Perfect World Chapter 14 – Patience

on 08 21, 2010

Guo Bing shifted glances between Ling Er and Xiao Yao.  He had been sitting on the giant sword the entire day and was bored out of his mind.  Ling Er had suggested he try to enjoy the scenery.  Like that would work.  Gun Bing scoffed to himself.  He wanted to have some fun; he needed some action.  He had already given up on finding any with Lin Bao Zhu.  The old master would sooner kill him than provide him any sort of entertainment.  Besides, the old fart had done nothing but hold his daughter in his arms, staring into her lifeless face.  Though the little girl was still breathing, her face was paler than the soft moonlight that struggled to light the black night sky.  The usual bright stars had seemed to disappear, hidden amongst the many thick, white clouds that covered the air.

Xiao Yao swung his right arm around Ling Er and pulled her against his side.  Her head rested on his shoulder.  The wind had picked up and Xiao Yao didn’t want Ling Er to fall ill again.  Pressing his cheek against her head, he took a deep breath and closed his eyes momentarily.  Ling Er smiled as she felt Xiao Yao caress her right arm, which now wore his other sleeve.  She giggled as she recalled earlier that day.

(Author’s Note: flashback)

Xiao Yao’s face scrunched together tightly as he saw Guo Bing take quick glances at Ling Er’s bare, right arm.  The nerve!  Ripping off his remaining sleeve, he walked up to Ling Er and told her to put it on her right arm.

“Why?  What about you, Xiao Yao gege?”

“It’s okay, Ling Er.  I’ll be fine.  It’ll get cold soon and I can’t have you catching something, now can I?  Besides, I won’t have every pervert that catches you in his line of sight gawk at you like a piece of tasty meat.”  said Xiao Yao, looking over at Guo Bing, who flashed a big, innocent smile as he waved at Xiao Yao.

“C’mon, Ling Er.  Be good.  I’m sure there’s someone willing to lend us some needle and thread to sew that onto your dress.”  Xiao Yao tapped her nose as she took the sleeve from her husband, slightly blushing.

“But…”

“Don’t worry about me.  I’m strong enough to where I don’t have to worry about getting sick.”

(Author’s Note: end flashback)

“What’s so funny?” Xiao Yao asked his wife.

“Oh.  It’s nothing.  I…just like…wearing your clothes, that’s all.” Ling Er rubbed his sleeve and looked into his eyes before clasping his hand in hers.

“Silly.  You’re not a guy.  We’ll find you some nice clothes to change into in the morning, okay?”

Ling Er smiled and nodded.  Even when she could change out of her dress, she promised that it would become part of her valuables as a dear keepsake.  She didn’t have much that once belonged to her Xiao Yao gege.  If she could, she’d start a nice collection.  Well, at least she had item number one.

Guo Bing looked at the love birds and put his hands to his throat, pretending to vomit.  Waving his hand at them, he continued to search for some amusement.  His eyes fell upon Xiao Shi Tou, who was laid stretched out on his back with his stomache showing.  The little spirit had fallen asleep before sunset.  The events that day had stressed him out and he was exhausted by the time they set out again.  Smiling deviously, Guo Bing looked around and popped his shoulder, causing Auron to wake from his nap.  Whispering to the falcon, he tried to stifle his laughter as the grey bird flew downwards from the flying sword.  Shortly after, Auron returned with a small pebble in his beak, which he laid in his master’s waiting hand.  Xiao Shi Tou yawned and turned over, facing his back towards Guo Bing.  How opportune!  Taking careful aim, Guo Bing flicked the pebble at the sleeping spirit.  Xiao Shi Tou squeeled as the pebble collided with his butt.

“WHAT’S GOING ON?!   WE’RE BEING ATTACKED!”

The group turned to see Xiao Shi Tou on full alert, scanning in every direction for an enemy.  Guo Bing couldn’t hold back his laughter any longer as he pointed and mocked Xiao Shi Tou’s discomfort.  Lin Bao Zhu looked sternly at the young man and cleared his throat.

