Zheng Yin was walking through his herb garden, watering the plants. Every now and then, he couldn’t help but glance at the guy who was following him around. When he reached the end of another row of herbs, he turned around. “Niu Hai, if you have something you want to say, then please go ahead. Don’t just follow me around. That is not going to achieve anything.”
Niu Hai stopped in his tracks, not quite sure what to say. Really, he knew that he didn’t really have a right to say anything. It was just that he really thought that the two of them were getting along well and that there might be a future for them. Like, a future together. He just wasn’t so sure about that since the other day.
He hesitated for a while longer and then just shrugged his shoulders. “Oh, it’s nothing much. I was just wondering … who was that guy the other day?”
Zheng Yin turned away and looked at the house instead where Xin Lan was probably brooding inside. Even though he had come back, and even though they had spent quite a few really passionate hours together, he didn’t have any illusions that this was anything but physical to Xin Lan.
Ah, he had already known that when Xin Lan came back but it became even more obvious the longer he stayed. Outside of the time spent in bed, Xin Lan didn’t really care about him. He never had. Right now, he seemed to be so preoccupied with something else that he would hardly pay attention to him when he wasn’t in the mood to do something. The rest of the time, he was just sitting there, staring into space, clearly not interested in anything in the world.
“Why do you ask?” No matter what, he also wasn’t interested in Niu Hai or any of the other disciples of the Hei Dian Sect. Anyway, after Xin Lan … said goodbye to him this time, he wouldn’t stay here.
He would tell him that he would return to the spiritual beasts’ territory. If Xin Lan really wanted to see him again, he could always go there. If not … well, then he could be alone there just as much as he could be alone here. In any case, he didn’t care for any of the men in the sect.
Niu Hai had trouble explaining himself when he was asked this directly. Anyway, even though he had been going after Zheng Yin for a while, it wasn’t like they were together or anything. So really, he didn’t have any right to ask.
He knew that. That was why he had hesitated to bring it up in the first place. But he just couldn’t help but be curious. Anyway, it seemed like they were pretty close. The kind of close where no other man could come between them. And the guy also hadn’t seemed as if he would like to see a rival around. The gaze that he had thrown him that day? That had spelled bloody murder.
He turned in the other direction and rubbed his back, remembering the last time he had gone after a cute junior that already had a lover. Back then, he had managed to embarrass himself in front of the whole sect.
If not for the fact that that person had been recognized by the Grandmaster himself later on, he probably wouldn’t have seen the end of that. Now, it was just a slightly embarrassing episode in his life but not something that people brought up often.
He didn’t want to repeat that. Even though that guy seemed strong, he couldn’t be sure how it would go out for him so it was better to pull back. He just … wanted to know first if possible. He didn’t want to give up if he had misunderstood. “Well, it’s nothing much. I was just wondering. I’ve never seen him around. But you seem to know him … pretty well.”
Zheng Yin gave a hum but he didn’t let an explanation for it follow. In any case, he had no idea how to explain his relationship with Xin Lan. He wasn’t his lover since he didn’t love him and wouldn’t stay, and he wasn’t a friend either considering that he probably didn’t even care about him as a person.
He was nothing more than a very handsome stranger who paid him a visit every now and then and would stay for a while until he grew tired of him again. He really didn’t have a word that encompassed this and he didn’t have the kind of relationship with Niu Hai where he would try to explain anything that required more than one word to label his relationships.
Zheng Yin went through the next row of herbs before finally retracting his hands, and turning back to Niu Hai. “Anyway, he will stay a while so I will be pretty busy. You really don’t need to come over here. If I were to need help with something, I’d just ask him.”
Niu Hai nodded and then watched him leave for the house, finally giving a deep sigh. This had gone about as well as expected. But there really wasn’t much that he could do. So he could only continue to stand there in the garden, looking at that house, and wondering if he would ever have more luck.
He really liked Zheng Yin. He was kind and gentle even if he behaved a bit coldly toward others when they didn’t actually need his help with alchemy. Clearly, he was also a very passionate person considering his pursuit of knowledge. Maybe they really weren’t a good fit.
He shook his head at himself again for even trying this and then left the garden, going back to his own place to practice again. Anyway, he might not be able to catch up to any of those men who randomly appeared to steal away each and every one of the cute juniors, but at the very least, he could become a respectable person in the Hei Dian Sect. There was always such a chance!
Zheng Yin looked out of the window, watching him leave, and then sighed.
“You know, I don’t like to share. But after I leave, I won’t mind whoever it is you get with. Although I guess I’d have to doubt your taste a bit if it was him.”
Zheng Yin turned around and looked at Xin Lan, his lips curving up in the faintest of smiles. “Oh? I didn’t know you were even paying attention to me.”
Xin Lan looked at him and then reached out, clearly wanting him to come over.
The corners of Zheng Yin’s lips pulled up further but there was no happiness in that smile. No, instead, he really was asking himself why he was even doing this. He knew the outcome. The time with Xin Lan couldn’t be good enough to justify himself lowering his dignity this far, could it?
And yet, he still went over. He wasn’t even sure why. Clearly, whatever Xin Lan would say next also wouldn’t be able to make up for it. But then, this was the kind of relationship they had always had, wasn’t it? By now, he shouldn’t expect anything to change.