Mu Yingyang’s face turned alternately red and white in shock from Xiao Yuan’s fluttering sentence. He held back for a long time and eventually said, “I can learn.” After speaking, he didn’t even dare to look at Xiao Yuan. He wished he could hide in bed, cover himself with a quilt and then pull his Shixiong in.
Xiao Yuan smiled, “Then go and learn, and come to me after you have learned.”
That night, Mu Yingyang sneaked into the library of Xingtian Sect and spent the night reading the “Method of Dual Cultivation” and other works. He gained a lot of knowledge and grew up overnight.
Under Fang Baichu’s careful conditioning, Mu Yingyang’s right hand improved to a certain extent. He could grasp chipsticks but they would shake non-stop if he held them for a long time. Fang Baichu said that in this situation, he could only practice diligently. In time, he might be able to be the same as ordinary people, but it was impossible to recover to his previous state.
Mu Yingyang was calm when he heard these words. During the day, he practiced tricks such as holding Duya with his left hand, stabbing at close range and casting spells at the same time; at night, he practiced with his right hand, only hoping that he could hold his chopsticks for a longer time and that he could hold a brush long enough to finish writing his Shixiong’s name.
When he started writing the character for “an”, he was already sweating profusely and his right hand trembled uncontrollably. He had to hold his right wrist with his left hand and force himself to keep writing. However, even so, when he had the last two strokes left, he couldn’t hold the brush anymore. The brush fell and its tip left a large ink stain that gradually blurred out, destroying the “yu” that he had managed to write.
Mu Yingyang stared at the ink stain gloomily, then suddenly lost patience, crumpled the rice paper into a ball, threw it aside, slapped the table, gritted his teeth and said, “Trash!”
The ball of paper rolled to Xiao Yuan’s feet, and Xiao Yuan picked it up and opened it. “Your characters are still as ugly as when you were a child.”
Mu Yingyang looked up and saw his Shixiong. The violent aura all over his body immediately turned into a warm spring breeze. “Is Shixiong looking for me?”
“No, I’m here to enjoy the moon.”
Mu Yingyang raised his starry bright eyes, “You don’t need to come to my place to enjoy the moon. Shixiong clearly came to see me.”
“If you know, why do you ask?” Xiao Yuan walked to the messy desk, spread out a piece of rice paper, and holding a brush in one hand and his sleeve in the other, wrote down “Liang Nian.”
Mu Yingyang asked, “Brother, who is this ‘Liang Nian’?”
“It seems to be the name given to me by my parents.”
Mu Yingyang was startled, “Shixiong, have you found your parents?”
Xiao Yuan carelessly drew a circle next to the words he wrote, “En, they seem to have died early on.”
Mu Yingyang walked behind Xiao Yuan, hugged him from behind, put his chin on Xiao Yuan’s shoulder and whispered, “It’s okay, Shixiong, you still have me.”
Xiao Yuan: “…”
After reconnecting, Mu Yingyang was not going to be mouthy to him anymore, but he had a shortcoming of being too free with his hands and feet, and always pawing at him. Two big men hugging each other was quite tiresome. That needed to be cured, otherwise there was a danger of him being insatiable in the future, and then a simple hug wouldn’t be enough.
“Didn’t you say that you are a trash, what do I want a trash for?”
Xiao Yuan suddenly changed his voice. Before Mu Yingyang could react, Xiao Yuan turned around in his arms and a pockmarked face appeared in front of him magnified. Mu Yingyang dropped his arms, stepped back a few steps, slammed into the cabinet and said in horror: “Shi, Shixiong…?”
Xiao Yuan curved his lips, “Still want to hug me?”
The same expression on different faces had a very different effect. Xiao Yuan smiling like this before would make Mu Yingyang’s heart hot when he saw it, but now he couldn’t help blocking his eyes with his hand and getting goosebumps.
Mu Yingyang said sullenly: “Shixiong is too cruel.”
“I asked you something, are you deaf?”
Mu Yingyang seemed to be a little aggrieved, “No hugging without permission, will hug again when Shixiong agrees. Shixiong, hurry up and change your face back.”
Xiao Yuan changed back to his face; Mu Yingyang immediately dropped his hand and asked, “Shixiong, are you hungry? Shall I cook something for you?”
Xiao Yuan wanted to say no, but then he changed his mind, “Okay.”
Mu Yingyang looked very happy, “Brother, what do you want to eat?”
Taking into account Mu Yingyang’s hand, Xiao Yuan only ordered a bowl of Yangchun noodles. The three of them – their master Li Xianting and his two apprentices – were not a great sect like Yunjian Pavilion or Xingtian; they had to do everything by themselves. Mu Yingyang had always thought that cooking was something that girls did, and he rarely cooked but even he could cook a bowl of noodles. Xiao Yuan had nothing to do, so he went to the kitchen with him.
