“Anyway, all I wanted to say is that I’ll definitely be on your side if you ever pursue your master or anyone else. I’ll help you with the flirting.” Li Mei raised her arm and pat her muscles. She looked surprisingly dependable.
“Do you think your flirting techniques would even work for me?”, Xie Yi asked with a certain amount of inhibition.
Li Mei snorted. “Yeah. Absolutely. I’m pretty sure you could easily act cute. Although you would also look great as the more mature type that openly seduces someone… What do you think, Xu Yan?”
“I don’t want to think about that.” He really didn’t want to get pulled into this any further.
Mingtian lolled his tongue out and held back on speaking. In his opinion, Xie Yi was the most dangerous if he didn’t flirt at all - he felt comfortable around the people he liked and if he felt comfortable, he would act cuddly and dependant. There was nothing cuter than that.
Who didn’t like seeing a dangerous beast trust you? It was very charming to see Xie Yi so mindlessly soft around himself or Xu Yan or Shi Yue.
Laughter echoed through the room for another while until Li Mei and Xu Yan left for the day.
Xie Yi returned to his master’s place for dinner. After all, he would stay here for a while before going back to sleep.
Ying Hua was a bit sceptical at seeing the other spirit sword Juxian in the room and glanced over several times but never said anything about it.
Xie Yi watched Xue Hua put a pastry on her plate. She didn’t need to eat but could.
“I gotta say, I really missed your meals”, Xie Yi mumbled through a full mouth.
“I… have to agree with that”, Xue Hua whispered awkwardly. Admittedly, he could go hunt on his own and Mingtian often brought meat for him, but he greatly enjoyed what Shi Yue cooked. Meat had often not been to his tastes.
“What did you eat while I was unconscious?”, Shi Yue inquired.
“Oh… Wu took care of me a lot. He was worried because I wasn’t feeling too well.” Xue Hua turned his face away from Shi Yue’s unhappy expression.
Xie Yi did not comment. Indeed, Mingtian wasn’t with him all the time, only about half. The other half must have been spent with his mate, who had been terribly riled up as well. He could tell that this had let them grow closer.
Shi Yue felt conflicted. Okay, Wu Mingtian was amazing for a beast. He could certainly protect Xue Hua and would spoil him.
He didn’t doubt this fact.
By now he was sure that the reason why the beast had been able to be captured in his last life was that he had seen Xue Hua. The bird didn’t have a scratch on him despite Mingtian entering the room so he couldn’t have come with bad intentions but was caught during his inattention.
That, he would never tell Xue Hua. But it was something that did let his opinion of the beast rise by a lot.
He just didn’t like his family being married off.
“I’ll only agree if he gets you a very good dowry”, Shi Yue grumpily declared. “Before that, I won’t accept a marriage. ...But it’s good that he was there for you.”
Ying Hua laughed curtly, pulling glances from everyone. She lowered her head and nibbled on her food with relaxedly closed eyes.
For another few days, Xie Yi did nothing but leisurely spending his time resting, cuddling Mingtian, eating and playing with Xu Yan.
Oh, and bathing.
That bath was awesome. He would have to get a house with one too, one day.
One a more sunny afternoon, he sat in the room that Shi Yue had prepared for him to spend the days in and tried to meditate. He could feel the spiritual energy move through his body with every breath, awkwardly hitching around his core.
He meditated for an hour before pulling a face and standing up tensely.
Holding a hand against his beating heart, Xie Yi uncertainly looked into the reflection on the mirror.
He was praying that the core would be fully cleansed one day.
“Nothing for you to worry about”, Xie Yi said.
Flinching, the cultivator’s eyes jumped to the side. No, he hadn’t said that, although it had been his voice.
Juxian was leisurely sitting on the bed, leaning forward on the elbow he had placed on his knee. It looked absurd to see his spine shift where it wasn’t covered by clothes or flesh.
“Hey”, Xie Yi greeted awkwardly. “What… do you mean by that?”
