Chapter 195: Like a God
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The head of the orphanage and the teachers were wiping tears away from their eyes as well. That time, they did not punish Xia Ling.
The orphanage set aside some money for Xia Yu’s treatment, delaying her illness from deteriorating further, but not being able to treat it completely. Doctors said that it was a miracle that Xia Yu was still alive, declaring that she would not live past ten years of age.
Xia Ling could only look on helplessly as Xia Yu became weaker and weaker.
There were many nights that she would wake with a start from a nightmare, afraid that Xia Yu would suddenly disappear from her side. Xia Ling would get off the bed and run out barefoot into the deserted corridors, through the terrifying and eerie sky well, to the nurse station for sick kids on the other end of the orphanage. She would come to Xia Yu’s bedside and watch Xia Yu as she slept under the dim moonlight that shone through the small window. She would only relax when she saw Xia Yu’s face, deep in sleep, and listened to her breathing.
Xia Ling would stay by Xia Yu’s side, night after night, and run back to her room through the morning dew or cold winter mornings.
In those years, Xia Ling would always think — if there was a God in the world, why was it that he could not hear her cries? Why didn’t he come to save Xia Yu and her? She did not wish for much, only that Xia Yu would be healthy and grow up safely and peacefully like the rest of the kids. For this wish, she was willing to give up everything she had.
Her heart, her body, her life… her soul.
All the other kids would laugh at Xia Ling, saying that there was no God in this world and that it was just a lie that fairytales had made up. The kids in the orphanage matured at a young age and none would believe these stories. They always said that the only way that their wishes would come true would be to be adopted by someone. Good adoptive parents were more important to them than anything else.
Don’t think that the orphanage was an innocent place. The kids would scheme against each other for this end.
Even Xia Ling knew that adoptive parents were more realistic support than Gods. If any family were willing to adopt Xia Yu and her and treat Xia Yu, they would be the unequivocal God to her.
To be adopted by a good family, Xia Ling did all she could to make herself the best she could be. She practiced her singing many times till she grew hoarse; she practiced dancing many times till she pulled her ligaments; she practiced poems, foreign languages, manners… Every time people were visiting to adopt kids, she would put in double the effort to dress up and be in her best condition.
Xia Ling knew that she was pretty and had many talents. Every time she appeared, she would be the center of attention of all the adults, outshining all the other kids. She also knew that because of this, many of the other kids were jealous of her and had banded together to ostracize her and make life difficult for her. They would hide her shoes, snatch away her candies, tear her new clothing… Yet, Xia Ling did not care. As long as she could be picked, adopted, and Xia Yu’s illness could be treated, she was happy to suffer through the bullying.
However, no one was willing to adopt them.
All the adoptive parents would be extremely interested in her but would shake their heads when they saw Xia Yu. Xia Ling would console the despondent Xia Yu, and tell her not to give up. However, many times, even Xia Ling herself was close to despair.
She would always think that she was a useless elder sister. If Xia Yu died…
No, Xia Yu was not going to die. She curbed this thought that spread through her mind like a weed and knelt for a long time in the darkness, praying earnestly to the God in her heart time and time again, like she had seen adults do in TV serials.
Later, Pei Ziheng appeared.
The day he came was not a typical adoption day, and there were none of the usual arrangements.
She had walked by and heard two female teachers discussing in hushed voices that the head of Imperial Entertainment was there to donate a huge sum of money to the orphanage. They were exclaiming about how handsome and young he was, and drooling over his wealth and charisma. They were guessing in envy which lucky girl would have the fortune of marrying a bachelor like him.
Xia Ling did not care about all this.
She had seen many rich men in those few years, who would give tons and tons of money to the orphanage in the name of charity. However, there were many areas that the orphanage could use the money for. Putting it into Xia Yu’s treatment fund would be just a bottomless pit.
She had quietly walked across the corridor into the garden where the sunlight was blinding.
Staring at the kids freely running and playing in the garden, she had thought to herself — why was her sister the one that was sick?
A ball struck her on her forehead.
A big, strong kid ran over and shoved her away. “Stay away, you troublemaker!”
Xia Ling had angrily thrown the ball at him.
Immediately after, three or four other kids rushed forward, and they got into another fight. That year, she was already twelve and was no longer the Xia Ling who would randomly flail and kick about. The many years of fighting experience saw her quickly gain the upper hand and fend off the attacks from the other kids.
The teachers came over shortly after, and the kids ran off in all directions.
Xia Ling had also wanted to run away, but sensing something within her like destiny, she lifted her head and saw someone. A young, handsome man, dressed in a grey suit, standing by the full-length windows on the second-floor office of the head of the orphanage, silently watching her.
It was the end of spring going into summer and the sunlight shone onto his face, making him seem God-like.
Looking up at his handsome face, Xia Ling lost her focus and accidentally stepped onto something. There was a sharp pain in the sole of her foot.
“Xia Ling! Did you get into a fight again!” An exasperated voice rang out. She turned her head and saw the discipline master running over to her, his face ashen. “Stop right there! Don’t even think about running away this time!”
Xia Ling had lifted the edge of her dress and ran off as fast as she could.
She ran past the long corridor and shade from the flowers for a long time, shrugging the discipline master off her tail with difficulty and breathed heavily as she sat down. The sole of her foot was getting more painful by the second. She took off her shoes and socks only to find that she had stepped on a nail. The wound was deep and long, and blood was flowing out quickly.
She sucked her breath in and clenched her teeth through the pain, stopping the blood from flowing with difficulty. She sat there on the low staircase panting and only felt her strength returning to her after a long time. She put on her shoes and stood up unsteadily.
“Xia Ling!” That familiar, exasperated voice appeared again.
Her head dropped and turned. As expected, she saw the discipline master running over.
“Xia Ling, stop right there!”
She reactively wanted to run off again.
He shouted urgently. “Stop! I won’t punish you!”
She stayed where she was staring at him with suspicion. The truth was, her injury made it such that she could barely run at all.
He ran to her side and said through pants, “Hurry and go back… to prepare… Imperial Entertainment… Mr. Pei… Pei wants to see… see you dance… dance.”
Imperial Entertainment’s Mr. Pei wanted to see her dance?
Xia Ling was stunned. “Isn’t he that guy that came to donate money today? How does he know me? And how does he know I can dance?”
The discipline master managed to steady his breath and said, “You… You’re really such a troublemaker. Mr. Pei saw you fighting from upstairs just now. He asked about you, and the head of the orphanage was afraid that he would feel that all the kids in the orphanage were wild like you. So the head of the orphanage praised you for your singing and dancing. Who would have thought that Mr. Pei would ask to see you? So, the head of the orphanage sent me to look for you.”
The image of him standing by the full-length windows, his expression unreadable and looking God-like, appeared in Xia Ling’s mind.