Li Zhiqing looked at the man for a long time, and slowly recovered. His first reaction was that the action of two people sitting and kneeling now seemed a bit wrong. He blinked and thought again. It was even more wrong that he was half kneeling and holding his face.
The man’s look was cold and his eyes were burning, Li Zhiqing gradually became bashful at his expression, then he raised his chin and tilted his head back, while raising his hands to block the man’s hands, he cleared his throat: “…… thank you.”
The other just helped him, so his gratitude was very sincere.
The man placed his hands down, he looked at his uncomfortable expression, and his eyebrows wrinkled: “You aren’t comfortable.” The man said and stretched out two fingers, gestured at Li Zhiqing’s forehead.
The man’s hand’s coolness still remained on his face, although there were no charming thoughts in his heart, he still felt embarrassed after being touched so intimately by the other.
The man responded by stopping his fingertips and slowly withdrawing his hand with an unchanged expression, he didn’t look at his expression and he remained quiet.
“I’m sorry.” Li Zhiqing also felt that he had reacted too much, he lowered his eyes and apologized to him, “I was a little shocked, I haven’t calmed down yet.”
The man pursed the corners of his mouth, and a very inconspicuous smile appeared under his eyes: “Hmm.”
He suddenly thought of something, his smile withdrew, and he whispered: “Sorry.”
This “sorry” came unexpectedly and inexplicably, Li Zhiqing was stunned for a moment, why did he suddenly apologize for no reason?
“I’m sorry.” The man thought he didn’t hear him and repeated it again.
Li Zhiqing was confused, he reached out and pointed at himself, and tilted his head slightly in confusion.
The man nodded his head.
“You helped me,” seeing that he was about to open his mouth to do it again, Li Zhiqing hurriedly preempted him, “Why are you still apologizing to me?”
The man lowered his head in silence for a moment and didn’t dare to look at him when he answered, “I came out with you.”
Li Zhiqing froze again: “You followed me all the way?”
“I didn’t,” the man raised his eyes, as if in defense, “I came over when something happened to you here.”
The other party’s face was clearly expressionless, but Li Zhiqing could vaguely see a few hints of eagerness, he felt like he should perhaps pat his head to soothe him, his fingertips curled up before he could lift his hand up: “Well, thank you for coming over.”
He thought about it and still didn’t understand what it had to do with apologizing, the man probably didn’t understand the normal sociable conversation of humans in this situation, so he tried to explain to him, “I just apologized to you because I was a little rude to you. You helped me, there is absolutely no need to say sorry.”
He watched the man look straight at him like a schoolboy and proceeded to give him a few more clarifications.
The man was still very unaccustomed to verbal expressions and couldn’t speak in a clear and continuous manner like Li Zhiqing. The corners of his mouth moved, but he couldn’t keep up with the speed of his speech and could only listen attentively.
Li Zhiqing’s mouth was a little dry, he said so much yet the other didn’t understand?
“You made me stay inside the door.” If not for the flickering of his eyes, the man would simply look like a coquettish statue at this moment.
His understanding was that since Li Zhiqing had locked him inside in the morning, he was expected not to come out without permission, so throughout the day, the man resisted the urge to come out and find him, and stood peacefully in the bookstore without wandering off.
But in the evening, when the situation changed, he stood behind the door until he couldn’t stand it any longer and then he came here.
Li Zhiqing suddenly choked, he looked at the pair of black eyes for a while helplessly and then felt amused: “I just closed the store door, not locked it, you still couldn’t get out from inside?”
“No.” There was progress, this time he could nod and shake his head to answer.
Li Zhiqing was slightly pleased with his progress, “I didn’t say you had to stay in the store, you were acting like you were going to stick to me all the time, I just didn’t want you to keep following me when you got outside.”
The man was stunned for a moment and understood: “Okay.”
The coldness on the surface of his body had almost dissipated, and his body was no longer stiff, he propped up his knees and tried to stand up, but his calves were weak along with his ankles, and his head had a stifling feeling of fever.
The man hesitantly stretched out his hand, wanting to point to his forehead, but afraid that Li Zhiqing would avoid him again: “Don’t move.”
The the strong and weak were different, Li Zhiqing was naturally affected by what happened.
He didn’t hide this time, the man’s fingertips slightly touched him, leaving a trace of an indefinable feeling, but it was only a momentary thing, the pain faded after his body obviously improved a lot.
Li Zhiqing smiled: “Thank you.”
The man followed him and stood up: “I’ll take you back.”
“My friend is still waiting outside, I have to go find him first.” Now it was almost dark, Li Zhiqing looked at the remaining section of the street, with not only fear but also a little regret, but but he couldn’t make the man stay with him.
However, the other also had no intention to leave him alone here, the man heard him and turned to the left, with his back to Li Zhiqing, his two hands stretched back as he looked at him, he obviously wanted to carry him.
Li Zhiqing couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be carried by a big man, so he took a step backward: “No, no, no, I’m fine, I can walk by myself.”
The man didn’t compromise this time, he just stared straight at him, his feet didn’t move.
Li Zhiqing stared at him for a long time, then helplessly said: “…… I’m afraid of losing my life.”
He didn’t have the guts to lie on his back.
