Chapter 13: Deception (Part 1)
Stealth is needed
At Feisha’s stubborn refusal to drink his creation, Gin finally gave in and poured him a glass of normal whiskey. Feisha gently swished the liquid in his hand, the crisp clinking of ice on glass lulling him into a state of content drowsiness.
“Don’t fall asleep here,” warned Gin, polishing a wine glass.
Feisha yawned. “Then tell me a story.”
The hand making circular movements paused momentarily. “As a member of the noble blood clan, how could you ask me to tell stories? I’m not some apron-wearing maid at your beck and call.”
Feisha let out another yawn, his head lowering further.
“Will you sober up if I put a knife on the table?”
“Depends on how you put it.”
Gin offhandedly drew one out of a drawer and set it on the table. Feisha’s face continued in its path, nearly touching the blade. At this, the hand on the knife handle gave a twist, flipping the blade.
Light gleamed along the sharp edge.
Feisha pulled back with a startle, shakily rubbing at his face. “I know you’re jealous of my beauty, but I didn’t think you were this jealous.”
“Are you implying that I should just throw this knife at you instead?”
A cough. “No, I’m implying that actually you’re pretty okay-looking as well.”
Gin hung the glass up on the rack and reached for the blade-
“Girls of the blood clan are beautiful as a river, boys of the blood clan are strong as a mountain…” Feisha sang suddenly, straining his voice. Please refer to [The Girl from Ali Mountain] for the tune.
Gin was unimpressed. “I’m pretty sure I’ve told you before, but I’m gay.”
“…Boys of the invisible folk are beautiful as a river, boys of the blood clan are strong as a mountain…” amended Feisha.
There was a pause.
Gin placed the knife back into the drawer, sighing, “What story do you want?”
“Do you know The Frog Prince?”
“I want to listen to Snow White.”
“…I don’t know that one.”
“Then why don’t you tell me about the story between you and Dea?”
Gin rolled his eyes so hard it must’ve hurt. “What’s there to tell?”
Before Feisha could open his mouth to protest, Gin leisurely poured himself a glass of wine and knocked it back in one go. “Dea came two hundred and sixty-three days after I started working here.”
“Out of all the races, only angels and faeries have beauty equivalent to that of the noble blood clan,” Gin said proudly.
You don’t say; the leftover races are all stuff like titans, dwarfs and humans. And as for humans, physical appearance varies too much from one person to another, making their overall attractiveness as a race hard to determine.
“But Dea was truly the best-looking out of all the faeries I have ever met. As an illustrious member of the love-valuing blood clan, how could I let a chance at romance just slip past me like that? So on the second day, I announced my deep and passionate intentions with ninety-nine roses.”
“Did he beat you up?”
Gin glared at him. “You’re severely underestimating the charm we of the blood clan possess… He just smashed the bouquet back at my face.”
“Smart. Wouldn’t want to waste your weapons so early on.”
“I mean, as expected of a member of the knowledgeable and intelligent blood clan. You knew that roses were safer to give than diamonds.”
Gin ignored him in favour of pouring himself another glass of wine. After finishing the second glass, he continued: “You know, faeries all tend to be shy and reserved. Even if the flame of love inside their heart has nearly burned them down to ashes, they still refuse to show it on the surface.”
“Dea was like that?”
“Er, his circumstances were a little but different. In reality, he came here to hide from the influences of a love spell. But I didn’t know that until after.”
At this, Feisha perked up. “Love spell?”
“It’s a very high-levelled spell. The castor has to be of the same level as me at least.”
“What level are you?” It suddenly occurred to Feisha that while he knew everyone’s name and race, he knew next to nothing about their backstories.
“Are you sure you’ll understand if I told you?” asked Gin, raising an eyebrow.
“Actually- Just keep going with the story.”
“It’s a love spell that consumes the subject with lust towards anyone who tries to pursue them for a full three days…” His voice tapered off gradually towards the end. After all, this wasn’t an experience to be proud of.
…Feisha finally understood why Dea dated Gin for three days.
The sound of something being knocked over came from behind them. Feisha whipped around to see a table weirdly standing on its side.
“Hughes!” Gin maniacally shot past Feisha and down the hallway.
The room was silent.
Feisha realised that he…probably did something bad…
Despite arriving back in his room, Feisha still felt very, very uneasy. If he hadn’t insisted on listening to a story, Gin wouldn’t have told him about that period in his life. If he hadn’t told Feisha about that period in his life, Hughes wouldn’t have found out about him and Dea…
The more Feisha thought about it, the closer that knife in Gin’s drawer felt to his throat.
…Maybe it’s best that he hid somewhere for a while. Feisha dug out a few sets of clean clothes and rushed up the stairs.
It can’t be Layton, because Feisha had just screwed with him that very morning.
It can’t be Dea either, because even if Dea agrees Feisha himself would be too scared to stay. It’d be like adding fuel to the fire if Gin finds out.
Antonio… Feisha gets a strong urge to bolt whenever the rabies thing comes to mind.
Asa’s great and all, but his snores make Feisha want to kill himself. Once, he happened to walk past Asa’s room at night and fell over in fright when the sound of a bulldozer came from behind the door.
Therefore, the target was rather clear. Feisha knocked on the door.
The door swung open to reveal Isefel, wearing only a towel around his hips and a completely blank expression. There was still some soap lather on his torso.
“I suddenly remembered a very very very important question I need to ask you,” Feisha asked seriously.
