Until they left Fenhong Street, Zeno could not regain his composure. Xi Lun’s men, surprisingly, did not further investigate their situation, and only asked a few questions before letting them go. Of course, they will not receive any more xue nu. Xi Lun may have been kind to them, but this is not a charity.
However, as long as there are no accidents, Zeno has no worries—this is good news.Thinking carefully about what just happened, Zeno realizes that the scar-faced man simply did not seriously want the protagonist to complete the task. He just wanted to see what he would do to satisfy his own curiosity.
In this context, Xi Wei’s performance shows that he had long felt he could not analyze all the options, outcomes and their consequences. Despite this, his inherent sense of danger made him acutely aware that Xi Lun held no malice towards them.
Xiao Wu’s father is really interesting.
This whole matter has only been a brief interlude. Now that the matter has passed, they have to go back to the broken cabin and follow their original path.
Fenhong Street grows livelier as night approaches. People from all walks of life gather and the area slowly adopts a chaotic atmosphere. Xi Wei clutches Zeno and walks quickly and inconspicuously along the wall as usual, quietly leaving the area. Those seeking the pleasures of the night have no time to pay attention to this humble beggar; thus the night provides them with a gentle protection.
Snow has not yet disappeared, Xi Wei must lift his feet appropriately to move through, and occasionally he slips on an icy patch. Zeno feels that these moments are warm and tranquil, even the blood-red moon that should be strange has a unique beauty to it.
Zeno, as an orphan, should be accustomed to a lonely life after years of solitude. However, he has found that in the short span of only two days, through his actions, Xi Wei completely touched Zeno’s heart. He is no longer merely a character from a book, but a real person—the most important person in Zeno’s life.
As they cross through the waterways and streets of Ye Sa City, Xi Wei soon begins treading familiar ground. Before long they have returned to their small, broken boat.
To their surprise, Hua Li had actually returned long ago. Bored of flying around, she was waiting for them.
Xi Wei’s pupils contracted a bit, then he immediately bowed his head and ignored the presence of Hua Li completely. He snuggles Zeno in; if the baby sleeps he won’t feel hungry.
Hua Li quietly flutters her dainty wings, searching quickly until she finds a slightly clean corner of the boat to settle in peacefully.
Zeno has been very tired these past two days. What happened in merely 24 hours has almost completely subverted his knowledge of the past two decades. He has also spent a lot of effort trying to pretend to be a qualified infant, so he falls asleep instantly.
In accordance with the normal course, they should not be in this life together they have already crossed paths they should not yet have reached, but things don’t always happen as you think they will.
From winter to spring, the coldest and toughest season of the year finally passes. Although it was just three months, it has felt particularly long, and Zeno has spent the most unforgettable winter in this world.
This winter, he met the protagonist of his favourite novel, and he has been following that protagonist and eating his leftovers. They trekked to every corner of the frigid city, every day, just to find something to eat.
The only thing to be thankful for is that Hua Li seems to be very interested in the little baby, and she will bring back nectar1 to share with Zeno every time she disappears. Of course, the ‘big bastard’ Xi Wei does not get a share.
The type of food that can safely be given to young babies is scarce, and Xi Wei can find only a limited amount of food. If only a very small portion of food is found, Xi Wei will often starve himself to feed Zeno first. When Hua Li returns with the nectar then it helps the boys out a lot, so from the bottom of his heart Zeno was very thankful to her.
Hua Li also refrained from asking Xi Wei to return her possessions2. Even though she wanted to, memories of Xi Wei’s violence frightened her into silence.
Zeno feels that the betrayal by the Elf Queen should have some hidden secret behind it. Hua Li has hopefully directed away from this, kept busy helping him. He also wants to eliminate the hidden danger. Even if he could not become good friends with Hua Li, he did not want to send her in the enemy’s direction this time around.
Since the emergence of the spring season, Xi Wei collects soft green heartleaf3, an edible plant that grows along the banks of the river. Except for during the cold of winter, it grows plentifully year round, and has been their staple food since the spring arrived.
