171 5.21

"Hahah, you're so slow!" A young student runs through the nearly empty hallways of the school while a few others chase after him with varying levels of struggle.

"Shut up; it's you who's too fast!" The boy who was closest to catching up snaps irritatedly.

Another boy looks behind to see two of his less athletic friends struggling behind and laughs, feeling a little better that he wasn't last at least.

As if sensing the schadenfreude, the two students lagging behind looks up and scowl.

"Fuck, ugh, off.. damn!" One of them hisses, while the other, too tired to even speak, just weakly gives the other a shaky middle finger as support.

The fastest student did not feel bad at all about his friends' sufferings and just felt even more motivated to show off and collect more hatred points. Speeding up, he calls back playfully, "Come on, come on! If we're too slow we might miss class!"

"Whose fucking fault-"

"No running in the halls." Jia Hyson, who had heard the oncoming commotion opens the door to his classroom and reaches out to grab the fast-passing student with perfect timing and accuracy while scolding him gently. If it wasn't for his vampiric strength, then, given the student's fast speed, he might have actually been pulled along in the momentum of the other's mad dash for class. Instead, the quick-footed teenager nearly choked when his shirt was suddenly grabbed, and if it wasn't for Alaric's firm grip, he might have actually fallen onto his face.

Meanwhile, Alaric had turned to the other running students and also added meaningfully in a chiding tone, "No cursing either."

"Yes…" The boys who had been running blushed and slowed down their paces with red faces. The fastest student that had been caught hung his head like a deflated balloon, a little ashamed but excited to meet his idol despite the embarrassing situation.

Jia Hyson smiles and chuckles, "You're so obedient, like puppies." He teases.

The teenagers were thin-skinned and didn't know how to respond, flushing harder, while the fastest one had covered his face, half-glad the attention wasn't directed too much on him.

Knowing that they didn't truly mean to cause a large ruckus and were just being naturally chaotic as they raced to get to class, thanks to his superior hearing, Jia Hyson did not give them too much of a lecture. Instead, he briefly went over the problems of running through the halls during class hours as well as reminding them to be more careful with time and setting the appropriate alarms before letting them go. "-do you understand?"

"En." The younger students nodded like little chicks pecking rice.

Jia Hyson smiles supportively at them, his bright blue eyes curving into crescents and causing more than a few of the young and energetic students to clutch their chests to try to keep themselves together. Letting the fastest teenager go, he turns around to go back to class but pauses as the young man he had released immediately turns around to look back at him with an expression wanting to say something.

"A-Alaric.." The fastest student clenches his fist and then shouts passionately, "I-I will vote for you as president during the elections!"

"Yeah!" "Me too!" "Same, same!"

Jia Hyson laughs and felt some of the students here were really too cute. Waving away their determination helplessly, he could only reply, "I'm flattered, truly, but please vote for Silas instead. He is much more suitable than me."

Male students: '…' Where? Do you mean in terms of his face???

However, Jia Hyson could not hear the inner hearts of the group he had just left behind. He closes the class door quietly before turning around to be faced with his classmates' bright, admiring eyes.

Jia Hyson: '…' Aiyo, I'm so popular.

While he felt the reactions were a bit exaggerated, as a person who was actually quite introverted during his young formative years as a middle and even high school student, this sort of feeling was pretty good. Not to mention his narcissistic side, which had only been fuelled by Alaric's strong need for praise, was practically preening like a particularly proud peacock.

With a soft smile, he doesn't say anything and walks back to his table, pulling out his textbook and pretending to read it. The moment he does, the room descends into whispers and activity.

"Damn, Alaric is so handsome, as expected of the Gentle Emperor. How did he manage to catch that little freshman so accurately?"

"Could it be he has martial arts? Uh, karate? Wushu?"

"Damn, don't be racist, not every Asian knows how to fight like in the movies."

"Isn't Alaric mixed?"

"If not, how can you explain the blue eyes? Don't look at that gentle smile. He's really strict about the rules, no way those are contacts."

