When he saw Qiqi, the last glimmer of hope in Zeno’s heart disappeared. Aside from Xia An, Qiqi had never shown that kind of obedience to anyone else. This was wrong, the previous Xia An that they knew so well was not so shrewd and frightening.
Zeno subconsciously touched his wrist in a spot where there were shallow pink scars. A few days ago, while being put in the bath, Qiqi lashed out and scratched Zeno. Although they had healed, the scars were not disappearing.
The Xia An and Qiqi in front of Zeno were so strange, he could not accept them.
Zeno held his breath. He vaguely felt that what Qiqi found was not something cute. In “Curse”, Boss Xia An was a demented individual without humanity!
In addition, Xia An and Qiqi did not follow the unspoken laws that most people adhered to, and immediately went looking for that ‘thing’ on their own.
At first, Zeno’s mood was lifted high above the treetops and then dropped onto the ground without warning. His curiosity remained unfulfilled, and he was a little bit depressed.
As a qualified mercenary, it was necessary to be loyal to the employer and complete the task. As to whether the employer brought back a cat or even a unicorn from the snowy mountain, it was nothing the mercenaries needed to concern themselves with.
Xia An went back to the camp and walked straight up to Xi Wei. Although he was not very strong, the oppressive feeling he released could not be overlooked. Xi Wei kept his head bowed down and gripped his dagger tightly as a cold sweat trickled down his palms. His whole body was tense, and he was nervous to the extreme.
Xia An suddenly smiled. Even though his previous behaviour had been replaced by that of a wild demon, he still spoke somewhat coquettishly, “I remember your task is to bathe Qiqi once a week, but this time, however…” he said and then suddenly paused for a moment and turned to Nami, “If the mercenary can’t fulfill their designated task, am I not entitled to unilaterally terminate the employment contract?”
Nami was in a dilemma. If she said yes, the two children would have no source of fixed income to survive on. She had to account to Mr. Xi Lun relating to these two, so she wanted to deny the man’s question. However, he was correct. She was forced to keep throwing meaningful looks at Xi Wei. It had been a little more than a year, and she had hoped that the handsome little guy would open up to her.
Xi Wei did not live up to her expectations. He slowly stood up, still wearing the heavy backpack that contained the magic storage boxes, held out his hand in front of Xia An, and said, “Cat.”
Xia An had apparently decided to make things difficult for him, “But we’re in the snow-capped mountains, there is no hot water or equipment for bathing. If you plan to bathe Qiqi under such conditions and come up against unexpected misfortunes, what are you going to pay me for compensation?”
Zeno could hardly hold back and almost rushed out to grab Xi Wei. He wanted to tell Xia An that they quit.
Xi Wei showed little reaction to prevent things from becoming more difficult. Although there were not many trees in the snow-capped mountains of Nice, the ones that grew had struggled to survive well. Each one was stout and would work well as firewood if they cut it down.
The other mercenaries all carried weapons, but no one was willing to lend the means of their livelihood to a small beggar when there was no friendship between them. Nami’s weapons were a pair of hammers that were a stark contrast to her beautiful appearance. Unfortunately, they also rendered her helpless to assist.
As a result, all the adults present watched the frail thirteen-year-old work with his slightly rusty dagger. He hacked off pieces of the roots from the surrounding trees, then gathered the cut branches together in order to build a fire.
Xia An stood off to one side and silently observed. It was as if he wanted to satisfy his sadistic desires. Once Xi Wei collected enough branches, he said, “Qiqi is not accustomed to bathing outside. We shall all return tomorrow and you can come do your job on Luo Fu Street.”
All the mercenaries were taken aback and whispered amongst themselves. As their leader, Nami stood up and questioned him, “Mr. Xia An, we have not yet found any clues that would lead us to the treasure.”
However, she quickly found herself unable to speak as Xia An stared at her with his empty eyes. Nami felt as if her blood flow had almost ceased completely, as if it was coagulated. At this time, she realized what kind of pressure Xi Wei had been subjected to.
Fortunately, Zeno did not have hair, because if he did it would have turned completely white. Xia An did not play his cards according to common sense. Against him, people felt like they had punched cotton—no matter how powerful they were, they could cause little real damage.
So what if Qiqi was too good and found what they were looking for? Who was this treasure hunt actually for? This adventure started of strong, but ended so weakly!
Despite their enthusiastic departure filled with ambitions, the dejected group came back without a win. The Wind Wolf Corps found it especially difficult, but had nowhere to vent their dissatisfaction. That would all have to wait until after their return.
This time the avalanche exposed the usually snow-covered mountains of Nice and unveiled the secrets of the legendary treasures. Ye Sa City was emptied of many who sought to make a name for themselves by challenging the mountains. Sadly, there was no shortage of ambitious people who lacked the strength to conquer the snow-capped mountains and went on to their eternal rest.
Hill leisurely carried Zeno as he followed along. Though Xia An’s team travelled uphill and downhill, no one in Xia An’s group was actually aware of their presence.