“No.” The man seemed to laugh.
Li Zhiqing and he reached a stalemate, he looked around, then finally took hold of the man’s neck, he felt weird using a future dragon as a mount.
When he was afraid before, he clutched the copper coin too tightly, and the paper bag was soaked with sweat, and the edge was a little cracked. The man was just about to lift him up completely, but Li Zhiqing’s fingers didn’t tighten, and the copper coin fell out along the gap, aiming at the green flag, which was about to fall down.
The man was quick to catch it for him and found the gap in the coin: “It’s broken.”
Li Zhiqing took the coin back and sighed out of his nose: “Well, but it’s been with me for many years, so I can’t throw it away.”
The man looked at the coin, which was no longer intact, and then looked at a bare braided rope on his wrist, and flipped his right hand and handed out a black round piece.
Li Zhiqing didn’t see exactly what it was, he only blinked for a moment to find that the round piece had replaced the copper coin hanging on the lower end of the braided rope, although it was about the same size as the copper coin and roughly the same thickness, but it was much lighter in weight.
“…… for me?” Li Zhiqing pinched the round piece and carefully examined it.
It should have been deliberately polished into a round shape, with very delicate edges and closely connected fine lines of texture attached to the inside, it was a dark color, hard but pliable to the touch overall, with an obscure and moist surface luster, even the finest jade that had been nourished for years could hardly reach this texture.
“This is ……?” He asked in confusion as he squeezed it hard again.
“Scales,” the man replied frankly as he picked him up on his back, “mine.”
Li Zhiqing was stunned: “Scales?! Yours?!”
He was wearing those slippery-looking scales on his hand?
The man gave a “hmm” and said while walking forward, “It’s better than that.”
No matter whether it was before or now, those so-called jade that could keep peace were no different from children’s toys in his eyes. If Li Zhiqing had to wear something, his scales were better than those jingling things.
Of course, there were also more suitable options than scales.
“You don’t have to wear it,” he said, lowering his voice. He was a little embarrassed to boast. He deleted the word “I’m the best” in his throat. “I’m here.”
Li Zhiqing didn’t notice the man’s embarrassment, he stared at the piece of scales that was ground into a round shape, although he knew that such things should be quite rare, his heart still couldn’t help but shiver.
He didn’t look at it, he folded his wrists over the man’s chest, and softly whispered “thank you”.
The young man opened his mouth with an exhale just like a cub’s tender paws timidly poking out of its shell, it twisted and rubbed against the man’s ear, straight into his heart.
He lowered his eyes, resisted the urge to look back, and just walked slowly forward.
“Can I ask you a few questions?” Li Zhiqing realized that his perception of the man had been following Tang Shun Shi’s thoughts, he hadn’t really confirmed his intention.
The man responded, “Hmm.”
“Taoists say, ‘Anyone with nine orifices can cultivate immortality,'” the fever symptoms after being hit gradually showed up, and Li Zhiqing felt his eyes burning, he guessed that he had a low fever, “You also belong to this category? ”
The man knew that Li Zhiqing wanted to ask him if his heart was towards the immortal path, but he was strictly different from those loose immortals, only after a moment did he answer, “Yes.”
He wasn’t the same as those immortals, and a careful answer wasn’t something that could be expressed clearly in a few words, but since the person who thought he was the same as the young immortals was Li Zhiqing, he simply went along with what he could simply understand, not minding at all that his identity was downgraded.
“You came to see me, not for your own cultivat…… cultivation?” Li Zhiqing almost said to cultivate immortality.
The man didn’t understand: “Cultivation?”
“That is …… you cultivate to a certain level, you need to cross the tribulation, and sometimes you may need …… the help of humans?” Li Zhiqing rubbed his feverish eyes.
The man understood: “I don’t need to take anything to cross over.”
“You didn’t come to me for this?”
“No.” The man seemed to laugh softly.
“You don’t need me to do anything, or to give you anything.”
The dizziness became more and more obvious, and Li Zhiqing’s eyelids began to fight to close: “You don’t need anything, so why do you insist on staying?”
The other repeated the morning’s answer, “You’re here.”
“What’s the difference between you being like this and not saying anything.” Li Zhiqing muttered in a small voice.
The man was silent for a long time before saying, “I want to protect you.”
He looked down, as he spoke, he sounded calm: “The heavenly dao protects you with selfishness and doesn’t need a reason.”
Li Zhiqing was shocked by the words “Heavenly Dao”, and then remembered the fate that he had since he was young, and squeezed his fingertips: “It must be me?”
The man’s body smelled fresh and good, it made him feel comfortable.
Not only the smell, there seemed to be something hard to describe that also slowly seeped into him.
The intense satisfaction that rose up was like playing with a shifting-ribbed Rubik’s cube for twenty years, turning it around day after day, and suddenly spelling out a unified and complete colour, with all the gaps being filled with full files.
His spirit and body gradually relaxed in this inexplicable state of comfort, his head hung lower and lower, and finally against the solid shoulder beneath him, not waiting for the man to answer, his eyes unconsciously closed.
The man’s gait was smooth, as if once he was on his back, even lifting his feet made him cautious.
He replied, “It’s you.”
Unfortunately, the person on his back didn’t hear.