The blush on Luo Xiuyun’s face quickly faded. All the blood was drained, as if she couldn’t believe what she had heard.
Pei Qingyuan’s harsh and straightforward sarcasm made the air completely silent for half a minute before their relatives started to awkwardly try to ease the situation.
“What nonsense are you saying? How can you say something like this in front of your mother? How much did it hurt her heart? Quickly apologize to your mother.”
Pei Qingyuan didn’t back down and sneered. “I hurt her heart? Who should apologize to whom?”
Ever since the day he met Luo Xiuyun, the two of them had never talked about the mistake back then.
Luo Xiuyun didn’t take the initiative to mention it to him because all her energy was on explaining it to Pei Minghong and his wife.
Pei Qingyuan didn’t take the initiative to bring it up because he felt he was the one who needed an explanation. He thought that his biological mother would talk to him.
Luo Xiuyun apologized to Pei Minghong and his wife and to her fake son Pei Yan, who had been deceived for 17 years. She even apologized to the hospital leader who had almost been held accountable but she never apologized to him.
Since he seemed to have enjoyed an undeserved rich life for 17 years, was he the one who benefited? Was he excluded from the list of victims?
Pei Qingyuan hadn’t wanted to think about these things before because it would only be an abyss that made him feel desperate the more he thought about it.
Now, in front of the light-hearted attitude of Luo Xiuyun and her relatives, he had to face this problem.
The strange thing was that at this moment, Pei Qingyuan didn’t have the anger and discomfort he imagined. He saw the unfamiliar and panicked faces in front of him and felt even more ridiculous.
The sensitive and fragile emotions that should’ve surged seemed to have been carefully protected, hidden in soft armor. This allowed him to escape this sting.
In a world he couldn’t see, a small robot with lights all over his body was running between the grass and the garden.
A white canopy blocked the heavy rain falling from the sky and a beautiful butterfly that was about to fly away was resting in a transparent glass cover.
Ji Tong tried his best to keep the butterfly.
Under Pei Qingyuan’s sharp questioning, the group of relatives who came here purely for their own interests looked at each other. They all retracted their heads and didn’t dare to speak again out of fear they would be involved in this family matter.
Luo Xiuyun, who was struck by lightning, clutched her apron tightly. She took a few words before finally organizing broken sentences. “At that time, your father had cancer and couldn’t be cured. All the money in our family was spent on treatment… I wanted you to live a better life so I took the risk of changing you with a rich family. I had no other choice. Mom was doing it for your own good…”
It was a set of logic that sounded impeccable so that the hateful person would have pity.
However, Pei Qingyuan asked, “During those years, did you and Pei Yan live happily?”
Staring into her son’s clear gaze, Luo Xiuyun couldn’t give an answer that was against her will. She could only say vaguely, “…It wasn’t too bad.”
Pei Yan was innocent, sensible and kind. He was a good child in everyone’s eyes since he was young and she worked hard to make things up for this innocent child. It might be a single parent family where they were dependent on each other but it could be called happy.
Pei Qingyuan heard her meaning and an almost smile appeared on his face. “Then have you ever asked me if I was happy in the Pei family?”
Luo Xiuyun stared at him in amazement, as if she never thought that there was the possibility of unhappiness.
“I wasn’t happy. They aren’t a pair of parents who would really love their child.” Pei Qingyuan spoke unusually calmly. “This wasn’t a better life and I didn’t want that type of life. I wanted a mother who really cared about me, just like Pei Yan had.”
He finally said, “So, will you apologize to me?”
Luo Xiuyun clearly saw the persistence and stubbornness in Pei Qingyuan’s eyes. She was shocked by her son’s confession. She hadn’t turned her head but she remembered that there were relatives around who were staring at them like watching a rare drama.
She couldn’t speak.
Time passed in this hesitation.
Pei Qingyuan turned and left without putting down the school bag on his shoulder from beginning to end. The heavy wooden door slammed shut behind him.
Luo Xiuyun watched him slam the door and leave. Her shoulders slumped weakly amid the sudden consolation of her relatives.
Pei Qingyuan went downstairs without saying a word. He walked to the bicycle that had been parked before and didn’t move for a long time. The figure of the young man stood alone.
Ji Tong also stood on the grass without moving. He carefully held a glass bottle with the butterfly in his arms. He stared at the heavy rain pouring outside the transparent canopy and asked tentatively, “Ruan Ruan, do you need comfort?”
This time, he had prepared a lot of cold jokes that could really make people laugh.
However, Pei Qingyuan spoke at almost the same time as him. “Sorry, that task… perhaps it won’t be completed.”
Ji Tong immediately sighed with relief. “It is okay, host. I was just about to talk to you about the task.”
The host was still in the mood to think about the task. Then the rain should soon stop and clear up.
