Rui's life inside the school became better and better as time went by. With the help of Madame Lin he can't be called malnourished anymore. His handsome face can be clearly seen. Peach blossom gentle eyes, high pointed nose, thin lips and white skin. He has the gentle and scholarly appearance that everyone can't help but be comfortable around him. Although he is still rather short but it didn't cause anyone to bully him. After all everyone was trained to observe camaraderie and teamwork. That is the motto of the Lin Mercenary Clan. Moving and doing things as one. They need to build good relationship with everyone so they can coordinate well with each other during missions.
Everyday for Rui moves at a steady pace. Wake up, do morning exercises, clean up and eat, train in martial arts and clean up after Lin Xulian's mess. This girl is rather you but her pranks never failed to infuriate even the adults. In the end he always followed her either to save the unfortunate party or to apologize along the way. In the end he became the frequent victim of her pranks.
Sometimes he wonders if she's really three. Where did she get the ideas of her pranks. By the end of the day Rui always ends up with bruises, cuts or even drenched with some liquid he doesn't have any idea what its made with. When he tried to stealthy follow her, he discovered that her brother Huang helped her set up her traps following her every instructions like a loyal dog. 'No wonder. I'll stop saving everyone. I'll prioritize the children. They don't choose target after all.
When Lin Xulian saw that Rui tripped in her trap and ended up with a nosebleed, she stepped out on her hiding spot and approach him "Rui! It's you again? You fell for this kind trap five times already, it's becoming boring." Xulian pouted but still helped him up and wipe his blood stained face. This made Rui's face turn red.
"Maybe I'm just a bit clumsy. Also I am older than you so you should start calling me big brother (big brother could also be used to address the boy you admire in china)." But only Rui knew that he sacrificed himself so that the kid who was about to pass through the area they are currently in could be saved. Rui exchanged chores with him. But he doesn't want Xulian's effort to to waste and ruin her fun so he willingly fell victim. All for her amusement.
"Liar! I'm taller so I'm older!" This made Rui's expression stiffen. After meeting Xulian he became conscious of his height. During his life in the streets, his small stature is his ace in stealing. He could easily pass through any hole during escaping. But now this cause his self esteem to shatter.
"I haven't had anything healthy to eat before so I stopped growing." He tried to defend himself although rather weakly. But he tried to build his courage and said "But I will eat a lot from now on and grow taller than you!"
"That's decided then! When you become taller than me then I'll call you big brother." She hold out her pinky finger and they pinky promised. They grin at each other.
They grew up going the same pattern everyday. But Rui only occationally "fell for her traps" just for her amusement as usual. But when Xulian started training her martial arta at five, she could only seldom set up her traps. Seeing this, Rui "volunteered" to fall for those traps.
When Madame Lin started teaching her medicine at seven, Rui would sometimes listen to the current lesson she's working with, then he would "stage an accident" so she could practice what she learned on him. But when Xulian started learning about poison at ten, he took her to hunt then "accidentally" got poisoned and became Lin Xulian's guinea pig.
Seeing this, Madame Lin couldn't help but chastise Rui. "Rui, being poisoned is not a small matter. If Xulian isn't that talented and managed to detoxify your poison, we could only imagine the consequences. Those superficial injuries before, I can still tolerate but not this time. I know you did it intentionally. I appreciate that you are helping me train Xulian but stop using your own body and health as a sacrifice. You are my son too although not biologically. Please consider mother's feelings too, okay?"
'But I have nothing else except for this life of mine. I have nothing else to sacrifice to prove my feelings.' At the age of twelve, Rui already firmly confirmed the fact that he is in love with Lin Xulian. "Yes mother, this won't happen again."
Back to the present.
"It's decided then. No need to inform the emperor. He can't do anything against this benefactor of his! You are still tired big brother Rui. I will go pack your things for you. I don't know when will they send someone to fetch us. We should prepare earlier. Maybe we could still have time to explore the capital before the wedding." Lin Xulian then enthusiastically went off.
When Xulian disappeared from their sight, Master Lin then said "Rui, we knew about your feelings with Lian'er. The truth is we wanted Lian'er to develop some feelings for you but you know the heart has a mind of its own. You better work harder this time. Xulian said she doesn't have any romantic feelings towards Feng Jun Yi. You should use this chance. I know your love will make Lian'er happy." Rui was quite startled. 'Was I that obvious?'.
"Yes father. But don't worry. I'll respect Xulian's decision no matter what it is. All I had to do right now is work hard."