Written by Tinalynge & Blue Jay
Edited by ONI_Ghost
Beta read by OEE
Chapter 8 – Setting Out
The following morning, Luo Xiao awoke from his cultivation. He didn’t feel tired, instead, he felt filled with energy and his mind was particularly sharp.
The moment he awoke from cultivation, Jiang Yao also awoke from his stupor of watching him.
“Get ready, we’re going to head out soon,” Jiang Yao said gently. This was the most tender voice he had heard from him so far, but his tone scared Luo Xiao even more than when he was angry. Why would this immortal suddenly be friendly with him?
Just as Jiang Yao had thought, the moment he spoke softly to Luo Xiao, his entire body froze and turned stiff with fright. Hearing his voice, the young boy looked at him with undisguised fear in his eyes.
Seeing such an expression, Jiang Yao couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
“Come now,” he said as he went to check out of the inn, and Luo Xiao followed him carefully. The truth was that he wasn’t eager to meet up with Mister Ling Mo again.
It was clear that Ling Mo had something against him, but he didn’t know why or how he could hate him when they had never met before. It was for this reason that he felt uncomfortable. But despite his feelings about the other man, he knew that he was Jiang Yao’s travel partner, and he didn’t wish to cause any problems.
In the end, Luo Xiao pouted slightly but said nothing. His pouty appearance was incredibly adorable and caused something within Jiang Yao to stir.
It was impossible for Luo Xiao to know what Jiang Yao was thinking, so he just kept walking beside him. Together, the two walked out of the inn, only to find that Ling Mo was waiting for them outside.
“Sir Jiang,” Ling Mo called out with a broad smile on his face, but when his eyes landed on the one who walked beside Jiang Yao his smile faltered and hatred burned in his eyes.
It only lasted for a brief moment, but both Luo Xiao and Jiang Yao noticed it. Neither of them mentioned it; they just kept it in their hearts.
Luo Xiao was quiet and lowered his head; he dared not look at either Jiang Yao or Ling Mo as in his eyes they were both terrifying cultivators.
“Let’s set out,” Jiang Yao said and then started walking down the street. Luo Xiao quickly fell into his position by his side, but before he realized it, Jiang Yao had grabbed his hand and held it in an iron grip while walking forward.
By his side, Ling Mo’s eyes seemed as if they were shooting out fire. He was so upset and annoyed with Luo Xiao, but dared not say anything as it was clear that this child mattered to his Highness.
The three walked together in silence through the city. Ling Mo was quite attractive as well, but he paled in comparison to Jiang Mo and Luo Xiao.
Many looked at them, and Luo Xiao was incredibly embarrassed. His face was beet-red from having his hand held by Jiang Yao. He tried to retract it a few times, only to see Jiang Yao’s lips twitch in amusement, but he said nothing and did nothing apart from holding onto him with an iron grip.
“We should hurry,” Ling Mo said, unhappy with how they were slowly walking through town, but Jiang Yao just shrugged his shoulders, “We will speed up when we leave town.”
Seeing that Jiang Yao had made his decision, he didn’t say anything else. He just glared fiercely at Luo Xiao, blaming everything on him.
“Xiaoxiao, do you have a fever?” Jiang Yao asked tentatively as he leaned forward and looked at the red face of Luo Xiao while smiling gently.
Luo Xiao had been called Xiaoxiao a few times now, and every time he felt rather embarrassed. Xiaoxiao sounded like a name you would call a small girl, not something you would call a young man.
But right now he had no time to ponder the nickname that Jiang Yao had given him; instead, he was being closely stared at by a face so handsome that it could belong to a god.
“I’m okay,” Luo Xiao said timidly, but Jiang Yao ignored him, reached out, and swept him up in his arms.
“Jiang Yao what are you doing?!” Luo Xiao exclaimed, completely forgetting about his fear of the other man. Being carried like a princess was just too shocking and went against everything he knew.
When he exclaimed, Ling Mo grinned sinisterly while watching. To think that he would be so impetuous and call his Highness’ real name out in such a manner! That he dared to even question his actions, it was clear that he would be badly scolded. But just as he thought this, Jiang Yao started laughing out loud. Such a reaction was something that Ling Mo had never seen before.
“Xiaoxiao, are you telling me that you don’t like being carried like a princess? Aren’t you as beautiful as a woman?”
Luo Xiao was uncomfortable. His eyes seemed as if he had been unjustly accused of something, and he wanted to continue complaining, but when he saw a sinister smile on Jiang Yao’s face, he instantly shut his mouth.
Although his mouth was shut, his eyes continued to show his anger.
Then Jiang Yao leaned forward and whispered into Luo Xiao’s ears, “Look how jealous Ling Mo is, don’t you feel special being treated like this from me?”
Up until now, Luo Xiao hadn’t understood what exactly Jiang Yao was doing by holding his hand and now carrying him like a princess. So it turns out, he was trying to make Ling Mo so jealous that he would leave.
It seemed that Ling Mo was a truly unwanted guest. Although he had asked for him in the beginning, he hadn’t expected to find a person who had an Astral Soul during his trip. Now he no longer had any use for Ling Mo.
