The Rose in Winter (part 1)
That evening, Linley and his bros all walked out of an inn together. Per their usual habits, they would head to the Jade Water Paradise together.
“Boss Yale, you three go on ahead without me. I’m going to take a walk.” Linley said to them after leaving the inn.
Yale, Reynolds, and George all stared at Linley in surprise.
“I really don’t like the atmosphere all that much at the Jade Water Paradise. You guys go on ahead. In about two or three hours, I’ll meet up with you.” Linley explained, and then Bebe, standing on top of Linley’s shoulders, let out two squeaks. Mentally, Bebe said, “Boss, you headin’ to Alice’s?”
Since he was always by Linley’s side, of course Bebe knew everything.
Although Bebe didn’t seem to grow larger, his intelligence by now was the match of any human youth.
“You little…” Linley glanced at Bebe, annoyed.
“Alright, third bro, you go out for your walk. But don’t walk for too long.” Yale laughed. Linley bid his three bros farewell, then started to walk in the direction of the Dry Road.
The Dry Road didn’t see too much traffic, and thus it seemed very quiet. On both sides of the road were various restaurants and inns, with most of the customers inside being locals.
As he drew close to Alice’s residence, Linley looked up at the balcony on the second floor.
The balcony was still empty.
Linley laughed at himself. In honesty, he had only a shred of hope that she might be here. Linley immediately turned and headed into a nearby bar, selecting a window seat. Through the window, Linley could see Alice’s balcony.
“One bottle of jade wine and two cups.” Linley casually ordered.
Although the servant was rather curious as to why Linley wanted two cups, he didn’t ask.
“Bebe, drink slowly.” Linley poured a cup for Bebe and set it to the side. Bebe immediately hopped onto the table and, imitating Linley, began to sip the wine.
Holding his cup of wine and staring at the balcony, Linley sipped slowly.
Just like that, the two of them, a man and a magical beast, drank quietly, polishing off three bottles over the course of two hours. Only then did Linley pay his tab, and the two of them left the bar.
“Boss, are you really disappointed?” On Linley’s shoulder, Bebe messaged him mentally.
Linley reached out to stroke Bebe’s little head. Laughing, he ‘berated’, “You little punk.” And then Linley began walking towards the major roads of Fenlai City towards the direction of the Jade Water Paradise, enjoying the night scenery.
The second day, September 30th, Linley and his three bros left the city and returned to the Ernst Institute. That night, Alice, Kalan, and the others returned to Fenlai City.
The reason for this ‘coincidence’ was that the Ernst Institute and the Wellen had different break days for the students.
The break days for Ernst Institute students was on the 29th and 30th of each month, while for Wellen Institute students, it was on the 1st and 2nd of each month. Thus, Alice only got home on the 30th.
Although Alice stood there on the balcony, watching the crowded streets, occasionally getting excited when someone who looked similar to Linley walked by, in the end, she was always disappointed.
The afternoon of October 2nd, she had no choice but to return to school.
October 29th, Linley once again went into town to deliver three more stone sculptures. At night, Linley once again went to that bar on the Dry Road. He once more selected the same window seat, ordered the same jade wine, and began drinking with Bebe.
“Boss, looks like you are gonna be disappointed again.” Bebe looked at Linley, his beady little black eyes rolling as he mentally spoke.
“No big deal. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.” Throwing his head back, Linley polished that cup of wine off. By now, him and Bebe had finished two bottles of jade wine. But on the balcony, Linley still could not see the figure he was waiting for.
By now, the server came over.
“One more bottle of…” Halfway through his sentence, Linley paused, and his eyes lit up, his gaze focusing on that little balcony on the second floor of Alice’s house. A female figure dressed in white had suddenly appeared.
“Bill, please.” Linley immediately stood up.
The server, already preparing to grab another bottle of wine, was momentarily baffled, but he quickly recovered. After paying the bill, Linley walked out, with Bebe leaping from the table to his shoulders.
By now, it was almost eight at night. The Dry Road was getting dark. Because it wasn’t a main road, there were very few people there at night.
“It’s Alice.” Linley was absolutely certain.
“Whoah, Boss, you finally are gonna meet that beauty again. Haha! Are you happy? Are you excited? Are you impatient?” On Linley’s shoulders, Bebe continued speaking delightedly.
Linley didn’t even pay attention to Bebe. Quite agilely, he flipped over Alice’s wall, and with a push of his hands, he transformed into a black blur, landing directly onto the balcony.
Alice had been watching Linley make his way over to her past the wall this entire time.
“Big brother Linley!” Alice immediately recognized him. Her heart rate immediately sped up and, nervous, her face turned red as well. But in her heart, she was filled with joy.
Last time, she hadn’t managed to catch Linley. Upon returning to the Wellen Institute, she had asked around and found out that the Ernst Institute’s vacation days were on the 29th and the 30th. Thus, Alice had skipped class and come home two days early.
“Big brother Linley, what a coincidence.” Alice said with a smile.
Linley was briefly stunned. “Alice, yeah, what a coincidence.”
Alice couldn’t help but laugh, before she recovered and immediately tugged Linley to sit down. “Quick, sit down, don’t let anyone see you.” Linley sat down. The two of them hid in the corner of the balcony, quietly chatting with each other.
Doehring Cowart appeared at this time.
“Doehring Cowart, what is it?” Linley was a bit unhappy.
Doehring Cowart laughed loudly. “Kid, don’t talk too much with this girl about irrelevant things. Be a bit friendlier, a bit more forward. You idiot. Judging from the look of her, this Alice girl is interested in you too.”
“No rush, no rush.” Although Linley had no fear of death, at this moment in time, he was a bit unsteady and a bit wobbly, mentally speaking.
“You really are stupid.” Doehring Cowart said impatiently.
Linley began to totally ignore Doehring Cowart’s advice, only talking to Alice about irrelevant, casual topics.
Watching the two of them, in the end, Doehring Cowart could only shake his head and disappear back into the Coiling Dragon ring. While chatting with Alice, Linley didn’t notice the passage of time in the slightest.
“Big brother Linley, you are so amazing! You must have lots of girls chasing after you at the Ernst Institute, right?” Alice intentionally said these words in a casual manner, but upon hearing them, Linley’s heart began to beat faster.
“Not too bad, not too bad.” While chatting with Alice, sometimes Linley spoke without thinking.
“You idiot.” Doehring Cowart’s voice rang out in Linley’s mind.