Written by Tinalynge & Blue Jay
Edited by ONI_Ghost
Beta read by OEE
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Chapter 31 – Hunger
When Luo Xiao woke up, his stomach grumbled loudly. Although he had been given a spiritual orange the day before that was not enough to make up for his four days of hunger.
His growling stomach caused Jiang Yao to chuckle slightly. Luo Xiao rubbed his eyes and realized that he was once more lying on top of Jiang Yao, using the other man’s chest as a pillow.
“Hungry?” Jiang Yao asked the obvious, and Luo Xiao nodded.
“I am surprised that you didn’t go out and mingle with the rest of the caravan while I was gone,” Jiang Yao suddenly said but then Luo Xiao was reminded of the girl that visited him and his face turned black.
“They are not quite as friendly as they seem,” Luo Xiao said. He didn’t know how many other girls were like her but she had truly traumatized him. He realized that some girls were scheming and fake on the outside making him suddenly alert again.
He knew that not all of them were like this, but he had been burnt once and would now become much more careful in the future.
“I don’t have anything other than spiritual oranges,” Jiang Yao said as he took out three spiritual oranges from his embroidered purse.
“They probably won’t make you very full, but they are better than nothing,” Jiang Yao smiled. His smile was slightly evil, and when Luo Xiao reached out for the fruits he suddenly found himself captured by Jiang Yao.
“I don’t want to ever see you like this again,” he said with a chilling voice.
“I can understand your need to cultivate but don’t starve yourself!” he said, and although Luo Xiao blamed Jiang Yao, he said nothing and simply nodded. He felt that it wasn’t the time to argue with this dreadful demon.
Seeing him hanging his head obediently, Jiang Yao’s heart softened. He hugged the young man in his arms.
“Even if I vanish for some time, I will always come back for you,” he promised. A promise that made Luo Xiao’s heart swell with happiness.
“Can I have the oranges now?” he asked pitifully, he truly was very hungry.
Jiang Yao laughed and started peeling an orange to Luo Xiao’s surprise.
“Didn’t you say that you wouldn’t peel these oranges?” he asked perplexed but Jiang Yao just rapped him on the head.
“For you, I can manage to peel an orange,” he said with a smile. When the orange was peeled he once more fed Luo Xiao a wedge at a time, but to Luo Xiao’s surprise, he found that it did nothing to abate his hunger. As soon as the wedge entered his mouth it turned to energy.
It had a great influence on his cultivation base, but his hungering stomach was constantly growling.
“This isn’t working,” he pouted, and Jiang Yao hugged him tighter. “We’ll soon stop for the night,” he said, “We’re close to a village so when they stop, I’ll take you to a restaurant.”
“Then you can eat all you want. My treat, to apologize for vanishing like that.”
Luo Xiao was asleep for most of the day. He had collapsed for a whole day and night along with sleeping for most of the following day as well. It was now five days since the morning Jiang Yao had left.
Just as Jiang Yao had said, the caravan came to a stop not long after as they had reached their destination for the day. Stopping, the merchants gathered their wares to display them for the curious village folk.
When they stopped, Luo Xiao and Jiang Yao also exited their carriage. Many looked on stunned as they saw Jiang Yao, who they had never noticed return.
But when they saw him walking hand in hand with the young boy, the owner of the caravan was grateful that he hadn’t listened to the girl and thrown him out.
The young girl also saw their affectionate gestures and she wished to rush towards Jiang Yao to speak with him, but the owner quickly stopped her.
“We just arrived, you have a job to do. Even if you want to chase after handsome men, wait till your spare time.”
The owner didn’t want to forbid her from seeking his affections, but he wouldn’t allow his caravan to suffer for it.
The girl grumbled and glared at Luo Xiao while looking at Jiang Yao with adoration.
Jiang Yao noticed the glance but he completely ignored her. He knew that right now Luo Xiao needed some food.
The small village only had one tavern. It was the place in the village where travelers could stay and where one could order food.
The tavern was in no way upscale and it was mainly used by the locals to gather and gossip.
Right now the place was somewhat deserted because all the villagers were out looking at the merchant caravan, so when the proprietor saw two customers, he quickly went towards them. When he saw it was two strangers, he instantly guessed that they had come with the caravan.
Those that could travel with the caravan and were not merchants were bound to be rich. So he couldn’t help but feel excited. The locals couldn’t spend much money in his tavern but maybe this duo would.
“This way please,” he said as he guided them to the best table in the tavern. It was by the window and light shone in on it, so it was not dimly lit like the rest of the place.
“Gentlemen, what can our tavern offer you? We have a local wine and delicacies that might suit your palate,” said the man.
“Wine for me, fruit juice for my companion, and one of each of your dishes,” Jiang Yao ordered as he set some gold coins on the table.
