Vol. 1: chapter six – cooking (part 1)

It was just a quick kiss – a simple, harmless touch of the lips. But for Li Xinwen, it was the second time that a kiss was stolen from his lips. It didn’t matter that this body had done a lot of indecent things in the past when the original Li Xinwen had inhabited it. The original Li Xinwen was a different person altogether. ‘I didn’t even work with a cultivation partner1 back in Long Xing. Let alone kiss another person!’

Because he was so focused on cultivating, he had never experienced holding hands either, except when he had to save someone. Li Xinwen felt that he was about to lose it but managed to hold himself back from displaying any violent reactions.

“Xinwen? What’s wrong?” Xue Rui asked worriedly, leaning in even closer as if examining the tiniest of details in Li Xinwen’s expression.

“That… Rui-ge, can you…” Li Xinwen’s voice trailed as he tried to avert his eyes from Xue Rui. “No, never mind…” Li Xinwen continued, shaking his head in resignation. Li Xinwen badly wanted to tell Xue Rui to stop kissing him, to stop fancying him and to just focus on pursuing Li Jinghua. But he held back, remembering that if he ever uttered such words, Xue Rui would certainly go back to making threats. ‘A promise is a promise. I, Li Xinwen have never broken a promise, not even once, and will not start now…’ he sighed inwardly.

“Are you sure it’s nothing Xinwen?” Xue Rui asked as he reached out and caressed Li Xinwen’s right cheek before gently turning Li Xinwen’s head to face him. “Come on, Xinwen, you can tell me anything,” he coaxed in a seductive tone as if encouraging a lover to open up and share their deepest thoughts.

He continued to gaze at Li Xinwen with an expression of gentleness that perhaps even he himself was not aware of, which caused Li Xinwen to blush for a second. Xue Rui was suddenly taken aback by the split-second reaction he saw from Li Xinwen, and it caused him to pull his hand away and avert his gaze. ‘Why am I suddenly feeling butterflies in my stomach?’ Xue Rui thought.

The two men stood in awkward silence for a brief moment. Neither man budged. ‘What is with this situation?’ Li Xinwen thought. Being a cultivator, back in Long Xing he could have just acted aloof and could have easily just walked away. But here he simply couldn’t do that.

“Uh… Xinwen will go and…” Li Xinwen started, wanting to break free from the awkwardness and to get away from Xue Rui. He searched through the original’s memories to see what he should do in this situation. At last he got it and said: “Cook! Xinwen will go and prepare breakfast!” He hurriedly left the room and headed for the kitchen, surprising Xue Rui and leaving him dumbfounded.

When Li Xinwen reached the second landing he decided to pause and compose himself. “Ugh…that was close. Why am I even flustered?!?” Li Xinwen asked himself as he continued his way to the kitchen.

Xue Rui on the other hand was left standing in Li Xinwen’s room. He suddenly felt a warmth surging from within. “That was a surprise!” he chuckled. A feeling of elation spread through him at the thought that his beloved Li Xinwen was going to prepare breakfast for him. A smile formed on his lips and he unconsciously touched his fingers to his lips, as if remembering the feeling when their lips touched earlier. It wasn’t the first time he had kissed Li Xinwen but somehow it felt different. Xue Rui turned to leave the room to head downstairs, anticipating breakfast.

As soon as he stepped out of Li Xinwen’s room he saw Li Jinghua coming out of hers. From his vantage point, he could make out Li Jinghua’s expression, a mix of shock and displeasure. ‘Here we go,’ Xue Rui thought to himself, sighing, and prepared for the onslaught Li Jinghua was about to bring. He was determined to not let whatever Jinghua said ruin his mood.

Li Jinghua saw Xue Rui step out of Li Xinwen’s room, smiling. She was surprised at the scene unfolding before her, and she gasped at the image that suddenly popped in her head.

