Quality Check: Vemmy
Lei Jue checked some messages on his photon computer. After that, he went to find Luo Yuling. “Aunty, I might be home late since I want to go out for a while.”
Luo Yuling was uneasy about this, so she said, “What about your Brother Lingyu? Get him to go with you. You shouldn’t go out alone right now, it’s too dangerous.”
Lei Jue knew that she was worried about the Lei family. “Relax, Aunty. I’m just going for a stroll through the mountains. I won’t go too far.”
Luo Yuling was still unassured. “That’s not acceptable either. Hold on, I’ll help you to call your Brother Lingyu to come downstairs. You two should go together.”
Lei Jue wanted to stop Luo Yuling, but she had already headed upstairs by the time he managed to touch the hem of her clothes.
Luo Yuling rapped her knuckles twice on the door. “Little Fifth, Little Jue said he wants to go out for a bit. Why don’t you go with him?”
Xiao Lingyu’s head was in so much pain that it felt like it might explode. Despite it all, he still made himself get up. “Coming!”
Lei Jue was momentarily taken aback when he saw Xiao Lingyu stumble downstairs with a hand cradling his forehead, the smell of alcohol clinging to him; he had been perfectly well not that long ago. “Do you need any help?”
Xiao Lingyu stretched a hand out none too politely. Lei Jue gently pressed the back of his hand to it. A blink later, the stench of alcohol surrounding Xiao Lingyu’s body dissipated. It was over so quickly that it seemed like magic.
“Where do you wanna go?” Xiao Lingyu asked after heaving a sigh of relief.
“Nowhere in particular, I just want to go walk around the mountains at the back for a bit.” Lei Jue had originally intended to hunt for a little something, but with Xiao Lingyu following him, he could only wander around aimlessly, and finding the ‘little somethings’ that he wanted would be down to luck.
“Spectral spiders can be found in those mountains, right?” Xiao Lingyu suddenly asked when he recalled the black furry spider that had crawled all over Lei Jue’s body.
“Mm.” Typical spiders would be hibernating at this time, but spectral spiders were the only spiders in the Northern Ling District that didn’t hibernate during the winter. In addition to that, they were atypical creatures in that they would still occasionally roam for short periods in the frozen tundras to hunt. They would normally store food in tree holes and other such places, and once the weather warmed up they would come out. It was only after he had rifled through countless holes in trees that he discovered these critters. He also wanted to keep a few as pets to guard himself.
The one that Lei Jue had right now was named Blackfur. It had been a bit skinny at first, but now that Blackfur lived with him he was well-fed and well-rested, so he was now as round as a ball. His fur was also shiny and radiant.
Perhaps it was because it was rare for him to experience the cool air, but Blackfur clambered out of Lei Jue’s pocket and onto his shoulder.
The hair on Xiao Lingyu’s limbs stood on end as he watched this. However, Lei Jue didn’t seem averse to this creature in the least, even stroking Blackfur’s body with an expression of bliss on his face. Then, Lei Jue suddenly paused and changed the direction he was walking in.
“Where are you going?” Xiao Lingyu asked.
“I’m going to get Curly and let him stretch his legs around the mountain.” Lei Jue went to the hutch that housed the animals and took Curly out from it. A few steps in, however, he could hear Loquat meowing by the door so he went to pick him up, too.
“Give Loquat to me; it’s not easy for you to carry both of them.” Xiao Lingyu held his arms out.
Lei Jue passed Loquat to Xiao Lingyu. Loquat was somewhat reluctant at first, but upon realizing that Xiao Lingyu was warmer than Lei Jue, he gave in and quieted down. He was a born and bred Central District cat, so he was much fonder of warm spaces than Curly and Blackfur.
The mountain at the back was also called Mount Amethyst Cloud. This was because the clouds by the peak would have a tinge of purple to them every summer, and it was said that there was a crystalline purple lake at the peak. Sometimes, when the water reflected the light, an unimaginably breathtaking sight would appear.
Lei Jue had come here before on a whim, and had intentionally avoided the rest of the Lei family when doing so, so he only had a troop of robot guards trailing him. Besides, he had only gone for a walk around the foot of the mountain and hadn’t climbed to the top. Today, however, he had a guide, so naturally, he could go even further. On the other hand, the price of travelling further up was that it only got colder as he ascended, especially after he had released Curly from his embrace.
