Ke Bu witnessed first-hand the alarming energy of the children. One moment, they wanted to play horseback riding; the next, they wanted to play spin around in circles. Even Ying Xiujie, who was immensely proud of his healthy physique, was rapidly declining into exhaustion under the ravage. Ke Bu luckily escaped from this fate due to his foot injury. He had a sense of delight in others’ disasters as he looked at the weary group of people. Whether it was the physical body or the frequently attacked mental spirit, both bore an unbearable load. The clever Su Youyan found an excuse and had left early. This continued until the bell rang for the afternoon class, then they escaped or hid away. Ke Bu did not have class in the afternoon and decided to stay behind.
After they finished playing, Zhi Xiaoke and Zhi Xiaoxun went back to the seats and continued to eat some snacks. While they chewed on beef jerkies, they scornfully spoke, “Young people nowadays are too weak to withstand a gust of wind, acting like it’s a matter of life or death after just playing for a while.”
“How old do you think you are?” Ke Bu could not help but cut in.
“Tsk, seeing that you’re a cripple, we let you off due to the kindness of our hearts. Don’t take advantage of it.”
“Where are you keeping the innocence and purity that children supposedly have?”
“That’s only a facade that we use to deceive the grownups in order to gain things and praises.”
Ke Bu was defeated. On the side, he looked at them eating a big mouthful of snacks like two little mice. How much stuff could be stuffed into those bellies? He worriedly asked Zhi Li who was next to him, “Is this good? Letting them eat so much junk food.” Zhi Li swept his gaze on Zhi Xiaoke and Zhi Xiaoxun, then lowered his head and continued drawing. “They don’t listen to everything I say.”
“No way. They obviously act well-behaved in front of you!”
Zhi Li shrugged and, like conducting a demonstration, he opened his mouth, “You two little fatties, stop eating.”
Zhi Xiaoke and Zhi Xiaoxun turned to look at him blankly and blinked with eyes of innocence and artlessness. “What? What did you say, Daddy?”
“Stop eating.” Zhi li repeated mechanically.
“What? You sound so far away, Daddy. We can’t hear you.” Having finished speaking, they started stuffing food in their mouths again.
Ke Bu lowered his head, then seized Zhi Li’s face. “Are you sure they’re really not your children?! They really inherited too much of your unneeded faults!!” Zhi Li picked up his sketchbook and gently rapped Ke Bu’s head. “You’re really rude.”
Zhi Xiaoke cried out in alarm as if she remembered something and took out an exquisitely wrapped box from her little bag. “Mommy bought handmade chocolates. There’re only six of them, two for Xiaoxun, two for me, and two for Daddy.”
“There’s still another person here.” Ke Bu reminded them.
“Which two pieces do you want, Daddy? You choose first.” So, there was also a grumpy side to their character.
“You guys eat it.”
Ke Bu looked at the chocolates. He heard of this brand long ago but had never tasted their chocolates before because it was too expensive. His tummy rumbled in hunger. Ke Bu touched his tummy and remembered that he had not eaten lunch yet. He swallowed his saliva with difficulty. He wanted to taste them. He wanted to eat these longed-for, mouth-watering chocolates for free. He wanted them so much that he went so far as to lay down his dignity as a man. “Give me one piece.”
Zhi Xiaoxun covered the chocolates. “No.”
“Don’t be stingy. We’re all men.”
“No means no.” None of them were good people. Ke Bu took the opportunity when Xiaoxun was off guard and snatched a piece of chocolate. Come to speak of it, Ke Bu, don’t you feel ashamed? Going as far as to fighting over food with children. Ke Bu smiled evilly, as though very pleased with his success. As he was about to place the chocolate in his mouth, Zhi Xiaoxun and Zhi Xiaoke’s faces became stifled with redness. Their little faces scrunched, and their shoulders trembled. They looked at Ke Bu with big eyes that amassed tears. Then, their mouths drew back and they bawled. The noise was ear-splitting. It gave Ke Bu a fright. He immediately panicked and placed the chocolate back. “I won’t eat it.”
Zhi Xiaoke’s wails got louder and louder. She used her sleeves to wipe her tears. “Ke Bu’s a cripple, a bad egg, a good-for-nothing ordinary demon.” Even when crying, they still kept on launching their verbal attack. Ke Xiaoxun continued crying and added, “Scum, despicable, a common face that will drown in the crowd.”
