Back in the room, Baal came to terms with the situation and sat nonchalantly on the sofa, watching as Wang Xiaoming buzzed around the room like a busy bee.
Wang Xiaoming had been halfway through brushing his teeth in the bathroom when he rushed out and asked, “Did I have morning breath when I talked back then?” Usually someone who had just woken up would have morning breath. There was so little room in the car that President Xiang would have smelled it. Wang Xiaoming tried his hardest to recall if Xiang Wenxun had displayed any signs of trying to be tolerant.
Baal slouched against the sofa and stared at Wang Xiaoming silently.
Wang Xiaoming felt chilled by that dark gaze and asked with a trembling voice, “What is it?”
“I need to set down some ground rules. Three of them.” Baal raised three fingers.
Wang Xiaoming ran back to the bathroom and prayed for his future as he brushed his teeth. He tentatively came out after three minutes and dragged a chair over to the coffee table. He took a few deep breaths and asked, “What are the rules?”
Baal’s fingers tapped against his own knee as he said, “You’re the only human in the mortal world that can see me.”
Wang Xiaoming didn’t know why Baal was bringing this up all of a sudden, but he nodded.
“So, in a sense I need you to represent me.” Baal said this like it was a grave insult, but in order to negotiate the terms, he made himself say it.
Wang Xiaoming looked at his unwilling expression and had no idea what was going to happen next.
“So,” Baal said angrily, “from now on, just you try ignoring me! I’ll absolutely beat you until you’re the size of a Titan!”
Wang Xiaoming didn’t know how big a Titan was, but he could tell just from Baal’s expression that the threat had been made in utter seriousness. He mumbled, “I didn’t…”
Baal raised an eyebrow and his intense gaze was like fire in a forge.
Under the pressure of Baal’s gaze, Wang Xiaoming slowly changed his tune, “Just for a little bit.”
His admission made Baal feel like being more vindictive. “Second. From now on, I’ll try not to hit you.” Just try! He tacked on in his mind.
But for Wang Xiaoming, this was already a huge win.
He looked at Baal with tears, joyful tears, in his eyes.
“Because,” Baal explained further while he stared threateningly at Wang Xiaoming, “you need to use your face and body to seduce Xiang Wenxun. So I’ll have to force myself to keep those intact.”
Yes, that was why he hadn’t hit Wang Xiaoming today. It was because he had already subconsciously realized that Xiang Wenxun was interested in Wang Xiaoming’s face and body. So he didn’t strike for the sake of the bigger picture. He had found the perfect explanation for his odd behavior this morning.
But this explanation made Wang Xiaoming tear up even more, out of sadness this time. When Baal said to use his face and body to seduce Xiang Wenxun, did he mean for Wang Xiaoming to sell his body?
Wang Xiaoming looked at Baal’s gloomy expression and hesitated for a long time without asking the question.
“Of course, in exchange for my mercy,” Baal continued in a charitable tone, “you’ll have to fall madly in love with Xiang Wenxun in the shortest amount of time possible!” That way he could get back his body and fight his way back to Heaven and Hell so that he could take revenge on Lucifer and Michael.
The killing intent on his face made Wang Xiaoming gulp in fear.
Baal glanced at him and asked suddenly, “Or are you not happy with Xiang Wenxun?”
Wang Xiaoming paused in surprise.
Not happy? He understood that Xiang Wenxun—regardless of his features, personality, and family connections—was a thousand times better than him. Such a man should be so out of his reach that he would just unknowingly receive Wang Xiaoming’s worship. Before, just getting the chance to speak with someone like him would have made Wang Xiaoming ecstatic. But why was it that when Xiang Wenxun all but declared them as lovers, Wang Xiaoming still didn’t feel happy? He felt like everything was just like the reflection of the moon in the water, so ephemeral that it chilled him.
Baal saw his hesitation and his mood brightened inexplicably. He asked in a rare showing of gentleness, “If you don’t like anything, you can just say it.”
For Wang Xiaoming, his gentleness was a Trojan horse. He shivered and said, “No, I’m very satisfied.”
“Really satisfied?” Baal’s expression turned indecipherable.
“Mmhmm.” Wang Xiaoming nodded vigorously.
“Then I want to see the outcome.” Baal hooked a finger at Wang Xiaoming. “Come.”
Wang Xiaoming knew that Baal was going to touch him again. So he obediently walked over and lay down on the sofa. He kept chanting Xiang Wenxun’s name in his mind.
Baal touched Wang Xiaoming’s chest and a happy glint flashed in his eyes.
His toe was back!
He checked over the Black Pearl but saw that it was filled with Xiang Wenxun…
“What are you randomly muttering!” Baal whacked him on the forehead.
Wang Xiaoming curled his body up in pain.
Baal saw how well his own body was recovering and, in a rare moment of generosity, decided to let this go. “Take a nap and get ready to move this afternoon.”
Wang Xiaoming sat up and carefully said, “I really don’t want to move.”
“That is probably not up to you,” Baal said pointedly.
Wang Xiaoming finally understood what Baal had meant when Xiang Wenxun arrived at two in the afternoon.
As Wang Xiaoming accepted the deposit and prepaid rent that his landlady was handing over with a stiff smile, he looked wordlessly at Xiang Wenxun who was standing next to her.
Xiang Wenxun thanked her charmingly for her understanding.
