When night came, Xie Yi fixed his black robe and looked at his tall self in the mirror.
In the background, an annoyed looking Xu Yan and a curious looking Mingtian in his arms were watching.
“Master Chen and Master Li said you can't go out”, Xu Yan mumbled, aware that he would never be able to hold Xie Yi back. And he couldn’t even take the fluffy beast along because the collar would give a signal! And they couldn’t take it off! (Not that the fluffy ball was intimidating, but a spiritual beast was a spiritual beast.)
“I’m never supposed to go out”, Xie Yi commented. He hadn’t agreed with staying in. He had just said that he knew he should. “It’s not like it’s the first time, nothing will go wrong.”
Wait, were dead people a sign for things going wrong? Because in that case, things had gone wrong before. But not necessarily today.
Xu Yan groaned and looked outside. “If you’re not back before dawn, I’ll tell the teachers on you.” - Same conditions as usual.
Xie Yi nodded, then ruffled Mingtian’s fur to keep the beast from moving and opened the windows. His spiritual energy flared up, activating different arrays and spells at the same time, and he vanished into the night.
Mingtian gave a tiny howl - if anything happened, Xie Yi just had to call and he would come.
Once outside, Xie Yi stretched his long limbs. The fake adult body was as stiff as ever, but he had gotten used to it a bit. A simple demon mask covering the upper half of his face hid his red eyes and also helped to conceal his stiff face, the adjustments at the robe to make it wider did the rest to hide choppy movements.
Happy with his regained freedom, Xie Yi focused his spiritual energy on his feet and jumped up the trees.
This view was much more familiar. Looking over the sea of treetops, standing on a branch. The wind was comfortable but slightly numbing through the fake skin.
Xie Yi closed his eyes for a moment, breathing deeply in and out, then leaped forward. Jumping from tree to tree, easily covering ground with a technique that usually only Masters learned. He couldn’t use it perfectly, but his understanding of the technique was high enough to allow him to use the basics.
He didn’t use this technique in daily life. Something in his stomach felt unwell at the thought of Shi Yue realizing he knew such things, just like he hid his extensive knowledge of cultivation.
The way to the city was rather long, so a good part of the night would be over with just the way back and forth. It was enough for what he wanted to do, though.
The store owner jolted heavily when a person jumped down from the roof in front of him. Instinctually, he let the pipe in his hands fall and jumped back with a muffled scream. Only when the figure in front of him didn't move, did he take his time to see who was there and then relaxed before picking up his pipe.
Sighing, he patted his chest. “Good lord, Master Cultivator. Can you not startle me like that?”
“Sorry”, Xie Yi obediently apologized, though both his tone and body language made it clear he was saying it for naught.
The store owner wiped his forehead to hide the rolling of his eyes.
The man had been working with him for roughly half a year now, after some back and forth. It hadn’t been easy to catch him, but a friend of his had recommended the suspicious man. Fast at work, uncomplicated. Kind of easy to deal with as long as you were clear on what you wanted and offered an honest price.
What he needed was a cultivator to help him with the numerous pills, potions and ointments he sold in his store.
Sensitive as they were, he couldn’t just let them lie around. The one who refined them for him wanted nothing to do with their storage, understandably, but that didn’t mean that he hadn’t to think of a way to store them until they were bought. There was also the matter of keeping his store safe from thieves and making sure that the scent of the pills didn’t get out, attracting wild beasts.
You could find cultivators for all kinds of jobs, but having someone responsible, honest and cheap enough that he could use them was rare.
He was more than satisfied with the quiet man who let himself be paid half in materials and half in silver. Their relationship was good.
“Shall we go inside?”, the fat owner sighed and rubbed his beard. It was good that the cultivator had come by today, he was starting to get worried about his wares.
That, and he had his daughter over tonight.
She had heard his scream, so her steps sounded hurriedly from inside. Looking through the open door she found her father quite relaxed, and lost her tension as well. When she saw the mysterious man behind her father, she approached cautiously.
“Aah, Xiao Lan, come greet our guest. This is the cultivator who helps me with matters around the store”, he explained, pulling her over.
His daughter was a beauty. Slim and cute, with watery eyes and a lovely face. She looked at the cultivator in surprise, then shyly lowered her eyes and bowed. “Master Cultivator.”
They didn’t know whether Xie Yi was actually a Master, so it was pure sucking up. Everyone wanted to have good connections with cultivators.
“Good evening”, Xie Yi greeted back simply.
As choppy as the fake skin made him, he was still attractive. The young woman quietly decided that she agreed with her father: That didn’t look like a bad husband. Why not try to get along? Nothing would be lost. They were past the times where women couldn’t even show interest in men.
“Let’s go in”, Xire Yi said when no one moved for a few seconds. Usually, this man was interested in getting work done as soon as possible? Was he in a relaxed mood or something? There was also the fact that the young woman kept on peeking at him.
“Yes, of course”, the store owner said and wrung his hands.
When they walked in, the woman stuck quite close to Xie Yi, causing his skin to prickle even below the fake skin.
For some reason he just really didn’t like it. He didn’t have a problem with women - Li Mei was a female, Ying Hua was one, Master Chen, too. He even got cuddled by Li Mei sometimes. No, he definitely didn’t have a problem with women. So, why was this one so… unpleasant?
Everything about her was too close. Standing too close, her perfumed scent too strong, the sound of her breathing too loud. Her every look at him was too much.
Filled with distaste, Xie Yi stepped slightly to the side while walking to create a bit of a distance. He didn’t want her to be close. He didn’t want that look in her eyes. If she didn’t have that, then she’d be quite pretty, but he hated that look.
Oh right, there were women and men like that in his past life. Subordinates of his. They’d knock on his door late at night - always those people with that look in their eyes.
He didn’t want it directed at him. They could look at other people that way, but not him.
What was it that those people wanted? In the end he had always thrown them out immediately, so he never found out. Maybe he could check under different circumstances but not now.
Just stepping inside the building was enough to carry the sweet scent of medical pills to him. Tempting like candy, but paid in gold. None of the pills in this place were anything but exclusive.
The numerous cabinets and cases in the exhebition room were clean to the point of sparkling and kept well guarded by a net of arrays. Why else would you dare to leave precious materials lying around? The store wasn’t the best in the area, but it was pretty high up. It did have its safety measures.
One by one, Xie Yi checked the arrays for signs of breaking or altering, then made sure they were still working correctly. A quick look at the locks and other defensive mechanisms, then time to check the beast cores powering the arrays hidden away in a separate room and exchanging them if needed.
Renewing the spells to keep the scent inside, as well, and one bulk was done.
As usual, this type of work didn’t eat up too much time, or otherwise he wouldn’t be able to make it at night.