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Chapter 3 Asking for the Inkstone
Seeing how Youqun had tamped down his rage, Linlin was grateful to her best friend Shishi. She could almost see how Shishi had taught her in the class called "How to Make Someone Want to Leave the House," and the confident glow on Shishi's face was as if the world was her oyster.
She had not thought the skill was useful, but now . . .
What Linlin taught her was very useful; no matter whom and where, if you felt you might be annihilated, kneel and beg for forgiveness. The VIPs in heaven tended to want to save face and were supposed to have a forgiving nature, so if you owed up to your mistake, they were less likely to punish you.
The fact that a rule-follower like Linlin would know these tricks was all thanks to Shishi's teachings.
Linlin had no idea she was being led astray.
It was just that the misdirection wasn't obvious yet . . .
When it came to social anxiety, Linlin thought she might have figured out why the Heavenly King was so resistant to going out. While the heavenly beings rarely got sick, they only stayed physically healthy—it didn't always include mental health.
Maybe the Heavenly King had suffered somehow, and got social anxiety as a result.
Linlin looked at Youqun with a mother-like affection.
The Heavenly King was checking file briefs. He hadn't yet realized Linlin was treating him as a victim, and was gazing at him indulgently.
"Heavenly King, don't worry. Whatever you've been through in the past, it's over now. No matter what, I will stay your most faithful fairy servant and never betray you."
Youqun, who preferred to be silent, suddenly paused. His hand holding the pen shook and his gaze deepened; it was only a second, though, before he recovered to keep writing.
His handwriting was firm, each line and stroke seemed more powerful than before.
The ink was made from stormy clouds and water from the enchanted seven-color lake, and the pen was a plush feather from the peacock fairy—quality that took a few days to complete. There were but ten bottles of ink in heaven, and only he dared to use it so brazenly. Linlin was filled with envy as she looked at the ink.
As Youqun finished reviewing all the briefs, he stretched. And looking a bit hesitant, he said, "Little fairy, you said you'll never betray me?"
Linlin's eyes were still glued to the ink on his desk as she answered absent-mindedly. "Of course I will never betray you."
"Never?" Youqun squinted and chuckled without warmth. "Forever is a long time. Are you certain?"
"Even if it's forever and ever, I will never betray you." Linlin looked at Youqun, her eyes serious.
Youqun had the sensation that this minor fairy wasn't so annoying as before; at least the way she vowed fidelity was rather adorable.
But the feeling was short-lived.
For in the next moment, Linlin said rather seriously, "If I did betray you, I'd betray Heaven, and since I don't like the human world, the monster world, and the demon world, wouldn't I be homeless? I don't like having no place to go, so it's better not to betray you . . ."
Wait, so she's only faithful because of Heaven?
Youqun's eyes had a glimmer of disappointment. He gritted his teeth and asked again, "None of the reasons you won't betray me is because of me?"
Linlin hesitated as she frowned and uttered, "I'm sorry, Heavenly King. I'm afraid I don't understand. Why would I not betray you because of you?"
"You said you wouldn't betray me!" Youqun declared. "If you were faithful to me, it'd be because of me, because it's me you're being faithful to . . ."
Youqun was confused by his own words at this point.
Linlin understood. However, her IQ still prevented her from knowing where he was stuck. She sighed. "But Heavenly King, you're not just you. You represent the whole heavenly realm. Your image is the whole Heaven."
Linlin told the truth, but Youqun didn't want to hear it. "It's fine. Let's stop talking about this. You're just too dense!"
Linlin didn't care about his insult. Her eyes rested on the inkwell again.
The deep and dark ink was made from stormy clouds, and if the person who used it was her grand general, wouldn't it just be marvelous? Linlin felt enchanted by her imagination.
Thinking of how tall and lean he was, writing as forcefully as if he was using a sword, his eyebrows furrowed intensely in concentration, as the wind swept his long hair . . . Linlin felt herself swoon.
She tried to hide her thoughts and chased away the scene in her mind. The general was such an amazing man, how dare she fantasize about him in such a profane way . . .
Youqun noticed Linlin's wayward gaze, only he self-absorbedly thought she was crushing on him and was too obsessed to even look away. He had no idea she had replaced his face with another man and was deep in fantasy.
Linlin stared some more before deciding to tell the truth. She coughed and looked toward Youqun. She said, "Hm, I have a request."
Youqun raised his brows and put down the brush pen in his hand to look at her.
"It's . . ." Linlin bit her lower lip. "Could you give me some of that ink?"
Youqun was surprised. This little fairy was interested in writing and poetry? He was intrigued enough to smile. "You know this kind of stuff?"
She shook her head in honesty. "No, no. I just love how the ink looks and want to collect it." Dear gods of the Nine-Level Heavens, please don't let him discover my lie.
Youqun grinned. "What's so great about the ink? It's just one deep color."
Linlin decided Youqun was not appreciative of the finer things and was really just wasting them! The ink was made from dark clouds and water from the seven-color lake and a peacock feather had made the pen, and he would ask, What's so great about it?
Linlin felt indignant about his waste of precious things, but still controlled her irritation and urge to tell the truth. "If the Heavenly King doesn't like the ink that much, would you mind . . . giving it to me?"
So Linlin wasn't completely without artifice . . .
But Youqun enjoyed playing games . . .
He smiled. "I don't love it, but I don't have to give it to you."
This was not how it was supposed to turn out! Linlin was so disappointed. Shouldn't the Heavenly King be generous with things, giving out gold, silver, and Buddha beads like candy to his underlings? This one was acting strange.
Linlin pushed down her frustration and pretended to act guilty. "If that's the case . . ." She paused. "I really do cherish the ink a lot. Is there something I could do in exchange for the ink?"
"Do something? You mean you'll do anything I ask?"
Linlin nodded gravely.
Youqun rubbed his chin and considered. A moment passed and nothing came to mind. He sighed. "It's all right. I can't think of anything right now. Just leave the condition off for now."
Linlin looked up at him with eyes full of hope.
Youqun shrugged. "Just take the ink and get out of my sight."
"Eternal thanks to the Heavenly King!"
Linlin kneeled again. She had to express her gratitude somehow.
Sure, she had to do a favor for him now, but she had the ink, and she could just visualize the handsome way the general used the ink. It was all worth it.
So worth it!
Youqun watched Linlin's excited expression as she backed out of his chamber. He sat back, crossed his legs, and frowned.
Today, Linlin wore a light lavender dress that was perfect for her shape. Every step she took made her dress bloom like a flower. Her dark hair, twirled up in a chignon, had a few loose strands framing her face . . . From the back, one could never tell she was such a rule-follower.
Youqun thought she really was too pretty to not be utilized.
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