The young man in front of him appeared to have grown more mature as shown by the increased clarity and beauty of his eyebrows, the darker translucence of his pupils, and the radiance of his complexion. He was wearing a loose gray sweatshirt with white stripes as he quickly walked in Qin Mu’s direction.
Qin Mu opened his mouth and said the name “Xie Ge.”
It’s hardly noticeable.
Without pausing the young guy brushed past Qin Mu, lifting the corner of his shirt during the process. Qin Mu turned his head to probe only to see that the other man was gripping Shao Qingyu’s arm like a koala and refusing to let go. His frail voice inquired, “Brother~ when will you play with me?”
His voice is clear and lovely but his sentences are odd and childish.
Qin Mu was bound to observe the young man’s eyes. He found that his eyes were clear and bright like the finest crystal. They were clean and pure like the sky. Qin Mu was momentarily perplexed by this. He wondered whether this Xie Ge was the same one he’d met before. Xie Ge’s sharp eyes, ambition, and ferocity were total opposites to this young man’s.
Xie Ge was only fifteen when he left his home in Anping Village but his appearance shouldn’t have changed much in the passing decade. Qin Mu couldn’t help but wonder how there could be someone in the world who looked so much like him.
Shao Qingyu scowled and tore off the young man’s hand before turning to the housekeeper and saying, “Send Shao Jing back to his room.”
“Yes, Mr. Shao.”
Butler Fang replied respectfully and led Shao Jing along with him, “Second young master, follow me.”
Shao Jing bulged his face angrily and tilted his head to look in Shao Qingyu’s direction. He shouted, “Brother, can you play blocks with me?” His look was similar to a spoiled child.
Qin Mu felt that Shao Jing’s behavior was something he couldn’t ignore and it was clear that the young man was acting like a fool.
He was struck by a sudden thought and couldn’t help but wonder whether this young guy called Shao Jing was Xie Ge. If so, what happened to Xie Ge to lead him into this state? But if he’s really Xie Ge, then how did he become Shao Jing?
Butler Fang reluctantly dragged Shao Jing into the room. The voices of Shao Jing’s struggle faded gradually but Qin Mu kept his thoughtful gaze on the door. At this moment, Qin Mu’s face was pulled away by someone’s hand, just right against a pair of dark and profound eyes.
“What are you looking at?”
Shao Qingyu spoke without any emotion and Qin Mu lowered his eyes. “Nothing,” After a moment’s pause he still impatiently asked, “Was that your brother just now?”
Shao Qingyu looked at Qin Mu with sharp eyes as if he wanted to read his mind. His eyes were cold and emotionless like a cold-blooded animal making Qin Mu frown in disgust. He was about to look away when Shao Qingyu asked instead of answering, “What do you want to know from me?”
Qin Mu gave no response.
Shao Qingyu smiled and pulled at the corner of his mouth, “He is indeed my brother, and-” A wicked grin crept across his attractive and distinguishable face and Shao Qingyue scoffed: “He is a fool with the intelligence of a five-year-old.”
Is he really a fool?
While Qin Mu was surprised, Shao Qingyu gave him a grim expression and grasped his arm. There was an overwhelming surge of strength in his hand as if he intended to crush Qin Mu’s arm. In anguish, Qin Mu tried to remove the opponent’s hand. Shao Qingyu instantly relaxed his grip and squeezed his hand, scraping Qin Mu’s palm gently with his fingertips.
“I don’t like the way you look at Shao Jing just now.”
A low and hoarse voice reached Qin Mu’s ears and he stared intently at Shao Qingyu with deceitful eyes. Qin Mu made a little pouty face. He told himself to be patient because Guoguo was still in Shao Qingyu’s hands. After secretly doing some psychological construction in his heart, he stiffly replied: “I know.”
After a favorable response, Shao Qingyu patted his face, “Let’s get into the house.”
Qin Mu entered the house and found that it was much simpler than the luxurious appearance of European-style homes. The interior was black and white colors used to create an impression of spaciousness without a feeling of belonging.
The villa layout consists of three floors with a basement. It features standard bedrooms, living rooms, and study areas, besides additional luxurious amenities such as a cinema, sauna, gym, and swimming pool.
