Chapter 21 – When in Rome, do as the Romans do
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Mi Li disappeared for two days, and Xi Baichen’s spirit also languished for two days. The quality of the little dumplings’ diet dropped again, and only their basic needs were met. Even the kitten ate better than them.
The little dumplings expressed their grievances. Their favorability which had been raised fell back to its original value. At any moment, it could fall below their bottom line.
Xi Baichen turned a blind eye to their complaints and grievances. He was very idle and checked for updates on his cell phone. When he saw that Xi Zinuo had messaged his circle of friends, he immediately gave him a call, “Xi Zinuo, did you come back to China today?”
[ Yes, I only just got home. What instructions does Brother Baichen have? ] Xi Zinuo’s voice held a hint of flattery.
“Come over to my house, let’s have a meal together.”
[ Have a meal together? ] Xi Zinuo asked in disbelief.
“Is there a problem?”
[ Nonono, there’s no problem, I promise! ]
Xi Baichen hung up the phone, looked at the two little dumplings next to him stacking blocks, then he dialed a number, and made a reservation at Baiwei Garden.
After 11am, Xi Zinuo hastily arrived at Xi Baichen’s house.
Xi Baichen was already neatly dressed. He put Little Bai in a bag and led the two little dumplings into Xi Zinuo’s car.
“Brother Baichen, did something good happen?” Xi Zinuo asked with a smile as he drove.
Xi Baichen said lightly, “En, yes.”
“What happened?” Xi Zinuo asked in search of gossip.
“I took care of a few problems.” Xi Baichen glanced at him casually.
“Really? That’s good.” Xi Zinuo said cheerfully, “If you encounter any trouble next time, just ask me. I don’t have any other skills, but helping elder brother solve some minor problems should still be okay.”
“OK, I got it.”
Over ten minutes later, the group arrived at Baiwei Garden and walked to the reserved table under the waiter’s lead.
“Nuoqi, Xeran, come here.” Xi Zinuo grabbed the menu and asked the two little dumplings, “What do you want to eat?”
The little dumplings sat to his left and right, their three heads placed together to choose some dishes.
Xi Baichen sat alone on the other side, teasing the kitten in the bag with his fingers. He was bored and his eyes were empty.
When the food was being set on the table, Xi Zinuo said to the waiter, “Excuse me, please bring over a bottle of milk.”
“Okay, please wait.” The waiter politely bowed his head, then turned and left. After a short time, a bottle of milk was delivered.
Xi Zinuo took it and twisted the cap firmly, only to hear an exclamation: [ Ouch, my waist! It’s breaking, it’s breaking! ]
Xi Baichen’s eyes sharpened and focused on the milk bottle in Xi Zinuo’s hand.
“This bottle cap is really tight.” Xi Zinuo twisted it hard but couldn’t unscrew it. He directly took out a knife from his bosom and prepared to forcefully open the bottle.
[ Hey hey, is it necessary to use a knife to open a milk bottle? Try again, I guarantee you can open it. ]
“Give it to me.” Xi Baichen stretched out his hand towards Xi Zinuo.
“It’s okay, I’ll be done soon.” Xi Zinuo unfolded the folding knife and had a “I vow to subdue this evil spirit” look on his face.
“Give it to me!” Xi Baichen said with a tone of command.
“…Fine.” Xi Zinuo reluctantly put away the knife and passed the milk bottle over.
Xi Baichen received the milk bottle, set it aside, and immediately said to a passing waiter, “Excuse me, please bring another two bottles of milk.”
Xi Zinuo wondered, “Is one whole bottle of milk not enough?”
“I want this bottle.”
“You drink milk too?” Xi Zinuo looked at him incredulously.
“You got something to say?” Xi Baichen raised his eyes and glared.
“No no.” Xi Zinuo waved his hands from side to side.
Xi Baichen retracted his gaze and turned to look at the milk bottle beside him.
[ Old Bai, do you want to drink milk? Take off the cap and I’ll let you have a cup. ] The Mi Li brand milk generously asserted.
Xi Baichen thought for a moment, raised his hand to the mouth of the bottle, and twisted lightly. The bottle cap was unscrewed, but he didn’t pour. He just glanced at it and screwed the cap back on.
[ Why don’t you drink? ] Mi Li was puzzled, [ People like you who often stay up all night should drink more milk. ]
Xi Baichen didn’t say a word. He picked up his chopsticks and ate silently.
Seeing that there were other people at the table, Mi Li knew that it was inconvenient for him to talk so she didn’t continue asking.
Not long afterwards, Xi Baichen stood up suddenly and calmly said, “I’m going to the restroom.”
“Okay, go.” Xi Zinuo replied indifferently, but then shouted at his back, “Hey, why are you bringing the milk with you? Could it be that milk tastes better in the restroom?”
Xi Baichen turned a deaf ear to his words and strode away with the milk bottle.
[ Hm? Didn’t you say you were going to the restroom? Why are you heading outside? ] Mi Li saw they were heading in the wrong direction and couldn’t help but ask.
Xi Baichen went to the checkout counter, swiped his card to check out, then walked out of Baiwei Garden. He hired a taxi and directly returned to the villa.
