Xiling pointed at the empty cans in the bin. "These are all imported, high-class canned food—you can even taste it. It's definitely not cheap at all. This Mr. Yan must be wealthy and he's tall and manly. Although he might look cold, he's actually not bad. Do you really not have any feelings for him at all?"
"Xiling, can you please have more of a backbone?" Jiang Duoyao straightened up and chided, "Just because he saved us once, sent us back, and gave us some canned food and pig trotters, I must feel something for him?"
Xiling lay back lazily beside her. "That's not the case—I have suitors too. When I came here, they reminded me to take care of myself, said their hearts would ache if I were to fall ill, blah blah blah. All the nice things they said could be compiled into a collection of Qiong Yao's (1. Renowned romance fiction author) works, but look at how long I've been here already. Every time I go down the mountain, I complain and grumble about being hungry, uncomfortable, sick, having no rice to eat and all, but aside from saying some pleasantries, who cares about me? They say 'I'll treat you to a sumptuous meal when you come back', but why would I care about their invitation once I get back? I'm not penniless. To put things plainly, they just don't want to come over because it's too far, too tough and a waste of time, but if this Mr. Yan really came all the way for you, you should feel touched. Think about it—after being here for so long, did Kang Anhe say anything about coming over to visit you?"
Jiang Duoyao was stunned.
Kang Anhe was the son of Kan Jin, the boss of her company. He came back from overseas last year and the two of them met at a company gala. Not long after, he started to pursue her actively, giving her jewelry, diamonds and fresh flowers.
However, she was too busy then and didn't have time for a relationship. She was a little moved by him then, especially after seeing Changqing get married, and she was also considering getting into a relationship when her career went downhill.
Before she went to Tibet, Kang Anhe tried to persuade her against going. He told her to go out with him and to marry him and she wouldn't have to worry about anything in the future. However, Jiang Duoyao didn't like the things he said so she came here.
After coming over, he did send her messages and called her. He told her to cover herself up with a blanket, wear more clothes and drink more warm water.
Sometimes, when Jiang Duoyao saw those messages, she would think: Won't I know to cover myself up with a blanket and wear more clothes when I'm cold? Do I need you to remind me? That's simply useless talk. She was slow and lazy to reply to him since the reception was bad.
Now that Xiling said that, she suddenly felt fortunate that she didn't go out with him then.
Sweet talk was a poison that fanned your desires in times of comfort, but when life became tough, it was just nonsense.
She napped for a while and at 3 pm, Jiang Duoyao got up to get ready for the students' art class.
The supply of paper and pens the children usually had was pathetically low. The paper they used to draw were yellowed. It was the first time Jiang Duoyao realized that the paper she had in her washroom at home was way better than these drawing papers.
She taught the children how to draw the sun and flowers.
Yan Molun leaned by the doorway of the classroom for several minutes. His silhouette attracted the children's attention and the moment he left, the tallest in the class, Xiren, raised his hand and asked, "Teacher Jiang, is he your boyfriend?"
"What boyfriend? You better not spout nonsense." Jiang Duoyao corrected him, embarrassed. "He's just a friend."
"Oh, but he's so cool," Xiren said admiringly.
Jiang Duoyao was speechless. How old is he to already know what's cool?
When night fell and the weather started turning cold all of a sudden, Xiling sat in front of burning fire. She was too lazy to even cook or touch the cold water.
When Yan Molun came over and saw the two of them shuddering by the fire, he was a little speechless. "You're not done yet?"
"We'll do it later; it's too cold," Xiling said as she breathed out cold air. Ever since Jiang Duoyao got injured, the huge responsibility of cooking had suddenly fallen on her. In the past, the two of them were able to help each other out.
Yan Molun glanced at the two of them. He filled a pot with clean water and put some noodles in.
He looked very adept and was fast. In no time at all, he was done with three bowls of stewed noodles.
Jiang Duoyao was in awe. "You're really impressive."
Yan Molun didn't speak. When she came over to sit and Xiling had gone to get some chopsticks, he suddenly said hoarsely by her ear, "I'm not just impressive at this; I'm even more impressive at other things."
Even more impressive…
Jiang Duoyao's face heated up all of a sudden. She thought of something she shouldn't have and her eyes also glanced at his pants subconsciously.
"Where are you looking?" Yan Molun captured her gaze and he raised his brows wickedly.
Jiang Duoyao's brain buzzed. Gosh, what was I thinking just now?
She quickly lowered her head to eat her noodles.
