Whewww! This is a long chapter~!
Hope you enjoy the chapter.
Ever since she borrowed the book ‘Ten Days in India’ from Cheng Jingpo, every day Bo Ziren would always find some time on her schedule to read the book
Honestly speaking, she really was not all that enthusiastic about the book. But she still read every word meticulously as if she was doing an assignment handed by the lecturers themselves. Page by page, line by line, slowly and full of concentration.
When she reached a certain page, she noticed there was a folded crease right at the upper left corner of the page which prompted her to read the same page repeatedly, trying to guess which word, which text, that had attracted his attention enough for that person to leave a mark. But after much deeper thought, it might only be a coincidence –– when he had been reading this book, after finished reading through this page he then put a mark to pick up later on before putting the book down, thus there was no other meaning to it
Obviously, she was overthinking things. The truth was, she had been a little absent-minded ever since she got the book, counting the days left to the promised book exchange date as she read each line and each page. There was an unexplainable anticipation and nervousness just like some student waiting for their college entrance exams. The more she persevered, the slower time seemed to tick compared to how it usually was.
She had yet to realize this was the first time she dipped a taste of waiting for someone.
Very early on Saturday morning, Bo Ziren made a trip home. The so-called ‘home’ does not actually fit the definition of one. After her parents divorced, her mother, Liu Xinyu, got married for the second time to a wealthy, middle-class businessman. Lin Xinyu then had successfully given birth to a pair of twin boys for her new husband, and the family was currently residing in the prosperous upper-class residential area at the center of the city –– the Virtuous Auspicious Garden, living the leisure life of a wealthy housewife. Spending all her time and effort to take care, nurture, and educate the twins.
Bo Ziren arrived at one of the Virtuous Auspicious Garden’s house. There, a young auntie housekeeper had readily opened the door for her. Even before she entered the house, she could already hear the animated noise coming from the living room. Her eyes casted towards the source of the noise and saw a chubby little boy holding a flashy toy treasure sword sprinting around in the spacious living room. Born sturdy and vigorous, that was the firstborn of the twins, one of her younger half-brothers, Mu Zidong. Liu Xinyu followed behind him full of worry and softly reminded, “Dongdong, quickly stop. Come, put on your socks first. The floor is very cold.”
Yet, it was totally ignored by Mu Zidong. Those little hands were stubbornly gripping his favorite treasure sword, slashing at the air. Then, the body took a sharp turn towards the opposite direction as he dashed to the foyer with the treasure sword hoisted upward: “Who is it? Speak your name!”
Bo Ziren cooperated obediently by raising her hands and remained still on the spot.
“Dongdong, your jiejie is here.” Lin Xinyu walked up and restrained her son. “Don’t make a mess.”
“Jiejie?” Mu Zidong tilted his round face and looked at Bo Ziren full of confusion: “I don’t know her.”
“Don’t be naughty.” Liu Xinyu smiled and reprimanded, “Just how long has it been, and already you can’t remember your jiejie?”
“Can’t remember means can’t remember.” Mu Zidong persistently shook his head. Then, he desperately struggled to escape his mother’s embrace, went running into the living room with the treasure sword still in hand right to the mantelpiece in the corner, frightening Lin Xinyun so much that she quickly followed suit.
Bo Ziren silently observed the farce in front of her. Her sight caught many toys scattered on the carpet as well as some coloring books and snacks. And in another corner, was her other half-brother, Mu Zibei; clean and tidy. He was leaning lazily on the sofa, idly reading manhua.
“Miss, please take a seat first. I’ll go and fetch you something to drink. Does warm orange juice suffice?” the family’s auntie housekeeper asked Bo Ziren.
“Yes, thank you.” Bo Ziren thanked the housekeeper politely.
The words ‘kill’ and ‘fight’ came out repeatedly from Mu Zidong’s mouth in a boisterous voice as he spiritedly ran around the living room. It was a challenging task for Bo Ziren to avoid him before she finally found a spot on the long sofa. She took a seat across Mu Zibei, face-to-face.
