Though Xiang Wenxun was anxious, he also couldn’t bring himself to ask Baal and the others to leave as soon as they got back. Besides, Baal and Winston weren’t human but Wang Xiaoming was. So he made a point of taking Wang Xiaoming’s ID to get him a passport and apply for a travel visa so that he’d have an easier time walking around France.
Before Wang Xiaoming had left his homeland, he’d left the mortal world first. So he wasn’t that excited by the prospect of going to France. He only worried about his job at the Silver House. Coincidentally, Baal had been worn out from the flying and went to sleep in their room, so Wang Xiaoming sneakily put on his uniform and returned to the Silver House.
Who knew that as soon as he stepped foot inside the office, Chu Zhao would come in after him.
“Director Chu?” Wang Xiaoming called out in joyful surprise. After having seen so many non-humans in Hell and Noah’s Ark, he felt a sense of kinship every time he saw a human being.
Chu Zhao was also surprised when he caught sight of Wang Xiaoming, but he only had surprise without joy. “What are you doing back here?”
Wang Xiaoming was quite hurt by the obvious unwelcomeness in Chu Zhao’s eyes. He answered, “I just asked for some days off; I didn’t quit.”
“It’s actually quite simple to quit from the Silver House. All you have to do is nod; you don’t even have to write a resignation letter.” Chu Zhao made the process as easy as possible.
Wang Xiaoming replied, “But I never thought of quitting.” Though he was now together with Baal and Baal’s body was fully recovered, life still had to go on. From either the salary or the environment perspective, he found the job at the Silver House to be quite nice.
Chu Zhao asked, “Why don’t you consider it?”
Wang Xiaoming answered, “Because I think this job is really nice.”
Chu Zhao reflected on whether he had given the man too many special privileges so that he didn’t know when to quit and decided to follow Chu Zhao to the death. “Actually, I’ve been thinking that Bai Suzhen opened a pharmacy for Xu Xian1This is a reference to a Chinese folktale “Legend of the White Snake,” in which Bai Suzhen was rescued by Xu Xian when she was a snake and later became his wife to repay the kindness.. You didn’t come to the Silver House for…” He pointed upward at the ceiling.
Wang Xiaoming might be a bit oblivious sometimes, but aside from those times he was quite clever. He asked, “You’re talking about President Xiang?”
That was really true?
Chu Zhao’s expression wasn’t a happy one. That would explain why Xiang Wenxun always gave the man special consideration and kept reminding him to take care of the man. So that was the reason… but if that was true, didn’t that mean that if he kept working at the Silver House, he’d constantly be threatened by Wang Xiaoming?
He reconsidered handing in his resignation.
“I owe President Xiang a debt of kindness.” Wang Xiaoming wasn’t entirely confident in his statement because he knew very well that Xiang Wenxun’s kindness was toward Baal.
His lack of confidence sounded like a desire to hide the truth to Chu Zhao. “Alright, alright. I got it.”
Wang Xiaoming didn’t want him to keep asking questions either and hurriedly changed the topic. “Director Chu, you’re here because?”
“I-I’m here because…” Chu Zhao remembered Wang Sis’s phone call just then that told him she was healed and could come back to work at any time. Though Wang Sis had gotten in because of her relation to Tao Le and was the most useless of all of his subordinates, he still much preferred “trash” to Wang Xiaoming’s “powers.” He had originally thought that Wang Xiaoming hadn’t come to work for so many days because he had quit and gone back to some hole in the mountain to keep practicing his art, so the empty post was perfect for Wang Sis to come back to. Who would have thought that not more than three minutes after he made the decision, the man would come back. “Never mind!” Chu Zhao sighed and started walking out.
“That’s right, Director Chu.“ Wang Xiaoming suddenly remembered about Tao Le still lying in the hospital. They did know each other so he couldn’t help but ask, “What’s happening with Tao Le?”
“Still in the hospital, we haven’t taken him back yet.” Chu Zhao was in the middle of being angry and stalked out as he answered.
Wang Xiaoming scratched his head when Chu Zhao walked out and shut the door without even looking back. He decided to call Xiang Wenxun to ask which hospital and room Tao Le was staying in. Though he and Tao Le weren’t friends, he thought he should go visit Tao Le on Jie’s behalf. Especially since he wasn’t sure how long they’d be staying in France.
He turned around and just as he was about to pick up the phone, his eyes met another pair of eyes, in which the flames of anger were burning.
Already used to Baal’s penchant for appearing suddenly like a ghost, Wang Xiaoming merely felt slightly surprised instead of severely shocked. “Weren’t you sleeping?”
“So you took the chance to run away?” Baal’s eyebrows shot up.
Actually, Wang Xiaoming had felt a little strange not seeing Baal within five meters of himself, but they didn’t need to see each other that soon. The gears in Wang Xiaoming’s mind turned and he gave Baal a mollifying smile. “I’m here to work.”
“Why do you need to work?”
“To put food on the table.” Wang Xiaoming subconsciously used a line from a movie.
“Is there a need?” Baal reached out a hand with a stack of money on it.
Wang Xiaoming asked in shock, “Where did you get that?”
Baal answered, “From Chu Zhao’s pockets.”
“…” Wang Xiaoming started contemplating how to teach Baal about laws, morals, and ethics.
Baal tossed the money aside off-handedly and declared, “In the future, I’ll be responsible for you.”
The two words “the future” made Wang Xiaoming think about their future and immortality and he couldn’t help but let the sadness show on his face.
“Can I take your expression to mean that you don’t want to?” Baal asked through gritted teeth.
Wang Xiaoming hurriedly stretched his lips into a smile. “I very much want to.”
Though the smile wasn’t sincere enough, Baal still grudgingly accepted it. “Let’s go.”
