OCN C74 Going Out to Socialize

The next morning, it was time to move out for the ninjas of the Si clan to divert attention.

Si Shi Wu had decided to go and meet up with some old friends that he had gotten to know in culinary school or some other events related to cooking. Since he wasn’t taking part in the actual show, he actually didn’t really need to follow Si Yi’s instructions in this case but he still figured that he might as well stay at least a few more days.

While he could leave, it would also be good to show himself with somebody else other than the people of the Si clan. So it would be best if he spent a few days traveling around and meeting others before he returned to their headquarters and focused on his restaurant again.

Si Shi Qi had already had plans with his wife, so the two of them didn’t leave much after Si Shi Wu. Just as he had promised, they went on a tour through the city, even though things were troublesome with Tao Jin’s identity. Despite the fact that this was supposed to be a date, she still had to cover her face as well as she could and hope that nobody would realize just who she was.

Meanwhile, the other ninjas had to plan something that would hopefully further their knowledge and skills in cooking to be prepared for the next episode. For some, this wasn’t too difficult.

Si San, Si Si, Si Wu, and Si Liu had all gone out to eat with friends and family that lived in the city. Si Ba wasn’t too particular about the time spent so he scheduled a meeting with a client and went to talk over their over lunch.

For others, it was much more difficult to find an acceptable idea.

Si Shi Si was pacing up and down in the living room, his brows furrowed. “Going to eat … Do you have any idea how difficult that is if you’re an athlete?” He turned to the others but most of them were on their phones or laptops, trying to find something to do themselves.

Si Shi Ba at least spared him a glance. “This seems to have been troubling you for some time.”

Si Shi Si raised his hands in exasperation. “You don’t say! What am I supposed to do?”

“It might be helpful to take a more creative approach.”

Si Er Shi looked up from his phone and pushed it into his pocket, looking from one person to the other as he got up. “Why don’t you clear it with your manager?”

Si Shi nodded. “Or your physician or trainer or whoever is responsible for your food. Can’t be that difficult.”

Si Shi Jiu nodded. “Yes, imagine crying about not being able to eat the food. Some of us would be happy to be able to just go out and eat but who knows what would happen?”

Si Shi Si already wanted to retort when Si Qi cleared his throat.

“There’s an exhibition on art and food that’s running for two months. You could go there.” Originally, he had planned to go there today but he could probably find something else to do. Si Shi Si really had it more difficult than him in that regard. Well, most of the others had. As an author, he could usually go outside without needing to worry. Even though his books had done well in recent years, it wasn’t to the point where he would be recognized. In fact, people were often more likely to know the name of his series’ main character than his own.

Si Shi Si stopped in his tracks when he was finally given an idea that didn’t require him to go and eat. “Really? That sounds … well, can I go alone?” He glanced at Si Yi, not sure if this would be alright. After all, they were supposed to show up with other people but he didn’t really know anyone here.

Si Yi just sighed. Why was it so difficult for them to come up with a plan on their own? Was that the curse of being past number ten? In any case, thankfully, Si Qi had interrupted them. “It’s alright. In any case, there is at least a week of time if not more. You can organize to meet people another day.”

“Oh. I’ll try to find somebody.” He nodded and then rushed out before somebody else could steal the idea.

The others also slowly figured things out, even though there was some grumbling involved.

Si Shi Er looked especially aggrieved. He didn’t really know anyone in the city either so he had figured that he might just invite somebody to come here. Needless to say, that person was his boyfriend. And the fact that he was only calling him over now was precisely what made him feel miffed.

He would have wanted to take him along for the trip to the city. In any case, Si Shi Qi had been allowed to bring his wife and had even taken her to their temporary headquarters to spend the night. How was this fair? On the ranking of the Si clan, he was clearly five places above Si Shi Qi! So why was that guy getting special treatment? This wasn’t fair at all!

Unfortunately, Si Shi Er couldn’t change it. Well, at least Si Yi hadn’t said anything when he mentioned that he would go out to meet up with his boyfriend. This was at least a small win.

When Si Shi Er left, only four ninjas were left in the house.

