Rong Bai could already more or less grasp Song Ci’s temperament.
Before Song Ci spoke, Rong Bai had guessed that it was likely to be about Mirror Old Man.
Song Ci looked down at the wine cup in front of him. He felt that he was still sober enough to drink another cup, so he picked it up and gulped it down. He drank a little too fast and choked on it. As he coughed, his fair and handsome face flushed red, and his eyes glistened.
After coughing, he wiped his mouth with his sleeve and asked Rong Bai, “Can we go and take a look at the Feng household?”
Rong Bai looked at his tired, inebriated face and nodded. “Yes, but we will go tomorrow.”
Of course, Song Ci was not in a hurry to go now. He stood up and helped up a drunken Mirror Old Man and said, “Then, let’s find an inn first. I can’t drink any more…”
Although he was a little intoxicated, his movements were still nimble. He hoisted Mirror Old Man over his shoulder and staggered to the door. Before leaving, he still remembered to place a piece of broken silver on the table.
Rong Bai watched him tottered on his feet as if he was about to collapse, but Song Ci kept a firm hold on Mirror Old Man until he reached the door. When he realized Rong Bai was not following, he stopped, turned his head back, and beckoned to him. “Master Rong, hurry…”
Rong Bai responded and walked over to his side. “Do you need my help?”
“No.” Song Ci waved his hand. “Mirror Old Man is so old he’s just a bag of old bones. He’s not heavy at all.”
He blinked his eyes and found the lanterns on the road shifting. Knowing that he was drunk, he said, “Let’s hurry and find a place to sleep. If not, you’ll have to carry both of us later.”
“Even if it’s both of you, I can still manage.” Rong Bai answered with a smile.
“That won’t do. You can’t do such manual labor.” Song Ci gave a silly grin. “If you end up crushed, who will bring me to the Demon Gate?”
“So in your heart, I’m only good for finding the Demon Gate?” Rong Bai asked with raised eyebrows.
“No, no, no.” Song Ci stopped in his tracks and shook his head. “And killing the Demon King too. Master Rong, you’re so formidable. You can definitely slay the Demon King. Then, you can dominate the Demon Realm and turn all those demons into a peaceful and friendly race so that they can become good friends with us mortals.”
Rong Bai did not know that Song Ci had such a thought, so he was momentarily taken aback. Truth be told, this kind of idea was ludicrous. But from a dazed Song Ci’s mouth, it was adorable. Rong Bai asked, “You want to be good friends with demons?”
“Am I not good friends with Mirror Old Man? Aren’t you and I good friends too? You don’t despise me for being a demon. As long as everyone can put aside their prejudices, they will be able to get along.” Song Ci said.
“But you are originally not a demon.” Rong Bai said.
“Why not? I’m different from mortals, but I can’t be compared to immortals. Isn’t that a demon? After evolving into a fox for all these years, so many people have pointed their fingers at me to curse me. Mo Yao even locked me up. A demon is a demon. Even if I don’t harm humans, it remains a fact that I cannot change.” Song Ci was clear about his own state.
The world hated and feared demons. Song Ci had never dared to reveal his identity before others. Once, his fox ears had popped up while he was saving people, and he was almost tied to a pillar and burned to death.
“That’s because they don’t know how honorable it is to be a Tu Shan in Heaven.” Rong Bai stroked Song Ci’s head and whispered, “If there’s an opportunity in the future, I’ll bring you there for a look.”
Song Ci did not fully understand what he was saying. He nodded absent-mindedly and held up Mirror Old Man as he walked towards an inn. “I think this isn’t bad. The bed should be soft.”
Rong Bai found it amusing to see a drunk Song Ci rambling, so he followed him into the inn and watched as Song Ci asked the innkeeper for a room.
The innkeeper felt uncertain at the sight of the three men. “Gentlemen, there’s only one bed per room in this inn. There are three of you, I’m afraid…”
“What’s there to be afraid of? If I take three rooms, are you going to give me money?” Song Ci pulled out a small piece of broken silver from his bosom and said, “Just one room.”