He’d forgotten that there was a significant difference in temperatures between the bottom of a mountain and its peak. In addition to that, the lack of environmental coverage meant that the howling of the chilly wind was enough to blank out his mind.
Xiao Lingyu was dressed even less warmly than Lei Jue, but didn’t so much as shiver. It was as if the cold didn’t bother him at all. He peeled off his jacket and wrapped it around Lei Jue. “Wear this first, I’ll get Carrera to send some clothes over.”
Lei Jue looked him over and saw that he didn’t seem to be cold at all despite wearing only a thin shirt, so he graciously accepted it. After thanking him and pulling up the zipper, he surveyed the way it looked like a potato-sack on him. “Are all S-rank physique people as cold-resistant as you?”
“More or less, but my body is indeed at peak performance.”
“I can see that. If you can fly like a chicken, then your constitution is definitely not one to sneeze at.”
“If not a chicken, then what are you?” Lei Jue turned his head to grin. “A flea, then?”
“What about you, then? Are you the wife of a flea?!” Xiao Lingyu abruptly paused after those words. He suddenly felt uneasy, because Lei Jue did not retort as he normally would—a smile was hidden in his eyes instead. Those eyes carried a multitude of unspoken and indistinguishable feelings. So he forced himself to change the topic. “When you go out next time, remember to bring the Abyssal Comet Fire and you won’t be cold anymore.”
“Mm,” Lei Jue said.
The atmosphere between them shifted and became more awkward. Although it wasn’t their first time interacting with each other, the two of them realized that something between them had changed ever so slightly. For several moments, there were only the sounds of the wind and footsteps crunching in the snow.
“What are your plans for later?” In the end, Xiao Lingyu was the first one to open his mouth.
“I’m still not sure yet,” Lei Jue said.
When he was healing people in the council room earlier, he had realized several things. Previously, he couldn’t figure out where his ability to control animals came from, but now he knew that it came from each treatment he performed.
In other words, he would gain some energy in his wisdom line with each being that he healed. The golden wisdom line on his left palm would change according to the number of people he healed. The reason why he hadn’t discovered this earlier was that the number of people he treated back then was too low, not to mention that in order to hide this secret from the Xiao family, he had only gradually healed Loquat’s post-surgery wounds.
Wisdom… in layman’s terms, it was like how adding points into wisdom would make a character’s magic stronger in games. In his case, however, the higher his wisdom, the deeper the colour of his wisdom line and the greater his control over animals.
He could begin developing the offensive power that he wanted, using this as a basis.
“Don’t you have anything else you want to do?” Xiao Lingyu asked again.
“Maybe I’ll open a veterinary hospital, or enter the military,” Lei Jue said. “Don’t people with elemental abilities generally go down two paths? One is entering the military to treat the sick and carry out other medical operations, and the other is working at a hospital. I’m not exactly fond of going to a hospital, but I’m fine with going into the army. And Uncle Xiao is there as a shield, too, so if I don’t open that pet hospital then I should join the army. I should get to know some new people, too.” He hoped to get assigned to the field army, the kind that patrolled around mountains and other parts of the wilderness. The more animals, the better!
“You didn’t have friends before?” Xiao Lingyu’s heart suddenly twinged.
“Didn’t you investigate that already?” Lei Jue curled his pinky finger up and whistled a long, shrill note after he had finished his words. The moment he heard the whistle, Curly immediately bounded through the forest to Lei Jue and climbed onto him. Lei Jue ruffled the fur on his head—which resembled a doll’s hair—his laughter unguarded.
Monkeys were typically herd animals, and loved their freedom. Xiao Lingyu had worried that Curly wouldn’t come back after he released his hold, but Xiao Lingyu hadn’t imagined that he would return to Lei Jue’s arms so quickly. Xiao Lingyu was amazed at the sight, yet more than that, he felt… a sort of helplessness.
He knew that Lei Jue had no friends, because Lei Haige’s mean-spiritedness had prevented him from forming any friendships. From his data, he also knew that Lei Jue was timid and somewhat weak, until he met Feng Gu and improved a bit. At that time, he had agreed to bring Lei Jue home through marriage because of this; he’d been absolutely sure that he wouldn’t have any feelings toward Lei Jue, who was like that.
However, he could never have imagined that the Lei Jue he brought back would be so different from what he had thought him to be.