Xie Yi, sitting on the man’s lap, completely forgot about his surroundings. This was no different than before. Telling MingMing about Shi Yue, sitting together outside. MingMing wasn’t different at all. He was just the same. Only a bit younger, but that was just like himself.
“You’re my beast partner, right?”
...The most ridiculous pact was formed. If anyone had told the public that one of the strongest relationships between an overpowered master and a monstrous spiritual beast was formed as a sidenote of a conversation, they would have cried. Others spent months trying to convince powerful beasts to work with them. These ones just settled it in a small conversation.
“Okay, so you’re gonna go back to the sect with me?”
“Un.” Mingtian rubbed his nose against the black hair. Was Xiao Tian already trying to get rid of him? He wasn’t going to leave now that he found the one he was looking for.
“Then you will have to turn into something tiny. I can’t really say that a spiritual beast capable of changing into human form is following me around.”
“I dunno. Xu Yan said so.”
Well, and who was that?
“Kay. If you say so.” Mingtian shrugged. He often moved around in his tiny form in the past years, just to be less obvious. Otherwise, cultivators would have found him and that would have been too annoying. They never noticed tiny beasts.
“I’ll change before your master comes back. Until then, it’s more comfortable for you to sit like this, right?” With those words, he carefully leaned his head to the side so that he could look at the still somewhat immobile Xie Yi.
Xie Yi considered it for a moment, then managed a nod. “Yeah, It’s rather annoying. Sitting like this is better while I can’t move.”
Mingtian hummed in his growling tone again, then leaned his chin back on the black head.
He had tried to sort out the flashes before leaving Nie. There were some people with vague faces, but he mostly remembered the smells like this one. He also remembered a lot of blood - of several people, sometimes of the black-haired figure. Whenever that one was bloody, they’d always hide somewhere and he’d come, hugging the cold body to his own warm self and waiting.
The memory flashes didn’t always feel happy. There were a lot of sad ones mixed in, as well, but there was always an underlying peace and contentment at watching the black-haired one.
How did the memories end? Why did they end?
He had tried to remember, but all he felt were bad pangs of pain along with heavy regret and worry.
He didn’t need it. Whatever they were - maybe prophecies or just dreams - he wanted to see how things would turn out. And wasn’t he happy just having this little one with him?
That soft heartbeat he could hear in his ears was just as nice to hear as Nie’s. Now, if there was one more person’s around, he would truly be happy.
“You belong to a sect? What’s your life like?”, Mingtian somehow heard himself ask subconsciously. It was weirdly unsettling to ask the question, like something cold was crawling up his spine. More feelings linked to memories he didn’t quite have.
“Most of my day is lessons”, Xie Yi hummed thoughtfully. “There are Shi Yue’s lessons for most of the day - he’s teaching me personally! - and sometimes I go to that Master An who teaches about forging. I don’t need to go there, though, so it’s just when I feel like it. Also, hmm, I practice a lot on my own of with Xu Yan. Xu Yan, he’s my roommate. He scolds me often when I do stuff I’m not allowed to do.”
He giggled softly, a very childish sound that took any edge left in his eyes away. “He doesn’t really get mad at me. Shi Yue doesn’t, either. It’s nice.”
Mingtian felt himself warm up again and turned his eyes to the sky. Thank goodness, that did sound good. “But there’s someone in the sect who is trying to kill you, huh?”
Xie Yi stilled, then shrugged and shook his head. “As I said, I underestimated him. Won't happen again, I’ll take care of him.”
He twisted his body, that had regained a good part of its mobility. With uncertain eyes, he peeked at Mingntian. “Shi Yue and Xu Yan said that killing is bad and that you can’t kill people. But, when I’m in danger, then it’s alright, right? I already had to kill two people before. It wasn’t on purpose, but in the future, I will have to do it on purpose. Mingtian, will they be mad at me?”
The spiritual beast had met neither of the two before, so he found it very hard to judge, but from what he had heard, they sounded like Xie Yi was very precious to them. “Someone I trust a lot said that sometimes, people getting angry at you is just because they’re worried. If they didn’t worry, then they wouldn’t care about you. It’s… a different way to show your worry, you know?”