Zeno began to grow teeth two months ago, but still cannot eat many solids. Xi Wei mashes the heartleaf in the broken bowl and feeds him the resulting grass juice. Heartleaf tastes a little bitter and Zeno wrinkles his face every time every time he eats it—it is a bit hard to swallow.
After three months in a different world, Zeno has completed a psychological shift from a normal office worker to a small, wandering beggar. Xi Wei still seldom speaks. Zeno is, in fact, a little bit nervous. People are social animals, and not everyone has the psychological capabilities of this protagonist to be at peace and content with silence.
Fortunately, Hua Li always chatters on, complaining about the ‘big bastards’ around town and sharing anecdotes from her travels outside. This prevents Zeno from suffocating in the silence.
Allowing his thoughts to wander about, Zeno rests his chin on his protagonist’s shoulder, enjoying the warm spring sunshine for a moment. All of a sudden, the drowsy Zeno hears a weak sobbing.
The sound was a little familiar. Xi Wei also appears to have heard, but he did not pause, showing every intention to keep moving forward. He completely intends to refrain from looking back and does not care about why the owner of the voice is crying.
Zeno’s face is naturally pointing in the opposite direction of Xi Wei’s, and his curiosity leads him to crane his neck towards the source of sound. The only thing he can see is a fuzzy little figure hiding beneath the bridge not far away, crying tragically.
Despite that, her iconic scorpion braid sells her identity, it’s actually Xiao Wu!
Thinking about it, they are not too far away from Fenhong Street. Although not directly connected, it is not completely impossible that a Xiao Wu would appear here. Because the scar-faced man loves her so much, how could he allow his precious baby girl to cry alone?
Looking slightly further along, two armed martial artists stood by. It seems that this should be a family business matter. Since it is a family conflict, in addition to the fact that Xiao Wu is prejudiced against the protagonist, Xi Wei would only cause himself trouble by going over.
Let’s pretend we didn’t see it!
Xi Wei lightly pats the baby’s back, and Zeno takes the hint. He immediately stops twisting around, and tucks his head back into the hollow of his neck.
“Hey, you picked a lot of heartleaf today,” called a familiar voice, and someone stops in front of them.
Xi Wei was forced to stop, his eyes indifferently sweeping over several people gathered in front of them.
Zeno’s heart skipped a beat. It’s over, why has he already come? He even brought backup.
The one who spoke is a wandering little beggar like Xi Wei. Yesterday, he wanted to snatch their heartleaf instead of putting in effort to gather his own. As a result Xi Wei, who was pretending to be afraid, took the opportunity to kick him into the river, and it took him half a day to climb out.
Pretty good vitality for such a small guy.
Although Zeno was not worried yesterday with the dominant protagonist, today they would have to worry about their safety.
What are the odds? Is there one stratagem in the 36 that can ensure success?
Zeno is even carefully figuring out whom he can bite with his own brand new, sharp little teeth.
He comes to the conclusion that they are probably frustrated, and so if they simply do not resist, they can allow the other party to hit them until they are bored. Then they should leave.
Such moments are always particularly difficult, and the two boys probably feel similar to sacrificial offerings before they are sacrificed.
“Stop!” The slightly hoarse voice of a girl suddenly burst out, breaking the tense atmosphere.
No doubt, it is Xiao Wu. Her strong sense of justice once again comes out, she will not allow this bullying of the weak to happen in front of her own eyes.
Right now, the term ‘saint mother’ is a derogatory term. If any light novels write in a saint mother female lead, people will spit on it. However, after being supported by their own saint mother, Zeno hated that the world could not be filled with saint mothers.
The teens are totally surprised, they do not have a clue where bean-sized little girl angrily that stomped in between them came from. The little girl is wearing clean and tidy clothing, and her red eyes betray that apparently she just cried.
The leader is not a fool. One look at the girl’s dress reveals that in Ye Sa City, she must belong to the ‘aristocracy’5. They cannot afford to provoke people at her level.
They are unwilling to leave without settling the score, but if they do not go, they are afraid they will get into trouble.
The boys’ faces were twisted.
