A little later, back downstairs in their cozy apartment after their bedroom had gotten too hot, Lin Songmei and Yan Mingqing splayed out across the couches in the living room. Songmei, having drunk a little too much soup, kept her back against the couch, maintaining a decent enough posture as Mingqing starfished out, her head somehow lower than every other part of her body.
Sinking into her thoughts, Songmei wasn’t sure what to do next. Sure, they had mentioned they wanted to watch the show while curling up in bed, but now that they were downstairs, all previous motivation was gone. They had already watched half an episode and... it just wasn’t right. The room was hot, and she just wasn’t in the mood.
Songmei wished life could be simple, but not boring. It had only been... what, a day? And she was already feeling a little empty. What was she doing? It wasn’t as if she ever had hobbies. Her hobby had been studying so that she could do well in school. Now, with a strange shift in life, she wasn’t in school. So her hobby was cultivating?
That didn’t sound right... but it was kinda true?
It was time for one of these huh? Time for an existential crisis...
Sinking a little lower into the ultra-deluxe, super soft, plush cushions (they probably weren’t that, but compared to what she was used to in the orphanage, that’s what they felt like), Songmei took a moment to categorize everything.
She was a part of Starlight Lake. Still an orphan though. Cool. Liu Xueli was her master. Basic of the basics.
She cultivated the Crystalline Butterfly Art, she currently had opened four of her meridians, but could probably open the fifth without too much time.
It was what... March 29th? That meant, first of all, Mingqing’s birthday was in a little over a week—the 8th of April—but also that they were about to really get into the spring rainy season. Songmei had pounded that date into her head, she swore she wouldn’t forget to get a present for Mingqing either.
What else, what else?
She had Plum, safe and sound on her bed. That was good to remember...
World events time. Well, there was normal society, chugging along nicely. At least, that’s what Songmei assumed. She had stopped following the news, all the drama paled in comparison to the cultivation news anyway. Who wanted to learn about this government bill about whether or not so and so could have a term extension, when she could hear about the scintillating drama of the demon expedition team returning from the central continent?
On the note of the central continent too, there were the demons. Just from Xueli and her less than firm jaw, Songmei had learned that things were heating up. Conflicts were breaking out, but still no casualties. Plus, there hadn’t been the descension of any more demon pillars, they were at a solid... five maybe? Songmei didn’t know, that was a guess. All she knew was that it was a small fraction, and that though the situation was tense, it was pretty stable.
Now... hmm... Techniques maybe? There was her body strengthening technique, her Crystalline arrows, and her Butterfly Steps. The three techniques she really knew.
There wasn't much else. Sinking even further into the cushions, now resembling a bit of a scrunched up marshmallow, Songmei stared off into the distance, admiring the high ceiling above her.
She was pretty sure Mingqing had just dozed off... or was she in the bathroom?
She was glad that Mingqing was around, Songmei wouldn’t have dared go alone through the neighborhoods that she and Mingqing had gone through to leave Westriver. Through their arching pathways, neon lights, and just... grimy atmosphere, Songmei was reminded a little too much of the rough neighborhoods that the orphanage was in.
She was still probably more well equipped to deal with the upcoming challenges in the neighborhoods rather than their outside expedition, so that was a big plus. They were going to be quarantined in the city while the bureaucrats cleaned up the outside wilderness for the next few months, exterminating every last plant.
That meant... high society? And low society...
The assignment hall was about to get rammed with disciples. Absolutely ravaged.
Marinating in her thoughts more than a hunk of meat before a house party, Songmei’s mind drifted—there were the kings and queens of the districts, that was something to remember and look into. She had heard that there were currently seven, each holding a title named after the seven deadly sins.
From the brief reading Songmei had done, she had found that online, there were... mixed opinions on them. It seemed some were better than others, some were more temperate, some were more ruthless.
But with that thought, Songmei was hit by the post-soup food coma train, getting whisked off to dreamland.
Washing her hands, checking her makeup, and fixing her outfit, Mingqing walked out of the bathroom after drying her hands, only to be greeted by a fast asleep Songmei, scrunched up like a shrimp.
Easing Songmei out the suboptimal, primed-for-permanent-neck-damage position, Mingqing sat down beside her, pulling out her terminal. Might as well do some reading, so, random gossip sites, here she came!
Pausing for a moment, her finger right about to open the gossip site, Mingqing sighed, deciding to instead open up her reading for the Hall of Learning.
She really needed to get that done...
Somehow, Songmei had already completed the majority of it with her fabled, “read while walking” technique...
How Songmei could pull it off was a mystery, and it baffled Mingqing. The terrain wasn’t smooth, there were jagged areas, muddy patches, protruding roots, and more. But, because of that, Songmei was now way ahead of Mingqing. Moreover, Mingqing was also feeling a little bit of that itch, that itch to be productive.
Sure, the TV show was great, sleeping all day was even better, especially since they had an actual bed now. But also, the unproductivity was killing her. She had grown up being trained, and now... she could just not?
Might as well do a little bit of learning. The reading was interesting enough as it was. Mingqing had a huge chunk of history to get through, and that was basically gossip... but historical... so just gossip.
It was great to learn about Guan Yu, Strummer of Stars, and how he turned into Guan Yu, the Star Shatterer, and ended his life being Guan Yu, Sky’s Abomination.
Crazy stuff... and surprisingly enough, a lot of weird small drama. Like, being unsatisfied with being golden boy, and deciding to “try a demonic technique because why not.”
Kinda stupid, but still, GREAT to read about!
So... one day wouldn’t be that bad. One day? Just to cuddle with Songmei and read? That’d be fine...
She’d make a trip to the training field tomorrow...
Staring out the window, Mingqing cuddled up with Songmei a little more, leaning her head against Songmei’s shoulder as she slept.
‘Oh, gotta pull the blanket over us too...’