A Guest for Now
The trip ended with two incidents two of which, the troop overcame.
The arrogant Four Seas' detachment was given the cruelest punishment possible, reflecting what they intended to do with some of the students when they found good timing to attack...and the Dream Weaver.
That, and they have a tag-along in the form of the mysterious boy Liu Che who Princess Beiyue and the teachers educated and befriended...when he's no longer blind. He was apparently magically-blinded since birth, and Beiyue removed the spell on him that he was more partial to listening to Beiyue than anyone else out of gratitude!
Thus at home...
'Nooow then, I wonder what happened while we're gone~' Beiyue smirked darkly as they returned home from two weeks of camping trip. With them was Che. 'Dongling, get started with dinner. I'll check our security with Che.' she said, dispelling the barrier.
'You have a big house.' Che mused as he looked around as they headed for her office while Dongling ran off.
'Well, I'm a Princess after all...and royal uncle the Emperor doted on my mother, his royal sister when she was alive four years ago and he dotes on me too.' Beiyue giggled. 'He tends to overdo it.'
Upon arrival at her office, she checked her security system that showed them images of people TRYING to break into her house that got Liu Che angry. In the images, it's Senior Master Xiao, Concubine Xue and Xiao Yun trying to break in, only, per effort they're mercilessly electrocuted and slammed against the walls across the house. And on their cheeks were the black words 'I am a thief' in large letters.
'What're they doing trying to break in here?'
'Liu Che...in a household whose husband has many wives, things like sabotaging, stealing and framing tends to happen a lot to gain favor from the family masters.' Beiyue told him. 'And in a household like this, there's no such thing as familial love. Only interests. If you bring praises and prestige home, you'll get favored. But if you bring nothing, you're a non-entity prone to bullying from your father's other wives and half-siblings. Not only that, parents use their children as well like mothers do to their children, in order to gain favor from their husbands. Do you know the term 'conditional love'?'
'No...?' Che croaked out.
'In a harem household, that is always sadly, the case.' Beiyue shook her head. 'In a household, status is everything. A husband has many wives whom he married for their looks, their money and their ability to elevate the household's reputation. However, he gets bored of their beauty eventually so now wives rely on their children to suck up to their husband. They pressure their children to do good, and get their help in sabotaging other wives and their siblings to look good to their husband again and gain his favor. Its a battle on who will be the favorite as being favorite means you get money and cultivational goods from him.'
'But if a wife gives birth to a Summoner? Even better.' Beiyue told him. 'Summoners are cream of the crop and are all wealthy. They will bring wealth and prestige at home thus husband will favor that wife who bore a Summoner.'
'Oh...' Che shook at her words, upset. 'Is that the case for you here?'
'Its a little different...' Beiyue told him what goes on in Xiao Household, who's who, and who were the ones trying to break into her residence to steal from her. The enchanted tattoo will last two weeks on Senior Master's cheeks. Che looked very unhappy. 'Well, too bad for them, all valuable pills are consumed we're not that stupid to leave those lying around for theft.'
'...now that I'm no longer blind, I'll marry one day...is that what's expected of me?' he sounded very upset about the matter. He clearly didn't like the picture Beiyue painted for him as she told him her story and the actions she had to take for her own sake and the results of her actions that she is now an Arcane-Class Summoner and thanks to him, she'll be a Divine-Class through the cub he gave her.
'You don't have to be like a typical man of the house...' Beiyue shook her head as she told him what a good husband should be, in order to have a loving and warm home to come home to. She taught him her standards of what she expected in a lover to make a good man out of this naive boy, and how to choose a girl he would want to be with for his long life as cultivators live LONG to avoid concubinage and in turn, a harem household. 'People follow by example. They do what they see and it starts at home. I can teach you how good should be done at least as you never saw this brand of evil in your life, for which we should be grateful...take my teachings to heart, for when you marry one day, Liu Che.'
'OK. I'll never be like a typical man in this world.' Liu Che swore to her, making her smile.
'The woman you'll marry will be very lucky if you keep that promise.' she said.
'Oh yeah, Yue, can you help me write a letter?' Che asked her. 'My companions and I are on a job from our Shengjun. But they're looking for me more than doing our job...I only know easy-to-write letters in our short time together.'
'Alright.' Beiyue took out an envelope, paper and her magical brush. 'Dictate.'
