The journey to Master's corn-door took around fifteen minutes. It was past midnight now, so they hadn't passed by many people on their way back. Su Chan had tried her best to keep an eye out for that pest though. Thankfully, they didn't run into the guy. She hadn't seen that annoying stalker ever since she gave him the slip in that alley. Hopefully, the guy had given up on her and was now off to bother some other women.
He'd been chasing her around for days. One time, she even found him waiting in front of Master's corn-door building!
In hindsight, it would be better if they ran into the guy on their way back here. That way he would finally believe Su Chan's claim that she was taken, that she had a boyfriend. Not that Su Chan hadn't tried her absolute best to drill that notion into that silly man's thick skull. Even after all the verbal abuse she had hurled at him, his answer was always the same: "But I've been following you around for days, and not once did your boyfriend show up."
She wanted to tell him that her beloved was on a very important mission, but then she changed her mind and kept her mouth shut instead. Pretty sure saying that would only make things worse. She could already imagine the speech he would give her: "Oh? So this boyfriend of yours cares more about his mission than you? Well, if you give me a chance, I promise you that I won't do that to you… Blah, blah, blah… yada, yada, yada…"
Truth be told, she'd rather just knock the guy out cold (or unleash her superb testicle-ruining skills), but then she really didn't want to deal with the consequences of such drastic measures.
"Um… Chan'er? Do you have a key?"
Su Chan lifted her cheek from Yundong's shoulder and looked straight ahead. They were standing in front of Master's place now. When did that even happen? Guess her mind must have wandered off after she told Yundong the room number.
"You can just open the door, beloved. It's unlocked."
Yundong turned his head to look at her over his shoulder. "You didn't lock the door after you left?"
He sounded incredulous, and Su Chan wouldn't blame him. But then Master was a Cultivator. Locks were redundant.
Su Chan grinned. "There isn't much to steal, beloved."
Yundong opened the door and walked them both into the corn-door. Tears stung Su Chan's eyes again when Master's scent assaulted her nostrils. This was another reason why she had chosen to wander around in the city instead of spending her day holed up inside the corn-door. It was too painful to be surrounded by Master's scent yet be unable to see her beautiful face or hear her usual, "you insolent disciple!"
Too painful. Far too painful.
Her sensitive nose was usually a boon. But in this regard, it was a curse.
"Whoa. What are those?" Yundong carried her into the dining room.
Those were actually part of Su Chan's "contingency plans" if she ran out of money to buy food. Not that she was totally broke. She still had a wad or two left (maybe). Well, those, plus a handful of coins.
Yundong chuckled as he picked up a radish from one of the (many) rectangular planters lying around. "How long did it take Wushuang qiánbèi to grow these? It's like a vegetable garden in here!"
Su Chan bit her cheek to stifle a giggle. "Master didn't plant them."
The radish slipped from Yundong's fingers before he caught it with his other hand. He turned around to face her. "She didn't?"
"Nope." Su Chan grinned at Yundong. "I did!"
Yundong's puzzled expression was so comical that Su Chan burst into giggles.
"But these…" Yundong pulled out a carrot from a second planter, then leaned down to study a third planter where the sweet potatoes were planted. He dropped the carrot into the planter, then turned his head to look at Su Chan. "When did you actually leave the Fox Zen School?"
"Hmm…" Su Chan poked a finger at her chin. "More than a week ago?"
Yundong had this strange look on his face which made him look super adorable. His jaw went slack slightly before they clicked shut. "But these vegetables would take months to mature." He waved his hand at the planters. Suddenly, he started laughing. He turned his head around and looked at her with eyes filled with mirth. "It was a spell, wasn't it? You used a spell."
Su Chan broke into a grin. "Hehehe…"
It was one of those clever spells that Master had invented. When she and Master were in hiding all those years ago, Master didn't want to risk leaving the mountains to get food, so she had put her genius to good use and invented all kinds of spells that allowed them to grow their own vegetables. The spells were amazing. Amazingly complicated. Well, Master did try to explain the intricacies of those spells, but Su Chan didn't really understand her explanations back then. She sort of zoned out after Master said, "It's a hybrid of Water, Earth, and Wood element spells, Chan'er…"
Su Chan had dug out those old talismans from Master's room when she realized that she was running out of money.