"Well if he's mixed then he doesn't know any ancient karate then, it's a shame I feel it'll be really handsome.

"Hey. That doesn't mean he doesn't know martial arts."

"I don't care; either way, I love him. He's so delicate, but he works so hard, and he's so nice and gentlemanly, and he is so serious and lovely, and he's better than those smelly boys and is more understanding and in touch with his emotions and romantic, and- haaaaaa-!" One of the teenage girls starts to hyperventilate, face flushed and watery eyes full of idol worship. Her deskmate pats her on the back, clearly used to her friend's excitability.

Nearby another group of male classmates were having their own similar but very different conversation, "Alaric is pretty cool for a nag, like the mother I always wanted."

One of the boys snaps his fingers, "Yes! Oh my god! Yes! He's like the gentle mother or kind mature older sister of my dreams! That is exactly it!"

"I can see that!"


"To be honest, I once called him 'mum'.. it just slipped. I was so embarrassed."

"…To be more honest I accidentally referred to him as my mum to my other friends outside of school."

"….To be more honest, I started watching stepmother porn after meeting Alaric."

"…..To be honest, get the fuck out, George. You are not welcome here."

"I thought we were being honest!?!?!?"

Jia Hyson's lips twitch as multiple similar conversations like this are picked up by him. He didn't know if it was because of the way the original plot formed this part of the world and the characters in it, but everyone was really, on varying levels, a big fucking gossip. He was sure even without vampire hearing, he would still be able to catch more or less the general idea of what they were talking about.

This was most likely due to the exposition-like nature of many characters' dialogues one would usually see in some stories. After all, there were many times Jessica Fang, the original protagonist, would be clueless and would rely on the constant gossip or the fact that there simply were just too many people who couldn't seem to keep their mouths shut and had the urge to educate to her everything that could possibly be explained about the situation.

Honestly though, when not used maliciously, it was quite cute ah. Like little chittering birds. Jia Hyson's smile widens, and he lowers his head to try to hide the smugness.

"You're so popular."

A low and lazy voice rumbles into his ear, making him twitch. Subconsciously, Jia Hyson waves off the itchy feeling in his ear like how one would instinctively wave when a fly buzzes too close. "You would be popular too if you did more." Jia Hyson complains half-heartedly. However, to be honest, he was already fairly pleased with Prince Silas' attitude.

Prince Silas huffs, "Why would I need to worry about such a thing? If I am not well-liked for myself, then what's the point of putting so much effort into forcing others to like a fake me?" He reaches over to lightly poke the side of Jia Hyson's wrist, "It's so tiring, besides I'm already so popular anyway. Why would I need to try?"

Jia Hyson sighs, "It's still good to spend a bit more effort developing your social skills, Silas. Just having natural talent, good status, and an attractive face will only bring shallow connections with motive. It's better for you to develop more sincere friendships. It's good you're cultivating an interest in reading and the internet, but what's the point if you barely utilise it on others?"

"You think I'm attractive?" Prince Silas leans over and whispers into his ear again. This time he purposely lowers his voice to give it a seductive and flirtatious timbre that made Jia Hyson tremble slightly.

"Is that all you got from that?" Jia Hyson clicks his tongue, trying to ignore the warmth on his cheeks.

"I already know the other things; therefore this was the most important one to me." Prince Silas smiles a little foolishly.

Maybe it's because they had been in the school environment for so long, or maybe it's because Silas had become more prone to internet addiction. Still, his originally aloof and lazy temperament had slowly become a bit more rogue-like. At least toward him. However, overall, Jia Hyson had to admit he had become far more lively and expressive than before.

But still pretty damn lazy.

"If you already know the other things, then why aren't you doing them?" Jia Hyson felt like a tutor trying to teach a bear child* how to do their homework. "You can't always hang around me like you've been doing since we started school here."

*bear children are difficult to handle, naughty and overbearing kiddos like lil bears.

Yes, it had already been two years since they entered St Lailah's Academy.

