The Moon Will Always Come to You - Chapter 6
Chapter 6: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
The second day’s itinerary was Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. This mountain was 5596 metres above sea level. It was the southernmost snow mountain in the Northern Hemisphere, world-renowned for its danger, wonder, and beauty.
On the way to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the tour guide warned them about how terrible the altitude sickness on the mountain could get, his expression grave. He also cited a case, telling them that a few years ago, a tourist collapsed on the spot due to a lack of oxygen. This tourist hadn’t bought an oxygen bottle. Fortunately, he was sent to the hospital just in time to save his life.
Ruan Zhizhi clearly knew the tour guide’s speech had some embellishments, but she had an incredibly poor constitution. While the others only purchased one oxygen bottle, she pondered it over and over in her heart before ultimately telling the boss she wanted two bottles.
Chen Jiayan heard this at the side. He immediately came over to stop her, taking the opportunity to whisper in her ear when the boss wasn’t paying attention. “Zhizhi, let me tell you, these businesses and tour guides are all collaborating. When you buy an oxygen bottle or rent a down jacket and so on, the tour guide takes a percentage. It’s just a way to make tourists spend money in vain.”
Ruan Zhizhi was startled, feeling that Chen Jiayan was a little too passionate. Although she was aware that he was just caring for her, he was encouraging her to go straight to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain without buying anything. When she thought about it carefully, she felt that when the time came, she would certainly be carried down on a stretcher by medical personnel.
The boss held two oxygen bottles in his hands. He didn’t know whether to give them or not, so without any better option, he turned his head and verified with Ruan Zhizhi one more time: “Little sister, do you still want it? Otherwise getting one bottle is also alright.”
Ruan Zhizhi turned her head. She opened her mouth but couldn’t speak. Suddenly, she heard a deep and low voice resounding in the air. It was neither light nor heavy, but awfully calm.
Chen Jiayan was stunned for a moment. He was unable to comprehend what was happening as he stared at Shi Yan, who had just walked in from outside the shop. “Ah Yan, why are you letting Zhizhi buy these useless things?”
“It looks like her health isn’t very good.”
Shi Yan indifferently cast a glance at Ruan Zhizhi. After flinging these brief words, he simply turned around and left. In a manner of doing his own thing and ignoring others, he walked towards the vending machine. It was as if the person that had just spoken had nothing to do with them in the slightest.
The remaining Ruan Zhizhi and Chen Jiayan looked at each other in dismay.
Chen Jiayan: “…Your health isn’t good?”
Ruan Zhizhi: “…A little.”
How had Shi Yan obtained such a clairvoyant pair of eyes that he could even see this?
Ruan Zhizhi silently cursed for a few seconds. She couldn’t help but turn around and look over. As soon as she raised her head, she saw Shi Yan going out the door with a bottle of newly purchased mineral water. He was walking very slowly through the tide of people.
Around him, people came and went in a flowing stream. He was dressed in a white down-filled jacket, his hair was dark and neat, and when he stood lazily amongst the scattered crowd, no one could compare.
The scenery of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain was charming and gentle. It caused one to feel suffocated by its beauty, but now, it served as a background for this person.
Ruan Zhizhi watched his gradually retreating figure. For a moment, she was in a daze.
To get to the mountaintop, aside from going on foot, one could also choose to ride the cable car. After Ruan Zhizhi experienced a fierce ideological battle, she nevertheless felt that it was more meaningful to reach the top in person.
Because her constitution was too weak, Ruan Zhizhi hadn’t participated in physical education courses since the start of junior high school, let alone experiencing a two-hour hike up the mountains.
After walking for nearly an hour, she was already gasping for breath. Up ahead, the tour guide leading the way was full of enthusiasm the entire time, holding a loudspeaker while explaining the scenic spots along the ascent. Everyone walked very fast, causing Ruan Zhizhi to bear grievances.
It felt like her legs were filled with hard lead, it was difficult to take even one more step. Ruan Zhizhi stopped and looked up to see that the rest of the group was still full of exuberance and energy. They didn’t seem to be exhausted at all. She sighed, about to resign herself to continue walking, when she suddenly heard the familiar voice of that person.
“Guide, let’s rest then go, I’m tired.”
The person who spoke was Shi Yan.
Ruan Zhizhi’s line of sight followed everyone else’s to glance at him. The other party remained expressionless. His head was currently lowered as he played on his cell phone. Just now, he hadn’t even gasped for air when he spoke, but he could actually say the words “I’m tired” without embarrassment.
The tour guide heard this and felt that he’d indeed been walking a little too fast. Apprehensive about the middle-aged professors in the group, he informed everyone that they would rest where they were for a moment. He encouraged them to take pictures, go to the washroom, and rest.