That’s what Nie had said and he himself agreed. Worrying about someone sometimes meant getting angry when they got into danger.
“I still don’t want them to be mad.” Xie Yi grumbled a bit, listlessly hitting his leg. “It’s terrible when Shi Yue is mad. Xu Yan hasn’t gotten mad at me yet so I don’t know, but I don’t think I’d like that, either.”
“It’s going to be fine”, Mingtian said. Not like there was anything he could do about it.
From one moment to the next, the humanoid beast stilled, his head slightly turned. Then, he placed Xie Yi back to the ground. His movements were a bit hurried and messy.
“I guess your master is coming”, he explained quickly while his body began to twist and shift. The large figure turned smaller and smaller… until it was nothing more than a puppy the size of a baby.
With horns and the scorpion tail, it was still very obviously a spiritual beast, but since the mixed-colour fur was standing up into all directions, he quite looked like a furry ball.
The scorpion tail moved like it was wagging as he bounced over to Xie Yi, who invitingly reached out to pull the tiny beast unto his own lap now. Warm and fluffy, it was very comfortable to hold.
Just moments later, a white figure flashed.
The violet eyes were dark with anger, his face slightly twisted. Below the billowing sleeves, Xie Yi could see that he had his hands in the form of fists, clenching them tightly. The air around him was crackling.
“Shi Yue”, Xie Yi longingly called out. He liked Shi Yue so much, even if he appeared while looking angry, he himself was happy just to see him…
Shi Yue’s eyes flicked over the camp, then locked unto Xie Yi. The expression twisted slowly, going from anger to fury and then to a tired worry. With a suspicious glance at the spiritual beast in his disciple’s arms, Shi Yue decided on his priorities and squatted next to the child. It was weird to see him so still.
“I’m sorry for being late”, he honestly said. “Are you hurt? Unwell?”
“I can’t move my legs too well yet”, Xie Yi admitted without qualms. “Other than that, I’m good.”
Shi Yue pressed his lips together. Without looking he picked up the pup and lightly threw it to the side before taking another, closer look at Xie Yi and then the camp surroundings.
Mingtian yelped lightly at being thrown but didn’t complain. He had to appear non-hostile or that man wouldn’t allow him to accompany Xie Yi to the sect. Thinking like that, Mingtian just approached a small bit again and then sat on his hindlegs, scorpion tail still wagging while he watched quietly.
The seething fury that was still emanating from Shi Yue was something the weak Xie Yi wouldn’t be able to sense yet, but there was no hiding it from Mingtian. That Shi Yue was just short of snapping; a reaction that Mingtian welcomed.
Xie Yi, on the other hand, had no way to gauge his master’s feelings towards everything.
Actually, he wanted Shi Yue to say that he would deal with Yao Ming. He didn’t actually want to let Shi Yue take it over, but the words the cultivator had said were stuck in his mind. Shi Yue wouldn’t go against the sect and another Grandmaster just because of him.
Feeling a burst of helplessness and insecurity, Xie Yi opened his mouth and quickly shut it again. It would be bad to ask Shi Yue to decide. It wasn’t fair. Xu Yan had said that trying to force people to decide between two things might cause them to get angry out of rejection.
Quietly, Xie Yi lowered his head and went back to testing how far the drug had neutralized.
Shi Yue, on the other hand, halted his movements at his disciple’s weird behaviour.
Xie Yi was a very direct person. He hadn’t liked Yao Ming from the start and now that, without any doubt, Yao Ming had tried to kill him so directly, Xie Yi was bound to plot revenge - Shi Yue had told him that revenge was bad, but that was something that Shi Yue was going to conveniently ignore. This uncertain appearance, however, did not suit the mood he expected Xie Yi to have, at all. Fear or worry he would have understood; not uncertainty.
“Xie Yi”, he coaxed softly. “What’s wrong? Talk to your master, alright? Or are you disappointed because I came so late?”
He had come back at maximum speed once he had felt the condensed aura of beasts near the camp. It was pure coincidence or maybe intuition that he had been close enough to sense it.
Xie Yi shook his head rapidly at the question. “Not disappointed, not at all!”
“What is it then?” The cultivator pressed on. He really had unlimited patience towards his disciple.
“...Am I a bad disciple?”