To her horror, he mentioned a familiar name, making her wonder what she got into by helping this boy!
'Your highness, will it be OK leaving Molian with Princess?' Di asked Lianyi who looked thoughtful.
'For now it's safe.' said Lianyi. 'I have nothing to worry about him since he looks at princess like she hung the sun and moon in the sky for curing his blindness.' he chuckled wryly. 'She unwittingly earned the loyalty of one of the most dangerous men in this continent. It will be of great boon to her one day.'
'Noooow then...' Lianyi took out the little Dream Weaver. 'I have a lot of uses for you.'
Royal Palace, Yingye told her family about camp during dinner.
'So she stuck to this boy the whole camp through?' the emperor mused.
'Yeah. She even invited him home after camp until his companions pick him up...they should have sent a letter out to his friends by now.' Yingye mused. 'It'll be a few days' wait until they pick him up so she'll take time off school until then. She informed Elder Nangong in advance.'
'Nothing better happen I hope?' the emperor frowned.
'Nah, kid's too innocent. No worries about that.' Yingye handwaved her father's worries away. 'He looks at her like she hung the moon and stars in the sky when she fixed his blindness with this weird dagger she has...it's clearly impractical for a weapon, good only for stabbing and looked more like ornamental display...but it can remove curses and spells.' she explained as those words got her father and brothers interested. 'She said royal aunt left her stuff for her safety if anything happens to her.'
Apparently, one of the serving maids in the dining room was working for...Prince Xiaoyao.
He had gotten rather interesting information tonight.
'I see.' the maid dismissed herself, leaving the prince to his thoughts. Beiyue took in a rather interesting kid and showed him the side only a privileged few gets to see from her and for what she did for him, he looks up to her.
Come to think of it, she also did him a favor. Unwittingly, of course, as he looked at his own two hands.
"I should pay a visit tomorrow morning." he drafted a letter and had an aide send it.
'Good morning, Wangye.' Beiyue greeted, being his host for the day, giving him and his aide cold drinks and sour snacks.
'Ara, you're alone?'
'For now, yes. Che's clothing looked like the weather beat him so I chucked them out for shopping after breakfast.' said Beiyue. 'He's a really sweet boy with the attitude of an innocent, naive little brother...but he sure proved he's a masterhand when one day at camp, things got a little hairy no thanks to a high-ranking spirit beast nearly no one can beat...you should've been a fly on the wall when those spoiled brats saw how strong he is and he's years younger!' she giggled. 'Come to think of it, he's stronger than even me and Lianyi combined by ten steps ahead, so we have to put in more effort soon.'
'That's true. He must be quite the genius.' Xiaoyao remarked thoughtfully. 'So what did the teachers think?'
'Compared to Liu Che they're like a bean compared to a tangerine...I think they'll be a lot stricter in Lingyang soon.' Beiyue snorted. 'A lot of egos are definitely bruised. 9-Star Master was only the official top-class mark because nobody ever went past that in Nanyi Country in all our history.' she said. 'The only reason Arcane-Class status existed is because of Zhanye and Lianyi and later, myself.' she mused. 'So now a lot of Summoners will aim more for Arcane Class but unless one gets lucky, that'll be a really tall order.'
'Indeed so. So what's yours though?' Xiaoyao asked curiously. 'You indeed, registered Arcane Class in Admissions Exams.'
'He's cold in a literal sense. Right, Bingjun?' Beiyue asked as her Bingluan came out, small-sized to perch on her shoulder that got Xiaoyao and his aide double-taking.
'One of the wuling...that's really lucky!'
'Master is a worthy summoner to follow.' said Bingjun. 'She defeated me with solely her own skill, without help from anyone. She is worthy of me.' Beiyue is a War God until obtaining Bingjun so how she defeated him, was anyone's guess!
'Oho! That's good to know.' Xiaoyao smiled. 'It seems your royal mother and I can rest easy, Yue'er.' Xiaoyao beamed making Beiyue look sheepish.
'Yes, but with such endless possibilities, Liu Che is quite the inspiration himself.' said Beiyue.
They talked some more until Dongling and Che are back.
'Welcome back you two.' said Beiyue. 'Did you guys find anything good at the boutique?'
'Well, Che wants his stuff black due to his job post, but all boutiques didn't sell black.' said Dongling. 'So we bought a white cloak I'm gonna dye black later and we chose really dark green stuff and matching things with silver embroidery.'