Si Qi watched him leave and then glanced at Si Yi. “I also don’t really know anyone here …” And he didn’t even have anyone that he could call to come over. It was probably his own fault. He had to admit that he was a little more introverted in general so he didn’t go out often to make friends.

The only other person that he interacted with on a regular basis outside of the Si clan was his editor. And since Si Yi was usually taking a look before she did, their interactions were on the shorter side. That put him in a bit of a dilemma right now.

Si Yi wanted to ignore him at first but then figured that that might be too obvious. “I’m sure you’ll figure something out. In the worst case, just go out alone like Si Shi Er.” With that, he already turned to Si Er who was also still there. “What about you?”

Si Er leaned back and stretched. “Ah … I feel like yesterday was really too much. I’ll take a day off.”

“There are no days off in the Si clan.” He stared him down but that brat just wouldn’t move.

Si Qi looked from one person to the other, still somewhat hurt that Si Yi had reacted like that. Was asking for a few nice words really too much? But in any case, he shouldn’t expect anything else. “How about going out together? In any case, it’s not like you’re really in the eye of the public. So it should be rather safe. We can also split up later on if you want to do something else.”

Si Yi threw him a glance and then pointedly looked away again, just waving for Si Er to follow him.

Si Er pursed his lips but still got up, packed his things, and then followed Si Qi out of the door with his bag slung over his shoulder. Looking at him like this, he had the air of a college student that couldn’t care less.

The two of them started to walk down the street, both keeping quiet.

At the next junction, Si Er stopped in his tracks though. “So, where do you want to go?”

Si Qi looked around, his gaze inadvertently slipping back to the house they had just come from. “Well, I haven’t really figured out anything since Si Shi Si is going to the exhibition I picked out. I guess just taking a tour of the city and casually finding something to do wouldn’t be bad.”

Si Er gave an unenthusiastic hum and then motioned for him to go ahead. He crossed his arms in front of his chest and walked next to him, looking around. “You know, it’s a different city.”

Si Qi glanced at him, not quite sure what he meant. “So?”

“So, whatever you do here doesn’t have to do anything with whatever you do at home. Want me to register you on some online dating platform?”

Si Qi pressed his lips together and shook his head. “No need.”

“Want me to look up a hobby for you then?”

At that, Si Qi narrowed his eyes. “You’re not much better than me, Si Er. Every day, what exactly are you doing other than playing around on those gadgets of yours? I put my time and effort into my stories instead. Is that really so bad?”

Si Er rubbed his chin and gave Si Qi a sideways glance. “Do you really though?”

Si Qi clicked his tongue and shook his head at him. “Well, I’ve taken you out just as I promised. You go off and do your own thing. I’ll go and browse a bookstore or something.” With that, he made a sharp turn and walked away swiftly, weaving into the crowd so Si Er hopefully wouldn’t follow him.

Actually, he also knew that most likely, he wouldn’t be able to get rid of him if that guy really wanted to pester him further. He didn’t think that Si Er would really want to do so though. Most likely, he had just wanted to annoy him long enough that he would leave him alone and not necessarily meant those things.

To be honest, it would have been enough if he just asked. It wasn’t like he took joy in being out with him while he knew exactly that Si Yi was still at home. He’d much rather stay around there and try to find something to do. It would have given him an excuse to talk with him at least a little. As long as it was about work, Si Yi wouldn’t refuse after all.

Thinking of that, Si Qi stopped in his tracks and then looked back. Maybe Si Er wasn’t that far off. He really needed some kind of hobby or some friends outside of the Si clan. As long as there was only the Si clan in his life, he wouldn’t get over this. And by now, he probably had to admit to himself that there was no way that this would ever work out.

Ah, it was difficult though. Having friends when you couldn’t really talk about yourself and the things that were important to you … he couldn’t do that. It would be too difficult to really connect while having to hide one of the biggest parts of his life.

After all, to the ninjas in the Si clan, everything from their families to their past to the the professions they picked was somehow related to the clan. How was he supposed to have any kind of relationship outside of the Si clan that was worthwhile? He just couldn’t imagine it.

