A Man and a Woman Alone in a Room
“Boss, just quit. Didn’t you say there’s nothing we can do once the stone door drops?”
It had been over two hours since the stone door came down on us.
“Shut up! If it wasn’t for you activating it, would we be stuck here?!” Boss kept trying to find a chink with her sword.
From my own research, the door was heavy and impossible to smash apart even if one was to repetitively hammer one specific spot. Not even my genius could offer a solution.
Four hours later, we were still stuck, but Boss’ mental state was deteriorating. Her sweat pasted her hair to her face. She was breathing laboriously. She was still shaving away her sword’s lifespan.
Can’t be broken, you say? If I could throw a full-pelt punch at it… Hmm, sounds like it would be fun.
“Why did you just lick your lips? What are you plotting?”
I totally forgot I was trapped in together with only Boss, her rosy cheeks and drenched shirt… When I looked up at her, she averted her gaze.
Is she scared? Hah, you’re always bossing me around. You finally understand who the true master is now?
I crossed my arms: “Miss Shen, there is only you and I in here. If the warrior in me was to awaken, what would you do?”
“Simple.” Boss lodged her sword a few centimetres in front of my legs – between them, for that matter. “To prove I’m still a virgin, I’ll castrate you. I promise: nobody will speak ill of me.”
“Good boy.” Boss clammed up on the ground as she leaned onto the door and appeared less stressed.
I ate three biscuits, two pears, all of which I pinched from the kitchen, and try to think of something to say when my hunger pang kicked in. Meanwhile, Boss only had one biscuit and a sip of water. When I tried to start a conversation, she didn’t sound enthusiastic.
“I don’t feel like talking.” Boss shut her eyes.
We should’ve had topics to talk about since our goal was to rescue Second and get to the bottom of Luo Ming’s secret. The silence reminded me of our quarrel not too long ago.
The fact that Boss could sleep meant that some of her psychological issues had subsided. What it didn’t mean, though, was that she had no doubts about me. As Yan Shisan’s disciple and a user of Precision Scout, she had to have misgivings about me. If nothing else, the multiple times she withheld her thoughts when she had something to say today was a sign that she was resisting the urge to pry. I understood she was being tolerant and letting me confide in her, but I didn’t know what to do.
If I revealed everything, Boss would be placed in a dilemma due to Liu Shan Men and Demon Sect’s stances. In the scenario that I revealed my true skills, I could kiss my life of a recluse goodbye.
Boss ducked her head right as I lifted my chin. “Nothing.”
“Oh…” I went back to eating my pair.
“… Your injury… still hurt?”
“Nah, it was just a scratch.”
“… I know… you took the shot on purpose… Thank you.”
“I knew you’d see through me with your genius. If you’re grateful, how about a reward?”
“Can you not joke around for once?”
“Here’s the thing: I tend to joke. You’ve never seen me flip the table when I’m on my back foot in mah-jong. If you had, you wouldn’t be surprised.”
“Just… don’t do it again.”
The silent interlude didn’t feel awkward this time. Actually, the sight of Boss’ face and her fragrance brought on something inside me.
“Boss, if you want to thank me, tell me who your ‘Big Brother’ is.”
“Huh?!” Boss jumped to her feet and stomped over to pull me up by my lapels. “Where did you hear that from?”
I tugged up a corner of my lips: “You mentioned it in the formation. Based on your articulation, you must be close, huh?”
Boss flicked her hair to pretend she was nonchalant. “Th-that’s just a childhood memory… Just a fantasy.”
“Well, that must be one hell of an unordinary fantasy.”
“So? I was only nine!”
“The monk is a lolicon, then! Stay away from men who try to lay their paws on nine year old girls!”
“He’s a gentleman. He doesn’t discriminate. As well… he wouldn’t have known how I felt. W-wait, I wasn’t thinking of anything.”
“Hmm, so he does have some strengths, then.”
“That’s obvious. He’s godly strong and erudite. If it wasn’t for him, I’d just be a sack of flesh now. I take that back: I’d already be dead.”
Personal feelings aside, this “godly” prowess piqued my fancy. “I feel like getting to know him. When are you going to introduce him to me?”
“We… haven’t met since…”
“You’re kidding me. Yet you still yearn for him?”
“Sh-shut up! Every girl has a crush during her childhood. It’s all in the past. Don’t you dare mention it to anyone else.”
“Hohoho, yes, right, understood. I dare not test your threat’s authenticity. It’s a good thing. Having someone you luck and blushing is what makes you normal. Boss, you’re usually too tense.”
Boss bit her lips and asked, “What did you recall, then?”
“When you were in the formation. You seemingly looked at someone, yearned for them and al-”
I raised both hands in surrender. “I won’t mention your monk, so you don’t mention mine. I… can’t talk about it.”
“Won’t ask, then.”
I extended my neck forward and blinked.
“I won’t ask.” Boss cracked a hearty grin. “Buy me drinks when you’re ready to share.”
“… Boss, there are some things I want t-”
“I see we have unexpected visitors.”
Boss raised her sword. “Who goes there? … What are you doing here?”
Neither Boss nor I proactively searched for anyone while we were trapped here. I didn’t expect to see the elder with the snake-shaped walking stick emerge from one of the rooms.
“Nanjiang’s Poison King!”
“You recognise this old one?”
I hubristically flashed my white pearls: “This one is Zhong Ning. Would you happen to be losing brain cells as your age climbs? Would you like to have that number knocked back down?”
“So it’s you! Hohoho, this old one thought it was fishy for there to be an extra member in Evil Spirits. He received a letter informing him two rats from Mount Daluo’s group had gone missing from the island. No wonder why nobody could find you.” The victory celebration of a predator came to Poison King’s lips. “Lady Luck is quite nice to this old one. This is a chance for this old one to redeem himself for letting the broad go and to test this Binary Poison Style. Hope you’ve said your prayers.”