Li Shui stopped the car in front of an old building. Looking out of the window, he raised his brows and then turned to the backseat, glancing at Qian Huang to make sure that he had gotten the address right. “This should be it, right?”
Qian Huang also turned to look outside and then nodded. “Yep, that’s it.”
Since ‘Golden Spoon’ would be running for several weeks with one episode being filmed and shown every week, it wouldn’t make sense for them to drive back and forth between this city and their usual residence. Getting a hotel for such a long time was something that was out of their budget though. After all, paying for three people each night would add up soon. Thus, he had looked for a small apartment that they could temporarily move into.
This came with the added benefit, that they had a bit more time for themselves when they weren’t working on the show. Also, they would probably feel more at home, which might reduce Xiao Ming’s anxiety so Qian Huang felt that this was the best way.
Retracting his gaze, he turned back to Li Shui and Xiao Ming, patting the latter on the shoulder. “Alright, the two of you can go and get something to eat first if you want to. I’ll go and get the key.”
Xiao Ming nodded and the three of them got out of the car, Li Shui and Xiao Ming going down the street while Qian Huang went over to the house. The proprietress was actually living inside the same building so he just had to ring the doorbell and arrange everything.
Li Shui turned to Xiao Ming, raising his brows and putting his arm around his shoulders. “So, what do we get? Do you know if there’s a market close by?”
Xiao Ming couldn’t help but smile. Most likely, Qian Huang had actually meant for them to go to a store and buy something that they could eat just like that but it seemed that Li Shui was a bit spoiled from home. If he could go and get something for Xiao Ming to cook, then he would naturally want to do so instead of some store-bought food.
“We can look it up. Why don’t you do so now? I’m sure Qian Huang will not just get the key but also have a look around the apartment to see if everything is alright. It will probably take a moment. It’s better if we don’t disturb him.”
Li Shui nodded and pulled out his phone, taking a look at the map of their surroundings. “Ah, there isn’t one. There’s a mall though.”
“Let’s go and try there then.”
The two of them followed the route on the map, soon arriving outside of the mall. Looking at it, Xiao Ming nodded faintly. “Looks good. I guess they should have some ingredients there. They might not be as good as Auntie Zhang’s vegetables but it’s alright.”
Li Shui nodded. To him, the important thing was that Xiao Ming was the one cooking, not the ingredients. Even though Xiao Ming had often stressed that what kind of ingredients he used was important, Li Shui always felt that he probably wouldn’t be able to taste the difference anyway. Thus, he didn’t make a fuss.
Just when the two of them entered the mall, a black car drove by outside.
Si Jin’s gaze accurately followed Xiao Ming’s back until it vanished behind the doors.
Si Yi glanced at him from the driver seat and then looked at the road ahead of them. “They should have gotten a place to stay close by.”
Si Jin nodded but didn’t say anything. In any case, he had also realized this. Xiao Ming and the other two were people who had gone through a time of poverty and also hadn’t grown up rich. Naturally, they would rather go for a place that wasn’t as expensive. For a moment, he actually wondered if maybe he should relocate to another place as well. It would definitely be nice to live close to Xiao Ming. Maybe they could coincidentally meet a few times?
Si Yi was able to see through his master’s thoughts at one glance. “We only have that one property in the city but we could acquire some more.” It might take a bit but considering the current situation, it might be worth it. Although … even if they acquired something, as long as somebody already lived there, it also wouldn’t make a difference. In that case, they would have to search for a place that was already empty. But with Si Er on their side, he didn’t think that it would be a problem to find out if they really wanted to.
Si Jin gave it a thought but finally shook his head. In any case, he would be able to see Xiao Ming at the casting. While it would be nice to see him before that already, he could wait. He had already waited for five years. What were two more days?
Si Yi nodded and didn’t bring it up again. Instead, the car sped off toward the villa in the outskirts. Then he went to handle a few matters while the other ninjas soon arrived as well.
Just when Si Yi finished his own matters, Si Qi suddenly appeared in front of him. Si Yi raised his brows, not quite sure what the matter was. “Did something happen?”
Si Qi shook his head and lowered his head, not quite sure how to approach the topic. “Brother one … I’m afraid my skills aren’t up to par yet and the casting is already in two days.”
Si Yi remembered what Si Shi Wu had said when before they set off and gave a faint nod. “Well, you had less time than the others. That text wasn’t written in just a few minutes.”
“Thank you for saying that but it doesn’t change that I am going to let master down if I am unable to cook to the standards that Si Shi Wu insists on. After all, we don’t know how good our competition will be.”
