The Tales of Three Realms [BL] Chapter 16: The Heritage of The Boy (2)

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The pinkish white palms held one stack of seal papers that had cinnabar scribbled on the yellow surface. He wrinkled his brows at the sight of the characters, ugly and misshapen, it nearly didn't make any sense. The boy extended a hand to feel around the table, searching for another stack of the yellow papers. One stack in each hand, he scrutinized the seal papers.

"Hmm...."

The one he just took, visibly was written with care, had better quality, and not so much of an eyesore compared to the one he had for quite a while.

What was the difference?

Easy, the second stack was produced in these few days, while the first was weeks ago.

The boy returned the stacks to their place and leaned on the wall. He closed his eyes, and was about to step into his thoughts when the interior of the hut suddenly became brighter.

[Yue-Ge, you're here.]

Yang YueChen cracked an eye open to see the intruder. A-Die, as usual, held a bamboo woven basket and slipped inside, shutting the door immediately.

[I notice that Gege disappeared, who knows Gege actually hid here?] Came a silent chuckle from the dark-skinned girl. [You should go outside once in a while.]

As though the table couldn't shield him from the sunlight, he brought his hand up to cover his eyes. "I hate sun... it's so dazzling...." he mumbled.

A-Die placed the basket on the table and approached the boy, kneeling beside him. A smirk plastered over her face.

[You know what, Ji-ge did the gardening.]

Hearing those words, the boy sat up and tilted his head. His hands on his legs, sitting cross-legged. The embroidered black ribbon was half-concealed by the bangs.

The girl pointed out. [You wore the hair tie!]

At her sudden exclamation, YueChen subconsciously touched his forehead. He looked away and scratched his cheek, "I... Well... Since my hair is short, I couldn't tie it. So... I just wore the ribbon this way..."

The ribbon was slightly askew, messily done, it was an eyesore to look at.

A-Die's lips curved upwards, her hand extended to him as though she was asking for something. [Here, let me help you with the ribbon.]

The boy's pupil shrunk, barely noticeable. "No." Came a short reply to her offer.

[But it's tilted—] She reached out to his face.

Olive colored hand immediately grabbed her wrist. His lips didn't move, however his voice resounded at her ears.

"No."

The fiery glare sent shivers down her spine, a glare that originated from Yang YueChen. The latter's face was full of black lines and it seemed like a thin dark mist had formed around him.

A-Die gulped down hard, her body trembled. Her lips quivered in silent prayer. Tears started to brim the corners of those yellow eyes. [For—Forgive me... Forgive Me...]

As sudden as the storm appeared, it dissipated without trace in a blink of eye. The heavy mist enveloping them disappeared at once.

Yang YueChen still sat there, half-kneeling and his grasp firm on her wrist. However he appeared bewildered and confused.

"I... What—Did I scare you?" From the jumbled mess of his mind, he inquired about her well-being first.

"Yes, yes. Of course you scared her, dimwit."

Leaning on the doorframe, Yuan Ji had the usual distasteful look and mudded feet. The hem of his robes was tucked in the sash belt and the sleeves rolled up. Drops of sweat glistened on his jade-white complexion. The deity emitted a calm aura, however with that cold expression, he seemed as though he would kill a person.

Yang YueChen had the look of a deer in the headlights, he could only stuck out his tongue a bit and licked his lips helplessly.

The dark-skinned maiden immediately backed off and clutched her skirt once YueChen let her go. She didn't dare to meet their eyes, but sneaking a fearful glance at the older males.

A sigh broke the silence, followed by Yuan Ji clicking his tongue while shaking his head. "Honestly, I couldn't believe that you lost control over that one silly thing. A-Die had seen it, no need for insecurities."

Under the black ribbon and bangs that easily covered his whole forehead, there was a black dot like a mole on where the third eye should be located. Yang YueChen had tried several times to remove it, and with each try he failed. He didn't really hate that mark, but he disliked the fact that people might stare. And with every year he passed, more and more freckles or such marks appeared on his skin.

However, to think that the usual cheerful and patient boy suddenly raged over a silly thing made A-Die had to reconsider her previous thoughts of him. Yang YueChen was clearly someone capable enough to do everything on his own and defend himself.

[Yue-gege, sorry for invading your personal space—]

YueChen stopped her before she could apologize further. "No, it was me who was in the wrong. You don't have to apologize."

Only after a few minutes of soothing and promises, did A-Die feel calm and safe once more.



Yuan Ji pulled his collar and dragged him to the rice field, without any words spoken, he leaped in the muddled water lightly. The sun was hot, roasting people alive. Most of the farmers there had tanned or light brown complexion, so the water deity stood out among the darker colors.

Yang YueChen hesitantly stepped into the mud, but he miscalculated the depth and nearly slipped. A pair of arms held him by the armpits before he fell down.

"Why the hell are you so clumsy?!" The water deity barked irritatedly.

"...."

