Edited by Planetes
As though confirming what Xu Na said, the next day, Mu Ran started to refuse to eat.
In the past, when the housekeeper finished preparing the food, she would bring him over to the dining table, and he would then pick up his chopsticks and bowl by himself. Although his appetite was small, he still knew that he had to eat. However, this time, after sitting down, he only stared blankly at the table full of food, and his hands did not move at all. Next to him, the housekeeper tried to persuade him. Upon seeing that he still had no reaction, she lifted her head, looking anxiously at Yi Tian.
“You can leave first.”
The housekeeper looked hesitantly at the table full of dishes. Yi Tian could see what she was worried about. “I’ll clean up all of this.” Only then did the housekeeper nod, undoing her apron and leaving.
Once she left, the atmosphere in the room instead became tense. With an icy look on his face, Yi Tian looked at Mu Ran. His fingers slowly clenched into a fist, the veins on the back of his hand bulging out. He suppressed the impatience inside him. Even when one wanted to vent their frustrations, they had to see who their target was. If it was the past Mu Ran, he would be terrified, he would be afraid, and he would capitulate. However, this spiritless person sitting across from him, even if he flipped the table over and then punched him, he would not react in the slightest at all.
Just like that, the stalemate dragged on. Finally, Yi Tian took his phone out, dialling Xu Na’s number. When the call connected, the other party did not speak. Rubbing the centre of his brows, Yi Tian said, “He refuses to eat, come by tomorrow and take a look at him.” Xu Na snorted, and Yi Tian continued, “Bring the medication over.” Without waiting for a response from Xu Na, he hung up.
Second by second, time passed. The food, steaming on the table, started to slowly turn cool. Yi Tian stood up abruptly, tossing his phone onto the table. His forehead tightly knitted, he walked over and sat down next to Mu Ran, his face stern. Somewhat roughly, he turned Mu Ran around to face him, then picked up the chopsticks and took up a fish roll, placing it next to Mu Ran’s mouth. His voice a little stiff and cold, he said, “Open your mouth.”
Mu Ran blinked, his eyes shifting a little and meeting Yi Tian’s eyes. However, his gaze was unfocused, and he had no other reaction. Yi Tian did not explode in anger, only inhaling slightly. Patiently, he repeated, “Open your mouth.” This time, his tone wasn’t as stiff.
Just like this, with Yi Tian repeatedly persuading and emphasising his words a few times, Mu Ran finally opened his mouth obediently and ate the fish roll.
Yi Tian watched him chew slowly, his cheeks bulging slightly, and he felt as though someone had just nuzzled against the most tender part of his heart.
This experience was rather novel. Ever since he was young, he was the center of many people’s attention. Even with the tiniest bit of sickness or pain, people would turn pale with fright. Forget about feeding other people before, he had never even taken care of anyone in his life. The Mu Ran he was seeing right now was so fragile, and there was nobody else he could rely on. If he didn’t have Yi Tian taking care of him, he wouldn’t even eat. Once he was away from him, he might not even survive for a minute. Inexplicably, this realisation made Yi Tian feel a little moved.
Just like that, one fed, and the other ate, and when they were done, Yi Tian even helped Mu Ran wipe away a smear of gravy left accidentally by his mouth. If Yi Tian’s buddies were around right now, their eyes would probably have fallen out of their heads. Even if they were beaten to death, not a single one of them would believe that the always aloof and impatient Young Master Yi would actually feed someone.
Mu Ran did not eat much, and Yi Tian did not force him to. When he saw that he was no longer opening his mouth, he put the bowl down. He had yet to eat himself, and by this time, the dishes were pretty much cold already. He didn’t mind, and just picked a few items to eat.
A little later, the bonsai Yi Tian wanted was delivered. Over the past few months, he had been busy, and hence had no mood for it, but now that he had leisure time, he wanted to add some things to his glasshouse.
Today’s weather was nice, the sunlight warm and not scorching. Yi Tian opened the floor-to-ceiling windows, holding Mu Ran’s hand and leading him into the glasshouse. Sitting him down in a chair properly, Yi Tian then rolled up his sleeves and started working on his bonsai.
Against one wall of the glasshouse was a solid wood shelf that had been varnished, and the other walls were bare with clean, polished glass windows. On the floor were all sorts of pretty bonsai plants. Mu Ran sat next to the shelf, and next to him was a money plant creeping along the metal flower stand that was almost reaching the ground. Through the roof, rays of the sun danced across his body, casting him in a gentle glow.
However, he still sat there, quiet and unmoving. His fingers were curled, resting stiffly on his knees. His eyes lifeless, he gazed out into the distance, his lips so pale that there was no colour to them. In a place so bright and vivid with life, he was like a decayed statue, completely at contrast with his surroundings.
Occasionally, Yi Tian would turn to look at him, and seeing that he was still quietly sitting there, he would turn back and continue what he was doing.
