Chapter 123: Have Someone Special
On the surface, Lan Jue didn’t look any different from any other man. His powers of thunder and lightning were well hidden, constrained. They remained inside, as Hua Li’s mastery of water penetrated Lan Jue to help him heal.
An hour later, Hua Li allowed his powers to dissipate. He let out a long breath, the sound strange, like the sound of crashing waves. The sound was not loud, but it washed through the room to the point where if one closed their eyes, they’d swear they were at the seaside.
“Not bad, you’re recovering quickly. At this speed, by the time you go off to that teacher’s retreat, you’ll be about thirty or forty percent back to normal. You should be able to handle anything that comes your way.” Hua Li shuffled off the bed.
Lan Jue followed suit, a small smile on his face. “These last three years I’ve undergone almost no training or cultivation. Luckily, at our levels Talent rises somewhat on it’s own. Sitting idle for three years may not have been such a bad thing. Before, my improvement was so quick it didn’t allow my foundation to settle as strong as it should have. This downtime might have solved that problem. Had I kept it up, my level would certainly be higher than it is now, but with an unstable foundation it’d sure to have an adverse affect.”
“Pfft, stop giving yourself excuses. You’ve allowed my own discipline to catch up with yours. There’s no good reason for that. You gotta hurry up and get back at it. Whatever the circumstances of next month’s competition, we absolutely mustn’t lose.”
Lan Jue chuckled. “Of course we wont! By the way, how long until A-Cheng’s supposed to get here? Have you heard from him?”
“Another few days,” Hua Li said. “He’s coming from Planet Luo, and it’s not close. Not to mention the hostilities between the Northern and Eastern Alliances makes inter-alliance travel troublesome.”
Lan Jue nodded. “So about when I come back from this teaching thing, he’ll be here. Your lady friend?”
Hua Li’s handsome face grew stern. “Lady friend my ass. Stop talking nonsense. Ours is a simple platonic relationship. Just a friendship!”
Lan Jue smirked at his friend’s discomfort. “Alright, take it easy. You think I don’t know what’s going on with you? How long has Mo Xiao been following you around? At least a dozen years. In all that time there hasn’t been spotted one other woman at your side. A beauty like that at your elbow and you say there’s nothing going on. Who’d believe it. Not to mention the way she looks at you is the same way Hera used to look at me in the beginning. You think I’m making this up?”
Hua Li suddenly grew impetuous and whiny. “Alright, alright! Stop flapping your gums about it. You gotta promise me, A-Jue, not to go on like that in front of her. Not on your life! She’s sensitive. I’m her best friend. She’s like a sister, but really there’s nothing else going on.”
Lan Jue raised his brows in surprise. “Nothing, really? Mo Xing’s been following you around ever since you were young. Always your agent. Now, CEO of Gobi Entertainment. Frankly speaking you’re more a figurehead. All Gobi business is run through other people, helping you to get things done. She likes you that much, all that work, and this doesn’t get your heart pumping at all?”
Hua Li’s eyes slowly lifted as Lan Jue spoke, as though he’d struck a cord. Silence followed Lan Jue’s question, but after a moment he spoke up. “A-Jue, later we aren’t to speak about this, especially about Mo Xing. In my heart there’s always been someone special, but it’s not Mo Xing. I know what I owe her. But those emotions, that I can’t give. Like you with Hera. Even though she’s no longer here, your love hasn’t faltered.”
It was clear to Lan Jue that Hua Li’s mood was serious, and sad. He dropped the topic. “Alright,we wont talk about it. Right, A-Li, tomorrow I’ll be bringing Jin Tao back to the Avenue with me. We’ll need to do some preparation, then it’ll be time for him to take the Fantascia Genetica. I’ll need you to help look after him while I’m gone.”
Hua Li had recovered quickly from the funk their previous conversation had put him in. “Don’t worry about it. The first stages of the decoction require strong nourishment and support from the body. In this I’m stronger than you are. It’s the later, more critical stages where your power will be necessary. If the two of us are here and he still fails to protect himself from the decoction, it means he didn’t have the willpower. Now, though, I’m tired. I’m off to bed.”
With that declaration, he marched outside and flopped directly onto the sofa.
As he watched Hua Li leave in the wake of their exchange, he felt a little bewildered. A-Li had a love interest? It was the first he’d heard of it. With his appearance, and the world he lived in, what sort of woman must she be to have moved him so deeply? Who could be better than Mo Xiao?
Lan Jue arrived again at the mountain, waiting to meet Zhou Qianlin and bring her to school. Again, he spied Richard’s thin figure not far away. After throwing his fit yesterday, Hua Li hadn’t accompanied him this time.