“Young man, if you’re going to travel with us, behave yourself.  I won’t tolerate any of this sort of behavior, even if you did save my Yue Ru.  We’re indebted to you, but don’t for an instant believe that we’ll cater to your immature horseplay.  I’m not afraid to be perfectly frank with you.  Test my patience and you’ll regret it, I assure you, even if it’s in the presence of Ling Er gu niang and Xiao Yao.  Got that?”

“Y…yes, sir…” Stunned, Guo Bing could only nod and apologize.  Xiao Shi Tou was about to lecture Guo Bing as well when he saw Lin Bao Zhu glaring at him, as if daring him to stretch the incident.  Xiao Yao stared at Lin Bao Zhu.  It was the first time since their first meeting that the swordsman didn’t refer to him as ‘twit’, ‘idiot’, or some other insult.  Could it be that he was actually growing on him?  Or was it that Guo Bing just happened to press the right buttons on Lin Bao Zhu?  It was perfectly natural for him to want to establish a safe, calm environment for Yue Ru.  Xiao Yao decided it was best not to think too deeply into the matter and gathered everyone’s attention.

“I think it’s about time we broke camp.  It’s getting late and we still have another week to reach Mt. Shu.  If we travel swiftly, we should be able to make it in a few days.”  Hearing no complaints, Xiao Yao started lowering the sword to the ground.

“Xiao Yao gege, shouldn’t we stay in an inn tonight?  Yue Ru is with us now; she shouldn’t be sleeping on the ground in her condition.”

Lin Bao Zhu nodded in agreement.  “Xiao Yao, do you remember what my nephew said before we left?  Even though Yue Ru is unconcious for the most part until we find her soul, her physical body still requires what any other person needs, especially when they’re ill.  We were lucky to have force fed her some milk earlier, but…*sigh* And also, the medicine Jin Yuan says she needs is running out.  We’ll have to buy some in the morning.”

Xiao Yao understood as he looked for a nearby town.  It was a little risky, but as long as they didn’t attract attention to themselves, it should be okay.  Ugh, but what about that white-haired guy behind him that looked like a demon?  He was sure to stand out.

“Look over there, Xiao Yao gege.  That seems to be a nice, quiet town.  It’s a bit large, but I think it’ll have to do.”

“I agree with miss Ling Er – IIIII, for one, wouldn’t say, ‘no’, to a nice, soft bed.”  Guo Bing leaned his forearms against Xiao Yao and Ling Er’s shoulders as he looked into the distance at the city Ling Er had pointed out.  Xiao Yao hated it when he touched him, and even more when he touched Ling Er.  What really aggravated Xiao Yao was the fact that Guo Bing was at least three years his junior, making him younger than Ling Er as well.  It was already unacceptable in his eyes that he was coming onto a married woman – his wife, no less – but an older woman, too?  Xiao Yao steamed as he wanted to shift his shoulder.  Quickly lowering the sword a good distance away from the town entrance, Xiao Yao gladly jumped off and pulled Ling Er away from Guo Bing.  Lin Bao Zhu carried Yue Ru and stepped off, lifting her over his head and onto his back.  Securing her arms and legs around him, Lin Bao Zhu wrapped his arms behind his back and started walking towards the town.  He hoped it was not too late to find a room.

“Let’s hurry.  The longer we wait, the harder it’ll be to secure a room for the night.”

Placing his hands over his head, Guo Bin followed the old master with his staff slung across his shoulders, with Ling Er and Xiao Yao close behind.

*Knock, knock, knock, knock, knock*

*Knock, knock, knock, knock, knock*

Who could that be this late in the night, banging on my doors at this hour? thought the innkeeper as he hurried down the stairs, tightening his robe.  Opening the door, he found Xiao Yao smiling at him.

“Yes…?  How may I help you?” The old innkeeper rubbed his sleepy eyes as he yawned.

“Hello.  Do you have any vacancies?  I would like to rent three rooms for the night.” Xiao Yao put his thumb and index finger together as he held three fingers to the innkeeper’s face, making an ‘OK’ gesture.

“There’s only one of you.” replied the innkeeper.

“Oh.  There’s actually six of us – two to a room.”

“It’s so late at night; you’ll wake my other customers if you move your stuff in now.”

“No, please, sir, we’ll be very quiet.  We’ve tried all over town already.  No one has any vacancies.  Please?”

