Chapter 349: Confessions
Wang Hongyuan’s expression confirmed Lan Jue’s suspicions. “I knew what kind of person you were from the day we fought shoulder to shoulder,” Lan Jue said. “I like what I saw. One’s history isn’t important. What’s important are the choices we make. Forget what has come before. As for Jin Yan, I’ll help you brainstorm. How about this…”
Due to how exhausting these long journeys were, the school hadn’t arranged anything for the first day. Rest was recommended, though many chose to wander the surrounding area. After all, this was all new to many of the faculty.
The diet on this planet was peculiar. Very few spices or other items were used in cooking, so as not to mask the natural flavors. All of it was greens or fruit, with no meat on offer. Killing the local wildlife for sport or sustenance was strictly prohibited.
“Mh! The food on this planet is delicious!” Jin Yan cooed.
Wang Hongyuan sat behind her, with a silly grin plastered on his face. “For you ladies, certainly. For us men, though, only a day with meat is a good day.”
Lan Jue stretched. “I’m actually quite enjoying myself. It’s relaxing here. You should ask around, Professor – I’m sure they’ll have someone around here that can sell you a bite of meat. So long as it isn’t meat from indigenous fauna, then it should be somewhere.”
Wang Hongyuan’s eyes lit up at the prospect. “You think so? I’ll take a look tomorrow, and see what I can find.”
He then turned his head to Jin Yan. “Professor, I was hoping you might be willing to help me with something today.”
She looked back. “What’s that?”
Wang Hongyuan continued, his voice dropping lower. “It’s about that matter we discussed on the bus.”
Jin Yan’s face betrayed her excitement. “You’re ready already? Aren’t you afraid to rush in to things? Is hurrying really the best option?”
Wang Hongyuan shook his head. “Not a problem. Everything’s ready. So how about you come with me to the place I’ve picked out and we think about how to make it better. Then, it’s time to make my move. What do you say?”
Jin Yan nodded zealously. “Alright. Do we want to bring any other teachers along as witnesses?”
“No need,” he replied. “In the event things don’t go well, it’ll be impossible for me to show my face. This girl is shy, too, so I think my best chances are when it’s just she and I.”
Surprise flitted across the young woman’s face. “I didn’t know you were so thoughtful, Professor! If it were me under all that scrutiny, I’d be so nervous. It would definitely effect the mood.”
Wang Hongyuan, on the verge of a cold sweat, inwardly sighed with relief. He shot a quick glance Lan Jue’s way. The Jewelry Master gave him a wink, and silently encouraged him to continue.
Obviously the emotional intelligence wasn’t coming from him.
“Let’s go then,” he said. “Remember to keep my secret, though!”
Jin Yan snickered. “Look at you, so nervous!”
This earned a sheepish chuckle from the dance instructor. “To tell you the truth, I’ve never actually had a girlfriend. I really like this girl. If in the end it shouldn’t work out…” As he finished the thought, his eyes dropped dejectedly to the ground.
Jin Yan rose to her feet, and gently patted his shoulder. “Come on, let’s keep this positive. A true man valiantly chases after his desires, right? You just need to keep at it, and that’s half the battle already.”
Wang Hongyuan stood as well, and waved toward Lan Jue. “Enjoy your meal Professor. Jin Yan and I are heading out for a while.”
Lan Jue lazily waved goodbye. “Enjoy.”
As he watched the two of them leave, Qianlin’s curious voice spoke up from his side. “They’ve got something going on, huh? Professor Wang looked so weird!”
Lan Jue chortled at her observation. “Of course there’s something going on, and I hope he succeeds. We should go as well. My friend is already here, so we’re off to meet up with him. We’ve got some plans that’ll keep us away from the group for a while – Director Wu knows about it.”
“Mh.” Qianlin responded, and she rose with Lan Jue to leave.
Lan Jue smiled. “You aren’t afraid I’m going to sell you off or something? You don’t even want to know where we’re going.”
Zhou Qianlin fixed him with a stare. “If you think you can sell me, you’re welcome to try.”
This brought a laugh to Lan Jue’s lips. “Let’s get out of here.”