Mu Zibei raised his head, and blinked his long eyelashes at her, “Melon seed, long time no see. I’ve missed you all this time.”
Bo Ziren smiled faintly: “En, long time no see.”
If she were to describe this pair of Mu Family’s eight-year-old twin boys, the first would be their personalities, it was two polar opposites. Mu Zidong, who was born three minutes earlier was naughty, stubborn, reckless, but was straightforward and did not have many deep thoughts whereas the younger twin, Mu Zibei was just too smart for his own good. Excelled at ‘behaving’, winning people’s heart, and of course, from time to time, knew exactly when to dig a pit and trick others in.
Exactly as she had thought, Mu Zibei’s big and round eyes were staring at Bo Ziren, dripping with concern and love, “Was the school work terrible? You’ve lost a lot of weight, it makes me concern.”
“It is?” Bo Ziren processed it for a moment, “It’s probably due to my recent exercise.”
“Exercising because you wanted to lose weight?”
“No. Exercise, in general, does help build our energy so we can be more vivacious and focus during class.”
Mu Zibei nodded his round head and said in a flattering manner, “That’s good. You totally don’t have to think about losing weight, oh. You already have a model’s figure, if you still feel the need to lose weight, other women don’t need to live anymore.”
Bo Ziren was rendered speechless. Every time she talked with the eight-year-old midget, Mu Zibei, it felt like she was talking to an eighteen-year-old wise soul.
Suddenly, from one corner of the living room, a loud crashing noise could be heard. Subsequently, Mu Zidong’s loud bawl boomed over the living room. He had fallen and knocked his head. His favorite treasure sword was also broken. Liu Xinyu rushed up to inspect his little body for injuries and saw there was a huge ‘bungalow’ on his forehead. Anxious, she carried her son upstairs while Mu Zidong leaned onto his mama’s shoulder bawling, “My Red Firmament Treasure Sword~~~”
Mu Zibei snapped close his manhua and ridiculed his elder brother, “Really an idiot.”
Bo Ziren was a little worried as she glanced towards the first floor.
Mu Zibei said: “No harm, his brain has already reached the bottom of stupidity. No matter how hard he knocked his head, his IQ can’t drop any further.”
Bo Ziren frowned. “Don’t talk like that about your gege.”
“I’m just stating the facts, he really isn’t smart. Can’t even memorize a simple ancient poetry, more often than not, write the wrong characters. Once, it even being used as an example in front of the entire class by the Language Teacher on the blackboard.” Mu Zibei shrugged his small shoulders nonchalantly, “I’m too lazy to speak to him at school.”
Bo Ziren had always know Mu Zibei was intelligent, and the haughtiness was already bone deep in him. Thus he always resorted to mocking the older brother for his own amusement.
“I’m different from him. I want to enroll into a prestigious University and become a research graduate, and then a Professor.” Mu Zibei looked at Bo Ziren with open admiration in his eyes, and declared, “Just like you.”
“Me?” thinking of herself, Bo Ziren earnestly suggested, “I think your goals should be higher because when I was your age, I have to admit I wasn’t half as smart as you are.”
“Don’t be so modest. In school, I always tell my classmates that I have a very beautiful and intelligent jiejie. All of them were very envious after hearing about you.” At the end of the day, he was still a kid, showering them with compliments was a foolproof way to get through to them. Bright light shone in his eyes and his voice went a few octaves higher.
Bo Ziren detected the huskiness in his voice, feeling concerned, she asked: “Right, how is your body these days? Do you still have difficulty breathing?”
“More or less recovered. But later this afternoon, I still need to go to the hospital for a checkup and prescription.” Mu Zibei’s eyes spun mischievously as his tone carried a touch of pleading, “Do you have time? Can you come with me this afternoon?”
“Me? Go with you?”
