The Emperor's Runaway Lover - Chapter 47
Fu Yucheng said solemnly, “Is the reason you killed him… just because of his identity? Just because he was the son of Mo’s family…?”
Mei Nianxue’s ugly face twitched, almost as if he was smiling. “When I first met him, I didn’t know who he was.”
He loosened his hold and threw Mo Ziran down at his feet.
“At that time, all the residents of the settlement had already left, except for me. They saw me as no different than a stinky rat, so, of course, they wouldn’t take me with them. When those people left, they took all the food with them. Over the next few months, I had to search around in the trash bins of many ships, looking for a few leftovers to fill my stomach. Fortunately, the temperature on the ice fields was low enough for them not to spoil.
“But even garbage runs out, after all. That day, I hadn’t eaten for a long time, and just by chance I had found a dead skinny mouse in a trash can at the bottom of a freighter… And since I hit the jackpot, I took half its head off with a single bite.”
Several people present couldn’t help but gag.
“I was about to enjoy this rare delicacy slowly, but, suddenly, I heard human voices and noticed a looming light approaching. I nervously squeezed the dead mouse in my hand, listening to the footsteps getting closer, and then, someone opened the lid of the trash can—
“At that time, it had been a long time since I had seen any light. I squinted, and it took me a while before I could finally see the hand that had lifted the lid. It was a well bred, delicate white hand, and every nail was neatly trimmed, completely clean with no dirt underneath.
“I looked up, past the hand. Its owner saw my face and he was shocked, but he didn’t scream. ‘It’s a kid, maybe he got left behind during the evacuation,’ I heard him say to someone nearby.
“Then he hesitated for a while before he tried to take away the mouse I held in my hand.
“Naturally, I didn’t let him. I still wanted to bite in as well, but didn’t do it. I heard people from his group whispering to him. He shook his head and extended his hand to me again, saying, ‘Don’t be afraid, come with me. It’s alright, I will take care of you.’
“Those were the first words he said to me.”
“I was holding a rusty pair of broken scissors in my hand and stared at him, tense… I was thinking that, since he had come so close to me and seemed unprepared, I could probably kill him to get more food.”
After Mei Nianxue said this, he paused.
Across the huge desert, it was so quiet that it would’ve been possible to hear a needle drop. The only sound came from Mo Ziran grinding his teeth.
Fu Yucheng asked, “Did you attack him by surprise?”
Mei Nianxue slowly revealed a strange smile. “No. Deep down I did want to kill him, but in reality I just stared at him blankly, without moving. He waited for a while, but in the end he couldn’t wait any longer and he simply picked me up and took me out of the trash can.
“Back then, I was only sixteen years old, and a little shorter than him, so he was looking down at me. His looks weren’t outstanding, he could have been called pretty at best, but his eyebrows were neat and gentle. When I looked into his eyes and I saw my reflection, I suddenly felt ashamed and had to lower my head.
“I didn’t dare look up again, so I could only see my bare dirty feet covered with abscesses. I heard him sigh. Then, a hand was gently placed on my cheek and I felt a burst of warmth.
“After a long time, he removed his hand. I looked up in suspicion, but he touched my face lightly, and suddenly smiled. ‘Oh, aren’t you pretty,’ he said. I looked up at him, thinking he was laughing at me, and bloodthirst sprang up inside my heart once more. He blinked, uncertain, and then he suddenly took my hand and asked me to touch my face. My rough face was suddenly as smooth as a boiled egg.”
Fu Yucheng frowned. “You mean that Mo Ziwei reversed time and healed your face? But, now you…”
He looked at the other, not knowing what to say. The man’s face was monstrous. The upper half was bare bloodied flesh, and only his white chin and beautiful lips were left intact.
The corner of Mei Nianxue’s mouth twitched slightly. “As for why my face became like this again… That’s a story for later.”
“What happened afterwards? For how long did you get along?” Fu Yucheng asked.
Mei Nianxue muttered, “One year, two months and seven days.
“They brought a lot of food and clothing with them and while living in the aircraft carrier, they were trying to find the whereabouts of the previous inhabitants who left and attempted to repair the nuclear power plant. But Mo Ziwei was just a Class B manipulator. He could control time, but in a very limited period and space. The nuclear power plant was simply too big… He attempted it many times, but couldn’t manage to repair it.