They took a stroll around the villa until six o’clock in the evening and Qin Mu didn’t show much enthusiasm for the trip, so he trailed silently behind Shao Qingyu.
While leading the way, Shao Qingyu stopped and turned back to see Qin Mu following behind him. The contrast of light and shadow prevented him from seeing Qin Mu’s expression but he muttered, “Don’t go where I can’t see it in the future.” He purposely paused to show his displeasure, “I don’t like it.”
Qin Mu hates being forced into doing things but he must accompany Shao Qingyu if he wants to protect Guo Guo. He remained quiet and endured silently, stating: “I understand.”
Although the tone was submissive, any fool could see the indifference on his face.
There is no attempt to make his pretense acting look good.
In an instant, Qin Mu just caught a glimpse of the other party as he approached. Shao Qingyu’s body crushed into him as he was shoved helplessly against the wall before he could respond.
Qin Mu’s shoulder was in pain but he didn’t show any signs of weakness while being held down by the other person. The opponent’s fingers lifted his chin and squeezed it. Shao Qingyu brought his face close to Qin Mu’s, their noses brushing against each other. His movements were gentle and his nose rubbed against Qin Mu’s nose affectionately. “I suddenly changed my mind.”
Qin Mu’s heart churned at the unexpected statement.
“Wh… What?” he muttered.
The two men were so close that their breaths mingled together. Qin Mu’s lips got very close to Shao Qingyu’s and the resulting gasp tinged with the faint aroma of tobacco. Qin Mu tried to calm his breathing and pushed his head against the wall to avoid contact with Shao Qingyu.
Shao Qingyu couldn’t help but laugh at that ridiculously pointless action. When he laughed, his eyes would make an elegant arc. The bottom of his dark watery eyes displayed a faint smile. His understatement couldn’t disguise the danger rather than his smile: “Don’t you want to protect Qi Heng? I don’t think I have to keep the deal I made with you if you don’t behave well.”
Qin Mu’s pupils contracted as he listened, “Shao Qingyu, you…”
“What’re you doing?”
A distinct voice cut in from off to one side at this crucial time.
Qin Mu shoved Shao Qingyu out of the way and squinted in the location of the noise, spotting a young guy called Shao Jing with a pillow in his hands. The expression on his face showed that he was watching the two guys with interest and suspicion. Meeting Qin Mu’s eyes, the young guy asked shyly, “Brother, can you play with me?”
Qin Mu was surprised by what Shao Jing said, presuming he was talking about him when he mentioned ‘brother’. He found it difficult to express his rejection of Shao Jing when he saw how much his face resembled Xie Ge’s. His lips quivered as he prepared to speak. Shao Qingyu pushed Qin Mu aside, stepped in front of him and admonished, “Shao Jing, don’t be naughty, he’s my guest.”
Shao Jing’s white face furrowed into a pout as he felt wronged.
“There you are, second young master!”
Butler Fang ran over to Shao Jing and asked, “Shall I play with you?” Looking at the sullen Shao Qingyu and the complicated Qin Mu, Shao Jing sulked and said, “All right.” The housekeeper led him away.
After the thin and tall figure vanished inside the door, Qin Mu softly asked, “How did he get to be this way?”
“That’s not what you should know.” Shao Qingyu stared at him coldly, “Come out to eat. You won’t be able to toss and turn on the bed till you are full.” After that, he took the lead and went ahead.
Qin Mu’s face turned stiff.
Even if he was psychologically ready, he didn’t think that tonight the other party would be .……
His heart still pinned on Qi Heng’s safety, Qin Mu hurried to Shao Qingyu’s back and asked sternly: “You promised that Qi Heng would be released tomorrow. Does what you said still count?”
Shao Qingyu paused without turning his head: “That depends on your performance.”
Everything started well enough but now it’s become ambiguous. ‘This guy is very despicable!’ Qin Mu would want to jump up and punch him right in the face. He hates liars the most. Yet the core of his rationality remains. Even if Shao Qingyu threatened him in such a severe way by killing Guoguo, it is only reasonable to seek recompense. Despite Shao Qingyu’s unethical methods, he can’t be held responsible and the final say rests solely in his own hands. No one can make him do anything against his will.
Qin Mu closed his eyes and clenched his hands tightly as he considered this.
If he can only make it through this year, he’ll be free next year.