Richard hadn’t arrived by verti-car today, and had chosen to wear a track suit in lieu of his formal attire from yesterday. In fact, he’d actually arrived in much the same fashion as Lan Jue – by bike. The old thing even looked similar to the professor’s own. Such an antique, and in just a short time he’d managed to find one for himself!
“Hey cousin!” 1 Richard waved affably in his direction.
Lan Jue pulled up beside him, pointing at the bicycle. “What’s this?”
Richard chortled. “Now that I know my lady likes bicycles, I’ve brought one with me to meet up with her. Eh, cousin… this is a family matter – you know, between husband and wife. I’d appreciate it if you don’t get involved.”
Lan Jue simply couldn’t believe what he was wearing. This guy’s dedication was inhuman! Shaking his head, he pushed his bicycle to the side, out of the way.
Richard watched him move aside, his brow scrunched.
A short time later Zhou Qianlin come walking down from the mountain top in her school uniform. There she saw Richard, in his track suit and pushing his bicycle, and was struck speechless. Still, she hardly missed her stride. She made her way without pause to Lan Jue’s side and hopped up on to her familiar spot.
Lan Jue looked at Richard, shrugged, and pedaled away.
Richard would not be denied, and in good spirits he leapt on to his bike and gave chase. He caught up in short order. “Qianlin, you’re probably thinking my bike isn’t as new as you’re cousin’s, right? I’ve already sent people out to see if they can find one in better condition. When they do how about you take a spin on mine, what do you think? That way we don’t always have to trouble your cousin! Or maybe you can sell me yours, cuz. Name a price and you’ll have it.”
Zhou Qianlin’s sculpted brows grew taught. “Richard, I’ve already told you a dozen times. We’re just not going to happen. Stop coming here. Alright? When you’re like this you make me feel worse. I just can’t be with you.”
Richard looked shocked. “Qianlin, don’t say such things in front of your cousin. If you want to talk, let’s go home and talk about it.”
Qianlin only shook her head, and refused to speak further.
Richard pedaled harder, pushing his bike forward until he was beside Lan Jue. He smiled as he spoke to him. “Hey, so how much you think for me to buy that bike from you?”
“Sorry, not for sale,” Lan Jue responded.
Richard opened his mouth to speak further, but Lan Jue cut him off. “Look out.” His left hand shot out to grab Richard’s arm and yanked the younger man towards himself. Richard was slow to react, but quick enough to keep his feet. Luckily his center of gravity had adjusted enough to shuffle him to the side. His bike was not so lucky,and dashed against the large tree in his path. The bike rebounded and tumbled to the floor, it’s front tire ruined.
Clearly the young man had failed to pay attention to the road, obsessed as he was with Qianlin and her ‘cousin’. Lan Jue could only shake his head as he pedaled on. Richard stood beside his mangled bike, looking dejected.
“That one is stubborn. He sure is trying to do right by you, though.” Lan Jue chuckled ruefully to himself.
Zhou Qianlin, however, replied in frosty tones. “If you’re thinking of telling me to get together with him, you better keep your mouth shut. You are the last person with any right to speak about it.”
Lan Jue smirked bitterly. Indeed, he was the one who ruined their chance at a family. What right did he have to say anything a all?
Zhou Qianlin chose silence, and only nodded in response. Her eyes had grown noticeably more red at the edges.
Suddenly, much to Lan Jue’s surprise, she wrapped her arms around his waste and buried her face in his back. The sudden motion almost caused him to lose control of the bike, and a jolt of shock ran through him. Before he could speak, he felt her thin figure trembling behind him. He didn’t have the heart to break her grip.
He continued, quiet, unsure of what to say.
A few kilometers short of the campus, Zhou Qianlin finally separated her hands. She settled back on the back of the bike like nothing had happened. By the time they reached their normal corner, it was as though nothing had happened. Her face revealed no expression and, as she pulled her backpack unto her shoulders, she made for the university gate without speaking a word to her bodyguard.
For a moment Lan Jue watched her go. He gently patted his forehead, then began pushing his bike towards the school as well.
As he approached, the air whipped around him as a fire-red surface car raced passed, quick as the wind. It was quick, but nimble. Despite the numerous pedestrians dotting the street, the car was able to wave between them without causing any danger.
Vroosh! The car came to an abrupt stop before the gate as effortlessly as it had arrived. The doors spread open, and charming figure stepped out.
She had long, fiery red hair and legs that went on for ages – Tang Mi. Immediately following, a second car raced up and stopped. This one was white, and from within stepped forth a young woman with long purple hair.
She was just as pretty as the young woman she arrived with. Small features, pale skin, and purple hair. Full of vitality, and full of allure.
It could be said Zhou Qianlin was as beautiful as a spotless snow lotus. If that were true, Tang Mi was the fiery appeal of a rose, and this new girl was the impish violet.
- You’ve got to be kidding. ↩