Once Wang Shijing entered the space, he immediately started looking for the three children. He faced the Spirit Spring when he entered, but the three children were not around it. There was no sign of the children in the vast fields either. Wang Shijing looked towards the wooden house and stepped forward. Upon reaching the outside of the wooden house, he could hear faint voices from inside.
“Big Brother Moxi, can we eat this?”
“Big Brother, let’s not touch anything here until Father and Little Father come.”
“Brother, will Father and Little Father come?”
“They will definitely come.”
“This one is delicious!”
Wang Shijing walked to the doorway and immediately saw Jiang Moxi holding a half-bitten tomato, about to feed it to Wang Nizi. Wang Nizi hesitated, unsure whether she should eat it. She was afraid of being scolded by Father and Little Father, but Big Brother Moxi said it was delicious.
“Eat it.” Jiang Moxi brought the tomato closer to Wang Nizi’s mouth. Suddenly, a cough came from inside, startling Nizi, and even Wang Qing was surprised. Only Jiang Moxi calmly turned his head, expressionless, and then nonchalantly called out, “Uncle Shijing.” He then stopped his earlier action, took another bite of the tomato, and said, “It’s delicious.”
Wang Shijing, “…”
“Father…” Wang Nizi became scared.
“Father…” Wang Qing was also a little frightened. Wang Shijing walked inside and reassured them, “It’s okay. That’s a tomato and it’s safe to eat.” Wang Nizi and Wang Qing remained motionless. Nizi, with teary eyes, glanced around and fearfully asked, “Where is Little Father?”
“Your Little Father is outside. He asked me to come in.” Wang Shijing walked over and picked up Nizi. “I will explain where we are. Your Little Father has a face injury and can’t speak properly, so he is outside accompanying the tigers.”
Wang Qing & Nizi… “Accompanying the tigers?”
“Yes. The tigers want to drink water, but they don’t mean to harm anyone.”
“…” Wang Shijing handed a tomato to Wang Nizi and another one to Wang Qing. He held Nizi in his arms and walked outside, saying, “Come out. Moxi, you shouldn’t eat tomatoes on an empty stomach.”
Jiang Moxi, who was about to put a fourth tomato into his pocket, paused for a moment. He then hesitantly put the tomato back and finished the last bite in his hand, before he chased after them with the three tomatoes.
They reached the wooden table and chairs that Wang Shijing had made himself. He sat down, with Wang Qing and Jiang Moxi sitting on either side of him. Wang Shijing caressed his daughter’s head and said, “Take a bite.”
Now that her father was here, Wang Nizi wasn’t afraid anymore. She opened her mouth and took a small bite, her eyes widening in delight—it was truly delicious! Seeing his sister’s expression, Wang Qing didn’t hesitate any longer and also took a bite.
“Mmm! Father, it’s so delicious!” Wang Shijing, “This is brought by your Little Father.” Wang Qing chewed slower and looked a bit more flustered. But Wang Nizi, who was still young, was just curious. “Father, where is this place?”
Jiang Moxi seemed not to hear Uncle Shijing’s words and just ate tomatoes with a big mouthful of red juice all over his face.
Wang Shijing, “Qing’ Nizi, your little Father is… a deity who descended to the mortal realm, a celestial being.” Jiang Moxi looked up, his mouth stopped moving while Wang Qing nearly dropped the half-eaten tomato in his hand. While Wang Nizi just blinked and asked, “What kind of deity?”
“It’s… a heavenly deity. The God of Literature and Culture.”
“The God of Literature and Culture?” If the three children knew their Father (Uncle) well enough, they would surely have noticed the ‘guilty’ beads of sweat forming on his forehead. But Wang Shijing’s expression was too serious, so the three children had no doubts about his words.
Nizii, “Father, what is the God of Literature and Culture?”
Jiang Moxi, “A deity.”
Wang Shijing’s Adam’s apple moved. “The God of Literature and Culture is a divine being with exceptional talent and knowledge. He is highly educated.” As soon as they heard that he was highly educated, Wang Nizi immediately said, “Little Father is very talented.”
Wang Qing, “Father, is Little Father really a deity?”
“Yes. This place is the secluded paradise that your Little Father brought along when he reincarnated to the mortal realm.” The three children, “…”
“Before descending to the mortal realm, your Little Father lived in another place. Many things here were collected by him from that place.”
Jiang Moxi pouted. Wang Shijing reached out and rubbed his head. “Not telling you, is not because we don’t want you to know, but because this paradise is closely tied to your Little Father’s life. After descending, he became a mortal. If people find out about the existence of this paradise, your Little Father’s life will be in danger.”
Shao Yunan had just experienced a kidnapping and the children were still frightened. Now, with Wang Shijing’s explanation, the three children became immediately scared. Nizi was about to cry, saying, “What should we do, Father?”
“Father, I… I don’t know what to do.” Wang Qing didn’t know how to handle the situation. Jiang Moxi stared at Uncle Shijing, his lips pressed tightly.