There was not much to say about school life there. In Jia Hyson's opinion, it was simply just a more regulated and education-based way of living than he had done so before. While he couldn't do any patrolling, the academy allowed students to leave the premises after school and on weekends to go to nearby cities and parks, provided that they came back before a set curfew.

However, since the students were mainly children of important and high-standing public figures or vampires, of course, there were security measures both on the light and dark side of the academy to ensure minimal security risks.

Generally, though, most prestigious children were more or less used to such things. While the vampires weren't happy about it, most of them believed it was mainly for the weaker humans' sake and were, therefore, mostly appeased by this belief.

Jia Hyson wasn't affected much by that either. After all, Alaric was a good child who wouldn't go wild, and basically, Jia Hyson was the type who was happy to spend his days at home with stable wi-fi and good food anyway. It's not that he dislikes going out, but more often than not, a warm bed, a good story, and some warm tea were far more enticing than a hot body and a passionately exciting time.

Despite his high libido, Jia Hyson was not the type to live and die for his dick. Hence, when he heard there were curfews, he didn't struggle too much with it, nor did he rebel like a lot of other students and sneak out. Instead, it provided a valid excuse to stay in his dorms and enjoy himself reading, writing, taking photos of himself for the blog, watching shows and doing whatever he pleased.

And if he needed to vent… well, there was no one as skilled as himself ah~ It's not that he doesn't want to do a school romance, but there was simply nobody to catch his eyes that wasn't going to be troublesome to deal with. After all, one shouldn't shit where one eats; with the same logic, one can't simply just fuck with people you share a class with.

Not to mention the human options around him were simply too young, and the vampires were a bit too… politically entangled. In the past two years, he only looked toward catching a handsome or pretty graduating student for a few months of secret dating or even just a short, very intense 'celebration' with the other before they left the school.

Heh, during the end of the first year he had entered St Lailah's, Jia Hyson only spent time with one graduating student and had eaten up the cute young man thoroughly during their month together before he spat him out into the adult world. After this taste of success, it was like a new world was open to him. At the end of the second year of school, he had become even bolder and accepted four confessions by offering to sleep with them once if they so desired before they left the school. After some thought, one young lady declined, but the other admirers- two female, one male- agreed, eager to enjoy themselves with their love interest and leave with no regrets.

This year, Jia Hyson, who was even more popular than before, was completely looking forward to the end of the year once more. (⁄ ⁄>⁄ ▽ ⁄<⁄ ⁄)< p>

Bebe: 'Like a fisherman, you're just waiting until they're old enough to be picked off. Bebe doesn't know how to feel about that.'

Jia Hyson waves his system's words with little care. After all, they've had similar conversations before. 'Don't be like this; at that age, they're able to make their own decisions and mistakes. Even children are not as stupid as some people tend to think, much less teenagers who are at the age to drive. Besides, I made it clear and gave them the ability to make their choice. It's not my fault if they like me so much they agree.'

In a way, it was an equal exchange. Jia Hyson's body is satisfied, and the other party gets to have a good time. After all, as an experienced man who values his partner's pleasure and satisfaction in bed, Jia Hyson would make sure that if they were virgins, they would still have a pleasant and enjoyable experience, giving them a good memory of their first time instead of a painful one.

So there really wasn't much to note of. Probably the biggest change in his current life by entering the academy is that he managed to gather more friendly acquaintances and nurture deeper friendships during this period of time.

Alaric is meant to be bad-tempered and strict in the original story. An annoying, no-nonsense person who could only see the black and white dictated by the rules. But now that Jia Hyson was placed early in the timeline, he had nearly completely altered this image. Like a sculptor who slowly chips away the jagged and uneven edges to become smooth and polished.

But the people who had watched the slow process and were used to the original form would not necessarily notice nor truly appreciate it better than a passerby who had never seen the sculpture before.

Those used to the old Alaric would still admire the process, but the comparison and the shadow of the past would more or less still be present in their hearts. Therefore in a different environment with many people who had no previous history with each other, a new impression can be more easily cemented.

