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Chapter 184

“Ah, delicious!”

He Zhizhou swallowed a mouthful of braised pork trotters, a blissful smile spreading across his face.

“Much better than the roast goose and watermelon at our sect!”

Zheng Weiqi exposed him without hesitation.

“You can’t blame the Xuanxu Sword Sect for this. If you hadn’t been spending money recklessly, you wouldn’t have to beg for food in the cafeteria!”

Ning Ning kept her head down, quietly eating her rice, while Lin Xun blushed and touched his empty money pouch.

They kept chatting away, with only Pei Ji remaining silent throughout the meal.

To be honest, this seemed like the first time he’d ever eaten with so many people, with laughter filling the room.

He was used to being alone. No one wanted to be around a half-blood demon like him, so Pei Ji gradually learned to keep his distance, creating a deep gap between himself and others.

Over time, he almost forgot how to interact with people.

As for now, even though everyone was sitting around the same table in this elegant room, he still felt out of place, isolated from the group.

Pei Ji frowned, self-loathing evident in his eyes. He felt awful—aloof and tongue-tied, unable even to start a conversation with Ning Ning.

This thought made him pause for a moment.

Why…why did he think of her name at a time like this?

“Pei Ji, Pei Ji.”

A cheerful voice broke through his thoughts, and Pei Ji looked up coldly to see Ning Ning turning her head, looking at him with interest.

“Why aren’t you moving? Can’t pick up the food?” Not understanding her words, he suddenly saw her lean forward, her eyes twinkling as she reached out her right hand.

“Look, you should hold the chopsticks like this—your posture is all wrong.”

Pei Ji’s mother never taught him how to hold chopsticks.

The scent of the girl replaced the aroma of the dishes, making him a bit nervous. He slowed his breathing and lowered his eyelashes, adjusting his grip to match her hand movements.

“Not like that.”

The others continued their lively conversation, but her voice rang clear in his ears. Ning Ning used her left hand to gently press down on his thin fingers.

Then, applying a bit of pressure, she moved his index finger down.

There was a scar on the middle of his index finger, a reminder of a time when his enraged mother lashed out with a knife, and Pei Ji had no choice but to raise his hand to block it.

Ning Ning noticed the old scar and quickly blinked, almost instinctively brushing her thumb over it.

A tingling sensation, like an electric current, ran through the scar, making Pei Ji’s back stiffen as he held his breath.


When Ning Ning first saw the scar, she thought of Pei Ji’s childhood, as described in the original story. His half-crazed mother treated him as a scapegoat for his demon father’s misdeeds, constantly abusing him and leaving many scars.

She didn’t think much when she touched it, only feeling anger and a bit of sadness. It was only when she saw Pei Ji’s reaction that she realized the intimacy of the gesture, lowering her voice and asking, “Does it still hurt?”

Pei Ji’s voice was hoarse. “No.”

She still looked down at his fingers. Hearing his answer, she quickly moved on, her only reaction being the slight reddening of her ears.

“Then, the thumb needs to hold up a bit—if you hold the chopsticks like this, it’s hard to pick up anything.”

Pei Ji obediently followed her instructions, subtly closing his fingers to hide more of the calluses and scars.


“Wine, wine, the wine is here!”

Tian Xianzi and Zheng Weiqi were watching with amusement, their faces full of smiles.Only He Zhizhou was too stupid to understand the atmosphere and shouted happily, “A real man doesn’t need to hold chopsticks properly! Pei Ji, don’t listen to Ning Ning. Come, drink with your senior brothers; let’s not stop until we’re drunk!”

Hearing this, Ning Ning quickly withdrew her hand from Pei Ji’s fingers.

Tian Xianzi smiled and recited the calming mantra 9981 times in his heart, trying not to draw his sword and chop He Zhizhou into pieces to eat with rice.

Tianxiang Tower, the restaurant they were in, was known for its vast collection of wines, with “Jiuzhou Spring Return” being the most famous, said to taste like nectar, fragrant and mellow, with a lingering aftertaste.

A waitress filled everyone’s cups. Ning Ning, having never tasted real wine in either of her lives, picked up her cup and sniffed it lightly.

‘Jiuzhou Spring Return’ was as clear as a mirror, with rings swirling on its surface. Its fragrance was pure and cold, like the first thaw of snow, with a refreshing and cool undertone. The lingering flavor was long-lasting, the mellow scent sliding from her nose to her throat like a spring breeze brushing her face.

Curious, she took a sip and immediately frowned.

Too strong.

Pei Ji heard her put down her cup quickly and silently lifted his.

He had never drunk wine either, being too poor when he was young and too busy when he grew up.

“Everyone, one cup each, no cheating.”

Tian Xianzi took a sip, feeling like he was ascending to heaven, and laughed happily.

“This wine isn’t strong; it’s all about the mellow flavor. You can drink without worry.”

Zheng Weiqi chimed in with a smile.

“Junior Brother Pei Ji, come on! Don’t think we won’t make you drink just because you’re sitting quietly on the side.”

Seeing that she had to drink, Ning Ning looked a bit troubled.

“Pei Xiaoji! It’s your turn to step up!”

Cheng Ying was excited, kicking him in his mind.

“Ning Ning obviously doesn’t want to drink. Now’s the time for you to drink on her behalf! Quick, quick, quick, say with all your might, ‘I’ll help you drink’ hehehe.”

Pei Ji could tell she didn’t like the taste of the wine.

He rarely listened to Cheng Ying, but seeing Ning Ning frown, he instinctively reached out and grabbed her cup.

“I’ll drink for you.”

Ning Ning hadn’t yet reacted when she saw him tilt his head back and down the entire cup.

The room fell silent, with everyone showing different expressions.

Tian Xianzi tried to suppress his laughter, his shoulders shaking uncontrollably.

Wonderful, wonderful, Pei Ji had grown up.

Ning Ning’s ears turned slightly red, and she couldn’t find her words.

Wait! Wait a minute! If Pei Ji took her wine cup like this, wouldn’t they be indirectly…kissing?

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