Xue Hua’s nose was far from being as sensitive as Mingtian’s, but when he saw his mate put up a death glare and take a step into Shi Yue’s direction with fumes coming out of his body, he decisively stuck his son into Mingtian’s arms and told the little one to stay put.
Su Liang obeyed, nipping at his father and refusing to be put down.
As such, Mingtian was unable to rush over and strangle Shi Yue, but his hair was visibly standing up for anyone to see.
Aah! He was pissed! Damn, that guy went to take a bath and came back smelling like Xiao Yi and other stuff!
Definitely not allowed!
He had to at least wait for… for… a century or two before being allowed to do that kind of thing to his little brother!
Shi Yue noticed the gaze and realized with a rush of embarrassment that there were people in his household who would always know exactly what he and Xie Yi had done.
He looked over at Xie Yi, who was drying his hair peacefully, and wondered if the youth wouldn’t be scared off by that. (He wouldn’t.)
“I feel so relaxed”, Xie Yi purred sweetly. He felt that only about half of it could be attributed to the hot spring - he was determined to drag Shi Yue in more often from now on.
Shi Yue couldn’t help but feel his heart turn sweet when he saw his little lover so content. He wiped a couple of drops away from Xie Yi’s brow and smiled at him. “Let’s spend today sitting in the sun. I’ll make us something to eat.”
Mingtian growled lowly at the side. This kind of dogfood… Because Xue Hua was shy and not the type for public displays of affection, he himself wasn’t allowed to flaunt his love in front of Shi Yue. The Grandmaster, though, was now able to proudly puff his chest and openly spoil Xie Yi.
He was a bit jealous. And irritated.
“Okay”, Xie Yi agreed, earning a peck on his eyebrow before Shi Yue quickly walked inside. Staring after him, Xie Yi looked over to Mingtian.
Older-brother-MingMing immediately jumped to the rescue. “What’s the matter, Xiao Yi?”
“Exactly how whiny can I get before I’d be troubling Shi Yue?” Xie Yi lowered his head awkwardly and scratched over his scar.
Xue Hua walked past him, hooking a finger around Mingtian’s collar and dragging him along. He only stopped for a moment to answer. “Don’t hold back. Yue will be happy to spoil you endlessly.”
The two beasts plus child left, Mingtian still looking back at him with despair.
Xie Yi shrugged, took the advice and followed Shi Yue into the kitchen.
It took another week before Master Chen half threw them out during breakfast and shooed them forward. She had only uttered two words when Shi Yue made a joyful noise and ran off, Xie Yi as always in tow.
“Master!” Shi Yue threw the door open, ignoring any sort of courtesy.
The old man still lying in his bed was propped up and holding a cup with warm water. He looked visibly exhausted and a bit tired, but he smiled at Shi Yue. “You did not knock.”
“How are you feeling? Is everything alright?”
“I’m fine”, the sect leader responded calmly. “I’m simply old, it can’t be helped that I get exhausted easier.”
Seeing as his lover had no intent on finding himself a chair, Xie Yi quietly went to fetch one and tugged Shi Yue backwards until the Grandmaster, still staring at the sect leader’s face, sat down. The old man watched the movements with an amused smile.
“I don’t know what happened while I was unconscious. Will you tell me?”
Without wasting another second, Shi Yue began to narrate. Repeating everything that had happened recently, it was clear that things were coincidentally going a bit too well for their own sect. The old man tilted his head and looked at Xie Yi while sipping his water.
Mentally, he came to a similar conclusion as Xu Yan had - Xie Yi was likely not human and the informant that was helping them out. It didn’t matter too much to him as long as Xie Yi was on their sect’s side and seeing how the youth behaved around Shi Yue, the sect leader felt pacified.
He wouldn’t reject a strong ally.
Shi Yue tensed when his master stared at Xie Yi, but the old man did not speak to him and simply smiled again. “I see. So you are currently waiting for Yao Ming to regain control over himself again?”
“That, and for Xiao Zai to grow stable enough that we can talk to her.”
“We don’t know what happened to her. it will be hard to gauge when it is alright to ask her about it.”
Xie Yi pursed his lips. He had a more than vague idea on how the old bastards would have started their usual training. Most of it would be physically beneficial - like poison resistance - while the other half would be mental conditioning.
An obedient dog is best trained young.
“Due to her status, the other sects won’t complain about her being left alive, despite the original decision being to kill anyone dangerous”, Shi Yue added. “Once she’s well, I was planning on taking her in. This should calm them down, as she will be right under my watch.”
“Master Chen has also commented on the side that there is another child that is going to live in your house?”
“About that…” Shi Yue cleared his throat uncomfortably. “Yes, there would be two human children and Xue Hua’s son in my place… And another guest that I, for a very valid reason, have not made public.”
“An important guest?”
“It’s the father of Xie Yi’s partner.” A short pause. “A deity. He’s… sitting in my cellar.”