After returning to the villa, he quickly packed up a piece of luggage, started his car, and sped away into the unknown.
Mi Li: [ Are you taking this chance to run off? ]
She managed to see through him. Xi Baichen intended to dump the dumplings on Xi Nuoqi, and he himself would make a clean getaway.
“I can’t take care of children.” Xi Baichen drew a cigarette from the carton, held it in his mouth, but did not light it. “Letting them stay by my side will only harm them.”
If Little Mi showed up on time, he could have held on for a few more days, but she had been erratic lately. Without her watching, he could not guarantee the physical and mental health of the two children.
[ Where are you going? ] Mi Li asked.
“I also have an old house in Qiming Village. Although the accommodations are a bit crude, the environment is quiet and the customs are simple and honest. It is very suitable for raising cats.”
[ It sounds like a good place to raise children. ] Mi Li’s parents opened a farmhouse in the countryside, and she herself was also very interested in growing vegetables and flowers. As long as there was a wooden house and a vegetable plot, she could live a good life.
“Meow~~” Little Bai peeked its head out of Baichen Xi’s bag and looked around. Then it struggled to crawl out and rushed to the milk bottle in the passenger seat.
[ Little Bai, did you miss me? ] Mi Li rolled back and forth along its claws.
“Meow.” Little Bai held the bottle and rubbed it happily. It was unknown if it felt Mi Li’s aura or if it found rolling bottles fun.
Xi Baichen glanced at it from time to time, fearing that it would break the bottle.
The car drove for more than an hour, passed a stretch of fields, drove onto a country road, and finally stopped at an old courtyard house.
“We’re here.” Xi Baichen held Little Bai in one hand and the bottle in the other, walking into the yard.
Mi Li looked around, feeling that this courtyard house was a little different from the houses of the other villagers. The latter should have been built in recent decades, but this courtyard house had a profound sense of history, probably dating back more than a hundred years.
The house seemed to be cleaned frequently. Although it was old, there was not much dust. The courtyard was empty, and the house interior was a little dark.
Xi Baichen walked into the bedroom, put the milk bottle and Little Bai on the table, and then went out to retrieve the luggage in the car.
[ No one has lived here for a long time. You should open the doors and windows to air out the place. ]
Xi Baichen had no objection. A pair of hands and paws, together they toured around the house.
At this time, a rough voice came from out in the courtyard, “Is it Baichen coming back?”
Xi Baichen walked out and responded, “Uncle Niu, it’s me.”
“It’s really you.” A dark-skinned middle-aged uncle who was in his fifties stood at the door, carrying a head on his shoulders that revealed a mouthful of yellow teeth.
“I have troubled Uncle Niu this period of time.” Xi Baichen thanked him politely.
“No, I’m being paid for this. I usually just do a bit of cleaning, it’s no trouble.” Uncle Niu waved his hand with a smile.
“No matter what, I still have to thank you.” Xi Baichen said, “I plan to stay here for a few days and will be in your care.”
“That’s good. Just look for me if you need anything.” Uncle Niu invited him warmly, “Do you want to come over for dinner tonight?”
“No, I have some things to deal with.”
“That’s fine. Since you’re busy, I will leave first.”
After Uncle Niu left, Mi Li asked, [ What are you eating tonight? Can you cook at home? ]
“I have ingredients in my car. I bought them yesterday.” Xi Baichen brought Mi Li to the kitchen.
The kitchen had old-fashioned stoves and boilers, as well as modern appliances such as induction cookers and rice cookers. It could be described as a combination of ancient and modern, which was quite interesting to look at.
[ Since we are in the countryside, should we follow the local customs? ]
“What do you mean?”
[ Cooking with wood and fire, stir frying with a large wok, making soup with an ancient stove. We can roast a few sweet potatoes as well. ]
It sounded interesting. Although Xi Baichen occasionally stayed at the old house for a few days, he ate fast food every time. He never started a fire, let alone use the old-fashioned stove.
His eyes moved slightly and he looked at the milk bottle in his arms, feeling that the little ghost could do anything.
But Mi Li forgot that she could only stay in this world for one or two hours at a time. Just as she gave her promise and was about to start a huge job, her consciousness suddenly became muddled, and she flew off in an instant.
“I have processed the ingredients, should I start a fire next?” Xi Baichen asked while throwing wood into the stove.
The milk bottle stood silently on the stovetop.
Xi Baichen: “Little Mi?”
Little Bai: “Meow~~”
The air was suddenly quiet.
Xi Baichen snapped apart the firewood in his hands with a crack: Haha, she ran away again.
The gradually distant Mi Li: Oh no, listen to me, I didn’t mean it, trust me, I will come back…
On the other hand, Xi Zinuo waited for Xi Baichen for a long time and didn’t see him come back, so he called but no one picked up. After he finished his meal, he rushed to the villa and found that the building was empty. Only then did he realize that he had been splendidly left behind.
There’s really no free lunch in the world, I am too naive!
Looking at the two little dumplings standing next to him, Xi Zinuo uttered in silent sorrow: Xi Baichen, you are really something!!!