Wondering how to begin a conversation without getting complaints or reprimands, the younger boy could only mirroring the deity and started his share of work.

Only after a few while, he had mustered enough courage to ask, "A-Ji, back then—"

"From the hut, I could sense a dark energy. So, I didn't think twice to assume it was yours."

"..I see..."

"You rarely lose control like that, what's wrong?"

YueChen pursed his lips and shook his head.

"Anyway, for these few days, we have to do the night watch. I don't really agree, since you might not be able to stand it."

"I'll go with you."

By the time they finished the whole field, the sun had already set.

As soon as the villagers told them to rest, Yuan Ji and YueChen rushed to the nearest river to wash the mud off their feet. On their way back, a scene caught their attention.

It looked like the little boy from four days before hadn't given up yet on A-Die. The little boy ran to her as he plucked a few more flowers from the field, making a flower crown in a hurry. A-Die had her hands occupied with a small pot of soup, still hot and heavy.

The boy wouldn't relent nor yield, his little hands perfected the colorful flower crown as he repeatedly called her.

Feeling a little pity, Yang YueChen shifted to help her. However before he could move another inch, Yuan Ji had extended an arm to halt him.

"A-Die needs help." The vessel spoke up, his brows furrowed.

"I know, she can manage it on her own."

YueChen stared at her for a little while longer, before averting his eyes.

"Fine..."

Xian Jian Zhe was waiting for them, or more precisely, waiting for Yuan Ji. The elderly waited by the door, once she saw the two youths, she spared a glance at them before got inside. From the looks of it, she had a few words to exchange with the water deity.

And, YueChen doubted that he'd be needed in that conversation.



The young man rested his head on his arm, gazing up to the night sky. That night was a little windy, and the sky clear, revealing hundreds of stars that glittered in the dark.

A-Die had long fallen asleep on the bamboo bed, Xian Jian Zhe diligently working on the empty seal papers once she finished the small talk. Yuan Ji roamed around the village, flicking his wrist and produced a spell every now and then. The water deity also burned some seal papers and scattered the ashes around the village.

"The stars are exceptionally bright tonight...." Drawled the mortal once the deity returned from rounding the place.

Yuan Ji, hearing that line, immediately stopped on his track and lifted up his head. "They had always been. At least for fourteen centuries. From the day I came into being, the stars was always this bright. Sometimes brighter, even."

Maybe it was only his imagination, but the immortal's voice sounded of that a melancholy yearning.

Yuan Ji pushed the little lamp away, and lifted the other's head to lay it down on his lap. His fingers combed through the messy locks, tracing the black ribbon.

"If you like it, I'll give it to you." Grinned YueChen. "It seems as though you're extremely fond with this ribbon—"

Yang YueChen's hands, which were once laid on his own stomach, had moved to his head in an attempt to take off the ribbon. But Yuan Ji moved faster and pressed his palm on the other's face.

"No, I don't need it." His tone however, was a little pouty and disappointed.

To think that Yuan Ji did what he usually did to his classmates, the boy crossed his arms and thought about it for a while. Yet, Yuan Ji didn't pull away his hand, so YueChen stuck out his tongue to lightly lick his palm.

In a flash, that hand no longer blocked his view and revealed a startled face of a young man of his age. That man was pale and too shocked to think up a word, immediately moved as far as he could with a head on his lap, still holding the hand that got licked.

The sudden move made YueChen lost his head rest and hit the backside of his head on the hard surface of the bamboo sitting table. The sound was loud in the still, it made the deity flinched.

"...."

"...."

"Is....is it not painful....?" Started the deity uncertainly.

"What pain. I already got used to all pain, you can't hurt me anymore." Deadpanned the boy with a straight face. Truthfully, the impact from Yuan Ji's recklessness was more severe than what he said, yet he maintained a cool, indifferent look.

They both fell into silence once more, together gazing forlornly to the sky.

[What's that loud sound?]

At that sleepy voice, they both whipped their heads to the owner of said voice so fast that from one of them could be heard a cracking sound.

A-Die stepped out, wearing only a thin overlayer on her inner robes. Apparently, the girl had hurried to wear the cloth and tied it with a belt, which explains why she looked so messy and almost inappropriate. But then again, no one is awake at this time, so it was fine.

"Nothing, nothing." YueChen promptly sat straight up and waved his hand.

[What nothing. Tell me the truth!]

"It's nothing, really. YueChen just accidentally hit his head."

A-Die gave the pair a skeptic look before settling herself to the sitting table. She pulled the lamp to her side, the light illuminated her.

They three shared a look, and ended up agreeing wordlessly to gaze upon the stars.

Not too long after, Yuan Ji pointed out a constellation. "The big Dipper."

Finally spotting the constellation he wasted years to search, Yang YueChen's lips curved upwards. The boy stared at the stars mesmerized, before pointing at three stars lined, "Orion's Belt."

"Like your freckles..."