Ruan Zhizhi breathed a sigh of relief. She quickly found an empty bench and sat down. While massaging her aching calves, she complained about Gu Nian in her heart for the one-hundred-and-first time. If she had known earlier, she wouldn’t have come.
After resting for a while, she felt a bit of her strength had restored. She took out one of the oxygen bottles from her bag and inhaled a few breaths. Thinking for a while, she also took out her makeup mirror, carefully examining her reflection. Once she confirmed that her present image wasn’t too embarrassing, she put the mirror away at ease.
Ruan Zhizhi and the others were now at a high altitude of nearly 3000 metres. Aside from the wintry weather of the twelfth lunar month, the air at the top of the mountain was thin, and the temperature was very low. Ruan Zhizhi sat on the bench and reached out to bundle the padded coat she had rented around her. Even so, she still shivered from the cold.
At this moment, she suddenly heard footsteps from afar drawing near, getting closer and closer, before finally stopping in front of her eyes.
Ruan Zhizhi lifted her head suspiciously. In the next second, she was a little astonished to find that the person standing ahead of her was Shi Yan.
He was still only wearing that slightly flimsy white down jacket. He stood facing her quietly. Ruan Zhizhi struggled to raise her head high enough to look into his eyes.
Shi Yan didn’t speak and she didn’t speak either, so the two of them were inexplicably silent for a while. Suddenly, he slowly bent down, took off the thick knitted scarf around his neck, and stretched out his hand. Before Ruan Zhizhi could react, he had wrapped it around her neck.
“Is that better?” he asked in a natural tone, as if it was a matter of course.
It was a matter of course to know that she was currently feeling unwell. It was a matter of course to give her his scarf when the weather was like a world of ice and snow.
Ruan Zhizhi extended her hand and unconsciously stroked the thick scarf around her neck. It still carried the temperature of the other person’s body on it. In her heart, she felt that it was not very good to accept it. She pursed her lips and was about to open her mouth to refuse, but was interrupted by that person’s movements.
Shi Yan crouched in front of her. Like this, he was only half a head below her. He reached into the pocket of his down jacket and took out his blue cigarette lighter, lighting it in front of her with a “kacha”.
Ruan Zhizhi wrinkled her brows a little skeptically. She wanted to ask him what he was doing, but was caught off guard when their gazes collided.
Shi Yan’s eyes were ink-black, like a deep, limitless sea in which one could not see the bottom. They were clearly cold and apathetic, and yet there seemed to be some kind of obscure emotion ensnared in his pupils, surging violently towards her and forcing her to feel helpless.
“Put your hands over it to warm up. But don’t get too close, be careful not to get burnt.”
When he spoke, his tone of voice was still as hoarse and provocative as before, yet his manner of speaking carried a rare tenderness.
As if enticed by the other party’s sudden gentle voice, Ruan Zhizhi instantly forgot all about the rejection lines she had prepared in her mind. She stretched out her hands and obediently placed them over the bright flame of the lighter.
Indeed, it was much warmer.
After she finished thanking him, she suddenly realized that from the moment she had met Shi Yan up until now, she always seemed to be expressing her thanks.
This kind of feeling was not very good.
Shi Yan nodded and didn’t say anything more. He left the lighter ignited, keeping her warm in silence.
A while later, Ruan Zhizhi felt that her body temperature was gradually warming up from her limbs to her bones, so she hurriedly told Shi Yan to get up. He had been crouching down and maintaining the same position for quite some time. Now, he must have been very tired.
Shi Yan raised his eyes to confirm that the colour in her face had returned. Only then did he nod and stand up, his hands habitually reaching into his jacket pockets. Ruan Zhizhi saw these motions and opened her mouth to kindly remind him, “Smoking is prohibited in the scenic areas.”
The other party paused his actions when he heard her words, then nodded and said, “Thank you for reminding me.”
“It’s what I should do.”
His polite smile was considered to be a response. Ruan Zhizhi tightened the scarf around her neck, thinking about how she’d finally gotten him to say thank you to her. Otherwise, it would look like she was always the one unilaterally troubling him.
Although…from the beginning, she really had been unilaterally troubling him.
The state of today’s weather was quite good. There was moderate wind, the sun was beautiful, and the sky was cloudless for miles. It was very wise of them to visit Jade Dragon Snow Mountain today, because only in cloudless weather could one clearly appreciate the scenery at the top of the snow-capped mountain.
Shi Yan put his hands in the pockets of his down jacket and stood quietly at the side. His eyes seemed to drift without a resting place, gazing insipidly at the distant scenery of the summit. There were no emotions or undulations in his dark, abstruse eyes.
Ruan Zhizhi looked at him and suddenly felt as if he would fade away in the next second.
One moment, he was still gently warming her up, and in the next moment, he became as detached as a stranger.
