The two rooms were connected, so the two did nothing but move from one room to the next one. This one was more of an official-looking place and despite it being comfortable, it missed the design of the previous one. Not quite as cosy and informal.
Xie Yi looked instantly more relaxed, looking around and tugging on Shi Yue’s hand as he walked towards the chairs that were placed in the room’s centre.
Like an obedient child, he sat down in one and then let go of the cultivator’s hand, waiting for him to sit down as well and smiling stupidly with his hands between his legs.
His feet dangled above the ground, not completely reaching the floor.
Once more, silence fell. Xie Yi didn’t find it weird at all - those old geezers had often called him in somewhere and sat for minutes, just staring at him. It seemed to be a thing that people did with younger people. Feng Yan did it, too.1A/N: And all of them have different reasons...
When Shi Yue spoke, he recognized it as a very careful tone that he sometimes heard parents use for their children. Feng Yan had used it on him when talking about topics related to his behaviour, often. Usually, they were things about him doing something wrong, so Xie Yi put his full attention on Shi Yue’s words. It was surely important.
“You don’t really want to talk about those people who taught you the method, right? They are the people that you said you had the feeling that they taught you bad things?”
Xie Yi allowed his lips to be pulled into an annoyed snarl, his eyes downcast. It was a different topic than he had thought, but just as much one he didn't like. “Un.”
“Are they still in contact with you?”
He shook his head.
“Can you say that out loud?”
Confused, Xie Yi raised his eyes again and looked at Shi Yue. The dark violet of the man’s eyes was shining like the colour of a precious gem while at the same time giving the feeling of being calm as a lake. Xie Yi tilted his head. “I am not in contact with them.”
Shi Yue exhaled and took a moment to close his eyes before he continued to talk slowly, as he did during lessons. “Do you know what you did wrong?”
“I used a blood-array?”, Xie Yi wondered. “And I made the sect worry that there’s an attack.”
Shi Yue’s lips twitched. “Only that?”
“Yes?” Innocent blinking. He really couldn’t think of anything beyond that.
“How about the fact that you pulled a prank on a senior of yours?”, Shi Yue slowly said, watching Xie Yi closely. The boy’s face didn’t move at all, like he was thinking ‘Uhm, no, I don’t see the problem here?’.
“He was being bad to us.”
“So him not being kind to you is a reason for you paying him back?” Shi Yue raised both eyebrows. Although the sight of it gave Xie Yi the feeling of his answer being wrong, he still answered honestly.
“No”, Shi Yue directly shot him down. “Let’s go through this one by one. Revenge will always lead to a vicious cycle. Even if he doesn’t notice it’s you, that’s still no reason to think that someone behaving badly gives you the right to do the same. Rather, try to find a way so that the person either is rightfully punished or stops doing bad things.”
He paused. “Don’t pull a face like that. This is how you should behave.”
“But… that sounds stupid”, Xie Yi complained. “If they’re bad, they should suffer. If they continue being annoying, then you have to do something so that they can’t do it again.”
Shi Yue stilled, his face showing an incomprehensible emotion. “Am I understanding you right? You say that, for example, if a person keeps on annoying you verbally, they should lose their tongue?”
Xie Yi shut his mouth. Somehow, that face looked like he really shouldn’t give the confirmation to that. It appeared that this was maybe one of the things that had made the Shi Yue of his last life so mad? Because Shi Yue had a really dark look on his face.
With a long groan, Shi Yue hid his face behind his palms, mumbling something. “Great Gods. What have they taught him.”
Then, clearly and out loud, he talked to Xie Yi again: “Xie Yi?”
Xie Yi grumbled, pulling his head between his shoulders. That had always been a very useful solution, so not being allowed to use it was kind of troublesome. Maybe he could just… lessen the punishments? As soon as he could find out where the limit of ‘acceptable’ lay. There had to be one somewhere. Right?
“Next problem”, Shi Yue patiently went on, lifting two fingers up. “Don’t do things that will throw the sect into chaos. Listen to the rules. Under normal circumstances, this might have led to you being thrown out and to tell the truth, we still have to decide what to do about Xu Yan. We are keeping you because not doing so might be… bad, with your talent, but we will need an equally good reason to keep Xu Yan.”
The child’s face fell.
“But that isn’t for this discussion. The third point, the blood-array.”
“Don’t use it unless necessary”, Xie Yi obediently echoed his previous promise. He never had a problem with it in his previous life, though. He didn’t know what kind of ‘bad’ effect it was supposed to have on him. Maybe he was immune?
