When Li Xinwen opened his eyes he was brimming with energy. He did a quick body scan and confirmed that all of his injuries have healed completely. The only indication that he suffered an accident was a scar under his right rib. It seemed that his cultivation had become much easier and faster with Lan Yu’s help. But now he was struck with a dilemma.
His injuries healed way faster than normal people in this world. If he were to slow down it would be detrimental to his cultivation. However, if he were to continue at this rate it would surely raise a lot of suspicion.
In fact, he was already very suspicious. Li Xinwen found himself deep in thought when a knock was heard on his door. Judging from the light outside it was just the break of dawn. “Who could it be at this hour?” he wondered as he stood from where he sat and made his way towards the door. “Hold on,” he told the person on the other side of the door as he unlocked it.
Xue Rui stood on the other side of the door expectantly. He had woken up much earlier in order to catch Li Xinwen before the rest of the Li household woke up. ‘Why am I feeling nervous all of a sudden?’ Xue Rui thought as he ran his fingers through his hair and straightened his shirt, as if to make sure that he looked his best. He readied his most radiant smile and held his breath. Li Xinwen opened the door and found Xue Rui standing in the doorway, smiling. He wasn’t exactly surprised that Xue Rui was standing in front of him at such an early hour. He had already suspected that this would happen, considering Xue Rui’s infatuation towards Li Xinwen.
“Xinwen, good morning!” Xue Rui greeted Li Xinwen as he made his way into the room. It all happened so fast that Li Xinwen didn’t even have time to react. Xue Rui stood in the middle of the room facing Li Xinwen who in turn stood fixed by the door holding the knob with furrowed brows and exercising a lot of self-control.
“Rui-ge… what’s wrong? I didn’t expect you to be up so early in the morning” Li Xinwen asked, at the same time thinking, ‘What could this fool be planning at this time?’ He let out a sigh barely audible to Xue Rui.
“Have you looked at your gift?” Xue Rui asked with excitement as he looked around the room. His gaze then fell upon the empty clamshell box by the door. Immediately Xue Rui’s smile and excitement were replaced with a mixed expression of confusion and dejection. Noticing this change, Li Xinwen followed Xue Rui’s gaze and realized what had caused it. He suddenly remembered what had happened the night before.
“Is that the box where the pendant was kept in?” Xue Rui asked pointing to the item by the door. “Did you not like the gift that I gave you?” Xue Rui asked, his voice trailing, as he slowly went over to pick up the box.
Xue Rui held the empty box in his hand and looked at it as if he was about to cry. He looked like a child who just discovered his toy ruined and thrown aside. Seeing this, Li Xinwen tried to remain calm and come up with an answer. Two facts were obvious, the box was on the floor and the content itself had disappeared. As much as he’d like to tell Xue Rui that he loved the gift, it was impossible to produce the item in case Xue Rui wanted to take a look at it.
“Uhh…” Li Xinwen couldn’t think fast enough, realizing there was no way out of this predicament. Regardless of his answer, Xue Rui was bound to get hurt so he might as well deliver the blow.
“I didn’t like it and I accidentally disposed of it…” Li Xinwen answered while looking down on the floor avoiding Xue Rui’s gaze, feelings of guilt welling up within him.
“Oh…” Xue Rui responded trying hard not to choke as he felt a constricting pain in his throat. More than the feeling of disappointment after hearing Li Xinwen’s response, Xue Rui felt a stab at his heart and felt it break. For a moment the two men stood in front of each other by the open door, both gazing on the floor. Xue Rui then turned as if to leave. This made Li Xinwen look up and catch a glimpse of Xue Rui’s hurt expression. ‘Ugh… are scums even allowed to have such an expression?! That’s cheating! Why do you look like an abandoned puppy?!?’ Li Xinwen thought feeling even guiltier.
He reached for Xue Rui’s arm to stop him from leaving. Xue Rui turned to face Li Xinwen, trying hard to mask his hurt expression with a smile.
“Rui-ge… I apologize for disposing of the gift without considering how you might feel,” Li Xinwen remarked trying to make amends.
“I guess it can’t be helped. Think nothing of it Xinwen,” but this remark made Li Xinwen feel like the most inconsiderate person in the world.
“Let me make it up to you Rui-ge,” Li Xinwen offered, while racking his brain for ways to actually make it up to Xue Rui without the involvement of any type of indecency.
“Then at least tell me what you would like as your gift, since you did not like the jade pendant I gave you initially,” Xue Rui replied. Although he had spent a considerable amount for the jade pendant, and it hurt him that Li Xinwen did not like it, he was determined to exhaust all means to show Li Xinwen how serious he was at wooing him.
“Then… I’d like a Jian1…” Li Xinwen unconsciously answered before he realized what he was asking.
“Jian? Xinwen do you want to practice martial arts with it?” Xue Rui asked playfully as if his heart had been restored by the mere fact that Li Xinwen had wanted to make it up to him. Upon hearing this, Li Xinwen was suddenly hit with enlightenment.
“Yes! I want to practice martial arts! Who knows, it might come in handy in the future. I could maybe star in a martial arts film!” he said in an excited tone. Li Xinwen was relieved that he was able to derail the topic from the jade pendant to practicing martial arts. Of course, acting was far from Li Xinwen’s mind. But this little white lie was working in his favor as Xue Rui did not seem to suspect anything.
“Alright!” Xue Rui responded with renewed enthusiasm. “I know just the right place to acquire your Jian. I still have work this morning, but I will finish everything up early so that we can get you the blade today.”
“Thank you Rui-ge and my apologies again…” Li Xinwen expressed, almost embarrassed.
“It’s a date then!” Xue Rui responded as he leaned forward and planted a kiss on Li Xinwen’s lips, which caught the latter unawares.
1 Jian – A double edged Chinese Sword also known as the ‘Gentlemen’s weapon’