“Yes, we have an appointment with a Master from the Honourable Sect. Would you be so kind as to accompany us for the rest of the way?”, Xu Yan suggested, keeping an eye on Sheng Mu who acted as the leader now.
Sheng Mu nodded to him. “If you would do us the favour, it would be very much appreciated.”
Between the beast that he still wanted and the pretty guy that he also wanted, the arrogant leader of the other group saw no reason to reject them. He showed a broad smile and lowered his head momentarily. “Of course. We hope we can make up for the trouble this way.”
Xu Yan stared at Xie Yi and gave him a short smile. Xie Yi nodded imperceptibly. Okay, the group was ‘friendly’ for now, so he had to act nice. Besides, that fit well with him trying to act weaker. Maybe that would keep away some trouble. (Actually, it would do the opposite.)
Xie Yi picked up the destroyed net and glanced at it.
Structure and material were made to not only be more durable, but also to make it harder to gather and use spiritual energy. It was a good net for catching beasts up to a certain size.
“Your net is broken”, Xie Yi said with disappointment. He hadn’t been able to see the whole net, that was too bad. Their sect did not hunt with nets and he would have liked to see the effect clearly.
Seeing the downcast beauty, the arrogant guy gave an amicable chuckle. “Please don’t worry about it. We can make a new one any time.”
Hmm? When had he worried about it?
“Shall we introduce ourselves?”, Sheng Mu suggested, throwing a glare at the bodyguard before walking over to Xie Yi. “My name is Sheng Mu. These are Xu Yan and Xie Yi with his partner Mingtian. The girls are Xiao Lu and Su Qing. Over there are Chen Hu and Song Lan.”
There was a flash of recognition in the three’s eyes at Xie Yi’s name. Both the name and the looks along with it were on the par with a famous figure now.
Only that they couldn’t find the connection between the monster from the rumours and the downcast pretty boy looking at the net as if it was a treasure.
“This is Wei Lan and Zi Yang. As for me, please call me Brother Nan.” ‘Brother Nan’ was smiling nicely, but in fact, it was more than rude to assume that the whole group would simply call him respectfully ‘brother’ when he did not even fully introduce himself.
He placed a hand on Xie Yi’s shoulder and leaned his torso forward a bit so that he was closer to the other. Xie Yi gave a startled twitch and his eyes moved up to him.
The limpid, beautiful eyes were sparkling like precious jewels, the full lips parted a bit. His confused, upturned glance was straight out adorable.
Nan stopped himself from reaching out to touch the white cheeks and spoke gently. “You must be tired from your journey. Let’s go so that you can take a rest.”
Aah, thought Xu Yan. Beauty is a dangerous thing. Xiao Yi is only trying to find a non-bloody alternative to cutting off your hand for touching him, he really is not soft and cute.
A bit of it was Li Mei’s fault.
By all right, Xie Yi should have tanned considerably with how often he was outside, but Li Mei fed him everything in her line of medical pills to enhance his good looks.
Now he was only a little bit more tan than Master Li, was slender and athletic, had shiny black hair that looked incomparably soft and skin that looked like silk.
Little doll Xie Yi took a step back, lowering his head to nod and keeping it down.
Nan smiled more brightly. Look, the cutie was shy.
(...No, he only did not want to have to look at that disgusting gaze for another second.)
Xu Yan hurried to the rescue, joining right next to Xie Yi while the foreign group gathered up their things.
“I can’t kill him, can I”, Xie Yi whispered with a blank gaze.
“No, you can’t. That might spark a war.”
“I don’t like the way he treats me.” He pursed his rosy lips, whining softly.
“Endure it, Xiao Yi”, Xu Yan whispered back. “You’re doing very well. I’m proud of you.”
Under normal friends, one side might feel offended to hear such a patronizing phrase, but Xie Yi hummed lowly and placed his head on Xu Yan’s shoulder for a moment.
