When Jing Yi woke up the next morning his thoughts jumped back to what had happened the day before. He couldn’t wait to ask Xiao Dong but a look outside showed that it was still early. This was normally the time when Shao Hai and Xiao Dong would train so rather than being a bother, he should go and do something useful.
Thus Jing Yi washed up, put the robe of the outer sect disciples on and went down to the first floor. Without hesitation, he walked to the storage room, took out a broom and proceeded to sweep the floor.
After a while, two other disciples came down the stairs. The first one yawned and passed by him without greeting like on any other day. The second one wanted to follow, stepped past Jing Yi and froze. Slowly, he turned back and took in what he saw: Jing Yi. A broom. An incredibly clean floor.
Since Jing Yi hated everything dirty, of course, he would do this chore with special care. And with him still doing it every now and then, it never got to the point where the floor could be called anything but clean.
The other disciples had never cared about it but now, the disciple at the door felt cold sweat running down his back. When his friend returned to ask what was wrong, he slapped his arm. “Fuck, are you serious? Look who he is! What is he doing with a broom in his hand?!”
The first disciple rubbed his eyes and looked. “Seems to be that junior martial brother, Zhong-what’s his name. And isn’t he just sweeping the floor? What are you making such a ruckus for?”
The second one grabbed him by the collar. “Idiot! What are your ears for? That Zhong Jing Yi is the boy Grandmaster Zhangsun’s disciple proposed to yesterday at the Gathering! Do you believe he’ll have us pay if he ever sees him sweeping the floor? Fuck, haven’t you heard yet how vindictive he is? I don’t want to get on his bad side!”
Qiu Ling had already seen everything there was to see though. If this was a normal situation the disciple would have been right to worry. But … Qiu Ling still remembered the trial. Thus he begrudgingly postponed his revenge. That didn’t mean he would forget about it though! He had already noted all their names down and painted their portraits for later use.
Shock spread on the face of the first disciple. Shit! His friend was right! He rushed over to Jing Yi and grabbed the broom. “Hehe, greetings junior martial brother Zhong. What are you doing this early in the morning?”
Jing Yi looked up with slight surprise. Normally, his senior martial brothers ignored him if they didn’t have any tasks. None of them had ever tried to hinder him in his work. “Greetings, senior martial brother. I’m sweeping the floor.”
“Ah, no need, no need. Why don’t you go and sleep a little longer? Ah Bo and I will do this.”
Jing Yi didn’t know what to do. He had always done this kind of tasks and nobody had ever tried to dissuade him. Why were these senior martial brothers suddenly of a mind to do it instead of him? Well, they were his seniors, after all, so he had to comply. He’d just go and do some other chores.
“If the senior martial brothers insist.” He bowed and hurried out of the building.
The first disciple grimaced. “Tch. What an attitude! Just because that Grandmaster’s disciple likes him he thinks he can do whatever he wants!”
“Sh! Are you dumb? What if someone hears you?”
“What? I’m only saying the truth. I seriously hope those two won’t end up together!”
“Who knows? It came out of the blue so it might indeed just be some short-lived infatuation. Just wait until he drops him. Then you can pay him back.”
The two of them continued to grumble while they carelessly swept the floor. Had they known what Jing Yi went to do next they might have thought differently but that was for some other poor senior martial brother to discover.
When one of them left the building, still wondering why two people he had never seen doing any chores before were actually sweeping the floor, he saw a slender boy sitting not far from the building next to the well and scrubbing clothes. At first, he didn’t pay it any heed but then he halted. That boy … had seemed familiar somehow?
He slowly turned back and looked at the hands that were wrapped in two shiny gloves. The disciple felt like his heart stopped beating. For Heaven’s sake! Wasn’t that Jing Yi?! Why was the beloved of their Grandmaster’s disciple washing their clothes?!
The disciple rushed over, grabbed his arm and pulled him to his feet. “Junior martial brother Jing, what are you doing? So early in the morning, there’s no need to wash the clothes. Why don’t you go and take a stroll to wear off the sleepiness? I’ll do this chore instead.”
Jing Yi blinked. What was it with his senior martial brothers today? “But senior —”
“No, no. No need to thank me. It’s what I should be doing.” He smiled and sat down where Jing Yi had just been sitting, starting to work so that Jing Yi couldn’t protest.
The boy didn’t give up so easily though. This was the second time this had happened in one day, after all. He started to feel bad about it. He couldn’t leave everything to his senior martial brothers now, could he? “Senior martial brother, how about we do this together? Then we —”
“No, no, no need. Just go take a stroll. Look, the weather’s so nice today.” He paused and then slyly added, “Actually, taking a stroll alone isn’t so nice. Why don’t you ask someone to accompany you?” Like our Grandmaster’s disciple, for example? And please tell him that it was my idea! Of course, he could only think that silently and hope that Jing Yi would get the hint.
“Oh. Well, if you insist …” Jing Yi could only turn around and really start to stroll down the pathway in front of the building. Of course, he didn’t go to get Qiu Ling. Instead, he went to the house where Shao Hai and Xiao Dong were staying. By now, a bit of time had passed so he might not bother Xiao Dong too much.