Baal scoffed, “You really think you are the ending scene? Not a preview?”
Sean’s expression blanked for about two seconds before he burst into uncontrollable laughter again. “Haha, you really are the most interesting Kindred I’ve seen in the last couple hundred years. Tsk, if I had met you earlier, I might not have been so bored.”
Baal answered in a cold voice, “If you had met me back then, you would definitely not be existing right now.” The person he had been several hundred years ago was definitely not as easy to talk to as he was right now. At that thought, he bent down to look at Wang Xiaoming leaning against him.
Back then, he would have never believed that he’d one day willingly get together with a human.
Sean’s smile diminished slightly. “You are participating in the Sacrificial Night of Fresh Blood because of him, right?”
Baal quickly turned around, the warning in his eyes clear as day.
“Don’t you worry, for me the fun part of the Sacrificial Night of Fresh Blood is the process. As for the result… who cares.” Sean’s smile held the faintest trace of mockery. “This is just a meaningless game of checks and balances.”
Michelle heard that his words were becoming more outrageous and rushed to interrupt, “Did you eat yet? Why don’t you eat with us?”
Sean sat down on the ground. “How could I refuse the invitation of a beautiful woman?”
Andy handed him the grilled meat skewers.
Sean sniffed. “Mmmmm. As expected from a Ravnos. Whether it’s hunting or cooking, so skilled.”
Andy blinked, as if responding to Sean’s praise.
Michelle clearly feared him slightly and tried to ask, “Where are Casro and Rosca?”
“Are you afraid they’re hiding somewhere, waiting to sneakily attack you?” Sean ate the skewer in his hand elegantly.
Michelle smiled. Her squinted eyes hid every trace of her emotions. “We’re comrades, aren’t we? Comrades trust each other and fight together.”
Sean tilted his head and smiled meaningfully. “Yes, we fight together.”
Baal snorted, “I refuse.”
“Why?” Sean asked with interest.
Baal answered, “Haven’t you heard of the saying? A pig-like comrade is more fearsome than a wolf-like opponent.”
Sean stroked his chin and replied, “I’m not fat.”
Baal said, “A skinny pig is still a pig.”
Wang Xiaoming realized that the danger of Baal exploding was getting greater and greater and hurriedly said, “He’s joking.”
Baal glanced at him in dissatisfaction.
Wang Xiaoming forced himself to press on. “He’s always loved joking, especially after eating, because he said that was helpful to digestion.”
That was the true joke, right?
Baal continued glaring.
Sean suddenly answered, “If I were you, I wouldn’t be so obvious about it.”
“What?” Wang Xiaoming asked.
“I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about you.” Sean pointed the branch in his hands at Baal.
Baal turned around and gave him a disinterested look, as if he were absolutely not interested in what Sean said. But both his ears quietly perked up.
“In the Forest of Shattered Illusions, anything can happen and everything can be destroyed.” Sean’s lips were still upturned, but his expression made people feel cold. “So never expose your weak points because you never know in which corner your opponent is hiding.”
Baal replied calmly, “To worry about an unknown future is something a loser would do because they can’t control fate.”
Sean paused for a moment and then burst into loud laughter; he laughed so hard that the skewers in his hand almost poked Michelle’s chest a few times.
Michelle batted them away twice. By the third time, she finally couldn’t help but switch positions with Andy.
Then, she discovered to her frustration that Sean’s skewers also changed the direction in which they poked.
“Yes, not being able to control destiny is indeed the act of a loser.” Sean stopped laughing. “But who is really in control of destiny? The thirteen Elders with the highest authorities among the Kindred? If they could control destiny, then maybe there wouldn’t be thirteen Kindred clans left but one.”
Baal was silent.
Wang Xiaoming answered timidly, “I think that maybe not everyone thinks that way.”
Sean turned to look at him.
“At least, I think Mr. Singh and Mr. Woodrace have a good relationship.”
Sean stared straight at him and then suddenly smiled briefly as he said, “Is that so? That’s great.”
Wang Xiaoming was utterly turned around by his sudden change in attitude.
“Alright, we’ve seen each other and shared a meal together. Looks like it’s time for me to depart from the party.” Sean stood up and dusted off his clothes.
Michelle and Andy both stood up at the same time.
“Get a good night’s rest. As far as I know, the Camarillas are still on the other side of the forest and won’t be here for a while.” Sean continued, “Starting from tomorrow, we’ll be going on the real hunt.” He turned around with a pleased smile, as happy-go-lucky as a fortunate noble.
“Actually,” a long time after Sean left, Michelle suddenly spoke up, “he participates in almost every Sacrificial Night of Fresh Blood.”
Wang Xiaoming stared wide-eyed and asked, “Huh? He’s that unlucky?” If he wasn’t unlucky, then how could he participate every year and lose every year?
Michelle answered, “Not unlucky. Instead, he gives up every year at the last moment.”
“Why?” Not only was Wang Xiaoming curious, but even Baal showed some interest.
Michelle answered, “Because the only reason he comes here is in remembrance. His previous lover died in this forest.”
Wang Xiaoming paused in surprise.
