“So”, Master Chen sighed in exhaustion, rubbing her temples. “we have to get everyone’s permission for the little beast and get it a collar as well as inform everyone else. We also have to make sure that Xie Yi shows no aftereffects of both the drug and the medication he took. There’s also the fact that we need to think up a plan for him… Or rather, I have to create one so that we have a very clear plan on his future medication for increasing his drug tolerance, something that has to be kept tightly under wraps so that it doesn’t leak out and give someone the chance to tamper with it. Lastly, we have to make an official statement so that the Zhu family doesn’t decide to kill off Xie Yi to spare them the trouble?”
“Yes”, Shi Yue bluntly said.
Xu Yan was sitting on the bed next to Xie Yi, unable to hear the teachers’ conversation, but having a mental breakdown by the looks of it. His eyes were glued to Xie Yi, who was very much occupied with tugging Mingtian’s fur into different hairstyles.
“What happened”, Xu Yan squeaked quietly. “You went one for two nights! What happened!”
Xie Yi tilted his head in thought, then realized that telling the story again was kind of a hassle. “Stuff.”
“That is not an acceptable answer”, Xu Yan wailed, resisting the urge to pull at Xie Yi’s soft cheeks.
Xie Yi stuck out his tongue and redirected his eyes to Mingtian while trying not to repeatedly peek at Shi Yue and Master Chen to the side. He didn't like being unable to hear their words, but listening in was too obvious.
“A month”, Master Chen muttered after biting her finger while thinking.
“Keep him in here for a month. He has a ridiculous pain tolerance, right? I can get his poison tolerance up to a normal level in a month, but that time will have him even more sensitive to it. Just a bit would cause a heavy backlash. So if you can manage to convince that unruly little disciple of yours to stay put for a month, then I guess I can help out.”
Shi Yue wrinkled his eyebrows and let his eyes twitch over to Xie Yi. A month should be manageable, it was just a child - no matter how abnormal. (Were his thoughts, and they were wrong.)
“I understand”, he agreed with a nod. “Please prepare everything you need. I will talk to him later.”
The gorgeous woman nodded, then dispelled the sound barrier and turned to Xu Yan. “Xu Yan, come. The lesson is about to start.”
Xu Yan hesitated for a moment, then nodded and jumped off the bed to join the cultivator. With a sharp look back at Xie Yi, he warned: “Wait for me to finish! I’ll bring you dinner soon, okay?”
Once the two had left, Shi Yue also showed signs of wanting to leave.
“What am I supposed to do while you’re gone? I’m bored”, the child complained - and earned a heavy book that was placed next to him.
“Don’t complain. Meditate, read or play with Mingtian. Just stay in the room and rest for today while I take care of things”, Shi Yue declared, raising an eyebrow at Xie Yi and then leaving in a hurry.
Pouting, the child let himself fall onto the bed and stared at the ceiling.
Mingtian climbed on his stomach, wagging his scorpion tail, and Xie Yi picked him up in amusement. The beast had become even more like how he was in his last life.
“Hey, Mingtian? How much do you remember?”, Xie Yi asked, looking up at the furball he was holding over himself. The canine stopped playing along and stilled, then struggled a bit and hopped down to the ground.
Xie Yi turned his head to the side just in time to see an adult figure sit down at the corner of the bed and reach out to ruffle his hair.
“That’s a weird question”, Mingtian muttered in his low voice. “What is there to remember?”
“A whole life”, Xie Yi quietly responded, fixing Mingtian’s turquoise eyes.
The two colours clashed for a while, then Mingtian’s look softened. When he smiled, his white teeth showed through the gap between his lips.
“Is that so? I remember not meeting a very precious person and wandering around for a long, long time1He didn't meet Nie in the last timeline. I remember meeting a Grandmaster lying hurt in a ravine and becoming his partner. I remember… a very bad place with very bad people, and that the Grandmaster didn’t notice it”, he whispered, growing more and more quiet. “I remember that the Grandmaster was just like a child, knowing nothing. Strung around like a puppet. I remember that he made a lot of mistakes despite not wanting to, but he trusted the bad people too much.”
