67 Parting with a Shell Coin

    Xue'er awoke a few days later, surprised to find herself in a small bedroom, with plain wooden walls, her body was softly snuggled under a cotton blanket. It was so warm, and a far cry from the cold and wet environment of the outside.

    [So they didn't throw me back out on the streets.]

    It was a strange feeling, to have strangers treat her so kindly. Within her mind, she could vaguely remember the voices of the man and woman from last night and remember their tense conversation.

    She gave a gentle tug and the blanket was pulled away, she found that she was wearing a set of white underclothes that were too big for her. It seemed to have belonged to a grown woman, and not a child.

    Looking at the plain white clothes that were unadorned without any embroidery, Xue'er kind of liked it.

    She had always been a very simple person, without the need for color, with no need for vanity, and with no desire. Xue'er enjoyed life's simplicity, happiness could be as simple as having a very delicious meal that brought one's mouth to water.

    She believed that if one set the bar too high, expecting to see a greater amount each time, then they would be no different from those who use opium to feel an exhilarating excitement of euphoria that lasts only a short time and to want to get a similar emotion once again, they would need more of it each time.

    Eventually, it would get to a point where even becoming the emperor would not bring them happiness.

    This was a strange endless cycle that was no different than the wheel on a spindle.

    As her bare feet touched the floorboards, they gave a creak, startling Xue'er, and the person who was outside.

    Xue'er felt as though she wanted to pummel herself on the spot. Obviously, this house was old and was in need of repairs, how could she have forgotten that the floorboards would creak?

    Xue'er looked up, to see that there was already a woman that entered the room. The woman came closer and was about to touch Xue'er's forehead, but before she could, Xue'er jerked her head backward to prevent the skin to skin contact.

    The woman looked at Xue'er with a puzzled look.

    "I'm fine." Xue'er said hoping the woman would not think of her actions as being rude, but she truly did not wish to be touched.

    The woman smiled and asked, "What's your name dear?"

    "Xue'er." She answered as she observed the woman in front of her, who was dressed in the same unadorned clothing, she was dressed in. The woman had a beautiful egg-shaped face with snow-white skin, typical to that of a pampered lady from a rich household.

    [Yet, why was she out here?]

    Xue'er's eyes landed on the woman's body, especially on the bump that could easily be seen through her thin clothes.

    "You can call me Rou'er." The woman said, as though it was an attempt to seem more friendly.

    [Rou, as in gentleness and kindness.

    She truly lives up to that name.]

    Xue'er inwardly thought, but she wasn't prepared to disrespect this woman, instead, she chose to call her "Rou Furen."

    Rou Furen soon brought in some porridge and gave Xue'er a taste.

    It was as though she had just learned how to cook, and did not know how to do it properly. Unknowing of the correct amount of time to heat it for, as there were still whole grains of rice that had yet to break down still floating around in the porridge.

    Still, Xue'er ate it anyway. It would be impolite not to do so, she ended up swallowing every single little bit, no matter how difficult it may be to swallow.

    Outside, it was still raining, but Xue'er was certain it would stop for precisely fifteen days for the new year that would come in the future. Perhaps, afterward, it would be snow and not rain that fell from the skies.

    The pitter patter of the rain falling on the roof made for a soothing sound that calmed Ruo Furen so much, she ended up dozing off in a strange position.

    Fearful that she may end up in a strange position that harms the fetus, Xue'er carried her to the bed and tucked her in under the blanket.

    Rou Furen's skin was smooth as silk, further convincing Xue'er that she was of noble birth. That pale snow-like skin reminded of the rare pearls women would grind into a fine powder adding some sheep's milk to apply onto the skin as a measure to nourish it carefully.

    A thought came to mind, and Xue'er went searching around for a while, before she found her clothes that had already been wrung dry hanging by the window, waiting for a breeze to come by to dry it. Unfortunately, in this weather, there was no breeze, that would come by. Only a breeze, bringing with it, rain.

    She took her clothes from its spot and used her internal energy to dry them, before changing into them.

    At this time she had recovered quite well and felt that there was some energy in her body.

    She fished around in her pocket before she found what she was looking for, a glistening coin that had a shiny glisten to it there was a painted bright yellow flower with vibrant green leaves and silently placed it into Rou Furen's warm palm.

    Xue'er then went to sit at the table in front of the door, silently waiting for the door to swing open, and for that man to return.

    After a while, the door opened, and a figure drenched in rain appeared.

    "Where's my wife?" The man asked as soon as he saw that she was not there to greet him.

    [As though I would want to harm your wife.]

    Xue'er observed that man for the first time. He was in his thirties, it seems that the days have not been kind to him, as she saw dark circles indicating stress and insomnia under his eyes, but he was handsome, there was no doubt about it.

    [It seems that Rou Furen and this husband of hers was truly well matched.

    Only, she is a lot kinder than this husband]

    "She's sleeping." Xue'er answered that man who seemed to be on edge about something.

    "You can't stay here long." He began. He was prepared to tell her that they were a poor family that did not even have enough to feed themselves, but what she said next surprised him.

    "I know." The words she spoke were short, but they were on point. Leaving him at loss of what to say next.

    "I will leave. I just wanted to say thank you." She said next, making her way out the door. She decided against asking for his name, sensing that there were some things he would not be willing to talk about anyway.

    [It's better to leave without something you were not meant to know in the first place.]

    He looked at her thin back, as she walked out through the door. It was as though this girl did not have a care in the world as she walked into the distance. As light as a feather in the winds, that did not have anything weighing it down, becoming one with nothingness in the air.
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