Life inside the space was very boring, especially when Wang Xiaoming had gotten used to being able to see Baal just by turning around.
He lay on the bed and looked at the blue sky and white clouds that seemed to float above him. His mind kept bringing up things that had happened ever since he met Baal. All the things that he had once thought of as painful were now filled with irrepressible sweetness.
His life, which he had assumed would end in a lonely death, had twisted in its route.
But the more he thought about it, the more the smile on his lips gradually faded.
The happier he was now, the harder it would be to separate in the future.
He suddenly envied Shi Feixia. Though the man was perpetually trapped in one place, the majority of humans were trapped in a couple set spaces during their lives—home and work. Most importantly, he could be with his lover for eternity, until the seas dried up and all the rocks turned to dust.
On one hand, Wang Xiaoming silently berated himself for being greedy. On the other hand, he couldn’t help but fantasize about being with Baal forever.
Maybe endless greed was part of human nature?
Before he had anything, all he wanted was to have it. When he got what he wanted, he wanted to have some more of it. When he got that little bit more, he wanted to have it for forever.
He sprawled on the bed in frustration and in his mind, philosophy, logic, sociology, and all the other subjects began several rounds of fierce battles.
Baal flew across the Kindred Realm like a rooster surveilling his domain, and then travelled across the thousands of kilometers from Europe to China, and then finally let Wang Xiaoming out from the space once they arrived at the Silver House, only to discover that the man was in a stupor.
“I told you to rest up, not to be lazy. Don’t act like you’ve got Alzheimer’s.” Baal lifted him up from the bed and shook Wang Xiaoming by his neck.
Wang Xiaoming looked at him, blinked once, and then blinked away. Then he seemed to jerk awake and called out, “Baal?”
Why was he always looking at him with a shocked expression?
Baal frowned. They hadn’t even been separated for that long.
“Are we here?” Wang Xiaoming glanced around his surroundings.
Baal frowned and asked, “What happened while you were in my space?” Logically speaking, there shouldn’t be anything he couldn’t sense in his own space, but Wang Xiaoming’s expression made him doubt himself.
Wang Xiaoming remembered the question he had just been wrestling with and didn’t dare meet Baal’s gaze. He frantically averted his eyes and answered, “Nothing. I just woke up so my brain isn’t fully functional right now. Uh, let’s hurry and go see President Xiang’s brother.”
Baal put the bed away in his space in preparation for the next time.
Wang Xiaoming walked ahead. It was still
the same hallway but he felt like it was from a lifetime ago. Then again, it really had been a lifetime ago. He remarked to himself that he was now among those who experienced being human twice.
Baal’s figure shifted and suddenly appeared in front of him.
Wang Xiaoming couldn’t stop his momentum and slammed into Baal’s back. “Ow.”
A voice teased, “If you want someone to throw themselves at you, you should turn around. What good will facing them with your butt do?”
Baal demanded in a chilly voice, “Come out.”
Wang Xiaoming covered his nose and stuck his head out from behind Baal.
A figure suddenly appeared in the previously empty hallway. Shoulder-length hair, a dark blue swallow-tail suit with inlaid sequins in its collar, and a face that appeared genderless.
“Kindred?” Baal demanded.
The golden-haired man smiled and bowed. “Winston Derrick Torredo.”
Baal asked, “Torredo? What’s your relationship with Leslie?”
Winston sighed, “Unfortunately, the person who’s the epitome of anti-Torredoness is my brother.”
Baal asked, “What are you doing here?”
Winston asked in surprise, “Weren’t you the ones who had Gin to ask me for help?”
Wang Xiaoming said in realization, “You’re the helper that Gin talked about?”
“That’s me.” Winston rubbed his hands together. “It’s so great to finally meet you. Honestly, I’ve already been hanging around here for almost two days.”
Wang Xiaoming said, “But we were waiting for much longer.”
Winston smiled as he said, “That is mostly because of the exuberant young girls of the East. Their beautiful figures always make me forget what I’m here for and where I am.”
“So you mean to say that,” Baal responded slowly, “you got here a long time ago, but because you forgot your purpose and where you were, you got delayed.”
Winston noted that Baal’s expression wasn’t friendly and instantly said appeasingly, “Better late than never! Besides, you can relax with me around. As long as I’m involved, it doesn’t matter what problem that Kindred has, I promise to cure him immediately!”
Xiang Wenxun’s bedroom.
Xiang Wenxun looked nervously at his younger brother, currently in Winston’s grasp.
“Uh…” Winston stroked his chin.
Baal scoffed, “Someone seems to have said that as long as he gets involved, it doesn’t matter what problem the Kindred has, he promises to cure them instantly?”
Clearly Winston wasn’t one to feel ashamed at the slightest hint of sarcasm. He tossed Xiang Wenjie back into the coffin with a bang and answered, “The blood coursing through him is from the McAvery clan.”
“McAvery?” Wang Xiaoming continued happily, “Since we know who it is, then it should be easy to wake him, right?”
Winston chuckled dryly, “The
McAvery clan is quite large, but he’s a fifteenth generation, so as long as you trace his bloodline and find the fourteenth, thirteenth, or twelfth generation, you can save him.”
Baal demanded, “Get to the point.”
Xiang Wenxun gazed at him, his usual composure nowhere to be seen.
Winston said with a smile, “The point is that I have a pretty terrible relationship with the McAvery clan. Though we’re both part of the Camarilla, I’m probably closer to the Sabbat than to them.”