But no matter how personable he was, the landlady could still sense the air of authority that emanated from him. She hadn’t been to many places but she had met a lot of people. So from the moment he had knocked on her door and walked casually into her room, she knew that this man wasn’t one to be messed with.
Xiang Wenxun waited until the landlady “reluctantly” handed over the money and then politely “asked” her to leave the room. “Now then, I think there are no more reasons for you to reject my suggestion, right?”
Wang Xiaoming gripped the money and looked down. His foot ground against the floor.
Baal glanced at the money in Wang Xiaoming’s hand and calculated in his mind if these red bills1One hundred yuan bills in China are pinkish/red. See . could buy a PSP or a computer.
“Hmmm?” Xiang Wenxun was smiling, but there was a threat hidden in his eyes.
As if coming to a decision, Wang Xiaoming slowly looked up. “I still think that’s not a good idea.”
Xiang Wenxun waited patiently for him to explain.
“I heard that only directors and above can live in the dorms.” Wang Xiaoming finally decided to confess his biggest worry. “I’m just a lowly manager. People will talk…”
“Are you hinting that you want a promotion?” Xiang Wenxun interrupted him.
Wang Xiaoming was very surprised. He hurriedly waved his hand. “That’s not what I meant!”
Xiang Wenxun thought for a while and then said, “A promotion isn’t out of the question. But you haven’t been at the Silver House for long. If you rise too quickly, it’ll be seen as evidence for the rumors. I hope you can tolerate it a bit more.”
Wang Xiaoming sweated anxiously. “That is really not what I meant.”
“Don’t worry.” Xiang Wenxun used a finger and gently wiped Wang Xiaoming’s forehead. “It’s a lover’s privilege to ask the other for something.”
Wang Xiaoming froze entirely.
Xiang Wenxun looped around the living room once and then turned around to ask, “Is there anything I can help you pack?”
Wang Xiaoming was still frozen.
Xiang Wenxun didn’t pay any attention to him and walked without a care into the bedroom. He found the boxes under the bed and started to pack the clothes in the closet.
While Wang Xiaoming was in shock, Baal bent down to count the money in his hand, bill by bill. “36 of them… is that enough to buy a PSP?”
Wang Xiaoming nodded mechanically. “Enough.”
Baal was delighted and patted Wang Xiaoming on the head. “Hurry and let’s move to the new place.”
“Move…” Wang Xiaoming’s eyes flew open and he ran into the bedroom. He yelled at Xiang Wenxun who was about to take his underwear out from the drawers, “Wait!”
Xiang Wenxun didn’t even spare him a single glance. He just kept working. “This kind of underwear is too loose and doesn’t fit your body type. It’s not sexy at all.”
Wang Xiaoming stiffened again, except this time he turned into a red stone.
“You only have this much clothing?” Xiang Wenxun looked at the half-full box.
Wang Xiaoming nodded instinctively.
Xiang Wenxun then started packing up the living room.
Wang Xiaoming reacted and chased him out. “I didn’t agree to move.”
Xiang Wenxun stopped and looked at Wang Xiaoming’s hand with a smile on his face. “Then where will you stay tonight?”
Wang Xiaoming glanced down reflexively at the money in his hand. He had just ended the lease, which meant that starting from tonight he was homeless. “I can negotiate with the landlady.”
Xiang Wenxun let out a small sigh and said, half-resigned and half-doting, “If you insist on not staying in the dorms, then come live with me.”
Wang Xiaoming’s heart trembled but not out of shyness. Instead, it was because of the pallid face of Xiang Wenjie that flashed across his mind.
“Stay in the dorms,” Baal’s cold voice sounded. He looked thoughtfully over at Xiang Wenxun.
Wang Xiaoming looked up and his gaze traveled three times between Baal and Xiang Wenxun. In the end, he gave in and said, “I’ll live in the dorms.”
If he lived in the dorms, at the most he would be considered an employee who used his connections to beg favors from the big boss. If he lived with Xiang Wenxun, then he would be considered someone who got a sugar daddy—though he thought he didn’t qualify as a boytoy, far from it.
They packed up some gaming discs and other knick-knacks. Finally, Wang Xiaoming’s box had some weight to it.
As they walked down the stairs, they found the landlady’s door wide open.
The landlady walked out and grabbed Wang Xiaoming’s hands while she talked about lots of nostalgic things.
Wang Xiaoming thought about the fact that he wouldn’t be returning to this house that he’d lived in for a year and also felt very sad.
The landlady talked about this and that for a long time before she got to her main point. She asked whether he could still come back and tutor her child.
Wang Xiaoming recalled the help she’d given him over the past year and agreed without a second thought.
With a smile on his face, Xiang Wenxun asked from behind Wang Xiaoming, “For free?”
The landlady’s face immediately flushed and it took her awhile before she finally said, “Of course not for free. How about ten yuan every hour?”
Xiang Wenxun said calmly, “Hmm, if he has the time. He’s pretty busy with work.”
The landlady walked back into her room with an embarrassed flush on her face.
Wang Xiaoming looked at Xiang Wenxun’s retreating figure and murmured, angry but afraid to say it, “The landlady is actually a pretty good person.”
Baal strolled behind him. “That’s why she got bullied by that Xiang person.”
Wang Xiaoming suddenly discovered that Baal didn’t seem to be as fond of Xiang Wenxun as before?
- 1One hundred yuan bills in China are pinkish/red. See .