Chapter 96: Men Vying for Affection
“Huan Cheng, can I ask who sneak-attacked your father?” Chu Ye felt really curious. Huan Jue could even cultivate a soul. So the person who managed to successfully attack him must be terrifyingly powerful.
But the outcome was often beyond people’s expectations.
Huan Cheng’s face twisted into a frown, his ink-black eyes filled with pain. After an internal struggle, he finally gravely said, “My mother.”
Chu Ye, Lanxi Liuhua, and Lu Shi were all dumbfounded. For a while, none of them could say a word.
The wife murdered the husband. Although such an affair wasn’t unheard of, for it to happen to someone they knew was still shocking.
And the one most hurt in this matter wasn’t the husband that the wife murdered, but their child.
Aside from escaping far away from their hometown with his father on his back and keeping his father physically healthy, what else could the son, Huan Cheng, do?
He couldn’t avenge his father. Because the murderer was his mother, his own biological mother.
Couldn’t hate but couldn’t love. Unable to exact vengeance either.
Chu Ye finally understood why Huan Cheng had such a cold personality.
How could he be happy when his parents had such a strange relationship?
As the truth left his mouth, the wound on Huan Cheng’s heart, which had taken a long time to scab, was ripped open. The heartache was simply excruciating. He really didn’t want to talk about the details, so he raised his face and forcefully pulled his lips up in a smile. “What do I do now? If I were to leave with my honored father, we will definitely be captured by the City Guards. Chu Ye, looks like you’ll have to take us in for a while.”
Watching Huan Cheng feigning a casual tone as he spoke such words, Chu Ye could only express her sympathies in her heart. With his tenacious and forbearing personality, he definitely wouldn’t allow anyone to pity him.
Chu Ye returned a similar smile. Then in a light voice, she said, “It’s no problem for you to stay. You can treat our house as an inn. So naturally, you have to pay some rent. You should know that you’re not the only one in the world that loves money. I also love money.”
“Okay, it’s settled then.” Huan Cheng flashed a sincere smile.
Although he was currently in rather dire straits, his pride didn’t allow anyone to give him alms. Chu Ye seemed to be haggling over every ounce with him, but it greatly protected his self-esteem as a man.
And so the bathing room was suddenly filled with several people. The originally quiet courtyard gained a lively atmosphere.
As the moon loomed over the night sky, all was silent. Not a single sound could be heard.
While Lu Shi and the servant girls were already asleep, Chu Ye, Lanxi Liuhua, and Huan Cheng were sitting outside Chenzhu and Ming Yuexin’s rooms.
Chenzhu and Ming Yuexin must not be disturbed for 24 hours after ingesting the elemental sprite. Although outsiders weren’t likely to come and cause trouble in this small courtyard, Chu Ye still intended on guarding them.
Chu Ye looked at Lanxi Liuhua on her left, who was trying to minimize his presence, then at Huan Cheng on her right, who was stone-faced and motionless. She felt that the atmosphere was a bit weird.
Chu Ye turned her head back to Lanxi Liuhua. “Liuhua, it’s already late. You should go home.” This guy showed no signs of leaving since arriving here this morning, even as the night grew darker. She was afraid that the Lanxi clan would send someone to find him.
“It’s okay. My parents know that I’m here with you. They won’t worry.” Then Lanxi Liuhua glanceed at Huan Cheng, who sat on the opposite side of Chu Ye. He said, “On the contrary, Brother Huan Cheng, you’ve been crazily hunting beasts in the Nine-Layer Heavenly Pagoda for the past few days. You’re probably already tired. You should go back to your room and rest early.”
The implication: Boy, don’t be a big light bulb here. Quickly go back to your room.
(T/N: light bulb – someone hanging around for no apparent reason)
“It’s nothing. I know my own body, so you don’t need to worry.” Huan Cheng’s sword-like eyebrows raised. Amidst the dimness of the night, his eyes seemed to grow increasingly darker, not at all backing down from Lanxi Liuhua. Imitating Lanxi Liuhua’s tone, he said, “On the contrary, Brother Liuhua, you’ve been away from home for almost two weeks. You should return to accompany your parents. There’s still me and Chu Ye to keep watch here.”
The implication: Old chap, you’re unnecessary here. Hurry home already.
After he finished speaking, their eyes clashed. You could even almost hear the sound of lightning crackling between them.
