When Xu Yan came rushing in, the first thing he spotted was the red of Xie Yi’s eyes staring out of the gap in the blanket. He was blinking slowly and rarely like a cat - Xu Yan was familiar with it, it just meant that his friend wasn’t actually sleeping and was alerted by something.
“Senior Sister”, Xu Yan called out as he turned to Li Mei afterwards, bowing with a bright smile on his face. “Thanks for watching over Xiao Yi!”
“No problem at all. Are you finished for the day?”
“Un”, Xu Yan responded. “I’ve talked to the teachers, I won’t really go to the lessons until Xiao Yi is feeling better.”
As he spoke, he fetched his book and then climbed into the bed next to Xie Yi, tugging away the blanket so he had space under it. Xie Yi groaned unhappily but turned to his back, giving some of the blanket free and putting Mingtian on his stomach. The beast quietly lay there like a hot water bottle.
“Xiao Yi”, Xu Yan called, poking the boy. “Can you even sleep with Senior Sister here?”
“No”, Xie Yi bluntly admitted, drowsily looking at Xu Yan who gave a wry smile.
“Guess you’ll be sleeping normally, during the night, then… Do you wanna go over some stuff for the lessons?” Xu Yan tapped his book and slipped lower into the bed so that his head was about Xie Yi’s level. He didn’t share beds with Xie Yi when they were sleeping, but he often came over in the evening when he was homesick. Usually he reasoned by saying that they were still young and that it was normal to stick together, but he himself felt a bit embarrassed at being so old already.
“Sure”, the black-haired boy readily agreed. Xie Yi rubbed his eyes and moved himself to a more comfortable position that would still allow him to stare at Xu Yan while he talked. He felt Li Mei look up curiously but ignored her in favour of checking out what Xu Yan was holding exactly.
It was a book on arrays, funnily enough. He had had a long discussion with Shi Yue about that when they had been drinking. Actually, Xie Yi desperately wanted to do it again. It was different from interacting with him otherwise; it was like talking on the same level. Not just talking because it was Shi Yue, but also talking because it was interesting and fun and he enjoyed all the knowledge he discovered.
As great as the desire to repeat it was, Xie Yi was not going to take the risk unless Mingtian confirmed that it was fine. Mainly because he knew and remembered that he had snapped. Shi Yue did not like it when people were killed, and he was worried that Shi Yue would look at him with those dark, angry eyes again. He’d rather not risk it if that was likely.
“Here this part”, Xu Yan complained, reading a few sentences and then turning the book so that Xie Yi could see.
The other looked up with an incredulous gaze. “What isn’t there to understand?”
“Xiao Yi!”, Xu Yan scolded, flushing a bit. “Every single time! Let me say it again: Not everyone is a genius! I’m not too good with this kinda thing, okay?”
“Don’t understand”, Xie Yi replied in confusion. The painkiller and poisons were slowing his brain down, and he already couldn’t understand Xu Yan’s confusion on the best days. “I’ll just go through it.”
Xu Yan nodded enthusiastically. Xie Yi never understood his problems, so it often ended with him just conducting a whole lesson. Xu Yan could ask questions as much as he wanted, getting more and more details with each one as he needed. It was a slower process, but it helped a lot with learning. He wasn’t an ideal teacher but he certainly wasn’t bad.
Li Mei sometimes stopped to glance over with a smile on her face, enjoying the comfortable atmosphere.
It didn’t last that long, though.
At noon of the fourth day, Xie Yi was seething with annoyance. His time outside was ridiculously restricted and he wasn’t allowed any exercise at all. Shi Yue still insisted he should spend most of the time in his bed.
By now, he was at the limit of his patience. Even the sound of Li Mei’s breathing threw him into an annoyed, childish fit.
“I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care!” Xie Yi pulled at his hair, unable to handle the feeling of boredom that he simply wasn’t used to. While common Grandmasters were actually very good at doing nothing, Xie Yi had never been in a situation of forced relaxation. He had always had the possibility of doing something or rejecting, but since he was too nervous about Shi Yue getting mad, he was quite torn about what to do.
“You are too loud!”, he hissed at Li Mei who had been doing nothing but breathing and turning the page of her book. The female disciple had a very patient and understanding face while trying to soothe the boy.
“What is too loud?”, she tried to ask, hoping to get some information out of Xie Yi.
“Everything!” He took a pillow and threw it towards Li Mei before taking Mingtian and throwing him right after. The puppy made a yip, twisted in midair and landed quite safely before tilting his head and then tugging at Li Mei’s clothes, towards the door.
“Xu Yan, come out with me for a while”, she called to the stunned other boy, who had entered not too long ago and whose figure was now being glared at by Xie Yi. He nodded and hurried towards the door, pulling it right close behind the three of them.
“What’s wrong with him? Is it the treatment?”, Xu Yan worried anxiously, pulling Mingtian up and hugging him. The beast was very tame and fluffy, so he loved hugging him.
“It shouldn’t be”, Li Mei rejected with a slow hum. “I haven't found any signs of his body being unable to deal with it, and neither has master. I believe it might be a psychological problem.”
“A problem of the mind”, Li Mei patiently explained as she made sure the arrays for the room were intact. “I’m not too good at it, so I’ll have to ask Master Chen, but I’ve got a theory. Let me fetch her.”
Not too long later, the voluptuous woman walked in and out of the room. Motioning for Xu Yan and Li Mei to follow her, the three took place in a smaller side-room usually used by the attendants.
“You’re correct. It seems like it’s just a case of sensory overload.”
“Master Chen…”, Xu Yan whined, hoping for an explanation. Master Chen’s eyes twitched towards him, then she gave a small smile and elaborated.
“You know that Xie Yi is incredibly bored right now? That has been piling up. He is so focused on his annoyance that any other input from his senses, for example hearing, is too much for him right now. He doesn’t know how to deal with that, so he turns aggressive. In moments like these - and they’re very normal, especially under stressful situations - even just someone being in the same room as you can be seen as annoying. I gave him something stronger to sleep. When he wakes up again, we should let him go out.”
“Is it dangerous?” Xu Yan had only understood about half of it, but Li Mei and Mingtian relaxed.
“No, not at all. What he needs the most right now is a bit of rest and then something to relieve his boredom. Avoid being too close to him for a while. I will monitor everything for now; I can lessen my presence so that he should be able to continue sleeping.” The Master glanced into the direction of the room. Xie Yi was being unusually aggressive, but she was quite certain that it was a purely mental problem. He himself had appeared unhappy with the fact that he couldn’t control himself or he wouldn’t have taken the pills without complaint. It really was time that he was allowed outside again. Even just taking longer walks and wandering around would likely alleviate the symptoms.
“He’s supposed to be able to start with exercises tomorrow”, Li Mei commented. “Maybe we can start that a bit earlier, it’s just half a day.”
“It should be fine”, Master Chen confirmed. “Once he is awake, I’ll call for you, Li Mei. Take him outside for an hour in which he can do lighter work like stretches, walks, or even help you grind some herbs. As long as it’s not too exhausting, it’s alright. Let him eat his dinner outside, too, if he wants - not the dinner from the canteen, of course, but he can take his usual meal out.”
“I’ll go to some lessons then, after all”, Xu Yan muttered in obvious dejection, leaving his head hanging. Li Mei placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Don’t worry, he’ll be better soon.”