Su Wenyang dropped by at this time, a thick leather folder in his hands. Yi Tian made him a cup of coffee, then fed Mu Ran some water. Only then did he sit down and asked, “The investigation’s done?”
Su Wenyang nudged the leather folder on the table over to him. “Everything that can be found is all inside here. I’ve sent a copy over to Miss Xu Na as well.”
Nodding, Yi Tian was in no hurry to open the folder. He only opened his mouth, instructing, “Next week, there will be a batch of Dehua glazed porcelain during the arts exhibition in G City. Go take and look, and if they’re ok, get them.”
In the past few years, the trade in Dehua porcelain had been very lively. Although it could not compare to the easy millions of dollars that could be found with Jingdezhen porcelain, there was a huge potential in its collection value.
Su Wenyang accepted the task. “We already have people there, and I’ll leave in a couple of days.” Pausing, he then continued, “Tomorrow evening, the Lu family has a party…”
Yi Tian lowered his lids, reaching out for the leather folder as he said indifferently, “Just decline it.”
Freezing slightly, Su Wenyang quickly returned to his usual expressionless self. “Understood.” Ever since Yi Tian brought Mu Ran home, he pretty much did not attend any events. Other than somewhat keeping in contact with He Yandong and Xu Na, he did not go out with any other friends, and quite a number of people had already started calling him looking for Yi Tian already. However, this was Yi Tian’s personal matters, and things he should not speak about, he would never share them.
Yi Tian opened the folder, pulling out a thick stack of papers, then looked through them carefully, a frown on his face. Remaining silent, Su Wenyang tactfully stood up and departed. Just before he left, he looked over at the person who has been sitting blankly next to Yi Tian the entire time since he arrived. Thinking about what he had discovered over the past few days, some degree of sympathy welled up inside his usually cold heart.
The entire time, Yi Tian was looking down at the things in his hands, and he did not even realise when Su Wenyang had left.
With Mu Ran’s current condition, there was no way for him to communicate with anyone. Yi Tian did not understand him, and without any detailed information about Mu Ran, Xu Na was unable to arrange for his treatment. As such, she got Yi Tian to investigate everything he could find out about Mu Ran.
Mu Ran was born in a tiny county in this very province, and as a newborn, he had been abandoned in the hospital by his parents, only to be sent to an orphanage in the county later.
The orphanage had been built with the life savings of an old, local ex-soldier. The conditions of the orphanage were not great, and even maintaining the daily maintenance of the place was difficult. Mu Ran had been adopted three times, and it was a pair of abusive couple that adopted him during the third time, and he was often abused. At that time, the incident had even appeared in the news. In the article, it was written that the wife often tied his hands to the balcony railings, and through his clothes, she would often beat him with a hanger, not allowing him to cry or call out in pain. Once he made a sound, he would not be allowed to eat or go to school.
The orphanage was small, and it was privately owned, and it wasn’t like the government-owned orphanages who would investigate the matter. When he was abused, no one cared. At first, around them were neighbours who would try to persuade the couple, but later on, they all only clicked their tongue, talking about how pitiful he was, then turned around and forgot about him. It was during one time, when the beating was too severe, and only after they got worried for his life upon seeing his head covered in blood did they finally call the police.
When he was once again sent back to the orphanage, he was getting too old, and no one was willing to adopt him. However, Mu Ran was very hardworking. Most children in the orphanage would leave at the age of fourteen, but he continued studying. Due to his excellent grades and his unique situation, his secondary school and high school gave him an exemption for his school fees.
He recorded all this down in his heart, and when he started working, he sent back whatever school fees he was supposed to have paid back to the schools, even writing a letter of gratitude. Unfortunately, due to financial difficulties, the orphanage was unable to remain open, and that old man had long passed away. The people that Mu Ran wanted to repay could no longer be found.
If he did not meet Yi Tian, perhaps, he would continue to live on like this, working hard. Perhaps he might be able to meet a kind, sweet lady, who truly loved him. Perhaps he might have an adorable child, and perhaps he might have a happy family.
There were so many possibilities, but time never allowed such possibilities to exist.
In fact, a person like him, how could he know about drugging someone and taking such photos? It was a hooligan who worked with him at the supermarket, and had often hung out in bars. After coming to know about Mu Ran’s matter, in mischief, he instigated him to do the act, and even the drug had been provided by him.
It was Mu Ran’s first time falling in love with someone. His desire, his yearning, that he had never in his life dared to reveal to the world, had all been invested in this person. Such impassioned feelings had completely destroyed his rationality, and he could not see anything else. Just like this, in a moment of muddle-headedness, he made a mistake.
In his life, he had only committed this one mistake. Although this mistake was so very filthy and hideous, deep down beneath the dirt, a true, sincere heart was hidden.
In this world, he only had himself. Later on, he even threw himself away, and he truly had nothing left.