When Ye Cheng announces that he's planning to leave the village to expand his horizons the next day many villagers were saddened but they were not surprised.
Many young men liked to go out of their small village if they had the chance and head to the city for better job opportunities. Those that are literate and intelligent will try to become a scholar and sit through the imperial examinations while those with poorer conditions will leave in hopes of getting an apprenticeship and learn a trade such as pottery or smithing.
It was just Ye Cheng and a few other men from poor farmer families who stayed behind. However for those farmers it was because they had little choice but to stay and take over the farm but for Ye Cheng he was very happy in his comfortably small pond. As a merchant he can travel a little but he never ran off too far so he still was familiar with many people and places and could go home any time.
It was quite a free and unfettered life in his opinion ah.
So of course he did have some concerns and anxieties with his plan. However, when he looks at Tang Muxin, this girl born with a silver spoon in her mouth who had tossed it all away and now is determined to make a drastic change in her life, he felt his own worries were much smaller.
Tang Muxin on the other hand felt both moved and guilty at Ye Cheng's decision. Even though he had assured her that it wasn't entirely based on her actions and that he was always interested in becoming a proper wandering merchant, how could she not comprehend that if it wasn't for her selfish reasons and her complete lack of general knowledge, he wouldn't have gotten so concerned over her situation that it incited him to make this decision in the first place?
She has to change her way of life because if she doesn't she'll be sent off to the palace full of crouching tigers and hidden dragons. Given her minimal knowledge and limited strength it was pretty much sending her to her death, that's why Tang Muxin so easily gave up the wealth of the Tang family. But Ye Cheng was fundamentally different in that he is happy with his current life and has no large benefits to changing his lifestyle. Especially changing it so abruptly without ample preparation time.
His financial situation will no longer be stable, he would have to essentially live on the road, and he won't be able to take in as many strays as he pleases anymore.
So even though Ye Cheng seems confident and showed little regret, Tang Muxin still felt flustered. This is the first time someone was being so considerate and kind to her for no underlying motives whatsoever. There was no reason to go so far for her, especially given his previous enmity. Never had Tang Muxin met someone so genuinely sincere and softhearted.
'I must pay him back somehow,' she vows as she quietly helps Ye Cheng pack up his belongings while he went out to buy any produce or wares to sell on the road.
'How?' Jia Hyson, who was being a nice flat salted fish on top of a napping Da Gong asks. 'With your body? Because, and I can't believe I'm saying this, that's probably not a good idea given the whole 'the previous owner of my body stripped naked and screamed rape' thing that happened.'
Tang Muxin: '…'
'You are so annoying, did you know that?' She complains telepathically. Given how much the rooster, Da Gong, loathes her very existence right now she didn't dare to speak aloud as much as she badly wishes to. She was going to be sharing a cart with that rooster for most of the journey after all, and Tang Muxin was not confident she could come out unscathed.
'But~' Jin Bao rolled onto his tummy so his big golden eyes blinked adorably at Tang Muxin, 'I'm cute, so it's okay.'( ◡‿◡ ♡)
'…Is that so?'
'Yes.' Jin Bao nodded adamantly and shamelessly.
Tang Muxin was speechless. She wished that the system that initiated the soul binding contract had come with a character profile before she accepted ah.
Even though Jin Bao is undeniably intelligent and very helpful with his ideas and manipulations, the personality was really a bit…. just a bit…
The small dragon squints at her suspiciously. Unlike herself, Jin Bao seems to be more proficient in hiding his thoughts so she had trouble hearing anything that her fellow transmigrator didn't want to leak out. On the other hand, Jin Bao had no trouble hearing her own clumsily masked thoughts.
'What's wrong with my personality ah?' Jin Bao demands, 'Aiyah, I'll have you know I was one of the most popular men in China! I was known as the Beauty of the Books, rated as the top male god three years running on Duzhe*!'
*Duzhe: Famous Chinese Magazine
Bebe: '(￢_￢;) None of that is even remotely true.'
Jia Hyson: 'Shut up! It's called establishing my character! Establishing! Character!'
Bebe: 'And your character is the most popular man in China?'눈_눈
Jia Hyson: 'I said one of the most popular ah. I may not have been top ten-'
Bebe: 'Pft… Bebe wouldn't even say top hundred.'╮(╯∀╰)╭
Jia Hyson: '…' The fact I'm rated on the list is still impressive okay? QAQ
Unfortunately no matter how handsome he is, how rich he is, or how popular his writings are, one can't beat film emperors and sport stars in popularity ah. Damn those fucking extroverts and athletic people.
He at least got to taste a bit of that nationwide and even global popularity as Prince Farrell but it wasn't the same ah. Because as Prince Farrell he was more or less acting as an extroverted person in public in an athletic body which only proves his point further.