“At that time, I already knew who he was. The weird thing was that I didn’t plan to kill him, nor tell him my true identity. He always thought that I was just an ordinary orphan, and he pitied me very much.
“In that year or so, he taught me a lot of things. He helped me develop my psionic abilities, praised my good looks, and even said that my name was beautiful… He even asked me to call him ‘brother.'”1
Mo Ziran suddenly spoke up in a dull voice, “You’re just saying nonsense! He’s not your brother! You… what are you?! You are not worthy of being his brother! He has only one brother, and it’s me!”
Mei Nianxue didn’t reply to him, just glanced coldly in his direction. The monstrous hatred in those eyes was like a bottomless abyss in hell.
Seeing Mo Ziran antagonizing him imprudently, Fu Yucheng couldn’t help but feel anxious, and hurriedly interjected. “Since Mo Ziwei treated you so well, why did you…?”
Mei Nianxue slowly raised his eyes and looked at the pale silver horizon in the distance. “I grew up in a trash dump… I wore dirty clothes thrown away by others, and ate other people’s leftovers. There was never anything that truly belonged to me. I was only worthy of using what others didn’t want.
“One day, my psionic power improved. Mo Ziwei was very happy. He mysteriously took out something, and told me it was a gift he specially prepared for me. It turned out to be a little tiger carved from poplar wood, just the size of a fist, with a small brass bell tied around its neck.
“It was the only thing in my life that belonged to me alone. It was a gift created just for me. Can you imagine… how that feels?”
Fu Yucheng stared at him, suddenly at a loss of words.
“Maybe it was at that moment that I decided I no longer cared about his identity, or that he took Fort Hurricane. I no longer cared about anything like that. I would follow him back to the Twilight Belt, I would become his most capable subordinate, I would do my best to help him fulfill his dreams and build a new civilization on Earth.”
His voice was quiet and deep, and it sounded very gentle.
If it weren’t for the lonely head lying on the desert earth, pretty much everyone would believe that his words were all sincere.
Fu Yucheng closed his eyes and said, “But, you still killed him in the end.”
Mei Nianxue stared at the head, his gaze surprisingly soft. “Yes, I killed him.”
“Why?” Fu Yucheng asked, in a heavy tone.
Mei Nianxue did not answer.
After a long time, he said slowly, “A moment ago, I said that the gift was the only thing in my life that truly belonged to me. Unfortunately, I had been mistaken in that regard.
“One day, in the bathroom, I overheard a few people speaking. They said… the little master’s birthday was coming soon, and that young master Ziwei was in a hurry to get back to the Twilight Belt in order to make it there.2 They also said that the little master liked wood carved toys ever since he was a child. In order to prepare his birthday gift, the young master had carved one sculpture after another. However, he was never satisfied with them, and he ended up throwing them all away.”
Mo Ziran lay down on the ground, shaking violently. “Brother… my brother… Why…”
Mei Nianxue ignored him and continued. “My mind was blank at that point. I stood in the bathroom for a long time before I gradually realized what that meant. That gift that I cherished, the only one I had ever received in my life, had just been a small toy he scrapped when preparing something for his brother’s birthday. He just gave it to me with no thought behind it.”
Fu Yucheng remained silent for a long time before saying, “Even if that was the case, he had given you so much already. You shouldn’t have been too demanding.”
Mei Nianxue sneered. “You don’t get it. I grew up searching for food in the trash, and I didn’t care about getting leftovers. But he gave me something, saying that it was a gift specially prepared for me, then slapped me in the face.
“Do you understand? The things I don’t care about don’t matter, but when it’s something I care about… if it’s not unique, if it’s not one of a kind, I would rather destroy it than just get what someone else left behind.”
“So you killed him, just like that?” Fu Yucheng asked softly.
Mei Nianxue shook his head. “I was so upset that I couldn’t sleep for several nights. I tossed and turned every night, mulling over it over and over again, and I wanted to kill him, but I couldn’t bear to do it. I desperately tried to convince myself to give him another chance.
“One night, he drank a lot of alcohol and got wasted. I tentatively asked him, ‘If your brother and I were in danger at the same time and you could only save one, who would you choose?’
“He stayed quiet for a long time before stupidly saying that he would have to save us both.