Seeing the dissolution of the team, Xi Wei also left. Zeno felt a surge of fatigue hit him as he battled with his eyelids, desperately trying to keep his eyes open. He was not triumphant in the end and finally drifted off into a deep sleep.
Hill looked at the little one helplessly and sighed, “Xia Zuo, what do you want with this child, he doesn’t know anything.”
With this sigh, a brown-haired young man who seemed to be a warrior appeared out of thin air in front of him. He carried a golden weapon on an angle in his arm, and said, “Asil, you been gone long enough. Even if he is Evelyn’s child, you can’t keep him in a golden cage. All men should face their own storms in life.”
‘Asil’ kneaded his forehead. “I knew you would say that, so I was avoiding you. How did you find me?”
The young man named Xia Zuo was unmoved, “No matter where you go, I can find you. The Western fissures have appeared again and I’m going to repair them.”
‘Asil’ replied coldly, “Then you go ah, I know you just want me to lend a hand!”
Xia Zuo did not say anything more; he just extended his hand towards Asil without mentioning it. Asil whispered a curse, and then reluctantly took hold of the other’s hand. The two figures slowly disappeared from the snow—they did not even leave any footprints.
Xi Wei gradually approached. He could already see the outline of that small broken boat, his humble home that was virtually empty. At that moment, there were two individuals waiting for him; the little one and that strange, powerful young man. Xi Wei did not know why, but a strange emotion welled up within his invariably cold heart. That feeling urged him to pick up his pace.
The cabin’s stove was still burning and a small sleeping figure was curled up on an old rug nearby. It gave him a warm feeling.
The man who claimed to be Hill was missing.
Zeno was sleeping soundly. He was awakened by the scent of Xi Wei and he rubbed his sleepy eyes, greeted by the calm and silent figure of Xi Wei. Xi Wei sat by the stove, flipping a pastry in his hands and the dancing flames illuminated his thin face.
By force of habit, Zeno, who was still half asleep, reached out and touched his protagonist’s arms and murmured, “You’re back.”
Xi Wei replied faintly, “En.” With the warmth of the stove, the aroma of the pastry, and the two interdependent children—this was also a simple happiness.
Hill finally obeyed the common sense of his Supreme Leader and disappeared without a trace. Zeno smiled from ear to ear. His golden finger had run away and there was still a boss that needed to be dealt with—it was quite troublesome.
Zeno was even more crushed because of Xia An’s threat on the snowy mountains. They still had to complete the task of bathing Qiqi.
They were familiar with Luo fu Street and familiar with house number seventy-two, but who could say that they were still familiar with the person inside?
Despite a momentary hesitation, Xi Wei still knocked on the door. The door opened at a slower pace than usual and a shy, blonde-haired teenager stood in the doorway and fussed over them. “How come you’re a few days late? I almost went to the Mercenary Guild to find Miss Nami and ask after you.”
Qiqi was lazily lying on top of Xia An and meowed as if it was in agreement with its owner.
The blonde teenager could not see the stunned expression of Zeno and the vigilant expression of Xi Wei, so he asked blankly, “Why aren’t you speaking?”
Everything seemed to be completely back to normal. This Xia An was still the same as the original Xia An. It was as if everything that transpired on the snow-capped mountains was just an illusion. He was still shy, quiet and warm. He still complained about Qiqi’s naughtiness as well.
Zeno looked for a long time, but it did not seem that Xia An’s behaviour was uncomfortable or deliberate. Suddenly, a creepy idea sprang up: boss, this wouldn’t be a split personality, right?
This young man must have an illness!
Qiqi was just a cat. Although it could understand people, do not expect it to speak. If they wanted to know the truth, they would still have to start from Xia An.
Taking advantage of the time when Xi Wei was running water for the bath, Zeno slowly moved in close to Xia An’s side and asked tentatively, “Does older brother have an older brother?”
Xia An froze a moment, only blinking, then answered in a confused voice, “No, I don’t.”
Zeno did not dare to ask again. On the one hand, he did not meet anyone his own age, and on the other hand, he really thought that the boss, Xia An, was too dangerous. He did not want to act rashly and provoke trouble.
After observing the Xia An in front of them, and then thinking about the Boss Xia An from two days before, Zeno was certain that he still liked this shy one. If it really was a split personality, then it did not necessarily mean that Xia An was guaranteed to metamorphose into the homicidal executioner that was in the novel. Would the Xia An they knew disappear, leaving behind only the demon boss?
While he was still trying to recall any clues, Zeno suddenly felt the earth tremble for a moment; he could not stabilize himself and fell towards the table. He knocked his nose on a table leg and it left him with a sour taste in his mouth and tears began to stream down unbidden.
The tremors in the earth continued and grew stronger.
Zeno groaned and thought, was this an earthquake? Or was it an avalanche on its way to bury Ye Sa City?
There should be two familiar names in this chapter, but they’re a bit obscure so you may not recall them so easily! I’m not going to lie though, I felt a little enraged when I did this chapter. Can’t my cute babies just have something go well for them??