I don't know, but I would add a little more salt to this. [Eris]
Naaah. You know what this thingy needs? More meat! [Bait]
This one does not think adding meat to salted popcorn would make it any better. [Denna]
Ha! You're not thinking big enough! Imagine! Bacon wrapped popcorn bits! Heh heh heh! Gotta write that down! [Bait]
Sweet is better [Laverna]
Hmmm This one would bake it with salted caramel, maybe a dash of butter as well [Denna]
I would like to try something more simple next. [Eris]
Oh! Could we get something more meaty after that? I want something with a little more sauce and kick! [Bait]
"Ah, Master Lin. We meet again," A voice interrupted my train of thoughts.
I turned to see the two Masters from before standing there with sticks of food in their hands. What were their names again?
Taoyan and Leizhui [Laverna]
Oh yeah... Totals forgot about these little pieces of trash. Are we doing anything with them? [Bait]
This one isn't sure either. [Denna]
I guess we'll just wait and see for now, Master will decide. [Eris]
"Ah, Master Taoyan and Master Leizhui, I see you two are enjoying the Festival?" Master greeted.
Leizhui took a bite of his chicken skewer, "It's adequate I suppose."
Taoyan also bit into his own steamed bun, "Yes, barely acceptable by our standards. I don't understand why you bother, Master Lin."
These guys talk a lot of crap while stuffing their face with Master's food. Can I punch them? [Bait]
Trash will only know how to talk trash it seems. [Eris]
This one thinks having them die is too easy. [Denna]
Master laughed, "Ahahaha! I am glad to hear that this hastily organised event was adequate enough to satisfy fellow Masters' extremely high standards!"
"Hmph I only said it was adequate, not that I was satisfied," Leizhui scoffed, still stuffing his mouth with his skewers.
Taoyan nodded from beside his partner, taking another bite from his bun, "Indeed, if this is all the festival entails to, our own celebration is much, much better."
"Oh, but we have barely even started!" Master exclaimed. "There will be a big competition at the main stage later that I think you two would very much like to participate."
"Ha! Why would this great one be interested in some festival game?!" Leizhui laughed.
"The top prize is a single petal of a Phoenix Ember," Diao Chan informed helpfully.
The two Masters' jaws dropped, turning towards Master for confirmation.
Master nodded his head, "Yes, it's true. I've come across a Phoenix Ember during my travel and I've donated one as a prize for the Festival. Though now I guess you two aren't interested in such a festival game like ours."
Taoyan gulped, "Wha What kind of a Competition is it?"
"Oh, it's a very simple and family friendly one," Master laughed. "It's just a simple quiz show where every question you answer correctly gets you a point. The one with the highest points wins the prize."
The two Masters stepped forward with an intense gaze, my hand drifted towards my hip where a blade lay hidden.
Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw the other girls also stepping forward slightly, ready at any notice of danger to spring forward to protect Master.
"Wh When is this Competition?" Leizhui asked, his entire body shaking.
Master tilted his head slightly, "Hmmm? Aren't Master Taoyan and Master Leizhui absolutely uninterested in our Sect's festival?"
Taoyan stuttered, "This This and that are two different things! Since we're already here, we might as well take part, right Leizhui?!"
Leizhui nodded enthusiastically, "Ye Yeah, that's right. Now what time does that competition start?"
"It'll be late into the night, about an hour before the official end of the year," Master informed.
Taoyan breathed, "Whew We still have time then. That gave me a scare there."
Leizhui took a step back as well, "Huh indeed. To think such a desolate--Ahem-- such a precious thing would be given away as a prize. How generous of you Master Lin."
"I am unworthy of such praise."
"But to think Master Lin would spend the time to engage in such Frivolous activities. Tsk tsk."
Master raised an eyebrow, "I'm afraid I do not understand?"
"Oh come off it," Taoyan scoffed. "You have your disciples clinging onto your arms like that already, it's obvious what you do with them when the lights go out."
Oooh~ If only he knew about what we did in Master's courtyard the other day! [Bait]
Shut up. [Eris]
Hey, I'm just sayin', no need ta be sooo touchy. [Bait]
Master smiled at them, "You couldn't be suggesting something rude, could you?"
Taoyan crossed his arms, "Hmph! We aren't even suggesting, it's prac--"
"Master Taoyan, Master Leizhui, what are you doing over there?!" A voice called out.
We all turned to see the insect of the Xi Family calling out to them.
"Father has been looking for you two! Do I need to tell him you're slacking off?"
The two hurriedly bowed to the insect.
"Not at all young master Xi! We were just speaking with Master Lin here!"
"Yes, not at all young Master Xi! We will take our leave first then, Master Lin."
The insect watched them leave before nodding his head towards us, leaving the scene quietly.
Hmph, rabid dogs that only know how to bark. [Bait]
This one thinks we should move up our plans for the Xi family even earlier. [Denna]
Yes, the others have already made the preparations. We also know that they're connected to several Dark Sects already so their fate is sealed. [Eris]
Speaking of which, isn't Delta suppose ta join that little quiz comp or what's it? [Bait]
Ah, that's right, she will be there. [Eris]
Go Support [Laverna]
This one agrees, we should suggest it to Master. [Denna]
"Master, could we see the competition later?" Lian Li asked.
Ah, seems like Lian Li beat us to it. [Bait]
Well, they are quite close after all. Delta spent a lot of time learning about preaching under her. [Eris]
Mnn Same [Laverna]
Yes. Everyone here is tied together with our love for Master. [Denna]
Master took a moment to turn his sight away from the departing Taoyan and Leizhui back to us, "Why not? You girls can go find a space to sit first, I need to go help set up the fireworks first."
"Fireworks, Master? Are those the lightshow things you told us about?" I asked, still not entirely sure of what they were.
Master gave me a toothy smile, "You girls will love it. Sit somewhere with a clear view of the sky. Now then, I'll meet you all later."
Master placed Cai Hong back on the ground before moving to leave.
"Papa... Come back fast?" Cai Hong pleaded, pulling on Master's leg.
Master patted her head, "I will, be a good girl ok?"
"Nnn!" Cai Hong nodded.
Master turned to us, "I'll be back fast, just need to tell the fireworks people some things."
"Take care, Master."
We saw him off with a bow.
Master turned to leave, passing by a security staff on the way and wishing him a happy new year while thanking him for his hard work before moving on.
The staff was visibly shocked by Master addressing him and hurriedly offered his own greeting in return.
As soon as Master was out of sight, the insect returned.
"High Priestesses," He greeted. "I assume you already know about my family's dark connections?"
Lian Li nodded, "Yes, we are proceeding as planned. What about the list?"
The insect pulled out a list from his sleeve, "This is the list of people I found who are clean. Everyone else Does not deserve Master's benevolence."
"Fufufu Good work, you can go back now," Manami made a shooing motion with her hand.
The insect left immediately without a second glance back.
If nothing goes wrong, we can move on to phase three soon.