Qing unlocked the door to his apartment and then held it open. "After you."
"T-Thank you." Sitri bowed her head and then walked inside, her silver hair trailing behind her. At the same time, the coat that Qing handed to her earlier shifted, revealing her bare skin.
Qing's eyes lingered on her form for a moment before he sighed and followed after her, closing the door behind him.
Sitri sniffed and then glanced over at the living room on the left. After that, she turned back and said, "Do you live with other women?"
Qing locked the door and said, "No. I live alone."
Sitri frowned. "Then do you like using perfume?"
"Like using-?" Qing paused and then walked over to the living room. When he did, he caught a brief whiff of flowery scents. A bit of sakura petals, some peach blossoms, and then... roses?
It was faint, but it definitely lingered in the air.
Qing let out a long sigh and ran his hand through his black hair. "This is going to take months to air out..." He shook his head and then walked over to the window and opened it a crack, letting in some fresh air.
Sitri shivered from the breeze and wrapped her borrowed coat tighter around her body.
Qing noticed and frowned. "Bear with it a moment, would you? And feel free to make yourself comfortable on the couch."
"Y-Yes." Sitri nodded and walked over to the couch, sitting down.
Qing moved over to the kitchen area and rummaged around his drawers. Or rather, he made a show of rummaging around. In truth, he used it to cover up pulling out some incense sticks from his spatial ring.
After taking out an incense burner, he placed it along the countertop and then placed the incense sticks inside. With that done, he pulled out a lighter and lit the incense.
Almost immediately, after, a calming scent spread throughout the apartment. Not quite floral, not quite herbal. A strange scent that seemed to be a mix of both and also gave off the feeling of floating amidst the waves, reminiscent of a brilliant blue sea.
Of course, that was to be expected of the incense that used to be offered to the Divine Azure Dragon.
Now with a nostalgic scent in the air, Qing felt the headache that had been building up over the last few days start to fade. There was still the problem with the strange young woman that he picked up, but now at least he was in the mood to deal with it in a rational mind.
With a faint smile on his face, Qing turned towards Sitri and said, "Would you like anything to drink? Tea, coffee? And would you like some food?"
Sitri shook her head. "I'm fine, Mister. I'm not that-"
Before she could finish, a low rumble echoed from her stomach.
Sitri blushed and ducked inside her borrowed coat.
Qing's smile widened and he said, "At least your stomach is honest."
"...Sorry." Sitri mumbled and then huddled into the corner of the couch, turning around to look at Qing.
He was mindful of her gaze, but he ignored her and walked over to the refrigerator to look inside.
His previous guests had gone through his stock of groceries, but there was some leftover ground beef and a few random vegetables left. There was also some chicken broth in the pantry and he should have some rice as well...
It wasn't the most glamorous of meals, but it should be good for a young woman that had been wandering about in the cold all day with barely any clothes on.
Qing pulled out the ingredients and went to work preparing the food. At the same time, he started a kettle of jasmine tea.
Pouring some water into a pot, Qing glanced over at Sitri and said, "My apologies for the delayed introduction, but I am Qing Long. Could I have your name, Miss?"
"M-Miss?" Sitri's eyes widened and she shook her head. "It's fine, Mister. I'm just... You can call me Sitri, Mister Long."
"Miss Sitri then." Qing nodded and started chopping some radishes for the soup broth. "Now, would you mind telling me why a beautiful young woman like yourself was dressed so provocatively in a public place?"
"Ah, that's..." Sitri mumbled and trailed off.
Qing scooped the chopped radishes into the pot and then said, "I'm afraid I can't quite hear you."
Sitri turned red and then said, "I was kicked out of the house, okay?! My stupid parents said that it'd be easy for someone like me to take over a place if I dressed like this and then threw me out without any clothes." She huffed and said, "Just because mom did it doesn't mean I can. Stupid parents."
"I... see." Qing didn't, but he knew better than to question a distraught young woman.
Sitri pulled her knees up to her chest and then said, "What did they expect me to do? It's not my fault I don't know how to be a proper Demon Lord! Just because *they're* good at everything doesn't mean I'm going to be good at the same things!"
"Yes. That is true."
"Right?!" Sitri jumped off of the couch and then grabbed her chest. "I mean, look at these! Do you know how hard it is living with these? Men always stare at them and then think I'm an airhead and all of my shirts have to be tailor made!"
Qing placed the rest of the ingredients into the pot. When he did, he placed the pot onto the stovetop and turned on the heat.
And since he was a terrible cook, he secretly placed some formations down to ensure it would result in at least an above average meal.
Afterwards, he grabbed the tea kettle and subtly sped up the simmering since Sitri clearly needed something to calm her down. As he did though, Qing said, "That seems like quite the predicament."
"It is!" Sitri huffed and then said, "Just because I have a body like Mom's doesn't mean I'm good at or want to seduce men!" She crossed her arms and then spoke in a lower tone, imitating someone. "Oh, but Sweetie, you're a natural. Men will be falling all over you if you just give them a wink." She threw her hand to the side and said, "Like hell I'm a natural!"