“The last time I went to a meeting, the main brain assigned a senior system to answer my questions. I asked him a lot of questions about how to complete the task.”
He was a fledgling artificial intelligence so it was a bit unscientific for him to come up with this bizarre operation of forming a family with the host. Thus, Ji Tong decided to give the credit to the elementary school student, Fang Hao.
“This system is very proficient in human nature. He told me that sometimes you can complete tasks in some special ways. It is because the criteria for the main brain to determine the completion of the task seems to be very rigid. For example, the task of having a harmonious and happy family doesn’t limit the specific family members. In theory, it only needs to meet the criteria of being happy, harmonious and looks like a family.”
Pei Qingyuan listened to him carefully and quickly said, “So brothers can be considered a family? A real blood relationship isn’t required. It is fine as long as others think we are a family?”
He still remembered Ji Tong’s sudden joy when he was praised by a strange uncle in the morning.
Ji Tong suddenly swallowed down the speech he had prepared to persuade the host to pretend to be his older brother.
The host was so clever.
“Right, host. I guess so.” Ji Tong said honestly. “Now we basically meet the standard of harmony and happiness in the eyes of outsiders. The task panel has reacted to this. However, since it is a family, there should be a place to live together…”
He was unlikely to appear in front of Luo Xiuyun and Luo Zhichang. This meant that he and his host needed to move out and live in a house alone.
Ji Tong didn’t doubt the host’s willingness to move out. Luo Xiuyun’s hesitation in the face of the request for an apology definitely disappointed the host. According to the host’s apology, he would definitely not be willing to continue to live here.
As a result, renting an apartment outside became the problem.
Pei Qingyuan still had the sum of money he got when he was living at the Pei house, but Ji Tong now knew him pretty well. Ji Tong understood that he wouldn’t want to use this money to start a new life.
Then the host could only earn money on his own, just like the part-time job at the hotel.
Ji Tong knew that many novels had plots where the student protagonist relied on various skills to make a fortune, but that meant premature contact with society and encountering various complicated people and things.
He believed in his host’s ability, but he hoped that the host could enjoy a simple and pure school life at this age.
After all, this was a precious time that could never be repeated.
Ji Tong was in a tangled mood and shook electron particles all over the place.
Pei Qingyuan had obviously thought about the problem of rent. He was silent for a while. Then when he looked up again, he made up his mind. “Don’t you like the aroma of bread very much?”
Ji Tong nodded blankly. “Yes.”
Ten minutes later, Pei Qingyuan came to the door of the bakery that he always passed by at night.
The chubby store owner, He Shiwen was carefully placing freshly baked bread in the glass cafe. He heard the bell ringing at the door and said enthusiastically, “Welcome! Eh, you are the one…”
He remembered this high school student who was always hovering outside the window late at night.
“Hello, it is me.” Pei Qingyuan met his gaze without any timidity. “Is the store still hiring?”
“We are still recruiting.” He Shiwen wiped the sweat on his forehead with a smile and didn’t ask why the student suddenly changed his mind. “Did you bring your ID card? We will sign a part-time contract, so it is very formal.”
“By the way, you don’t have a health certificate, right? You can go to the hospital for a physical examination when you don’t have classes on the weekend. I’ll pay for it.”
“Sit down first. If you are hungry, grab a piece of bread to eat. I’ll go next door and print out the contract. Help me look after the store…”
This nagging and kind store owner was very familiar.
The part-time work contract had only one page, which clearly stated his working hours and salary. This was a job with a simple environment and content. It was relatively suitable for high school students.
After carefully reading it, Pei Qingyuan was sure there were no problems and leaned over the counter to sign his name.
His handwriting was beautiful, thick and powerful.
Ji Tong secretly admired it. At the same time, he sighed at the host’s super strong ability to act. Once he made up his mind, he immediately carried it out.
He had seen Pei Qingyuan’s ID card. The photo on it was taken a few years ago. His face looked much more immature and his always cold expression hadn’t changed.
What type of life had the host lived in the Pei family?
Ji Tong thought endlessly and quietly noted down the host’s birthday: October 7th.
In half a month, his host would celebrate his 18th birthday.
Once Pei Qingyuan finished signing the contract, he looked at the ink that gradually solidified on the paper and said to the system in his heart, “For every weekend in the future, stay in the bakery. Then once you turn 18, we will go out and rent our own place.”
“That’s great.” The little robot held the glass bottle with the butterfly and quietly sat on the grass while the sky gradually cleared. “Thank you, Ruan Ruan.”
He quietly put away the data of the cold jokes. The host didn’t seem to need such superficial comfort.
Thus, Ji Tong decided to use more practical actions to reward him for every fragrant weekend in the future.
On the day that might be forgotten by both families, he wanted to spend a good birthday with his host.