And so, Chu Ye ended up sandwiched between the two, causing her head to throb.
Abruptly, she stood up and flashed a smile at them. “Since the two of you are so considerate, the task of keeping Chenzhu and Ming Yuexin safe can be handed to you. Meanwhile… I’ll go sleep.”
After saying her part, she immediately walked to her room.
The two men were frozen. By the time they wanted to chase after her, Chu Ye had already slammed her door shut, dimming the fiery passion in their eyes.
They’d now completely lost their desire to stay, but no one could leave.
Because Chu Ye had already spoken. Chenzhu and Ming Yuexin still needed their protection.
They shot fierce glares at each other, before sitting alone in front of one room each, far away from each other. And for the rest of the night, they didn’t speak a single word.
Chu Ye had a good night’s sleep until early morning. She hadn’t really been able to sleep well during her days in the Nine-Layer Heavenly Pagoda.
After making herself presentable, she left her room. And Xiao Yin, who had slept in the same room, followed her, its buttocks waving in the air. Of course, while Chu Ye had slept on the bed, it had slept on the table.
When Chu Ye had arrived to the dining area, Lu Shi had filled their large table with nutritious dishes. Meanwhile, Huan Cheng and Lanxi Liuhua were already seated, their eyes red after staying awake the entire night.
But what made Chu Ye’s eyes light up was the sight of Ming Yuexin helping Lu Shi set up the bowls. It was of note that she was using two hands.
“Ming Yuexin!” Chu Ye strode forward, joyfully staring at her newly-grown right arm.
Ming Yuexin felt her cheeks grow hot upon seeing Chu Ye, and subconsciously hid her right hand inside her sleeve.
“Don’t hide. Let me touch.” Chu Ye grabbed Ming Yuexin’s hand. Her new hand was the same size as the original, but the skin was paler and smoother than before, akin to that of a newborn baby. So pink and dewy that it looked like a pinch of that expanse of flesh would wring out water.
“Wow, your skin looks so delicate,” commented Chu Ye, completely sincere.
But she didn’t know that when her words entered Ming Yuexin’s ears, Ming Yuexin flushed bright red from the bashfulness rising in her heart.
She quickly retracted her hand and tucked it back inside her sleeve.
Chu Ye didn’t mind it. She only continued, “Ah, whenever you have time, tan this arm in the sunlight. This new skin is too tender, and the color is very different from the color of the rest of your body. It looks a bit strange.”
It wasn’t that Ming Yuexin’s skin was not white enough, but that her newly-grown skin was too pink. If you were to compare the two together, it really looked quite strange!
Putting up a bold face, Ming Yuexin responded, “Okay, I’ll take note of that.” As she recalled how she personally watched her new arm grow bit by bit, she felt both happy and scared.
Glad because she was able to regain her arm. Scared because… anyone would feel strange watching their arm slowly regenerate.
Thinking about that scene again really gave her goosebumps!
It was only then that Chu Ye realized they were missing one person. “Eh? Where’s Chenzhu?”
“He, uh… He refuses to come out of his room,” said Lanxi Liuhua as he placed a piece of dimsum in her bowl.
Chu Ye was puzzled. “Why?”
“Maybe he doesn’t dare to.” Huan Cheng didn’t fall behind. He also put a piece of dimsum, larger than Lanxi Liuhua’s, in Chu Ye’s bowl.
When Lanxi Liuhua saw this, he shot daggers at Huan Cheng, before promptly picking an even bigger piece of dimsum for Chu Ye.
As a result, Huan Cheng’s chopsticks stopped in mid-air. Then he chose the biggest dimsum on the table and fiercely pressed it down on top of Lanxi Liuhua’s.
“I’ll go ask Chenzhu to eat with us.” Ignoring the two’s secret competition, she stood up and rushed toward Chenzhu’s room.
After Chu Ye left, Ming Yuexin switched Chu Ye’s bowl with her own empty bowl.
Her charming red-rimmed eyes stared at Lanxi Liuhua and Huan Cheng. “None of the dimsum you gave to Chu Ye were her favorites. Next time you wish to court favor, please learn about their preferences beforehand,” she scolded.
Then she grabbed a piece of dimsum and took a ferocious bite.
Shivers almost simultaneously ran through Lanxi Liuhua and Huan Cheng’s bodies. Why did this woman look like she was imagining taking a bite out of their bones instead?
