Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
Even though they were whispering among themselves, the group of people did not bother to keep their voices low so Zhang Xiaohua could overhear their conversation.
A person even said, “Who says this name is only for girls, my aunt’s household has a dog which is also called Xiaohua.”
“That’s right, my uncle’s granddaughter also has a cat which is named Xiaohua.”
When the person said that, the entire azure robed people with little hats broke out into laughter. The well-fitted people looked at the other group without smiling or commenting anything, their faces had mock smiles but it was uncertain if it was directed to Zhang Xiaohua or the azure robed people with little hats.
When Zhang Xiaohua saw their response, his face turned hot and his heart was crushed. He had used this name for over ten years so why had he not heard of anyone teasing him like this? When he played with the other children during his childhood, none of them would make fun of his name, but once he stepped out of the village, even his name was treated as a joke by these strangers. Zhang Xiaohua did not know if he should blame his mother for giving him such a name or the azure robed people for being so mean spirited.
The skinny leader seemed to be uncomfortable upon hearing the mockery so he turned around and said, “How can you all be so unruly? Quickly go back to your rooms and stop bullying the newcomer.”
The people covered their mouths but their faces were still full of sneers as they returned to their respective rooms. Upon seeing that the azure robed people with little hats had left, a middle-aged man who was standing at the front of his well-fitted group walked over and patted Zhang Xiaohua’s shoulders. He smiled but did not say anything as he led the other group of people back to their rooms.
Zhang Xiaohua found out that their rooms were the ones alongside the wall at the right side of the courtyard.
The skinny youth saw that everyone has left so he walked over to Zhang Xiaohua and smiled apologetically, “Nice to meet you, Zhang Xiaohua. My name is Tian Zhongxi, everyone calls me brother Xi, and I am the manager in this area. Those people from before were insensible but I hope you do not take any offence. They meant no ill-will; it is just that the mountain villa is so remote that it is hard to find something to laugh about. You will understand naturally after staying here long enough. Oh right, elder Yu, the one-armed old man, what did he appoint you as?”
Zhang Xiaohua looked at the smiling youth gratefully and said, “He has not said anything yet. Elder Yu has not come back after leaving just now so I do not know my own appointment.”
Tian ZhongXi said, “Why don’t you follow me for the time being, you can stay in my room until elder Yu comes back.”
Zhang Xiaohua hesitated before he said, “But, I don’t think that is nice. It is better if I stay here to wait for him.”
Tian Zhongxi picked up Zhang Xiaohua’s knapsack and said, “Let’s go, it will be alright. The sky has already turned dark and the wind is so cold. Try not to fall sick even before you start working, wouldn’t that be disastrous?”
After he finished his sentence, he walked in front while Zhang Xiaohua followed behind guilelessly, although he was feeling extremely grateful inside.
Tian Zhongxi’s room was the first room from the inside, it was very tidy and there was a table, two chairs and two beds. One of the beds had a blanket on it while the other had a cabinet. There were also other things placed on the floor and they were arranged very neatly. Tian Zhongxi put Zhang Xiaohua’s knapsack onto the table and poured some water from the teapot on the same table and gave it to Zhang Xiaohu, he said pleasantly, “Drink some water first and wait here. You can help yourself to more water while I go wash up.”
Zhang Xiaohua expressed his thanks and took the teacup, he had not drunk a sip of water since lunch and was feeling thirsty as if smoke had gone into his throat. He did not pretend to be courteous as he took the cup and gulped its contents immediately before the other party poured another cup and he gulped it down again. Only after then did he put the teacup down.
Tian Zhongxi handed over another cup to Zhang Xiaohua before he took out a copper basin and went out to draw some water to wash up.
While Zhang Xiaohua was waiting for Tian Zhongxi to return, he heard a voice from outside calling, “Zhang Xiaohua, Zhang Xiaohua, where are you?”
Zhang Xiaohua thought that things had turned bad and he immediately ran out of the room. Indeed, the single-armed old man was shouting loudly while standing around the stone table under the shelf.
Zhang Xiaohua ran to elder Yu’s front and said, “Hello elder Yu, I was sitting in elder brother Xi’s room for a while.”
Elder Yu had the same wooden expression on his face as he said, “Mm, since you know that I am elder Yu, you should also know that I am the one in charge of the medicinal field. I do not care who brought you in but you will have to listen to my orders when you are here. Your duty has not been decided yet so you can familiarize yourself with the area during this time.”
Right at that moment, Tian Zhongxi walked over with the copper basin and elder Yu called out, “Zhongxi, come over. Since you two have already met, this is Zhang Xiaohua who we found in Lotus escort. He does not have any duties for the moment, so you can arrange for him to familiarize himself for the time being.”
When Tian Zhongxi heard the four words “Lotus escort”, his facial muscles twitched but it was quickly replaced with a smile as he said, “Alright, elder Yu. You can rest easy, I will give Zhang Xiaohua a good orientation of the grounds.That Liu Er left in such a hurry and he had not even kept his bedsheets so I think we can let Zhang Xiaohua rest on Liu Er’s bed for now.”
Elder Yu nodded his head and said, “You can do what you think is best.”
After saying that, elder Yu turned around, walked through the inner door and disappeared soon after.
