The night was snowy and incredibly chilling. A beautiful woman ran through a snow-covered alley, clutching a bundle wrapped in swaddling cloths to her chest. Despite the cold, she was only wearing a thin black robe that was already covered with snow. The way she fled, panic stricken, it was as if she was pursued by death itself. She stumbled frequently as she ran, and almost fell over several times.
Judging by her ruddy complexion, it was likely that this woman had been running for quite some time. The alley was dark, and the only light was that which was reflected by the snow. It was completely silent, except for the faint crunches she made every time her foot contacted the snow-covered ground.This won’t work, the woman thought desperately. On such a cold and snowy night, even if she escaped the enemy that was no doubt tracking her snowy footprints, the little baby in her arms would not survive.
Finally, fear for her baby overcame the extreme fear of her pursuers. The woman stopped and carefully shifted the bundle in her arms. She used the light reflecting off the snow to look through a small gap in the swaddle that she had opened.
Sure enough, the face of her tiny baby was blue with cold, the vapour of his breath as thin as gossamer. Though he looked as if he wished to cry heartily, because of the extreme weakness due to cold, he could only cry “Eyah, eyah,” faintly.
At this sight the woman’s eyes were filled with tears that overflowed onto the baby’s face. The tears rapidly froze after coming into contact with the child’s face—revealing just how cold it was.
Zeno was suffocating. Suddenly, a sliver of light appeared in front of him, and he greedily breathed in the newly available air. There was no sensation of the woman’s teardrops on his face because the feeling in his skin had long been lost to the cold.
His hands and feet were frozen stiff; he could not even move a single finger.
Zeno was able to vaguely understand the situation he was in, though he had no idea why he had suddenly become a baby, or why they were running, but he intuitively knew—they were in danger.
If this continued, Zeno could also die of cold and starvation just like the original little baby. Zeno could only helplessly await the death that would allow him to escape from this absurd situation. He was sure that he would then be able to open his eyes to the familiar sight of his own bedroom.
He decided to turn his attention to his thoughts, the goal being that he would not look any weaker to the woman than he already did. After seeing the state she was in, Zeno did not wish to add to her worries. Suddenly, he heard the woman cry out, “Who is there!?”
Zeno laboured to turn his eyes and found that a very young, approximately * -year-old (t/n: age not specified in the raws) child had come into view. He emerged slowly from behind a trashcan on high alert.
The boy’s entire body was tense, and his hands were wrapped tightly around the handle of a rusty knife. He looked ready to fight tooth and nail to protect himself at any second.
The woman gawked; she did not expect that the one to appear would be a beggar. The skinny little boy was clearly no threat to her. A woman who could run for so long in the snow, and with such thin clothing, would naturally have a martial arts foundation.
She looked at the ragged boy in front of her and his indifferent eyes, and then looked down at baby doomed to die, and a bold idea began to take form.
If staying with her meant that this baby was sentenced to share her fate, then she should give him to someone else. Once this idea came into her mind, it took off like a prairie fire and reduced all other thoughts and concerns to ash.
Although the small beggar in front of her was not the best candidate, she did not have the time or the freedom to search out someone better. Not to mention, regular people within the community were easier to trace and new family members too easy to notice, but the beggar was unremarkable and garnered no attention.
Thinking through it more, the woman’s gaze became firm, and she walked a few steps closer to the little beggar. Seeing her approach, he drew back looking terrified, and gripped his knife even tighter.
The woman came to a stop a few steps away from little beggar and asked sadly, “You … are you willing to adopt this child?
The small beggar’s ice-cold expression broke, and he revealed a momentary look of surprise.
Zeno also found it absurd to ask a child, who was obviously barely able to survive, seemingly on a whim. However, it clearly highlighted just how dire the situation was, forcing a mother into making such a desperate choice.
Aware of the ludicrous nature of her request, she anxiously added, “I will not ask this of you for nothing, I will pay you.”
Her face is tight with panic that she could not conceal.
The little beggar remained silent. In fact, the only reason he had not already escaped this situation was because he was aware that this woman had no way out and was facing great peril.
The woman did not even have time to wait for the boy’s answer.
She took another two steps forward, and forcibly placed the tightly wrapped bundle in her arms into the hands of the little beggar. She immediately removed a plain, dark ring from her finger, seized the little beggar’s hand, and forced the ring onto one of his fingers.
The little beggar did not attempt to dodge – there was no way he could. He silently held the tiny bundle in his arms, watched the woman as she put the ring on his finger, unclasped her cloak and wrapped it around him, and then finally pulled a jade pendant from around her neck and gently tucked it into the swaddling cloths.
“Please, let him live,” the young mother sobbed. “He doesn’t need luxury. Even if he is a beggar as well, I just want him to live.”
After having to say such a thing, the mother burst into tears and sorrowfully kissed Zeno’s cheek. Then, after a quick glance at the two, she ruthlessly pushed the little beggar, carrying her son, into a trashcan on the roadside and quickly covered them with the lid.
“Do not come out,” the two children in the bin heard her say. “Do not make a sound before dawn.”