Qing poured a cup of tea out and then walked over to Sitri. "Tea?"
"A-Ah." Sitri blinked and then nodded. "Thank you."
"You are welcome."
Sitri sat back down and then took a sip of the tea. As she did, her body relaxed and she let out a content sigh.
In the meantime, Qing went to close the window.
...As he did, he could have sworn he caught sight of someone that looked similar to John running around the streets below in a panic. But since that person vanished before Qing could get a better look, and since Qing had decided to chuck all of his concerns to the side since he had checked out for the day, he decided to ignore it.
"...Thank you for helping me, Mister Long."
Qing turned around and smiled. "As I said before, you are welcome."
Sitri let out a bright smile and then continued drinking her tea.
Qing grabbed a cup from the kitchen and poured himself some tea as well before taking a seat across from Sitri.
Sitri stared at Qing and then said, "Um... Do you mind if I ask you a question, Mister Long?"
"It is fine to call me Qing, Miss Sitri."
"Q-Qing then." Sitri nodded, a faint blush on her face. Twirling her silver hair a bit, she said, "Do you... have anyone you're interested in?"
Qing paused to consider the question.
Anyone he was interested in... That was an odd question to ask him, but he might as well humor her.
"If I have to think about it... I suppose the only person who I am interested in at the moment is you, Miss Sitri."
"E-Eh?" Sitri's eyes widened, revealing glittering crimson irises. "M-Me?"
A beautiful young woman that appeared all of a sudden that went unseen and unheard by all the mortals in the area with such a provocative body on full display. Not only that, but one that proclaimed herself as a 'Demon Lord' and said that she tried to enslave him while clearly being nothing more than a normal human...
Interesting. She was definitely interesting.
But more importantly...
Qing's eyes grew sharp as he stared at Sitri.
She gasped and turned a deep red. "M-Mister Long? I mean, Qing?"
Qing set his cup down and laced his fingers together, staring at Sitri. "May I presume that you are lacking both a place to stay and a means to provide for yourself at the moment, Miss Sitri?"
"Y-Yes?" Sitri shifted, suddenly looking guilty. "Um... if you're worried about me paying you back... I don't have anything valuable on me, but..." She blushed and fiddle with the leather strap on her chest.
Qing smirked. "Excellent. Then you can pay me back with your body."
Sitri froze, her blush spreading down her face. "T-That's... I mean... G-Give a girl a moment to-"
Qing reached into his pocket and pulled out a contract and a pen, handing both to Sitri.
Qing smiled. "An employment contract. I am in desperate need of a secretary, you see. Ah, and have no fear. I will be sure to educate you properly on your duties."
"D-Duties? Educate?" Sitri blinked and then started reading the papers. "...Myth Incorporated? Idol group?"
Qing nodded. "That is correct. And in exchange, I will provide you with lodging, the appropriate paperwork, and a salary for you to gather resources until you find a place for yourself." He let out a faint smile and said, "A perfect exchange, would you not agree?"
A deep gasp.
But Qing didn't notice, too lost in his thoughts.
Truly, it was a godsend.
Sitri was a bit strange, but she seemed to have a decent enough head on her shoulders.
...Then again, Qing was pretty much at the end of his rope already.
It would have been a hassle to find a person to hire as his secretary as well as go through a screening process to find someone who wouldn't point out anything odd, but considering that Sitri didn't have a background and needed someone to rely on, he could count on her keeping any odd details to herself.
Not only that, but since he had gone out of his way to help her in her vulnerable time of need like John usually did with women, then he was sure that she would feel indebted to him as well.
Before Qing could finish his thoughts he suddenly found himself pinned against the couch.
He blinked and realized that Sitri was leaning over him, her face a deep red and her breath ragged.
Qing frowned and then subtly swept his spiritual sense through her body. From the way she was acting, it seemed like she had injested an aphrodasiac of some sort... but he couldn't detect anything odd in her body. And he was certain that what he gave her was simple jasmine tea, so it couldn't be that...
Sitri let out a raspy sigh and said, "I guess Mom was right. Looks like I might be a natural after all?"
"Just shut up and kiss me already, you stupid, sexy, kind, suave- Aaargh! Whatever!"
"Miss- W-Wait one moment! And why are you taking that off?!"
Back at Bai's studio apartment.
Since Eri had come around, the place had been tidied up and looked more like a proper living area than the disheveled bachelor pad that he had been living in.
It had also been properly furnished, now with a desk, a pair of chairs, and a bed.
Seated at the desk, Bai paused in the middle of writing an email back to Googol about the latest errors in the livestreams.
Eri glanced over from beside Bai and said, "Is something wrong?"
Bai shook his head. "No, just..." He let out a deep sigh and said, "I'm suddenly remembering why my bro's been a virgin for his entire life..."