“Wait.” Wang Xiaoming continued to use his smile in retaliation against the threat in Baal’s eyes. “I want to make a phone call.”
“To whom?” Baal lifted an eyebrow.
Despite Baal’s cold and threatening look, Wang Xiaoming firmly answered, “Xiang Wenxun.”
Surprisingly, Baal didn’t get upset but lightly asked instead, “He’s in the office right now?”
“I’ll find out by calling.” Wang Xiaoming noticed that Baal wasn’t objecting and immediately ran over to the phone and dialed the number.
This was an internal number and there was no need for the secretary to transfer the call.
As soon as Xiang Wenxun picked up the call and answered “Hello,” he found himself looking at a different scene. He was already sitting in Wang Xiaoming’s office but his hands remained in the position he had used to pick up the call.
Baal crossed his arms. “It’s better to say things face-to-face.”
Silently, Wang Xiaoming set down the phone and looked apologetically at Xiang Wenxun.
Xiang Wenxun didn’t say a word of complaint, just lowered his hand and asked with a smile, “What is it?”
“Uh, I actually wanted to go visit Tao Le at the hospital. But I don’t know which hospital he’s staying at or in which room.” Since his last proposal to visit Tao Le had been shot down by Xiang Wenxun, Wang Xiaoming added an explanation, “I’m heading to France soon and I don’t know when I’ll be back. I don’t know a lot of people here so it’s only right that I go say my farewells.”
Xiang Wenxun nodded and agreed, “That’s alright. Tao Le’s been complaining about being bored at the hospital ever since he woke up. If you go visit him, he may stay quiet for a bit.” After he said so, he wrote down the hospital and room on a piece of paper and then turned around to look at Baal, “May I know if Mr. Baal is willing to drop me off? Or should I walk back?”
Baal answered with a smile, “I’ll drop you off.”
A second later, Xiang Wenxun found himself in the bathroom, right next to Chu Zhao who was in the middle of wiping his butt.
There were a lot of people at the hospital.
As soon as Baal walked into the lobby, all the piercing looks made him uncomfortable. Because there were many people around to cover for each other, nobody bothered to disguise their staring. Only then did he discover that there were benefits to being in spirit form.
Wang Xiaoming was walking in front of him and was about to be swallowed by the crowd when Baal suddenly shot out a hand, grabbed the man’s collar, and dragged him back.
Wang Xiaoming didn’t struggle and let Baal pull him back.
“Follow in my footsteps.” Baal pressed down on Wang Xiaoming’s shoulder.
Wang Xiaoming explained futilely, “I got carried away by the people.” As soon as he said that, someone rushed over and separated the two.
Baal looked at his hand and the empty air, and the flames of anger started burning hotter and hotter.
“Baal.” Wang Xiaoming rushed back and, at the very last second, gripped his hand. “Seeing the patient is more important.”
Baal snorted. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of the youth running about like a wild bull. He gently blinked once.
The youth only had time to see white in front of his eyes before crashing into the wall like he was about to commit suicide.
The snow-white wall was instantly tainted by a bright red splash of blood from the youth’s nose.
Only then did Baal feel satisfied and he walked into the elevator with Wang Xiaoming.
Based on Tao Le’s family’s social status and Xiang Wenxun’s financial powers, of course Tao Le would stay by himself in a VIP hospital suite.
Wang Xiaoming walked along the calm corridor that was such a contrast to the general lobby and a sense of respect rose in him. “Don’t you think it’s too quiet here?”
Baal agreed, “As if everyone’s dead.”
As soon as he said the word “dead,” they heard a loud bang, which was the sound of something slamming against a door.
Immediately after, the door shot wide open and a figure slowly walked out, carrying a bag of trash.
Wang Xiaoming stared wide-eyed and asked, “Ming?”
Xu Yiming looked up in surprise. “Wang Xiaoming?”
Wang Xiaoming walked over and asked, “Is Tao Le staying in this room?”
Xu Yiming looked at him guardedly. “What are you doing here?” He paused and then asked, looking at Baal, “Who is he?”
“This is Baal. My… uh, friend.”
Wang Xiaoming’s explanation clearly made Baal extremely unhappy. He snorted through his nostrils, “Friend?”
Wang Xiaoming hurriedly added, “Very special… friend.”
Xu Yiming had worked at the Silver House for too long to not be able to detect the trace of intimacy between the two. His worries eased and he answered, “I got it. Tao Le is in that room over there. You can go in but be careful, he’s in a bad mood.”
Wang Xiaoming nodded and walked up to the door and knocked. “Mr… Tao?”
“Who is it?” Tao Le’s voice was a bit hoarse.
“I’m Wang Xiaoming.”
It was silent for a long while before the other man said, “Come in.”
Wang Xiaoming walked into the hospital room and saw Tao Le sitting on the bed. The man had a layer of gauze wrapped around his head like a headscarf and one leg dangling in midair. There was a circle of black stubble around his mouth and he absolutely looked like someone who had tragically lost all his belongings during a financial crisis, provided they ignored the decoration and equipment in the hospital room.
Tao Le saw him and scoffed, “Actually, a simple name is just like a complicated name. It makes it easy to remember.”
Wang Xiaoming put the basket of fruits on the table by the foot of the bed and said, “Actually, your name is pretty simple too.”
“It may be simple, but it belongs to the crowd that’s easily forgotten.” He paused and then said mockingly, “So what made you think of me?”
“I’m about to go to France, so …”
“So you’ve come here especially to gloat about it in front of me, a heavily-injured patient, right?” Tao Le’s tone was as confrontational as it could be.
Baal asked coldly, “Do you want it to be even heavier?”
- 1This is a reference to a Chinese folktale “Legend of the White Snake,” in which Bai Suzhen was rescued by Xu Xian when she was a snake and later became his wife to repay the kindness.