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Prologue: Don’t Believe In What You See
On a narrow cement road, a Land Rover ran stably. When the villagers on both sides of the concrete road saw this Land Rover, it made a daunting site for them. Allowing the Land Rover to pass through, these villagers could not tell what kind of car it was, but could feel that the people sitting in the car were clearly not ordinary.
In regards to Dong He Village, if not for the Village Access Project, this narrow cement road would not have existed.
The Land Rover roughly stopped a 100 meters outside the Dong He Village, the person driving was very careful, as he stopped the car on the cement road just outside a raised piece of land.
After parking, the driver quickly got off and opened the passenger door; from the back seat two young girls got out.
The first one who got out wore a cyan floral dress, freeing her hair that was tied up allowed allowed it to fall onto her shoulders. She wore an ankle length skirt, which brought out a contrast to her slim figure and fair skin.
Even though she just stood by the side of the road, it seemed as if she melted into the wilderness, as if it was a picture, which made her appearance look even more dignified and refined.
She was followed by a girl wearing blue jeans and a white butterfly shirt. The slightly faded jeans on her slim waist and upturned butt made her more conspicuous, that coupled with short hair, made the youths who glanced at her to breathe hard. If her lips were not somewhat meager, this would definitely make a person unable to remove their eyes from the sight of such a beautiful woman. Even if it was like that, she was still a very beautiful girl.
The short haired young girl who got out later, looked at the girl wearing the cyan dress who was standing on the roadside, the corner of her eyes flashed with jealousy which was not detected.
“Ji Yun, is this place Dong He village?” asks the cyan skirt wearing young lady while looking at the haphazard tile-roofed houses in a distance with a confused look on her face. There were only a few isolated multi-storied houses.
That short-haired girl called Ji Yun chuckled and said while smiling, “Of course, there is absolutely no mistake, since I have been here once. Come on, Mu Wan, I will take you to Ning Xiao Cheng’s home to look. By the way, you can also see it while standing here. Do you see that tile-roofed clay house in the eastern-most corner? That is Ning Xiao Cheng’s house.”
Tian Mu Wan looked in the direction of Ji Yun’s finger, and when she saw a low tiled-roof clay house, she immediately frowned. This village did not look too prosperous, even clay houses were rare, even worse was the green bricked house with the tiled roof. She didn’t frown because Ning Xiao Cheng’s house was made of clay, but rather because Ning Xiao Cheng’s family was so poor, and yet he was a little too generous.
“Mu Wan, let’s go and have a look.” As Ji Yun saw the frown on Tian Mu Wan’s face, and immediately said from the side.
Tian Mu Wan nodded, then turned and said to the driver: “Uncle Meng, you wait for us here, we’ll be fine inside.”
“Yes” The driver answered in an extremely respectful tone.
The clay tile-roofed houses all looked the same when watched from afar, but after coming closer to it, Tian Mu Wan came to know just how worn down this house really was. The two decrepit broken down doors were locked by a bicycle’s chain lock. Just a little push was enough to reveal a big gap through which one could worm their way inside. Through this big gap, one could clearly see the interior of the house while standing outside.
If they looked while standing at a distance, they could not have a clear understanding of this family’s poverty, but Mu Wan who stood at the entrance of this house, realized how poor they were. In this house except for the few pieces of old farm tools outside, only had a shabby little broken down wooden table, while a clay oven was built in the corner of the kitchen.
“Is this really Ning Xiao Cheng’s house?” Tian Mu Wan asks with a quivering voice.
Ji Yun nods, “Yes, it is, he also has a younger sister, but his sister should be working in the fields now. Ning Xiao Cheng’s school fees, I heard that it was provided by his younger sister. I’ve been there once, so should I lead you to have a look at his younger sister?”
Tian Mu Wan simply did not seem to hear the words of Ji Yun, rather in her mind Ning Xiao Cheng’s sincere and natural smiling face appeared. Ning Xiao Cheng waved his rather big hands saying the words, ‘Today, I invite you to dinner’.
If it wasn’t for Ning Xiao Cheng, Tian Mu Wan would absolutely not go to such a third class restaurant which even had flies. Because she was afraid that Ning Xiao Cheng would not be able to afford to go to a good restaurant for dinner. For a man, eating a meal with a woman and unable to pay, that was a huge loss of face. Since she was with Ning Xiao Cheng together, she did not want Ning Xiao Cheng to feel ashamed.
