Coincidentally, Gu Xijiu bumped into Yan Chen, who had just cleaned his house. He heard a knock and was surprised to find them at the door. Immediately, he invited them in.
They had not met for eight years. The boy, who was once steady and sentimental, had turned into a mature and responsible man. He served them tea.
Lan Waihu took a look at it. It was fruit tea, which used to be her favorite. She pinched her lips into a thin line and said softly, "Can I have a different type of tea?"
Yan Chen was surprised. "Isn't this your favorite?"
Lan Waihu looked down when she responded. "It used to be, but it is no longer my favorite. I prefer scented tea."
For a moment, Yan Chen was at loss of what to do. He simply nodded. "Alright, I will get you another one."
He wanted to make her tea with a light and delicate scent. "I want the taste to be stronger and concentrated," Lan Waihu continued.
Yan Chen frowned. "Strong tea will prevent you from a good night's sleep. You should avoid it."
"It is alright. I am quite a carefree person, so no tea will able to prevent me from sleeping soundly. Lan Yue likes to drink strong tea at night too. Just like him, we have the same preference. Strong tea does not affect us," Lan Waihu interrupted him.
Yan Chen pursed his lips and said nothing more. He continued making her a more concentrated tea, but it was not at all strong.
Suddenly, the awkwardness in the house became a little unbearable. Gu Xijiu took out some gifts while trying to engage with Yan Chen in a conversation. She tried to make the atmosphere a little livelier.
Gu Xijiu explained the reason for her visit, which was to get Yan Chen along with the men from Tianju Hall to fight against the fake Celestial Master Zuo.
Without a doubt, Yan Chen agreed to the plan and would obey Gu Xijiu's every instruction. He was given an amulet for them to communicate via directed audio.
While they were talking, Yan Chen did not look at Lan Waihu at all; not even once. Moreover, Lan Waihu had no comments in their political affairs, so she sat aside and listened to their conversation quietly.
After a while, her tea turned cold, but she continued drinking it. Yan Chen finally noticed her and saw that she was still holding her cup of cold tea. He wanted to say something but swallowed the words instead.
He took a look outside and saw the color of the sky. It was probably time for him to send them back. Gu Xijiu turned to look at Lan Waihu, who seemed to be contemplating in her deep thoughts as she stared blankly at anempty space.
Gu Xijiu called out her name, and she finally answered. Recovered from her thoughts, she rose and put her cup down.
A sudden realization hit Yan Chen. He then proceeded to take out two red invitations and handed them out. "Xijiu, Waihu, I will be getting engaged after two weeks. I hope both of you will be able to attend."
Lan Waihu froze momentarily upon hearing his words. However, she accepted the invitation. Carelessly, her sleeve knocked over the cup on the table. It fell to the ground and shattered. The tea spilled all over the floor.
"I am so sorry!" Lan Waihu quickly apologized. Her voice sounded a little hoarse.
"Are you ok?" Yan Chen looked at her face. "Are you not feeling well?"
Lan Waihu shook her head. "I was careless. I am well. It is quite late now. We should get going."
She pulled Gu Xijiu and they both left.
Gu Xijiu did not say anything, but she could clearly feel Lan Waihu's icy cold fingers on her skin. Her palms were sweaty.
Yan Chen watched as Lan Waihu walked away in a flurry and became overwhelmed with a sudden wave of emotion.
He wanted to say something but decided to stay quiet instead.
On the cover of the invitation, there was a drawing of a twin lotus flower with only one stalk. Two names were clearly engraved on the cover.
It was Yan Chen and Leng Wushuang's engagement, inviting Lan Waihu to join them in their celebration. Lan Waihu had been staring blankly at the red invitation ever since she came back.