By utilising the meaning of 'three men can make a tiger*' to his advantage, Jia Hyson skilfully used these unfamiliar people's impressions of him to even more firmly change his reputation among those he already knew previously, even giving himself a few changes to make it easier on himself. It could be said that while his long-term acting needed work, his manipulation tactics were really worthy of a slag man.

*三人成虎; pinyin: sān rén chéng hǔ- refers to an individual's tendency to accept absurd information as long as it is repeated by enough people. It refers to the idea that if an unfounded premise or urban legend is mentioned and repeated by many individuals, the premise will be erroneously accepted as the truth. The origin of the proverb is there was a young emperor who was surrounded by flatterers and officials that spread rumours for their benefit. One day the loyal councillor said there was a tiger in the streets. The emperor didn't believe him until the councillor claimed three people saw it, which the emperor then panicked and ran to check. Seeing that there was no tiger, the councillor told him this was a lesson on how he needed to be warier of the swindlers and rumours of the court.

Fortunately, OOC deductions weren't strict for him despite his continuous problems with them. As a Beta system host, he was given a little freedom to interpret and edit his character in order to have a better opportunity to adjust future plots. However, OOC is detected when his actions are completely illogical given the character settings that he established or was previously established that weren't changed.

For example, Bai Li Wei should've been homophobic or at least reacted very negatively to having people he was close to view him in a sexual light due to his unfortunate past that circled around his beautiful looks and the lust of others. Accepting it and even slightly encouraging this taboo of having the 'adopted son' Li Guiren and 'adopted grandson' Tian Shun falling for Bai Li Wei was obviously a huge discrepancy.

Or Prince Farrell should've been very prideful and spoiled, even though Jia Hyson had altered the character to be more down-to-earth and love-able, the submissive and cheap shou* like the behaviour of forgiving Sefu after he did so much completely went against the character settings. Overall, it was always something, but it wasn't unwarranted either.

*the trope of scum gong and cheap shou- Cheap in this case means that the person values themselves as 'cheap' or worthless, which is why they forgive the scum after only a little back and forth despite all the abuse they went through because of true love. It was more trendy in older stories and yaoi manga.

However, this time, with so much natural editing to allow most of his true self to fit this character in a very logical way, Jia Hyson was pretty confident he's got this.

"Anyway, while I'm happy to be treated as your closest confident Silas, I believe we should at least have a bit of distance this year." Jia Hyson ruthlessly continues, looking deeply at Silas's black eyes.

"I don't see why this is the case?" Prince Silas's face was still quite neutral, but the fact his brows were furrowing showed his obvious frustration and rejection of the idea of leaving Alaric's side.

"You've already adapted well enough to the environment and the human students." He stated calmly, "If you keep staying with me and not learning to grow by yourself as a person, then my presence is simply counterproductive. Mr G-"Jia Hyson immediately shut his mouth, a little embarrassed that he had subconsciously brought the older vampire up once more.

Not only had it been two years since they'd been in the academy, but it had also been two years since Mr Garth had broken up with him.

At first, he had been understandably a bit shocked, but to be honest, their wavelength was really similar. If they weren't, Jia Hyson would not be suggesting a similar proposal to Silas for similar reasons. Therefore it was really not hard for Jia Hyson to understand most of Mr Garth's arguments at the time, so they parted very amiably.

Suddenly the phone hidden in his blazer vibrates. Jia Hyson glances at the front of the classroom and sees the teacher still isn't here yet, which was fairly normal given they had self-study first period. A teacher should still be present to supervise, but it seems this year, their homeroom teacher who should be watching over them was known to be notoriously late. If it wasn't for Alaric's insistence on some form of order in the classroom, it could be said the students would be much rowdier and far less restrained than their current gossipy selves.

Fishing out his phone, the corner of his lips curl upwards. Speak of Cao Cao, and he shall appear*.

