I Heard Nothing
Feng Lan stepped quietly down the hallway of her university, walking with a somewhat strange gait that she was glad no one else was around to see. The front of her shirt and pants were soaked with what was left of Yang Ming’s lunch. The lunch he’d accidentally flung at her when he’d tripped in the cafeteria. She’d wiped off as much as she could, but the hot soup Yang Ming had been eating had burned her through her clothing. The wet fabric rubbed against her tender skin uncomfortably as she shuffled her way toward the infirmary, trying her hardest to move her legs as little as possible, while still going at a normal pace. She hoped the infirmary physician, Li Tian Lang, would have an ice pack she could use.
She gave a relieved gasp as she turned the final corner at last and stopped outside the clinic’s closed door. Raising her hand, she made to knock and enter, but she stopped herself when low voices from inside caught her attention. She hesitantly lowered her hand after a moment, not wanting to disturb when Tian Lang had a patient, one who he would close the door for during a visit. Feeling extremely disappointed, she carefully turned around and tried to find the motivation to keep moving to go find something else she could sooth her burnt skin with.
Before she could walk away, her head reflexively turned back as a quiet groan rolled through the air from behind the closed door. She bent closer and tried to silence her breathing as she listened.
Lan’s face flushed, and she leaned away from the door again as the sensual noises continued. She couldn’t believe her brotherly teammate was doing such lewd things, and on campus at that. The wondering thought of who the other person was drifted into her mind. He’d always been so infatuated with YuLian, it was almost impossible to imagine him with anyone else. Not that she wanted to imagine him doing something along those lines at all.
“Ahhh, right there, Wolf.”
Her mouth dropped open in shock as she recognized Gui Wen’s voice. Of all people, Gui Wen was the one in there, alone with Tian Lang, with the door shut, making such sounds. Lan covered her mouth with one hand as she tried to get her legs to move. Her brain didn’t seem to be listening anymore.
“Gui, move yourself up a little.”
The overwhelming onslaught of horror and disgust gave her enough strength to take a few trembling steps away from the door before she managed to break out in a light trot. She ignored the discomfort in her legs as she hurried away from the clinic and the two men inside. Never in her life would Lan have imagined that Gui’s sexual preferences would rub off onto Tian Lang. She tried to think back to how those two had been interacting in-game. Nothing had seemed out of place at all. They must have been hiding their feelings for each other very cleverly.
Lan’s eyes misted over sadly as she tried to imagine what YuLian’s reaction would be to her husband’s betrayal.
Gui Wen shifted himself further up on the infirmary bed as Tian Lang had asked. His joints popped noisily at his movements and he grimaced as pain shot through them. The comforting pressure of Tian Lang’s hands pushed down on Gui Wen’s shoulders as he skillfully massaged them. Gui Wen sighed contentedly at the relief.
“Never again,” he declared hotly into the pillow at the head of the bed. “I’m never ever going to agree to help organize the storage rooms again.”
“That would be a good idea,” Tian Lang agreed as he smirked down at Gui Wen. “Or at least, next time do it without pulling every single muscle in your back.”
“I swear, those boxes were all filled with cement,” Gui Wen mumbled indignantly. “…Go a little to the left.”
Tian Lang shifted his hands at the request and continued working the muscles.
“Ahhh… That’s nice.”
“Can you please stop that? If someone overheard, they would definitely get the wrong idea.”
Gui Wen looked somewhat surprised, but then laughed and nodded. “Sorry. Your massage just feels really good.”
“Of course it does. I’m a physician.”
“I heard nothing,” Lan mumbled as she nodded in an effort to convince herself while carefully descending a flight of stairs. “Nothing at all.”
That night, in-game…
Ugly Wolf shifted restlessly in his seat. It may have been his imagination, but he was fairly certain that Prince had been sending him strange looks throughout all of dinner. He raised one of his paws and ran his claws through the fur around his muzzle, thinking perhaps he had some food stuck there that he hadn’t noticed, but there didn’t seem to be anything. He briefly looked toward the rigid, uncomfortable-looking elf, wondering just what could be wrong. Prince caught his glance and terror flashed across his eyes. He began rapidly eating his food, and stood up before he’d even finished swallowing. The rest of the team looked up at him curiously.
“Done?” Lolidragon chirped at him as she pushed back her chair. “Took you long enough. Though, you really didn’t have to eat the last of it that quickly.”