Si Yi’s brows furrowed slightly. “That is true as well. In that case, you should use the last two days to the full extent.”
Si Qi nodded but he still didn’t leave.
Si Yi’s brows race higher, feeling a little suspicious. “Is there something else?”
Si Qi gave a faint hum and finally looked up. “It is just … I really tried very hard but I’m not able to bridge that last gap. Si Shi Wu has already explained several times but I just can’t get it right. I was wondering if … maybe you had the time to take a look and see if you can find the problem?” He seemed somewhat hopeful as if he really felt that whether the mission would succeed or not might depend on this.
Si Yi glanced at his watch and mumbled to himself. In any case, there really were still two days. Their master’s skills were definitely good enough to guarantee a spot while their own also didn’t lack far behind. Everything that he needed to organize had been done so there probably wasn’t anything speaking against it save for the fact that he wouldn’t be able to accompany their master. “I will see if there’s anything that master needs. If not, then I’ll see you in the kitchen in a moment.”
Si Qi inclined his head. “Thank you, brother one. I’ll go and wait there then.” He didn’t stick around and instead went over to the kitchen as if he really hadn’t come for anything else.
Si Yi glanced at his receding back, inwardly feeling satisfied that Si Qi was this hard-working. On the other hand … that Si Shi Qi really should be taught a lesson. Not only had he been disturbing master while he was cooking back at home, but he had even dared to slack off himself. Compared to Si Qi, he was definitely lagging behind even more. But did that guy think of coming to him to ask for advice? Obviously not! Between these two, it was obvious who was doing the better job.
Faintly shaking his head, he went to take a look at what his master was doing. Needless to say, it was related to Xiao Ming. He had pulled out his laptop and seemed to be going through all the videos of Bright Yellow Water from the last five years. Whether that was in preparation for ‘Golden Spoon’ or just because he wanted to see Young Master Xiao’s face after missing him by a hair’s breadth outside … Who could say for sure?
Si Yi smiled faintly and then backed out of the room, thinking that there probably wouldn’t be a difference whether he stuck around or not. He could just use a bit of time to teach Si Qi instead before he returned. That way, their objective of getting nineteen additional spots for their master to eliminate some competition could definitely be realized. If there was something that his master needed, he could just write him a message. Having made up his mind, he went to the kitchen as well.
While the ninjas settled into their new home, Qian Huang had already managed to get the key for the apartment and had indeed viewed it together with the proprietress to make sure that everything was alright. By now, the woman had already left and he was alone in the apartment.
Looking at the fully functional kitchen, he smiled to himself. Ah, Xiao Ming would be happy when he saw this. Even though it was only for a few weeks, he also knew that Xiao Ming would not want to miss out on being able to cook normally. Thus, he had paid special attention that there was everything in the kitchen that they needed. Well, they didn’t have an oven but it wasn’t like Xiao Ming used it that much. Even back at home, they only had a small, portable one for the few times that he really needed one and couldn’t do without. So this kitchen should be alright.
Since the others weren’t back yet, Qian Huang started to rummage through the drawers, making sure that the equipment that he usually saw Xiao Ming using was also there. After doing so many live streams and also watching him cook for them at home, he was quite familiar with everything that Xiao Ming used. From what he could see at first glance, there shouldn’t be anything missing in this apartment. No, Xiao Ming should indeed be happy with this.
Meanwhile, the person that Qian Huang was thinking about was currently walking through a store with Li Shui, looking at the ingredients that he wanted to take back for their meal. Just when he picked up a zucchini to see whether it was fresh enough, a voice sounded on the other side of the aisle.
“Oh! What’s that?”
Xiao Ming didn’t actually think that this had anything to do with him but couldn’t help and look up to see what was going on. As a result, he found himself opposite a handsome man that was staring directly back at him.
Li Shui at the side looked from Xiao Ming to the guy and then back again, and then conscientiously turned away and pretended to be interested in the oranges on the other side. In any case, he also knew that Xiao Ming was gay. If a handsome man suddenly appeared and talked to him, that meant that it would be better to stay away so there wouldn’t be any misunderstanding that they were already a couple. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time something like this had happened. He definitely couldn’t ruin his chances.
He still couldn’t help but glance over his shoulder to take a look at that guy though. Ah, it would be so nice if he could take a photo and send it to Qian Huang so he could take a look at well. In any case, he felt that this guy could probably considered be quite good-looking. He wasn’t sure if this was Xiao Ming’s type though. Usually, they didn’t talk about that kind of thing. Whether it was Xiao Ming or Qian Huang, he wouldn’t be able to say what they imagined their perfect partner to be like. Maybe Xiao Ming himself hadn’t even thought about it.