When Xiling returned, she looked at the two of them suspiciously and suddenly said with a smile, "Mr. Yan, you were very cold last night, right? The principal suggested arranging for you to move to another villager's house since there would be a heatable brick bed and it wouldn't be that cold."
"It's not cold. I'm fine sleeping here," Yan Molun said lightly. "I've even slept in places 10 times colder than here."
Xiling was stunned. Jiang Duoyao turned her head and gazed at the resolute face of this man under the dim light. She couldn't help but feel a little admiration. Besides, he was dressed so thinly on such a night when the temperature would reach the negatives…
What a man.
After dinner, they were all bored with nothing to do, so Xiling suggested playing cards.
Yan Molun played with them by the fire until past nine before going back to his room.
The next day, after Jiang Duoyao was done with classes, Yan Molun came over to help her with her IV drip. After yesterday's experience, Jiang Duoyao was no longer that frightened. Besides, she was mainly afraid that he would mention that embarrassing matter again so she was very obedient and didn't even move.
After he pricked the needle accurately this time, Jiang Duoyao realized his skills were even better than the doctor in town. "Did you study medicine before? Your skills are pretty good."
"No," he said lightly.
"No way." Jiang Duoyao was in disbelief.
He lifted his head to look at her before saying, "I used to do it on myself in the past often and slowly, I came to know how to do it. I also learned some basics. After all, people like us are often out and sometimes get injured. If we don't know how to treat ourselves and there are no doctors around, we can only wait for death."
Jiang Duoyao was stunned. She looked at his cold profile. It was the first time she felt a surge of a strange feeling in her heart. "I heard from Changqing that you used to be a mercenary. Are you really one? Did you kill a lot of people?"
Yan Molun fell silent for a while and nodded.
Jiang Duoyao shuddered. She didn't think that the man sitting beside her could've killed countless people.
"Are you afraid of me?" He turned his head back and the corners of his mouth curled into a light smile. The scar on his face was exuding a sense of danger.
For some reason, Jiang Duoyao shrank a little inside.
"You're so timid?" Yan Molun stared at her for a while before smiling slowly. "Don't worry, those are things of the past. Besides, I'm not a killing maniac. I did that because I had no choice."
He pulled out a box of cigarettes and waved it at her. "Don't mind if I smoke?"
Jiang Duoyao shook her head. However, he still walked out some distance with his cigarette and sat by the fire as he smoked slowly. His body was huge and he hadn't shaved his stubble for a few days so when he smoked, he exuded a sense of masculinity.
Jiang Duoyao couldn't help but steal a few glances at him. She hesitated for a while before starting once again, "You said you've slept in places 10 times colder than here?"
"Mm. When I was in Russia in the past, I had to stay in water colder than -10°C for three days because of a mission." Yan Molun puffed out the smoke and said in a low voice, "The orders we got from above were to not alert the enemy, so we could only eat and sleep in the water. Even excluding that time, when people like us are carrying out our missions, the desert, swamp, snow, and sea are like everyday life to us."
Jiang Duoyao gazed at him with incredibility, as though he was a freak. However, she had to admit that she admired him a little. Such bitter circumstances weren't something a normal person could handle. "Why did you want to do such things? Aren't there a lot of other jobs to do?"
"Shouldn't there be people doing every job in this world? Besides, in a world that you don't understand, people like us are needed. After we kill someone, their disappearance would allow others to live better lives. What's so bad about that?"
Yan Molun smiled knowingly. "Just view it like this… I wanted to earn a lump sum of money through this method that I wouldn't be able to finish spending over the course of a few lifetimes. Just like you actors."
Jiang Duoyao lowered her head, revealing her greasy hair.
Yan Molun frowned and asked, "How long have you not washed your hair?"
Jiang Duoyao's fear from before turned into awkwardness. "Around… around a week. Actually, I want to wash it too, but it's really inconvenient to get to a water source from here and we're already saving as much as we can to eat and drink. We have to get our water from behind the mountain. Usually, the villagers kindly help us with it but it's not easy for them either. It takes half an hour each way, the road isn't easy to walk on and there's also ice and hail at night."
"Doesn't that mean you haven't showered for eight to nine days already?" Yan Molun nodded with understanding. "No wonder you smell so bad."
"Hey, that's enough." Jiang Duoyao was so embarrassed she felt like she could go crazy. Was there anything more embarrassing than being called smelly by a man? "It's not like I'm not showering on purpose. I usually shower once a day at home."
Yan Molun thought for a while and said, "Tell me where the place is. I'll bring you guys some water in the afternoon."
"Really?" Jiang Duoyao didn't dare to believe that he would be so kind.
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