Chapter (1): Meeting the cotton ball

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(This is somewhere during chapter 56-57 of tgcf, where Xie Lian had been found out that he is the Goushi of Yong'an Kingdom and Hua Cheng had helped clear his name up, etc. I won't go into lots of detail here. It would be best to read it only after you've finished both of the novels, cos I...might be unconsciously adding spoilers here and there. I can't control over it, srly. And it would be a bit different from the original...I mean...it's already a lot different since Xie Lian is going to adopt Wei Wuxian.)

It was when Xie Lian had just come down from the heavens to the mortal realm.
He was in a city buying some fresh fruits. He came to a mantou stand and was about to buy a mantou, when he heard the horrified wails of a young child, along with a number of fierce barks.

Startled, Xie Lian looked around, and at some dark corner at the end of the street, he spotted four big, ferocious dogs growling and barking furiously at a small figure who was trembling and curled up against a wall. It looked very much like he was petrified due to the sheer amount of fear he was in, and could only crouch down and hide his little head in his knees.

The little boy was covered in dirt, bruises and cuts covering his entire body, most likely from dogs and running about. The clothes he had on couldn't even be called clothes, if Xie Lian was being honest. Thread stuck out here and there, and the supposed clothing was the same colour as the dirt on the boy himself. His hair was disheveled and looked as unkempt as anyone could be. A fleeting memory of another similar dishevelled little boy who once fell from a wall flitted briefly across his mind. (of course it's Hua Cheng)

Xie Lian hurriedly ran forward and shooed away the dogs. Even though the threats were gone, the small child remained curled up against the wall, trembling profusely.

Xie Lian realized that the child was crying, and was still visibly shaken from earlier. So Xie Lian sat down beside him, waiting patiently for the child to calm down. Though the young child was crying his heart out, he didn't make much sound, only occasionally letting out a couple of sniffs.

After some time, either due to the lingering fright caused by dogs or how exhausted the little boy had gotten from crying, he fell asleep right there. As the child relaxed, Xie Lian saw a half of mantou tightly gripped in the child's hands slowly reveal itself. It had already turned stale and ash-coloured from all the dust and dirt.

"This child...was he fighting against the dogs for this one mantou?" Xie Lian wondered and sympathized. He thought he was already the poorest man alive eating only mantou and sometimes his bizarre homemade dishes, but there was a young child out there fighting against dogs for half of a stale mantou.

Xie Lian quickly picked up the child and went inside a tea shop. There, he let the child sleep on his lap while he ordered some water and food with what little money he had left.

The sleeping child woke up after a while, tired and hungry.

Blinking his little eyes open, the little child saw a white clad cultivator smiling warmly at him. The child looked starstruck, but in that moment, as if he realized something, he got up instantly and looked around. When he saw the stale mantou on the table, he reached out and immediately grabbed it. Then, he looked cautiously at the white cultivator while clutching tightly onto the half mentou.

Xie Lian didn't say anything but took out a full mentou from his sleeve and offered it to the child.

"Xiao nanhai [1], would you like to trade the mantou with mine?"

Xie Lian asked as politely and warmly as he could. The child relaxed somewhat at Xie Lian's warm treatment. His ravenous gaze dropped to the white, fresh mantou in Xie Lian's hand then returned to the smiling white cultivator again. Almost immediately, the child let down his guard, slowly giving Xie Lian his dry mantou and taking the full one Xie Lian gave.

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