The sect leader turned to face the wall ahead of him and sipped some water. “I am not even going to question this. As long as my sect is peaceful…”
Dry laughter came from Shi Yue. It was a good thing that his master was highly flexible.
“Once this is over, I will officially hand the sect to you. It’s time I enjoy my retirement and push all these troublesome matters over to you.” The old man gave a low laugh and leaned back into the pillows. “About Yao Ming, you spent more time with him than me. I will allow you to decide, I trust your decision.”
Master Chen entered the room right as the words fell. She quickly closed the door again, carrying the basin of water in her hands forward and placing it down on a small table. Wringing the towel, she did not even turn around to talk. “Did I interrupt?”
“Nothing you weren’t aware of, anyway”, the sect leader said peacefully. He trusted Master Chen blindly; the woman had done more than enough in this sect, far beyond her original task. He still hoped she would support Shi Yue as the new sect leader.
"Good. We will try a similar method that worked on the sect leader on Yao Ming - hopefully he will be useful again soon."
“Enough of that.” The sect leader thankfully took the towel and wiped his face with a content sigh. “Let’s talk about other topics. It looks like I don’t have to worry about your relationship status anymore?”
Master Chen chuckled audibly, earning herself a glare from the white-haired, embarrassed Grandmaster.
Xie Yi stood by without voicing any complaints. He was going to let Shi Yue decide on revealing it or not. Although he would like to claim official ownership over his master, he was not going to cause trouble, especially not right now. He could endure something as small as this.
“Were it someone else, I would be worried. I know the strain of hiding a relationship. But since it’s Xie Yi…” Master Chen took the towel back again. “I know he will be fine.”
“You are my grand-disciple. If Shi Yue bullies you, you can come to me”, the sect leader said with a hint of mirth in his eyes. “Give me a reason to act like a stern teacher once in a while.”
“Master…” Shi Yue’s face twitched and the sect leader regained his calm appearance.
“I still need some rest. Shi Yue, I’ll be relying on you to manage the sect for now.” The sect leader lightly squeezed Shi Yue’s hand before exhaling slowly and sinking deeper into the mattress.
Shi Yue and Xie Yi left quietly, followed right by Master Chen. She patted Xie Yi’s shoulder in a familiar manner, smiling softly. “If you want to, we can allow Xiao Zai and Qiang Ren to stay at your place starting next Monday. They still need daily checkups and Xiao Zai especially needs a lot of care, but I know she will feel better with you.”
“Can the two stay in one room? They’re both very young”, Xie Yi asked. He wanted Xiao Zai to gain some security through Qiang Ren.
“It should be acceptable… But don’t drag it longer than a year or two. If one of them asks, you should offer to split their rooms. How did you plan to decorate the room?”
Shi Yue looked down at Xie Yi, keeping his mouth shut. He trusted Xie Yi to think up something. He only planned on intervening if it was too weird.
“I wanted to give them two separate rooms for playing and sleeping. Mostly because there won’t be much space around the bed”, Xie Yi said mysteriously, gaining confused gazes.
When Master Chen brought both children over on Monday, she found her jaw drop at the sight and instantly wondered if Xiao Zai wouldn’t be scared. Her gaze dropped down, but the little girl’s eyes were shining a bit. With small steps she walked forward, ducking under the ropes until she reached the bed and carefully crawling up.
There was indeed not much space. A single bed in the middle of the room - a very large one, more than enough for two little kids - and everything else was obstructed.
Dozens of ropes drew circles around the room, covered in paper charms. Beneath the bed were drawings almost remnant of a summoning circle and the same was mirrored on the ceiling. The walls were drawn all over.
Shi Yue rubbed his forehead at the sight of the multi-layered array and the numerous charms. If someone entered this room with malicious thoughts, it wasn’t just going to be dangerous.
It would probably blow up the whole house around this room.
“I’m gonna have to recharge it daily but it’s fine. We could use cores but that’s kind of a waste since I’m here anyway”, Xie Yi said with a smile, happy to see Xiao Zai so delighted at the little fortress he had created for her.
Qiang Ren, who had yet to be taught to recognize and read arrays and charms, merely tilted his head but came to the conclusion that this room looked amazing and he liked it.
“You’re not going to be able to damage anything in here but try not to get tangled into the ropes”, Xie Yi explained to Qiang Ren and smoothed his hair.
Master Chen began to cough when she finally remembered to breathe and choked on her own saliva. At least the playroom looked normal, except that there were clear distinctions between the toys for the two human children and Su Liang, who was expected to spend a lot of time with them.
“Who is going to take care of them when you are busy?”, Master Chen asked, watching two little brats bustle around curiously.
“Xue Hua.” Shi Yue’s face softened. “He has a young son. I don’t want him to fight right now, it’s better if he stays home with his family. Hopefully it will be over soon anyway, at least for a while.”
“It won’t ever be over, but I agree that a pause would be nice”, the beautiful woman muttered in agreement.
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