He looked from side to side. “Let’s talk inside,” said Feisha, slipping into Isefel’s room. The bathroom door was open, steam still escaping outside and diffusing a fresh aroma into the air.
“You were taking a shower?”
“Mm. You said you had a question to ask…?”
“Oh no, you go take your shower. Take your time.” Feisha sensibly draped his spare clothes over the back of a chair. Despite pretending to be disgruntled, Isefel’s searching gaze sent shivers up his back that only ceased when the bathroom door clicked closed.
Isefel was very quick with his shower. When he emerged from the bathroom, the sight that greeted him was:
The spare blanket in the closet, spread out on the floor. On top of it, the culprit who apparently had a very very very important question to ask, snoozing the night away.
He hid for a night, but he couldn’t hide forever. Even if Isefel slept with one eye open, Feisha’d die of hunger before long.
Isefel lightly threw down some words before leaving: “Three minutes.”
Could this be the last three minutes of his comfortable life? Feisha watched the second hand on his watch tick by with rapt attention, savouring the feeling of his life passing by. He had never realised just how fast time flows. Damn it, he shouldn’t have slept so deeply last night; there had been a lot of missed opportunities that will never come back.
When Feisha finally shuffled reluctantly out of Isefel’s room, he discovered that Gin had been squatting outside for quite a while now. It’s only been one night, but Gin looked like he had wandered around homeless in Ethiopia for a year.
“I just need to put this out there: I am very deeply sympathetic to your situation. However. You can’t put all the blame on me.” Feisha scrutinised Gin’s expression before continuing softly: “At the end of the day, I’m only human. And in my twenty five years of being a human, I’ve never met a single person capable of letting light pass through their body. Even glass has edges, you know?”
Gin’s face was haggard. “Hughes is ignoring me.”
There was an awkward pause.
“Have you ever heard of the saying, couples who fight often are most likely stronger than couples who do not?”
“He’s never ignored me before no matter how angry he was.”
“Er, there’s a first for everything. They wouldn’t call it virginity otherwise.”
Gin looked at him with bloodshot eyes. Feisha could almost see a bloody battlefield within it, himself being one of the corpses.
“Actually, I have an idea. It might take a while though.” Feisha sighed. An extra day he spends alive is still an extra day.
Gin’s eyes gained a thread of livelihood. “What idea?”
“I reckon that Hughes shouldn’t actually be angry.”
A blank stare.
“No- Think about it for a moment,” Feisha hurriedly continued. “Hughes hasn’t even arrived yet when you hooked up with Dea. Who can predict the future?”
“I said that at least three hundred times last night.”
“You need to emphasise that Dea was just a fling, whereas Hughes is your one true love.”
“I said that five hundred times.”
“Well, what good’s just saying it? You gotta make him believe. You sounded pretty serious and all last night when you told me, who’d believe that you guys just ended it like that?”
Gin gave Feisha a look that chilled him to the bone.
“Of course, I believe you wholeheartedly,” Feisha quickly said, raising his hands.
“How do I make Hughes believe?”
Feisha stroked his chin. “Let the truth do the talking for you.”
“Don’t tell me that time will solve everything.”
Goddamn it, his plan was foiled. Despite the void of disappointment and panic that had opened up within him, Feisha maintained an air of incredulity. “How could a person of my intelligence come up with such a ludicrous idea? What I meant to say is, if Dea got together with someone else, Hughes would naturally work out his problems, right?”
Gin brought his hands together. “That’s a good idea.”
Seeing the expectant gaze coming his way, Feisha promptly shook his head. “Not me. Definitely not me.”
“Don’t forget who got me into this situation in the first place.” Gin’s words held a trace of hostility.
Licking his dry lips, Feisha explained: “It’s not that I don’t want to help you, oh no. It’s just that Dea really doesn’t like me.”
“Looks like he has pretty good taste.”
“Then who do you think could do it?”
Feisha was about to suggest Isefel; anyone at all would agree that the image of Isefel and Dea is truly a sight for sore eyes. Before the words could make their way out of his mouth, however, an idea struck him. “Antonio.”
“His appearance is more convincing than Asa, and his intelligence makes him easier to trick than Isefel.”
“…Antonio it is. But how are you going to convince them?”
A razor-sharp smirk slid onto Feisha’s face. “Oh, you’ll see.”
“Girls of the blood clan are beautiful as a river, boys of the blood clan are strong as a mountain…” The verse this is parodying is “The girls of Ali Mountain are beautiful as the river, the boys of Ali Mountain are strong as the mountain”.
“Have you ever heard of the saying, couples who fight often are most likely stronger than couples who do not?”
OG Chinese, yo: 夫妻床头打架床尾和fū qī chuáng tóu chǎo jià chuáng wěi hé (lit. Couples fight at the head of the bed and make up at the foot of the bed). It’s just a saying about how quickly couples make up after an argument.
“Oh, you’ll see.”
What Feisha says here is山人自有妙计shān rén zì yǒu miào jì (lit. A mountain dweller naturally has his tricks). A ‘mountain dweller’ was what hermits and Taoist priests used to call themselves back in the day as a form of humbleness, as it was generally accepted that hermits are only hermits because they realised the distractions of society or something along those lines. So basically like Obi Wan. Is Obi Wan wise? (Yes) In a modern context, what people mean when they say this phrase is that they themselves are the ‘mountain dweller’ and that they have an ingenious idea.