The Moon Will Always Come to You - Chapter 7
Chapter 7: Cats
Today’s itinerary plans were relatively relaxed. The main attraction was Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, but with the time spent on the bus, it would be seven o’clock in the evening by the time they got back to the inn after the mountain tour.
As always, Chen Jiayan cordially invited Ruan Zhizhi to have dinner with them, but for Ruan Zhizhi, who had just experienced a whole day of high-intensity physical activity, she had already reached her limit by the time they returned to the inn.
She reached out to support her forehead, resisting the dizziness and discomfort she was feeling. Ruan Zhizhi politely turned him down, then followed the group of grey-haired professors up the creaking wooden stairs in the inn.
It wasn’t until after she returned to the guest room that Ruan Zhizhi’s nerves finally relaxed. She sat on the bed and stared blankly out the window for a while before slowly getting up and taking a hot bath.
Splashes of water splattered everywhere, mist pervaded the air, and the small room was instantly steaming. It was incredibly warm.
She finished bathing and came out, earnestly put on her pajamas, and blow-dried her hair before walking out of the bathroom. She casually took a fruit candy from her backpack to replenish her strength. When she peeled the candy wrapper open, she found that this one was also tangerine-flavoured, just like the one Shi Yan had handed her the other day.
Strange…why did she remember these small details so clearly.
To be honest, the location of the inn was utterly superior. It was in the centre of Lijiang Old Town.
After tidying everything up, Ruan Zhizhi stood by the window, overcome with boredom as she watched the night scenery outside the window.
She didn’t know why, but deep within her heart, a sudden sense of loneliness that came from being far from home surged forth.
Ruan Zhizhi’s parents had had an emotional disagreement when she was very young, and this hateful marriage lasted until she was in high school before it finally fractured. From then on, she had been living with her mother her whole life. In her impression, her mother had always been a successful career woman busy with work all day long. Aside from economic aspects, she essentially was too busy to take Ruan Zhizhi into consideration.
Due to her relatively introverted disposition, Ruan Zhizhi had never felt the warmth of a family since she was a child. She didn’t even have many close friends at her side until she went abroad and met Li Sichen. He took the initiative to approach her, introduced her to his friends, and in a foreign land, he provided her with her first warmth and accompaniment.
Therefore, over the past three years, no matter how unendurable it was, she always held on to these pathetic and humble memories that she could not forget.
Ruan Zhizhi leaned against the window, thinking about the past in a daze.
In the depth of night, a burst of wind carrying coldness blew in through the half-open window. She couldn’t help shivering.
Tomorrow they were leaving Lijiang to go to Shangri-La. How about…going out for a stroll tonight?
After an intense ideological struggle, Ruan Zhizhi finally surrendered to the restless factor in her body. She didn’t feel like changing her clothes again, so she wore her pure cotton pajamas with her down-filled jacket casually over it. Even her long hair was loose. Just the way she was, she went out the door.
The streets of Lijiang were constructed according to the features of the mountains and arranged with the flow of currents. There was a strong sense of history and refined realism. The ground was completely spread with five-flowered stones, simple and elegant, glistening brilliantly.
With her hands in the pockets of her down jacket, Ruan Zhizhi followed the stream of people in the bustling ancient city at a leisurely pace. After experiencing a busy day, her mood was especially relaxed at this moment.
Presently, she was strolling through Sifang Street. It was the central public square in Lijiang. More people addressed it as the heart of the ancient city. A wide expanse of the inner street maintained its distinguishing features of Ming and Qing Dynasty buildings: Tile-roofed houses and buildings sitting row upon row, exquisite and distinct.
There were side streets of all sizes on Sifang Street that were teeming with noise and excitement. Especially at night, when the colourful neon signs lit up. The lights dazzled and blurred, making the tourists look like a sea of lanterns.
Everywhere she looked, there were large and small shops selling handmade items with Yunnan characteristics. Ruan Zhizhi strolled around for a while and decided to bring back a small gift for Gu Nian. After all, her trip to Yunnan was because of the slot she had picked up from the other person for free.
After spending a long time carefully selecting, she eventually chose a delicate, powder-blue lotus leaf shawl.
