An old familiar cute and handsome face appeared in front of Jing that she hasn’t thought about or seen in a while. A small smile began to form on her face thinking about him. She was surprised to see him coming towards her like this. From what she knew, he was a shy boy that hid his feelings behind a veil of arrogance and superiority. But no doubt, he has heard of her recent accomplishments. Jing wondered if he still held feelings for her even now.
“Jing.” He spoke, staring into her eyes.
“Zhai Shang.” She spoke back with some mischievousness dancing in her eyes.
“I see the sect has changed you.”
“You don’t seem any different from when we took the Recruitment Test. Except maybe, you’re a little stronger now.” He was at the 6th stage of the Qi Consolidation realm.
“I’ve learned a lot under my Master. But that isn’t what I came here to talk about...”
“Which Spirit Cake would you like?” Jing asked.
“I didn’t come to buy your cakes. I came here to tell you something.”
“Hmm... Unless you buy one of my cakes, I don’t wanna hear it.” Jing teased. His cheeks reddened at her attitude.
“Here.” Without any hesitation, he placed 5 middle-ranked spirit stones on the stand and took a deep breath.
His eyes held determination within them while his face was growing redder every second. Whatever he had to tell her must have been something he’s been thinking about for a long time now. Especially since it's been several months since they last spoke to each other. Could it be that he was about to ask her to become his? That would be pretty funny if it was true. He did have much time to think about making this confession so, it was possible.
“I am in love with you, Jing. Please go out with me!” He bowed his head and Jing was actually caught off guard for a moment.
The spellmaster genius Zhai Shang just asked her to be his girlfriend. From what she has heard, Jing was one of the ugliest women in the sect because of her dark skin. It didn’t take a genius to realize that the culture of this world had a preference for what they believed was beautiful and pretty. Her brown skin was regularly seen as unwanted by every other girl she’s seen so far. Even her angels! It was amusing because Jing was quite taken by her skin and to see someone like Shang interested in her despite her skin. Jing was rather amused by this and didn’t outright tell him no.
His face was nice to look at, his shy personality was cute, his body wasn’t bad, and he didn’t seem unpleasant at all. Maybe she’ll play around with him for a while. Who knows, it could be fun? Jing gave a soft laugh as she told him to raise his head.
“Alright Zhai Shang, I’ll give you a chance to become my boyfriend. But it won’t be easy, I'm a hard girl to please.” Her lips turned up as her eyes turned playful.
“Really!?” His heart was plain to see on his face as he excitedly asked.
“But first, tell me why you were so taken by me. I’ve noticed your feelings for me even when we first met but to see that you are still interested in me even after I've ‘changed’.” And just when Jing thought his face couldn’t get any redder.
“So, it was obvious even back then...” He couldn’t stand to stare at her and turned his face.
“It was pretty cute. I was confused at first though.”
“Can we speak about this somewhere private? Not in full view of everyone in the Inner Court?” He asked.
“Don’t be so shy. You’re going to be the boyfriend of the ugliest girl in the sect.” Jing laughed. “Come, take a seat next to me and tell me all about how you fell in love with such a girl. If you do a good job, I might just accept your confession here and now.” Jing pulled a tall stool from her storage ring and placed it next to her’s.
“You’re not ugly!” He suddenly yelled. “I... mean... I never thought you were...” His voice has gone soft.
After that adorable little outburst, Jing knew she was definitely going to have some fun with this boy. His feelings weren’t just for show it seems. She would never admit it but hearing him say that she wasn’t ugly did warm her heart just a bit. Even Hu Tao who’s in love with her thinks she’s ugly. Jing personally didn’t think she was ugly. Just a completely average face, not too bad, but nothing special either. But definitely not ugly like everyone else thought.
“Come on and tell me all about it, Shang.” She patted the chair.
He sat down next to her and turned his back to her, unable to face her with his face like this.
“Back then, I heard the way everyone was talking about you before I spoke to you. When I looked over to see you for myself, I realized that I didn’t agree with them at all. I didn’t think you were ugly at all. I was taken in by your appearance... You were lovely, charming, and admirable to me. The way, you continued to give it your all when drawing those spells while trying not to let any of the comments get to you. It grabbed my heart. But even later on when you began to change from the person, I thought you were, it didn’t affect the feelings I held for you.” His back was still turned away from her. “It wasn’t until recently that I could gather the courage needed to tell you all of this. I know that no one would’ve agreed with me falling in love with someone like you. And I know how this might seem fake considering how famous you are now with all the rumors going on about you possibly becoming the Sect Leader’s personal disciple.”