Mu Yingyang couldn’t use his right hand. He could only rely on his unskilled left hand to wash and cut vegetables. He was as clumsy as a toddler with the boiling water. When cutting green onions, he accidentally cut his finger and there were beads of blood on his fingertip. He glanced at Xiao Yuan shyly, and when he saw that the other party didn’t react, he put his finger in his mouth and sucked.
When he finished cutting, Xiao Yuan glanced at him and said, “You’re cutting it in such big chunks, why don’t you throw the whole onion in?”
Mu Yingyang said, “It will not affect the taste of noodles.”
“But these huge green onions affect my eyes.”
Mu Yingyang and Xiao Yuan had known each other for more than ten years but Mu Yingyang saw his shixong’s unreasonable side for the first time. He was not angry at all and was even amused by his words: “Then I will cut them again, Shixiong, don’t be angry.”
A simple bowl of Yangchun noodles was as difficult as a buddha jumping over a wall (name of soup) when Mu Yingyang cooked it. He was busy for an hour. Xiao Yuan yawned while waiting and finally got Mu Yingyang’s Yangchun noodles.
Mu Yingyang wiped the sweat with his left hand and said, “Shixiong, I’m done.”
Xiao Yuan lazily raised his eyelids, “Shidi worked hard but I suddenly have no appetite and don’t want to eat anymore.”
Mu Yingyang couldn’t laugh now, “But Shixiong, I made it specially for you.”
Xiao Yuan looked at him with his chin propped up, “You made it for me, so I must eat it? If I don’t eat, what will you do?”
Mu Yingyang didn’t want to give up, smiled and said, “I want to feed my Shixiong.”
Xiao Yuan raised his eyebrows, neither refusing nor accepting. Mu Yingyang picked a few noodles awkwardly with his left hand, brought them to Xiao Yuan’s mouth and said, “Shixiong, open your mouth.”
“I won’t eat it, take it away.”
“Please, Shixiong, one bite, just one bite.”
“I said I won’t eat it!” Xiao Yuan’s tone was extremely impatient. He raised his hand to push Mu Yingyang away. Mu Yingyang’s hand slipped and with the sound of the porcelain bowl breaking, the Yangchun noodles that he had worked so hard to cook spilled on the ground, steaming hot.
The two fell silent at the same time.
Mu Yingyang looked down at the bowl of carefully prepared but ruined Yangchun noodles, dumbfounded and pale.
Xiao Yuan said, “Clean it up.”
Mu Yingyang slowly raised his face. He looked at Xiao Yuan. He couldn’t hide the huge disappointment in his eyes and whispered, “Shixiong, my hand hurts.”
Xiao Yuan turned away, not wanting to see Mu Yingyang’s expression; he was afraid that his heart would turn soft. “If your hand hurts, go to Fang Baichu. What’s the use of looking for me, I can’t cure it.”
Mu Yingyang held his right hand, his eyes red, “Is Shixiong retaliating against me?”
Xiao Yuan paused, “I will ask someone to send for Fang Baichu.”
Mu Yingyang said hoarsely: “I used to treat you the same way, didn’t I? At that time, did you feel like I do now, so uncomfortable… that you don’t know what to do.”
Xiao Yuan said calmly: “I was fine.” He did feel uncomfortable once or twice at first, but then he had no more expectations for Mu Yingyang and he didn’t feel uncomfortable anymore.
“I’m sorry, Shixiong, I treated you so badly in the past. You can retaliate against me in whatever way you want.” Mu Yingyang’s breathing was shaky and his right hand was trembling, too, “But I can’t lose you anymore, I… I can’t bear it.”
Xiao Yuan didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry when he saw Mu Yingyang’s moist eyes. The silly Shidi really couldn’t stand a blow. What did he do? Just knocked over a bowl of Yangchun noodles and he was so aggrieved that he cried. To be honest, it was hard to express the hatred in his heart without overturning fifty-one white bowls.
Xiao Yuan took the opportunity to ask, “Then will you listen to your Shixiong?”
Mu Yingyang nodded again and again, “I will.”
“Well, tomorrow you will leave Xingtian Sect and do something for me.”
Mu Yingyang was not very happy. He didn’t want to leave his Shixiong but he had to be obedient. “Shixiong, what do you want me to do?”
Mu Yingyang’s eyes widened, “Do you want me to investigate… Shizun?”
Xiao Yuan nodded, “En.”
Xiao Du’s two wrongly identified brothers were both part of one man’s plan. That man hid in the dark, knew their behavior well and played with them at will. Xiao Yuan thought about it and decided to start with Li Xianting.
“Don’t you find it strange.” Xiao Yuan said, “Li Xianting raised us for many years but rarely told us about himself. We don’t even know where he is from.”