Unfortunately, when Ruan Zhizhi took the shawl to the shopkeeper to pay for it, the most embarrassing situation occurred. Perhaps because she had just gone out on a whim, she’d simply forgotten to bring her wallet.
“Little sister, your vision is very good. This shawl is the very last one. The original price is 120, but right now, I will sell it to you for 100 kuai.” The shopkeeper was a young woman in her early thirties. Her manner of speaking was very enthusiastic, and her slender eyes were full of smiles.
But let alone one hundred kuai right now, Ruan Zhizhi couldn’t even take out one kuai.
What to do…this was so embarrassing…
This was the first time she had encountered such a situation. Just when she was at a loss with no way to advance or retreat, that moving voice that sounded somewhat unreal appeared once again, just in time to rescue her. It was simply like a hallucination.
“Boss, 100 exactly.”
Subconsciously, she turned her head to follow the sound of the voice. In her line of sight were the distinct joints of Shi Yan’s hand, a 100-yuan note pressed between his fair fingertips as he handed it to the shopkeeper.
The shopkeeper smiled and accepted the money, then with agile motions, she began to wrap the shawl into a gift box.
“Ahem, I’m really very sorry, when I get back to the inn later I’ll return the money to you.” Ruan Zhizhi lowered her head and blushed as she spoke, not daring to lift her eyes to look at him.
Shi Yan didn’t respond, simply giving her a noncommittal glance.
Ruan Zhizhi couldn’t help blushing with shame, deeply feeling that she had lost too much face. And yet…how come every time she came across a situation, she always happened to meet Shi Yan?
These coincidences didn’t make her feel happy at all. It was because this man was really too dangerous, even for someone as cool-headed and collected as Ruan Zhizhi. She was afraid that if she wasn’t careful, she would fall into his deep, dark eyes.
After buying some things, the two naturally walked side by side in the ten-mile sea of people.
They were walking alongside each other and yet no one spoke. The mood was indescribably awkward.
After a long time, it was actually Shi Yan who took the initiative to break the silence: “You didn’t eat anything tonight?”
“En…not yet.” Ruan Zhizhi shook her head honestly.
Shi Yan’s footsteps halted. Without seeking her opinion, he walked directly to a nearby stall on the side. She didn’t know what snacks he was buying.
Was it to give to her?
When he passed the piping hot food to Ruan Zhizhi, she was indeed a little stunned.
“Thank you, but there’s no need. Later, I’ll go back to the inn to get my wallet. I can come out again to buy something.” It was really impossible to accept the help of a stranger all the time with a clear conscience. Even under the temptation of delicious food before her eyes, Ruan Zhizhi still had her moral backbone and shook her head to decline.
Shi Yan frowned, “You’re not hungry?”
After swallowing her saliva, Ruan Zhizhi forced herself to ignore the fragrant food in front of her. Bowing her head in shame, she said, “I’m not hungry.”
Shi Yan lowered his eyes and gazed at her. There was a hint of toughness in his voice. “Eat, it’s already very late now.”
The implication was that by the time she returned to the inn to get her wallet, these stallkeepers would probably already have closed their stalls and gone home.
There was smoke for ten miles, and the lights were waning. Shi Yan stood against the stream of people and quietly watched her. This pair of charcoal eyes always had a sense of desolation and exhaustion, as if drifting away from this mortal life. At this moment, his eyes actually seemed to be tainted by the aura of fireworks.
It seemed that he could see everything as clearly as a blazing fire, yet he showed tolerance for it all.
The two stood at a deadlock for some time. In the end, Ruan Zhizhi raised her white flag, surrendering to his deep eyes.
“Okay…then, thank you.”
After taking the food from the other party, Ruan Zhizhi opened the package. It turned out to be a Yunnan specialty snack, Lijiang glutinous rice cake.
The glutinous rice was warm and soft, as if it had a warming heart.
Ruan Zhizhi ate while she walked, secretly thinking that when she arrived at the inn, she had to return the money to him immediately. Her memory was very poor; if she forgot it even for a moment, maybe the other person would think that she was deliberately delaying her payment. That would not be very good.
Thinking and thinking, she had a flash of inspiration. A simpler and easier option had appeared in her mind.