Seeing the gold coins, the eyes of the proprietor widened and he quickly snatched them. “We will prepare it right away,” he said with a big smile.
“You’re a spendthrift,” Luo Xiao suddenly said, “if you made them slaughter their prized animal that amount would have sufficed. You gave it to him for such a little bit of food?”
Luo Xiao felt uncomfortable that he spent all that money on him. Jiang Yao had fished up an astronomical amount to rent a single carriage because he wanted to ride in a carriage. Now he spent a lot of money on food because Luo Xiao was hungry.
Although he might be rich, that was no reason to throw money away. Jiang Yao was amused by the cute nagging of Luo Xiao.
“Are you worried about my finances, Xiaoxiao?” he asked with a gleam in his eyes. Luo Xiao was stumped. He grew up in a household with almost no money, so to see someone be this wasteful of course he was upset.
But to explain it seemed impossible. So he just turned quiet and looked at the table while he waited for the food.
Seeing his bashful but not quite understanding expression, Jiang Yao could not hold back a smile as he reached out his hand and rubbed Luo Xiao’s hair.
Soon after the proprietor arrived with food and drinks. He placed the wine in front of Jiang Yao and the fruit juice in front of Luo Xiao.
The dishes were placed in the middle of the table so that they could share them.
Right at that moment, Luo Xiao’s stomach growled ferociously. He was so hungry and felt that he was in heaven when he saw the many different delicacies placed on the table.
Hearing his stomach and seeing his long glances at the food, Jiang Yao could no longer hold back as laughter erupted from his chest.
“Please eat,” Jiang Yao said, “you’ve gone without for so long, no need to hold back.”
And Luo Xiao did exactly that. He picked up his chopsticks and began slowly eating. He savored the food from the many dishes on the table.
He was incredibly hungry but he dared not eat too fast. If he did, he would get bloated and it would likely come back up. So, instead, he ate slowly and was happy and content.
He had even forgotten about the spendthrift by his side and the girl in the caravan.
Seeing him eat with such bliss, Jiang Yao was elated and relieved. He’d been worried about Luo Xiao ever since he had returned.
When he came back and saw Luo Xiao collapsed on the floor, his heart had stopped in his chest, and he was filled with fear.
Never had he felt a fear like this before and the fear had spurred him to anger. Why had Luo Xiao not looked after himself?
But he also felt happy knowing that Luo Xiao had been so worried about him.
He felt a lot of mixed emotions that he had never before experienced. Although some were negative there was also a new sweetness as well.
In the end, Luo Xiao sat thinking about his own world and eating food, slowly nourishing his body. While Jiang Yao thought about his emotions.
An hour ticked by and Luo Xiao had eaten enough food to make his entire stomach bulge. He rubbed his stomach contentedly.
Jiang Yao had also eaten some of the food but mainly he drank wine. The wine wasn’t high quality but it wasn’t particularly bad either.
Although it was alcohol, it had no effect on Jiang Yao unless he wished for it to intoxicate him. Because of this, he drank a full three jars while observing Luo Xiao.
He was in a great mood. He had dealt with his family so even if he was away for a year or more, no one would question him.
If Jiang Yao carried Luo Xiao to Cloudsoar City in Tiansong Empire then they would arrive in a few months, but traveling as they were now would definitely add a lot of time to their journey, making it a year to two years before they reached their destination.
There were also faster options than to travel in the arms of Jiang Yao. One was to fly on a giant firebird and another was to take a teleportation portal.
Those options would only take a few days at most, but these outskirt countries rarely had giant firebirds and definitely no teleportation portals.
Teleportation portals were incredibly expensive to set up as they teleported things through space. They were only common in the middle of the continent.
Giant firebirds were also very difficult to get one’s hands on. They lived in the center of the continent where the air was rich with energy. Here on the outskirts of the continent, it was much more barren and almost impossible for them to find sufficient nourishment.
There were smaller birds but their speed could only match the speed of Jiang Yao carrying Luo Xiao and the comfort of traveling on them was much less.
Luo Xiao had once read about both flying birds that could take one to a destination and these seemingly magical teleportation portals. But, in the end, both were so foreign to him that he didn’t know how they truly worked.
Jiang Yao was not in a rush to return home. He knew that when he did, Luo Xiao would draw a lot of attention, both positive and negative.
He would cause people to fawn over him in the attempt to get closer to Jiang Yao and some would try to kill him in an attempt to hurt Jiang Yao.
As a result, Jiang Yao wanted to delay their travel so that Luo Xiao at least had a bit more strength to protect himself when they encountered troubles.
Jiang Yao was unknowingly already worried about Luo Xiao’s future. He was constantly worried if Luo Xiao would be able to manage back in Cloudsoar City.