Pei Wende is a busy man. A high-ranking official, the head of the Demon Hunter Bureau, and apparently the most eligible bachelor in the capital. That last thing is starting to prove to be a little bit of a problem. Sure, he has his fair share of lady admirers that he can coldly or gently let down – but the ones that seem to be causing the most trouble are a few men.
In order of least to most trouble, Pei Wende already has an itemized list in his head.
The mysterious swordsman Fu Hongxue, who keeps turning up to fight for him, then leaving without an explanation. Pei Wende enjoys his company – he does not speak extra words, nor does he waste time. His fighting capabilities are amazing, and Pei Wende is determined to hire him into the Demon Hunter Bureau. Unfortunately, Fu Hongxue has no interest of leaving the Jianghu to serve the court.
“It is you to whom I offer my assistance,” he says simply. “Not the Demon Hunter Bureau.”
“I… Am in your debt.”
Pei Wende is somewhat shaken by this revelation, but Fu Hongxue’s attitude towards him has always been sincere and restrained, and it does not change.
Second on the list is General Hua’s second brother, Hua Wuxie, who’s been sticking to his side ever since he was a child. It’s not that he’s not troublesome, Pei Wende is just used to that child following him around with starry eyes. Hua Wuxie is warm enthusiastic – not hiding his affections since childhood. He’d said that he’d marry Pei Wende when he grew up and was attempting to make good on the promise.
“Pei-da-ge, Pei-da-ge, I really like you!”
Pei Wende doesn’t even look up from his book. “This is the fifth time today. Don’t do boring things.”
Hua Wuxie’s eyes light up. “You’ve been counting?” he asks, getting a little closer – if he was a dog, his tail would be wagging.
Third on the list is the emperor himself, Zhu Houzhao, also seems to have some sort of sadistic interest in Pei Wende. He calls him into the palace at odd hours in the day and night, urges him to drink, overwhelmingly praises him one moment, viciously criticizes him the next, and looks at him with such an expression that Pei Wende can’t misinterpret his obvious attraction.
“Pei-qing,” he calls, imperiously waving a hand. “Come sit.”
Pei Wende has no choice but to sit but draws the line at being hand-fed grapes by a female attendant. Zhu Houzhao watches him from half-lidded eyes as he’s fed, then catches the woman’s fingertips with his lips for a moment.
“Why has Your Majesty summoned this subject?” he cuts in, looking literally anywhere else.
Zhu Houzhao’s eyes curve. “Report on your bureau’s recent activities,” he says, and somehow, these completely normal words sound almost suggestive.
And very finally, the greatest trouble – a very possibly demonic brat in a white cloak who keeps following him around, occasionally trying to kill him, occasionally trying to court him. The brat attacks, Pei Wende fights him – the brat starts crying pitifully, Pei Wende is at a loss – the brat brings him dead animals to eat, Pei Wende is extremely uncomfortable. He is the most troublesome of all.
First, it’s, “Revere the night! My power is limitless! I shall devour you!” then it’s all tears and, “I’m so lonely and miserable…” and then he cheers up and, “Eat this! Or I’ll be upset. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?”
Pei Wende sighs deeply. “Stop causing trouble, or we really will be forced to suppress you.”
“I’m not a demon! Besides, I’d like to see you try!”
All in all, Pei Wende doesn’t have it easy.
In an average day, he encounters each of these people at least once. Whether it’s because he’s being stalked, or they just have a ridiculous amount of fate with him, Pei Wende doesn’t know and prefers not to think about.
He goes to do his job, Fu Hongxue is there beside him. He returns to the capital, Hua Wuxie pops up. Within an hour of arriving in the city, he’s summoned to the emperor. Once he manages to extricate himself from there and go home, there’s a brat in a white cloak lounging around his house uninvited.
And so, Pei Wende decides to go on a spontaneous vacation. After leaving his second-in-command in charge of the Bureau for a week, he gets on his horse and goes as far as he possibly can. At a nice little inn, he eats a pleasant meal all by himself, takes a nice relaxing soak in some hot springs, and then goes to bed for some restful sleep.
Unfortunately, he dreams – about huge, innocently blinking eyes staring at him from all directions.
Pei Wende wakes up gasping, in a cold sweat. They’ve found him.