Wang Shijing patted Wang Nizi’s head and said, “You’re still young. Your Little Father and I didn’t tell you this, because we’re worried that you might accidentally let it slip and bring irreparable trouble to your Little Father and our family.”
“I won’t say anything! Father! I won’t even if I die!” Wang Qing forcefully covered his mouth, determination in his eyes. Jiang Moxi also covered his mouth. He wouldn’t say anything. Wang Nizi looked at her older brother, then at her brother, and she also covered her mouth.
Wang Shijing became serious. “Qing, Moxi, Nizi, Father wants you to swear that you will never speak about this secluded paradise. Especially you, Qing and Nizi, you’re still young, but if you were to let it slip, your Little Father’s life would be at stake.”
“Father, I won’t say anything! Little Father doesn’t have any secluded paradise! I don’t know anything” Wang Qing raised his hand as if taking an oath. Jiang Moxi, “I won’t say anything.”
Upon hearing that Little Father’s life would be at stake, Nizi cried, “Father, Father, I won’t say anything. I don’t know. Little Father doesn’t have a paradise. I… I won’t eat tomatoes anymore.” She cried and handed the tomato back to her Father. Wang Qing also returned his tomato and Jiang Moxi stopped eating as well.
“Nizi, don’t cry.” Wang Shijing hugged his daughter tightly. “Father believes that none of you will say anything. Since you already know about this place, Little Father and I won’t hide it from you anymore. There are many things here that you won’t find outside. Things to eat, play with, and other useful things. Moxi, the Rubik’s Cube and the model ship given to you by your Uncle Yunan all come from here. The water you drink; the rice and flour you eat every day are also grown here.”
Wang Shijing handed Nizi and Wang Qing their tomatoes, pointing to the vast land and saying, “The food we eat at home is grown there.” He then pointed to the spiritual spring water. “That’s spiritual spring water. Drinking it strengthens the body. Moxi, you were able to recover so quickly because the water you drank was all spiritual spring water.”
After some thought, Wang Shijing decided not to mention the spiritual milk. Instead, he pointed to the only small hill in the space and said, “That’s the entrance to the paradise. You absolutely cannot go in there; otherwise, this paradise may be lost, and your Little Father might be harmed.”
“I won’t go in, and I won’t come here again.” Nizi was the first to shake her head anxiously. Wang Qing and Jiang Moxi also shook their heads forcefully. “We won’t go there.”
Wang Shijing patted Nizi’s head and didn’t mention whether he would bring them here in the future. That decision would be made by his wife. Wang Shijing then changed the subject and said, “Those tigers somehow knew that our water is good to drink. They drank up all the water we brought, but they didn’t mean any harm.”
Wang Qing remembered something and asked, “Father, after Little Father came, our water at home became especially sweet. Did Little Father give us the spiritual spring water back then?”
Wang Shijing nodded and said, “Father’s eye also regained its sight because of drinking the spiritual spring water.” Nizi looked up at her Father’s eyes and said, “Father’s eyes have a glow now. Before, there was no glow.”
“Without your Little Father, Father’s eye would have been blind by now.” Nizi’s eyes welled up with tears again and she hugged her Father tightly. “Father, I won’t say anything.”
“Hmm, Father believes you.”
“Father, I won’t tell Grandpa and Grandma either.”
“Uncle, I won’t say anything.”
“You’re all good children. Remember, even if you are among yourselves, you must never mention this place once we leave. It’s important to remember.”
“We won’t mention it!”
There was an additional person in the space, and the first one to notice was Jiang Moxi, who shouted, “Uncle Yunan!” Upon hearing this, Wang Qing, Nizi, and Wang Shijing immediately looked over. Nizi ran towards her Little Father after getting off her father’s legs. Wang Qing and Jiang Moxi also hurriedly followed. However, Wang Shijing stood up and walked towards the spiritual spring.
Nizi threw herself onto her Little Father and Shao Yunan bent down to pick her up. When Nizi saw his face, she was about to cry as she touched it with her hand, asking, “Little Father, why is your face injured?”
“Don’t cry, it’s nothing.” Shao Yunan reached out and rubbed Jiang Moxi’s and Wang Qing’s heads, who had also approached. The two children were about to cry when they saw his face.
“The water splashed on Little Father’s face and was licked by the greedy tigers. The tongues of tigers have barbs, so one lick can remove a layer of flesh.”
“Wife,” Wang Shijing walked over with a basin of spiritual spring water and a towel in his hand. “Come and wipe your face.”
“Okay.” After putting Nizi down, Shao Yunan washed his face with Wang Shijing’s help. He continued speaking. “Those three tigers won’t leave; they squat there and it seems they won’t leave until they’ve had enough to drink. I wondered how they knew about our spiritual spring water. After thinking about it, they must have been guarding that spot for a long time. When Moxi drank the water, they probably smelled it.”
After cleaning up a bit, Shao Yunan stopped washing and wiped his face with the towel. Wang Qing, feeling concerned, said, “Little Father, wash a little more, there’s still a wound.”
