Substituted Bride (7)
Under the moonlight, Ling Miaomiao raises her head, her face looks pale, and her apricot-shaped eyes stare at Mu Sheng pitifully.
There are two dark green circles underneath her eyes, which make people feel a little terrible at the first glance.
"I..." She hesitates and bites her lower lip, feeling too shy to speak out, "...insomnia."
"Insomnia?" Mu Sheng crosses his arms, doesn’t take notice of her irrelevant answer, but just smiles, "Oh, it looks like you didn’t sleep well." He walks a few steps, looks down at her face, and says with a seamlessly caring look, "Senorita Ling is incapable of insomnia, is there anything to worry about?"
Ling Miaomiao avoids his eyes, sullenly thinks that the black lotus has started getting someone to talk.
"It's a matter of concern." She nods weakly, answering his spontaneously.
"Something related to Childe Liu?" He glances at Liu Fuyi's window, with a spurious smile.
"Not really," Miaomiao squats down with a sigh, "I can't sleep, and hope to chat with someone." She looks up at Mu Sheng and lowers her voice, "I didn't expect you all have slept. Only the light in Childe Liu’s room is still on. I wanted to call him, but was afraid to disturb him. I was hesitating when you touched me."
Mu Sheng looks at her with a pair of watery eyes. No one knows what he is thinking about. Unfortunately, a bottomless vortex is behind the watery eyes.
For a moment, he reaches out his hands and put them on Miaomiao’s shoulders intimately. Ling Miaomiao shrinks subconsciously, but is still caught. He puts a little effort on his arm and gently turns her around, "What a coincidence, I haven't slept yet. I hope to chat with you, Senorita Ling. "
Mu Sheng makes Miaomiao turn around, forcibly brings her away from the protagonist's residence, and walks stiffly along the path paved by bluestones.
Miaomiao thinks to herself that maybe, the Black Lotus is worried that she intends to hurt Mu Yao, so he hastily takes her away to a remote place and then chops up a corpse and obliterate all traces.
"Eh-hem, Childe Mu, where are we going?"
At this time, there is a faint cicada sound, and occasionally a huge frog scream comes from the pond. The moonlights spread on the luxuriant grasses, like a layer of dim pearly luster on the ground. The fragrance of plum blossoms emitting from Mu Sheng’s sleeves keeps drilling into Miaomiao's nose.
Night wind has taken away the last hint of coolness of last spring. Mu Sheng's tone is careless, "A walk will help Senorita Ling fall asleep."
"Then you..." Miaomiao bends her head unceasingly, trying to bypass his shackles, "Do you have to walk with me like this?"
Mu Sheng loosens his hands. The hair tail is raised by the wind. He rubs his wrist a bit grievously, "I think Senorita Ling can pick chicken wing from my bowl, presumably is familiar with me to the point of not caring about these politeness."
Ling Miaomiao is temporarily speechless. Mu Sheng glances at her and says, "Or, Senorita Ling's intimacy is special to Childe Liu?"
"Then you might have misunderstood," Ling Miaomiao gets close to him and holds his arm, "actually, I didn't care about the mere courtesy at all, I don’t show my true features on weekdays, because I’m just afraid to scare you." She feels that Mu Sheng becomes uptight in an instant, and then laugh with her head up, "What’s up, is Childe Mu scared?"
"How could it be?" Mu Sheng immediately restrains the gloom in his eyes that is about to spread, letting her hold his arms obediently.
"It's so cold outside." Ling Miaomiao flinches in the night winds, daringly holds Mu Sheng, "Why not... Childe Mu go to my room?"
After saying that, she realizes that her heart is beating fast, as if she has stolen something.
Senorita Ling’s boudoir is large and luxurious, with soft Persia silk rug on the floor. The curtain hanging on the bed is layered merman yarns, as thin as cicada wings. The breeze blowing, the yarn tents are floating, like the thin clouds on the horizon.
Several floor-standing crane-shaped lamps are placed in the room, lighting up the house. Several low candlesticks are placed against the root of the wall, high and low, flickering and shining, illuminating the house like a day.
