At that time, Hong Ai and Shen An De were sitting in the courtyard of his palace, playing a game and drinking tea while chatting casually. Coincidentally, the subject of their talk was actually Hong Bao.
“I heard that your sister seems to have gotten into trouble again.”
Hong Ai raised her gaze to her husband and sighed. “I can’t say I’m surprised. She was like that when she was young as well. Whatever she tries, something would go wrong. It’s as if she’s been cursed.”
Shen An De couldn’t help but chuckle. “I don’t think this has as much to do with a cursed as it has with her not thinking before she does things. She just needs to take a moment to think things through before she acts.”
Hong Ai sighed. “Well, she was never good at that. Anyway, what happened? It wouldn’t be too bad, would it?”
Shen An De shook his head and picked up another title. “From what I heard, she let some demonic beast escape that her martial brothers and sisters had caught. They were understandably angry.”
Hong Ai laughed. “That’s definitely something she would do. Did they try to catch them again?”
Shen An De snorted. “They’re demon hunters. Of course, they would catch them again. But I guess it’ll have taken quite a lot of time to do so. And these demon beasts certainly wouldn’t have made it easy for them. Escaping once after being caught … They’ll naturally have been as cautious as possible.” He fell quiet for a moment and put down the tile on the board, before looking back up. “Speaking of which … I’ve heard that they’re going to be in trouble soon.”
“The demon beasts or the demon hunters?”
“The latter. Rumor has it that the Jian Yi Sect has been investigating some matters they were involved in. I’ve let my people pay some attention just in case. If things get too bad, we should take your sister out of there. Even if she likes that Liu Cheng, it’s not worth her life. And knowing the people of the Chun Feng Sect, they’ll escalate this when the Jian Yi Sect confronts them about it.”
Hong Ai nodded with a grave expression. “I’m afraid you’re right about that. They aren’t the type to step back. They feel like everything that has to do with demons is their matter to take care of. They won’t just let it go.”
“Exactly. But with what the Jian Yi Sect has done so far, it’s unlikely that they’ll step back either. The conflict might escalate until it’s not salvageable anymore.” He kept quiet for a moment and then motioned at the board. “It’s your turn.”
Hong Ai was startled out of her thoughts and picked up a tile, finally putting it down next to one of Shen An De’s black ones. Her thoughts weren’t completely there though. “If it does get worse, do you think we’d have time to get her out? Hong Bao isn’t passionate about demon hunting at all. It’s just that Liu Cheng she’s infatuated with.”
“Do you think there’s a chance to change that? I feel like that would be the easiest way to get her out of there. If she fell in love with somebody else …”
“It’s unlikely. Hong Bao always had a one-track mind. If she likes somebody, she likes them. He would have to do something very drastic for that to change. And I doubt he would. Didn’t you say you were positive he liked her as well?”
Shen An De didn’t answer for a moment, instead looking at the board intently while he sipped his tea. After a moment, he put down the cup and leaned back, looking at Hong Ai with a grave expression. “I don’t doubt that he does. The problem is his identity. He is Sect Master Xian’s head disciple and you know how that guy is. He loathes demons and everybody different. To him, they are all treacherous creatures that need to be locked away or — even better — eradicated. He’d be happy if he could annihilate the entire demon race.
“I can’t say for sure how that Liu Cheng thinks but if he is anything like his Master …” He shook his head. “Even if he loves Hong Bao, demon-hunting would always come first. That is the kind of life they lead. Some of them more than others.”
Hong Ai got up from her seat and paced up and down next to the table. “We can’t just watch and do nothing.” Unfortunately, she didn’t know what to do though. Her sister wasn’t somebody who easily transferred her affections. As long as Liu Cheng was around and available, she would stay dedicated to him. There was no way she’d forget about him.
Mn? Hong Ai suddenly stopped, her expression turning astonished. She opened her mouth and turned to look at her husband but didn’t know how to put into words what she had thought of.
Shen An De raised his brows and put the tile he had just picked up back. “Did you have an idea?”
Hong Ai slowly nodded. “Yes … At least I think I came up with something. Do you remember when Qiu Ling and Jing Yi came here?”
“Of course.” After all, Qiu Ling had made more than just a bit of trouble. That guy was just as talented as Hong Bao in that regard. “What about it?”
“Qiu Ling said something about her having fallen in love with somebody before but forgetting about it because she was banished from the Nine Heavens.”
“You mean to say that even though her falling in love with somebody else would be unlikely as long as Liu Cheng is around, things might be different if she met the person again that she was previously in love with?”
Hong Ai nodded. “Yes. After all, there has to be a reason why she fell in love with that man, right? So maybe it’d happen a second time. Memories are one thing but feelings might be another. I think it might be worth a try.”