Fucking extroverted athletic people. (┛ಠДಠ)┛彡┻━┻
Tang Muxin unlike Bebe, was a little convinced by his egotistical lies. After all, his voice was very handsome, it wasn't hard to imagine an equally handsome appearance to match with it.
Not to mention, Tang Muxin had already gathered that all the transmigrators, whether it was herself, the original protagonist Pan Shuchun, and Jin Bao, they all seem to be from slightly different worlds. Alternate universes if you will.
In Jin Bao's world, his sister was the one who wrote this story and the dragon character had been present albeit in a very minor supporting character role that faded into the background.
In her own world, while she can't confirm whether the author had a brother, the story she recalls really had no mention of an actual dragon save for a brief mention in an author's note that she had only remembered when Jin Bao brought it up.
And in Pan Shuchun's case, she was a world that didn't have such a story at all as she had transmigrated completely unaware that this world was a story in itself.
So all in all, any inconsistencies with her reality and Jin Bao's did not necessarily mean he was lying.
Besides, would anyone really be so shameless as to tell some virtual strangers they were the top national male god three years running?
Still, she pretends not to be a little impressed by his credentials.
'Well, now you're a dragon.' She goes back to packing. Ye Cheng didn't have a lot of stuff but they were not coming back to this house for a while so it was better to stock up as much as they could. Given the short preparation time, there were many things that can get overlooked after all and Tang Muxin didn't want to waste a single coin on something they already had but forgotten to bring.
'What face do you have now ah? Right now the only person to regard you as a male god is a chicken.' She disses. Even though her banter was a bit stilted, she seemed to slowly be improving the more she interacted with the eccentric transmigrator slash dragon.
'Aiyah, Aiyah, you say that but that chicken can kick your ass,' Jia Hyson immediately shoots back, sticking his cute little pink tongue out and landing a critical hit to her assasin-spy pride. 'Da Gong is so good to me, your clearly just jealous bah!'
Tang Muxin: '...' She doesn't want to admit it but she is a little jealous.
Jealous that Da Gong wasn't the animal she spiritually bonded herself with! (ﾉಥ益ಥ）ﾉ ┻━┻
Look at that magnificent size, those glossy black feathers! The abnormal physical strength, that quiet domineering nature! Those piercing silver eyes! No matter how you look at it, Da Gong was more dragon than the actual dragon sitting lazily on top of him!
Tang Muxin glares at the tiny skinny golden dragon who can only sell meng, hating iron for not becoming steel.
Jia Hyson who can more or less understand her thoughts: '...This protagonist is terrible, how can she disdain the cute and love-able me?'
Bebe: '...' The only thing cute and love-able thing about you is the fact you're a baby animal. Everything else is garbage.
Jia Hyson who can more or less understand the meaning behind his system's silence: '...' Everyone is against me ah.
Is this the price he must pay for his cuteness? If so...
Jia Hyson looks down at his thin serpentine body which was still suffering from previous malnourishment. Then he looks at the humble ancient housing of Ye Cheng's with not a trace of electricity or technology.
Well. He rather have asked to be rich instead ah.
Jia Hyson fell into contemplative silence.
This was like the feeling of choosing between ordering the slightly healthier fresh lemon cake and the indulgent rich chocolate cake while on a diet. After some debate you choose the lemon cake since you don't want to lose face in front of the people at the table but you find that the lemon cake was not as good as you thought and is too dry and overly sweet. Meanwhile the chocolate cake the table next door had ordered looked just as decadent and moist as it looked on the counter.
The regret one feels while not very large, is still quite long lasting ah.
His little claw touches his snout in regret. It seems the lesson of this story is that appearances are superficial and as dry as a bad lemon cake but the indulgent power of the rich is bone deep and consistently a delight to experience like chocolate cake.
Bebe: '....Bebe gets it.'
Bebe: 'You're fucking hungry aren't you?'
Jia Hyson: 'No...'
Jia Hyson: 'I'm fucking starving ah!' ಥAಥ
Bebe: '.....' Bebe knows this spicy chicken host too well now. Somehow Bebe seems to know Jia Hyson much better than all it's other hosts before despite only going through a few worlds with him. Bebe is currently experiencing a complex string of emotions.
Jia Hyson: 'Wuwuwuwu I haven't had proper solid food other than that rice and bok choy from the other day okay?! Liquid diets are terrible! How are there people who voluntarily do this to themselves?!'
He wants to eat sweet French pastries and soft Japanese cakes and drink Swiss hot chocolate! He wants Korean fried chicken, Thai massaman lamb curry with fried rice and cheesy American Pizza! He wants deep fried greasy potato chips and doughnuts and tempura!
Ancient! China! Sucks!
Because Jia Hyson was physically still an infant, the petty but numerous grievances inside his heart finally built up and overflowed into fat salty tears.
