With her feet hanging in the air, You Xu subconsciously hugged his neck, burying her head into his strong chest while listening to the rhythmic thump of his heartbeat.
After a while, Duan Min placed her onto bed and let her go. He lowered his head and gave her a kiss on her forehead, saying softly, “Goodnight, You Xu.”
You Xu was still immersed in his gentle and loving gaze. It was only until the door closed and she was the only one left in the room did she realise. This was her room. Did Duan Min carry her back and tuck her in so that she could sleep on her own? That wasn’t what she had meant when she visited him. Wasn’t she supposed to help him sleep peacefully?
You Xu lowered her head and looked at her clothes. She was wearing a nightgown revealing a large area of skin and in between her arms was a brown bear. You Xu pondered, did she take too much initiative? Concerning these matters, maybe it would have been better if the guy initiates?
From then on, You Xu made it her life’s mission and started to slowly drop all kinds of obvious hints towards Duan Min. But Duan Min acted as if he didn’t know any better. The closest she could get was during the afternoons when the sun was shining brightly. Even then, the two would only rest together for a while on the living room sofa.
Seeing how his complexion never improved, You Xu was afraid that Duan Min wouldn’t get enough sleep so she could only extend their nap time. And thus, from when the sun was still shining bright in the sky till the pitch black darkness of the night, the both of them would simply be sleeping together.
It got to the point where You Xu felt like she was punching cotton. In a bad mood, You Xu glared at him and asked, “Are you unable to do it?”
Duan Min wanted to lower his head and give her a kiss but You Xu blocked it with her hand. As such, he could only raise his hand to smooth out her hair while rubbing the top of her head. He explained, “As of now, I still can’t. Just wait.”
What the hell? What kind of trick is this? What do you mean it can’t be done now? If you can then you can. If you can’t then you can’t. You can even wait for a while and be able to do it later? Does Duan Min even know what she’s talking about?
At first, her intentions were extremely pure. She had only wanted to help him sleep. And now, maybe because she had been thinking about it day and night, she had started to harbour evil thoughts?
But under Duan Min’s doting and indulging gaze, You Xu had no choice but to put on a straight face, and said in an uninterested manner, “Oh.”
Even though that’s what she said, subconsciously, she was already starting to concoct a tonic for him. One that was reputable for strengthening the body.
Aside from that, You Xu folded jasmine flowers everyday to make bookmarks for him. Duan Min clearly cherished these bookmarks and kept them beside his pillow.
As time passed, You Xu helplessly looked on as the bookmarks started to pile up and occupy his territory. What was once a bed, big enough to fit four people, had been reduced to a terrible state. To the extent where Duan Min could only shrink pitifully into a corner.
You Xu couldn’t bear to watch any longer. She bought a metre long bolster pillow, hollowed it out and started to store the bookmarks inside. Once done, Duan Min was perfectly content. He hugged the newly made bolster to sleep every night, similar to how a wombat would cling to a tree.
You Xu had also started to develop many different kinds of desserts. Watching how Duan Min would take a spoon and quietly eat up her desserts, You Xu’s heart swelled in happiness and satisfaction every time.
Both of them had a tacit agreement not to mention the strawberry jam.
One morning, You Xu woke up and the first thing she saw was a person sitting by her bedside.
The early morning ray filtered through the windows and his eyes seemed to reflect bits and pieces of the sun’s rays. She didn’t know how long that person had been watching her but his gaze was so tender and filled with love.
“You Xu, let’s go to the mountains and visit Qian Ye Lake.”
You Xu was stunned. She still couldn’t understand how…
Duan Min was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to keep up with her pace since she liked to explore the world. He decided he had to take the first step by himself.
Turns out, he rejected her company every night so could secretly go out and get used to the outside world. After repeatedly being exposed to the physiological stress, Duan Min continued to persist. And now, he was able to go out without needing to rely on drugs.
You Xu's eyes turned red instantly, "Duan Min, you..."
Duan Min used his fingertips to wipe the tears from the corner of her eyes. In a low and gentle voice, he said, “I said it before.”
I said it before, I want to accompany you to watch the sceneries from all over the world.
They will never separate again.
After two days, they went to the mountains and visited Qian Ye Lake.
