Xiao Lu rolled her eyes in annoyance. She crossed her arms, resting her breasts on them as she watched from a bit farther away. “What a bitch. Look at her throwing herself all over Xie Yi.”
QingQing, standing next to her with a prim and proper posture, made for an amusing counterpart. She had a wry smile on her face. “It looks so weird. We are all used to Xie Yi with his monstrous strength. If he acts meek, then it’s only with his friends or Master Li. I never noticed how used I have gotten to seeing it.”
Xiao Lu glanced over at her. The girls were starting to get along surprisingly well despite their different ways of living.
“He doesn’t truly feel like a disciple, eh? He even stopped participating in the common lessons… ages ago.” She pushed her full lips forward in a pout. “Well, it’s good that it’s our sect who has him. At least he’s eye-candy, even if he’s not up for hunting.”
QingQing flushed at the allusion.
“Your cousin doesn’t have a girlfriend, right? I’m pretty sure he doesn’t, but making sure is better”, Xiao Lu smirked.
The other girl buried her face in her hands in embarrassment. “...Not that I know.”
Xiao Lu smiled in satisfaction and looked over to Sheng Mu, who had begun watching the moment QingQing appeared nervous. His face twitched a bit when Xiao Lu waved at him.
“Handsome and strong men with a good character are hard to find”, she hummed appreciatively.
Xu Yan felt a weird sense of relief with Lu Han sitting at the restaurant’s table with them. Maybe it was because the other was used to taking care of people and he felt that the task of watching over Xie Yi was shared.
Moreover, Wu was still around - Xu Yan found himself inexplicably comfortable around the guy - and he was the best person to make sure that Xie Yi was safe.
At this moment, both Lu Han and Xu Yan were gripping different parts of the arm with the sneaky hand reaching out for the alcohol.
Xie Yi looked at both of them. “...Just a sip.”
“No”, both men said at the same time.
“You are underaged. You cannot drink alcohol”, Lu Han insisted. He himself had a small cup, making Xie Yi very jealous. The guy had a baby-face but was allowed to drink.
Xie Yi blew up his cheeks. “Wu!”
At the other end of the room, the loud exchange of words stopped for a single moment. “Yes?”
Huo Cheng felt tempted to continue their verbal spar but Xie Yi had nothing to do with it so if he had something to talk about, he would wait.
It looked funny how the two men were at each other’s throats but paused because a little guy had called for them.
“Can I drink some alcohol?”
“Sure”, the beast agreed readily. Xie Yi had been drinking alcohol since he was much younger, anyway.
“Oh, so you’re allowed to let him drink alcohol, but I’m not even allowed to invite him to a simple meal without you coming along?”, the prince pouted.
“I am his guardian right now”, Wu huffed. “I decide what’s fine and what isn’t.”
“He is almost an adult. You can’t be serious in thinking that he can’t even survive a meal alone. It’s not like anyone is going to be killed!”
The conversation halted in confusion from both sides. (Xie Yi happily got a cup despite Xu Yan’s glaring.)
“I-... What”, Huo Cheng asked, his eyebrows moving as he repeated their last sentences in their head and tried to find what he had missed.
“Oh you meant that as-... yeah”, Wu muttered to himself, pulling an awkward face. “Anyway. No, I won’t let him go to a meal alone.”
“But… to murder…?”, Huo Cheng tried to understand.
They looked at each other again.
Wu cleared his throat. “He’s… better at killing people than at conversing with them.”
“How does that make any sense”, the prince asked with a deadpan face. “He’s, what, sixteen? How many people could he have killed before?”
Awkward silence. It dragged on. Huo Cheng’s face became more incredulous the longer Wu awkwardly stared to the side.
Lu Han looked at Xie Yi, who was a happy tame rabbit sipping at his cup, in surprise. Xu Yan slapped his palm against his face.
“Right, how many people could you have killed before”, Xu Yan asked with an exhausted voice while looking at Xie Yi with his uncovered eye.