The crunching footsteps quickly faded away, and a suffocating silence ensconced the small trashcan.
This quiet did not last long. A short while later a woman’s scream of despair pierced the silence, and the ensuing calm carried a hint of bloodshed.
Zeno’s mind was chaos, and the present events were giving him a strong sense of déjà vu. This was clearly the introduction to “Curse” ah!
As a qualified addict, Zeno immediately recognized the moment that he had always read from the comfort of his room.
The baby and his unlucky mother were the first two characters in the novel, but also the first two to take the so-called quick way out. Yes, two.
There was no such thing as Zeno randomly crossing over into the original text, and the baby drew his last breath in the trash can, clutched in the little beggar’s arms.
This unidentified mother and son appeared only briefly in the book, and their brief encounter seemed to be due to the golden finger of the protagonist. The origin of those two was never mentioned and, yes, that seemingly plain ring is the protagonist Xi Wei’s first fateful acquisition towards his future.
This young beggar, who is alert despite the indifferent expression on his face, is in fact the protagonist of “Curse”, Xi Wei.
Zeno was glad to have survived, but recalled that in the book Xi Wei soon discovered that the baby was dead and left him in the trashcan.
However, he was still not dead! Still, no one has said that he cannot lose his life.
It’s not right, how could you throw me away! QAQ
From the depths of his heart, Zeno just wanted to cry. He was uncomfortable, barely conscious, freezing cold, and incredibly weak. He did not want to believe the baby’s mother was gone, and desperately hoped she would once again come into his field of vision. He was not ready to be left in this strange world, a victim to the whims of fate.
Perhaps the baby’s body was particularly sentimental, because he actually began sobbing softly. Although the small whimpers were too weak to truly be considered crying, he genuinely had tears falling down his face.
The lid of the trashcan was not completely closed – otherwise the two children would suffocate. Along with the day’s first light, the reflection of the snow penetrated into the small gap beneath the lid of the trashcan, which was unfortunately filled with a peculiar rancid stench.
Xi Wei looked flatly at the small creature folded in his arms, and stared silently for a length of time before he spoke, “Do not make a sound.” His desire for silence was the reason he did not speak until this moment. His voice was immature and raspy, his speech inarticulate, “If you do not want your mother to have died in vain.”
Zeno did not make any acknowledgement of his words. Xi Wei’s words seemed to be his thoughts spoken aloud based on how quietly he murmured them.
It was apparent the baby did not understand his words, and continued to moan. Xi Wei’s eyes flashed coldly for a moment, then reasoned that it was unlikely the baby could understand his words—in fact that would be too strange, and his expression softened.
This thought of ‘strange’ unexpectedly hit on the truth, but Xi Wei left that line of thought without looking back.
As they waited, the sky continued to lighten bit by bit. It seemed that the luck of the two children was not bad, and they had not yet met with any danger. However, people like the woman’s killers were not the type to rifle through trash.
Xi Wei cautiously shifted the lid of the trashcan to enlarge the small gap beneath. It was still early in the morning, but it quickly became apparent that the snow was no longer falling. The alley they were in remained basically deserted, and the silence was punctuated sporadically by the crunching of footsteps in the snow.
Xi Wei, who had been tense since his encounter with the woman, finally relaxed and immediately felt an unbearable hunger. His belly growled loudly.
Zeno remembered reading in the novel that, because of extreme hunger, Xi Wei risked freezing to death in order to search for food in the garbage behind the bakery. It was there, amidst the heavy snowfall, that he came across the ill-fated mother and son.
Despite being famished, and the resulting weakness of his limbs, Xi Wei earnestly held the young baby in his arms. He was very careful not to let that baby fall.
For the average * -year-old child, holding a baby for a prolonged length of time could be very difficult, not to mention this particular child was starving and weak.
Zeno’s heart beat quickly. After a few hours of hiding in the trash, he was beginning to accept that he was not dreaming, and Xi Wei was the only one who can save his life. If he was legitimately cold and indifferent like the novel described, then it was likely these arms only held death for him.
In the imaginary world of the novel, it was easy to enjoy the protagonist’s indifference and his ability to kill decisively. However, being held in the arms of said heartless person was a completely different matter.
The city where Xi Wei was born and raised was named Ye Sa City, also known as “City of Exile.” This city sat at the junction of two countries, somewhat remote from any other cities, leaving it virtually ungoverned. Many criminals have escaped to Ye Sa City, and it could be said that there was a scarcity of good people.
Without someone to shelter this frail baby in this frozen city full of criminals, there was only death waiting.
As Xi Wei crawled out of the trashcan, he could feel that the child within his arms had started trembling. He lowered his head and adjusted the swaddling cloths around Zeno in order to look into his frightened eyes.
“Do not … be scared,” said Xi Wei, his speech still jerky and dry, “I … will take care of you.”
Zeno suddenly stared, almost afraid to believe his ears. Although the words of Xi Wei were spoken flatly, as if the world owes him the money, to Zeno the sound was music to his ears.
It took less time than I thought. Enjoy!