Maybe that was also why he was so fixated on Si Yi. To him, a relationship with somebody who already knew all about the Si clan seemed easiest. They wouldn’t have to keep secrets from each other. What one of some knew, the other would be aware of as well. It seemed quite beautiful. But just because he wished for it, it wouldn’t happen. He knew that.

He sighed and then just went to a cafe at the side of the road, sitting down at one of the tables and ordering some food and coffee while he pulled out his phone and started to look through the information about the city.

Maybe there was something interesting that he could do. Something to take his mind off this always repeating question in his mind. He should. Because he didn’t know how long he would be able to still take this. Sooner or later, he knew that his obsession and Si Yi’s refusal to even give it try would erode their relationship.

At that point, one of them wouldn’t be bearable for the Si clan any longer. And looking at their ranking, he knew that the person who would have to leave would be him. Then, he really would have nothing in his life. So it would really be better to give up on this one part so as to not have to lose everything else as well. If only his heart was able to follow what his mind already knew.

While Si Qi was trying to come to terms with how things had turned out in his life, Si Yi was still at home, even though he was a little absent-minded. Right now, it wasn’t a problem. His master was currently cooking, testing an idea that he had seen in a cookbook and felt like he might want to use in the upcoming episodes. Thus, other than standing next to him, Si Yi really didn’t have a task.

Still, task or no task, his wandering mind was something that he was troubled by. Although, he wasn’t quite as troubled with that as he was with another thought: Si Qi had held these feelings for a long time already. It was safe to say that sooner or later, he would make up his mind and give up. But knowing him, who would be the next recipient of his feelings?

He hadn’t thought about that before but just now, when he saw him leave the house with Si Er, he had felt a pang of jealousy. If it was somebody outside of the Si clan, he could deal with it. If it was one of the others though … he wasn’t sure if he could.

In his heart of hearts, he knew that he was unduly proud. He had worked hard to become the number one ninjas in the Si clan right after their master and he felt a lot of pride over that. Even though he knew that everyone had their own strength in the Si clan and that this was what truly made them valuable, having his skills recognized this way was something that would always be important to him. The thought that Si Qi might see somebody else as worthier than him despite that was vexing. What did any of them have that he didn’t have? What would be able to make him let go of his feelings and feel attracted to one of them? Where was he lacking?!

He knew he shouldn’t think like this. And he knew that he could prevent such an outcome in a heartbeat if he just accepted Si Qi’s advances but he couldn’t bring himself to do that either.

Really, between the two of them, the pathetic one was him. Even though Si Qi couldn’t let go, he couldn’t either. And right now, that was becoming more and more of a problem.

Maybe things would be different after their master had a partner of his own. After all, even if their master didn’t mind having somebody around all the time, young master Xiao definitely would. Thus, it was likely that he would have to step back by a lot. That would give him time for his own relationship.

But … there was still the problem of causing strife in the Si clan and that was something that he would never let himself do so, in the end, nothing would change. He really hated that thought but he also didn’t know what to do about it. He felt trapped.

While the two of them had started to worry, the person that had caused all this today had happily slunk off to a park and taken out his things, going online. In any case, even if Si Yi wanted him to go out with some people and do whatever, he wasn’t going to do that.

Learning how to cook had been aggravating enough. By now, he really felt that after getting into the first episode, he had done enough. As for the rest … Oh well, he would still take Si Yi’s warning seriously and at least make sure that he got into the second episode but after that, he was out. He would just intentionally throw the towel.

As for how to get into the second episode … Well, he had his ways. He glanced at the document on the screen, smiling faintly. It really was nice knowing beforehand just what would be coming up. Now, he could just research precisely those things, prepare in advance, and then that episode would be a breeze.

Even though their master had told them not to, he had never been one to play by the rules. And no matter what Si Yi told him, he definitely wouldn’t do it this time either.

In any case, these were just stupid moral deliberations. He wasn’t the type to care about that. In any case, as a hacker, he had his own code of morals. And that definitely didn’t include not looking up information about what some company was planning for a TV show. In any case, he would just do what he wanted.

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