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Chapter 88 – Jiang Bai’s Musings
Fang Mu had no idea that Jiang Da had looked at the arena where Luo Xiao and him had fought. Neither did Luo Xiao know that Jiang Yao’s gaze had brightened up softly when he saw him win once again.
And of course, Luo Xiao hadn’t paid attention at all to the Fourth Demon Prince and the boy he had recruited as he had to restore his energy before the next fight.
Luo Xiao had exhausted an enormous part of his spiritual energy and so he quickly found a place to sit down cross legged and begun recovering.
Far away from him, up where the royals were sitting in their seats, a surprising amount of princes were looking at him.
Jiang Luo was looking at him with anger, clearly extremely irritated and so much hatred seemed to seethe in his gaze that anyone could guess that if he could, he would smite him on the spot. A few moments later, he finally looked at his recruit before calming down, a small benevolent smile finding its way on his lips as he relaxed.
There was no way Luo Xiao would survive the battle with his recruit. He had made sure of that. The thought immediately made Jiang Luo look at his seventh brother, Jiang Yao, perhaps in some subtle fear before relaxing once again.
He was absolutely sure Jiang Yao didn’t know that the student was recruited by his side. Plus, to avoid any spillage of news, he had his plans to get rid of him as soon as this was over. His plan would not fail.
Meanwhile, Jiang Yao was looking at Luo Xiao restoring his energy with a slight smile hidden behind his hand. To observers it looked as if he was his normal cold self, but if Luo Xiao were to look, those eyes gazing upon him would be as warm as a spring sunrise.
Of course, Jiang Yao wasn’t oblivious to the very much not hidden murderous intent the cultivator Jiang Luo had rescruited showed towards Luo Xiao, but he wasn’t going to move a finger unless Luo Xiao was truly in danger. He trusted the boy would be able to handle it himself.
The third prince looking at someone was Jiang Da, but obviously since Fang Mu had already left, he was now just looking at Luo Xiao as well. A surprising amount of royalty’s gazes were focused on Luo Xiao, which in turn made the Demon Emperor look at Luo Xiao before looking with at his sons.
How this boy had managed to get so many of his children to suddenly start moving was a question even the Emperor wanted to ask. Perhaps it was only him and Luo Xiao in this world that could make so many of the princes to move.
His gaze moved from the First Demon Prince, who was seemingly gazing into nothingness, completely aloof, through the rest of the princes that sat next to him.
Jiang Da had at this point looked away from Luo Xiao and was just thinking.
The Third had his eyes closed, obviously just waiting for the farce to be over, while the Fourth had the eerie calmness and smile on his face that the Emperor knew for a fact was a scheming one.
A spark of surprise appeared in the Emperor’s gaze when he noticed Jiang Guanyu, his sixth son, also glancing at Luo Xiao, but the glance so short it probably could have been anything else.
His seventh son obviously had been charmed to death by the youth so the Emperor didn’t as much as bother to observe him, he knew where Jiang Yao was looking at and why he was looking there, but then the Ninth Prince surprised him just like the Sixth Prince.
Jiang Bai, the youngest and most inexperienced child of his was also observing at Luo Xiao with an expression that could have been everything from irritation to confusion. It was definitely not something the Emperor had expected, especially not considering that usually Jiang Bai would have looked at those around him with an almost condescending manner, as if they didn’t matter and he was above them.
Secretly, the Emperor felt rather glad – that child of his had somewhat changed, though he had no idea what could have caused him to change like this. Of course, he also had no idea what Luo Xiao had in him that made more than just one or two of his sons to look at him with various expressions. The man almost sighed to himself before looking away, a faint smile on his lips. Truly the Empire he had built was in for a lot of trouble.
The next matches for Luo Xiao proceeded without much hassle. After having defeated Fang Mu, only two of his next fights lasted longer than a few minutes, since nobody really wanted to fight him. The sheer power of his Devouring Starry Sky had scared many of his opponents into simply surrendering, happy they had gotten as far as they had.
Luo Xiao personally just let it be, not minding it. The more he could rest, the stronger he would be for the final match.
Originally, being someone who didn’t want to attract a lot of attention, Luo Xiao had planned to just surrender somewhere around these last stages. He hadn’t been sure whether he could win against the other strong cultivators, but it was proving to him to be easier than he thought.
So now he had set his mind to at the very least get to third or second place, both to not attract too much attention and not to disappoint Jiang Yao. The second reason was probably the last thing Luo Xiao wanted to do to Jiang Yao, since he really wanted to quickly become useful and stand by his side proudly.
