An Ning did not stop nagging me about meeting Pervert all the way back to the villa.
I kept making up excuses but none of them stood up to her stubbornness. In the end, I just ignored her, making An Ning very disappointed.
“Okay, okay, I’ll wait, ahh, I just wanted to see your husband.”
I laughed, I didn’t blame her at all: “I know, but he comes and goes as he likes, I haven’t even been able to tell him that you want to meet him, you have to give me some time.”
Finally, An Ning smiled again, I could even see the sparkles in her eyes. Then she continued to stuff food into her mouth.
After satisfying our stomachs, An Ning dragged me back onto the streets. We wandered around and bought some small souvenirs, then went back to the holiday villa.
It was already nightfall, and An Ning ran into the shower as soon as we reached the hotel room. I leant on the bed, scrolling through the photo album on my phone, full of photos taken earlier that day.
The excellent weather helped make the pictures perfect. The lotus blossoms and pavilion seemed more beautiful than ever under the light of the sun.
Just as I was scrolling through happily, my finger paused on a particular photo.
I could not look away from the corner of the picture.
At first I thought the structure was part of the palace, but when I saw that the ancient building was surrounded by metal fencing, I knew that I had taken a picture of something I should not have.
The old site of the Yue family….how did I manage to take a picture that included this place.
When I took the picture, I did not notice the background, only thinking that the scenery was beautiful. I could not have known that the picture I took included such a troublesome structure.
Originally, I was going to delete the photo immediately, but my finger hovered over the button for a long time, and did not press down.
Why did I keep a picture of something that terrified me so much?
I did not know the answer to this question, and in the shower, I wondered if deep inside, I was curious about that mysterious place, filled with the unknown.
I tilted my head and water droplets fell onto my cheeks and down my neck, shoulders and body until they landed on the patterned tiles below.
A dark wind full of warmth swept through the bathroom, and before I could react, I had already been embraced tightly from behind.
I almost screamed, and hurriedly slapped my hand over my mouth.
Without even turning my head, I knew who was behind me. Annoyed, I turned and looked at that familiar mask, whispering angrily: “What are you doing!”
If I made too much noise, and An Ning walked in, I would never live it down. It was one thing for her to want to meet Pervert, and quite another for her to find me and Pervert showering together.
“Shower, Hua Er.”
The laughter coming from behind me was so familiar, but I was not in the mood to joke around with him so I did not reply.
Pervert saw that I was unhappy and his hands stopped wandering. He grabbed a towel and gently helped me dry off before the shower.
His faint voice sounded: “Why did you come to this kind of place?”
I jolted, and looked at him in surprise. What did he mean by this kind of place? What was wrong with this place?
He saw the question in my face and said: “The aura here is strange, it is not a good place.”
How could it be a good place with the old site of the Yue family here…. I let him wash me, leaning backwards, and sighed.
I told him about everything that had happened, but he did not look surprised. He continued calmly with his actions and even squeezed out some shampoo and began washing my hair for me.
His fingers were elegant and strong, and his strength when he massaged into my scalp was controlled well, not too rough but not too light either. It was so comfortable I closed my eyes.
While he listened to me, Pervert did not make a sound. When I finished speaking, he spoke.
“Hua Er, are you curious?”
I wasn’t sure if I was more curious or more scared. When I thought of what I found on Wikipedia about the old site of the Yue family, I could feel my heart start beating faster.
The old site, the online information, and that strange old couple, all seemed to speak to me. I did not know what to do or even what to think.
Now, after even Pervert said that this was not a good place, my heart beat even faster, almost as if it would leap right out of my chest.
After he washed out all the shampoo from my hair, he grabbed a towel and dried me off, then carried me out of the shower in his arms, saying: “If you really want to know what happened in that place, we can go there tonight.”
What Pervert said made my eyes widen. Just because I was curious, he would take me to the old site of the Yue family?!
He saw my shocked expression and laughed, tapping me lightly on the nose: “I was going to check it out yesterday night, but that bunch of good-for-nothings in the Underworld messed up my plans and I had to go back to deal with the aftermath.”
I heard the helpless anger in his voice and wanted to laugh.
When we first met, I thought he would be a arrogant master of hell, hard to get close to because of his high status. However, after all this time, all his actions and expressions let me feel like I was interacting with a human being.