The innkeeper was in a pickle. “Gentleman, this silver isn’t even enough to pay for a room…”
“Is your room inlaid with gold for it to cost so much for a night?” Song Ci frowned. Tapping his fingers on the counter, he bargained with the innkeeper with slurred speech. “Make it cheaper. Cheaper. It’s already night. We’ll only sleep a night and leave tomorrow morning. Besides, can’t you charge less for the sake of our good looks…”
The innkeeper gave a wry smile. “What logic is that? I run a business to make money. You can’t expect me to charge less simply because someone is good-looking and charge more when I see someone ugly, right? It’s too unfair to those who are born ugly.”
Song Ci was convinced and nodded thoughtfully. “What you said is reasonable.”
The smile on Rong Bai’s face brightened as he watched the two men trying to reason with each other. At last, he laughed and revealed his pearly whites. Walking over to the innkeeper, he put down a silver ingot and asked, “Is this enough for one room?”
The innkeeper grinned and accepted the silver, then took out some fragments of silver to give him his change. “It’s enough. I’ll lead you to the room.”
Song Ci was still feeling light-headed and thought that the innkeeper had given him a discount. Thus, he kept praising him as he followed from behind. “Innkeeper, you are really a nice person. You are not only handsome but kind-hearted. Here, I wish you a prosperous business!”
The innkeeper answered as he walked. “You too, gentleman.”
After entering the room, Song Ci supported Mirror Old Man and stood by the bed, staring at it with a lowered head. Standing motionless, he quietened down.
Rong Bai closed the door and lit the candle lamp. He began to take off his robe and asked him. “Why are you standing there?”
Song Ci pouted. “I want to sleep in a bed too.”
Rong Bai sat by the bed, looked up and smiled. “Why?”
“The bed is soft, and the ground is too hard and uncomfortable. I want to sleep on the bed too.” Song Ci said, “I’m the one who sleeps on the floor every time. But I don’t want to this time.”
Rong Bai thought for a moment. “You couldn’t possibly be asking me to sleep on the floor?”
Song Ci shook his head. “No, we’ll sleep on the bed together.”
Rong Bai smiled and agreed. “Alright, I’ll allow it. Let’s sleep together.”
Song Ci grinned happily, like a child who had received a handful of candy. His smile was sweet and wide. Then, he pushed Mirror Old Man onto the bed. “Then, the three of us will sleep together.”
Rong Bai, “?”
Song Ci looked at the bed carefully and concluded, “It’s quite big, so it shouldn’t be crowded.”
Rong Bai raised his eyebrows and said heartlessly, “You can sleep on the bed. He can’t.”
“He can.” Song Ci refuted him with a solemn expression.
“He can’t.” Rong Bai repeated.
“Mirror Old Man is our friend too. Why can’t he sleep on the bed?” Song Ci said. “He can.”
Rong Bai did not know how to reason with a drunk. What’s more, he had already made an exception by allowing someone to sleep beside him. For tens of thousands of years, no one had dared to take liberties with him on his bed.
He thought for a moment, then turned his finger. A white light surrounded Mirror Old Man. After the flash of light faded, Mirror Old Man, who had been snoring on the bed, had turned into a small bronze mirror.
“He doesn’t need a bed now.” Rong Bai said.
Song Ci touched the bronze mirror, looked it over, and said blankly, “Indeed. Then it’ll be just us on the bed.”
He turned around, placed the bronze mirror on the table, and began to undress. Even if he was so drunk his head was in a fog, he still took off his clothes conscientiously and set aside his boots and socks neatly. Then, dressed in just a snow-white middle garment,1 he sat on the bed with a dazed expression and remained still.
Rong Bai poked his shoulders. “What’s the matter with you?”
“I want to wash my feet.” Song Ci said.
“…” Rong Bai recalled that before Song Ci went to bed, he always had to wash his face and feet. Sometimes he would bathe. He was pretty obsessed with cleanliness. It was a pity Song Ci did not know how to use magical powers to clean himself, so Rong Bai always found it troublesome every time Song Ci did all these…
Song Ci sat blankly by the bed without drawing water for himself. It was as if he was waiting for someone to bring hot water to him. Rong Bai asked again, “Why aren’t you drawing water yourself?”