“Mhmm. Very strange timing.” Jing didn’t disagree.
It was very easy to think that he was doing this to solidify his future position in the sect by getting romantically involved with her. Right when everyone no longer thought of her as the ugly and untalented loser Jing who regularly got bullied by passing girls who thought they were prettier than her. But now the ridiculously powerful disciple who got strong on her own even without a Master teaching her. So, talented that she survived against a spirit beast in the Core Stage and lived to tell the tale.
“But even if you were the same girl that struggled to make 10 Qi Shield spells, I would still be telling you the same thing as I am now.” He finally turned around and looked her in the eyes. “I wouldn’t care what those around us would say about our relationship, my friends, my family, the sect, anyone. As I, Zhai Shang, will always follow my heart. No matter what anyone else says.”
“Well, let’s see if you’re telling the truth with this.” Jing flashed a talisman from her storage ring.
A flash from Shang’s eyes meant he understood what spell was in her hand. He accepted her test and held out his arm for her to place it on him, despite knowing the dangers that this particular talisman could bring him if he was lying. Jing placed it on his outstretched arm without any delay and asked a question.
“Do you, Zhai Shang, really mean the words you just told me and not just after me because of my strength or talent?”
It was a Truth Spell. A high-ranked talisman that very few people would own. This Truth Spell when placed on someone would find out if a person is lying or telling the truth when asked any question. If they were telling the truth, the spell would burn to ashes. For those that chose to lie even with the talisman attached to them, they would be struck with a heart-piercing pain every time they lied. Once the talisman sensed that the person being questioned was close to dying, it would change the area it caused pain, prolonging the life of the person even longer until they answered truthfully. Starting at the heart, then the organs, then the limbs, and so forth.
“I truly do.” Shang Zhai responded.
Jing wasn’t surprised to see the talisman burn up on his arm. His piercing blue clear eyes were still staring into hers with some red painted all over his face. She had to give him credit. He was certainly dedicated. It might be fun to have someone like this as her boytoy for a while. Similar to Ju Ju but with actual emotions not locked away behind some dark past.
“Looks like you passed, Shang. Let’s see how this relationship will play out. My new boyfriend.” Jing giggled at the thought of it.
“Thank you and I must leave now as I don’t feel I'll be able to control myself from how happy I feel in my heart right now and would embarrass myself.” He politely stood up, grabbed his cake, and quickly started walking away.
Far in the distance, Jing could see the contained happiness in his walk as he made his way home. She had a feeling when he got home, he was going to act completely unlike the cold aloof genius Zhai Shang. Maybe he was going to scream to the heavens in joy. Maybe he would dance. Who knows? But after his little confession, Jing certainly realized that she definitely had a type.
“What kind of business is this?” A disciple walked up to her stand after seeing Shang happily leave her stand.
“A Spirit Cake business.” Jing answered, fixing her face.
“What the hell is a Spirit Cake?”
“This cake is a Qi Recovery Spirit Cake. Once you take a bite of this cake, it will recover your qi.”
“Like a Qi Recovery Pill?”
“Yes, but better.”
“How is it better?”
“Tell me, when you eat a Qi Recovery Pill how long does it last?”
“Only a few seconds, why?”
“This cake will last you several minutes in comparison while giving you even more qi than a perfect-quality Qi Recovery Pill.”
“You’re shitting me.”
“How about we make a deal?”
“What kind of deal?”
“If my Spirit Cake doesn’t do as I described, I will give you your money back and a little extra from my own pockets. However, if it does, you must go around telling others about how great my cakes are. Do you get what I'm saying?”
“So, you want more customers...”
“Exactly. So, what do you say?”
“Fine. I’m a little strapped for stones anyway and there’s this asshole that’s been bothering me anyway. If I can’t kill him with your cake, I'm coming back for my refund and to kick your ass.” He placed down 5 middle-ranked spirit stones on the counter.
“Feel free.” Jing felt like laughing.
“Be right back.” He walked off with the hand-sized cake and Jing could spot a few more eyes staring at her stand.
‘This is working out better than I thought.’ Jing was no genius at business but humans? She knew humans.