Baal demanded, “Reason?”
Winston almost couldn’t keep his smile up. “A pretty personal reason.”
Baal’s smile became chillier.
“I accidentally got in trouble with one of that clan’s crazies,” Winston’s expression was extremely pained as he talked about it. “This is the most painful thing in my life so please, please don’t ask me any more.”
Wang Xiaoming asked, “So what do we do now?”
Winston felt like he was sweating under Wang Xiaoming’s trusting look, which stabbed him like a needle. He said, “Since it’s Lord Baal, the McAvery clan will definitely not dare be uncooperative.”
Baal demanded, “Aren’t the Kindred going to be holding the Sacrificial Night of Fresh Blood soon?”
Winston paused and asked, “How do you know?”
Baal answered, “I just came back from the Kindred Realm.”
Winston questioned, “But before and after the Sacrificial Night of Fresh Blood, the Kindred Realm isn’t open to anyone except for those of the Kindred. How did you…”
Baal lifted an eyebrow and demanded, “Is that a problem?”
“…” Winston licked his lips and changed the topic. “Though many of the Kindred will participate in the Sacrificial Night of Fresh Blood, they need recommendation letters from someone who’s at least an Elder in their respective clan. Most of those who are staying in the Mortal Realm don’t qualify, so I’m guessing that the Kindred you’re looking for is still in the Mortal Realm.”
Wang Xiaoming pulled at Baal’s sleeves. “Let’s go find him.”
Xiang Wenxun hurriedly followed up, “Please tell me as soon as you need anything, Mr. Baal.”
Baal gave him a side-eye and said, “You seem to have been constantly saying that ever since we’ve met.”
Xiang Wenxun calmly made fun of himself, “Because there really isn’t that much that I can actually do.”
Watching him debase himself in front of Wang Xiaoming cheered Baal up. He gave the man a rare compliment, “You are rare among humans.”
“He’s already a man. What does it mean that he’s a man among humans1The word for “male” sounds the same as the word for “rare,” hence Winston’s confusion.?” Winston asked in confusion.
Wang Xiaoming remarked in a quiet voice, “I had thought his Chinese was pretty good.”
Baal lifted his head proudly and asked, “Do you think everyone has the same intelligence?”
Wang Xiaoming answered, “Isefel, Gin, Layton and the others seemed to be fluent to me.”
“… Can’t you find another example that’s not from Noah’s Ark?” Baal, who got upset at every mention of Noah’s Ark, asked.
Wang Xiaoming said, “But aside from the non-humans in Noah’s Ark, I only know you and Winston.”
Baal contemplated and then nodded in satisfaction. “He’s enough to contrast me.”
Wang Xiaoming saw Xiang Wenxun standing off to the side, eyes filled with worry, and hurriedly asked, “Then when do we set off?”
Winston cried out, “I just got here.” He hadn’t seen his fill of Eastern beauties yet!
“But saving someone is as urgent as putting out a fire.” Wang Xiaoming’s expression was so innocent and earnest that Winston lost all ability to protest.
Baal looked over at Xiang Wenjie and said, “I’ll put him in my space and bring him along.”
Xiang Wenxun mused and then asked, “If you don’t mind, could you take me along?”
Winston replied, “That place is heaven for Kindreds but hell for humans. A human like you should not get too close, unless you no longer want to be a human.”
Xiang Wenxun looked at Xiang Wenjie, quietly lying in his coffin, and his face showed a rare trace of his struggles.
Wang Xiaoming comforted him, “Don’t you worry, Baal and Winston will definitely bring him back safely.”
Baal frowned, “Me and Winston?”
Wang Xiaoming looked at him with an expression that said, “I know you’ve got it.”
Baal squinted his eyes. “Then what about you?”
“I’m also a human.” Wang Xiaoming blinked in confusion. Didn’t Winston say that it was better for humans to stay away? Though he didn’t want to be separated from Baal, he’d also much rather not become a burden. A human’s lifespan was already short enough; he didn’t dare use it nilly-willy in adventures.
But Baal considered the problem from another angle—if he stayed, didn’t that mean he’d be spending day and night in Xiang Wenxun’s company?
His lips pressed together. “Do you think that with me there anyone would dare touch you?”
Wang Xiaoming paused and then asked in surprise, “You’re taking me along?”
Baal crossed his arms, “I didn’t give you the right to refuse.”
Wang Xiaoming’s heart was practically drowning in sugar water. He looked down at the tips of his feet and quietly said, “I don’t want to refuse either.” Though his voice was soft, the smile in his words was impossible to hide.
Wiston came to a realization. “You two are lovers?”
Xiang Wenxun’s gaze also landed on them.
Baal slung an arm around Wang Xiaoming and pulled the man into his embrace, asking in a challenging tone, “You got a problem?”
Winston read the room very accurately and gave them a huge thumbs-up, “A match made in heaven!”
So his Chinese wasn’t that bad. Wang Xiaoming pressed his lips together and tried really hard not to smile too widely.
Baal looked over at Xiang Wenxun.
Xiang Wenxun’s smile was slight but especially sincere as he said, “Congratulations to Mr. Baal and Wang Xiaoming.” He used “Wang Xiaoming” and not the “Xiaoming” that he had used before.
Baal revealed a satisfied smile.
- 1The word for “male” sounds the same as the word for “rare,” hence Winston’s confusion.