Baili Chao had enough once and for all. He stood in the courtyard of Yun Bei Fen’s house, arms akimbo, and stared at the door that hadn’t budged in the past few years.
"Yun. Bei. Fen. You come out here right now!"
From inside another bout of silence answered him as if Yun Bei Fen was really very, very absorbed in his cultivation.
Baili Chao frowned. "Don’t think I wouldn’t know that you’re hiding from Mei Chao Bing in there! I don’t care what happened between the two of you but you’ll come out this instance!"
Inside, Yun Bei Fen cracked his eyes open and looked at the door, his face scrunching up. He couldn’t go out! What if senior martial brother Mei still remembered that kiss?! He couldn’t let that happen!
"Yun Bei Fen! I’m your Master, for Heaven’s sake! You’re supposed to listen to me!"
Yun Bei Fen pursed his lips. His Master had always been lenient. Why did he have to be so strict when it came to this?
"Yun Bei Fen!" Baili Chao knocked on the door. "Open the door! If you don’t, I’ll do it for you!"
Yun Bei Fen finally stopped pretending to be dead. "That’s mean!"
"Hmph! That’s mean? How many years have you secluded yourself? I took in a cute little boy and an adorable youth ran in there. Now tell me, what will I get when you come out there today?"
"Nothing! I won’t come out! You can’t force me! Let me continue cultivating. Other Masters would be happy if their disciples were as hardworking as yours!"
Baili Chao paused. Uh. Right. Other Masters would be extremely happy about this. Why was he making such a —
Baili Chao’s eyes flew open. This child! He had actually made him waver! "Don’t you even try that! Whatever you say you will come out today. Sect Master Zhang issued a task for the whole sect. Every Elder will bring one or two disciples to participate in a large mission. All your senior martial brothers are away right now so you’ll have to take part. There’s no way around this."
Yun Bei Fen furrowed his brows. Why had something like this had to happen now of all times? "Then … What about senior martial brother Mei?"
Baili Chao furrowed his brows, lifted his leg and kicked the door open. "I dare you to say that again!" He pointed right at Yun Bei Fen’s nose.
Yun Bei Fen withered and retracted his neck. He definitely wouldn’t say anything! He would be very, very silent. Then his Master couldn’t be angry.
Baili Chao huffed and took a good look at his disciple. Seeing him again was bittersweet. The adorable youth had turned into a beautiful young man. Ah, how come his little disciple had already matured so much? Hadn’t he just found him in that Xiao Xi town yesterday?
He sighed and went over to pat Yun Bei Fen’s head. "Now, now. Don’t look at your Master like that. It’s not that I want to force you to do anything but the Sect Master already issued the command and you can’t run away forever. Whatever happened between you and that Mei Chao Bing there’ll be a way to set it right. Wouldn’t that be much better than hiding from him the whole time?"
Yun Bei Fen nodded obediently. His Master was right about that. It was just … he was too afraid. What if senior martial brother Mei didn’t forgive him? What was he supposed to do then?
Baili Chao sighed again when he saw his disciple like this. "What in Heaven’s name happened back then that has you so worried? It can’t be that bad, can it?"
Yun Bei Fen shook his head. He didn’t want to talk about this!
Baili Chao didn’t intend to let him go this easily though. He bent down and gently pulled his ear. "Will you talk now or not?"
"Master!" Yun Bei Fen’s eyes teared up, instantly defeating any momentum his Master had managed to build up.
Baili Chao took his hand back and sat down next to him. "Alright, alright. Master won’t pull your ear. But I’m your Master. Who will you talk to about this if not me?"
"But I —"
"Ah!" Baili Chao pointed at his disciple’s nose again. "You have to talk about it. How else will you solve the problem?"
"Uh …" Yun Bei Fen looked away. His face very honestly displayed the thought 'find another place to hide' though.
Baili Chao really wanted to sigh again but held back at the last moment. He couldn’t give his disciple the impression he was already resigning himself to not finding out. No! This was the moment where he should stay hard and press on until his disciple told him.
He stared at him intently until Yun Bei Fen couldn’t take it any longer.
"Alright, alright, I’ll tell you! But you can’t get mad and you can’t tell anyone either!"
Baili Chao frowned. "Did you forget who you’re speaking to? I’m your Master, not some gossip monger. Who would I tell about it? Sect Master Zhang?" He tried to imagine how he went over there and told him whatever embarrassing story his disciple had experienced. He shuddered. No, he definitely wouldn’t talk about this with that guy!
Yun Bei Fen pursed his lips. "Who’s afraid of the Sect Master? What if you tell my senior martial brothers? Or go and talk to senior martial brother Mei?"
"Why would I go and talk to him? Isn’t this for you to get over it and go see him again?"
"Ah! Don’t say that!" Yun Bei Fen covered his face with his hands. Honestly, he had felt bad back then but he had only thought to stay in seclusion for a few days or maybe weeks. But the longer he secluded himself and the older he got, the more he felt that what he had done was unforgivable. How could he have kissed his senior martial brother Mei?!
Baili Chao cleared his throat and tugged at Yun Bei Fen’s sleeve. "Fen’er, don’t be like this. Come on, tell your Master what happened already."
Yun Bei Fen slightly lowered his hands and looked over his fingers, his eyes wide with shock at the memory. "I went to see how he was doing and I was so happy when I saw he was alright that I hugged him and then … then … we somehow kissed."
When he said it out loud for the first time not only his face flushed bright red but his ears also changed color.
Baili Chao stared back at him dumbly. Wait. What had he just heard?