When the young man spoke easily of the fact that he was aware they did not have a blood relationship, both children immediately went stiff.
Zeno took advantage of his age and played up his ignorance as a child; he pretended he did not understand anything. Nevertheless, he took two steps forward, and stood directly in front of Xi Wei as if he was trying to shield him.
Xi Wei clutched the dagger in one hand behind his back, and brought Zeno back with the other hand, and asked coldly, “Who are you?”
The young man had short black hair, pitch-black pupils, and laughed as he answered, “You can call me Hill.”
Zeno desperately tried to dredge that name up in his mind—who was Hill? How could someone who made such an explosive appearance only be a passer-by, ah? Unfortunately, “Curse” really did not have a person named Hill from beginning to end, and the “Curse” addict Zeno began to grow anxious.
Xi Wei pursed his lips and questioned, “What do you want?”
Hill rubbed his forehead, “Actually, I came to take shelter. Can you let me stay overnight?”
In order to have enough face to ask strangers to host him for the night, a person must be either very brazen or very powerful. Hill was obviously the latter, and the small beggar Xi Wei did not refuse. There was no doubt that this person was powerful, and he did not even entertain the idea of resistance.
Xi Wei did not complain. In this world, the law of the jungle reigned; might made right. Therefore, Hill could let old George escape and detain the children if he wanted to. He could even ‘borrow a bed’ without having to rely on using a weapon for coercion.
It was amazing that they could squeeze three people in the small, decrepit boat, but Hill seemed as if the humble environment did not bother him. He briefly glanced around, and then settled into one of the corners.
Since their ‘guest’ had no objections, two children had nothing to say.
Xi Wei brought out their last bit of food—a frozen solid piece of flatbread, and then broke it into pieces. Bite by bite, they ate it with cold water to wash it down.
Hill watched quietly and saw that the two-year-old child did not complain or express any kind of dissatisfaction, despite receiving such crude food. He ate it without any reluctance, all the while a smile shining in his eyes.
When they had finished eating, Hill pulled out a fist-sized piece of beef in order to start eating. The aroma of the meat filled the tiny cabin—this was simply a crime!
Despite being hated at that moment, Hill spoke, “It is not good for children to eat such things when they are growing.”
Xi Wei was silent.
“If you don’t eat meat, you won’t grow tall.”
Xi Wei remained silent.
“If you don’t eat vegetables your skin will be bad.”
Xi Wei still remained silent.
Hill regretted that he could only get such a boring reaction out of Xi Wei. That young boy was definitely brave, but could he not get a little bit excited?
Although he thought that, Hill handed the beef in his hand to Zeno, “You should eat this little one, it is certainly more delicious than bread.”
Although Zeno’s greedy stomach was protesting, he could only refuse and turn his head away to show his firm stance.
Hill was puzzled by his actions and inquired, “You don’t want to eat any?”
Zeno had taken his bullying of the protagonist to heart, and when Hill asked that question, he did not hesitate to say, “You took a bite, and I don’t want to eat it.”
Hill was rendered speechless—this little guy actually had strict rules about cleanliness, since it seemed he would not even share food.
Zeno indeed placed great value on cleanliness, but that was in his former life. Cleanliness was in part, related to the environment. If one was in a situation with inadequate food and clothing, every day marked by the aching burn of hunger, and no time to think of other things, who could focus on the problem of cleaning up?
He did not like Hill, and Zeno certainly would not eat his food.
Xi Wei touched his neck, and his expression showed satisfaction.Those icy cold fingers caused Zeno to tremble, and shrink his neck slightly.
Hill, though feeling a bit helpless, did not give up and took out another piece of good beef, which he handed over, “I have not eaten anything from this piece.”
Zeno answered more simply this time, “You touched it, and I won’t eat it.”
He seemed like one who was unaccountably solicitous in order to hide evil intentions. Hill was neither a relative nor a friend, which made his motives very suspicious. Furthermore, he unexpectedly had an extra-dimensional storage space—he truly inspired envy and hate in others.
Hill was rendered completely speechless. He had become deeply aware that these young ones would be hard to please, and finally understood that this little guy was going to continue taking an opposing view.
Since they refused to eat his food, Hill could only change the way he was trying to communicate with them. He took out a wooden box and set it down on the boat’s deck. He beckoned the two children who were at full alert to come a bit closer. “Today is New Year’s Day. Don’t tell me that you really planned to commit murder?”
The way he said it so easily made him look pretty cool. If someone had not witnessed what happened, they would think that he was speaking about a horror film!
Hill had his legs folded and he was leaning against the wall with a laid-back posture that was out of tune with the environment, “I have a better idea, let’s play a game.”
Zeno could not help but be a bit curious regarding the true reason Hill was spending the night with them. He was not foolish enough to believe that there was no reason. He definitely would not have come just to play a game with them.
Has the protagonist’s halo been so invincible that it has begun to exert its enormous influence so early?