She had no idea that Ning Xiao Cheng’s family was impoverished to this extent. Moreover, he also had a younger sister who worked at home in order to provide for Ning Xiao Cheng’s studies.
Suddenly, a feeling of anger rose in her heart, despite depending on his younger sister to work in farms and homes in order to let him study, he unexpectedly dares to squander money. Behind this Ning Xiao Cheng’s sunshine like smile, unexpectedly there is hidden such a shameless heart.
Remembering once again Ning Xiao Cheng’s small details, her sincere feelings of love towards Ning Xiao Cheng, Tian Mu Wan felt an acute pain in her heart. She did not want the person whom she loved to be this kind of a selfish person. A person who treats his own sister like this, how could he treat her well in the future? Could everything up till now be fake?
“Let’s go back, I don’t want to see any more.” Tian Mu Wan said in response to Ji Yun’s words, she all of a sudden felt her interest in him had come to an end.
At this moment, she was filled with a deep sorrow, she also did not know whether it was Ning Xiao Cheng or she herself, she doesn’t seem to believe that the person she loved was like this. Now, she had finally realized why her family had opposed to her being together with Ning Xiao Cheng, unless she was really wrong.
In this grey expanse of dust, Ning Xiao Cheng rushed out, behind him, the cement mixer was also giving out whooshing like roars.
Although his body was covered from top to bottom with a layer of dust and mud, but Ning Xiao Cheng was rather in an extremely pleasant mood. Today was the day he received his paycheck, he had reached an agreement with the foreman uncle, and after his work today, he could receive half a month’s salary.
The foreman was very good towards Ning Xiao Cheng, today was actually not the day for salary, but Ning Xiao Cheng still received 1300 dollars. Most of this money was earned from his absence from school, and he also came to work at the construction site on weekends.
Holding more than a thousand dollars, Ning Xiao Cheng almost eagerly went back to the school, then he hurriedly took a bath in the washroom with cold water, changed into clean cloths and again rushed out of the school.
He was going to meet his younger sister Ning Ruo Lan, in this world, his younger sister Ning Ruo Lan was his only family member. Not only was she two years younger than him, but was actually even more intelligent than him, even in school she was better than him, while he was still a junior in school, she was already a senior.
The only thing that let him feel like an older brother, was that he was still responsible for his younger sister’s living and school expenses.
Ning Xiao Cheng just got down from the bus, when a girl who stood in front of the entrance of Jiangzhou Institute of Foreign Languages excitedly called out to him.
“Ruo Lan, how did you know I would come today?” Ning Xiao Cheng actually saw the young girl waiting at the school entrance, and asked in a somewhat strange way.
“Originally, I wanted to find you, I made a phone call to uncle before coming, heard Uncle saying that you had already received your pay, I guessed that you would definitely come here. Wait, did you not wash your face when you took your bath …….” Ning Ruo Lan chirps, after seeing her big brother, just like a happy bird in excitement.
As Ning Ruo Lan spoke, she already took out her handkerchief and wiped the dust on both sides of his nose which he had not washed off. She, like Ning Xiao Cheng, simply had not seen a Land Rover drive past them.
“Was that Ning Xiao Cheng ……” Ji Yun said this time, she already knew that Tian Mu Wan saw Ning Xiao Cheng.
Tian Mu Wan did not speak, she looked at Ning Ruo Lan intimately touching the face of Ning Xiao Cheng, and felt her whole heart break. Even she was disappointed with Ning Xiao Cheng to the extreme, not only he was wasting his sister’s hard earned money, but also was dating another girl!!
Moreover this Ning Xiao Cheng’s intimate female friend was not worse than her, with long hair, wearing a light blue short sleeved shirt, demonstrated that she was not of inferior stature. On the fair and beautiful face, there was a smile like a summer sunshine.
“Mu Wan, do you want to go and ask?” Ji Yun asked after looking at the pale complexion of Tian Mu Wan.
Tian Mu Wan shook her head, then without saying a word powerlessly leaned against the back seat. There were some things which couldn’t be forgotten, for two years, all of her happiness and joy were given to her by Ning Xiao Cheng. Ning Xiao Cheng was together with her for two years, before that she did not experience any kind of happiness for over a decade. She had already harbored innumerable impressions and had a deep attachment to Ning Xiao Cheng, she always thought Ning Xiao Cheng to be her interpretation of love.