She swallowed a mouthful of glutinous rice cake and said somewhat indistinctly, “Shi Yan…how about we add each other as friends on WeChat, I’ll directly send you the money through a red packet. Ah…I can give it to you now, so that I don’t forget later.”
Once she finished speaking, she watched him attentively without blinking. Unexpectedly, she felt slightly nervous in her heart.
Shi Yan didn’t hesitate at all, immediately handing her his phone.
She opened the WeChat interface, clicked the “add a friend” icon, input her WeChat ID, then added herself and was done.
After Ruan Zhizhi finished, she didn’t dare to glance at Shi Yan’s chat history. She promptly returned the cell phone to him. Thinking about how the other party had helped her so much in the past few days, she reflected for a while. For the first time in her life, she took the initiative to speak to the stranger: “In the future, if you have any matters, tell me. So long as I can help, I will certainly oblige.”
She originally thought that Shi Yan would nod, finding it dispensable, or even completely disregard her. Outside of her expectations, he turned his head to look down at her. The curvature of the corners of his lips seemed to rise: “Really? I won’t be polite with you.”
“…Haha, no need to be polite, if you have anything just say it.” Ruan Zhizhi was stubborn to death. Immediately in her heart, she began to regret that she had said so much just now. The man’s expression didn’t seem very good.
The two chatted idly for a while. Very soon, they finally reached the rock garden at the side of the inn’s entrance.
“Meow.” There was a long cat’s meow that carried a hint of coquettishness. Before Ruan Zhizhi could react, she saw the snow-white cat running out from behind the rock garden, pouncing straight into Shi Yan’s arms.
Animals were truly more enthusiastic at taking the initiative than humans. Ruan Zhizhi bet that that girl in their group, Yan Rui, would definitely not dare to be as brazen and direct as this cat.
Shi Yan pursed his lips, gently moving the cat into his embrace. He stroked its fur for a while. Ruan Zhizhi watched from the side and even felt that this scene of one person and one cat was awfully beautiful.
“Do you really like animals?”
“Only cats, that’s all.”
Ruan Zhizhi was somewhat doubtful and asked, “Why?”
Shi Yan rubbed the cat’s head, let her go, and got up nimbly: “Cats are incredibly demanding of their partner yet keep to themselves, so they’re always very lonely.”
The next second, without thinking at all, Ruan Zhizhi blurted out: “Just like you?”
Shi Yan suddenly smiled faintly. Due to the disparity in height, he habitually lowered his eyes to look at her. There was a faint starlight flowing in his eyes, and his voice was light and fluttering, as if it was about to be shattered in the wind.
He said: “What I meant was, like you.”
Ruan Zhizhi suffered from insomnia. It was because of Shi Yan’s words.
She lay in bed and tossed and turned again and again. Her thoughts were so vast, yet she still couldn’t figure out the meaning behind those words.
As if the demons and gods were at work, she picked up her cell phone. Ruan Zhizhi felt that this person Shi Yan was truly too difficult to make sense of, so she intended to look at his WeChat Moments.
However, much to her disappointment, this mysterious man had posted very little from beginning to end. Most of the content was related to his profession, which was very tedious and uninteresting.
The only thing that caught her interest was a post he had uploaded three years ago. It was also the first post on his WeChat Moments.
It was a cover of a song called “False Truth”.1
Recalling the things that happened at the bar yesterday night, Ruan Zhizhi felt that Shi Yan’s singing was very pleasant to hear. It would be a waste not to listen, so with a little curiosity, she pressed the play button.
“I don’t want to destroy the false truth and single-mindedly forget my identity. One day if you still haven’t married, I can’t be reconciled.”
This was a sad Cantonese song. The man’s voice was low and somewhat hoarse, but the Cantonese pronunciation was unexpectedly accurate.
“Even if you get married tomorrow, I won’t be reconciled.”
For some unknown reason, when she listened, the outer corners of Ruan Zhizhi’s eyes were a little wet.
Was Shi Yan also hopelessly longing for a distant person? Just like she longed for Li Sichen.
She rubbed her somewhat sour eyes, and word by word, replied to his post: It’s very nice to listen to, goodnight.
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