Tian Zhongxi took Zhang Xiaohua to collect his knapsack and led him to a room. When Zhang Xiaohua entered the room, he was instantly assaulted by the stench of athlete’s foot. As he raised his head to look at the surroundings, he saw an azure robed skinny middle aged man sitting on his bed and squinting his eyes while humming to a tune. His two hands were massaging his own smelly foot, and once in a while would bring his finger to his nose for a sniff as though his hands were dabbed with perfume.
The scene made Zhang Xiaohua frowned, and Tian Zhongxi even shouted, “Ma Jing.” Then, he took several strides across the room and opened the windows, and when Ma Jing heard Tian Zhongxi’s voice, he immediately jumped off the bed and put his shoes back on. Then, he wiped his hands off his shirt and said, “Brother Xi, why did you come to my room? Is anything the matter?”
Tian Zhongxi did not walk over but stayed beside the window, he wrinkled his brow and said, “Ma Jing, I don’t wish to nag but why do you still behave like this at thirty plus years old, it is no wonder why you can’t find a bride.”
Ma Jing was unhappy and he rebuked, “Brother Xi, can you stop harping about that. I am unmarried because no one has uncovered this treasure mine yet. My beauty is on the inside unlike those gigolos, so the other party has to observe and establish a deep connection first before she can discover it.”
Tian Zhongxi laughed involuntarily, and when Zhang Xiaohua looked at this person who was taller than him by half a head and had eyebrows like a robber and eyes like a rat, “Puahh” a laugh escaped him. Ma Jing immediately asked, “Zhang Xiaohua, do you have another opinion?”
Zhang Xiaohua immediately raised a thumb up towards the other man and praised, “Elder brother Ma is such a character. I have only just met you but am already awed by you dignified handsome appearance. What other opinion can I have apart from wanting to learn from you in the future?”
After saying his words, he felt goosebumps crawling all over his skin as he thought inside, “This kind of bootlicking is something an ordinary person is not capable of. Since I have only just arrived, it would be better to be careful. This place isn’t Guo village so I would have to change myself to adapt to the surroundings. Although being honest is nice, what Liu Kai said about survival of the fittest still holds through, and who can be honest when one’s life is on the line?”
Without realizing it, our Zhang Xiaohua’s mentality had taken another step towards maturity, and a bumpkin freshly out from the village had just gained more experience about the outside world.
When Ma Jing heard Zhang Xiaohua’s words, he was elated and said, “Brother-ah, if you did not say that, brother would not take care of you in the future. Come, sit over here.”
He then reached out his hands to pull Zhang Xiaohua over, and when Zhang Xiaohua looked at the pair of hands, his heart clenched and he immediately said, “Oh, let’s wait for elder brother Xi to finish his piece first.”
Ma Jing stopped himself when he heard his response and he nodded while saying, “Mm, you are right. Brother Xi, are you letting Zhang Xiaohua take Liu Er’s bed?”
Tian Zhongxi nodded and said, “Yes, it is already late and we do not have time to prepare something else, so Zhang Xiaohua will stay here for the time being as we observe Liu Er’s situation. We can talk about the future later on.”
Ma Jing replied, “No problem, since he has entered the Huanxi mountain villa, then he is now one of our brothers, so whatever you say is fine by me. Come, brother, let me help take your knapsack.”
As he talked, he reached his two hands over to Zhang Xiaohua’ knapsack, but Zhang Xiaohua hurriedly took two steps and walked to the empty bed on the other side and threw his belonging on the bed, before saying, “Brother Ma should rest more, I can take care of this little thing myself.”
Ma Jing stood at his spot and laughed without saying anything else.
Tian Zhongxi glanced over at the two people and said, “Zhang Xiaohua, you will stay here during this time. If you encounter any problems that you cannot solve on your own, just come over to find me. You cannot wear what you are wearing now in this place, but there is indeed a problem with suitable clothes for you, I will have to ask elder Yu about this later.”
Ma Jing said from his side, “Brother Xi, Zhang Xiaohua is only slightly small, I think that there are attendants in the villa who are about the same size as him. There are many clothes for his size at the supervisor’s area, you can just pick some up over there. Why bother elder Yu?”
Tian Zhongxi did not reply, he simply smiled and walked towards the entrance of the room. However, he left a line, “Zhang Xiaohua was recruited from Lotus escort’s side so we don’t really need to get him a set of our mountain villa uniform.”
Ma Jing was surprised as he asked, “Lotus escort?”
He turned his head around to look at Zhang Xiaohua before bursting in laughter, “You, Lotus escort? Haha.”
He laughed as he walked back to his bed and sat cross legged on it. His two hands naturally supported his legs as he said, “A child from Lotus escort? That’s too hard to believe. However, this will be quite fun.”
Then, he curled his mouth.
He said to Zhang Xiaohua, “That, little brother Xiaohua, you can be at ease around here. We will be roommates from today onwards, so you don’t have to be too courteous and just ask big brother anything. Big brother here is least afraid of trouble.”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled as he replied, “Alright, elder brother Ma, I will definitely inform you if there is anything troubling me.”
Even this roommate of his had many peculiarities, Zhang Xiaohua felt satisfied when he looked at around the light and spacious room. It was much larger than the two rooms at home, so sleeping here would be especially comfortable. However, he wondered if his second brother was being put at a good place as well? Also, there were his parents at home, sigh, he has already begun to miss them after leaving for only a few days.
Nevertheless, Zhang Xiaohua warned himself, he should not succumb to his homesickness or slack off. All the efforts he put in here will be for the sake of a better, safer future for his family.
As these thoughts crossed his mind, his homesickness slowly began to fade away.