However, even after sifting through their memories, they didn’t seem to have done anything to offend her.
Lanxi Liuhua grew doubtful. Ming Yuexin had previously held admiration for him. He had noticed it from the very beginning but simply turned a blind eye to it.
But for some reason, ever since they entered the Nine-Layer Heavenly Pagoda, Ming Yuexin’s attitude toward him wasn’t as good as before. There was even a faint hostility. On the other hand, when in front of Chu Ye, she became like a frail little girl.
Lanxi Liuhua thought about it for a while before inwardly shaking his head, unable to figure it out.
Lu Shi saw the two men’s contorted expressions, and tried to smooth things over. “All those dimsums you gave her really weren’t Lili’s favorite. Normally, I only make Lili’s favorite dimsums, but because you’re here, I’ve prepared all sorts of dishes. Ah, but Lili doesn’t hate the ones you picked either. Come come, Auntie will tell you which are Lili’s favorites..”
She pointed to some of the dishes on the table while explaining to them.
In actuality, Lu Shi knew of Lanxi Liuhua, Huan Cheng, and Chenzhu’s affection for Chu Ye. Of course, the one she supported the most was Lanxi Liuhua. After all, they had been betrothed ever since Lanxi Liuhua was a child and Chu Ye was still in her womb. Their relationship was comparatively more proper.
However, after meeting Chenzhu and Huan Cheng, she also found them to be very good. And for a while, she grew worried.
All three were very fine men.
Her daughter should choose whichever she wishes to choose in the future.
She wouldn’t get involved.
Meanwhile, Xiao Yin was resting its head on its paws at the corner of the table, heavily drooling at the sight of the delicious breakfast feast.
Taking advantage of everyone’s lack of attention, its small paw slyly stole a piece of dimsum. Afraid of being discovered, it stuffed the entire dimsum into its mouth. The only problems were that its current body was only the size of a palm and its mouth was as small as a cherry. As a result…
Cough, cough, cough. It had a violent coughing fit.
This awe-inspiring divine tiger was nearly sent to the afterlife by a small piece of dimsum.
Xiao Yin burst into a waterfall of tears. Looking up at the sky, it silently yelled, “Is it easy to act cute? So shameful, so shameful!”
Meanwhile, Chu Ye, who had left the table, tried not to think about whatever schemes those people and beast were cooking up. In any case, she knew that none of them would bring harm to themselves. And that was good enough.
Upon reaching Chenzhu’s room, she lightly knocked twice. “Come out, Chenzhu. Let’s have breakfast together.”
“Chu Ye…” Chenzhu, who had been sitting on his bed in a daze, returned to his senses and nervously ran to the door. But he didn’t dare open it. He bit his lower lip for a good while, before whispering, “I’m not hungry. You go eat first.”
Actually, he did want to go with her for breakfast, just like when he visited her maternal grandfather’s house in Lu Village the second time. They had sat at a table together. And as they enjoyed their meal, he had listened to her soft voice and had watched her smiling face, which was beautiful as a blooming flower.
However, he did not dare.
After examining himself for the nth time from his hands to his feet, Chenzhu felt an intense urge to cry inside.
Although his face had recovered, another problem had surfaced, and that was the color of his skin. White, soft, and smooth with a pink glow, just like the skin of a newborn baby. Because of it, he now looked like a peerless beauty. The delicately pretty type.
But he didn’t need this kind of delicate beauty! He was a man!
He was born with red lips and pearly white teeth, which gave him a more handsome, masculine beauty. But now that they were paired with his current feminine dewy skin, he suddenly looked like a soft young lady. Extremely horrible.
He could ignore the eyes of other people, but not Chu Ye’s.
He was afraid that Chu Ye would feel disgusted upon seeing him like this.
When Chu Ye saw Ming Yuexin’s new arm, she had already guessed that Chenzhu might be in a similar situation. Seeing Chenzhu’s unwillingness to meet other people only confirmed this.
She cleared her throat and from the other side of the door, she said, “Chenzhu, after experiencing so many mishaps, why are you still acting like an immature little kid? A person’s appearance is nothing but a bag of skin. The most important part is the heart. If you don’t even have the courage to face your friends, then I will be disappointed.”