“A useless grownup who only knows how to snatch children’s stuff.”
“A crappy person with the least bit of gentleness.”
“Bad at everything.”
“The most hateful.” The two children were like chanting in a comic dialogue, one chanted and the other joined. It was hard to believe that the anger of these two could be so scary. The intensity of their sharp cries made Ke Bu’s ears rumble. Just when he was filled with remorse and was completely at a loss on what to do, Zhi Li laid down his sketchbook and stooped to pick up and carry Zhi Xiaoke and Zhi Xiaoxun onto his legs. Zhi Xiaoke hugged Zhi Li’s waist while Zhi Xiaoxun, who was further back, hugged her’s. Zhi Li held the backs of the children. “Stop crying. It looks so unsightly.”
“But, but…” Zhi Xiaoke sobbed spasmodically and could not speak clearly. It looked like she was out of breath.
Zhi Li lightly raised the corners of his mouth and his good-looking face had a mesmerizing smile. He stroked the little heads of the two children. Using a gentle tone which resembled some sort of a pacifying enchantment, he said, “Be good. You have to be obedient for me to like you.” The two children nodded vigorously and grasped Zhi Li tighter. As he looked at this scene, Ke Bu heaved a sigh of relief and at the same time, his chest felt painful for whatever reason. It was not really for whatever reason. Ke Bu quite clearly knew the reason behind his pain and uneasiness. The two children fell asleep, perhaps it was because they were too tired from crying. Zhi Li placed them on the couch that Ying Xiujie found and covered his coat over their bodies.
Ke Bu supported his chin with the back of his hand. He fixed his gaze the whole time on Zhi Li, whose tenderness was just right. Zhi Li walked over, then took the box of chocolates on the table, and tossed it into Ke Bu’s embrace. “Take this chance while they’re sleeping. Eat it.” What a despicable elder brother!
“I probably shouldn’t. What if they find out and start blubbering again.”
“Why are you talking so much nonsense?”
Ke Bu took a look at the children who were sleeping soundly and placed a piece of chocolate in his mouth. This Elder Brother Ke Bu was not that great either. The rich chocolate flavor spread in his mouth. Ke Bu pouted. “Yeah, yeah, I talk a lot of nonsense. I’m a cripple anyway, and a bad egg, a good-for-nothing ordinary demon, scum, despicable, a common face that will drown in the crowd, useless grownup who only knows how to snatch children’s stuff, a crappy person with the least bit of gentleness, bad at everything, and the most hateful.”
Zhi Li did not bat an eyelid and chuckled. He reached out and dragged Ke Bu into his arms. “Are you an idiot?”
The chocolate in the corner of Ke Bu’s mouth stuck onto Zhi Li’s clothes. He buried his head deeply in Zhi Li’s embrace. “Don’t coax me like a five-year-old kid.” Zhi Li did not say anything. Ke Bu was silent for a while, then he finally opened his mouth and said, “Hey, Zhi Li, do you want children?”
“Do you wanna give birth?” Zhi Li did not answer him and only replied with a question.
“You speak as if I can actually give birth when you obviously know that…”
“Since that’s the case, don’t ask superfluous questions.”
Ke Bu used his hands, which had nowhere to go to, to clutch onto Zhi Li’s clothes. “I’m not good enough, not outstanding enough, not as excellent as this one, not as wealthy as that one, not as pretty as this one, not as gentle as that one. In spite of this, if I’m obedient, will you like me more?” He still remembered. He remembered what Zhi Li said before when he was coaxing the children: Be good, you have to be obedient for me to like you.
“It’s really rare for you to say demoralizing words,” Zhi Li teased.
Ke Bu bared his teeth and lifted his head. “I  wanna feel inferior once in a while.”
( Ke Bu used laozi in here.)
Zhi Li lowered his chin onto Ke Bu’s head and patted his back. “What’s with ‘this one’ and ‘that one?’ Isn’t it that the one I’ve always wanted has been you?”
“No, that’s useless. I told you not to treat me like a five-year-old kid.”
“Then what are you smiling for?”
“I’m not. It’s because the chocolate’s too sticky in my mouth!”