“*Sigh* I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do for – ” Ling Er, sensing things would not go well yet again, had stepped next to Xiao Yao, clutching his arm.  They had wished to let only Xiao Yao be seen, avoiding attention as a group to throw off suspicion.

“Please, sir, we’re just passing through and it’ll only be for one night.”  Ling Er bowed graciously to the old man, whose jaw had dropped at the sight of the beautiful maiden.

Great, another pervert! thought Xiao Yao as he regretted coming to this inn; however, they didn’t have much of a choice.

“Oh, my, my.  What a pretty girl you are!” the innkeeper was suddenly wide awake as he laughed out loud.  “Why, it would be my pleasure to have you in my inn.  Young sir, why didn’t you tell me you were travelling with companions?”

I DID!…Xiao Yao laughed with the innkeeper as he nodded his head to and fro, not wanting to ruin their chances at getting the rooms.

“Please!  Right this way!” the innkeeper turned and waved them inside.  Subsequently, the rest of the group showed up in the doorway as the old man retrieved their keys.  Leading them up the stairs, he continually looked back at Ling Er and laughed.  As Xiao Yao followed the old man, he tried to comfort himself by reminding himself that at least it wasn’t Guo Bing.  The mere thought of him tried his patience, causing him to take slow, deep breaths in order to remain calm.  He hoped that they would part ways forever at Mt. Shu.  The innkeeper stopped at the first room, where he ushered in Lin Bao Zhu, who still carried Yue Ru on his back.

“Oh, she’s just sleeping.” he explained when the innkeeper gave him a questioning look.  They still haven’t told Guo Bing all of the details concerning Yue Ru or even their situation and Mt. Shu, for that matter.  But it seemed as though the young man did not care to know such information, and was quite content to just be in their company.  Looking away from Lin Bao Zhu as he lied to the innkeeper, Guo Bing continued to walk a little bit ahead, waiting for the rest of the group to catch up.  The second room door was opened and Xiao Yao invited himself and Ling Er inside.  Xiao Shi Tou tried to enter the room as well, but was blocked off by Xiao Yao, who shook his head as he stood in the doorway.  Evidently, the little monk didn’t hear him when he said, ‘Two to a room.’

“Oh, c’mon, Xiao Yao, don’t stick me with him.” Xiao Shi Tou complained as he motioned towards Guo Bing.

“Shhhhhh!  Stop complaining and move along.” commanded Xiao Yao.  Promptly, he closed the door in Xiao Shi Tou’s face, which was presently at normal size.  They had decided that he should take a human form as another precaution to avoid suspicion.  Sighing, he followed the innkeeper to the third room, which was the last door, farthest from the stairs.  Great, he thought, now he was going to be the last one to breakfast as well.  After being given the room key, Guo Bing immediately plopped himself onto a bed and kicked off his shoes.

“Now listen, you little monk.  I don’t like these arrangements any more than you do.  But let’s just stay out of each other’s way and have a good night’s sleep.  Deal?”

Was he just tired or did he hit his head on a rock or something?  Was Guo Bing actually being agreeable with him?

“Agreed.  It’s only for one night.  Besides, perhaps it isn’t that bad and –”

“Hey, shut up, already.  Perhaps you’re beyond help, but I’m trying to get some beauty sleep over here.  D’ya mind?!  Geez!”

“Fine!  Sourpuss!”  Xiao Shi Tou blew out the candlelight and jumped into his bed, grumbling at himself for thinking that he and Guo Bing might actually get along that night.  Wait.  Something was missing.  What was it?  Xiao Shi Tou scratched his bald head and looked around the room.  The moonlight was still pale as it shown through the open window.  He stared outside as he saw a flock of birds fly across the sky.

“Hey, where’s your pet falcon?”

“I told Auron to take a night flight and to sleep on the roof tonight, as to avoid suspicion.  Now, seriously, shut your trap and be quiet!”

Mimicing Guo Bing’s mouth movements, Xiao Shi Tou closed his eyes and fell straight to sleep.  Meanwhile, Xiao Yao jumped high in the air and landed right beside Ling Er.  Smiling, he tapped her nose and tucked himself in.

“Hey, Ling Er, what do you think about that Li Guo Bing character?”