“I can’t walk.” Song Ci replied with a solemn expression. “I feel dizzy.”
From his expression, it was hard to tell he was drunk. Yet, Song Ci normally would not say such words. Only a trace of reason left in him allowed him to hear Rong Bai and reply to whatever he was asked.
Rong Bai flicked his finger and a basin of steaming hot water appeared at Song Ci’s feet. “There’s your hot water. Wash your feet.”
Song Ci lowered his head for a look, then grinned and put his feet into the basin. “Master Rong, you’re so nice.”
Rong Bai conjured up a wet towel strained with hot water at one side and took Song Ci’s hand to wipe his palms. He asked casually, “You think I’m nice? Then, if I say the Demon King is as nice as me, would you still want to kill him?”
“If the Demon King is like you, then he’s a good person. Naturally, I won’t kill him.” Song Ci replied with a straight face. “Besides, I can’t kill him either. It’s more likely that I have to kneel and hug his thighs to beg him when I get to the Demon Realm…”
“Beg him for?” Rong Bai looked at his hands. They were slender and fair, but there were many deep and shallow wounds on the back of his hand. These were all scars left behind from his previous injuries. However, after turning into a demon, all wounds would heal on their own leaving no scars behind, so it was obvious these scars wounds were left before he turned into a demon.
Rong Bai narrowed his eyes and wiped over them with the wet towel. In an instant, he erased all those old scars.
“Beg him to take back the demon blood in me and turn me back into a human being.” Song Ci answered.
“That’s no longer possible.” Rong Bai said in a light tone.
Song Ci uttered an “uh?” blankly and turned to look at him. “Why is it no longer possible?”
For the first time, Rong Bai answered seriously. “That drop of blood had merged into your body and changed your blood vessels. It has become a part of your body and is now a source of power in you, spreading all over your body. If you want to extract that drop of blood, you have to extract all the blood in your body.”
Song Ci was so intoxicated he did not realize the true horror in Rong Bai’s words. He simply asked, “Does that mean I can never revert to being a mortal?”
Rong Bai looked at him without giving him a straight answer. The dim candlelight cast a soft light over Song Ci’s delicate facial features. His eyes were as black as ink.
He recalled the last time when Song Ci was injured and most of his body had been stained in a captivating cloak of red. With his snow-white ears hidden among his hair and blue eyes, he had cut an enchanting figure.
Taking Song Ci’s other hand to wipe it, Rong Bai smiled and said meaningfully, “You indeed can’t revert to being a mortal. Even if there is a way, I won’t let you do so.”
Song Ci tilted his head to indicate that he did not understand.
“I have been alone ever since I was born. The years are long, and it had not been easy for me to have you. How could I send you away with my own hands?” Rong Bai’s eyes curved as he smiled. He looked like a lazy fox, just like the first time Song Ci met him.
On hearing that, Song Ci nodded earnestly, “Don’t worry, Master Rong. I’ll stay by your side.” He paused for a moment, then continued. “Because I’m alone too.”
Rong Bai’s actions came to a halt. The warmth from Song Ci’s palm flowed into his palm. Those words turned into a little fox’s claws, scratching Rong Bai’s heart.
Just as he was about to delve deeper into this feeling, Song Ci removed his feet from the basin and took the wet towel from Rong Bai’s hand to wipe his feet. Then he rolled to the inside of the bed and burrowed himself into the quilt.
Rong Bai turned to look at him and saw him all wrapped in a quilt with only his head exposed. His eyes were closed and he looked very peaceful.
With a wave of his hand, he put away the water basin and the wet towel. Then, he got onto the bed himself and put out the candle lamp. The room darkened in an instant.
The soft sounds of Song Ci’s breathing entered his ears. Rong Bai inclined his head to look at him and shifted towards him. But before he touched Song Ci’s body, he saw Song Ci suddenly pucker his lips and cry. His sobs rippled like waves.
Rong Bai was astonished. “What’s with you now?”
“I miss my home, my parents, the Ninth Prince, and even my cousin. Boohoohoo.”