As Luo Xiao went against his next opponent, the sun high in the sky illuminating the large arena, Jiang Bai was tapping his fingers on the armrest of his chair with irritation. His gaze was focused on Luo Xiao’s movements as he fought, eyes following every little flutter of his robes and movement of his long hair.
Somehow, he had found himself both entranced and irritated at the thought of Luo Xiao fighting. Why did he have to look so beautiful that even his beauty as royalty was challenged? Why was a human given this right?
Not to mention the favoritism he got from his seventh brother. Jiang Yao couldn’t go as low as have him as a lover, it was beyond unreasonable and Jiang Bai was absolutely sure of it.
His fingers continued to rhythmically tap on the armrest as his gaze kept following Luo Xiao and his mind restlessly musing over Jiang Yao and Luo Xiao’s relationship.
Aside from his beauty, really, what did Luo Xiao have?
Sure, he was patient, kind, soft, gentle and amiable, but obviously the only reason he was still like that was because he was guarded by Jiang Yao’s Shadow Guard. Jiang Bai was absolutely convinced that if he didn’t have that security guaranteed by the guards, Luo Xiao would have been very different.
The cultivation world didn’t allow for people to be amiable and warm towards others as one never knew when they could be betrayed by another.
But perhaps that was just what made Luo Xiao so charming. His innocence and almost unconditional gentleness was something rarely seen in the cultivation world and it naturally attracted gazes of others.
No wonder Jiang Yao had been enamoured by the boy, Jiang Bai thought as he sighed. Perhaps if he wasn’t so young and weak, he might have been able to meet Luo Xiao before his brother did…
What was he thinking?
Meet Luo Xiao before Jiang Yao had?
Jiang Bai almost shook his head at the ridiculous notion. He knew himself, he didn’t like the youth and his dislike for him was probably beyond obvious. Then why did he feel this quite obvious irritation at the fact that Jiang Yao had gotten to Luo Xiao first?
Then a random thought hit Jiang Bai, making him imperceptibly freeze in his chair for a split second.
He hadn’t fallen for Luo Xiao, had he?
Almost immediately, he dismissed the thought as utterly ridiculous. Luo Xiao was another man’s man, it was obviously not something that could happen. But… What if it wasn’t impossible?
The white-haired youth leaned back in his seat, somewhat indignant and more surprised than irritated at this point. He quickly started to think over the past events and exchanges he’s had with Luo Xiao, trying to understand just what had happened for him to think this way.
Sure, he had been very annoyed and extremely unwilling to accept Luo Xiao as part of Jiang Yao’s life. But that was way before he even knew a thing about the boy. His only impression of the youth was that he was some sort of sly fox demon who had captured Jiang Yao’s heart to use him for his own deeds.
And although he was still unwilling to give up on this idea that Luo Xiao was evil, Jiang Bai had observed him plenty until the Tournament that he could at least say, albeit unwillingly, that Luo Xiao was everything but that. He seemed to truly care about Jiang Yao and the fact that he was so earnestly training and fighting in order to prove himself supported that.
Jiang Bai softly sighed before resting his head on his palm, looking to the side. Yeah, he quickly came to the agreement with himself that he had indeed thought quite a lot about Luo Xiao in those days. Probably more than the normal person would, especially considering that he had his figure always lurking somewhere in his mind ever since he had first met him.
Is this what charm his older brother had come under? He couldn’t tell, afterall he wasn’t even sure whether it was anything of the same sort to begin with. The Ninth Demon Prince sighed once more, quietly, perhaps sounding most bored to anyone else to observe him when in reality he was just, for the most part, unsure.
Him and Luo Xiao didn’t even have a good relationship to begin with, so it probably was going to be useless to tell him. Probably a very bad idea too considering Jiang Yao, the man he had idolized ever since a kid, was everything but kind to those who dared to touch something of his.
In the end, Jiang Bai didn’t reach any conclusion, even after Luo Xiao was done fighting and he once more returned his gaze to the human.
Now that he had realized it, he could see it. Jiang Bai easily found himself observing the boy with something he hadn’t noticed before, a feeling that made him feel almost as if he were longing to close to him as well.
Jiang Bai somehow felt an eerie calmness that wasn’t there before, especially considering his personality. Perhaps it simply came from coming to an understanding of his own feelings in the end, at least partially. He still liked to have a seed of doubt in them because he knew he would rather deny them than admit that a mere human had managed to captivate him…
“Oh well,” he ended up softly muttering to himself before once more leaning on his palm and watching the other fight between two other cultivators finish up.
He still had the last Sky Rank tournament fight to watch, then he finally would be free to go and deal with his conflicting feelings, even if they were currently at a temporary rest.