This man, why was he always so hard for people to make sense of?
Just when the atmosphere between the two became a little awkward, the warm-up king, Chen Jiayan, walked towards them aptly.
“Zhizhi, are you alright? Are you feeling unwell?” he asked, his eyes full of concern.
With a warm heart, Ruan Zhizhi curved her lips and revealed a smile: “I’m fine, the oxygen bottles that they were selling at the bottom of the mountain are very useful. I just took a few breaths and I’m a lot better now.”
Chen Jiayan stared fixedly at her, verifying that she seemed to be in good health. Only then did he proceed: “I didn’t expect that Ah Yan’s inauspicious remark would actually hit the nail on the head. Fortunately you listened to him back then. If you listened to me and didn’t buy an oxygen bottle…right now, I certainly would be the one to blame.”
Listening to the other party’s solemn tone, Ruan Zhizhi couldn’t help laughing with a “pfft”. She was amused by him. “How can you say that so seriously? Since childhood, my health hasn’t been very good. It’s a chronic issue, it’s fine.”
Maybe it was because she rarely showed such a defenseless smile. Chen Jiayan looked at her and momentarily stared in awe. After a long time, he came back to his senses, lowering his voice to ask: “Zhizhi, let me ask you a more personal question…do you have a boyfriend?”
As soon as he said these words, Ruan Zhizhi, who was unscrewing the lid of a bottle of water, instantly froze. She didn’t know if it was her delusion, but she felt that Shi Yan, who was still standing to the side with the cool eyes of a bystander, seemed to shoot a glance her way.
Her movements only faltered for a second. Ruan Zhizhi raised her head and took a sip of water, replying calmly, “No, I’m used to being alone.”
Chen Jiayan’s eyes lit up the moment she gave a negative answer. He opened his mouth, about to speak, but in the blink of an eye he seemed to consider something. The topic under discussion seemed to change, but he continued to question her closely: “Is that the truth or a lie? You’re so beautiful and your character is good. It makes no sense that you’re still single right now.”
Ruan Zhizhi tightened the bottle cap and put the water back in her bag, answering indifferently: “What’s the point in telling lies, if you know any suitable partners, you can introduce them to me. My mother has been urging me to date for two or three years.”
She had said these words as a mere joke, purely to liven up the current rigid atmosphere. She didn’t expect Chen Jiayan to promptly become interested, and without the slightest hesitation he offered himself: “What do you think of me? Twenty-eight years old with a car and house, moreover I’m unconditionally considerate and patient with girls, very wholehearted.”
Startled by the other party’s sudden confession statement, Ruan Zhizhi looked up at his expression. He was still smiling mischievously like usual, but there was somewhat of a serious expression in his eyes.
Li Sichen had also always talked to her with this kind of mischievous smile. Today he’d say, “Zhizhi, having you by my side is really good”, then tomorrow he’d say, “Zhizhi, I can’t live without you”. But in the blink of an eye, he would leave hand-in-hand with various types of girls at his side, forgetting about her completely.
Just as Gu Nian said, she had been by Li Sichen’s side for four whole years. In truth, she was not even as good as a spare tire. How could she be so hell-bent on being his spare tire, running over when he called, and leaving when he prompted?
Chen Jiayan noticed the myriad of changing expressions on Ruan Zhizhi’s face that instantly turned cold. As if realizing something, the emotion in his eyes dimmed. He opened his mouth and quickly shifted the subject considerately: “Haha, I’m just having fun with you.”
He shot a glance at Shi Yan, who was standing to the side calmly watching the scenery. Without hesitation, Chen Jiayan pulled him out to save the situation. “Actually, Ah Yan is also pretty good. I see that he treats you much better than Yan Rui and those other girls. I’ve never seen him treat a girl with so much care. To be honest, I suspect that his behaviour at the bar yesterday was from a ghost in his body.”
Outside her down jacket, Ruan Zhizhi was wrapped in a padded overcoat. She placed both her hands inside the pockets of her own jacket for warmth. When she heard Chen Jiayan mention what had occurred at the bar yesterday evening, for some reason, her fingertips unconsciously trembled. She happened to come across the paper rose in her jacket pocket that she hadn’t had the time to take out yet. Suddenly, she was a little flustered.
She pursed her lips and blurted out without a second thought: “Alright, don’t make a mismatched pairing. I already have someone I like in my heart.”
With one line, the whole atmosphere successfully cooled down.
After Ruan Zhizhi finished speaking, she deliberately lowered her head and fiddled with her fingernails. She didn’t know why, but for a moment, she actually didn’t dare to look Shi Yan in the eyes.
It was really strange. They obviously weren’t familiar with each other. Except for just now on the mountain, when he had warmed her hands, she didn’t owe him anything.
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