Hearing nothing from his disciple, Shi Yue stopped walking and glanced over his shoulder just in time to see Xie Yi squat on the ground. He heard a shaky exhale.
When Xie Yi straightened again, his eyes were a bit red. “Never thought I’d get to have a nephew. And I was allowed to name him!”
“It’s a good name”, Shi Yue said in a gentle voice.
Xie Yi nodded. “Yeah. It’s a good name. Hey, is there anything I should know as an uncle? What do uncles usually do?”
“You can be the uncle who always plays with him. I’m the… grandfather that always makes good food and gives expensive presents.” Shi Yue chuckled at the thought. “He has a lenient and a stricter parent, that is already very good. He will grow up well.”
“I can’t teach him rules. I don’t know rules! Do I have to know them?” A bit shocked, Xie Yi rambled.
“I’ll be there, and his parents too, don’t worry. You won’t teach him anything wrong.”
“Is that going to work, with everyone teaching him stuff? Would Nie have a word in that? I’m curious about him, too. I haven’t met him before. I hope he can tell us whether everything is fine with Su Liang…”
Shi Yue nodded and folded his arms behind his back. “Can’t say I have had the chance to meet a deity before. I wonder if he would allow me to see him?”
“From what I heard, he seems like a nice guy.”
“...Please don’t assume you can treat a deity like a normal person. A pure-blood deity is not like an Immortal - they have never been human. You cannot judge them by your standards. What you might think of as normal might be ridiculous or even rude in their eyes.” Shi Yue spoke a few words of warning.
Their knowledge of deities was almost nonexistent. They roughly knew that there were different types, some of which were more inclined to dealing with humans than others, but most of the time they did not even know how to classify them.
“Alright.” Xie Yi quickly gave in, accepting his master’s words of wisdom. “I’ll hold back and not do anything until I’m introduced, I guess.”
“Good.” Shi Yue smiled.
The next day, Xie Yi ran over to Mingtian the moment he was awake.
Happily running into the room, he was immediately greeted by the tiny round ball that was squeaking as it hopped up and down to greet him. It staggered towards him, neither face nor ears visible.
Xie Yi broke out into laughter. “What have you done to him? He was round yesterday, how is he so round today that he’s a real ball? Come here, you little fluffy thing! Are you anything other than feathers?”
“We gave him a bath. After that, we didn’t want him to be wet for too long, so we dried him using a charm that gives off hot air and… Now he looks like that.” Mingtian was half laughing and half crying. As funny as his son looked, it was a bit ridiculous.
He was a little idiot with more feathers than body… Not vicious at all. He’d grow up to be a bit more fierce, right?
Su Liang yipped and whistled as he jumped right into Xie Yi’s outstretched arms. He didn’t weigh much, but since Xie Yi was squatting, the force did cause him to fall back and sit down.
“Oof! Okay, Xiao Liang, let’s see where you are.” The youth used his hands to push away the heavily puffed-up feathers until he found Su Liang’s small face and the tiny tongue sticking out.
“I didn’t think Xie Yi would become so attached to my son”, Xue Hua muttered quietly, throwing a glance at his mate. Mingtian smiled and joined him on the bed.
“The kid is really family-oriented. Or maybe you could say, pack-oriented? As long as you’re part of his pack, he’ll treat you sincerely. I think it helps that it’s my son, too.”
“He’s your son, he’s cute, he’s tiny and most of all, too stupid for deception”, Xie Yi agreed from next to the door. “He doesn’t make it hard for me to love him. Right, Xiao Liang?”
He lifted the little beast up a bit and Xiao Liang gave a whistle in reply before licking over the human’s nose.
“...If I had known you’d have such a cute son, I’d have done anything for him to appear sooner.”
Xue Hua heard the mumbled sentence and flushed blue. Mingtian only laughed.
When Shi Yue came to find his disciple - well aware that the youth was likely to be here - he ended up staying for longer than expected and for all the wrong reasons.
Xie Yi was beaming, his eyes turned into half-moons, and his whole aura was soft and gentle. He’d laugh lightly whenever Su Liang tickled him or gave him nudges and would hold the newborn beast gingerly like a precious treasure.
It was truly too adorable to break up.
...Because of Su Liang, of course.
It… really did not have anything to do with his disciple…
The lie felt so ridiculous that Shi Yue winced at thinking it. No one was hearing his thoughts, but he felt like a little child with his hand in the cookie jar.
He cleared his throat, went over and picked up Su Liang to give the child a loving hug as well. “We still have something to do.”
Lying on the floor, Xie Yi blew up his cheeks. “Aw.”
Both Mingtian and Xue Hua cocked their head to the left at the same time, staring at the scene before them.
Maybe both were a bit slow when it came to their own relationship, but they certainly weren’t dense. Xie Yi’s side was obvious enough, but seeing Shi Yue a bit hesitant was very interesting.
Mingtian tried to hold back the growing smirk and failed gloriously. Xue Hua pinched his arm.
As he had thought, Xie Yi simply acting like himself was the greatest seduction of all. Besides, Shi Yue was a popular Grandmaster, what kind of acting hadn’t he seen before? Only a truthful character could catch his interest at all.
And look at that; wasn’t he wavering?
He didn’t share Xie Yi’s worries in any way. “Mingtian” had been missing since quite some time now while “Wu” was around, and the Grandmaster had never even questioned it. Didn’t he already know that there was something wrong with his disciple and was still acting so intimately?
Xue Hua, next to him, was also very pleased with the situation. His ideal situation would be for Shi Yue to have a spouse, too, and Xie Yi had grown on him so much.
Not to mention that watching Shi Yue being a bit fidgety was both funny and heart-warming.
“Xie Yi, there still are lessons”, Shi Yue reminded his disciple.
Because Xie Yi had been a Grandmaster before, he had stopped with the usual lessons on arrays, herbs, and the like.
He had completely switched over to history lessons, lessons on common sense and the martial arts practice.
Xie Yi was getting a bit too comfortable with that - contrary to the other disciples, he was his master’s only disciple and they had a good relationship. Lessons happened almost whenever and weren’t as serious.
Shi Yue had stopped teaching while he was still too injured, but by now, he truly felt he had to get his disciple back onto the path of having a regular lifestyle.
The young man whined as he was dragged off, reluctantly looking at the fluffy ball for as long as possible.
Mingtian’s bellowing laughter followed him outside.
Trudging behind Shi Yue, Xie Yi internally bemoaned his fate. He was fully aware that regular lessons were a good thing, but lessons on common sense were just too boring!
Only for the martial arts practice did he appear even before the lesson would start…
And nowadays, those too had become annoying, because Xiang Zhe had joined them.
The guy was honestly doing his best. He kept his questions to a minimum, was very quiet and kept a more than reasonable distance to Shi Yue while never meeting Xie Yi’s eyes or talking to him.
It was more accurate to say that rather than ignoring Xie Yi, he was trying hard to lower his presence as much as possible. Xie Yi wanted to give him some points for that but he really, really couldn’t!
He didn’t want to share Shi Yue’s time, his presence, and his words!
“What is it?”
“Maaaster”, Xie Yi whined.
Shi Yue stopped walking and stared down at his disciple with furrowed brows. “What?”
Uh, is saying I just wanted to hear you react to me an acceptable answer?
“Master, I will stay the only one calling you that, right?”, Xie Yi quickly changed his reason to another one that wasn’t a lie but indeed something that was on his mind.
“For now. I can’t and won’t promise you I’ll never take another disciple, but I’ve got my hands full with you for the moment. And with a number of other things.”
Shi Yue tiredly looked forward.