YueChen only grinned at that comment. Without any hesitation, he turned his gaze to the deity. The youth used his right hand to prop up his cheek while staring gently at the other.

A-Die noticed the shift, that one smile more gentler than any YueChen ever offered to people yet the mischievous tone still lingered on his lips.

Thinking about it, Hui Le Shen never grinned at anyone except...

"A-Die?"

The girl stared at them for a quite long time with indecipherable gaze. She opens her mouth before pursing her lips. [Are you two lovers?]

Yuan Ji only crossed his arms and looked away, not intending to answer the question. YueChen scratched his cheek and avoided A-Die's stare. "Yeah....?"

[Since when?]

"Long ago, before we got here."

[In your home town then?]

"Mmmm....."

Yang YueChen knew where this conversation would go, and tried to change the topic, but the girl was faster.

[Can you tell me about your family?]

Yang YueChen tried his best to avert his gaze and kept quiet, before relenting to the maiden.

He took off the black ribbon and handed it to Yuan Ji, he spoke as he sighed. "My family wasn't well off nor poor. We have everything fulfilled and no problems with living. It's a small family, but always filled with laughter."

The youth leaned back down to the seating table, arms behind his head. "Mother and father are good, they took care of me with love. Until one day, I suddenly became a burden. My parents seem to hate me, my little sister often bullied me. I had no friend till Yuan Ji come into my life, everyone ignored me."

A-Die lowered her head, her hands were fiddling with the hem of her robes.

"People still hate me, and I'm fine with it. I... already long got used to everything." By the end of his words, his tone faltered.

Yuan Ji did nothing, spoke nothing. The deity kept his mouth tightly shut and his body rigidly still. A-Die sensed the unwillingness, and didn't ask anymore.

"How about you?"

Yuan Ji didn't have the heart to shut Yang YueChen up or stop him from this tearful conversation, so he only let out a sigh and turned his head to stare back at the stars.

[... I don't know my father. All I know about him was a black forehead tie and dark skin. He left when I was still a baby. My mother was a gentle, caring person. I inherited her golden eyes and innate talent, and my father's appearance and nature. Mother... she died of illness a year ago. Xian Jian Zhe adopted me a few months later, I was a beggar in the streets.]

"I... I am sorry." This time, it was YueChen's turn to lower his head.

A-Die exhaled softly and swung her legs. [It's alright. Mom once said that living may be burdened more than the dead, and I think it's true. The living worries more than the dead, and it'll pain them.]

"Won't you miss your parents?" Yuan Ji finally managed to speak through gritted teeth.

The maiden ceased the movement, and looked straight into his eyes seriously, [When I miss them, I'd look into the sky, the forest, the water—the nature itself. Mom said that spirits linger in the three time, as a form of the world.]

Yuan Ji hadn't noticed that his shoulders were tense and he was being hostile until he felt a light pat on his back.

"A-Ji? Why the aggressive stance?"

A pair of hands crept to his, covering his hands. The hands were colder than his own, yet they tried to warm...no, calm him down. And it worked.

"It's nothing. I just..."

Just... just what? The talk of family and parents was the reason Yuan Ji became all tense. Because Yang YueChen often cried or ended up in gloomy mood. No, it had nothing to do with his past.

It had nothing to do with how his village was ruined the day he was swept away in the storm. It had nothing to do with how the Eastern Sea Palace informed him three months later. It had nothing to do with how his life turned out. It had nothing to do, nothing at all, with Dajie.

Noticing the worried stares, he mumbled out, "I...I just... I'm fine."

Yang YueChen's life is hard, although not as hard as his. He wouldn't ruin a little boy's hope just for the sake of what occurred one and half thousands years ago.



"What do you mean you have depression?! You're perfectly fine!" From the living room, came a repressed yelling. Right at the moment those words slipped out, Yang YueChen was aware what exactly would follow.

He tried to compose himself for days, only to hint that he was in dire need of help, and found that he didn't get the wanted support.

Yuan Ji had made a promise, one he couldn't break. The deity, should not interfere with this matter, and he decided to go against it.

One little code stopped him right away. A pinky finger extended from a balled fist, as if saying 'You promised'.

A smooth curve as his lips, the ends pulled upwards. His eyes shut, and his posture calm. Nothing from the figure screamed in fury for him. Instead, the youth emitted soft pure energy like a breeze in spring.

"You're simply imitating people! There's nothing wrong with you except for that habit!"

Strings after strings of reprimands and yelling filled the once comfortable air. With each word, the water deity's heart sunk and the temperature in the room dropped slightly.

Yang YueChen wouldn't retract his pinky, still demanding him to stay still. The smile on his face only grew wider but lost its warmth as time passed.

"I'm no longer telling anyone the truth or anything I feel now."

So, you decided to wear the mask? You decided to lie your way in this life?

Why must the world be this selfish?



Yuan Ji gritted his teeth and stared straight into YueChen's dark brown eyes.

"I'll protect you."
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