Baal asked with a frown, “Because of the Sacrificial Night of Fresh Blood?”
Michelle nodded. “But to this day, they still haven’t found the killer.”
Wang Xiaoming suddenly felt something heavy settle in his heart.
Baal said, “With his personality, it doesn’t seem like he’ll let the killer get off scot free.”
Michelle smiled slightly but didn’t continue the conversation.
The watch showed that it was almost dawn, but the sky remained dark and heavy.
Wang Xiaoming started to feel sleepy and curled up halfway in Baal’s arms.
It didn’t matter to Baal whether he slept or not. But in order for Wang Xiaoming to not feel lonely, Baal also closed his eyes.
Michelle and Andy each found a place elsewhere to rest.
In the Forest of Shattered Illusions, any partnership was temporary. All trust was built on a foundation of mutual profit and was quite limited.
Wang Xiaoming hugged Baal’s waist. He was somewhere between wake and sleep, but he couldn’t actually fall asleep. “Baal.”
“Hmm?” Baal leaned against a tree and slowly stroked Wang Xiaoming’s hair with his hand.
“I feel a deep sadness from Sean.” Especially after hearing his story. Though Michelle had been vague, he still felt a sense of repressed anger and a deep weariness.
Baal’s hand stopped. “Then did you feel my anger?”
“… No,” Wang Xiaoming answered quite honestly. Having been together with Baal for so long, he could sense Baal’s happiness, anger, sadness, and joy nine times out of ten. But clearly this was not one of the nine times.
Baal said, “Hmph, it’s his fault for not being able to protect his own lover.”
Wang Xiaoming’s arms around Baal’s waist suddenly tightened, “Baal, if something happens to you, I’m also scared of not being able to protect you.”
What was there to be afraid of? Wasn’t that the truth?
Baal opened his eyes and looked at him in slight confusion.
“I definitely can’t win against Isefel.” The complicated relationship between Isefel and Baal was clearly visible; he didn’t even have to ask.
“I even doubt I can win against Shi Feixia.” Wang Xiaoming compared their heights and physique in utter seriousness.
Baal, “…” That might be exaggerating things.
Worried, Wang Xiaoming murmured quietly, “What can I do to protect you?”
Before answering that question, Baal would much rather answer this one: Where did Wang Xiaoming get the idea that he, Baal, needed to be protected by Wang Xiaoming?
But before he could ask the question, Wang Xiaoming continued speaking to himself, “So I’ve decided.”
“Decided what?” Baal finally opened his mouth to ask.
“I want to be a Kindred.”
“…” Hadn’t that already been decided?
“That way, even if I can’t help you in a dangerous situation, at least I won’t be a hindrance.” Wang Xiaoming felt like he had suddenly conquered that fear of the unknown future that he had buried inside his heart for a long time. That was because there was now a reason he absolutely had to do so.
Baal fell silent for a while before saying, “Yeah, then you can defeat Shi Feixia.”
Wang Xiaoming, “…”
They chatted off and on for a while.
Wang Xiaoming’s eyelids started to gradually droop.
Baal adjusted his position so Wang Xiaoming could sleep more comfortably.
Their surroundings gradually quieted down.
Wang Xiaoming entered the Land of Nod.
Suddenly, his waist was violently jerked upward.
Baal held him and quickly moved about two meters away.
A blood red arrow burrowed into the tree trunk where they had just been, like a declaration of death.
Baal glared angrily in the direction from which the arrow had come.
Michelle and Andy both ran over at the commotion.
Michelle looked at the arrowhead and declared, “It’s a Noferre. Looks like he’s testing the waters.”
Wang Xiaoming tried to settle himself and asked, “Didn’t Sean say tonight would be safe?”
Michelle tried to explain subtly, “Sometimes, you shouldn’t trust every word someone says, even if they’re a comrade.”
Baal continued, “I don’t have such high expectations for him.” He paused. “I just hope he doesn’t take every enemy’s word at face value.”
“…” Wang Xiaoming really wanted to refute that. But before doing so, he couldn’t remember whether he had done anything that stupid.
Michelle pulled the conversation back. “Looks like this arrow is just to test the waters. But since that Noferre is here, then the others will definitely not be nearby. So it should be quiet from here on out.”
Wang Xiaoming asked, “Does what you just said belong in the believable or unbelievable range?”
Michelle smiled carelessly. “What do you think?”
Baal gave her a look and said, “I don’t believe it.”
Michelle blinked and then said, “I’m telling the truth this time.” She put some force behind her words.
Baal answered disinterestedly, “What? Are there actually people who lie and then tell the other person they were lying?”
Michelle’s face turned pale and then red. Finally she shrugged. “Oh, whatever.” She stomped off in a huff.
Andy looked at them and then at Michelle. He followed her.
Wang Xiaoming remarked, “I think she was telling the truth.”
“I know.” Baal’s answer was unexpected.
“Then why did you still say that?” Wang Xiaoming’s eyes widened.
Baal responded, “Don’t you find her naggy?” His face filled with impatience.
Wang Xiaoming, “…” So he had just done that to make her go away?