Even though he wasn't actually emotionally distressed, he was fairly annoyed and upset about the situation. He was a spoilt rich man who hated to wrong himself that now had to live a life that had none of the basic modern luxuries he was used to. After all, even the palace doesn't have an air conditioner.
Honestly he was surprised Tang Muxin was taking it so well. Unlike him, she wasn't a host and her whole life will really be stuck in this era.
The most unrealistic thing about these sort of ancient transmigration stories may not be the OP-level knowledge and skill transmigrators bring but the lack of grief and yearning for their original world.
Tang Muxin who didn't hear anything from Jia Hyson looked up from her packing and was shocked to see him crying.
Fuck! She had only teased a bit right? Even though Da Gong was indeed very cool she didn't really mean what she thought about how she wished she was bonded to a rooster instead of Jin Bao.
The slightly socially awkward assassin spy doctor felt bad all over. She had worked with rough men and tough bosses who said various crude and deplorable things on a regular basis. And even though she was trained a little for it she rarely was sent for honeypot missions given her skillset so it was fair to say her view of normality was somewhat skewed. Were regular modern men so delicate?
Immediately she felt anxious. Jin Bao and her were bonded so they would be together for the indefinite future. It would be bad to not be on good terms with him no matter how contrasting their personalities were.
Plus... she had never had a good friend before. Not one she could've trusted enough to hold her purse much less her anxieties and other feelings.
Over the short term she knew him, she can understand Jin Bao is flighty, flamboyant and fickle. Very different to herself. But he was also witty, observant and knows how to make her feel comfortable. His over exuberant and frankly rather loud personality coupled with his cute body and his strangely ambitious interactions with Da Gong helped her forget and ease a lot of her discomfort after transmigrating.
She had almost forgotten that he too, as a fellow transmigrator was also suffering the same way.
In her mind Tang Muxin created a large brain hole that wrote at least three paragraphs worth of tragedy in the perspective of Jin Bao. With her keen logical deductions she had already determined the dragon was not only infantile in body but greatly malnourished from the physical appearance. Even though she doesn't know much about the character given it had never appeared in the story she had read, it's clear that the setting of the story is still the same which can only indicate that Jin Bao, for reasons, is possibly one of the few dragons still around. Maybe even the only one.
Looking at it that way, Jin Bao's transmigration was the must unfortunate out of the three transmigrators and yet he seemed the most exuberant.
He clearly must have been hiding his sorrows deep down in order to help cheer her up!
If Bebe and Jia Hyson had bought a skill to see affection bars, they would have seen Tang Muxin's affection increase by at least twenty points.
She quickly drops what she's doing to comfort him.
Da Gong however, awakened by Jin Bao's distress, does not understand at first what is happening and fiercely pecks her when she suddenly rushes toward them. In his mind, his worm is sad and the human home wrecker was running toward them, the fight or flight response immediately kicked in and Da Gong's instinctual reaction was to protect his worm.
Luckily Tang Muxin's reflexes were still good and she managed to deftly step back and remove her person out of pecking range.
Da Gong raises his wings up and ruffles all his feathers to try look bigger in an attempt to intimidate and get Tang Muxin to stand down. Unsure whether to laugh or cry Tang Muxin calls out to Jin Bao helplessly, "You- are you alright? I'm sorry for thinking that you weren't good," she stutters out remorsefully, "In fact you're very good, I feel happier talking to you, and I, I don't think I would have been this calm and level-headed if you weren't my companion."
Jia Hyson didn't actually know what she was talking about, his internal monologue about cake and regrets had stimulated his digestive system and has long wiped out his short term memory, but he was still a very sly man with decently high EQ so he easily played along, 'It's, it's okay,' He sniffles out while 'mrp'-ing outwardly, 'I was only a little hurt, it's just…'
'It's just?' Tang Muxin quickly switches back to telepathic communication. Even though there was only other animals in the house that couldn't spill their secrets, as a spy-assassin-doctor she naturally felt more comfortable using the most secure form of communication possible.
'Well, the truth is…' Jia Hyson coughs embarrassedly but quickly plasters on a thick face.
'Yes?' Tang Muxin leans forward, eager to help patch up their relationship as best she can.
'Wuwuwu I'm really hungry....' Jia Hyson felt his stomach grumble a bit more, it was always barely sated but thinking about all the delicious food reminded it how unbearably hungry it was. His little claws touched his stomach. The soft gurgling noise only punctuated Jia Hyson's meaning even more. 'I want to eat cake ah,'
Tang Muxin felt helpless at the cute and pitiful creature that she is unfortunately soul bonded to. It couldn't be… that he really wasn't offended by her thoughts and was only crying for food?
What national male god in the last life? This was more like the national big baby!
I just realised. Do some readers not see the Little Theatre in the comments? Because that's a crying shame. Guys, you should really check the comments, sometimes it's real neat lol : P
Donate pls- I prefer ko-fi tbh since I get 100% of your money hehe
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