163 – Crouching Azure Dragon
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Qing rubbed the bridge of his nose and then glared at the woman in front of him. "Have you calmed down yet?"

"...Yes, Master."

"And stop calling me that!"

"Of course, Master."

Qing let out a deep sigh and sat back down on his chair.

He was in his office. His clothes were a mess, he had marks all over his neck, and the furniture was completely destroyed.

...He was also certain that he'd be getting noise complaints from the neighbors tomorrow morning.

And all of that was because of the troublesome silver-haired beauty in front of him.

Sitri was lying on the ground. Ropes bound her arms and legs behind her while Qing had tossed a blanket to cover her exposed body after what little clothing she had left ripped apart in her rather 'bold' advance.

Qing glanced at the door and then quickly put up some formations to stop people from entering or eavesdropping. Because after all the mess he'd gone through already, he was *not* about to deal with the awkward questions of why he had a foreign beauty tied up on his floor with the room completely ripped apart.

Sitri wiggled and then said, "Are you just going to keep standing there, Master?"

"Again, stop that. But yes. I am."

"Then could you untie me? This is pretty uncomfortable... Unless you like this sort of thing? Mom said that men liked dominating women, so-"

Qing groaned. "Please. Stop. And I will untie you if you promise to not try and straddle me again. Or call me Master."

"...But I like being owned..."

...Qing had to admit. Perhaps he was wrong about John. He had thought the man to be a bit crazy in the past and far too extreme, but if this was the sort of thing he dealt with on a daily basis back in the Three Realms, it was a miracle he was as calm as he was right now.

Maybe he should send a gift to Mistress Yue as well for managing to reign in the women around him...

"Master Qing?"

"Miss Sitri. *Please* stop that."

Sitri pouted and then sighed. "Fine, fine. But can you please untie me? My legs are starting to tingle, and not in a good way."

Qing nodded and then waved his hand, banishing the ropes. But he didn't put down his guard.

While Sitri might have lost whatever supernatural powers she supposedly possessed as a Demon Lord or Demon, it didn't change the fact that she possessed a terrifying physique that could pin Qing down if he wasn't careful.

That was something he learned firsthand.

Sitri huffed and slowly got to her feet. As she did, she bent over to massage her thighs, causing the blanket to shift and reveal her bare form.

Qing glanced away, but he kept his guard up, straining his senses to their max in case Sitri tried to jump on him again.

"Tch." Sitri clicked her tongue and said, "You can relax, Mister Long. I can tell when I'm not wanted."

Qing shook his head. "That's not true-"

"Then are you really gay? Or are you really a girl? Because I'm pretty sure that any man in their right mind would eat a willing beauty like me trying that hard, you know?" Sitri pouted and then glanced down at her chest, slowly turning around. "Or am I not your type...?"

Qing coughed, pointedly averting his gaze away from Sitri's... assets. Both front and back. "It isn't that. I have to admit, Miss Sitri is indeed quite beautiful but-"

"But what?" Sitri stuck out her bottom lip and pouted. "That was really embarrassing you know! I'm not an easy woman!" She turned red and looked away. "...Or at least I thought I wasn't... But maybe Mom was right."

Qing let out a deep sigh.

...What was the saying again? Like drew together like? Or was this the result of the karmic bond that Qing shared with John?

Having his grandfather chopped up for soup, being captured in a timeless void, forced into a soul contract to work for John and handle all of his troubles...

Actually, laying it out like that made John seem like a pretty terrible person... And he was, but at least he tried to be good? Or he was a good person now?

...Qing felt like he was trying to persuade himself into believing a lie, but he decided to set that aside for the moment.

The point was that this was a similar situation to what the infamous Timeless Savant dealt with back in the Three Realms. A troublesome young girl showing up, weighed down by severe burdens and then falling hopelessly in love after being shown some goodwill.

The rational thing to do here would be to send the girl away and draw a clear line. Qing had personally seen the result of waiting too long to draw that line with the three women that recently arrived from the Three Realms. Not only that, but he had heard countless stories about John's exploits in the Three Realms about women chasing after him since he was too kind to let them down.

And since Sitri practically radiated trouble, it was in Qing's best interests to let her down. Draw the line at the employee-employer contract and no more.

But...

Qing coughed. "Miss Sitri."

"What?" Sitri huffed and pulled the blanket tight around herself. "Are you going to kick me out now? No, you're definitely going to kick me out. A sleazy woman like me..." Guilt flashed across Sitri's face and she muttered, "Stupid Sitri. This is why Mom said to not get too invested..."

Qing sighed.

It seemed like he could add 'low self-esteem' to the list of troubles that Sitri brought.

Sitri turned around and started walking away.

Qing frowned. "Where are you going?"

"I'm leaving. Thanks for the food and your goodwill, Mister Long, but... I'll be fine. Things already got awkward, so let's just leave it at that."

Qing shook his head and followed after Sitri.

She reached the door and tried the door handle. But it wouldn't budge. She frowned and tried again.

Qing sighed and said, "What a troublesome young woman you are, Miss Sitri."

Sitri spun around with a huff. "I'm sorry, okay!? I can't help it! Now just let me leave so that I can stop embarrassing the both of us and-"

"Who said I'm embarrassed?"

"E-Eh?"

Qing shook his head and conjured a cup of tea.

Sitri blinked and tilted her head. "Where did you get that from?"

Qing smiled and said, "Magic. Now, please drink up and calm down, Miss Sitri. Despite the rather... Ah, 'bold' gratitude you showed me, I have no intentions of turning you away."

Sitri took the tea and gave Qing a blank look. "B-But... I jumped you!"

Qing nodded. "You did."

"I called you gay!"

"It would not be the first time my sexuality has been questioned."

"I destroyed your room!"

Qing chuckled. "It's fine. I can write it off as a business expense."

Sitri stared at Qing and then tilted her head. "...You're weird."

"As you have said. And as many have said before. But I am indeed in rather desperate need of a secretary, and since karma has drawn us together, it would be against my nature to turn you away now. Besides. Um..." Qing coughed and said, "...I would not be averse to a relationship with Miss Sitri. I would just prefer to take my time-"

Before Qing could finish, Sitri closed the gap and grabbed his arm, placing it against her chest.

With a bright smile and wide eyes, she said, "So you're saying there's a chance!"

Qing coughed and gently pulled his hand away. "I am saying that we should at least start with a date first. And with you getting some clothes. Since you're going to be my secretary-"

Qing paused, suddenly realizing something.

Sitri frowned and tilted her head. "Is something wrong?"

Qing groaned. "...Bai is going to never let me live this down."

Just earlier, Qing had scolded the guy about taking his woman and giving her a job with Myth Incorporated. And now Qing was hiring a woman as his secretary who had very aggressively made it clear she was ready and willing to be taken at any time...

"...Maybe I should have tried resisting that soul contract."

"Hm?"

Qing sighed. "It's nothing, Miss Sitri. Now... if you are going to be my secretary, there's quite a bit to cover." He glanced at her bare torso and said, "Literally and figuratively."

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