‘Thank you for allowing me to be you…’ he whispered thankfully within himself as if addressing the original Li Xinwen’s lingering consciousness.

Today would be the first time that Li Xinwen was going to spend the night with a family. He hoped that it would be the first of many sleeping under the same roof with them. He very much preferred this warmth over the cold nights in the Soaring Heaven Sect and the hospital. He recalled the events from the day, he was fed and was able to eat and spend time with a family. This was something he had never experienced. His belly and his heart were full. ‘I am truly fortunate,’ he thought to himself as he looked around the living room. ‘This is ‘my’ family…’

His train of thought was only interrupted when his gaze passed the boxes on the cabinet on the far left corner of the living room. There it was again, the pulsating aura of green and ember. He  felt restless. A sense of excitement suddenly crept through him at the thought that the gift would contain such a magnificent heavenly treasure. He looked up at the contraption called a grandfather clock standing by the living room window. According to the original’s memory, the hands were now pointing to ten o’clock. ‘When will Xue Rui depart for his own home?’ he thought as he eyed Xue Rui with a look of suspicion. ‘I wonder if he has plans of staying the night…’   

Li Jinghua noticed Li Xinwen’s demeanor and thought, ‘It seems that Ah’Wen also suspects Xue Rui’s ulterior motive. I wonder if bluntly asking him to leave would give away the status of our engagement. I cannot risk Ah’Wen finding out at this point. Not yet.

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With this, she shifted in her seat and started hinting at Xue Rui, prodding him to go home. But Xue Rui just feigned ignorance. This went on for about an hour and Li Jinghua had all but given up when Madam Li suggested that Xue Rui stay the night as it was already late.

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Li Jinghua was about to protest but stopped herself thinking, ‘Ugh…If I made my protest now I might as well tell them that we are no longer engaged.’

Irked at the turn of events Li Jinghua could only let out a deep sigh, at the same time placing her index and middle finger on her right temple as if she had a headache. “What’s the matter Hua-er?” Madam Li asked her daughter.

Not wanting to make her mother worry nor inquire any further Li Jinghua responded with a curt smile. “Nothing’s the matter mom.”

“Then it’s settled,” Madam Li responded in turn smiling at Xue Rui.

“Then I will trouble Madam Li.” Xue Rui said with a huge satisfied smile on his face then looked at Li Jinghua as if saying “I win.”

Not wanting to lose to Xue Rui’s taunting Li Jinghua looked at Xue Rui unfazed, saying, “Since Ah‘Wen is injured and needs complete, ‘undisturbed’ rest, Rui will stay in Ah‘Xiao’s room.” Although Li Jinghua uttered these words in the form of an ultimatum she turned to Sun Xiao with apologetic eyes before saying: “This matter is not open for discussion.”

Upon hearing this, Li Xinwen cheered in his heart. He was thankful for what Li Jinghua did. Sun Xiao, who valued his sense of space, was reluctant at Jinghua’s suggestion. But in the end he agreed, realizing that Li Xinwen did need his rest to recover quickly.

“Okay… But Rui-ge will have to sleep on the floor… Unlike Xin-gege, I am uncomfortable with sharing the bed…” Sun Xiao responded shyly, addressing no one in particular.

Xue Rui felt defeated after his initial plan of sleeping with Li Xinwen backfired. ‘Why is it so hard to have Li Xinwen all to myself?!’ Xue Rui sighed at the thought. However, since he had already decided that he was going to win Li Xinwen’s affection, he took this as a sign from the universe to take it slow. ‘After all, slow and steady wins the race.

“Then I shall sleep on the floor in xiao Xiao’s room.” Xue Rui said, mustering a smile and trying not to show his disappointment. If he were to ask for a mile after getting an inch, he wouldn’t look good in front of Li Xinwen.

Meanwhile, Li Xinwen was extremely happy with this outcome. “I am also feeling a bit sleepy now, so I will go first,” he informed them. As he stood up and was about to leave, Sun Xiao went over to help him. “Ah‘Xiao, I’m alright. You don’t need to worry anymore. Your brother can at least go upstairs on his own,” Li Xinwen said with a smile on his face, slowly patting Sun Xiao’s arm to reassure the boy.

“Then how about if I help you instead?” suddenly, Xue Rui’s voice sounded very close to Li Xinwen’s ear making him jump slightly. It must’ve been because he was tired, or else he would’ve sensed Xue Rui as he came closer.

“No need, Rui-ge. Maybe you should go with Ah‘Xiao instead and prepare your mattress,” Li Xinwen quickly replied while making his way towards the cabinet to pick up Xue Rui’s gift before heading upstairs.

Xue Rui’s gaze lingered at Li Xinwen and seeing him pick up the gift he gave him made his heart flutter. He smiled at the idea that Li Xinwen will finally open the gift that he had picked out earlier in the day. Li Xinwen disappeared from his view and then he turned to Sun Xiao with a little spring in his step.

“Alright xiao1 Xiao, shall we head upstairs too? This will be the first time I will be sleeping in your room right? Don’t worry, I don’t snore.” he said, smiling playfully.

“En. If Rui-ge makes any sounds… Rui-ge can sleep in the living room’s sofa instead,” Sun Xiao replied in declaration. At this, Li Jinghua couldn’t help but snicker.

Li Jinghua went over to Madam Li and said, “Mom, let your daughter help you to bed now.” As she held her mother’s arm to assist her as she stood up. Although Li mother was still in good health, knowing that they only had five years left together, Li Jinghua wanted to spoil her mother as much as she could. ‘In these five years, I’ll make sure to give her the best life she has ever experienced,’ she thought.

As if sensing that her daughter was preoccupied with something, Madam Li wrapped her arms around Li Jinghua’s waist and squeezed her closer, “What’s the matter Hua-er? Is there anything bothering you? You know you can always tell mom.”

Li Jinghua was suddenly overwhelmed with longing. Her childhood memories flashed before her and reminded her of how happy those years were. Holding back her emotions, she held Mother Li’s hand and reassured her mother by leaning her head on her mother’s shoulder and giving her a hug. “Everything’s alright mom,” she responded trying her hardest to wipe away any worries from Madam Li’s thoughts.

“My precious Hua-er… mom will always be here,” and they made their way to Madam Li’s bedroom. A mother holding her daughter, just like during Li Jinghua’s childhood.

1 Xiao – Small

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