I listened carefully to the sounds coming in from outside. An Ning was using the hairdryer. My remaining worries disappeared.
The sound of the hairdryer was more than enough to cover up the sound of our conversation.
“Then….let’s go tonight?”
Pervert nodded, his eyes narrowed and his voice tightened: “We have to be prepared, the aura there is special, and very dangerous.”
I nodded seriously and Pervert helped me dress while I wasn’t really paying attention.
Even as he pulled me out of the bathroom, I was still thinking carefully about the old site of the Yue family.
An Ning had just put down the hair dryer. The only sound in the room was soft voices coming from the television.
When she heard the bathroom door open, she turned her head, smiling and about to tell me something. Suddenly! The smile on her face froze.
She looked at me blankly, then turned to look at Pervert. Her mouth was wide open, big enough to swallow a whole egg.
I looked at her without understanding, then turned my head and saw Pervert standing beside me. An Ning was still staring at him, clearly in a state of shock.
Who wouldn’t be shocked if a man suddenly appeared out of nowhere?!
She pointed at Pervert, finger shaking violently, unable to finish her sentence. She was like a magnetic tape that was stuck on repeat, only able to say that one word, “you”.
Pervert put his arm on my shoulder and said to me: “Didn’t wife say that someone wanted to meet this king?”
I finally realised what had happened! My face went red and I couldn’t think of a reply. I could feel his gaze on me, burning into me.
“You…you’re little Hua’s husband? That….King of Hell? No….that’s not the problem, when did you come? And….why did you come out of the bathroom? You two, in there….”
An Ning rambled on, gesturing wildly to hide how awkward she felt. Then she covered her mouth, still staring at us disbelievingly.
My face would soon be fully cooked from embarrassment, and desperately tried to think of a suitable excuse.
I glared at Pervert, but he did not react, instead saying to An Ning: “You do not need to comply with royal etiquette with me, you are not one of the Underworld, so I am not your superior.”
An Ning nodded out of instinct, looking as if her soul had yet to return after the shock.
A long time passed, then she yelled out: “I finally met the rumoured Hades! Oh my god! When I go back I’m definitely telling Grandpa!”
She regarded Pervert carefully and when she noticed he was in traditional dress, she looked even more curious.
Then she saw that he was wearing a mask and seemed disappointed.
“Ah, what a pity his face is covered.”
I looked at her depressed expression and told her: “It’s not just you, even i haven’t seen what he looks like.”
An Ning yelled again, huffing out: “You married him without seeing what he looks like? Even if he is Hades, that’s just not right. He’s your husband now. A wife not even knowing what her husband looks like? Ridiculous!”
Although she did not mean to offend Pervert, I felt his arm around me tighten and I nervously grabbed his hand, afraid he would get angry.
“An Ning didn’t mean it like that.”
I had just started to explain when he tapped my lips with his finger, signalling for me to stop talking.
“She’s not wrong.” He said lightly, his tone was apologetic.
“It’s time for you to see what I look like, Hua Er.” He bent down and looked into my eyes, his dark pupils flashing with light. My heart starting beating faster again.
An Ning was extraordinarily quiet the whole night, but she kept stealing glances at me and Pervert. I caught her each time and thought it was rather cute.
Even when we turned off the lights, she was still out of it.
“If you two….do…. something, keep it down.”
Those were her last words before bed and I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. Pervert looked amused but I pinched him to warn him to control himself. What I got in return was his embrace and his kiss.
Deeper in the night, everything was quiet. We waited until An Ning was fully asleep and then sneaked out, heading towards the old site of the Yue family.
To be honest, I was very nervous. I was holding Pervert’s hand and my palm would not stop sweating.
He wrapped my hand in his robes and carried me forwards.
We went through countless pavilions lit up with dim orange lights. Along the way, I could smell the familiar scent of lotus blossoms but my mood was in direct contrast with what I felt this morning.
The breeze that should have felt cool and refreshing changed in the night and chilled me to the bone.
Curiosity and fear filled my mind and increased my inner conflict. Why did I still want to go if I was so terrified?
What had happened in that now-empty mansion? And what was the dangerous aura that Pervert felt?