“Good morning Mrs. Mu. You’re here to visit the children again?”
“Mrs. Mu is beautiful and kind. Mr. Mu is blessed to have a wife like you…”
In the clean and bright corridor of the pediatrics inpatient department, the graceful and noble Mrs. Mu wore a Chinese styled gown. She had no makeup on and she smiled faintly. She appeared to be only twenty years old, but the pair of gentle and peaceful eyes slightly revealed her true experience. A friendly looking middle-aged woman was behind Mrs. Mu. She glanced at the noble woman in respect.
All the doctors and nurses that encountered the two all placed their work down in unison, greeting them. Mrs. Mu slightly nodded at them in response, noble and polite. After they passed by, there was a burst of whispers. Mrs. Mu acted like she didn’t hear, however. She walked gracefully and unhurriedly.
She just passed by the emergency room when she heard hurried footsteps heading towards her.
“Emergency patient! Please move out of the way, move out of the way!” A nurse made way as a few doctors and nurses hastily pushed a bed towards the operating room.
Mrs. Mu and the middle-aged woman behind her moved out of the way. Whilst in a hurry, they vaguely saw a small and weak child lying on the hospital bed with bruises all over their limbs, their legs bent unnaturally, and his chest rose up and down weakly.
Mrs. Mu was used to being with the children in the hospital. Seeing the child’s tragic condition, she couldn’t help but feel bad, her gaze unconsciously landing on the child’s face. Then, her eyes widened and her calm expression immediately crumbled. “Xiao Qi!” Her legs weakened and she almost fell on the ground.
“Madam!” The middle-aged woman turned pale with fright and hurriedly supported Mrs. Mu.
“What happened? Xiao Qi, Xiao Qi!” Mrs. Mu shook the middle-aged woman’s hand away and staggered while chasing after the hospital bed.
“Mrs. Mu, Mrs. Mu, what’s the matter?” Seeing Mrs. Mu’s emotional state, one of the nurses pushing the hospital bed stopped her. “This child is in danger; he needs surgery immediately. Please calm down.”
“He’s my son!” Mrs. Mu held her hand tightly and asked, “How did this happen? What happened to him?”
The nurse’s expression became strange. “He’s your son? You’re sure?”
Mrs. Mu said angrily, “Do you think I can’t recognize my son?”
The nurse froze before saying, “But, but there’s no way he’s your son! His name is Hu Yixi and he’s six years old, a resident in alley three of the Jiang Village. He’s an orphan and he lives with his grandmother, Hu Lijiao. We all recognize him…”
Mrs. Mu’s exquisite brows furrowed. Hearing that the other party wasn’t her son, Mu Yiqi, her reason quickly returned. “...Please explain in detail.”
Sounds of the medical equipment like the ECG and oxygen detectors rang in a regular rhythm within this single-person ward, contrasting the suffocating silence. Mrs. Mu sat by the bed and stared at the motionless and pale child lying in bed, frozen.
This was a six years old boy, but he seemed like he was only three or four; he was fragile and weak to the point he would crumble down with a pinch. He wore an almost identical face to Mrs. Mu’s son, Mu Yiqi, only slightly different. Mrs. Mu was overly concerned before that she thought he was Mu Yiqi. Now that she took a closer look, as a mother, she could distinguish some differences between the two.
Mrs. Mu couldn’t help but think of the boy’s information that she got from the nurse.
His mother got pregnant with him before marriage and details of his father were unknown. After she had given birth to him, she tossed him to his grandmother, Hu Lijiao, before leaving for good. He had never been to school. His grandmother normally beat or scolded him on a daily basis. After she got drunk, she was even abusive towards him. Social workers had wanted to help him many times, but the little boy was unwilling to leave his only relative. He was a regular patient in the hospital, always getting treatment for domestic violence. This time, he had been severely injured, worse than any other times. He almost died; with a concussion, broken legs and ribs, as well as all sorts of big and small injuries, he was like a broken doll.
Mrs. Mu loved and was patient towards children. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have entered the hospital frequently as a volunteer within the pediatric department. Besides feeling pity towards Hu Yixi, there was also an unknown emotion within her.
This was because she knew about the child.
Mrs. Mu’s real name was Fang Zhen. She and her husband, Mu Jiurong, were married in order to strengthen business ties. In the beginning, the two didn’t really feel much for each other. Before marriage, although Mu Jiurong wasn’t a playboy, he had frequent flings. Men had needs. Even more, because of Mu Jiurong’s busy work, he didn’t have the time or energy to build a relationship. Therefore, he vented his desires through means of business transactions. Fang Family understood and accepted his decision. Besides, Mu Jiurong had handled and cut off his flings before marriage in order to show the importance he placed in the marriage. As a result, there was nothing the Fang Family could nitpick anyway. They believed that this was all gains and no loses.
What a pity that they neglected one thing. Hu Qin was Mu Jiurong’s last fling. Not only did she successfully scheme him and became pregnant with his child, she also went to find Fang Zhen three days before the engagement ceremony.
Fang Zhen was born to a noble and prestigious family. She had experienced countless scenes like this. A petty woman like Hu Qin thought she was being intelligent by driving a wedge between Fang Zhen and Mu Jiurong, but it was worth nothing in her eyes. Fang Zhen had someone hold Hu Qin down without hesitation and handed this matter over to Mu Jiurong.
Mu Jiurong was arrogant and conceited, never placing his flings in his eyes. Who knew that he had suffered by his own hands in the end, schemed by this woman. One could tell how furious he was. He had no feelings towards Hu Qin at all, nor did he feel anything towards his unborn child. He knew that the moment he kept this child, he’d be leaving a threat for the family he created with Fang Zhen. Without a second thought, after he received Hu Qin from Fang Zhen, he arranged for a doctor to abort Hu Qin’s baby. Then, he’d send her away with a huge sum of money.
Hu Qin escaped from the hospital and then there had been no news of her; rather, even if there were news, Mrs. Mu would know nothing about it. But with the latter’s understanding of her husband, there was no way Hu Qin could gain anything from Mu Jiurong anymore. He always took revenge and his heart was hard like steel. Hu Qin had offended him multiple times, so he was already being generous for not killing her. Even if Hu Qin really gave birth to the child, the result was still the same time. Mu Jiurong wouldn’t acknowledge this innocent and unlucky child, nor would the Mu Family.
Mrs. Mu hadn’t deliberately thought about the child, but her lack of action could’ve led to the death of a newborn or an innocent child’s misfortune. She couldn’t accept this idea, especially after her two children, Mu Yixi and Mu Yixuan were born successively. Mrs. Mu was passionate towards children and wanted to be virtuous for her children too.
Six years later, Mrs. Mu encountered the misfortuned Hu Yixi. She didn’t need any investigation to know that he was the child Hu Qin was pregnant with back then. Mrs. Mu felt as though this was destiny.
The cycle of cause and effect.
Mrs. Mu felt suffocated as she stared at Mu Yiqi’s body full of injuries and his face similar to that of her son’s.
She hesitated as she reached over and gently caressed his small face. “I...am very sorry…”
As though responding to her words, the little boy slightly trembled before gradually opening his eyes. Mrs. Mu’s beautiful face reflected in his pitch-black eyes.
He hoarsely called out, “Mom…”