“There is no one who could use the dark energy even if it stayed. Not if you don't use it consciously”, Juxian explained lightheartedly. Because his hair was stiff and his clothes did not move according to gravity, he looked like a painting placed into a room.
“He left”, the sword spirit whispered with a smile. “Woke up one last time and then left. Ultimately, in the end he was nothing but a mass of unease and caution, so once that was settled, he could finally vanish.”
“What?”, Xie Yi exclaimed. “How come I don’t remember this happening?!”
“You were asleep”, the other shrugged. “Your friend remembers it. He was… very unsettled when he woke up. After all, that friend of yours was watching you sleep. But he noticed the comfort it gave you and how safe he felt. He was satisfied, and so he left.”
It sounded unreal now that it had happened. Xie Yi looked at him blankly.
“Once you have grown fully, your cores and selves will have merged successfully. Once that happens, your memories will become like a long, long dream”, the spirit soothingly hummed. “It won’t be as painful to think about them anymore. Your mind will finally have the chance to stabilize.”
“I will forget?”, Xie Yi croaked. The thought was scary. They were terrible memories, but they were his!
“Not forget. Grow numb. Like a bleeding wound that could finally scab.” Juxian clicked his tongue in thought. “You’ll be yourself, as you are yourself right now. The only difference is that there won’t be something else trying to take you over. That’s a good thing. No more other you-s.”
“How do you know all this?”
“Because I’m in your head.”
Juxian playfully tapped a finger against his forehead. “You’ve got visitors. See you again some other time.”
The spirit vanished, leaving only a sword behind.
Barely five seconds later, someone knocked against the door.
“Come in”, Xie Yi called out and watched his master enter the room.
Shi Yue’s violet eyes scanned the area. He pursed his lips. “I believe I heard you talk with someone just now…?”
“Juxian”, Xie Yi nodded and pointed at his sword.
“I see.” Shi Yue did not pry deeper. If the sword spirit hid itself before he came, that meant it did not want to show up in front of him. Expecting anything was rude, although he felt a bit bitter.
Ying Hua had gotten so used to Xie Yi that she sometimes even appeared solely for him. Even the sect leader did not have that privilege.
Xie Yi looked between his sword and Shi Yue, who was staring at it. With a blank face, he picked it up and placed it into Shi Yue’s hands with confusion. Was there something wrong with it? Did he want to check something but didn’t dare because it might be rude?
Shi Yue’s eyes widened in surprise at the sudden sword in his hands. He blinked at it.
Juxian hummed a friendly greeting, not rejecting the touch as he did with other people. In the first place, even if Juxian had no interest in the people around Xie Yi, he was not averse to those who were close to him.
“It’s nothing”, Shi Yue said, handing it back once he realized his disciple’s thought process.
“If you say so…?”
The sword was placed back on the bed. It had a swordstand on the table but Xie Yi felt that it looked too uncomfortable, so Juxian often ended on his bed.
“Shi Yue, what are you here for?”, Xie Yi asked in a happy tone and let himself fall back to sitting on the bed. With his shining red eyes and friendly smile, he looked up at his master.
Shi Yue folded his hands behind his back. “The girl you talked about, Zhi Ci, has arrived a few days ago.”
Xie Yi flinched. His smile fell.
“I have yet to go and talk to her. Come along.”
“Is that allowed?”, Xie Yi whispered with an uncertain face. He knew he was incredibly suspicious right now and Zhi Ci, as a refugee from the Demonic Sect, was not someone people would like him to meet right now.
“Let’s say we don’t need to let everyone know about it. Besides, I’ll be there as well. Now stand up and follow me”, Shi Yue ordered and Xie Yi hurried to meekly follow behind.
The sect leader just left the room when they reached the building that wasn’t on the official sect grounds but rather a bit farther to the east. Rows of guards were everywhere, giving it the appearance of a very comfortable prison.
The sect leader nodded to his disciple and grand-disciple, not minding the two of them appearing together. Zhi Ci was more likely to talk when faced with Xie Yi than with any other of the adults whom she didn't know. That she came at all was a great surprise for the sect leader, especially considering her age...
They entered the room and shut the door behind them.
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