But the style was not right, ah. He should have encountered a peerless expert who took and interest in the protagonist at first sight, and then they would have set him on the path that would lead to ruling the continent. This particular outcome was not very likely, because if the author of “Curse” was guilty of one thing, it was what they wrote for the protagonist: opression!
Xi Wei did not refuse; he deeply understood the terrible power of the person in front of him. If he compared him to Nami, the most powerful warrior he had seen in the Mercenary Guild, even she could not walk on the snow without leaving a trace. When it came to the beggar Xi Wei, even just Nami was already far out of his reach.
Hill suddenly felt that the little boy was a bit lovelier, and at least he would try not to cause him any injuries.
He slowly opened the delicate wooden box.
Neatly stacked within the box was a pile of miniature wooden cards that were roughly the size of a poker card. They were breathtakingly beautiful, and affected those around them, as if with even peoples’ minds would be sucked in.
Xi Wei pulled Zeno a little further away. The wooden cards gave off a strange feeling, and caused him to feel very uncomfortable.
Hill crossed his arms behind his back, and introduced how one would use the cards, “This is a little game I came up with myself. My friend named it tarot, and with it I can predict your life’s path. Although it may not be accurate, in this weather it’s a good way to pass the time.”
Neither child gave him a reply; it was clear that only Hill found it amusing.
Predict life? Was that not just fortune-telling? In the Hong Yue continent, there were indeed some who could do it, but those were all gods. However, there was no god named Hill—did he use a pseudonym?
Zeno thought hard in an attempt to recall the true identity of Hill from even the slightest clue. “Curse” could not be considered a complete view of the world. The only gods that were mentioned were those related to the development of the story, so Zeno was left with nothing to go on.
Hill had already decided they would play, so he did not wait for the boys to speak. Assuming their silence was tacit agreement, he turned to Xi Wei and spoke, “Then we will start with this young man. Please select three of the 30 wooden cards, and hand them all over to me.”
Hill was releasing an overwhelmingly powerful aura of pressure. Unable to decline, Xi Wei took a deep breath and followed his instructions. Hill took his three cards in turn, and closed his eyes to think for a moment. After he finished, he turned his eyes with a smile and explained, “Young man you are very excellent. In your life, you will first experience many hardships, and then embark on a smooth road. As long as you keep your heart, you can achieve the unimaginable.”
Zeno was 囧囧. He could not tell whether this was from a god, or a true prophecy. If he was a god, and what he said was right, then saying it was a prophecy was too ambiguous. Talking about this kind of difficult journey was not something to joke about, and according to those words, it seemed that it was not guaranteed the protagonist would be able to escape the author’s bad ending.
It was possible that Hill was swindling them, and perhaps he really was just playing a game. Zeno finally started to calm down, but was still anxious.
Without any psychological pressure, he wondered what Hill would predict for him.
From beginning to end, the protagonist did not believe Hill’s words. He did not respond after he heard the prediction, he just acted the same as he would if Nami was describing a new task to him.
At that time, Xi Wei lifted his shirt, and exposed the deep, narrow cut left by old George’s sharp knife tip. The blade was smooth and sharp; Xi Wei’s rusty knife could not even be compared.
Xi Wei wiped the wound clean with a bit of snow water, and then wrapped the wound with some black cloth strips.
By this point, Hill took Zeno’s card and glanced at it. His expression suddenly grew serious, and he sat upright, shedding his previous slouchy appearance.
The atmosphere in the cabin suddenly changed.
Xi Wei keenly felt this change, stopped wrapping the wound, and pulled Zeno close. His muscles were tense, as if he was ready to deal with any move the stranger made.
Hill did not have a smile on his face. He faced Xi Wei and interrogated him, “Where did you get this kid?”
Xi Wei spoke openly, “His mother gave him to me.”
“And his mother?”
“I don’t know, she probably died.”
When he heard the answer, he seemed somewhat absent-minded. He paused for a moment, stared into Xi Wei’s eyes, and then spoke in a bewitching tone, “It’s getting dark and you’re tired. You want to sleep until dawn, and you will not wake up until then.”
Xi Wei’s usual indifferent expression gradually became confused, and then he fell down on the piece of worn blankets, breathing evenly—he really had fallen asleep.
When Zeno saw Hill do that so quickly, he felt a vague sense of foreboding.
He shook Xi Wei, who did not rouse from him deep sleep, but it seemed nothing was amiss, so he was relieved.
Hill pulled Zeno to one side, and then brought out some white bandages and medicinal ointments from his inter-dimensional storage space. He removed and discarded the ugly black cloth strips that were placed on the wound by Xi Wei, and then applied the ointment and put on the new bandages.
While he was doing this, he spoke to Zeno, “Hey little guy, I know that you call him baba, but did you know that he is not your father?”
Le gasp! No footnotes. If I didn’t get distracted one night reading BL manga for…a while…I would have had this out sooner. Oopsies!
I will have the next chapter of SP out sometime this weekend (just in case you want a dose of delightful smut). But first I wanna read the newest arc of IANEWtbaSML. Yess.