“Yes ah, Mama is so annoying, always exposing my private details to the doctor.” Mu Zibei frowned deeply: “I don’t want her to accompany me.”
“I have no problem with it, but we must get Mama’s permission first.” Bo Ziren was well aware of how precious these two sons were in her mother’s eyes. She had personally been taking care of everything for them because she could not feel at ease letting others to do it.
When everyone at home sat at the round table for lunch, Mu Zibei solemnly made this request to Mama. If it was any other normal day, Liu Xinyu would definitely not agree, but today, her hubby was not home, and her eldest son had a huge bump on his head that had caused him to be in a sulky mood. Also she was not assured leaving him at home with only the housekeeper. She was pensive for a moment before she relented and agreed, “You must listen to jiejie’s words, behave yourself and don’t run around.”
Mu Zibei readily agreed and secretly winked his eyes at Bo Ziren while saying to his Mama, “I will be good.”
And so, Bo Ziren accompanied Mu Zibei to the hospital for his medicine prescription. Standing before the pediatric building of the hospital, Mu Zibei had a list of personal request towards Bo Ziren, “Afterwards, if the pretty doctor asked you if I’m a good boy and take my medicine accordingly, you must answer yes.”
“But mama said, last week you flushed the medicine down the toilet bowl.” Bo Ziren frankly burst his bubble with an ugly truth.
“You definitely cannot say this! Don’t reveal this matter in front of the doctor.”
“Why? You seem to be very concern about this doctor’s opinion of you.”
“En, that’s right.” Mu Zibei pretended to cough and slightly leaned himself towards Bo Ziren, “I like her very much.”
“Ah?” Bo Ziren’s brain circuits could not keep up, and tried again, “You were saying that you like your presiding physician?”
“Correct. She’s beautiful and gentle; she also has long hair. When she let it fall around her shoulders, it looked like a waterfall.”
“But according to the age gap between you two, she can be considered as your elder.”
“So what?” Mu Zibei indifferently showed his palms, “Shakespear said love has nothing to do with age.”
Bo Ziren was struck dumb.
“So, back to the main point, if you must expose my misdeeds before her, I’ll turn around and go home this instant.”
Everything finally dawned on Bo Ziren. Patting his head softly, she sighed in defeat, “Okay, I will say you obediently ate your medicine as prescribed.”
Mu Zibei was extremely happy. He kept on skipping and bouncing as he entered through the doors. Passing by a huge mirror before the staircase, he slowed down his step to specially check and tidy up his appearance. The kid went as far as brushing his fingers through his hair, even practicing a faint yet natural smile. Bo Ziren who was witnessing all of his antics was at a lost for words.
“Okay, let’s go in.” Mu Zibei finally turned around and took the initiative to hold Bo Ziren’s hand like a compliant child.
Fortunately, there were no other patients around on Saturday afternoon session. The pretty female doctor that Mu Zibei was interested in was reading the newspaper behind her desk.
“Doctor Cheng,” Mu Zibei politely greeted.
Doctor Cheng looked up. Her eyes found a familiar little friend, instantly, a smile bloomed on her face, “How are you? Who brought you over today?”
“She is my jiejie,” Mu Zibei took a seat on one of the chairs nearby and answered.
Bo Ziren gave her greetings as her eyes instinctively swept over the name tag attached on her white coat. On it, three words were written: Cheng Jingjie.
Cheng Jingjie? This name gave her a somehow familiar feeling.
Doctor Cheng nodded in a friendly gesture towards Bo Ziren, she then picked a tongue depressor and checked Mu Zibei’s throat. He remained still docilely. When Doctor Cheng removed the stethoscope away from his tummy, he even insisted for Doctor Cheng to examine him one more time, claiming that his tummy always grumbled with strange noises similar to a burst of water balloon. Doctor Cheng smiled at him and said there was no problem with his stomach.