But today, she discovered that Ning Xiao Cheng was not at all what she originally thought as, similarly wrapped in a false mask, even the most basic of things have been lost. She wanted to say that these were all false, but she knew that it was true, because she personally saw it.
“These are for you.” Ning Xiao Cheng did not know that Tian Mu Wan saw him, and happily handed out a thousand dollars to Ning Ruo Lan.
Ning Ruo Lan pushes back Ning Xiao Cheng’s hand, “big brother, I will graduate soon, the money that I have with me is enough to meet my expenses. Didn’t you talk about a girlfriend, buy something for her.”
Ning Xiao Cheng did not mind it and slipping the money towards Ning Ruo Lan again said, “I have to say it again, besides, Mu Wan’s family is very wealthy, and she is not with me for money. And besides by the time you graduate, I’ll take you to see Mu Wan, I have not yet mentioned about you to her.”
“Okay” this time Ning Ruo Lan did not refuse, she knew what her big brother meant. The reason why her big brother did not mention her to Tian Mu Wan, was because he was afraid Mu Wan would secretly spend money on her.
She never thought that her big brother Ning Xiao Cheng wasn’t good enough for others, in this world any outstanding woman can match up with her big brother. But she knew, a woman who fell in love with her big brother would certainly be good.
Seeing Ning Ruo Lan receive the money, Ning Xiao Cheng pulls out a pearl hair clip in the shape of snowflakes and said, “This is also for you. I bought two, one for you, and one for Mu Wan.”
Prologue 0002 : Falling Through The Void
At the Jiangzhou University’s entrance, Ning Xiao Cheng was grasping a snowflake shaped pearl hair clip, and was feeling a bit pumped up. He has not seen Mu Wan in a long time, this time also he gave the money and another pearl hair clip to his younger sister, and didn’t even have time to eat a meal together with his sister, coming to the Jiangzhou University right away.
Ning Xiao Cheng didn’t wait too long, as he saw Tian Mu Wan walk out. Tian Mu Wan was still as beautiful as ever, she moved in such a way that it would make everyone to become nearly breathless. Ning Xiao Cheng’s heart started to fill up with a hint of pride, that such a beautiful woman would one day become his wife. At this point he was even happy regarding that accident, if not for the catastrophic flood that occurred, he wouldn’t even have had the chance to get to know Tian Mu Wan.
“You wanted to see me?” Tian Mu Wan says flatly, this made Ning Xiao Cheng to swallow ‘Wan’er’, these two words that he was going to say, he felt that there was something wrong with Mu Wan today.
[TL Note: Wan’er, Wan is her name, when you add 儿(Er) behind as a nickname, basically it just means “Baby”/”Babe”.]
“I bought this pearl hair clip for you …..” Ning Xiao Cheng had wanted to say that he bought this pearl hair clip for her, and then was going to ask her out to dinner. But the words only managed to arrive at the tips of his tongue, just as he uttered half of it, he felt the sudden change in Mu Wan.
Tian Mu Wan calmly took the hair clip that Ning Xiao Cheng gave, and without even looking at it asked, “Is there anything else?”
“I would like to invite you for dinner ……”
Ning Xiao Cheng had not even finished his sentence, when he saw a blue sports car stop next to him and Tian Mu Wan.
“Wan’er.” A young man exuding a strong perfume opened the door and got out, and at the same time eagerly called out.
Ning Xiao Cheng frowned, he very much disliked the smell, a fully grown man that made his all of his body to be covered in this overwhelming sweet fragrant scent, this really made it hard for him to bear it. He recognized this young man, Wan Lin’s family had introduced him to be her soon to-be boyfriend, and was called Zha Zhi Yi.
“Zhi Yi ….”
The way Mu Wan responded made Ning Xiao Cheng frown, previously whenever this young man called Zhi Yi called her Wan’er, Mu Wan would always answer in a cold voice, “Wan’er is not yours to call, please be prudent.”
Today, however, she does not seem to have the momentum.
Tian Mu Wan not only not seem to be displeased with him, but also did not say anything when she was called Wan’er, noticing this Zha Zhi Yi suddenly felt elated, he hurriedly walked up and said, “Wan’er, are you free today? I would like to invite you to have dinner together.”
Contrary to what Zha Zhi Yi expected, Tian Mu Wan did not refuse, but nodded her head and said, “Today I happen to have some free time, then let’s go together.”
Zha Zhi Yi was so surprised, he almost forgot his own name, just when he was about to speak, he heard Tian Mu Wan speak again, “Zhi Yi, can you help me take a look at this?”