“You!” she said, almost fuming as she approached Xue Rui. “What were you doing in Ah‘Wen’s room?!?” she asked in a low, angry voice. She quickly pushed him aside and looked around Li Xinwen’s room only to find it empty. “Where is Ah‘Wen?” she continued, glaring at Xue Rui.

“Calm down Jinghua. Xinwen went downstairs to cook breakfast,” Xue Rui answered with a smile.

“Cook?” Li JingHua asked, confused. “Ah‘Wen is going to cook breakfast?” she repeated. “Okay…But why did you just come out of Ah‘Wen’s room? How could you stoop so low? Have you no respect for my family? It hasn’t been long since we ended our engagement and here you are acting all bold and daring!” Li Jinghua continued.

In his own defence, Xue Rui said, “Don’t jump to conclusions Jinghua, you’re blowing this all out of proportion,” He shook his head.

As if on cue, the door to the right of Li Jinghua’s bedroom opened and Sun Xiao emerged, half-asleep, with bed hair.

Ah‘Xiao! Did Rui not sleep in your room last night?” she asked. Her voice hinted a sense of urgency as if wanting to get to the bottom of the situation.

“Hmm…?” Sun Xiao responded still half-asleep. “Initially… but Rui-dage was being noisy and kept on asking about Xin-gege even though I already wanted to sleep…so I kicked him out. Or else I would have felt sleepy at school later…” Sun Xiao responded, with not a hint of apology.

As someone who valued his space, Sun Xiao thought that he had every right to kick Xue Rui out since it was his room and had also warned Xue Rui what would happen if he were to make any unnecessary noise.

“Pffft… hahaha!” Jinghua laughed. “You got kicked out for being noisy. That’s too funny Rui,” Jinghua addressed Xue Rui in jest as she wrapped her arms around Sun Xiao affectionately. “Good job Ah‘Xiao,” she whispered.

Sun Xiao hugged Li Jinghua in return. “Hua-dajie, Ah‘Xiao wants scrambled eggs for breakfast…” Sun Xiao requested as he looked up at Jinghua with pleading eyes.

“My XiaoXiao is so affectionate so early in the morning. Hmmm, it seems…” Li Jinghua didn’t even get to finish her sentence when Xue Rui interrupted her.

Xiao Xiao, your Xin-gege is currently cooking breakfast downstairs. You wouldn’t want to hurt his feelings by not eating what he has prepared right?” Xue Rui asked Sun Xiao, beaming.

“Xin-gege is cooking?!?” Sun Xiao asked, amazed, and Xue Rui nodded in confirmation. And for a minute the two looked like old friends, both excited at the thought of breakfast. Sun Xiao pulled away from Li Jinghua, saying: “Then Hua-dajie doesn’t need to make scrambled eggs!” and excitedly made his way downstairs, sprinting as fast as he could manage.

Once Sun Xiao was out of earshot, Li Jinghua’s smile disappeared as she turned to address Xue Rui. “Speak! Since you did not sleep in Ah‘Xiao’s room, where did you sleep then?”

“Jinghua, you should relax a bit or else you’ll get wrinkles on your forehead,” Xui Rui said jokingly. “Anyway, you’ll find out soon enough when we get downstairs,” Xue Rui responded nonchalantly as he made his way past Li Jinghua.

Sure enough, when they reached the living room, Li Jinghua saw where Xue Rui slept that night. ‘It was on the living room sofa!?’ she thought, seeing the blanket and pillow were still there.

In truth, Xue Rui had actually planned on letting Sun Xiao kick him out so he could go to Li Xinwen’s room. But he had not expected that there would be no answer when he knocked on the door. When he tried to open it, he found that it was locked. He waited for a good fifteen minutes, before finally deciding to go down to the living room to spend the night there instead. His plan had backfired and he felt defeated. As much as he wanted to sleep next to Li Xinwen, he decided not to bother him any further and to just allow him to rest, since he seemed to have already fallen asleep.

1 Cultivation Partner – A partner to dual cultivate together. When the relationship is strong enough, they can take an oath to be a Dao Companion (can be inferred as taking a spouse).

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