Yundong had just slapped her butt.
Yundong chuckled. "My little princess cheap monk is full of tricks, isn't she?"
Su Chan stuck out her tongue and made a face at Yundong.
"Although I don't really see the point of having a vegetable garden if you can't even cook." Yundong smirked. "The last time you tried to cook, you blew up a kitchen."
Su Chan blushed.
"You even blamed it on a talisman."
Su Chan slapped Yundong's arm repeatedly. "Meanie, meanie, meanie!"
Yundong stopped laughing after a while and studied the planters again. "Seriously though. What were you planning to do with all these vegetables? Sell them for cash?"
That thought did cross her mind, actually. But in the end, she decided against it because she knew absolutely nothing about trade.
"Don't tell me you plan to eat them raw?" Yundong sounded genuinely horrified.
Su Chan giggled. "No. Of course not."
She guess would've figured out ways to "cook" those vegetables eventually. She wasn't totally clueless. Maybe bake them with a fire spell or something. Worse comes to worst, she would just boil the vegetables in a pot until they turn into some kind of soup.
Carrot goop. Radish goop.
"I was…" Su Chan struggled to come up with an excuse. "I was waiting for you to come and cook them for me!"
There. That was a pretty clever respond, wasn't it? At least it made Yundong laugh.
Su Chan squeaked when Yundong suddenly pinched her backside.
"How long are you planning to stay on my back?"
Su Chan tightened her arms around Yundong's neck. Yundong turned around and walked out of the dining room. At the living room, he came to a halt.
"Not even a single electric appliance," Yundong observed, then chuckled. "No wonder you said there's nothing to steal."
"Hehehe… See? I told you."
Unless, of course, the thieves in question were interested in a bunch of carrots, radishes, and sweet potatoes.
"This is your room, right?" Yundong paused in front of her room.
"Yes." Su Chan leaned her head over his shoulder and gave him a puzzled look. "How did you guess?"
Yundong pinched her backside again. Was that a new hobby of his?
Yundong suddenly turned his head and planted a kiss on her cheek. "I don't think Wushuang qiánbèi has the habit of making paper dolls, Chan'er." He directed her attention to the square table inside the room where she had left Paper Yundong and Paper Su Chan last night. A nightmare had jolted her awake, and she got super lonely after that. Hence the paper dolls.
Su Chan blushed and hid her face against Yundong's shoulder as he carried her into the room.
He paused beside the bed and studied the room for a moment. Su Chan glanced around furtively just to make sure that she hadn't left anything embarrassing lying around. The only things that fit the bill were the letters that she had composed for Yundong but couldn't send out because birdie went missing.
"Aren't you going to get off me?" Yundong asked in a tone of amusement.
Su Chan loosened her grip around his neck, but she didn't get down.
"I can't cook with you clinging on my body, you know?" Yundong chuckled a few times, then paused. "Well, I suppose I could use Qi Kinesis, but it's still a bit inconvenient."
So Yundong had mastered Qi Kinesis as well, just like Master had.
"Why don't you lie down for a bit while I whip something up in the kitchen?" Yundong suggested. "You're hungry, right?"
Su Chan nodded and let the front of her body slide along Yundong's back until her feet touched the floor.
Yundong turned around and patted Su Chan's head.
Su Chan's words were cut off by the press of Yundong's lips on hers.
The kiss ended too soon. Way too soon.
Yundong was smiling down at her.
"Go lie down." Yundong indicated the bed with a tilt of his head. "I'll call you when supper is ready."
For once, Su Chan didn't argue. She nodded and climbed into the bed.
While her eyes slid shut, she tried not to think about Master, about where Master was being kept or whether she was even alive. She tried not to think about the fact that it was her fault that Master ended up getting caught.
And it was.
It was all her fault.