Edwin said, without any changes in his expression, “You can certainly defeat me with your skills, but you can’t force me to do what I don’t want to do.”
Baal’s hand suddenly reached out and gripped Winston’s neck in a chokehold. “How about now?”
Winston’s face instantly paled and he stared intently at Wang Xiaoming with both eyes. It was unreasonable to expect Baal to act human or for Edwin to act like a god. The only one he could count on was Wang Xiaoming, who had demonstrated a bit of mercy earlier.
As expected, Wang Xiaoming’s eyes showed clear signs of surprise and anxiety.
But Edwin reacted even more exaggeratedly. His emerald-green eyes slowly shone with a bright red glint, like fresh blood flowing under moonlight, as he demanded, “Let go of him.”
Baal laughed coldly, “Save him first.”
Edwin’s hands slowly clenched into fists beside his body.
Winston’s heart immediately leapt into his throat. At that moment, he didn’t know whether to be afraid of Baal’s hands around his neck or Edwin’s hands, which he feared despite them not reaching for him.
“Alright.” The red tide rapidly retreated from Edwin’s eyes and he hauled Xiang Wenjie in front of him.
Xiang Wenjie acted like a souless doll and let Edwin grab him without batting an eye.
Edwin focused his attention intently in Winston’s direction and slowly bent his head down. The razor-sharp fangs instantly descended in his mouth and pressed threateningly against Xiang Wenjie’s neck.
Wang Xiaoming gulped and, for some reason, felt like he couldn’t breathe.
Those bone-white teeth pierced Xiang Wenjie’s skin and slowly inserted themselves.
Baal let go of Winston’s neck.
Winston immediately ducked behind Wang Xiaoming.
Baal mocked, “A Kindred is actually hiding behind a human.”
Winston retorted, “Master Cain had only turned into a Kindred because he hadn’t sunken as low as Abel.”
Baal thought for a moment and then nodded. “I’ll admit that. But…”
Winston asked, “But what?”
Baal smirked. “If you dare get another millimeter closer to him, I’ll really wring your neck.”
Winston glanced at him and then glanced at Wang Xiaoming. Then he slowly and unwillingly moved away to the side.
Wang Xiaoming moved closer self-consciously. “Actually, Baal is just…”
“It’s the same if he moves toward you,” Baal threatened them.
Winston instantly bounced away like a rubber band.
Wang Xiaoming looked back at Baal in resignation.
Baal stretched his neck haughtily.
Xiang Wenjie’s body suddenly trembled.
When Edwin’s teeth left Xiang Wenjie’s neck, round droplets of blood swelled out of two tiny round holes.
Xiang Wenjie’s eyes flew open violently and he opened his mouth to let out a howl like a tiger’s roar.
Without thinking about it, Edwin shoved him to the floor. “This is not your territory and it’s not your place to show off.”
Xiang Wenjie seemed to wake up instantly, as if from a dream. He slowly stood up and looked around him. Then both his eyes seemed to fall out of their sockets as he stammered, “Yo-you, I, I…” He forcefully gripped his head. The instincts of the Kindred and his human memory waged a violent war inside his body.
Edwin glanced at Baal. “I think I have no more value to you, right?”
A tiny sliver of guilt appeared in Wang Xiaoming’s heart.
He had very much wanted to rescue Xiang Wenjie and it appeared that saving Xiang Wenjie was as easy as waving his hand for Edwin. But it still wasn’t nice to force anyone to do what they didn’t want.
Winston hurriedly said, “If that’s the case, then why don’t we go back to Paris? Paris is beautiful at night and it would be a shame to miss it.”
Edwin smiled at him. “You’re in a rush to leave?”
Winston answered, “I’m just in no hurry to stay.”
Edwin gave a self-deprecating smile. “I just hope that you’ll occasionally forget those unhappy memories.”
“I do forget them occasionally,” Winston paused and then continued, “whenever I don’t see you.”
Edwin’s smile was bitter. “Is that so?”
Winston emphasized, “I’m saying this ahead of time. There’s no way I’m staying.”
Edwin replied, “I never actually intended for you to stay.”
The condition he had just made was still echoing in the air and he was already denying it. Wasn’t that a bit too shameless?
Winston gave him a disdainful look.
“I actually just wanted to know how your new friends saw you.” Edwin gave Wang Xiaoming a small smile. “At least one of them is satisfactory.”
Baal’s expression darkened.
Winston recalled the pain of having his neck in someone else’s grip and the look he gave Baal suddenly became an unhappy one. “Since the mission has been completed, we should go our separate ways next.”
Baal nodded happily. “Very good.”
He had been the one to suggest the separation so why did he still feel like he was being abandoned?
Winston thought confusedly.
Wang Xiaoming suddenly said to Edwin, “Thank you.”
Out of all of them, Baal was arrogant, Winston was the trickster, and Xiang Wenjie was still consumed by shock. The only one who would think of being grateful and saying so was Wang Xiaoming.
Edwin answered with a smile, “No need. Actually, there’s something I’d like your help with.”
Wang Xiaoming asked in surprise, “What is it?” He couldn’t think of anything that he could do that the Kindred couldn’t.
