It was a kiss tasting of rust.
As soon as Qi Yan’s lips pressed to his, Xia Xun bit him severely. He used a lot of force, but Qi Yan kept kissing him, as if unaware of the pain.
Xia Xun twisted his head, but there was the table behind him and nowhere to hide.
Qi Yan’s warm breath was intertwined with his. He held so hard that Xia Xun’s arms must have been bruised.
But Qi Yan’s kiss was as gentle as it used to be in the past and the fragrance on his body was still familiar to Xia Xun.
The special smell of this expensive spice lingered in his memory for many years. Whenever Xia Xun recalled Qi Yan, the first thing he remembered was this smell.
It appeared in Xia Xun’s every happy or painful dream, and these dreams were all related to Qi Yan.
Even though Xia Xun refused to admit it, he knew in his heart that after he had met Qi Yan, all his sorrows and joys were connected to him.
Xia Xun hated the reality he had to recognize, and he also hated himself who was so deeply immersed in it.
This man had never liked him, not for a week, not even for a day.
He struggled desperately, pushed off all the things on the table, hearing them fall to the ground one after another with shattering noise.
There was no movement outside the house, not even the sound of footsteps.
After the kiss, Qi Yan retreated slightly, and Xia Xun gasped violently, staring at him furiously.
Out of breath, without any care of his image, he cursed desperately:
“Let go! You can do whatever you want with whoever you want! Don’t come to me! Let me go!!! ”
Qi Yan didn’t seem to hear; raising his hand, he removed the hairpin from Xia Xun’s head.
He asked, “He Cong gave you this hairpin? Did he comb your hair for you too?”
His eyes were crazy, burning with the prairie fire of jealousy.
When he thought about Xia Xun liking someone else, his heart felt so sour that you could have wrung juice out of it, and his tongue was soaked in bitterness.
He barely heard what Xia Xun was saying.
The only thing he wanted was Xia Xun to see him alone, look at him alone, with no one else being there.
Xia Xun’s hair was completely loose, spreading on the table.
Qi Yan kissed him again.
In a daze, Xia Xun groped randomly on the table and, in a panic, he actually grasped something.
—A tea cone.
Before Xia Xun used the potion to drug Zhi Gui, he asked her to make tea for him. Zhi Gui took the tea set and put it on the table, including the tea cone used to cut the tea.
After Xia Xun disappeared, the mansion was in a mess and no one came to collect the tea set, so it was still placed there.
Most of the things on the table were pushed to the ground by Xia Xun, but this tea cone was still left.
The tea cone was similar in shape to a small knife, also having a blade used to separate the tea leaves from the tea block, even though it was relatively blunt.
Xia Xun didn’t care; he held the tea cone in his hand, swiping it at Qi Yan violently.
A blood mark appeared on Qi Yan’s face in an instant.
He was hurt, but still refused to let Xia Xun go. Letting go of Xia Xun’s lips, he turned his head to lick his neck.
The blood vessels on Xia Xun’s neck throbbed under the touch of his lips and teeth.
His hand went up along Xia Xun’s waist and stroked his back.
Xia Xun couldn’t bear it anymore.
He used all his strength to push Qi Yan away.
Before Qi Yan could grab him again, he raised the tea cone and slashed it heavily against his own neck.
The blade of the tea cone pierced his skin, making a long cut, blood flowing in a wide stream.
“Xia Xun—!! ”
Qi Yan’s eyes were wide open as he lunged forward.
Xia Xun pressed the tea cone to his chest and said hoarsely:
“Don’t come any closer!!!”
As soon as he spoke, more blood flowed out of his wound.
“Put it down! Beware of your injuries!” Qi Yan begged anxiously.
Xia Xun held the tea cone, refusing to let go, as if holding his only lifeline.
“I don’t need your fake concern! I just want you to stay away from me! Don’t come near me again!”
Qi Yan was so worried that he managed to restrain his temper and tried to coax him softly:
“Okay, okay, I’ll step back, put it down first!”
He retreated step by step.
Xia Xun breathed a sigh of relief, slowly put down the tea cone, propped his hand on the table and was going to stand up.
At the moment when he relaxed a little, Qi Yan suddenly stepped forward.
Xia Xun panicked, trying to avoid him, and rolled sideways. The table was only that big; he rolled down, unable to maintain his balance, and was about to fall to the ground.
Waiting for him on the floor were broken porcelain pieces.
If he fell on them, all the sharp porcelain pieces would plunge into his back.
Xia Xun had no time to react; the only thing he could do was to turn his head and look at the porcelain.
His back had been injured before; the pain of broken porcelain cutting his skin must have been much lighter than the pain he had endured at that time.
How painful could it be? Nothing more than adding a few more scars.
Xia Xun thought so and closed his eyes.
The expected pain did not come. He did not fall in the end.
—Qi Yan hugged him.
He put his hand on the back of Xia Xun’s head, turned him around in the air, positioning himself under him, and fell on the porcelain instead of Xia Xun.
It must have hurt badly; as strong as Qi Yan was, he couldn’t help but let out a low “oh”.
Xia Xun was not spared from trauma either, his forehead slamming into the chest of drawers on the side.
His head was buzzing, his ears full of a sharp tinnitus sound, and he couldn’t move for a long time.