Mu Yingyang said, “I always thought he was an orphan like me.”
“There must be more. Xiao Du said that Xiao Rong’s token and memories were given to him by a mysterious person. When I was separated from Xiao Du when I was young, I did carry a piece of warm jade with me, but Li Xianting said that when he picked me up, I didn’t have anything on me. Then who took this piece of warm jade from me and handed it to Xiao Rong?”
Mu Yingyang said in surprise: “Do you suspect that it was Shizun…”
Xiao Yuan said, “I’m not sure, that’s why I asked you to investigate.”
Mu Yingyang thought for a while and said, “Shixiong, since you jumped off the cliff two years ago, Shizun’s whereabouts have become more and more unpredictable. The last time I saw him was a year ago. He even gave me the invitation to the flower viewing party through someone else. I really don’t know where to find him.”
“I asked you to investigate him, not to find him. If you don’t have a clue now, you can go back to the shimen first and find out if there are any things that we ignored in the past. Maybe there is a clue.”
Xiao Yuan knew that Mu Yingyang had always respected Li Xianting and he was afraid he would not be very happy to investigate him. But Li Xianting was too inscrutable; if his only apprentice failed to find anything on him, then others would have no hope at all. Mu Yingyang was the best candidate.
Mu Yingyang said, “Okay, I will do as my Shixiong says.”
Mu Yingyang agreed much more readily than Xiao Yuan thought. Xiao Yuan smiled and said, “Thank you, Shidi.”
Mu Yingyang looked at Xiao Yuan reluctantly: “Shixiong, will you wait for me to come back?”
“Yes.” Xiao Yuan said with a smile, “When you come back, I will cook Yangchun noodles for you.”
Mu Yingyang suddenly thought of something and said nervously: “No, no, the 15th will be here soon. What will you do if I leave, Shixiong?”
In order to make him feel at ease, Xiao Yuan lied: “Don’t worry, Shidi, I have found a ruthless hua.”
Although Mu Yingyang’s hand was ruined, his golden core cultivation base was not damaged. As long as he didn’t make the same mistake as Li Yanzhi and go after Gu Louyin on the snowy mountain, there was no need to worry about his safety. A few days after Mu Yingyang left, Xiao Yuan summoned the elders of Xingtian Sect and asked them to continue stabilizing the situation. He wanted to go out. If something happened, they could go to An Mansion in Tong’an County to find him.
Before leaving, Fang Baichu kindly reminded Xiao Yuan: “Young Lord, you are about to make a mistake. It’s not good to go out at this time, is it?”
Xiao Yuan smiled and said, “That’s easy to rectify, just come with me. If we find a ruthless hua, you will prepare the antidote for me; if we can’t find it…”
Fang Baichu was shocked, covered his chest and said, “No matter how incomparable the Young Lord is, it’s useless. This subordinate only likes girls…”
“You think too much,” Xiao Yuan dragged Fang Baichu on the boat, “There is no chance for you to get such good things.”
The boat traveled thousands of miles a day, and within two days they arrived in Tong’an County. Xiao Yuan changed back to An Mu and took Fang Baichu to the mansion he had bought for a lot of money.
When the servants saw him, they were very happy and ran to tell each other: “Young Master is back, Young Master is back!”
Ah Chu raised her skirt and ran towards Xiao Yuan quickly, “Young Master –!”
Xiao Yuan was in a good mood when he saw her flushed face. “Wow, did you miss me this much?”
“Huh? I didn’t miss you very much. Young Master has only been away from the mansion for three months, why would I miss him?”
Xiao Yuan’s smile gradually disappeared. Was it only three months? Why did he feel as if three years had passed?
Ah Chu looked at Fang Baichu curiously and asked, “Young Master, who is this man?”
“Just a passerby, don’t worry about him.”
Fang Baichu: “…”
Xiao Yuan said, “Is everything okay in the mansion?”
Ah Chu complained: “It’s not okay at all. Every day, more and more people come to ask when business will resume. And we are almost bored to death. A while ago, a strange man came and said that he wanted to see the Young Master. When I said that the Young Master was not here, he actually said that he would wait in the house and asked us to arrange a room for him and provide him with good food and drink. We couldn’t beat him or get rid of him, so we had to let him live here.”
Xiao Yuan touched Ah Chu’s big head, “I’m not angry. It’s okay, I’ll kick him out for you. Where is this weirdo now?”
As soon as he said it, Xiao Yuan heard a familiar voice: “Here.”
Xiao Yuan turned around and met a pair of eyes that he couldn’t be more familiar with. Those eyes were slightly drunk but not drunk, and he was bewildered – those were his eyes.
Xiao Yuan immediately knew the identity of the visitor, smiled and said, “It has been more than two years since I said goodbye to Qiyue Mountain. How are you, Uncle?”