That said, Tian Mu Wan placed the pearl hair clip she got from Ning Xiao Cheng into Zha Zhi Yi’s hands.
“What is this?” Zha Zhi Yi took the pearl hair clip, and subconsciously asked the question.
“Oh, this was just given to me by Ning Xiao Cheng, I do not any place to put it.” Tian Mu Wan said nonchalantly, seemingly not caring that this pearl hair clip could be worn at any time on her head.
“Oh…..” said Zhi Yi after listening to Tian Mu Wan, shook his hand, the pearl hair clip fell to the ground, and rolled into the gap between the sewer covers.
Zhi Yi did not seem to think that it would fall into the sewers, with some frustration he said, “I’m sorry, Wan’er, I was too careless, I will buy you a better one.”
Zhi Yi did not seem to mind it, Tian Mu Wan actually nodded and said, “If it’s lost then forget it, you are free to buy a good one for me, let’s go,”
Ning Xiao Cheng looked a bit pale, how could he not know that what Zhi Yi did was intentional. The one who made him even more depressed was Mu Wan, he had not seen Mu Wan for just half a month, how could she change so much? In his mind, Mu Wan was not such a person.
“Wan’er, I want to speak a few words with you.” seeing Tian Mu Wan was going to leave, Ning Cheng spoke.
Tian Mu Wan seemed to know what Ning Cheng wanted to speak, she turned around, and said in a slow voice, “Ning Xiao Cheng, I know what you are going to say. It’s just that I have just graduated from college, I cannot play around anymore. You should know that there is a huge difference between us, it is absolutely impossible for us to be together. I was naive and innocent before, but now I understand, I hope you do not come to look for me in the future, it would be bad for us.”
Having said that, Tian Mu Wan simply ignored Ning Xiao Cheng, and went directly to the blue sports car, pulled the door and sat inside.
Watching the blue sports car spit out a white circle of smoke while it disappeared without a trace, Ning Xiao Cheng felt his heart bleed. He did not understand why Mu Wan would become like this, the impression he got from Mu Wan was completely different.
Were all women so fickle? Although he was born in a poor family, he never felt himself unworthy of Mu Wan, moreover Mu Wan also never cared for his appearance.
“Xiao Cheng, why are you standing here?” A clear and crisp voice sounded, interrupting Ning Cheng who was still immersed in the midst of a daze.
Ning Cheng looked a bit pale, he looked up and saw a pretty girl with short hair, and subconsciously said, “Zeng Ji Yun……”
“I just saw, Xiao Cheng, some matters you just let nature take its course. Mu Wan’s family is not ordinary, you can see if there is someone more suitable for you, perhaps in the same room.” Ji Yun spoke with a gentle tone, like clouds drifting gently in the horizon, comforting Ning Xiao Cheng.
Ning Cheng did not seem to hear the words of Ji Yun, he was vainly looking at the pearl hair clip that fell into the sewer, he took quite a while before responding, saying to Ji Yun, “Thank you, I need to go now.”
“Wait, Xiao Cheng, I will accompany you for a walk.” Ji Yun suddenly took a step forward, her gaze looking somewhat scorching when she looked at Ning Cheng.
Ning Xiao Cheng shook his head, did not speak again, and quickly turned into the streets and vanished in the crowds.
Looking at the disappearing back of Ning Xiao Cheng, Ji Yun bites her lips, and even said in a voice, so quiet that even she herself couldn’t hear, “Ning Xiao Cheng, I like you more than Tian Mu Wan.”
She was Tian Mu Wan’s best friend, but she felt that she was understood Ning Xiao Cheng better than Tian Mu Wan. He was one of the most outstanding man she had ever seen. Ning Xiao Cheng had a tough and optimistic personality, and facing any kind of hardships he couldn’t care less.
Because after knowing Ning Xiao Cheng, only then did she want to get to know him even better. She inquired about Ning Cheng’s high school, he did not seem to have any formal education, even when that was the case, he was still admitted into the University. After entering University, he never seemed to study during classes, but there was never any cases of him failing subjects. According to her inquiries, Ning Xiao Cheng never took notes, always arriving one or two hours before tests, then going through the books once, the same as reading a regular fiction novel or something.
Just like this, there weren’t any subjects where Ning Xiao Cheng would fail at, which also included not only written exams but also practical ones of Science and Engineering.
With the leftover time, he would go and do part-time jobs. He and his sister’s school fees, all of them was his hard earned money.