So annoying and disgusting, eww…
“I’ll give you a tip”, Xu Yan muttered, glancing over at the group. “Whenever they get too close, avert and lower your gaze and then slowly try to step away. Ideally, fidget with your fingers or something like that. If you do that, you also won’t have to talk a lot and can simply nod or shake your head, then glance at me.”
“What will that do?”
“It will paint you as a shy person.”
Because they had gotten closer, Sheng Mu and the rest heard their hushed conversation.
QingQing held back a chuckle. “Why do we need Senior Yi to act shy?”
“We need to keep up the kind appearances, right? Do you want Xiao Yi to walk around like he does at home?”
They all imagined it. Xie Yi, snarling and throwing people everywhere, giving that bloodthirsty laughter and those ridiculing and disgusted glances.
“...He will attract perverts”, Sheng Mu warned with a grumble. Why did he have to care for that guy!
“I will be around”, Xu Yan shrugged. “And his brother should be coming soon, right? Worst case, he can intervene. And it’s not like Xiao Yi is actually shy. If it goes too far, he can still retaliate.”
All in all, they were young. They were a group of young cultivators.
The thought of playing such a trick was a bit tempting.
Xiao Lu thought of the humiliation all those pretty girls in the sect would have to endure if they tried to make a move on Xie Yi.
The guys thought about the arrogant men falling flat on their noses.
QingQing just thought a shy Xie Yi was cute.
“Only as long as it doesn’t cause a bigger problem”, Sheng Mu agreed hesitantly.
“I’ll try my best not to kill anyone”, Xie Yi nodded with a serious gaze.
“...You shouldn’t just try that.”
They finished their conversation as Wei Lan came over to fetch them. “We are ready. Shall we go?”
They all nodded. Only Mingtian softly tugged at Xie Yi’s pants with his teeth.
Xie Yi looked down at him. “You’re going?”
Mingtian rubbed his head against the youth’s leg and turned around to leave.
Xie Yi, as he had been told, kept his head lowered to explain. “He’ll be around hunting while we are in the sect.”
“Makes sense”, Xu Yan agreed. Mingtian would hate having to wear a restrictive collar again.
The whole group moved forward. In time, the sect was visible far away.
“I guess my brother will be waiting there”, Xie Yi mumbled.
“Your brother was the man who ran through the sect?”, Xiao Lu inquired, thinking about the handsome young man.
Xie Yi nodded. “Yes. ...Wu is… a family member’s partner. He’s not my older brother by blood.”
Xu Yan twitched. “Wait, he’s a spiritual beast?”
“Un.” Xie Yi nodded proudly. “And he’s Xue Hua’s mate.”
“That explains why Master Li did not react badly to him storming in”, Song Lan muttered at the side. Everyone looked like they had epiphanies.
“Your older brother is coming?”, Nan asked carefully, walking a bit too close to Xie Yi again.
The young man took half a step to the side. “...Yes. He worries about me.”
Curiosity was welling up within the three, especially in Zi Yang, who had always been fascinated by the strong, humanoid beasts that he saw around the prominent families.
Everyone appeared to walk a tiny bit faster.
When the path became even, they could spot the sentries at the large gate to the sect and a good bit before, a tall figure leaning against a stone.
The figure moved to stand up straight, the arms folded before his chest falling down.
With leisure steps, the person approached them.
Xie Yi happily hurried forward, jumping into Mingtian’s arms to give him a hug.
Mingtian hugged him back with a broad smile, stunning everyone except for Xu Yan.
For men, showing sweet affection was always a problem. Most of them thought it was a sign of weakness, so even with their family, they kept a short distance and politeness after passing a certain age. That was the common behaviour.
Xu Yan knew Xie Yi well enough that the other kept his heart on his sleeve when it was about his loved ones. He did not think it was an embarrassment to show how precious someone was to him.
Xu Yan had gotten used to it, so it came as no surprise that Xie Yi’s older brother would be the same.