“When I heard him say this, I was a bit happy, a little bit angry, a little bit disappointed, and a little bit proud… I couldn’t decide. I thought about it all night, and finally, I decided to forgive him. The day before, I had thought that ‘if it’s not unique, I would rather not have it’; but the next day, I went in secretly and picked up the broken tiger from the trash can. I felt ashamed… but I couldn’t resist.
“But the day before they had planned to return, something happened.
“One of his subordinates activated the aircraft carrier’s miniature weather radar, in order to predict the weather for the next few days. That subordinate accidentally found traces of tampering with the records. Two years prior, the second day after the previous residents evacuated, there was an intense blizzard, but the tampered radar records showed a prediction of uncommonly good weather for that week.”
Fu Yucheng felt that his throat was getting dry. “You were the one who did it? Back then, when the residents wanted to leave, they would definitely have made preparations in advance. And since you tampered with the radar weather forecast… They thought they would have good weather for the next few days, only to encounter a big blizzard after setting off.”
Mei Nianxue smiled. “They deserved it.”
He lapsed into a brief silence before continuing. “In all fairness, Mo Ziwei was a kind man, but he was indecisive, not very capable and a bit foolish. But he also had two smart subordinates, one of which suspected me. He even looked up the surveillance video from the radar room of that year, which showed that I was the one who tampered with the radar records.
“I couldn’t fight the accusation, but I didn’t see any problem with it either. Those people had been asking for it. I just did what I had to.
“But, Mo Ziwei actually wanted to kill me.
“He had given me a scrapped wooden toy, and I didn’t blame him for it… I almost gave up my dignity for him… even feeling ashamed of myself.
“But he still wanted to kill me.
“He once said, ‘I would have to save both my brother and you’… I felt embarrassingly happy upon hearing that sentence. But in the end, he had been lying to me after all. Not only would he not save me, but he would even attempt to kill me himself.”
The corner of Mei Nianxue’s mouth twitched. “Unfortunately, I had secretly copied his abilities. He was just a class B manipulator. He wasn’t able to put up a fight against me. Even his Spectral Hook, his weapon, wouldn’t listen to his commands. He was desperate, but he couldn’t do anything to me.
“You should be able to figure out the rest,” Mei Nianxue finished in a light tone.
Fu Yucheng murmured, “You started killing, full of rage, and then buried all fourteen corpses under the ice… You spent two entire years eating from these corpses. One day, seven years ago, maybe when you ran out of bodies to eat, you suddenly came up with the idea of pretending to be Mo Ziwei and returning to Fort Hurricane.”
He paused, and then continued. “Mo Ziwei had healed your face. But in order to fool everyone, you disfigured yourself again, put on your ghost mask, and lied, saying that you left Fort Hurricane, participated in the Ninth District’s rebellion at the Dyson Cloud, and were disfigured by the royal family. Everyone thought you were the leader of the rebel army… the green ghost.”
“Rumors about the green ghost and things like that are just speculations of my subordinates, I never said anything like that.” Mei Nianxue smiled. “And indeed, I ruined my face myself, but it wasn’t for a boring reason like that.
“That day, after hesitating for a long time, I finally buried his head in the ice. I remember that day clearly. A bit of snow was coming down, and no stars were visible. The snow particles were as white and fine as salt, falling down from the night sky, covering the ice layer after layer. I sat on the ice for several days, not feeling hunger or cold. The only thing I was aware of was the ice, that I wiped clear of snow with my sleeve whenever it got covered.
“I looked at him under the ice, and he stared at me blankly, just like when we first met. This time, I could see my reflection in his eyes as well, but it was different from the first time we met. Now, my appearance was beautiful.
“I suddenly remembered that he had also given me my beautiful face. Since the man was dead, I didn’t want to owe him anything, so I boiled a pot of hot oil in the kitchen and carefully poured it over my own face… and that was all.”
Mei Nianxue touched his hideous and terrifying face, and his beautifully-shaped lips arched into a shallow smile. “We had finally settled our debts, and no one owed anything anymore.”
Not me starting to feel bad about Mei Nianxue I’m-
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- 哥哥 gege as in older brother, but also a common form of address towards guys within the same generation but older than the speaker that denotes closeness.
- The raws distinguish between the small young master (Ziran) and the big young master (Ziwei), but the phrasing is very awkward so I’ve kept young master for Ziwei and switched to little master for Ziran. It’s less formal, but it seems like a casual enough conversation.