There is also an exquisite six-sided glazed lamp on the table, which is placed beside the chessboard, giving each black spot a warm glaze.
Mu Sheng's long eyelashes are slightly drooping, and the shadow falls on his pale face. He gazes at the chessboard for a long time, and his brows unconsciously slightly frown. His nails are trimmed neatly, and the pieces are unwittingly rubbing against his fingertips.
Ling Miaomiao rolls up her sleeves, thinking for only a few seconds, and then makes a decision fleetly.
Mu Sheng frowns instantly, “Senorita Ling..." He says a few words, the impatience between his eyebrows is forcibly suppressed by reason, and he exhales gently, and continues to drop the chess piece.
Lin Miaomiao raises her hand again, and finds Mu Sheng staring at her hands. She looks at his forbearing look and feels a little funny in her heart.
The moment she puts down the chess piece, Mu Sheng finally can't control his mean tone anymore, "Senorita Ling... can you really play chess?"
"Not quite." Miaomiao smiles apologetically.
Not quite? It's totally chaos! The anger in Mu Sheng's heart spreads like luxuriant grass, and he glances at the sand clock, it is already midnight.
She must have a sick brain, and doesn’t sleep at midnight, deliberately playing with people, he thinks, and he feels himself is also fool and even accompanies her to play chess.
"Don't be angry, Childe Mu," Miaomiao glances at the coldness in Mu Sheng's eyes and apologizes softly, "I can’t play well in traditional Go, but," she points to the chessboard, "please look carefully."
Mu Sheng glances at the chessboard angrily. There are the black chess pieces which he though carefully and cautiously, and the white chess pieces that Miaomiao put at random. Looking for a long time, he still fails to penetrate the mystery.
"Look..." Her hand follows a line of continuous white pieces on the chessboard, carefully reminds, "They are connected in a string."
"Well, I saw it." Mu Sheng forcibly suppresses his anger and looks at her with cold eyes, almost sneering.
Only fools will deliberately connect the pieces in a line.
"Let me explain to you. This is a folk fashion in Taicang County. It's as interesting as your playing method." Miaomiao looks at him with a smile, and says, "Whoever gets five pieces in a line first will win. It’s called Gobang."
Legend has it that "Nv Wa creates human being, Fu Xi makes chess". The gobang started before Go, and thrived in Yao and Shun eras. Ancient ancestors liked playing it, across the alleys and streets, everyone loved it. Although it is not as upscale as the Go, no one dares to question the meaning of Gobang in history. She is telling the truth, but Mu Sheng doesn’t know that, it only shows that he is ignorant.
Mu Sheng looks at her face, feels slightly fascinated.
He was such an embarrassing existence at Mu’s Family... In addition to providing food and clothing, almost no one took the initiative to take care of him. Most of his skills were taught by his sister. Mu Yao is the eldest daughter of the Mu’s family, an old and well-known demon-catching family. She bears a heavy responsibility. When she was young, she had to go out early and return late, because she must learn everything, and she did not live up to expectations too.
Mu Yao was very fond of playing chess, but unfortunately her father and mother were busy catching demons. She only had full theory, but after all, she lacked an opponent.
So she furtively taught Mu Sheng, then the sister and brother often consulted to improve chess skills.
He only knows one way to play Go, that is the kind what Mu Yao taught him.
"Why are you looking at me?" Miaomiao laughs, "Don't you believe me?"
Mu Sheng turns to stare at the chessboard, "It is the first time I hear of that."
Miaomiao messes up the chess pieces on the board and flicks them aside, "Don’t underestimate the gobang, it looks simple, but it’s actually a big learning." She pauses thoughtfully and asks, "Mu Sheng, are you good at chess?"
"..." The young man is silent for a rare time.
When he was at Mu's family, he was just dispensable, and everyone bullied him. However, what others didn't know was that no matter in any field, as long as he had the opportunity to learn, he would explore knowledge like a watered seedling, and he always tried his best to make himself more powerful and perfect.
It was the same for playing chess, not to mention, this was taught by his elder sister.
In the beginning, he always lost. Later, Mu Yao was no longer his opponent. However, he rarely won his sister. Most of the time, he deliberately lost.