'Aiya, uniforms are tough to deal with!'
'It was so troublesome...I'm not picky, but orders are orders.' Che sighed tiredly. 'I'll get in trouble if I didn't wear insignia colors.' he pouted.
'Well that's life I guess.' said Xiaoyao with a chuckle. 'So let's talk about you, young Liu Che.' the boy gulped at being put on the spot and looked awkward.
'Eh? Uhm, there are things I cannot say though...'
'That's alright, we'll just ask about you, not about your job or affiliations.'
'I guess that's OK...'
Xiaoyao then got all he wanted to know from the kids before leaving after lunch. Goodness knows food is good here and whenever he eats here, he always feels a lot better.
Liu Che's lucky indeed.
'Look, it's Eva!' Honglian gasped as the chibi-sized phantom beast gave them a letter which Qitian took, before Eva left them.
During my wanderings of getting lost and getting by with Inedia,
I encountered students of Lingyang School of Nanyi Country, and
Princess Beiyue took me in and healed my malnourishment.
Apparently, every year, there's a Feat Contest in this school and
the Top 20 winners are privileged to be able to go to Training Camp
in Floating Light Forest for two weeks. They found me that way and
took me in. Princess healed my sorcery-induced blindness.
How could we have known that someone sabotaged me since I was
born? Its the only explanation we could conclude for ourselves. I
also have another spell on me but we don't know what it does, but
its anchored to the black bellflower tattoo on my cheek. Just one prick,
both are gone. I don't even know what a bellflower looked like anyway.
'What?!' they gasped as Qitian now started to sound shaky as he continued reading.
With a prick from something sharp on my cheek, I can see for real now.
She must have used a magical item to destroy my...curse. It's a rather
wholesome experience, being able to see like everyone.
They let me stay with them and I learned how to cook, survival skills and
caring for myself...and how to write easy words and mathematics. As I have
no idea what you look like and only Eva knows your faces, find me in Linhua
City, Princess Royal's Estate.
The biggest place in it with a garden of fruiting trees and shrubs as Princess
Beiyue believes the only useful flowers are fruit-bearing ones and medicinal
ones. I'm still learning from her and her maid, but we can't delay because of
me any more. Come get me and maybe I'll learn the rest from you guys.
Come at night.
'Well, now we know where to go next!' Honglian decided. 'We better boot it!' they cleaned up their camp and Qitian summoned his winged unicorn and they took off to the skies.
'Well, now we know where to get Molian...and he's unbelievably lucky! How often do you find someone who can actually diagnose your condition and deal with said condition?' Qitian exclaimed. 'And it looks like things are not what they seem in Nanyi Country...given what we know and Honorable Molian's letter proves it.' he said. 'Given what we know, I wonder what kind of girl Huang Beiyue is now.'
On the third day, they arrived at the city and booked a hotel as they have to come at night to avoid attention.
'This city's restaurants really have great food I feel I could eat forever in here.' said Qitian as they ate a lot to the point of overeating.
'No kidding, I'm jealous of this country! Their cooks are good!' Honglian exclaimed unhappily as they had to order take-out as the known delicious restaurants are always jam-packed.
They waited until dark, before taking action.
Princess Beiyue's house...
'Wow, what a garden.' Qitian whistled as there's many white glowing balls around, illuminating the garden.
The garden is indeed, full of food and medicinal flora. There's even a waterfall basin of large fish within.
The mansion is alight, lights on so brightly unlike most buildings they know of and been to. Light here, was white instead of yellowish-orange lights they were used to at night. They got to the front door and saw a bell and a rope...which Honglian rang.
'Coming!' a young girl called out and opened the door, saying, 'May I know who you are?'
'We're here for Che.' said Qitian as the young maid did a double-take with a disbelieving look on her face at Honglian. 'Er...?'
'Is there something on my face?' Honglian frowned at Dongling who was staring in disbelief before rubbing her eyes.
'S-sorry...you look like the late madam.' Dongling apologized as she let them in and her words caused raised eyebrows. 'With a face like yours in this city, its easy to shock many...the late Princess Royal is deeply loved and respected here.' she explained as she led them into the house. 'Liu Che is with miss in her office...she's been teaching him to write easy words, at least, until you guys pick him up.' she said as it was two minutes walk to said office and Dongling knocked on the door.