During this time, You Xu kept observing Duan Min’s state. After seeing that he was stable, she finally let out a sigh of relief.
Perhaps it was because of the difference in her mood. This time, when she visited the lake, she felt so much joy. Her shoulders were so light. Everything seemed much more beautiful. The reflection of the lake was clear and the red maple leaves were vibrantly brimming with life. Even though it was the same scenery, it was as if a faded painting had been repainted with bright colours.
As You Xu looked at the scenery, Duan Min was watching her. He didn’t know what emotions were filling in his heart but it was unbelievably warm.
At long last, he was able to stand outside with her. He could now be close to her and see her smile brightly in the sun. He no longer had to worry about being left behind. He can now go anywhere with her. It was at this moment that the fear which had been etched deep into his heart finally disappeared.
You Xu turned to look at him. In the background, red maple leaves continued to fall. There he was. White skin. Red lips. Tea-brown eyes. He looked even more beautiful than the pool of jade clear water. With him around, it seemed as if the vivid red colour of the maple leaves paled in comparison.
“You, lower down.”
You Xu wrapped her arms around his neck and tiptoed to kiss him.
As the breeze blew, a few maple leaves drew beautiful arcs in the air, and in the distance, two people closely embraced each other.
Later, they visited many different places. They walked hand in hand by Ruo Ming Lake. Accompanied each other to look at the peach forest of Wei Shan Mountain. Saw the most beautiful aurora in each other’s eyes at the northernmost place. Once, they had also experienced cuddling with each other in the cold night, falling asleep to the crisp sound of hailstones outside the window.
Time will always move forwards. Sceneries will continuously change. The only thing that remains is the never changing gaze towards each other and the hands that will always hold onto each other tightly. After going in a loop, they will still eventually return to their original home.
30 years passed in a flash. You Xu's appearance no longer had a youthful hue. On her pale face, she let out a gentle smile.
“Duan Min, my time is almost up.”
Duan Min grasped her hand tightly. Without saying a thing, the corners of his eyes started to turn red and gradually, moisture began to build up in his eyes.
“Duan Min, the past 30 years have been amazing, I have gained so much.”
It was worth it. To the her that struggled and died 5 times before she could come back. It was definitely worth it.
“No,” Duan Min choked and said with difficulty, “You Xu, it’s me, I’m the one who has gained for the past 30 years.”
Feeling her mind starting to slip, You Xu held onto his hands and said, “Don’t turn me into ashes, let me become a puppet, so that I can always…”
Always stay by your side.
In the spacious living room, the familiar fragrance of jasmine is blown in by the warm afternoon breeze.
A deep voice slowly narrates a story, “A snowman born in ice and snow fell in love with the stove who lived in the house... and finally, the snowman melted in the arms of the stove.
Duan Min closed the storybook and looked over to the person whose eyes had long dimmed.
Puppet You Xu obediently closed her eyes.
Duan Min lay on the sofa with her and held a lock of her black hair. He continued to quietly observe her.
Her skin had long since turned grey, her lips have lost colour and her body, ice-cold. Fortunately, Duan Min has been properly maintaining and protecting her body all this time. Not one bit of damage could be seen on her body. If she happened to suffer a wound, she would never be able to heal again.
In the past, he absolutely hated the breath of the living. Now, he is most afraid of the smell of death. But as long as it is her, he will accept it.
He will continue to live for a long, long time, much longer than ordinary humans.
No matter how much the outside world changes, You Xu will always remain, accompanying him in this place.
At night, Duan Min carried You Xu to the bed and carefully covered her with a quilt. Then, he walked over to the other side and lifted the quilt up. Just as he was about to lie down, he noticed a Jasmine bookmark under the pillow.
You Xu used to store the bookmarks in the bolster so how did it…
Duan Min picked up the bolster only to realise that so much time had passed. No matter how carefully he took care of it, it would have eventually been worn out by the passage of time. That was how the bookmark fell out.
For such a long time, he had relied on simply lying by her side and taking in the familiar scent of jasmine from the pillow to fall asleep.
He stared blankly for quite some time, not really knowing what to do. After a while, he noticed a white note inside the pale yellow bookmark. Duan Min picked it up and unfolded it. On it was You Xu’s handwriting. It wrote: In the language of flowers, Jasmine represents my one and only true love - you only belong to me.
