AST 1415 - Qing Shui at a Loss
"I'm all good now, thanks to Qing Shui. Why don't you thank him on my behalf?" said Hua Rumei, holding onto the woman's arm affectionately.
Her action gave Qing Shui quite a surprise. These two definitely have a special relationship. To Qing Shui, even among women, there are few or even none who could hold the woman's arm.
He didn't expect her to start helping him so soon.
When Hua Rumei said that, only then did the woman look towards Qing Shui, but she stayed silent. Then, Hua Rumei said, "Palace lord, I was just cured today, why don't the three of us have a meal together as thanks to Qing Shui. Let's treat it as a celebration for me, I haven't eaten well in years and it's getting unbearable."
Seeing the situation, the old monster took his leave. Hua Rumei courteously persuaded him to stay. Ignoring her, the old man nodded at Qing Shui, and left.
The woman stared at Qing Shui silently, cold and unpredictable as ever. Hua Rumei smiled and said, "Wait for me while I go prepare some food."
Qing Shui was not sure if Hua Rumei really knows how to cook or if her intention was to let him have some alone time with the woman – better make sure, so he stopped her, saying, "You just recovered. I can make some medicinal porridge for you, if you like. It's better that I go."
"It's fine. I'll go!" Hua Rumei hinted to Qing Shui.
After slight thought, Qing Shui decided to stay and Hua Rumei headed towards the kitchen.
Only Qing Shui and the woman remained in the room. Her presence gave off a cold vibe inside the room.
The two sat in the room, accompanied by dead silence. Qing Shui suddenly realised he was never talkative to begin with, the current situation made it worse. All sorts of conversation seemed weak when up against this woman.
He felt that anything he said would be pointless.
"Do you want to drink anything?" said Qing Shui awkwardly.
"You don't belong at Demon Lord Palace," the woman looked at him, ignoring what he said.
Stunned, Qing Shui replied, "Why do you say so? I don't think there's no such thing as whether or not I belong. In this land where the fittest survive, I must adapt to the land. I feel that I'm better off adapting myself to the palace."
"Do you not know of Demon Lord Palace's reputation? Being here is a lifelong curse for you, even your friends and family won't be safe," said the woman gently.
"No one would dare disturb my family, no one. I know Demon Lord Palace but I don't give a damn about the rumours outside. The one month I've been here made me feel that this place is a lot better than the supposed "path of justice" out there." That was the only thing Qing Shui could say in this conversation.
"Many forces want Demon Lord Palace gone and that fact ain't changing but I will destroy them all. Stay here, and you'll make countless enemies."
It was the first time Qing Shui heard the woman say so much. Her voice calm and cold but oddly charming. The feeling was indescribable but hearing her words somehow gave some sort of an impact.
"I'm not scared of making enemies. I waited a long time before knowing about Demon Lord Palace and since that moment, I've already made my decision."
The woman stared at him. She understood what he meant. He was not blunt, but it was clear that he came for his own sake.
"As long as you know what you're doing," she replied.
He nodded silently; the conversation couldn’t go on anymore, though this much had already exceeded his expectations.
Maybe it was because of his silence, Hua Rumei came back rather quickly. The meal was ready but she did not make it, her personal chef did.
She smiled and said, "Hungry? Let's eat!"
The woman nodded.
Qing Shui stood up and said, " Let me help you take it out."
Food was served quickly. The dishes were freshly cooked and tasted good. This was the Demon Lord Palace, with Hua Rumei as Vice Palace Lord, of course the food was top notch.
"Drink some wine, it cures wounds and nourishes your skin," Qing Shui said while holding a large jar of Tiger Bone Liquor. Drinking liquor strengthens male libido, nourishes women's skin and even strengthens the body.
Of course, do not overdrink.
"What a fragrance, let me try," said Hua Rumei excitedly, looking at Qing Shui. Actually, she felt a bit uneasy. She knew what he meant but she knew the chances of it were bleak. However, she had to help him – he saved her and now the success of it depended on her.
Qing Shui poured a cup for her, then for the woman, and lastly for himself.
"Cheers, to my recovery," Hua Rumei raised her cup, but there was something behind her smile.
The woman slowly raised her cup, "Today was a joyous day,"
Qing Shui followed, "Congratulations on your recovery."
The two drank slowly and elegantly. Qing Shui finished his rather quickly, so he watched them drink. Nothing could be said for Qing Shui's wine. Hua Rumei started slowly, then finished it in one gulp. On the other hand, the women finished it slowly. Her way of drinking was fascinating, a kind of beauty that cannot be described with words, a pride worthy of admiration.