Ji Yun concluded that, Ning Xiao Cheng not only had photographic memory, but also had a strong understanding ability, it can even be described that he had a special kind of talent.
The only regrettable thing was, Ning Xiao Cheng did not know how to make money, with his kind of ability he wouldn’t need to work at the construction site. However, later, Ji Yun felt that she had guessed wrong, it wasn’t that Ning Xiao Cheng didn’t know how to make money, it was as if he didn’t want others to know about his ability
With such a better understanding of Ning Cheng, Ji Yun’s heart was filled with the image of Ning Cheng. Even if Tian Mu Wan was her best friend, she wanted to grab Ning Cheng for herself. Tian Mu Wan’s wanting to investigate Ning Cheng’s house, was her idea.
“Let’s get off here.” The words of Tian Mu Wan left Zhi Yi who was still in state of excitement, dumbstruck.
“We haven’t arrived yet ….” Zhi Yi says subconsciously but stops his car, he did not dare to offend Tian Mu Wan,
Tian Mu Wan opened the door and said, “My family called, and requested that I came back immediately.”
Looking at Tian Mu Wan walking away, Zhi Yi suddenly had a feeling of being played with, he did not hear Tian Mu Wan answering her phone, so he knew he was played, but he also did not dare to let Tian Mu Wan to be dissatisfied with him.
Ning Xiao Cheng stopped walking, he discovered that he had unconsciously and unexpectedly ended up walking onto the highway, which was full of cars. He shook his head and decided to look for Mu Wan tomorrow again, to ask her clearly why she was like that. If Mu Wan was genuinely that heartless as she implied, then he no longer needed to stay in this city.
His sister was about to graduate, and there was no more need for him. If not for Mu Wan and his sister Ning Ruo Lan, he would have already left.
When Ning Xiao Cheng just had decided to return, suddenly a thick golden beam that strained one’s eyes, shot towards him. Even with Ning Xiao Cheng’s quick reaction speed, it was too late to determine what that golden beam was, as it collided with him. In the instant that he lost consciousness, he seemed to have felt a huge change in the atmosphere like that of a world of the ancient times.
Tian Mu Wan sat inside her dormitory with her mind somewhat unhinged, she picked up her phone and put it back down, this was repeated a number of times, but now that Ning Xiao Cheng really disappeared from her sight, she felt she could not forget about the boy who was often covered in dust.
After repeating it several times, Tian Mu Wan sighed, after all, she decided to no longer contact Ning Xiao Cheng, and even intended to delete Ning Cheng’s number from her phone.
At this time, her phone rang.
Tian Mu Wan receives the call, and hears a crisp but careful voice, “Are you sister Mu Wan? I am Ning Cheng’s sister, I want to talk about my brother ……”
Ten minutes later, Tian Mu Wan arrived outside the coffee shop outside the school, she saw a somewhat anxious Ning Ruo Lan.
“Is it you?” Tian Mu Wan knew Ning Ruo Lan, was she not the girl who was together with Ning Xiao Chen last time?
Ning Ruo Lan had not seen Tian Mu Wan, but when Tian Mu Wan came in, she knew, that at present this woman definitely was Tian Mu Wan, only this kind of woman could match her brother.
“I am Ning Cheng’s younger sister, Ning Ruo Lan, my brother did not leave any message, did not even return to his dormitory, do you know where he is?” Ning Ruo Lan was not in the mood to talk with Tian Mu Wan, she opened her mouth and immediately inquiried about the whereabouts of her older brother.
Tian Mu Wan did not react to the meaning of Ning Ruo Lan’s words, she just subconsciously asks “Ning Cheng’s sister is at home farming, right? How can it be you ……”
Ning Ruo Lan frowned and said, “My brother and I were in Jiangzhou, I wanted to study here, how would I even have the time to go back to farming?”
Tian Mu Wan’s face changed, immediately having some clarity. She was quite intelligent, associating what Ji Yun said and did, she came to vaguely understand something.
“Not good…..” Tian Mu Wan immediately thought of Ning Xiao Cheng and she that night, an elevated bridge was hit by a fragment of a meteorite that night. It had nothing to do with her relationship with Ning Xiao Cheng, but at this moment her mind just flashed to a very lonely Ning Cheng standing near the bridge.
Looking at Tian Mu Wan, who ran out desperately, Ning Ruo Lan’s face changed, it was clear that something had happened to her brother.
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