Duan Min was at a loss for words. His eyes trembled as he remembered that evening when the sky was dyed a crimson red. A young girl with her hair a little dishevelled from sleep, walked over to the windowsill. She was picking and choosing, finally deciding on a pot of jasmine flowers. Half of her face reflected the evening sky, seemingly as if there was a tinge of blush on her face. Her almond eyes curved up as she said, “In the language of flowers, jasmine means pure friendship.”
He never would have thought, after so many decades, today would be the day where he would once again, re-learn the true meaning of jasmine flowers - one and only true love.
You only belong to me.
He squeezed the note in his hand.
In the quiet night, moonlight fell onto the pot of white jasmine flowers sitting on the windowsill. The scene painted a tranquil image as its delicate petals swayed in the wind.
A person and a stickman appeared in the empty space. You Xu was hunched over for quite some time before slowly regaining her senses.
“Quick, quick! I want to watch the replay of the mission!”
78 lay in a comfortable position and gave her the side eye saying, “It’s not like you have any points yet you still want to watch?”
You Xu stood up.
“Didn’t I just complete the task? The trust value is 100 and the blackening value is 0.” Don’t people usually get the highest points from these kinds of novice tasks that have been reset? Why didn’t she get anything?
“But you are under a new contract. We have no new regulations set in place yet so we can only default your points to zero.” 78 said leisurely.
You Xu suddenly thought of another thing, “Haven’t you guided other hosts to complete tasks? How are you still a trainee system?”
With a hidden depth, 78 enlightened, “You need to understand, once you have been at the bottom long enough, it’s no longer considered the bottom.”
Others learn on the job and eventually become an official system. This rascal just continues to remain as a trainee.
You Xu: “How long have you actually been around for?”
78 replied as it scratched its head, “It must have been thousands of years?”
To be able to muddle its way through thousands of years and yet remain a trainee. It truly has a great amount of ambition.
“Okay, that’s enough,” 78 stood up and dusted itself off, “it’s time to move on to the next world.”
And so, it used the same method of sending You Xu over by drawing circles.
With the white light in her mind fading, You Xu immediately had a bad premonition. She instantly felt that this body was extremely tense, as if it had received some kind of fright.
She could now feel that there was a claw, cold and sharp, pressing against her neck. It brought out instinctual fear in her body. The kind which left her body trembling, drenching her clothes in cold sweat.
You Xu: What the hell. How am I about to get killed as soon as I enter!?
The room was filled with a faint smell of blood. It was from the person behind her.
You Xu still hadn’t managed to read the storyline for this world yet. She quickly considered her words and planned her escape, when a voice sounded.
“Excuse me, it may be presumptuous of us to disturb the little miss’ rest but there has been an intruder. They have managed to enter the premises of the medicine valley and we are searching to arrest them. May I ask if the little miss has been disturbed?”
You Xu tried to open her mouth. But before she could even make a sound, the claw on her neck pressed down further. She could feel a slight tingling pain on her neck. The skin had probably been broken.
The meaning behind the threat was self-evident.
Whether she could save her life rests on this very moment.
“Watch what you say. You should know what’s good for you.” The person from behind enunciated in a low voice, word for word.
Some people may not agree with the ending of this small world, so let me explain it.
Duan Min was the result of an experiment. He was injected with the zombie king’s blood which greatly altered his physical constitution. It is reasonable to say that he should be able to live however long the zombie king could have lived for.
As an ordinary person, You Xu is destined not to spend a hundred years with him. Additionally, because she didn’t personally eliminate the target and the target was instead eliminated indirectly, she wasn’t able to get a lot of points. Her points could only sustain her for a good 30 years. And although Duan Min can control the puppet, it doesn’t mean that he can rejuvenate or repair them.
Initially, the inspiration of this story was from a dream in which a puppeteer had a lover but his lover died. He then turned his lover into a puppet and they would be able to stay together forever. (I absolutely love making up stories from just a small imagery.)
For 30 years, they have done everything they want to do together. They communicated with each other, managed to stay together forever (though not by normal means), and their love is eternal. This is already the most perfect ending in my mind.
I still feel that quite a handful of people also like this story. Thank you you guys~
In the next world: Heart-eating fox demon king × Sickly raised daughter