'Miss, Liu Che's companions are here.' Dongling reported.
'Oh, they are?' they heard Che talk as Dongling let Honglian and Qitian in. It's a very grand and elegant office. On the wall behind the chair of the young princess who resembled Honglian, was a giant picture of the lady in question, with a little girl on her lap sitting in a garden swing. But unlike Honglian who was sun-kissed in their journey, the princess understandably, has jade-bone skin, making her red-matte lips stand out.
Even the young princess looked shocked at Honglian and rubbed her eyes.
'I-I think I might be tired...' the pair sweatdropped and it didn't help matters when Che was looking at them in disbelief.
'It's not just you miss, this milady shocked me too.' Dongling croaked out.
'Wow, you and Yue look alike, Honglian!' Che exclaimed in astonishment.
'So you say.' Honglian twitched in a strained smile, armfolding. 'So Princess, how's Che doin' under your roof?' she asked as she and Qitian sat on the soft couches in the office clearly meant for guests as Dongling took out a teaset from her ring and poured tea.
'Since gaining his eyesight after some odd years, he's eager to learn.' said Beiyue. 'And an earnest quick learner. He also got along well with the local royalty in my cousin Princess Yingye, and Prince Feng Lianyi so he has some friends in this city. He's a really sweet person.'
"Sweet?!" Honglian and Qitian choked. The Molian they know, was always so cold and aloof though on the dense and literal-minded side. And they think Molian is SWEET?! Haaaah?! Or did Molian put up an act so he can enjoy the royal perks?
'So will you be spending the night over or you have a hotel room? Che has his room here...'
'Oh, do you have extra rooms?' Qitian piped up. 'We already had dinner so that's covered...and we'll be leaving after breakfast.'
'We'll have Dongling prepare rooms close to Che's and she'll notify you.' Beiyue smiled. 'Che's lessons will be over in an hour. Once she's done with the rooms, she'll show you where the bath and lavatory is.'
'Er, can we also trouble with the laundry?'
'Of course. Laundry is easy these days its of no bother.' said the princess cheerfully as she and the maid smiled.
"Wait, what?" Honglian and Qitian mentally crashed. How is laundry easy when even for them, it's a pain in the ass?!
When Molian's classes ended, Dongling showed them their rooms which were indeed, near Molian's. Not far is the bathroom and she taught them how to use the Shower gear and the bathtub, and what the nearby bottles are for. Then how to use the loo!
'This, is a toilet?'
It was a western toilet bowl, complete with tank.
'Yes. We don't do the squatting kind only in this house.' Dongling giggled. 'See the panel to the right? Basically self explanatory, as long as you use Ki.' they read the words on the panel and the corresponding buttons to it. The buttons will absorb ki as you press down, and that ki is used to fuel the functions. There was gather water, flush, wash, and bury.
'Where do you buy this stuff?! We could use this!' Honglian exclaimed in delight.
'You can buy it at Buji'er Bazaar, but to use this, dig a deep hole first before putting this above the hole.' Dongling advised. 'The Gather Water function will pull enough water to fill the tank within a 100 m radius. The nearer the water source, the better. But if in arid areas, either the filling will be slow or nothing happens. Flush is self-explanatory, Wash will squirt water at your bottom so you can wash there, and Bury will activate the Earth Crystal that will cause the enchantments to bury your mess under a layer of soil so in a few hours, that's fertilizer.'
'That's convenient.' Qitian whistled. 'This country must be advanced in regards to bathing and hygiene.'
'Well, Miss is an Enchanter, she created these for convenience's sakes.' said Dongling. 'We're both busy people that primitive ways take too much of our time. She is Princess Qinghe and Miyang thus taking care of governmental work and criminal investigative work, creating inventions and attending Lingyang School...I'm a Handyman Maid, a Pharmacist and also a student in Lingyang School. Just as busy as missy and filling bathtubs for baths and primitive lavatories take up too much time as well as laundry, so missy invented the Washing Machine...but that one's not for sale. It's a recent creation.'
'Dunno. Maybe too busy to patent it for sale?' Dongling shrugged. 'Missy's jobs are way too many.'
The EMPTY kitchen...
'...why is your kitchen non-existent?' Honglian sweatdropped at the very empty kitchen, not even a single tool in sight for crying out loud...