“Well, I am kind of uncomfortable around him.  I don’t mind his white hair or the red tint in his eyes; they actually make him look quite dashing.  Hmm, I still think he’s not a bad guy.  He did save Yue Ru and all.”

“Yea, well, I can’t stand it when he comes onto you like he does.  If it weren’t for you and what he did for Yue Ru, I would have let him have it by now – the nerve of that guy!” Xiao Yao rolled his eyes as he clenched his fist.  He couldn’t deny that Guo Bing, weird as he was, was quite attractive to the female gender.  He should know, after all, with his legacy with courting girls.

“Hehe, Xiao Yao gege, you don’t have to be jealous or worry at all.  You know that my heart only belongs to you.”  Ling Er snuggled up close to Xiao Yao, burying her head in his chest.  The anger that had risen in Xiao Yao quickly dissipated as Ling Er wrapped her arms around him.

“*Sigh* Yea, but still, I, Li Xiao Yao, can’t have heathens like that pestering you or taking advantage of your goodness.”

“When I get the chance, I’ll have a talk with him, okay?”  Ling Er kissed him softly on the cheek and patted his chest a few times before laying down on her side of the bed.  “I’m proud of you for not being impulsive about this.”

“Hehe, I promised you, didn’t I, that I would try not to lose my temper so much anymore?  Li Xiao Yao always keeps his word – eight horses can’t even catch up with it!”  With a pleased smile on his face, Xiao Yao looked at his wife to find that she was already sound asleep.  Kissing her forehead, Xiao Yao tucked her in and laid on his side, admiring her while she slept until he, too, fell asleep.  Just before his eyes closed, Xiao Yao laughed to himself at how Guo Bing must be doing.  They have all had the experience, the misery, of sleeping near Xiao Shi Tou, especially Sheng Gu.  Serves him right for being a pervert.

Good night, Ling Er… Xiao Yao stroked Ling Er’s face one last time.

Halfway into the night, Guo Bing shot up in his bed and glared beside him at Xiao Shi Tou.  Putting his hands to his ears, he clenched his teeth together as his nostrils flared.  How could he possibly be making all that noise?  Was he doing it on purpose, to get back at him?

“Hey, midget!”  Guo Bing looked at Xiao Shi Tou as he continued snoring, or completely ignoring him.  Why did he have to be stuck with this annoying and bothersome spirit?  “PSSSST!!!  Hey!!!”  Still, there was no reaction from the monk.

Patience….patience…don’t lose your cool, Guo Bing.  Don’t blow it.  Guo Bing wrapped his pillow around his head as he desparately tried to fall asleep again.  At this rate, it’ll be dawn and he’ll still be awake to greet the morning sun – with a nasty curse.

I refuse to have racoon face in the morning!  Taking his staff, Guo Bing thrust it lightly at Xiao Shi Tou’s stomache.  “Hey!  Stop – SNORING SO LOUDLY!”  Guo Bing whispered loudly at the intruder of his dreams.

“It’s not like I can help it!” Xiao Shi Tou whined as he rubbed his stomache.

“Oh, c’mon, you wuss, I didn’t even hit you that hard – just hard enough to wake you up.  Hey, I could have had Auron peck your butt, all right?  Be grateful a stomache tap was all you got.”  Realizing his explanation was going no where, Guo Bing sucked up his pride, sighed, and apologized to the spirit, asking him as nicely as he could at that point to keep the noise to a minimum.  Trying his best to be agreeable, Xiao Shi Tou only nodded and turned to his other side.  Frowning, he wondered why he was always the target of jokes and ridicule.  Why was he always the scapegoat for his friends’ anger and frustatration?  He enjoyed being with them, but at times, he just felt unappreciated and ill-liked.  It wasn’t his fault he snored; yet, much of his misfortune came upon him while he slept.  Xiao Shi Tou hugged his pillow as he closed his eyes, pushing the negative thoughts from his mind.  Tomorrow’s a new day.  It’ll be better tomorrow.  And at least Ling Er jie jie cared for him.  She even smiled sweetly at him when that bully Xiao Yao refused to let him in.  There’s always tomorrow, he thought, as he drifted off to sleep again.

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