The youth blinked and set down his cup. “Well, not many, but it depends…”
“Depends on what”, Xu Yan asked with his hair raised.
Xie Yi lifted his palm and looked very concentrated. He sometimes moved over his fingers as if he was counting, his lips moving. Once in a while he stopped, frowned, then continued.
“Depends on what”, Xu Yan shrieked, tempted to shake his friend.
“I really can’t imagine you killing people”, Lu Han said in surprise. Xie Yi looked so… peaceful.
“Killing people is easy”, Xie Yi whined. “It’s easier to destroy things than to keep them in good shape. I find it harder to make sure that I don’t mess up the relationships with my friends.”
“That sounds exactly like you”, Xu Yan groaned. “The good thing is, we know you are like that and still like you.”
Huo Cheng looked Xie Yi up and down several times. “I cannot imagine that. He looks so cute.”
Wu broke into laughter. He laughed louder and louder, then his laughter turned depressed and ended in a sigh. He leaned his head against the wall. “...Ugh.” 1He remembered how cute Xie Yi looked as an adult in his past life and made himself sad
“Looks and ability to kill are really not related to each other in any way”, Xie Yi chimed in while rubbing his necks. Compared to the number of scary-looking guys he had seen, he was the more murderous one.
“What kind of disciple has Shi Yue picked up there”, Huo Cheng exclaimed out loud.
“The most suspicious one he had ever seen”, Xie Yi answered correctly.
Lu Han’s eyes were wide. “You are amazing. You are so young but already so powerful…”
“God, don’t take him as your role model”, Xu Yan winced at the look in the man’s eyes.
“Being powerful isn’t always that good”, Xie Yi agreed.
Lu Han shook his head. “I am a whole decade older than you, but I feel quite useless. I am not a cultivator, so it’s impossible for me to keep up with all of you. I wish I was this powerful…”
Lu Han looked a bit dejected. He glanced over at Huo Cheng who had returned to fighting with Wu.
“Oooh”, Xie Yi exclaimed, clapping his hands together. “I get it! In your head, you’re too weak to be worthy of him and it’s easier to think he simply doesn’t like you than accepting that fact. I can understand that.”
Xu Yan threw his palm against his face again. Thankfully, Xie Yi had spoken quietly.
Lu Han’s eyes grew even bigger. He flapped his mouth like a fish.
“In that case, excuse me for being rude before. Maybe Huo Cheng has a similar motive that I simply didn’t notice yet?” Xie Yi rubbed his chin and stared at the table.
“Okay”, Xu Yan breathed into his hands. “I’m starting to see that you are doing jumps in your understanding of humans lately. I think we have to speed-up the process of learning about ‘what can I say and what not’, too.”
Xie Yi paused. “...Shouldn’t have said that?”
“Please don’t reveal people’s inner thoughts like that.”
“Oh. That was the second time, then. Oops.”
“You’re learning well, though”, Xu Yan said with a pat on his back before he looked over at Lu Han. “Uh, don’t take it to heart.”
Lu Han obviously had a thin skin. He lowered his head awkwardly and tried to hide his blushing.
“Say, if I found out about Huo Cheng’s motives, couldn’t I try helping them solve it? It’s kind of annoying to see them like this.”
“Trying to hook up two people is not that easy. Please don’t mess around with that.”
Xie Yi nodded obediently. Alright, idea discarded.
He poured himself more alcohol and poured it down like water with a satisfied face. If only he could get some of Shi Yue’s… His master had a great taste, but there was no way he would share until Xie Yi reached adulthood in two years.
At the thought, he stopped drinking and sighed. “Aah, I miss Master. And his breakfast. He makes great breakfast.”
“You eat breakfast with your master?”, Lu Han asked, astounded. That wasn’t common.
“Yeah. Master is really kind, he even watches out for what I eat.”
“That’s because you’d live off the weirdest things if he didn’t take the time to get you used to decent food”, Xu Yan interjected.
“Old habits die hard”, the young cultivator shrugged.