Prince nodded determinedly, chewing as fast as he could, and wordlessly strode away from the table. Gui sent Ugly Wolf a confused look before he hurried after the elf, who was already outside. Ugly Wolf shook his head in bewilderment at Prince’s behavior and stood up to follow everyone else. He paused as YuLian stopped to pay for the food, and then walked outside with her.
She put a gentle hand on his arm and looked at him, her eyes filled with concern. “Are you okay? You seem distracted.”
“I’m fine,” he soothed with a nod, and smiled down at her warmly. “Prince was acting kind of weird, though.”
She chuckled, slipped her hand into his, and squeezed it. “Prince always acts weird.”
“I suppose,” he acknowledged, but couldn’t help thinking there was something else going on. He tried to brush off the feeling with a shrug as they left the town for their nightly training.
Prince couldn’t understand why he’d never noticed it before. It was so obvious when he finally took the time to observe his two teammates. He’d felt a little relieved for YuLian when Ugly Wolf sat beside her and Gui had sat down next to Prince, but then he’d realized the two were sitting across from each other. They’d even been sending one another many meaningful looks, ones that hadn’t gone unnoticed. Prince narrowed his eyes angrily. Their schemes were all coming together in his mind.
With a glance toward Ugly Wolf and Gui, who were talking together in whispering voices a few feet away, Prince stepped over to YuLian. “Hey.”
She turned to him expectantly. “Hey?”
Prince almost couldn’t bear looking at her happy smile. Telling her felt almost as cruel as what Ugly Wolf and Gui had done. But letting her go on in her blissful ignorance seemed even worse. “Is everything okay between you and Wolf-dàgē?” he finally asked, quietly enough that only the two of them could hear.
“Yes, everything is fine. Why do you ask?”
His heart dropped even more as she raised an eyebrow obliviously. He tried to think of a gentle way to break the news. “W-well… I kind of heard… something…”
“What do you mean?”
Prince sighed. This was getting increasingly difficult. “It was earlier today, and, um…”
“Outside of the game?”
“Y-yeah,” Prince’s voice dropped to a whisper and he inched closer. “You know Wolf-dàgē is a university physician, right?” She nodded. “Well, please, don’t tell the others, but I’m a student there. I went to the infirmary for, um, various reasons, and I heard-”
“What are you two whispering about over here?” Ugly Wolf cut in, looking from YuLian to Prince curiously.
Prince quickly hid behind YuLian, though it didn’t work very well due to his height, and stared guardedly over her shoulder at Ugly Wolf. “Nothing,” Prince snapped, feeling extremely angry that he’d been interrupted right when he’d finally gathered up enough courage to say the terrible news. Ugly Wolf gave him a suspicious, probing look, and Prince’s eyes widened in horror. Perhaps the wolf had realized that Prince was on to him.
Ugly Wolf finally nodded and shrugged. “Well, we’re ready whenever you two are.”
Prince nodded at him curtly, but stayed behind his human shield. When Ugly Wolf took a step closer and raised his paw-like hands, Prince grabbed YuLian and dragged her backward a few steps to a safe spot out of his reach. “No, no! Don’t come any closer!”
Ugly Wolf froze and looked distressed at the action. “But I have to bless you before the fight.”
“You can bless me from over there!”
“Prince, what in the world is wrong with you?” YuLian looked at him over her shoulder in confusion and annoyance.
“W-What did I do to make you act like this?” Ugly Wolf asked in a hurt voice.
“You know perfectly well what you did, don’t pretend to be innocent!” Prince glared at him, refusing to fall for the blank looks the two miscreants were wearing. “I’ve seriously misjudged you, but now I know!”
Ugly Wolf’s forehead scrunched up in a perplexed way. “What are you talking about?”
“I heard you both!” Prince announced accusingly as he wildly pointed from Ugly Wolf to Gui. “In the clinic, with the door shut! You, you were…!” He couldn’t quite get himself to end his sentence, but they looked like they understood, anyway.
“What’s going on?” YuLian asked faintly.
Gui and Ugly Wolf exchanged silent, horrified looks. The sympathy for YuLian welling up inside Prince was edged with a slight satisfaction at revealing their secret relationship at last.
