Apart from that, Ye Qingyu also saw a faint terror in the lovely and refined little boy's eyes, as if the boy was a bunny who had just stepped out of a conservatory and was wary of the harsh and foreign environment outside.
"Mama, hungry." The child kept his voice down and puckered his dry lips, on which bloodstains had cracked.
Hearing the boy's cries, the mother, who seemed to be in a trance, was abruptly woken up. It was only after she looked warily around the place that she embraced her child tightly in her arms. Her face revealed her remorse and heartache, while tears formed delicately in her eyes.
"Be good, Ning'er. Endure for a little longer, just a little..." With her eyes already turned red, she kissed him on the forehead and managed to hold back from crying out. Her expression was sorrowful yet tenacious, while a ball of flames burned in the depths of her eyes.
Ye Qingyu was moved by this scene.
Although he did not know what this bizarre woman had gone through, why she had brought this child to the congress divine temple, and why she did not have a seat and had to linger at the corridor, he was moved by the expressions on their faces.
"Mama... I understand and will be obedient... I'll just swallow two more sips of saliva... and won't be hungry for a while..." As if feeling his mother's helplessness and seeing the tears in her eyes, the child immediately became sensible and comforted her instead.
Despite his words, his huge dark eyes could not help staring at the food in the hands of the lunching adults in the distance as he swallowed his saliva incessantly to try and drive the hunger away.
The woman tightly hugged her son in her arms.
After a while.
Ning'er's body shuddered as he looked at his mother with a little hesitation before saying unbearably, "But Mama... I'm still hungry... It's been three days without food, my mouth is full of a bitter taste and I don't have anymore saliva to swallow... Mama, I'm sorry."
Tears reddened the mother's eyes at once.
She gently caressed him and let out a sigh. After briefly hesitating, she slowly stood up.
As they say, a mother is the most resolute creature of all.
It seemed, at that moment, that her motherly instincts overcame all of her inner timidity and restraint.
After peering hazily all around, she made up her mind and walked up to a human expert not far away.
The latter was a tall man in his thirties who wore a dark-green brocade robe and a golden crown which tied his long hair up.
"Kind sir, my child is hungry, may I ask if you can..."
The mother bowed her body in salute as part of an upper-class etiquette, yet she was evidently not used to this form of begging. Her cheeks were flushed, her hands were clasped together, and her fingertips were trembling involuntarily, all making her look highly awkward.
Perhaps she had suddenly fallen into abjection due to running into some trouble, but she was clearly well-educated in her earlier life, judging from her straight back and temperament.
Unfortunately, the human expert bore no sympathy at all.
"Get lost, you cursed thing!"
The human expert berated, with his slender and sharp eyes filled with impatience and detestation.
This voice alarmed quite a number of other representatives, such that several dozen pairs of eyes instantly looked toward the woman whose head was lowered as she puckered her tips tightly in forbearance. These sharp eyes unceasingly sized up the woman with uncertainty, contempt, and more so, apathy and numbness.
As the amount of attention increased, the man's arrogance grew.
He sneered, "You two, mother and son, look poor and cursed, and god knows how you entered this divine temple. It's been three to four days since you stinking beggars have arrived, yet there's still no sign of your turn to enter the main hall, and you don't even seem to have a queue nameplate. You're nothing but a jinx! I have important things to do today, so stay away from me. If you dare affect my business, you'll be in for it!"
Ye Qingyu frowned slightly.
From this man's words, the mother and son had been waiting for three to four days in the side hall and had attracted a fair bit of attention. Over the past two days, some people had privately discussed why they had been allowed into the congress divine temple despite seemingly lacking in status and power. But, because they remained very low-key and quiet, spending most of their time cuddling together as they waited, the crowd gradually forgot about them.
Seeing his mother being insulted by a stranger, the little boy immediately ran over. "Ma... Mama... I don't need to eat anymore... I'm not hungry... It's true, look, I have strength again. Mama, don't beg them anymore..." As if he had grown up into a little man, the boy shielded in front of his mother, clenching his fist to hide his fear. "Baddie, you are not to insult Mama..."
The woman cried and quickly ran over to embrace her child in her arms.
Clinging on to each other, the mother and son quietly returned to their original place.
Having seen this, the other people paid no further attention. After all, each of them was an eminent and honorable representative of their respective race and was preoccupied with the important matters they had to deal with, and thus naturally did not concern themselves with such a trivial incident.