Xiao Wu, unaware of their tangled thoughts, could only see their fierce expressions. She felt a bit of fear creeping in, and involuntarily withdrew two steps. As long-term street dwellers, the moment they found her shifting to timid behaviour and lacking confidence, they changed. One by one, they retrieved their own courage.
“Young lady, that boy robbed our heartleaf. Wanting to take back our own thing is not excessive, right?” This is the typical ‘opening one’s eyes to tell a lie’6.
Xiao Wu, puzzled, looks behind her, and this look simply angers her to her heart. She did not expect that it would actually be that bastard. She just wanted to preserve justice, but failed to pay attention to the object she was protecting.
After a lapse of three months, Xiao Wu still clearly remembers the little beggar. Throughout her childhood, her father and the surrounding warriors spoiled her thoroughly. Only Xi Wei cheated her and ‘humiliated’ her. Just thinking about it made her eyes even redder.
The teens watch the scene play out in front of them, their grins growing larger, as they gear up—ready for a fight.
Who knew Xiao Wu would turn back, “You, do you take me for a fool? He is alone, taking care of a baby. How could he grab your stuff?”
The teenagers are surprised for a moment, then angry, and now they completely disregard whether or not they will offend the ‘aristocrat’. They proceed to surround Xiao Wu to teach her a lesson together.
Xiao Wu only has empty justice; since the other party has force on their side she could only wait for the pain.
Fortunately, Xiao Wu is not an ordinary girl. The two samurai warriors quietly following may have no way to help her with the tears she has shed, but how can they not control these young teens looking for death?
Xiao Wu watches on as the warriors finish picking up those troublemakers and escorting them out, and thinks back to her quarrel with her father. She finds herself growing upset again, and then clutches her faces and starts crying.
A soft little hand catches Xiao Wu’s scorpion braid, gently tugging it. Although the strength is not enough to attract her attention, the little girl realizes that there are still others nearby, wipes her face in a quick attempt to disguise her tears, and stands up.
The one who enters her vision is Zeno, baring cute milk teeth with his little smile. Xiao Wu’s hand lifts towards him, she just wants to give his cheeks a good pinch.
Even though babies usually grab at everything they can, Zeno used his full strength to pull on Xiao Wu’s braid. He did it even though his own protagonist’s eyes warned him to let go and ignore her.
Xiao Wu is still very fond of this look cute little one, and seeing that he is teething makes her very curious to feel his mouth. However, before she could lay a hand on him, Xi Wei nimbly dodged her attempt.
Xiao Wu pouts, voicing her displeasure, “Let people touch if they want ah!”
Xi Wei is silent as always, and his movement is very fast. He has no intention of allowing Xiao Wu to touch Zeno’s baby teeth.
Zeno giggles musically. Xiao Wu shows a rare serious face, and then starts baby talking, “Call me jiejie, come on little one, say ‘jiejie’.”
Zeno obeyed, “Jiejie.”
The pronunciation is awkward and not standard, but it is indeed true speech; he spoke his first sentence in this world.
Thanks to the precious people from my discord who help me with the tough stuff—Cici, Ying, and Rei. I started translating a second project on my site, Screen Partner, but it should not interfere with this. I also edit for two projects you can find on NU: Strongly Pampered Male Wife and Runaway Guide. Check them out if you have time!
- 花蜜 – Nectar – literally flower honey, so I’m not sure if it’s from a special flower of some kind, but there’s nothing to indicate it has any special qualities.
- I’m calling it possessions but recall that it’s more intangible, her memories, her power etc. I didn’t really have a good word that worked in the context.
- 的鱼腥草 – Houttuynia cordata – a plant native to Japan, Korea, Southern China, SE Asia. Pinyin is Yuxing Cao. Goes by many names. I picked the one I liked the most. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houttuynia_cordata
- Famous piece of writing. This wasn’t the exact translation but it’s close enough
- So you say her dad is a crime lord—not an aristocrat. Well, you’re right, but this city, if you’ll recall, is rife with crime. So rather than having inherited nobility, it would seem that those with money/power are on top.
- Means you lie all the time