Shi Yue’s train of thoughts at Xie Yi’s suggestion went about the same path as Mingtian’s, so he was more than willing to agree.
Being quite busy with convincing the unsettled Masters that they couldn’t let Yao Ming do as he pleased, Shi Yue knew that he wouldn’t have too much time for his disciple. Considering that Xie Yi was going to be very restricted in how he was allowed to pass his time, he had already been wondering on what to do so that the child wouldn’t die from boredom. (He hadn’t heard of that ever happening to anyone, but knowing Xie Yi, he was unwilling to the take the chance.)
“I can’t just let you teach them, however”, he warned. “There’ll be teachers around at all times, so you will be more of an aid. I expect you to treat the newcomers with respect as you teach them. Just because your spiritual energy is stronger, doesn’t mean that you can be rude.”
“I understand”, Xie Yi confirmed, sipping the last bit of the certainly very disgusting concoction in the bowl. It was bitter and tasted like vomit. He did drink it without complaining, but his lips pursed slightly.
“You also won’t be allowed to help out this first week”, his master commented with a quick glance at the empty bowl and an appreciative nod at his disciple’s endurance in not complaining. “For the first two days, you are not allowed to leave at all. During the daytime, Li Mei will be around to regularly check up on you. Take your time to sleep and read. Someone else will bring you food and whatever you need. The two days after that you can go out for short times as long as you are accompanied by Li Mei or a teacher, but nothing else. The last three days you can start doing physical exercises to an extent. All given that you are feeling well, of course.”
Xie Yi blinked slowly. The poison was already beginning to gnaw at his insides, a mean pain that wasn’t overly large but plainly uncomfortable. It was bound to get worse in the next hours. “Okay.”
Feng Yan had told him to sleep. Shi Yue had told him to sleep. Mingtian had told him to sleep. Xu Yan had told him to sleep. Everyone wanted him to sleep and enduring the pain was going to be annoying, so he might as well sleep.
“Li Mei will be here any minute now and Xu Yan shouldn’t come back late today, either. Don’t leave the room just because no one is watching you.”
“Un”, Xie Yi mumbled, the crawled under the covers and curled himself up. As Shi Yue opened the door, Mingtian rushed inside and, seeing Xie Yi getting ready to sleep, wagged his scorpion tail at Shi Yue and then hopped over to join Xie Yi like a guard dog.
Shi Yue watched the furball move over to his disciple. That little Mingtian was the epitome of suspicious, but that was the thing about cultivators. It was possible to find huge treasures and either not recognize them or hide them. Maybe Mingtian was much stronger than he let on, but if Shi Yue worried about any little suspicious thing, he wouldn’t have time to breathe.
In this kind of dangerous world, you sometimes had to take a risk and hope that things wouldn’t bite you in the back.
He had asked Lao Hua to watch him a bit. He trusted his partner.
The door closed and Mingtian turned his small face to the door. He had wanted to visit Xue Hua, but the bird was avoiding him…
Turning back to Xie Yi, he opened his mouth: “Hurts?”
“Yeah”, Xie Yi nodded. It did hurt. Not bad compared to the kind of pain he knew, but that didn’t change the fact that it hurt.
“That girl is almost here. You can ask her for something against the pain.”
...He wasn’t going to do it, huh.
Indeed, a few minutes later someone lightly knocked on the door and then peeked inside. Seeing Xie Yi still awake, Li Mei walked in while carrying a small bag and a larger one over her shoulder.
“Hey there”, she greeted gently. “Guess we’re stuck together for the next few days, hm?”
“You already drank it all? I brought you some pain-relievers, something to help you sleep and candy to get rid off the terrible taste. Even the stench was bad enough”, she muttered, opening up the window and then going to the table to take out things from the smaller bag. A small bottle of pills, a tiny, scented bag and something wrapped in a handkerchief. When she opened it, it ended up being a kind of soft and sweet mini-cake that half melted on your tongue.
She reached over and held it right in front of Xie Yi’s mouth with a smile. The boy hesitated, then ate it.
Li Mei quite liked Xie Yi. The boy was complicated and weird, but he was obviously trying his hardest. He was always following Shi Yue like a little tail, beaming. Once he had somewhat gotten used to her, they started having conversations about all kinds of topics. He had interesting train of thoughts.
Besides, Xie Yi was incredibly adorable, like a little doll. She would have loved taking him home! At some point, she had noticed with horror that she did kind of understand those rich old women who kept boys at their homes, not even for sexual reasons but just kind of as pets. If Xie Yi kept on being like that, then it was just a cuteness overload. Of course, she’d never try anything like taking him home, but he sure was cute enough for it.
At first she had thought his addiction to Shi Yue was quite weird and somewhat creepy, but she had changed her mind about it. As over-the-top as it was, Xie Yi’s feelings towards Shi Yue were surprisingly pure. At this age, he could have already started to turn into a pervert like some of the other boys that liked coincidentally picking something up when girls with skirts went by and the like. Even if both of them were male, there would have been a chance that Xie Yi showed a more physical interest in the Grandmaster, but he hadn’t up until now. As it stood, it just looked like a cute boy adoring his teacher, so she had no problem watching it. Although he did get possessive. It wasn’t her task to fix that, though.
“Take a painkiller?”, she soothingly muttered, patting Xie Yi on the head and then immediately pulling back when she felt Xie Yi’s shrink his neck after a few seconds. Okay, enough of that.
“Is it gonna lessen the effect? Then I don’t want it”, Xie Yi mumbled in a small voice. It was quite misleading - Xie Yi was far, far sturdier and had a much greater endurance than any of his peers, even including those a few years older or on other levels. Those that were planning on just challenging him would notice their mistake soon enough.
“It won’t. Take one”, she pressed, already reaching out to steady him up a bit so he could swallow the pill with some water. He made a noise of complaint and sat up by himself, holding out a small white hand. Li Mei shook her head with a smile and handed him both some water and the pill that he took without a word before curling back up again.
“I’m mainly here to monitor you, so don’t feel pressured to interact with me. You can, of course, but otherwise I’ll be making myself comfortable at the table and work on my studies if you don’t mind?”
The head of black hair moved in a shake and Li Mei left his side to move to the table. Sitting down, she opened her larger bag and took out some books as well as a scroll that appeared to be for taking notes. She threw a sweet smile at Xie Yi, then opened the book and searched for the page she last left off.
Xie Yi stared at her drowsily. The painkillers were doing their work but he didn’t want to sleep with her in the room, so he was planning on leaving most of it for the night or maybe dozing a bit. That fact that Mingtian was guarding him helped a lot and he did feel safer in the room, but he wouldn’t be able to sleep as well as he did in the Transcendent’s home.
That said, he really wanted to go back there again! It was a great place! He wanted a home like that!
His eyes stayed open while his thoughts turned, jumping from one topic to the next in a fluid motion. With his brain just barely recognizing the shape of the room, the furniture and Li Mei, he fell into a state of being half asleep.