He paused and frowned deeply, then placed a hand against his forehead and pressing it there tightly. “I… don’t remember much towards the end.”
“You don’t need to!”, Xie Yi exclaimed, jolting up and hugging the much taller Mingtian tightly to his body. “Don’t think about that! You don’t need to remember!”
The pure despair in his words was enough for Mingtian to stop trying to force the memory. Instead, he wrestled his head out of Xie Yi’s arms and opted to cuddle the frightened child to his chest.
“Okay, okay. I won’t try to remember. Hey, you’re already so old, how come you turned more childish?”, he joked, smirking. The Xie Yi in his memories was a lot like a child, but he was also a cold-blooded killer. At the moment, he couldn’t see too much of that in the little boy.
“I’m eleven”, Xie Yi tried to defend himself in a muffled voice.
“Hmm. Just a little boy. A little boy who won’t mingle with the wrong people again, right?”, Mingtian said with a low chuckle, rubbing his head against the soft hair. Xie Yi was soft like a little puppy, just perfect for his little brother! Why was someone this cute not born as a fluffy little beast? That would have been more suitable.
“Shi Yue und Xue Hua are good people”, Mingtian added. Xie Yi stirred in his grasp, looking up confusedly.
“I don’t remember you ever meeting Xue Hua directly back then… Did you get such a good impression of him in just a day?”, the child asked in confusion. Xue Hua hadn’t always accompanied Shi Yue and Mingtian not always Xie Yi, and he couldn’t remember a single time that the two were at the same place.
“Ehh”, Mingtian awkwardly let out, his eyes swimming around. “I mean, he is Shi Yue’s partner, right? Someone like him wouldn’t have a bad partner - even in all those years, I don’t think I ever heard anything bad about Shi Yue…”
Silence and some staring. Mingtian sighed and scratched his cheek.
“Okay, I know Xue Hua from when we were both young. We haven’t seen each other in quite some time, but I know he’s a very good person. You can absolutely trust him”, he admitted with a wry face.
“Why did you part? Did something happen?” He had never heard about that before, so it came as a surprise to him.
“Lots of things came together”, he sighed, then placed his chin on Xie Yi’s head. “Can we leave that for another day?”
“Sure”, Xie Yi gave in easily. He wasn’t willing to push Mingtian. MingMing would tell him if he wanted to tell him, and until then, he wouldn’t push the matter.
Mingtian hummed lowly and clapped his mouth open and close so that his teeth clacked together. Xie Yi giggled at the weird sound echoing in his head.
“Xie Yi, you don’t mind that I’m a crossbreed, right?” In the end, it did lay a bit heavily on him. In his last life, Xie Yi had taken him as a demonic beast, but he had a feeling that the cultivator was aware of his bloodline, even if they never truly talked about it.
“You mean the spiritual-demonic beast mix? No, not really. Why would I?”, Xie Yi wondered, then pursed his lips. “Hmm, am I a crossbreed now, too? Last time, I cultivated demonic energy, now it’s spiritual energy.”
“That’s not how this works”, Mingtian laughed. It took him several seconds to calm down completely, then he went back to just plainly hugging Xie Yi. “Let’s not mess up in this life, little brother. Let’s be happy.”
Xie Yi closed his eyes comfortably. Oh, he liked the sound of that. He didn’t have a family before, now he had a brother? Mingtian would make a great elder brother. Brothers could rely on each other, right? Family was a very good thing, even if they weren’t related by blood. If they had decided on that in his last life already, maybe he would have listened to Mingtian more.
“Ming-Ge2Older brother, like saying Nii-san in japanese”, he called out happily. That was a bit embarrassing, so he wouldn’t really do it… MingMing was probably fine for the usual conversation.
Mingtian froze for a moment, then his arms tightened their hold and his body trembled.
“Ahh! Sheesh! Stop being so cute!”