To get rid of him, Jiang Yao would even use Luo Xiao as a means to make him jealous. It seemed he was merely a tool. Realizing this, Luo Xiao was partly relieved, but at the same time, he also felt a bit of sadness that he couldn’t explain.
Things were a bit different from what Luo Xiao expected. If Ling Mo had been a normal soul cultivator, then Jiang Yao would have gotten rid of him long ago, but he had connections with his father, brothers, and sisters, so he had to consider his family relations before chasing Ling Mo away.
Although he knew that Jiang Yao was using him, Luo Xiao’s face was still red like a beetroot.
Ling Mo gnashed his teeth, Jiang Yao was having lots of fun, and Luo Xiao wished that he had died in the hands of the corpse puppet instead. Right now he was so embarrassed that he could not even show his face. He buried it in the chest of Jiang Yao, who suddenly felt much better.
Ling Mo, seeing the gesture of Luo Xiao, didn’t think that it was because of embarrassment, but simply a sign of intimacy, something he didn’t enjoy watching.
Unfortunately, Ling Mo was many times more stubborn than Jiang Yao expected. He said nothing but stuck to Jiang Yao like a leech.
As they left Xiyang city, Jiang Yao sped up and started flying through the air. His current speed was not as fast as when he flew with Luo Xiao, but it was still quite quick.
Although he was moving fast, Ling Mo had no problems following. He showed strength far above what Luo Xiao expected. Seeing this, his eyes widened at the sight. When Ling Mo noticed his glance, he snorted and stared at the young man in Jiang Yao’s arms as if to tell him that he was worth nothing in comparison to him.
Jiang Yao didn’t travel too fast because he had Luo Xiao in his arms. He knew that the child couldn’t handle too rapid a speed, and the wind was causing tears to appear in Luo Xiao’s eyes, so he buried his face in Jiang Yao’s chest.
He had noticed it some time ago, but there was a soft scent of sandalwood accompanied by a gentle and refined smell whenever he breathed in. The scent was calming and soothing, and soon Luo Xiao drifted off to dreamland while laying in Jiang Yao’s arms. It was as if nothing evil could reach him there. He felt so much at peace that he was unable to stay awake.
Seeing that the young man in his arms had fallen asleep, Jiang Yao smiled gently. His smile was much more gentle than Ling Mo had ever seen from his Highness before.
Jiang Yao was unaware of why he had taken such an interest in this young boy he had found in a random village. He knew that he was partly interested in him because of his Astral Soul, and partly because this kid was clearly afraid of him. Though oddly enough at the same time he found him to be his rock.
“Sir Jiang,” Ling Mo called out when he saw that Luo Xiao had fallen asleep. “What is so special about this young child? I know his appearance could be considered outstanding, in fact, as beautiful as most spirits, but at the same time, you are no foreigner to those with beautiful features. For you to have taken a liking to this child, there has to be some sort of reason?”
Jiang Yao looked at Ling Mo with disdain in his eyes. Did he really think that he would say something to expose Luo Xiao’s secret?
“Isn’t it obvious?” Jiang Yao asked while lifting the child up and kissing his forehead, “I am smitten with the child. He is different from all the others, so I want to keep him with me.”
Jiang Yao was not lying; he was indeed curious about the child, but not in the way Ling Mo thought. It was merely an interest he felt towards the child. Teasing him was fun, looking at him was fun, but it was nothing more than this.
Fortunately, Ling Mo was unaware of this. He thought that Jiang Yao was truly and utterly in love with this child and his eyes seemed as if they would shoot out rays of fire. He gnashed his teeth and didn’t ask any more questions.
The trio moved forward for hours on end until Luo Xiao woke up once more. He rubbed his eyes calmly and looked around only to see that they were currently above a dense forest.
Sounds of animals and the wind could be heard beneath him. They were flying over the treetops, and it appeared as if they were walking on the trees.
“Are you hungry Xiaoxiao?” Jiang Yao asked gently, but Luo Xiao shook his head not daring to delay their trip further. It was a fact that Luo Xiao needed to eat, but he could easily handle a day without eating. He dared not have both Ling Mo and Jiang Yao stop solely for his sake.
Since Luo Xiao shook his head, Jiang Yao accepted his decision. They continued forward until the sun was setting in the sky and night was quickly approaching.
At this point, Jiang Yao descended from the heavens and started walking towards a smaller town.
“Are we going to stop for the night?” Ling Mo asked with sarcasm in his voice, “We wouldn’t have to pause at all if it were not for that bag of garbage you brought along.”
“I am fine with us taking a bit longer than normal,” Jiang Yao laughed as if he hadn’t heard the insult. “In the end, this little boy is possibly even more important than the Moon Anise.”
Having said this, Jiang Yao gently let Luo Xiao down and ruffled his hair. After which he carefully helped him tidy it up again. The gesture was so intimate and gentle that Ling Mo was ready to kill Luo Xiao on the spot, had he not feared Jiang Yao’s reaction.