Because Mu Yao didn’t like his strange tricks, she didn’t like him to try any means to win. Since his sister didn't like that, he wouldn't win. He would rather be innocent and dull. He always pretended to be daunted and begged Mu Yao, "My sister, I don't know how to play."
At that time, Mu Yao would show a helpless smile and patted his head: "No, you can do it."
"But I will lose, my sister has almost won."
Mu Yao straightened her face, "You shouldn’t stop for being afraid of losing. Come on, Sheng, drop the piece."
In fact, he would not only be able to win, he also knew how to make Mu Yao win the game without any trace.
However, Mu Yao has not played chess with him for a long time. Because Liu Fuyi is also a master therein, and he is the most appreciated by his sister for his stable and decent style of playing chess. They are paired up against each other.
Mu Sheng’s eyes deepen gradually.
Miaomiao sees the white jade-like face of the black lotus a few times, and feels a little regret for her words.
Looking at his look, she thinks that she must have done very badly. She can’t play Go and couldn't see the doorway, but the black lotus tried hard to play for a long time, being fooled by her...
Suddenly she feels a trace of guilt.
"...I just said that the gobang looks simple, but it's actually very difficult." She changes the subject against her heart and smoothly, "Childe Mu, even if you play well at Go, you might not be able to control this little gobang."
She divides the pieces, leaving the black ones for herself, and pushing the white ones to Mu Sheng, "Try a game?"
Mu Sheng looks at the box of white pieces in front, frowns and says, "You changed the color?"
"Yeah." Ling Miaomiao bends her eyes and lifts a bright white piece to show him, the lights reflecting in her eyes, making them become two small moons. She says happily, "This is a cloud piece. Its color is like tender teeth. It’s as white as Childe Mu, how beautiful it is."
Mu Sheng, "..."
It’s already the second half of the night, the deepest night, when everything is asleep.
The lamp in Ling Miaomiao's house is still on. Mu Sheng and Ling Miaomiao are sitting face to face.
"Mu Sheng, you lost!"
"Mu Sheng, you lost again!"
"I win again! You shall play carefully, don't keep me!"
Mu Sheng pauses, "...Come again."
When he is tired, he looks at the Miaomiao, who is sitting on the opposite side. The strand of hair that slips down is rudely put behind her ears. She leans forward, with her eyes fixing on the chessboard. For a while, like a cat that sees a mouse, her eyes become clear, and she arches her body and fluttered suddenly, catching her prey rapidly.
"Mu Sheng, really unfortunate, you lose again!" She is overjoyed and has a bit of sly gloating.
He glances down. Sure enough, in a mess of chess pieces that are about to fill the whole chess board, he finds a row of contiguous black pieces hiding among them.
Mu Sheng frowns and complains, "My eyes are almost dazzled."
"My eyes are also dazzled!" She is still immersed in joy, the smile on her face has not faded. She feels smug, and says with a sense of pride, "But how could I still find it?"
Mu Sheng feels speechless. He suddenly remembers that he has ever heard a sentence when he was on the tramp, about: if anyone wants to be a friend with a man, then drink with him; but if anyone wants to be a friend with a woman, then watch a drama with her. He now thinks that this sentence is not accurate. For some women, if you play a few games of chess with her, she will become very kind to you to the extent of calling your name instead of "Childe Mu".
The wee hours, Ling Miaomiao with heavy dark circles, is still full of energy and enthusiasm. This kind of madness-like excitement is obviously infecting Mu Sheng, and his only few traces of sleep fall away.
"Ling Yu." Mu Sheng also starts calling her name.
"Don't call me Ling Yu." Miaomiao collapses her face, "Not nice."
Ling Yu might sound like something out of a novel, no chop.
Mu Sheng completely abandons his polite mask and raises his eyelids, "But the calling 'Senorita Ling' is also awkward-sounding."
"Well, you can call me nickname, Miaomiao."
"..." He pauses but doesn't call out. Under the headache of staying up late, he unconsciously and ghostly responds a sentence, "I also have a style name, called Ziqi."