From Bo Ziren’s perspective, from Doctor Cheng’s elegant appearance to her sparkling eyes and gentle actions, it was very unlike for her to be the usual rigid and cold doctor. No wonder she became a doctor that was loved by small children.
“There is no problem with your little stomach,” instead she raised an eyebrow in suggestion, “the sounds you heard was probably due to overeating.”
Mu Zibei defended, “Teacher said to eat more so we can grow taller.”
“True, but you also cannot be greedy.”
“En, I will keep that in mind.”
Doctor Cheng jotted down two lines of words on the patient’s record, and then raised her head to look at Bo Ziren, “Last week’s medicine, did he take them all obediently?”
“Yes, he did eat all of them.” Bo Ziren successfully became an abettor by telling a white lie.
Doctor Cheng nodded pleasantly. Then she gave the little patient a praise, “Since you were so well-behaved, I’ll give you sweeter tasting medicine this time.”
Mu Zibei had a look of victory on his face.
When Doctor Cheng finished writing the prescription off, Mu Zibei fished out a card he had prepared in advance from his school bag and held it in front of Doctor Cheng, sweetly said, “Doctor Cheng, this is my present for you.”
Receiving the card, Doctor Cheng opened it and in an instant, she was smiling from ear to ear, “Wow, Little Friend Mu Zibei, your writing is much nicer than mine. Do you practice very hard at home?”
Mu Zibei put up a modest front and answered, “What can I say? I’m my class’s language representative. I have to write the blackboard’s bulletin every week. People would laugh at me if my writings are ugly, so I practiced my writing at home.”
“Mu Zibei, you’re very excellent, ah. You must be a top student in school, right?”
“It is still alright, for most of the subjects I mostly have full marks.”
“Such a brilliant kid.” Doctor Cheng kept the card safely, one hand reached out to rub Mu Zibei’s head. “Thank you for the card, treating you is my responsibility, no need to thank me deliberately. Be good and take the medicines, exercise, and become healthier is the best present.”
“No, of course I have to be grateful. Doctor Cheng is this world’s gentlest and most loving doctor.”
Their smooth chit-chat really left a very deep impression on Bo Ziren. Yet she could only silently sing her praises for Mu Zibei in her heart. At such an early age, he already displayed such extraordinary skills in communication. The most crucial point was, his onyx black eyes when he was talking to the opposite gender, they shone bright and looked very spirited, and those long lashes fluttered like a butterfly’s wings as if trying to transmit some electromagnetic waves signal.
Once the two of them were out from the examination room, Mu Zibei reaffirmed his earlier performance with Bo Ziran: “How was it? I did well, right?”
“Full marks.” Bo Ziren’s answer was concise and comprehensive. “But, I’m very curious. How did you do it?”
“You didn’t look nervous or frighten at all. Your flow of conversation was smooth, and not only that, even your words made her happy.”
“Where’s the difficulty in that? Practice makes perfect. Haven’t you met someone you like? Facing someone you like, you would naturally say something that would make that person happy….” speaking till here, Mu Zibei’s words trailed off in a strange manner. His eyes focused on something in the far aways distance.
“What’s wrong? What are you looking at?” Bo Ziren naturally followed the direction of his gaze.
“I see my love rival.”
“He just walked out from the car park. That tall one, wearing a white shirt.” Mu Zibei observed the enemy’s surroundings while whispering in a hushed voice, and at the same time, his hand snuck into his school bag to take out a pebble wrapped in a chocolate wrapper. With a twist of his wrist, the pebbles shot forward, “Eat one move from me.”
Before Bo Ziren could react, the man was hit by the pebble, he stopped and turned around.
“Run! Hurry!” Mu Zibei pulled his jiejie’s hand in the next second, sprinting away madly.
In that few seconds, Bo Ziren caught a glimpse of the victim. Suddenly, her heart skipped a beat, and a buzz echoed in her ears.
She saw him looking in their direction, but she was not sure if he was able to recognize her.
Perhaps, it would be more accurate to say that, before she could gauge his reaction, she had already being pulled away by Mu Zibei and ran some distant away.