“I hope you can keep in touch with Winston.” Edwin sighed noiselessly. “Don’t take his carelessness at face value. He’s actually quite sensitive and will contemplate the smallest thing over and over in his mind. He also doesn’t have a lot of friends. The emotions of Kindred members are as cold and repressed as our blood, but that doesn’t mean we’re without our own passions. I hope you can always be his good friend.”
His voice was low and soothing, making the listener feel an indescribable sense of comfort.
The look Winston gave him involuntarily revealed how touched he was.
Wang Xiaoming nodded sincerely. “I will.”
Reassured, Edwin said, “It’s not light yet. If you leave now, you’ll still get the chance to see Paris at night.”
Mario, who had been standing silently to the side, suddenly asked, “Master, it’s your birthday today. Didn’t you say you had wanted to invite the guests to celebrate with you?”
Edwin’s eyelids slowly lowered and covered up the forlornness in his eyes. “I haven’t celebrated my birthday in a very long time.”
Wang Xiaoming’s eyes lit up. Just as he was about to say something, Baal covered his mouth.
Winston asked contemplatively, “Did you never celebrate your birthday once in these thirty years?”
Edwin answered, “The timing isn’t important when it comes to birthdays. It’s the people that matter.”
Winston felt like a corner of his heart was softening.
Baal pulled Wang Xiaoming along and walked out. Wang Xiaoming waved at Edwin and said, “Thank you. I wish you a happy birthday!” As he walked out, he reached out and pulled Xiang Wenjie, who was rooted to the spot in deep thought, along with him.
Edwin returned a small smile.
Winston hesitated and then said, “Happy birthday.”
“Thank you.” Warmth crept into Edwin’s smile.
“I’m still leaving.” Winston battled with himself for a very long time and still decided that his life was more important. After all, the memory of that day was too fresh.
But just as he turned around, he discovered the two parts of the castle door had automatically closed. The heavy sound of the door shutting was like a lock that instantly trapped his life!
And Baal, Wang Xiaoming, and Xiang Wenjie were long gone. Mario had also gone with them.
“…” Winston didn’t turn around immediately.
Formless pressure gathered from all around him like a brewing storm and weighed down upon him so he couldn’t breathe.
“Haha, little Winston…” Edwin’s voice suddenly became strangely shrill.
Winston’s breathing gradually became more and more rapid and his fangs grew out of his mouth. He prepared for battle as he slowly turned around.
Edwin stood at the same exact spot and smiled at him. His irises were red as wine—
Wine that was denser than blood.
As soon as they stepped out of the castle, the hand that Xiang Wenjie had on Wang Xiaoming was cast aside.
“Uh…” Wang Xiaoming wanted to say something.
Baal glared at him.
Wang Xiaoming smacked his lips and then swallowed whatever he was about to say. He couldn’t help but look back and ask, “Is it alright for us to just leave Winston behind like this? Maybe we should go back and celebrate with them?”
Baal lifted an eyebrow. “Have you ever celebrated my birthday?”
“Huh?” Wang Xiaoming paused. He actually wanted to ask if fallen angels had birthdays.
Baal wrinkled his nose in displeasure. “Let them celebrate by themselves.”
“Thank you for your kindness, but Master would much rather just celebrate with Mr. Winston.” Mario slowly caught up to them.
Baal answered, “What are you doing here?”
“Sending the guests off.” Mario opened the door to the Cadillac for them. But before they stepped in, he added, “But I only know how to drive.”
Wang Xiaoming replied, “Actually, I think driving is a better choice.” Though the Kindred were powerful, their strength certainly didn’t lie in pulling cars along.
They got into the car, only to realize that Xiang Wenjie was still standing in the same spot.
“Mr. Xiang,” Wang Xiaoming called softly.
Xiang Wenjie whipped his head around and looked at him nervously. “You know who I am?”
“Yes.” Wang Xiaoming thought and then continued, “Actually, your older brother asked us to help you.”
“Older brother?” Xiang Wenjie’s memory as a human stopped at the point when he was captured by an extremely handsome vampire, but his memory as a vampire had just started. In other words, there was a big gap between him getting caught up to the previous moment.
Wang Xiaoming patted the seat beside him. “Get in and I’ll slowly tell you.”
Xiang Wenjie looked at him dubiously. “You know who my brother is?”
Wang Xiaoming nodded. “The owner of the Silver House. President Xiang.”
Xiang Wenjie’s trust deepened, though he still hesitated.
Baal became impatient and made a hooking motion in Xiang Wenjie’s direction.
Xiang Wenjie then felt there was some great gravitational force sucking him into the car.
“Ow!” His head struck the window of the car.
Baal instructed Mario in the driver’s seat, “Drive.”
Mario obediently started the car.
Wang Xiaoming watched Xiang Wenjie hurriedly sit down and was about to tell the story, which was neither involved nor simple, when an extremely chilling scream suddenly came from the castle, startling many crows into flying into the night sky.
“Will Winston be in trouble?” He turned around to look at the retreating castle.
“Nope,” Mario and Baal answered simultaneously.
Mario looked into the rear-view mirror and slowly answered, “This is nothing. Master and Mr. Winston have known each other for a very long time. They just… got too into their games.”