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96 Thank you for Everything

    Listening to her words, Li Yang had completely mistaken them for a case of 'blind bravery' it was true that you do not fear what you do not know, but once you know you should learn how to fear.

    "You should reconsider." He told her.

    "I've already considered it." Xue'er stated in all seriousness.

    "I believe you, but why do you risk so much for someone you don't really know?" To him, this was a mystery of why some could be so selfless to put themselves behind others.

    "Is that what you call it? I just follow my mind." Xue'er answered completely perplexed. She never understood the concept of self-sacrifice either. The thought was as perplexing to her as it seemed to him.

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    "Never mind, I can try to ask around for you, maybe I'll find something." He did not promise her anything, just like any physician would not promise a miraculous return to health.

    "Thank you." Xue'er spoke with sincerity.

    As he watched her leave, he noticed that her steps were normal and she did not seem to be a person who had just been in severe pain from the poison that had ravaged her body. She seemed to be on a delightful stroll in the gardens. He shrugged it off as a high tolerance to pain.

    Getting back to his patients, he attempted to check their pulses again. There was no improvement as predicted. This case was quite strange. No matter what he tried, the situation seemed to continue to deteriorate at an even pace. It was as though life and death had already been determined from the very beginning, and as a human, what right did he have to try to change that? Even his own fate could not have been prevented.

    Thinking till here, he rubbed his temples with his fingers, in hopes of relieving his headache. There was still a long way to go.

    ~

    Meanwhile, Huo momo was resting within the embroidery shop, her leg was slightly limping as she walked down the creaky stairs, but otherwise, her health was decent. Those eyes that had been sharp for a decade showed no signs of weakness as her faded dress dragged on the floor.

    Today, she had gotten a letter from a little boy who was roaming the streets. She did not know who it was from as she had not made contact with anyone else all her years within the border town.

    If everything written on the letter said was true, then she would soon have to leave to return. To where she once came before the new year's festival came to an end. But what would become of Xue'er once she left?

    She could not help but imagine that little girl complete lost in the world once she left this border town. Would she be able to farewell alone, or would unspeakable things happen?

    Her old hands clenched the letter to the point it was almost torn apart. The importance of this letter was something only she understood.

    Perhaps she should just leave in a hurry, or at least wait until Xue'er came again to tell her.

    The next day came, and Xue'er arrived at the embroidery shop, dressed in the festive attire, like all people outside. Her eyes moved to Huo momo to see how weary this woman had become. There were dark bags beneath her wrinkled eyes, and the sharpness that use to come with it had been dulled.

    Without saying a word, she had a feeling Huo momo had something important to say to her,s so she sat down across from the woman and remained silent waiting for whatever was to be said. It should be said quickly, as waiting for unknown news, no matter good or bad was very stressful.

    "Xue'er..." Huo momo began, "I need to tell you something." Xue'er nodded attentively, she knew this much already, it was best to just get to the main point. "I got a letter yesterday, and it is very important, so I have to leave." The woman's voice was earnest, but there were some traces of regret within.

    [Just why was she speaking like this?

    Was there something else that she could not speak about openly?]

    Thinking till here, Xue'er gaze fell on that piece of paper. [Was this the thing that was making Huo momo leave. But why? Could it be a threat?] She could not help but want to pick up the letter to read for herself, in the end, she refrained from doing so.

    "Will you be all right by yourself?"

    Her fingers clenched tightly around her cloak, almost to the point of ripping it to shreds, as her face remained as calm as usual. She nodded. It would be what Huo momo expects her to do, and there was no disappointment within her eyes, as though staring at something she would never be able to get a hold of in this lifetime.

    There was only silence. Xue'er was one to never speak her mind. Her eyes were open as Huo momo gently patted her head, like the way she would pat little shadow. There was a strange moment of stillness, as though she had forgotten how to breathe altogether. Human contact, in the end, was not something she repulsed from, yet it was very rare for a person like her.

    There were no saddened emotions as Xue'er allowed herself to be treated like a little kitten one last time before Huo momo would leave. As for whether or not she would return, she was uncertain, but Xue'er knew that there would be a time when she moved away as well, so perhaps it was best for Huo momo to leave first.

    "Goodbye, Huo momo." Xue'er said in a very quiet voice. Her voice was plain, it contained no happiness, but there was a hint of melancholy when spoken. Perhaps Huo momo's ears were not as sharp as her eyes and did not catch the tone. "Thank you for everything." was the last thing she said in the embroidery shop. Uncertain if anyone would ever hear her voice as she spoke those words.
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