Chapter 30.5

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written by Miniorchid
edited by kakashi

"En Gong, you're back, you're back!" Qiao Er ran towards her Savior, almost stumbling in her haste. She grabbed the front of his robe and looked up at him with admiration.

He quickly put a finger on her lips, hunched down to her level and whispered: "Shhhhh....lower your voice! Where is your mom?"

Oh, right. Quickly, Qiao Er lowered her own voice too. She had forgotten this was a game and mommy was not allowed to know when he was here. "She is preparing food inside," she whispered back.

"Do you have them?" he asked.

"Yes! Do you have mine?" She was excited and her tummy growled in anticipation.

"Of course." He pulled out a small paper package. The delicious smell of the red bean buns she loved so much wafted through the air.

"Thank you, En Gong! I will get mother's rice buns for you." She ran to the front gate and brought back a package that she had hidden there.

"Good girl," He fondly patted her head and took the package of rice buns from her hands.

Qiao Er did not understand why En Gong looked so happy when he took the rice buns. "En Gong?"

"Yes, little one."

"What do you do with mom's rice bun?" She was curious about this. They had been exchanging buns for months now. He must have a whole mountain of them in his home.

"Eat them, of course," he answered matter-of-factly.

She couldn't believe this. "You eat them?"

He lightly pinched her cheek. "Yes, I love them very much."

He must be joking. "You really eat them?"

He laughed. "You don't like your mom's rice buns?"

Qiao Er pulled a face and shook her head. She always avoided eating her mom's rice buns because they were so hard to eat. "They're very dry," she declared.

"Drink tea with them," he suggested.

"But they're really, really dry," she emphasized the dryness by nodding her head.

His voice softened as he replied, "you are right. They are really, really dry. But I still love eating them."

Qiao Er stared at him. He did not seem to make fun of her? He must really like dry food then. Maybe Qiao Er could learn to make dry rice buns for En Gong when she was older, she thought. She would really like that.

*****

** 6 months ago, on mortal realm time**

"You have to leave," Yan Zhi's voice was flat and emotionless.

They stood outside her little skew-whiff house in the bamboo forest. Qiao Er was still sleeping inside - thankfully. It would have broken his heart to have her witness this confrontation. She called him Savior, En Gong, and he had grown extremely fond of her in a very short time. She was such a good, happy child, despite all the difficulties she had experienced in her short life.

It had taken him a full week to recover from the injury he had sustained when battling the assassins. To his great embarrassment, he had fainted in front of Yan Zhi and the little one. The Ghost Princess had moved him to the hut, had taken care of his wounds and made sure he was fed properly. And yet, she had hardly spoken a word beyond the bare necessities. What she told him repeatedly was to focus on his recovery, clearly wanting him gone and out of her house as fast as possible. He had complied with her wish, his heart aching, and had gotten better as fast as he could.

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