Shao Yunan replied, “No need to wash more. The injuries on Little Father’s face are useful. If there were no injuries, the person who kidnapped Little Father wouldn’t have been severely punished. It’s called a desperate move.” The three children didn’t fully understand and remained silent.
Handing the towel to Wang Shijing, Shao Yunan propped himself up on his knees, looked at the three children, and smiled. “As long as you understand that Little Father isn’t really hurt and the injuries on his face are meant to deceive others. The more severely injured Little Father’s face appears, the harsher the punishment the bad person will receive. Otherwise, he might not face any consequences because that bad person has influential backing.” Jiang Moxi immediately blurted out a word. “Duke!”
“Haha,” Shao Yunan playfully messed up Jiang Moxi’s hair, causing the child’s frown to loosen. “Exactly! Just like the Duke, they had influential backing. We are ordinary commoners and can’t confront them directly, so we can only use this method.”
Seeing the tomato marks on the faces of the three children and Jiang Moxi holding a tomato in his hand, Shao Yunan continued. “There are many delicious things in the wooden house over there. You can go and find them. But there are also many dangerous items near the platform over there, so don’t go there. Little Father will discuss with your father about the three tigers outside and we will come to pick you up later. Moxi, take Wang Qing and Wang Nizi over there.”
For Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan, Jiang Moxi Moxi was already considered their own child. Jiang Moxi held Nizi’s hand with one hand and gently pushed Wang Qing with the hand holding the tomato. “Go, go.”
Shao Yunan waved his hand and Wang Qing and Nizi followed their elder brother and left. When the children had gone far away, Shao Yunan asked in a low voice, “Shijing, how did you explain it?”
Wang Shijing earnestly explained his arguments to Shao Yunan, who immediately burst out laughing. “Shijing, you’re so talented! It was indeed a good idea to let you explain it. I never thought we could explain it like that.”
Wang Shijing, “…” Shao Yunan agreed with not telling the children about the Spiritual Milk. It wasn’t because he was afraid the children would consume it, but rather because that stuff was too extraordinary. For the children, this secret was much heavier than the concept of the space. It could be considered later, once they grew up.
“What about the tigers outside?” Wang Shijing thought for a moment and said, “How about trying to communicate with them? They are surprisingly intelligent, right?” Shao Yunan rolled his eyes. “They already ambushed us and you say they’re intelligent? Then you go.”
Wang Shijing accepted the task without complaint and said, “Okay, I’ll go talk to them. I’ll bring a basin of water.”
Wang Shijing filled a large basin with water and went out, followed by Shao Yunan. Inside the wooden house, the three children watched as their Father (Uncle Shijing) and Little Father (Uncle Yunan) suddenly disappeared, which was quite shocking.
Jiang Moxi was the first to snap out of it. He looked around and patted Wang Qing, saying, “Let’s find it.”
“…” Wang Nizi felt quite restrained, afraid of touching something she shouldn’t. Jiang Moxi pulled Nizi over and asked her to follow him. In fact, there was no need to search at all. All the snacks had already been gathered in one place.
Outside the space, three tigers stood with the largest one in the middle and the two cubs on either side. On the other side, Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan sat side by side, with a large basin of water in front of them.
The tails of the three tigers swished impatiently, indicating their restlessness. Just a moment ago, Wang Shijing said that if they pounced again, he and Shao Yunan would immediately hide and never come out again. It seemed that the big tiger understood Wang Shijing’s words and refrained from attacking.
Understanding would be the best outcome. Wang Shijing spoke solemnly. “Our water supply is limited and this is the last basin. If you accept, then drink. If you don’t accept it, we will take it back and there will be no more in the future.”
The big tiger wagged its tail and the two young tigers eagerly wanted to drink. Each of them received two swats from the big tiger’s tail, making them whimper pitifully. Shao Yunan said, “In the future, when we go up the mountain, we will bring water for you.”
The big tiger licked its crimson tongue and moistened its lips. It stood up, shook its fur, and then walked to the basin, bowing its head. The two young tigers cheered and pounced, but the basin was too small to fit the heads of the three big cats at the same time. The two young tigers couldn’t drink and anxiously circled around the big tiger.
The big tiger leisurely drank half of the basin, then stepped back. The remaining two young tigers started fighting again, but the big tiger ignored them. It glanced at Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan before walking to the side and lying down, flicking its tail contentedly. What does this mean? Shao Yunan looked at Wang Shijing, who gave him a calming look.
After the two young tigers finished fighting and drank the basin of spiritual spring water, the big tiger stood up and let out a roar. The two young tigers immediately stopped fighting and ran to the big tiger’s side. The big tiger glanced deeply at Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan, then leisurely walked into the depths of the forest together with the two young tigers.
“They finally left.” Shao Yunan sighed in relief. Wang Shijing asked, “Should we leave the children in the space or bring them out?”
“Let’s bring them out. There are dangerous items in the space and if neither of us is there. We don’t want anything to happen. It’s been a hectic morning. Let’s eat first, and then we can work.”
“Okay.” A pair of golden tiger eyes, concealed in the dense forest, observed as the two of them disappeared into thin air.
Edited by: Jaisland