Gui didn’t know he could feel so shocked. He couldn’t even think properly, let alone form some sort of coherent explanation. It was one thing for Prince to assume Gui was gay, since there were obvious reasons. But for Prince to suddenly pin that on Ugly Wolf was completely unexpected. Ugly Wolf had never once pretended or implied anything of the sort. After all, he had YuLian to pursue. It would be completely bizarre to think he would be going after anyone else, and especially Gui of all people.
He inwardly tore himself to shreds as he realized the magnitude of Prince’s misunderstanding. Ugly Wolf’s cautionary words from earlier that day rang in his ears as he stared at Prince’s condemning scowl. They had indeed been overheard, and by the one person Gui never would have wanted to have overhear. The fact that Prince thought Gui had feelings for someone else was more terrible to him than the misunderstanding itself.
“Prince!” he yelled in mortification and shook his head as hard as he could. “You’ve completely misunderstood! We weren’t doing anything!”
“I don’t believe you!” Prince returned in a bellow, causing YuLian to wince since his mouth was right beside her ear.
“Prince!” Ugly Wolf called pleadingly. “He isn’t lying! We really weren’t doing anything!”
“What were all those creepy noises, then?” Prince demanded distrustfully.
“I was giving him a massage!” Ugly Wolf yelled in a somewhat panicky voice. Lolidragon suddenly began to roar with laughter. Gui nearly punched Ugly Wolf as he blurted out the completely inefficient explanation, which in itself had extremely provocative implications. Based on what Prince was already thinking, Gui knew that would only make Prince fall deeper into his wrong impression.
Just as Gui predicted, Prince’s face looked even more disgusted, and he crouched lower behind YuLian. “A very thorough one, I’m sure! You pervert, I can’t believe you! I’m never going back to the infirmary again!”
Ugly Wolf’s eyes flew open as wide as they would go upon realizing that he’d only made things worse. “THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT!”
“Everyone, SHUT UP!” YuLian screamed, her fists tightly clenched and fury covering her face. She whirled around and pointed her finger in Prince’s face. “You! Stop making such wild accusations against my husband when you have no definite proof!” She turned and pointed at Lolidragon and Doll. “You two, stop laughing!” She finally turned back to Gui and Ugly Wolf, and took a deep breath. Gui flinched, but rather than yelling, she blinked slowly and stared at them. “Please, explain clearly.”
Gui sighed and silently thanked her for calming the situation. “I was helping a few other professors at the university organize a storage room, and hurt my back.”
“I gave his back a massage! And nothing else!” Ugly Wolf added indignantly, and pointed a claw at Gui. “He was the one making all the unneeded noises!”
“It wasn’t my intention to be misleading!”
“You still were!”
“Well, I’m sorry!” Gui yelled, his face burning with embarrassment.
Prince was still looking between them skeptically, but relaxed somewhat a moment later and sighed. “I guess that makes sense. Sorry, Wolf-dàgē. I should have known you wouldn’t do anything like that.”
“It’s fine,” Ugly Wolf said, giving the elf a relieved smile.
“Okay,” Prince breathed as he finally emerged from his hiding place behind YuLian, and eagerly drew his sword, looking as though he’d forgotten all about the misunderstanding. “Lets get fighting.”
It didn’t go unnoticed to Gui that Prince had purposefully skipped over apologizing to him. But he wasn’t particularly surprised. This whole thing had been his fault, after all.
With a tired sigh, he stepped up beside Ugly Wolf as Lolidragon and Prince ran forward after being blessed to finally attack the monsters nearby. Gui slowly pulled out his guqin and stared absently into the trees, not feeling very motivated to shoot things.
“I just had a thought,” Ugly Wolf suddenly informed with an amused expression.
Gui glanced up at him and raised an eyebrow. “What is it?”
“If you hadn’t been making so much noise, Prince himself would have come into the infirmary.”
For several long moments, Gui was silent. In the panic and confusion, that hadn’t even crossed his mind. Self loathing suddenly boiled up again and he nearly threw his guqin on the ground in outrage at himself. “WHY AM I SUCH AN IDIOT? !”
Ugly Wolf quietly watched his tantrum, and then shrugged. “Sometimes I wonder, too…”
For several months proceeding the incident, Tian Lang only had a grand total of two visitors in the infirmary. One was Gui Wen who came to eat lunch with him every other day as he usually did. The second was a very cautious and jumpy male student neither of them had met before who got hit on the head during a raucous game of baseball and couldn’t go to the hospital straight away.