He felt dizzy, his vision turning black; he was so nauseous that he wanted to retch. Lying on the ground, he didn’t move, his mind in a mess.
Qi Yan didn’t help him up; he lay on the broken porcelain pieces on the floor, holding Xia Xun tightly in his arms.
He buried his head against Xia Xun’s collarbone, gradually tightening his arms.
“Don’t look for anyone else…” His words were mixed with too many indescribable emotions: “Don’t… like anyone else…”
Xia Xun couldn’t even hear what he was saying at first, he could only feel an intense pain that was conveyed from Qi Yan’s words and smashed into him.
It took him a long time to hear Qi Yan’s words clearly.
He closed his eyes and made no sound.
His silence was unexpected to Qi Yan. He sat up slowly, picked up Xia Xun and held him in his arms.
He found his handkerchief and pressed it to the wound on Xia Xun’s neck. With his other hand, he still held Xia Xun firmly.
The pain in his head made Xia Xun so weak that he couldn’t stand up. He was half conscious, sitting on Qi Yan’s lap, pressed against his chest.
Qi Yan pressed his cheek against his forehead and patted Xia Xun’s back, saying softly:
“…Xia Xun, have you forgotten? Today is your birthday…”
Xia Xun opened his eyes with difficulty and looked out the window.
There was a faint light on the horizon; a new day had come.
Qi Yan murmured:
“Xia Xun… you are twenty-four years old.”
The blood of the two was flowing, mixing together.
Amidst the blood they shed together, Xia Xun suddenly saw something.
—It was a small wooden waterwheel, only the size of a palm.
It was placed in the chest of drawers before, but its door was knocked open by Xia Xun’s head, and the waterwheel fell out.
It was scaled down from a real waterwheel and completely imitated it. Its sprocket could be rotated. There was also a small bird carved on the top of the waterwheel.
It was the first birthday gift Xia Xun received in his life.
No one knew Xia Xun’s exact date of birth, and Xia Hongxi didn’t even remember what month he was born in.
He just had an extremely vague impression, so he casually chose a day as Xia Xun’s birthday.
That day, no one paid attention to it either.
Since Xia Xun could remember, no one had celebrated his birthday.
Xia Hongxi would celebrate the birthdays of his eldest brother, second brother and even her sister who had married out of the mansion. The children, in turn, would also celebrate their parents’ birthdays.
Whether it was a birthday banquet or a gift, Xia Xun didn’t have his share.
Shaobo once wanted to celebrate Xia Xun’s birthday. As his maidservant, she had much less money than the maidservants in other courtyards.
Those people could gather enough money to buy gifts for their masters, but Shaobo couldn’t.
She could only do it herself.
She knew that Xia Xun liked to eat acacia leaf cold cake, prepared the ingredients in advance and on Xia Xun’s birthday day ran to the kitchen and wanted to use the stove.
The kitchen maids often did things that harmed others without benefiting themselves.
Seeing that Shaobo was a maid from Xia Xun’s courtyard, they didn’t take her seriously at all. Not only did they refuse to let her use the stove, they also tried to beat her up.
Shaobo was so angry that she got into a fight with them, and the ingredients prepared for making dim sum were knocked over.
It was Xia Xun’s eldest brother’s wife who passed by by chance and noticed the commotion.
She ordered those women to let Shaobo use the kitchen and let her use the ingredients in the kitchen at will.
After some tossing and turning, Shaobo barely managed to make the snack. In the end, the acacia leaf cold cake was not made, only an ordinary cake was steamed out.
She returned to Xia Xun’s room with the cake and told him what had happened.
Xia Xun asked while eating pastries:
“Do I need to thank my sister-in-law in person?”
Later, he thought that his eldest brother Xia Wen had always disliked seeing him and he likely didn’t want him to disturb his wife.
After all, the eldest sister-in-law was in poor health and could not give birth. In order to cure the disease, she had to drink frighteningly bitter decoctions like water every day.
She once thought about separating with Xia Wen, but Xia Wen loved her very much, said he didn’t agree to separate and didn’t want a concubine.
He just said that when Xia Xing had children, they would adopt one of them.
His eldest sister-in-law was also always kind to Xia Xun, much better than his own sister who had never paid attention to him.
Xia Xun didn’t want to disturb her, so he gave up.
A year later, it was Xia Xun’s birthday again.
At that time, he had only known Qi Yan for a few months, having a great time talking with him, going over the wall to find him every day.
Xia Xun thought that with Qi Yan being so good-looking, with his manners so graceful and noble, how could he live in such a shabby place?
He often took things from his house to Qi Yan; he himself had nothing good, but it was always much better than what Qi Yan had at home.
Qi Yan even drank tea from a broken cup that could cut his tongue if he was not careful.
The wooden waterwheel was placed on the shelf of his house at the time.
On his sixteenth birthday, Xia Xun took it home as a gift.
On the day Xia Xun went to jail, he took nothing with him and the wooden waterwheel should have stayed in his room.
He thought it had already decayed; he didn’t expect it to be stored in Qi Yan’s house in a good order, without even a trace of dust on it.
Qi Yan endured the pain, reached out and grabbed it, and put it into Xia Xun’s hand.
“If I had known it was your birthday earlier that day, I would have prepared something better for you……”
His words were like a despondent sigh.