Wang Hongyuan lead Jin Yan to the second floor, where he and Lan Jue’s room was located. As they slowly wandered down the hallway, Jin Yan said, “Professor, the most important thing is not to hesitate. Women can’t stand indecisive men. A man must have courage. If you approach her with self-confidence and purpose, and show her how you really feel, she’ll certainly respond. And you aren’t bad-looking! I mean, I never liked that haircut if I’m being honest, but you’re a handsome man! You’re also a strong adept, so that’s another big plus in your favor. I’m sure everything will work out great.”
Wang Hongyuan’s face beamed as she went on about his benefits. “Really? You think those things are true?”
Jin Yan resolutely nodded her head. She clenched her hand in to a fist and playfully shook it under his nose. “Confidence! You need to tell yourself, I’m the best! That’s when success comes to you. Where is your room anyway, we haven’t arrived yet?”
“Right here.” Wang Hongyuan lead her to a door, grabbed the handle, then stopped.
“I’m still a little nervous,” he confessed.
Jin Yan feigned irritation. “We haven’t even started yet! If you keep this up you’re going to pee your pants when the girl actually shows up. Hurry up, open the door and let me see what you prepared. Otherwise I’m going to have to help you adjust your attitude.”
Wang Hongyuan pushed open the door. He walked in first, with Jin Yan hurrying in at his heels.
Jin Yan rushed in to find blackness. The lights were off. The thick window curtains had been drawn, plunging the whole room in to dark.
“Professor… Professor Wang? Are you still here?” She couldn’t see anything, and a slight tinge of nervousness nagged at her.
Then, suddenly, there was light. A dim, red light, that hung in the air a few feet before her. The small point of light grew in size and ferocity until it was revealed to be a crystal clear flower bud. It slowly opened in to a beautiful rose.
A warm light dispelled the darkness, revealing that the rose had not been floating. Wang Hongyuan held it aloft, having somehow changed clothes.
“Ah, that was fun! I was a little scared, but that rose was cute,” she said, oblivious.
Wang Hongyuan fixed her with a deep stare. “Jin Yan. We’ve known each other for three years.”
“That’s about right,” she answered.
Wang Hongyuan dropped his face slightly, and a dejected expression crossed his features. “There’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you for a long time. But I couldn’t. Would you… like to hear my story?”
“Sure.” Jin Yan was starting to think something was strange.
Wang Hongyuan’s eyes were dim, and bitter as he recounted his tale. “I’m an orphan. I was on the streets since I was very young. I resorted to begging to survive. I never knew my parents, and I struggled against starvation since I was eight. I had to rely on the charity of others. You know, the reason I slick my hair back like this is because when I was small, my hair was always in a mess. I always envied those kids with parents, parents who would help them comb their hair.”
“I don’t have as much class as Lan Jue, but I do make sure to take care of my appearance. That’s because when I was small I promised myself, that if I grew up at all then I’d be like them. A normal person, not a beggar.”
Jin Yan blinked, stunned. She didn’t know how to reply.
“When I was eight there was this man who would always offer me candy. I followed him home one day, and he had someone give me a bath, clean me up. Finally, I thought… Finally someone who’ll look after me, raise me. Things would change.”
“But then something happened that changed the dream in to a nightmare. I was brought to a place with a lot of other children, just like me. At first, as we all ate together, I was so happy. I felt like I was finally part of a family. That was, until I aw him. Some strange person, with a sallow face. Before I could react, he lunged at me, and bit in to my neck.”
Jin Yan gasped as his story unfolded. “W-why did he bite you?”
Wang Hongyuan was silent for a moment. “At the time I just remember feeling cold. Not pain, just… cold. Then, everything went dark. When I woke up, I was in some other place. Someone told me that I had been ‘embraced’, and that it’d gone well. I would live… in a matter of speaking. As a vampire. I had inherited that lineage.”
“A vampire?” Jin Yan unconsciously stepped back. Shock and fear shone in her eyes.
A pained grin spread across Wang Hongyuan’s face. “Professor Lan actually didn’t want me to tell you this. He said, if I did then my chances would be shot. But I think honesty is important. We might have gone our whole lives without you finding out what my Discipline is, but to me that is unfaithful. I want to tell you everything about me. I just ask that you let me finish. Let me say what I have to say, alright? I can’t hold this in any longer.”
Jin Yan looked at him with big, round eyes. Finally she understood – Wang Hongyuan’s confession, all of this, was for her.