When Hua Lin Yu walked inside, his expression immediately fell when he saw Xin Lan sitting there as well and he seriously considered walking right back out for a moment.
Fei Bai Mu could see what he was thinking and shot him a look before motioning at the other chair. “Sit.”
Hua Lin Yu furrowed his brows and stopped in the door, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “I already told him everything I have to say.”
Fei Bai Mu nodded but still motioned at the chair again. “That is good. Please have a seat nonetheless.”
Hua Lin Yu continued to furrow his brows but still closed the door behind him, walked over, and sat down, pointedly not looking in Xin Lan’s direction. “What’s the matter, Master? I was just cultivating with Xiao Li.”
Fei Bai Mu nodded, and then poured her disciple a cup of tea, pushing it over. “Well, I guess seeing Xin Lan here, you already have some expectations on what this is about. So, let’s have an honest talk.”
Hua Lin Yu gave a huff, clearly not on board. “As I said, I already said everything I had to.”
“Well, but still, nothing has been solved. Xiao Yu, you are my youngest disciple, probably the last I will ever take in. I … I care for your well-being. And sometimes, that means looking at things in a different way than you do just to make sure that nothing will happen that you might regret.”
Hua Lin Yu pursed his lips. “This is about Xiao Li again. Did Xin Lan put you up to this, Master? Because you really shouldn’t take part in this! You’ve seen that Xiao Li treats me well.”
Fei Bai Mu inclined her head. “Yes, I’ve not seen him treat you badly, that is indeed the case. I will admit to that. But I must also admit — and I told you this before — that I am worried because everything went very fast and you haven’t made the best decisions recently. I’ve talked about the former with Xin Lan and he is of the same opinion.”
Hua Lin Yu really would’ve liked to say that this was just because he was jealous but he felt that that would be a low blow. And he still felt guilty toward Xin Lan. The reason he didn’t want to see him … that was mostly because he didn’t know how to face him. If he could have both these men in his life — one as his life partner and the other as a … friend —, he would’ve been very happy. It was a pity that this didn’t seem to work.
Fei Bai Mu could imagine what was currently going through his head but she pretended not to. “Well, no matter what, whether it is me or Xin Lan, we really want the best for you. If that is being with Xiao Li, then we will have to accept it.”
Xin Lan gave her a look, clearly not intending to accept anything anytime soon but he didn’t say anything and just let her speak. Anyway, that was what he had agreed to.
Hua Lin Yu also didn’t seem to be convinced. Xin Lan had said before that he wouldn’t just give up. And he knew him. After all these years, he was very clear on the fact that Xin Lin wasn’t the type of man who would just pull back for another’s sake. No, that wouldn’t fit him. “So, what’s the catch?” Because clearly, there had to be something. While he might trust his Master to just leave this matter be, Xin Lan definitely wouldn’t. He just didn’t believe that.
Fei Bai Mu nodded, feeling that this was actually going better than she had expected. “Well, if it was to put our minds at ease, would you agree to do a test?”
“I test of how much that Xiao Li really loves you. Surely, if you trust him so much, you should not be afraid of the outcome.”
Hua Lin Yu stared at her, feeling a little strange. He … didn’t really know what to think. Did Xiao Li love him? Sure, he did! So really, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about, right? So why did he suddenly feel anxious?
He thought for a moment and then glanced at Xin Lan. “And how can I be sure that Xin Lan won’t try to do something to make him fail?”
“By being close by when it happens. Look, I’m not going to do anything dangerous. I just want to make them an offer. If he really loves you, he will say no. If he doesn’t, then you will know where you stand with him.
“After that, you can decide what to do with that knowledge. I will not force you to leave him, even if he fails the test. It will be on you to decide. But as your Master, I just want to make sure that you are well taken care of. And I would indeed feel better if I knew that this was by somebody who genuinely cares for you and not just sees you as an ends to a mean.”
“Xiao Li would never!”
Fei Bai Mu inclined her head. “Then I’m sure he will prove that to us soon. After that, I will let this matter rest.”
Hua Lin Yu pursed his lips, not quite sure if he should be happy about this. Anyway, he didn’t really think that his Master had a reason to be getting on his case right now either. But at the very least, this was a way for him to make his Master finally accept Xiao Li. He was definitely happy with that. As for Xin Lan though … He turned to him and raised his chin. “What about you? If Xiao Li passes this test, will you finally leave it alone as well?”
Xin Lan narrowed his eyes and gave a faint smile. “You shouldn’t be so sure that he will.”
“That’s my own problem. Anyway, will you?”
“We will see about that. Now, I don’t think there’s any reason to put this off any longer. Should we start?” With that, he turned to Fei Bai Mu, hoping that finally, they could be done with this.
Unfortunately, the Sect Master didn’t seem to see this the same way. “I only just called Xiao Yu away. If I were to ask Xiao Li over now as well, he would be able to figure it out. That isn’t how we should do this. No, if we do this, we should do it in a way that makes it less conspicuous.”
She pondered a moment and then turned to her youngest disciple. “Xiao Yu, I want you to go on a mission. Go and speak to your seniors to see what is currently available. Do your preparations and tell Xiao Li about it, then bid him goodbye before you ‘leave’. Instead, you will be here at my palace to watch so you can be assured that Xin Lan isn’t interfering in any way and this was indeed fair to Xiao Li.
“I will have him called over and test him in front of the two of you. If you are right and he passes, then I will allow him to come with you on that mission. I think that it would be good for your relationship to spend some time with each other outside of the sect so you can get to know each other better. If not … then maybe this will be an opportunity to take your mind off things. What do you think about that?”
Hua Lin Yu originally hadn’t been on board with this idea but hearing what his Master said, he couldn’t help but feel that she was indeed genuine about this. Xin Lan might not be but Fei Bai Mu was. Thinking of that, he actually smiled. “Thank you, Master. I will do as you say.”
In any case, it seemed that she was finally willing to accept his relationship with Xiao Li. There was only this one condition put on it and it was one that he could somewhat understand. So really, this was not too bad. He couldn’t wait for the day when Xiao Li would prove how much he really loved him.