Top Star Agent Chapter 4

In the village within C CITY, the narrow corridor was densely packed with three households on each side. The rent for a room was only two hundred a month, mostly occupied by those who ran stalls near the university.

The corridor was cluttered with all sorts of items, including a tricycle used for selling buns, making it difficult to navigate.

"Miss Xiang, you're here to visit Ning Yang's mom again!" The middle-aged woman sitting at the door picking vegetables greeted Xiang QingWei warmly. Her family sold buns.

"Yes, Auntie Zhou." Xiang QingWei responded with a smile.

"You're looking so pretty today!" Auntie Zhou complimented sincerely.

Xiang QingWei smiled back, "Auntie Zhou, you seem to be getting younger."

Auntie Zhou, holding vegetables, laughed till she shook like a leaf.

"Ah... Ah ah!" Ning Yang's mom happily lifted a pot from the ground to a table supported by wooden planks, gesturing excitedly with her hands.

Then, seeing the two bags of fruit Xiang QingWei was carrying, she anxiously made several gestures, indicating Xiang QingWei shouldn't have brought anything, before grabbing Xiang QingWei's wrist and leading her inside.

She was thin, but her hands, hardened by years of labor, were exceptionally strong.

Auntie Zhou's voice came from outside, "Oh, Miss Xiang, coming here makes Ning Yang's mom the happiest!"

It was only three in the afternoon, but the room was already pitch dark, as the houses here had poor lighting and needed lights on even during the day.

Ning Yang's mom turned on the light, invited Xiang QingWei to sit, and busied herself with pouring tea and washing the fruit.

Xiang QingWei, familiar with the place, placed the fruit in the corner and sat at the table, watching Ning Yang's mom bustling around.

Ning Yang's mom was deaf and mute, unable to hear or speak, but her face radiated joy from every wrinkle.

Despite the simplicity of the room, every time Xiang QingWei visited, it was clean and tidy. Ning Yang's guitar was prominently displayed on the wall, immediately visible upon entering. That guitar, obviously not cheap, was probably the most expensive item in the modest room.

"Ah, ah ah."

The sound from Ning Yang's mom drew Xiang QingWei's gaze away from the guitar. She took the peeled apple handed to her and then pulled out a chair for her.

"Ah ah." Ning Yang's mom sat down beside her, her face brimming with happiness as she watched her. Suddenly remembering something, she started to reach for her notebook, which she always used to communicate.

Xiang QingWei stopped her and then started using sign language:

-- You can use sign language; I can understand.

Ning Yang's mom looked at her in surprise and then asked through sign language when she had learned it.

-- I learned from a teacher recently.

Xiang QingWei explained, signing awkwardly and slowly as she had only been learning for a month and her vocabulary was still limited.

But Ning Yang's mom understood, her face filled with emotion as she rapidly signed many gestures.

Xiang QingWei could only half understand, but the meaning was clear: she was touched.

-- You haven't come for a long time.

Ning Yang's mom signed.

-- I've been very busy with work recently.

Xiang QingWei slowly signed back, then asked Ning Yang's mom if Ning Yang still practiced guitar every day.

Ning Yang's mom glanced at the guitar on the wall and signed with a bit of worry:

-- He's been playing less recently, too busy with work.

Although Ning Yang's mom was deaf and mute, she continued to learn, could read and write, and seeing Xiang QingWei learning sign language, she wrote on paper for her while teaching her.

When Ning Yang came back, he saw Xiang QingWei helping his mom with the vegetables and chatting and laughing with Auntie Zhou across the way.

Aunt Zhou first spotted Ning Yang standing there: "Ah, Ning Yang is back! Why are you home so early today?"

Xiang QingWei looked up to see a cool and distant young man, with a backpack slung over one shoulder, staring at her coldly: "Why are you here again? I told you not to bother us anymore."

Before Xiang QingWei could respond, Aunt Zhou spoke up: "Oh, Ning, how can you speak like that? Miss Xiang came specially to see your mother. Don't be like that, it's so impolite." Her words were full of disapproval.

Ning Yang's mother, anxious, gestured to Ning Yang in sign language, indicating he shouldn't act this way.

"It's okay," Xiang QingWei casually wiped the water stains on her dress and stood up, then signed to Ning Yang's mom: "Auntie, I'm leaving now. I'll come to see you again next time."

Ning Yang paused for a moment upon seeing Xiang QingWei's sign language.

Ning Yang's mother stood up in a hurry, grabbed her hand, and gestured for her to stay for a meal before leaving.

"I can't this time, I'll come for a meal next time." Xiang QingWei slowly signed back, then went inside to grab her bag and said to Aunt Zhou: "Well, Aunt Zhou, I'm leaving now."

"Ah, stay for a meal before you go!" Aunt Zhou also tried to keep Xiang QingWei, glancing at Ning Yang, she added: "If you don't mind, you can have a bite at my place too."

"No, I have plans tonight. I totally lost track of time chatting with you all." Xiang QingWei said with a slight smile, then signed to Ning Yang's mother, "I'm leaving now, take care of yourself."

Ning Yang's mother looked at her sadly and gestured: Then come by when you have time. Auntie welcomes you.

Xiang QingWei smiled and nodded, then glanced at Ning Yang, who was silently standing aside and walked away with her bag.

Ning Yang's mother, frustrated, slapped Ning Yang's hand and went inside.