“Good”, Shi Yue praised with a nod. “Still, you already used it, so I have to check that your body is alright. Is that fine with you?”
It didn’t matter if it was a child. You didn’t just do whatever you wanted with another person. If Xie Yi rejected it, then he’d have to convince him, but he wouldn’t use force. In the end, it was the boy’s decision - not that he expected to be rejected with how he understood the child up until now.
“Do I have to do something?”, Xie Yi wondered out loud, implying his agreement. He had never done anything like that - or, well, those five geezers had never. He didn’t know whether he needed to do anything to help Shi Yue.
“It’s a lot like during the examination”, Shi Yue said after a moment.
So, just don’t reject me - the cultivator meant to imply.
So, don’t try to keep him - the boy thought. That’d be hard.
“I understand”, he said instead and held out his small hand. Even after a year, he still felt it was unusually small. He had had a lot of years with his body stuck in the state of a young man, and his hands had been quite a bit larger. Not quite as big as Shi Yue’s, but certainly larger than now. And not as soft and boneless.
Shi Yue placed his chair closer and took the hand into his, very carefully sending out his energy to check the state of his disciple’s channels. He frowned after just a moment.
Probably because he didn’t know any better, Xie Yi hadn’t rejected the backflow of energy at all, so no matter where Shi Yue checked, there were remnants of foreign beast energy in his body. As he had explained, he also used beast materials, and those especially had settled.
It was like a pipe where water went through. Normally, the water was perfectly clean, but all of a sudden, unclean water was mixed in for a while. Lime had settled on the wall of the pipes. That didn’t mean they were fully blocked or damaged, it just meant that they weren’t clean like before. The lime would be in the previously clean water now and if it got to the finer, filtering pores that were placed in parts of the ‘pipes’ like gateways, the lime might cause it to clog. In the worst case, though, it wouldn’t do that: It would be absorbed and change the material of the pipe… Well, that was where the comparison would start to fail. Lime didn't do that.
Not yet dangerous as it was, but a bad thing to ignore. It was better to clean it up immediately and avoid future problems.
Shi Yue turned the little hand around, looking over the palm. Only now, in a quiet moment, did he see that the boy had somehow ripped off a part of his fingertip. The wound was closed but hardly pretty and the sight made him scowl.
“Don't hurt yourself like that”, he scolded quietly, then redirected his energy to settle around the finger. The wound healed visibly, repairing the damaged part. Only when it was finished did Shi Yue continue his examination.
He was still being kind of… welcomed, rather than treated as an intruder, which was an unfamiliar feeling. This kind of thing wasn’t comfortable from his own experience, so he found it hard to understand why a child especially would be so welcoming towards it.
“Are you not feeling uncomfortable?”
“Not at all”, Xie Yi honestly replied. This was so much better than the examinations he was used to, moreover, wasn’t it Shi Yue? What was there to be uncomfortable?
His master hummed, then stilled. “Xie Yi, I would like you to let me clean out the channels. It’s not a nice feeling and it hurts, but it’s necessary so that you won’t have problems in the future. It might lead to you not being able to cultivate correctly, otherwise.”
Xie Yi couldn’t help but doubt those words. He had used the blood-arrays for years and years and much stronger ones, but he had never had any problems with cultivation. It felt weird to hear the polar opposite of what his personal experience was but he couldn’t tell Shi Yue that and letting his channels be cleaned wasn’t any problem. Probably. He hadn’t done it before.
A bit hesitant he nodded, wondering how bad it might be for Shi Yue to say it hurts.
Shi Yue took out a needle from somewhere and poked his arm just above the vein, then pulled his hand so that it was right over a small bowl on the table that had appeared... god knows when. With a quiet comment, Shi Yue began his work after a serious look at Xie Yi.
So he waited, tense, for the unbearable pain to come. And waited, and waited. And finally tilted his head in confusion.
It felt a bit like someone slicing his skin alongside his veins. Not really bad. Was the bad part still to come?
A few minutes later, the energy in his channels retreated, leaving behind a refreshing feeling. The bowl was filled with what looked like pitch-black blood and the small puncture on his arm was already closed up again. Xie Yi blinked at Shi Yue, who looked down at him with a very complicated gaze.
In the end, the cultivator couldn’t bring it over him to ask how a boy ten years of age didn’t even bat an eyelid at the procedure. If he was an experienced cultivator, alright, but this was just a normal human… He was supposed to watch him and find out what happened in the boy’s past, but how was he supposed to do that when every and any question could be a landmine?!