'To avoid poisoning attempts by nasty concubines and half-siblings as well as surviving enemies of Princess Royal.' Dongling said ruefully. 'I have all the food in my Space Ring, as well as diningware and cookware as security. So here, is the washing machine.'
Looks like a modern japanese washing machine, but with a water tank behind it. Next to it? Well, Dongling took out boxes of powder. Labeled 'Soap' and 'Softener' complete with a scoop. On the washing machine was options as well. 2 kg, 4 kg and 6 kg. Then a 'Dryer'. There was also 'Severe Staining'.
'It can hold up to 6kg of fabrics. It will first rapidly dissolve and mix the soap into water, then soak the fabrics in soapy water for 5 minutes then vibrate rapidly while spinning for fifteen minutes, then soak for another 5 before another spinning session before rinsing for ten minutes...and then it'll automatically drain, before it's safe to touch so you can press the dryer button. The 'severe staining' function has double the wash time. Do not touch the washing machine while it's on wash mode or you'll severely hurt your entire arm's nerves for a week that arm is basically crippled for days. Tested.' that didn't do the cultivators any mellow.
'So its best to make sure that everything you want in is inside before you start the machine.' Dongling warned. 'This machine made my laundry life easier!'
'But why cripple for a week?' Qitian sweatdropped.
'Laundry can be poisoned too.' Dongling scowled. 'So the vibrating of the machine is also an attack on any poisoner in this household dumb enough to touch it, like those bitches next door!' she huffed.
NOW she tells them!
After asking her do to their laundry, including the ones they have on, Dongling set out to do laundry of clothes while she has to manually wash and dry the shoes in the sink. When the clothes dried later, she ironed, folded them and delivered them to rooms.
Breakfast was Pilaf Rice so fragrant it got the two newcomers choking, followed by rabbit soup, some steamed dumplings of unknown content, and cold soba noodles with ooey-gooey sauce topped with diced scallions! The drinks are cold citrus juice.
It was delicious, before the trio bid the two girls goodbye, leaving on Eva.
'Sooo Molian, you sure it's just writing lessons you're getting?' Qitian grinned. 'The girls say you're sweet.'
'Being with those Lingyang students and the Princess was the first time I spent time with actual nice people.' said Molian. 'We usually meet challengers or people wanting to get famous by killing us so there was no reason to be sweet as you put it. And usually, no aid comes for free...yet princess cured my eyes with nothing in return, simply finding my diagnosis a bad thing.' he said. 'Incoming Ulcer aside from prolonged Inedia, my blindness and whatever that bellflower magic mark was were both malignant spells on me. Something sharp later and I can see again and that flower gone. And I recovered well with them.'
'Well, I did give her a newborn spirit tiger cub in return when I found it wandering around...that lady teacher Teacher Sun said girls like cute things but I had no idea what cute even was supposed to look like.'
'Then that baby happened.' Honglian snorted. 'Well, babies are cute.'
'Oh, really? Well, she did like it after feeling sorry for seeing its memories...'
Molian conveniently kept quiet it's a Rank 4 Divine Beast...
'So how's your two weeks-and-some?' Honglian asked again.
Molian told them what he's done and witnessed while spending time with the camping students and later Beiyue's home, having learned a lot of things...particularly the princess' situation at home. It was so bad that apparently while she and Dongling went to camp, there was a thieving attempt on her home by her paternal grandfather, Stepmother Xue and her daughter the second miss Xiao Yun!
Not that they can break her barrier anyway, Xiao Qiyuan was a mere 8-star Summoner to her Arcane-Class levels he doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell in even making her barrier crack. That, and each attempt bashes him against the walls across her home painfully, and an enchanted embarrassing tattoo that won't wash off. It'll disappear on it's own in two weeks. Beiyue's situation at home angered and disgusted Molian but was assured that she can deal with her treacherous family herself without even needing the power of her maternal family, the Royal Family.
And she taught him what a good man and husband should be to his wife and children, if he ever lived long enough to marry a lucky girl if he followed her teachings, and never emulate a typical man in a typical rich or noble household for they disgusted the princess. At least her royal uncle was a good man. However!
Nanyi's Emperor was good and kind to his concubines, doted on all his children and only niece, and a benevolent, just ruler to his people that he was a popular Emperor. But he hated his Empress' guts that he was cold to her and nobody can figure out why in the Palace...at least, that was kept in-house.
That was juicy gossip as it's rare to have information on royalty!