"This wine is as good as wine thousands of years old, it's the second best I've ever had," Hua Rumei said truthfully.
"There's still more of it, I can give you some if you still feel like drinking," Qing Shui laughed. Although she said it was her second best, he did not ask what was the best - he did not think that his was the best either.
He gave an Interspatial Silk Sachet when he parted with the Demon Lord last time. It contained medicinal pills and loads of fine wine.
"This is my second time drinking this wine. Palace Lord was so stingy, she only let me drink once last time, that time was the best," Hua Rumei looked at Qing Shui contemplatively.
Now he knew why her expression was slightly different, turns out the best and second best are the same wine.
Qing Shui shook his head, "I've met with the Palace Lord several times,"
"You took more than half of it," said the woman calmly.
"You don't like drinking that much anyways, it'll be a waste if they were to spoil" smiled Rumei, awkwardly.
The woman did not argue. Through this, Qing Shui learned that these two women were as close as sisters. It was just that with the Demon Lord's temper, they would not be as close as real sisters. Even so, he could feel that Hua Rumei was very important to her, though she did not say it out.
"I have plenty, I'll give you some later," Qing Shui said immediately.
The woman did not stay long and left after the meal, only Qing Shui and Hua Rumei were left.
"Qing Shui, tell me, what is your relationship with the Palace Lord. She normally does not simply accept gifts, how did you manage that?" Hua Rumei showed a hint of awe in her eyes. She was not as awed last time, she must have been holding back for a while.
"She was poisoned and I helped cure her. I don't know if we're counted as acquaintances, we barely talked to each other," Qing Shui spoke the truth but the detoxification process was unexpected.
"Okay then, I'll believe you just this once. Palace Lord has unmatched beauty but she is too cold. Plus, her talents are unmatched as well, there has never been a man who dared chase after her. All of them could only bury their faces because they felt inferior, including you, although you still have some confidence in you. Makes me wonder,"
Hua Rumei stared at him intensely, as if thinking about something. What he said just now was considered normal, just a few sentences, and that was the most normal.
Qing Shui felt lucky. Women's observation skills, along with their sixth senses, were kind of terrifying. No matter how crazy her thoughts got, she would not think of that.
"I've been with the Palace Lord for a long time. I took charge of the palace when she disappeared for more than a century. Even though she has resolved that incident, some things cannot be undone. Getting revenge is just an excuse to seek comfort.”
" Does she have any unfulfilled wishes?" Qing Shui asked Hua Rumei.
"I don't know but since the incident the Soaring Dragon Continent took part in, only a few out of the dozens of major sects remain, the others have banded together and gone off faraway. So the Demon Lord Palace is the public enemy of the Soaring Dragon Continent. If not for this desolate land, Demon Lord Palace would've been flattened a long time ago?"
"Does she have other family?"
"I don't think so. Rumour has it that the Soaring Dragon Continent was not the only power involved in the incident. There was some other power, though it is unknown who it was. The Palace Lord's origins are a secret and very strong," said Hua Rumei, with some thought.
"Thanks a lot, Sister Hua for telling me all this."
"Sister Hua. Teehee. I'm glad I met a little brother like you. I have no family either. From now on call me Sis," Hua Rumei pulled Qing Shui, obviously pleased.
"After this I'll make more more Violet Jade Pendants for you, just in case you lose it," Qing Shui said smiling.
"Is there really no way to cure this poison? Hua Rumei thought and asked.
"Well, it's not impossible, but the current me can't do it. There are other ways but I doubt you'll use them,"
"What other ways?"
"The first way is if you bear a child, you can transfer the poison the the child."
Hua Rumei blushed upon hearing bearing a child. The look on a blushing mature woman was strangely appealing but he interrupted, "Even a ruthless tiger won't eat its own offspring. Hold that thought."
"The second way is by transferring it to your husband's body, with his cooperation. But the requirements are quite.... extreme."
"Alright, I won't do it. It's not like it's bothering me," Hua Rumei said displeasefully.
In just half a day's time, they had gotten closer, called each other differently, and Hua Rumei seemed like a completely different person – the paleness and coldness from before were gone. Even though she was still a bit cold, now she can laugh. When she laughed it reminded him of the Demon Lord, a charming laugh, not sure if it could be alluring also.
Even after returning to his own quarters, he felt happy. Today was a lot better than expected. Although he could not decline staying for a meal because of Hua Rumei's recovery, nevertheless it was a huge improvement. Everything always had a rough start, even with Hua Rumei's help.
Even so, Qing Shui could not quite get ahold of Hua Rumei. Someone who could get along with the Demon Lord, and was also the Vice Palace Lord, was definitely not as simple as she seemed to be.
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