Shi Yue had already fixed his flustered appearance and brought his silver hair back in order while they had been riding Xue Hua. Contrary to Xie Yi, his hair tangled easily, and he quite hated having it messy. Sadly his hair was very fine and actually needed to be taken care of, but dozens of years were enough for him to form a habit out of it that he didn’t mind.
His own disciple didn’t seem to care about the bird’s nest on his head and just let the wind run through it. If it grew longer, he really had to get Xie Yi to watch his appearance a bit more.
Despite looking very orderly, Shi Yue kept on tugging at his clothes or strands of hair, putting them back into place. It was one of the most prominent signs of unsettlement he would show. Not the type of unsettlement one would feel from being in a situation, but the type that would stay with you, lying in your subconsciousness and making you restless.
The sect leader placed down tea for Xie Yi and Shi Yue while watching both of them closely, noticing those signs. It was clear to see that something had happened to Xie Yi, but the boy appeared to be facing the situation with a sort of blank indifference that was rather unhealthy, in stark contrast to Shi Yue, who took no effort in hiding his discomfort at whatever matter had passed.
“One by one”, the old cultivator muttered as he sat down opposite of the two. “How is Xie Yi?”
The room was well-lit and somewhat close to the entrance of the building. It was obviously intended for having guests over judging by the large table with numerous, comfortable chairs and the diverse tea sets displayed at the side. The whole room was quite tastefully decorated, but not overbearing.
Shi Yue watched his disciple pick up the tea and sip at it curiously. Satisfied with its taste, he held the cup in his hands and continued drinking it with slow sips while glancing around the room and then up at Shi Yue with a sweet smile when he noticed being stared at for an extended period of time.
“Less troubled than me”, Shi Yue noted with slightly lowered eyebrows. “He has a wound on his leg that is closing up right now and some remnants of a drug in his system.”
“I recognize the scent”, the sect leader agreed. “At this point, we have to accept that Xie Yi has absolutely no resistance against poisons and drugs. He is worse than a normal child, despite being a cultivator. That is rather dangerous.”
“I don’t?”, Xie Yi asked in utter surprise. How had that changed from his last life?
“We asked Master Chen for an examination about that a while ago, since we already suspected it. It was just inconvenient to do it up until now”, Shi Yue explained. “But it’s correct; it appears like you are very susceptible to the influence of herbs and the like.”
“That’s annoying”, Xie Yi grumbled and lowered his head to stare at the teacup. His thoughts were already running around, trying to come up with methods he knew about to raise resistances.
The sect leader continued: “Alright, how did everything happen? Tell me the story, slowly.”
And so, Shi Yue recapped what had happened. That he had gone out with Yao Ming and Xie Yi to hunt beasts, how Xie Yi had hunted one, how they had gotten back to the camp. That he, himself, had decided to find some low-level demonic beasts for Xie Yi to practice fighting against before he wanted to spend the evening with more theoretical lessons. That he had left and Yao Ming had made dinner for Xie Yi, drugging it and then spreading the beast core around to attract beasts.
He also mentioned that Xie Yi found a little spiritual beast that had caused the common boar-beasts to stay away from the camp.
Finally, he added having left Ying Hua at the camp.
The sect leader frowned as he hummed in thought.
“Yao Ming is rather arrogant and everyone knows he is annoyed by Xie Yi being your disciple. But how did things suddenly jump from the usual mess to a murder attempt? Even when he challenges other disciples he doesn’t like, he has never been that vicious”, he wondered. No matter how he thought about it, he found it abnormal. Yao Ming wasn’t someone any of them had assessed as that dangerous.
“I have trouble believing that it was planned, too”, Shi Yue added. “My decision to leave them alone for a while was spontaneous. It would be nonsensical to prepare such a setup when the chance of me leaving at all was rather slim. He would have had better chances trying to ‘accidentally’ cripple Xie Yi once he is allowed to be officially challenged.”
“Why is he so certain that you won’t prosecute this case”, the sect leader whispered. Yao Ming knew quite well what he could do and what he couldn’t with his family having his back. He always made sure that whatever he did, it stayed within boundaries that wouldn’t stir the higher-ups.
“He said that you would never throw him out or punish him because that would make his family mad”, Xie Yi just said into the room.
Shi Yue shook his head with a deep frown. “We can move against his family when he commits a crime. The only way our hands would be bound would be if he had some solid reason to go against you or if he had a way to justify why he wasn’t around. Merely saying that he coincidentally left won’t cut it out.”
“Maybe he didn’t think about that?”, the child wondered and shrugged his shoulders. What did it even matter? Anyway, the tea was rather nice.
The sect leader continued stroking his beard, his eyes wandering. Although that was probably the most likely possibility, he just couldn’t believe that Yao Ming would behave like that without a plan.
“Anyway, Master, I do not intend to let someone trying to murder my disciple go about his life unpunished”, Shi Yue directly stated his view.
The sect leader had no interest in denying him: “I understand. How did you intend to continue?”
“If we interfere too much, Yao Ming’s family would have an excuse for interfering, as well. I was intending on helping out as much as they do - that way, we will keep each other in check. Other than that, it is Xie Yi’s revenge. Anything other than killing Yao Ming is something I intend to support him with.”
Xie Yi pulled his lips into a pout. What, no killing? That was rather-
Well, wait, Shi Yue had strictly said, no killing. That meant everything else was allowed? Alright. That was okay. In fact, he had some nice ideas.
“Won’t the boy be too lenient?”, the sect leader wondered. Both adults turned their heads to the child, whose feet were happily waving over the floor, and whose eyes were blankly staring into nowhere as a wicked grin covered his lips, all the while an aura of cold killing intent was hovering around him.
The sect leader sipped at his tea. Ignore, ignore. I never said that. Don’t underestimate children that had to fight for their lives on the streets.
“Xie Yi, I want you to always inform me about your plans, alright? Just in case.” Shi Yue couldn’t hide the mild worry in his words. It wasn't exactly worrying that Xie Yi wouldn’t have good plans, it was more that he worried that the tiny body wouldn’t be able to keep up with that very active mind.
“I’ll try”, Xie Yi compromised. Having spontaneous plans was a thing, and he liked taking chances when he saw them. There was no time for informing anyone then.
Two hands reached over, covering his ears effectively. A bit surprised, Xie Yi halted with a blank face.
“I admit that him saying these kinds of things makes me want to throw all kinds of items at him”, Shi Yue mumbled to his master with grit teeth. “Potions and pills, protective talismans, full-body armor, antidotes, portable arrays for contacting me… I’ve got a dimensional bag just waiting in my room to be given to him.”
“You did well not doing it”, the sect leader awkwardly responded. “He would just be even more reckless if you gave him the means.”
“That’s exactly my worry. Did you have the same troubles with me?”
“Believe me when I say that Xie Yi is in no way a common disciple. Your whole view of how children are supposed to be is being twisted by him.”
Shi Yue gave a long sigh and pulled back his hands from Xie Yi’s ears. The child was staring at him demandingly, wanting to know why he wasn’t allowed to hear what they had just said, but Shi Yue didn’t look down at him. Pooh!