Xiao Ming was still at a loss but finally motioned at his face. “Were you talking to me?”
Si Er immediately smiled brightly and rushed around the aisle, sidling up next to Xiao Ming. “What are you doing, ah?” He grinned happily, feeling that this really was a genius move. Don’t kid him, finding Xiao Ming and the other two was pretty easy. Since they were in the same city right now, how could he miss out on the opportunity to go and see him? It was a pity that he hadn’t been able to take their master along. He could have matchmade them!
Xiao Ming was only more confused when he was asked that question. He finally raised the zucchini in his hands, feeling that it should be answer enough. “Picking out ingredients?”
Si Er gave a hum and stared at him. Looking at him from up close, he had to say that he was actually more good-looking than on screen. Their master really had good eyes. “You cook. I know.”
Xiao Ming finally felt that he was enlightened. “You’re watching our channel?” That had to be it. He had actually been recognized for once. It was a strange feeling now that it happened, actually making him a little embarrassed.
Si Er smiled more brightly. “Ah, I’m not. But my friend does. He likes you.” He pondered for a moment and then couldn’t help but reiterate. “He really likes you.” As if that alone wasn’t enough, he pulled out his phone, typing on it for a moment and pursing his lips. “Here, let me give you a gift.” He typed around a moment longer and Xiao Ming’s phone suddenly buzzed.
Xiao Ming furrowed his brows and pulled it out, not quite sure what this was supposed to mean. This guy didn’t have his number. He shouldn’t be able to just send something over. But with what he had just said … could there really be such a coincidence?
He glanced at the screen of his phone and realized that somehow, a video file had popped up. Glancing at the filename, it was just a row of numbers. He really wasn’t sure what to think of this. “This is …?” He looked up at the guy again who just happily smiled at him.
“Anyway, I gotta go!” Si Er waved at Xiao Ming and then turned around, leaving as if he didn’t actually care.
Xiao Ming watched him walk away, still holding his phone with a dazed expression.
Li Shui came rushing over as soon as he realized that the guy was gone and looked over Xiao Ming’s shoulder. “And? How did it go? Are you going to meet up for a date?” He couldn’t help but be a little excited when he thought about it. In the few years since they had started the channel, Xiao Ming had hardly gone out. He tried it two or three times maybe but it hadn’t really worked out.
By now, Qian Huang and Li Shui were both worried. Well, not that either of them had managed to get a girlfriend in this time but that wasn’t for a lack of trying. In any case, when it came to Xiao Ming, they still felt more worried than when it was about themselves. It was probably that they still felt that they needed to protect Xiao Ming. Making sure that he would find a suitable partner in the future was one of those things. Li Shui didn’t think it was strange at all.
Xiao Ming turned to Li Shui with a strange expression, not quite sure how to explain what just happened. “That … That wasn’t what this was about.”
Li Shui raised his brows. “No? I actually thought he was good-looking. I mean not that I’m gay but I thought the two of you would make a nice couple.”
Xiao Ming couldn’t help but laugh, and finally pushed through the strange feeling that he had had. “No, he just said that a friend of his was our fan. And then he somehow sent me a video file. I haven’t looked at it yet.”
Li Shui glanced at his phone, seeing the file on the screen. “What do you think it is?”
Xiao Ming could only shrug his shoulders. “I have no idea. He didn’t say anything. Well, he just said that he wanted to give me a gift. I’m not quite sure what it this.” In fact, he couldn’t help but be a little worried. Something had been strange about that guy.
Outside of the store, Si Er looked at his own phone with a strange expression. “Is it really asking too much to have them open the file after I already sent it? And I even did so in person. What’s so strange about that? It would be much stranger if I just sent it over from afar without an explanation.”
Si San and Si Shi Er that had accompanied him gave him a long look.
“I don’t think you’re in any position to make a judgment on this.”
“And I think that isn’t what you should be worried about. If Si Yi finds out what you’ve done, you’ll be in hot water.”
Si Er looked at the two of them and just harrumphed. “You guys are all wet blankets. I should’ve taken Si Qi along.” Then he just bowed his head over his phone and decided to take matters into his own hands again. If Xiao Ming and Li Shui were too chicken to click on it, he’d just do it for them!
Thus, back in the store, the video finally started to play without the two members of Bright Yellow Water doing anything.