They halted at a certain building block, leaning against the wall while panting heavily.
“Mu Zibei, are you crazy?” Bo Ziren reprimanded him, “Why did you injure others without reason?”
“Injure others? It’s not that serious, just wanted to mess with him a little.”
Bo Ziren snatched away his school bag. She opened it and she found there several pieces of lethal weapons. They were still neatly wrapped in candy wrappers. Weighing one of them on her palm, it was quite heavy. She then unwrapped the candy wrapper and saw inside was a small block of copper steel.
“Where did you get this?”
“In the construction site behind the school, ah. There was a lot them.”
“If I used this and threw it to your head, would it hurt?” Bo Ziren asked blankly.
Mu Zibei’s lips turned downwards feeling aggrieved, “Why did you suddenly become so stern?”
“Because what you did just then was very wrong. Since you did something wrong, you must come with me and apologize to him.”
“But he harbors ulterior motives towards Doctor Cheng. A man can compromise to anyone except his love rival!” Mu Zibei expressed adamantly, “Moreover, he didn’t even see us. Why must we do something superfluous? Confess without duress, only a fool would do that kind of things.”
“You…..” in accordance to what Bo Ziren believed, the deed had been a severe situation. She was about to correct his misconception when a clear voice spoke up, close behind her.
“So, it was you who left this behind.”
Mu Zibei and Bo Ziren simultaneously turned around and saw the so called ‘love rival’ standing right in front of them.
Beneath the sunshine, Cheng Jingpo’s bright amber-brown eyes observed them closely. Bo Ziren froze on the spot.
“I thought I was very lucky today to receive a candy that fell off from the sky.” He looked at Mu Zibei and spoke in an unhurried manner, “After opening, I took a bite but noticed the taste wasn’t quite right.”
Although Mu Zibei was a little devil in disguise, but at this moment, his face flushed red with guilt and shame. He did not have the slightest idea of what to do at present.
“Why did you want to hit me?” his neck stretched down, asking Mu Zibei in a solemn tone.
“Because you’re very intimate with Doctor Cheng. You like her! That’s why you always hang around her. I feel you’re every irritating, hmmph!”
“Oh, so it is like this.” He looked like he understood the problem, “You like her, so you don’t want me to be close to her.”
“Correct.” Mu Zibei admitted honestly, “You are my number one love rival.”
“If I am your love rival, speaking from an objective point of view, we should have a fair competition. And not play underhanded tricks.”
Mu Zibei became anxious.
“If you’re determined to play underhanded tricks, all the more you must investigate clearly as not to leave troubles in the future.”
Cheng Jingpo returned the pebbles to him and said, “Unfortunately, I am not your love rival. However, I have the right to check Doctor Cheng’s friend circle.”
Mu Zibei widened his eyes in order to have a better look at the man before him. Suddenly, as if enlightened of a possibility, “After better inspection, your face and the area around the eyes have some similarity to Doctor Cheng. Don’t tell me you’re her distant relative of some kind…..”
“Correct. I am her biological younger brother, and she is only one year older than me.”
Mu Zibei seemed to be skilled in the Face Changing Art of the Sichuan Opera troupe, mysterious in a blur of colors. In less than thirty seconds, it was as if he had changed into a different ‘mask’ as he stepped forward respectfully, cupped his hands and said, “Cheng dage, everything earlier was this Little Bro’s fault. If I have offended in any way, please be magnanimous and forgive me. Of course, if an apology is not enough, I can treat you for a meal as prove of my sincerity.”
Bo Ziren: “……………………”
 Dongdong is a nickname derived from his full name, Mu Zidong.
 Jiejie means Elder sister
 Melon seed is a pun on her name, Bo Ziren (pine seeds) to Gua Ziren (melon seeds).
 Gege means Elder Brother
 Face Changing Art – Youtube
 Dage – Big Brother (having no blood relation)
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