Silently, Ning Yang picked up a pot filled with half-picked vegetables from the ground and followed her inside, only to see two bags of fruit in the corner. He frowned, placed his backpack on a chair, and took the two bags of fruit outside.

Xiang QingWei hadn't gone far when Ning Yang caught up to her.

He stood a meter away, extending his hand with the two bags of fruit: "Your stuff, take it."

Xiang QingWei looked at him, her tone cool: "This is for Auntie, not for you. You have no right to tell me to take it."

Ning Yang said coldly: "She doesn't need it."

"I heard from Auntie that you haven't been playing the guitar much lately," Xiang QingWei said.

Caught off guard by the sudden change in topic, he paused, then frowned: "That's none of your business."

Xiang QingWei looked at him earnestly: "You have such great talent, why not cherish and make the most of it? Seeing Yang Zhiheng on TV, who has no talent at all, thriving by stealing your talent, doesn't it make you feel indignant? Or do you think working as a waiter in a restaurant is the only way to realize your self-worth?"

Ning Yang's lips tightened, and he looked at her coldly: "Aren't you the same? You just want to use me too."

Xiang QingWei's clear eyes gazed deeply at him, then she said solemnly: "I just don't want to see a pearl covered in dust."

Ning Yang's lips pressed tightly together.

"Aren't your arms tired from holding them up so long?" Xiang QingWei suddenly said, looking at his hands still holding up the two bags of fruit.

Ning Yang's expression stiffened slightly, and he silently switched hands but still extended them forward: "Take it." He paused: "And don't come back again."

"I won't take anything, but I'll still come back." Xiang QingWei smiled, a smile that even had a hint of mischief as if to say you can't do anything about me: "As long as you haven't agreed, I won't give up."

Ning Yang stood rigid for a moment, then suddenly bent down to place the fruit on the ground, and coldly said, "Whatever," before turning around and leaving.

Xiang QingWei watched him leave, then looked down at the two bags of fruit that were disdained, sighed softly, and muttered to herself: "Zhuge Liang succeeded after only three visits; I've been here more than ten times, truly more demanding than Zhuge Liang." After saying this, she didn't bother with the two bags of fruit on the ground and turned to leave.

She said she wouldn't take them, and she didn't.

Ning Yang walked to the door, hesitated for a moment, then turned back for a glance. Xiang QingWei's graceful figure disappeared around the corner, leaving the two bags of fruit he had placed on the ground alone.

He frowned slightly.

Aunt Zhou couldn't hold back any longer and finally burst out: "Look, Ning, I think Miss Xiang is a good person. Don't be so hostile every time she comes over, speaking coldly and harshly.

Ah, I don't understand. Miss Xiang is beautiful, has a great temperament, and what a figure she's got everything where it counts, her personality is top-notch, and she's so patient with your mom! She never comes empty-handed, and look, she even learned sign language, especially for your mom!

Where else are you going to find a girl as good as Miss Xiang? So what if she's a bit older than you? Isn't it trendy now to have a younger man in a relationship? It's fine for a girl to be a bit older, right? Don't you think I'm making sense?"

Ning Yang tried to interrupt several times but couldn't find the right moment until Aunt Zhou finished in one breath. His cool face flushed slightly: "Auntie, you've misunderstood. It's not what you think between her and me." After saying this, he went into the house.

"It's not what I think, then what is it?" Aunt Zhou's voice followed him: "You really should treasure her! Missing out on someone like Miss Xiang, you'll regret it for the rest of your life!"

Ning Yang, suppressing the sudden shame welling up inside, entered the house to find his mother sitting at the table, wiping away tears.

"Mom." He hurried over, signing anxiously, "Why are you crying? Are you feeling unwell?"

His sign language, learned from a young age, was fast and precise.

Ning Yang's mother let out two hurried and short cries, then turned her face away, refusing to look at him.

Ning Yang knew his mother was upset with him for driving Xiang QingWei away earlier.

He fell silent suddenly, stopped talking, and after a while, he quietly got up, picked the remaining vegetables from the basin, and started to cook.

He prepared the meal, and they ate in silence.

Suddenly, a voice from outside called, "Hey! Who left these two bags of fruit here?!"

His mother, unable to hear, had no reaction.

Ning Yang paused in the middle of eating.

His mother looked up at him, questioning with her eyes.

He suddenly stood up and walked outside: "Uncle Zhang, they're mine."

"Why would you leave fruit out here?" Uncle Zhang, who lived in another unit selling fried potatoes, came over with the fruit and handed it to Ning Yang.

Ning Yang thanked him and brought the fruit inside.

His mother recognized the two bags of fruit and immediately put down her chopsticks to gesture.

"I understand, Mom. I'm full now, I'll go to my room." After signing, Ning Yang went into his room.

There were two rooms in total; the outer one served as the living room, dining room, and Ning Yang's mother's bedroom, while Ning Yang's bedroom was inside.

He lay on the bed, staring at the ceiling, his mind full of Xiang QingWei's words.

She said she just didn't want to see a pearl covered in dust.

In her eyes, was he a pearl that could shine?

But someone told him he was nothing.

Ning Yang turned over, his gaze landing on the guitar hanging on the wall of the outer room.

She asked him if he was content.

He couldn't help but question himself in his heart.

Was he content?


Zhuge Liang:An outstanding military strategist in ancient China.

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