The thoughts stopped abruptly when Xie Yi wriggled closer and intertwined their legs. According to the innocent and peaceful smile on his lips he simply wanted them to be close, but Shi Yue froze up.
“Don’t push your leg up any higher”, Shi Yue forced out and pressed his thighs together to keep Xie Yi from moving around.1You know the comfy position of lying on the side and dragging one leg up? Yeah, that’s what Xie Yi wants to do, just… that he’s stuck to Shi Yue. Inconvenient.
Xie Yi obediently stopped but tilted his head in confusion. “Why? Is it uncomfortable?”
“It’s uncomfortable”, Shi Yue sighed. “Don’t ask. Not right now.”
All of it could wait until they were back home, back in their sect, together with that little girl that could not wait for too much longer.
The two cultivators left their room when night came, secretly taking along everything but leaving behind the arrays as if they planned to return.
When the owner of the shop saw Xie Yi, he had the desire to run to the backroom and lock himself in. It was only due to Shi Yue’s presence - the presence of a Grandmaster - that the old shop owner gave in.
With a crying face he accepted the bags full of money and helped them adjust their looks.
It would certainly not fool everyone, but as long as people got confused, it would be worth it.
Now donning another face, Shi Yue did not hesitate to intertwine his hand with Xie Yi’s the moment they left the store.
His own new face looked manlier and coupled with the changed broad robes, he had lost a lot of his ethereal and gentle looks. Xie Yi, on the other hand, had gotten a very cute face, making him look obedient and childish. The two of them walking together did not look out of place at all.
When they reached the beginning of the path, Xie Yi squeezed Shi Yue’s hand tightly. The Grandmaster nodded in response and fell a tiny bit behind, allowing Xie Yi to lead while he himself kept quiet.
Even walking the whole way, he was unable to find all the signs that Xie Yi reacted to.
The usual black market guards did not react to them. They looked rich and arrogant, quite common for this area. People wouldn’t ask them any questions.
The fine hair on Shi Yue’s arms was rising.
He opened his mouth and glanced over at Xie Yi, who looked as if he was strolling on an everyday market. “...You feel quite comfortable here, don’t you?”
“Eh? Ah, well, I guess I’m used to the atmosphere.”
Xie Yi shrugged. Frankly speaking, he noticed nothing unusual on a general level.
Shi Yue, however, was still sensitive to the changes. A soft smell of rust and metal everywhere, the constant but quiet whines of slaves, the numerous gazes that only grazed past them without interest but were nonetheless murderous and oppressive…
“You are probably numb to it. Come, let’s be on our way.”
The brothel had not changed in any way.
The waves of perfume and smoke wafted towards them even before entering the door and Shi Yue once again gave a mental sigh. He wasn’t the type for undercover missions. He preferred working out in the open… where he wouldn’t have to pull off the disgusting act he was about to put on.
“My oh my”, a prostitute purred as she sauntered over with swinging hips. “Handsome, are you searching for someone to join in on the fun?”
She did not try to take the side that Xie Yi was holding. Instead, she wandered over to the other, delightedly stroking her fingers over Shi Yue’s muscular arm.
Xie Yi’s eyes narrowed and he changed his posture from holding Shi Yue’s hand to hugging his arm. It earned him a chuckle from the woman, who was certain that the one calling the shots was not the little beauty but rather the muscular man.
If that guy wanted to play, the little male beauty had no say in it.
Shi Yue hummed thoughtfully and tilted her head up with a finger. He clicked his tongue distastefully. “A bit old. Don’t you have someone fresher here?”
The woman fluttered her long eyelashes. She was just above reaching adulthood. She chuckled lightly. “Depends. What’s on your mind?”
“I don’t like playing with someone who is already used to it. Are you telling me this place doesn’t have anyone unused?”
“No one you can lay a hand on, I fear”, the woman responded, pouting her large red lips. “If you want young, you can have them, if you want… inexperienced, then you will have to go a bit older. The little ones drain easily.”
Shi Yue barely managed to swallow the nausea that made him want to throw up.
This was a person who was casually talking about selling children into prostitution, to the point where the children would not survive long. Maybe not even longer than a single night.
And yet, he had to play along.
“How much for the one I can’t put a finger on?” He leaned in towards the disgusting woman, smirking in a way that he hoped he would never have to do again in this lifetime.
The woman’s face changed. She lowered her voice to barely above a whisper. “Handsome, I’m all for satisfying customers, so I’ll tell you directly - don’t try. Whoever she’s being reserved for, they’ve got a backing that’s making even the owner careful.”
Shi Yue’s mind was racing.
Xiao Zai was still around, then. But if even the prostitute knew that she was protected, there must be more than enough watchful eyes on her. As expected, they would have to locate her first.
A soft intake of breath caused Shi Yue to look to his right. Xie Yi’s changed face was scrunching up adorably. He blew up his cheeks and glared at the woman. “You promised I won’t have to share you with an adult. You can’t take back your promise.”
Brain blank at the coquettish voice, Shi Yue gave no reaction. Xie Yi tugged at his arm and whined, eyes turning watery.
“You said so! Let’s come back another day if there’s no one good around right now! Hey, you’re not getting bored of me, right? You won’t play alone with me anymore?”
Mingtian would have cried if he heard his little brother talk like that.
Even the woman had her difficulties looking away from the pure and innocent looking male beauty who was about to cry. She let go of Shi Yue’s arm like a reflex.
Meanwhile, Shi Yue was trying to find some air in his lungs that he could use to force some words out of his dry throat. If he could think of something to say, anyway.
“I’m not bored of you”, he dumbly responded, but paired with his mask’s naturally stoic face, it came out as calm.
“No adults”, Xie Yi repeated obstinately, the wide eyes glimmering with tears. He sniffed softly and tugged at Shi Yue’s arm. “No adults, okay? I can satisfy you on my own…”
Shi Yue was genuinely torn between wanting to scold Xie Yi for picking up these lines from god-knows-where, crying because of the way this situation was derailing, and throwing Xie Yi over his shoulder so he could go rent a room.
“You don’t happen to sell this one, do you?”, the woman blurted out, her eyes stuck on the smaller one.
“No”, Shi Yue growled at her, his reaction this time instantaneous. He pulled Xie Yi into his arms, wrapping him up tightly and possessively hiding him from the gazes that were focusing into their direction.
“What a shame”, the prostitute muttered, her blank gaze still fixated on the figure hidden behind Shi Yue’s sleeves.
“How often do you get fresh meat?”, he asked with a grim voice.
“About once a month. Try coming back in two weeks.”
“I will.” Shi Yue turned his face down, his expression softening. “We are leaving for today, alright? No sharing.”
“Mnn…” The soft hum sent shivers down Shi Yue’s back. He half dragged Xie Yi outside and into the next dark alley he saw - to no one’s suspicion, actually. All people who had seen the scene could relate.
If what was happening was what they imagined, anyway.
Shi Yue buried his face in his hands and slammed his head against the wall. The wall got a dent - it certainly was weaker than a Grandmaster’s skull.
Xie Yi stood proudly at the side. “Did I do well?”
“Thank god we took no one else along”, Shi Yue cried. If any of his acquaintances had seen that, he would have had to kill them.
He was the only one who was allowed to imagine the whole scene happening with Xie Yi’s actual looks.
“Come here”, Shi Yue hoarsely called and Xie Yi complied. The younger man was dragged into a pair of strong arms, one wrapping a bit higher than his waist, the other lower. A pair of hot lips rubbed over his ears.
Xie Yi shuddered, but pushed the weird feeling of pleasure away to listen to the quiet words in his ears.