Just as Chu Ye finished speaking, the door opened with a bang. Chenzhu stepped out, anger written all over his face. His hand was raised to block the unbearable glare of the sun. After all, ever since he was disfigured, he cooped himself up in his room, wrapping himself in black cloth every day. His eyes naturally couldn’t handle the sudden exposure to sunlight yet. He shouted, “Who’s a little kid?! Not me!”
Chu Ye’s “little kid” comment really infuriated him.
Chu Ye’s eyes slightly widened at the sight of Chenzhu’s dewy skin. But her face soon returned to normal. She said, “Since you aren’t, then let’s have breakfast together.”
Then she turned around and walked ahead.
Chenzhu stood frozen for a moment before breaking into a grin.
Because he didn’t see any hint of disgust in Chu Ye’s eyes.
He raised his head and straightened his back before chasing after Chu Ye with big strides.
As long as she didn’t look at him strangely, he wouldn’t care about other people!
And so, six people and 1 beast had a boisterous breakfast.
After finishing their meal, Chu Ye, Lanxi Liuhua, and Ming Yuexin all went back to Carles Wizard Academy together. Xiao Yin followed from behind with a bulging stomach.
After expressing his gratitude to Lu Shi for taking care of his honored father Huan Jue, Huan Cheng once again set off to earn money.
As for Chenzhu, after Chu Ye left, he climbed up to the roof to sunbathe. He had to dry his skin as soon as possible.
Although he didn’t care about how other people looked at him, if he were to stand beside Chu Ye with his skin like this, people would surely point fingers at Chu Ye.
He would never allow Chu Ye to feel wronged because of him.
“Ming Yuexin, I forgot to ask. What is your grade now?” As they were walking, Chu Ye suddenly remembered that she hadn’t asked them about their cultivation yet. After they had finished ingesting the elemental sprites, she was only concerned about their physical condition.
“Jumped three grades in one go,” Ming Yuexin said truthfully, joy evident on her face.
3 grades. 3 grades! That would probably take her many years of earnest cultivation. And even then, she might not necessarily be able to achieve that amount of progress.
Chu Ye wasn’t surprised. Chu Ye lightly exclaimed, “Then congratulations! You’re now an eighth-grade wizard.”
An elemental sprite was really quite a cheat. If Ming Yuexin was able to advance by three grades, then how many grades did Chenzhu advance by?
As if seeing through Chu Ye’s thoughts, Ming Yuexin said, “I think Chenzhu may have jumped more grades than me. I could sense that half of my elemental sprite’s power was spent on regrowing my arm, but Chenzhu’s only had to restore his skin. Most of his elemental sprite’s power should be focused on improving his cultivation.”
Chu Ye nodded. “Sounds reasonable. I agree.”
Meanwhile, boredom was sinking in for Lanxi Liuhua, who was completely neglected at the side. He just wanted a chance to be alone with Chu Ye. Why was it so difficult!
A few minutes later, the three arrived at Carles. Chu Ye parted ways with them to go to the principal’s office.
Caroline had been sitting in her principal’s chair for quite some time.
Seeing Chu Ye step inside her office in a leisurely manner, she raised her gaze to glance at the stone clock on the wall. The hour hand was exactly pointing at the number 8, right at the time she had set yesterday. Not a minute late nor early.
Caroline shot a glance at Chu Ye, whose face showed no expression, before shaking her head helplessly. Then she got up and lifted the giant two-meter square painting behind her seat.
Thus, the stone double doors behind the painting were exposed.
Caroline gently twisted a mechanism on the stone door, injecting magic power into it as well. The doors slowly opened, revealing a square pit whose sides were approximately a meter wide.
“A secret passage.” Chu Ye was slightly stunned. She didn’t expect to see such a thing in Caroline’s office.
“Come.” Caroline beckoned Chu Ye over.
Chu Ye complied and walked to the edge of the hole, sticking her head out to check how deep it was.
Then Caroline gently placed her right hand on Chu Ye’s shoulder and…
“Ahhhh!” screamed Chu Ye after she was pushed.
Seeing this, Xiao Yin roared and jumped in with Chu Ye without hesitation.
Wind rushed at their faces from the speed of their descent.
This felt similar to that time she fell into the black pit inside the forbidden area of Lady Zanhua’s underground palace. The only difference was that the pit in Lady Zanhua’s palace was so big that it wouldn’t be crowded even if a hundred people were to simultaneously jump in.
On the other hand, the one in Caroline’s office was quite small. Only a meter wide.