"Little boy, come over. I have things to eat over here."
A soft and gentle voice was heard among the hubbub.
Wearing a smile as warm as sunshine, Yu Xiaoxing faced the mother and son.
She was holding a brocade handkerchief, embroidered with bamboo leaf patterns, on which were several divine fruits which could instantly replenish one's physical strength and several exquisite and tasty-looking snacks.
Ning'er's eyes lit up and his body leaned forward, but just as he was about to rush forward to all those good food, he remembered something and turned his head to look at his mother with an inquiring expression on his face.
Beside him, his mother's eye expression was rather complex, but she eventually made eye contact with Yu Xiaoxing, who she carefully sized up before ascertaining to be trustworthy. She then nodded in acknowledgment and caressed Ning'er's head, saying, "Go, and remember to thank this sister."
"Yes, I will!"
Despite having become so weak that he could not walk without stumbling earlier, he was, for some unknown reason, able to dart toward Yu Xiaoxing.
"Eat slowly and don't choke. If it isn't enough, I have more here." The latter smiled warmly and took out a water bag from her storage space before handing it over.
"Thank... Thank you, Fairy Sister..." Clearly ravenous, Ning'er stuffed his mouth with divine fruits and snacks before remembering his mother's exhortations and immediately thanked Yu Xiaoxing.
After laboriously ingurgitating all of the food in his mouth, he rapidly picked up another bright-red fruit which had a fragrant smell. Just as he was about to open his mouth, he suddenly stopped and looked at Yu Xiaoxing with a sweet smile, asking, "Elder sister, this is delicious... Can I bring this to mama? She, too, hasn't eaten in three days..."
"Ning'er, keep that for yourself if you're still not full. I have some more here which you can bring over and eat together with mama." Yu Xiaoxing took out a few more divine fruits and wrapped them carefully in the handkerchief before handing them to Ning'er.
"Thank you, elder sister!"
Overjoyed, Ning'er performed a hold-fist salute before bringing the food gingerly back to his mother.
Ye Qingyu quietly watched this from start to finish without saying a word.
Not long later, the mother and son finished eating all of the food.
Ning'er patted his stomach in satisfaction. His face had regained a healthy color and his spirit was a lot better than before. A faint smile finally emerged on his mother's face as she lovingly looked at her child.
She pulled out a small kerchief and thoroughly wiped Yu Xiaoxing's brocade handkerchief and then Ning'er's mouth with it. Subsequently, she led her son by the hand and walked up to Yu Xiaoxing.
"We cannot thank you enough for your timely assistance... I've already wiped your handkerchief clean..." Her face flushed unnaturally once more.
"You're welcome. Ning'er's such an obedient child. I was never this resolute at his age." Smiling, Yu Xiaoxing waved at the boy and continued, "Ning'er, tell me, why did you and mama come?"
"Fairy Sister, papa was killed by a baddie... and a gang wanted to harm me and mama... She brought me to escape and told me we had to come here to find an Uncle Ren... As long as we can find him... Nobody would dare harm us again..." seemingly trustful of Yu Xiaoxing, Ning'er raised his cheeks and said with an earnest face.
Because of his young age, Ning'er did not really understand what he had encountered, while his mother probably put things across to him in a sugar-coated manner. As a result, he sounded somewhat muddled when trying to explain.
Moreover, he was certainly terrified deep down by these encounters, and so he recollected them intermittently and fearfully.
However, standing behind him all this while, his mother did not expect him to divulge everything and swiftly revealed a flurried look before saying in a harsh voice, "Ning'er, don't talk nonsense."
The diminutive child was shocked.
He had apparently been frightened by his mother's sudden harshness.
Rubbing the corners of his eyes, he appeared somewhat aggrieved, yet could not help looking at his mother as he explained softly, "But... Mama, I think this Fairy Sister is a good person."
Yu Xiaoxing laughed non-committally, saying, "Don't worry about me, I bear no malice."
A surprise emerged in the eyes of Ye Qingyu, who had remained silent throughout.
The mother did not wear any precious ornaments, presumably because she had exchanged all of her valuable items for food ever since running into trouble. However, Ye Qingyu noticed from his peripheral vision that latched at her waist was a two-finger-wide green jade token pendant, on which token was engraved a totem of a coiled dragon soaring into the sky. This was exactly the same totem as the one on the dark-iron token which Tian Huayu of the Ancient Sky Dragon Sect had once given him.
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