*Chinese equivalent to 'Speak of the devil'. Cao Cao was a warlord and the great chancellor of the Eastern Han dynasty who rose to great power during the time, a ruler and military genius character in Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Mr Garth had sent him a photo. It was his gruff self, two half-smoked cigarettes held between his fingers, with a tilted cocky smile. What was most eye-catching was the man was wearing large light blue headphones with white accents and an adorable pair of cat ears.

[Mr Garth: They have it in blue and pink, but I think the blue looks good with your eyes. The clerk said it was new from Japan, and this is very good for streaming content too. Do you like it?]

Jia Hyson's eyes light up, and he touches the corner of his smiling lips before quickly replying back.

[Like! I like it so much! Heavybreathingfatcat.jpeg]

[Mr Garth: it even lights up]


[Teacher you're so handsome today! I like it so much ah!]

[Mr Garth: Hairflipandwave.gif]

"What are you doing?"

"Sorry, sorry, just texting Mr Garth quickly." Jia Hyson apologetically responds but still continues to tap on his phone with a warm smile.

Even if Mr Garth and himself had broken up, they were both still on friendly terms and often kept in touch. After all, he was a mature individual, and while it wasn't often, he also had his fair share of breakups himself. There was no shame in no longer being interested, and no one was obligated to continue being affectionate just because the other was. Even if it was a bit of a blow to one's self-esteem, Jia Hyson could get over it quite well, depending on the other party's attitude.

Besides, he wasn't emotionally inept or stupid and after Mr Garth elaborated more after the sudden statement to break off the relationship Jia Hyson quickly understood this was less of a breakup and more of a 'break'. Therefore things became much easier to handle, and there was no need to alienate each other at all.

Besides.. Jia Hyson still felt he liked this man quite a lot and was reluctant to completely cut off the connection. Even if they really did break up, he would be willing to wait for a second chance ah. Chances for such high compatibility were fleeting. There's nothing wrong with trying to spend a bit of effort to recapture it if it was lost. Of course, it was still fortunate this wasn't the case, and the situation itself made Jia Hyson like the other even more.

After all, Mr Garth most likely had let him go because he truly thought it was the best way to sacrifice this period of time in order to prune off the weakness of their relationship and produce a stronger bond later on. Jia Hyson appreciated this logic and thought process a lot.

As a person who really did have commitment issues, this sort of strange choice to others was, to himself at least, one of the biggest displays of affection and compatibility one could give to him. It showed him Mr Garth really did think about Alaric's well-being, given his age and lack of experience.

Jia Hyson is not an expert in this sort of pure romance. He loves the possessiveness in people, the manipulative and twisted desires in others, jealousy, lust, greed… but he knew what he liked was not necessarily love. He found something he felt should be love in Da Gong, and maybe in his original world with… but in a way, he had unexpectedly found the true consideration that love can bring forth in Mr Garth.

At the very least, such a man who could let go, not because of any big dramas, natural dislike, guilt, or other external factors such as a third party's influence, and only did so with the other party's well-being and thoughts in mind… Jia Hyson really doesn't think he's encountered this thing before.

In stories, there were a few situations similarly, where the male lead would break up with the main character because he didn't want the main character to be with someone like himself or that the other deserved better, breaking the main character's heart in the process. This sort of act was more than a bit presumptuous and arrogant, and while Jia Hyson did, on some level, accept the reasoning, he still found it a bit stupid and overly dramatic.

However, Mr Garth not only explained his choices clearly to him but even emphasised that he didn't really want to leave him but only wanted to give Jia Hyson the freedom to gain enough experience to make an informed decision.

"I'm not worried," Mr Garth had said as he summoned his cigarettes and lighter before winking at him, "I mean, I'm so good looking, and we're so compatible, I know you'll come back eventually."

Jia Hyson remembers smiling helplessly at the man's rather cocky attitude. Despite the bold and confident words, it was clear the older man was so nervous he couldn't even light his cigarettes properly when he was talking to him. It was really cute.

Such an attitude, how could Jia Hyson not soften and wish to reciprocate a little bit.

Therefore even though they had broken up, Jia Hyson, for once, didn't ghost his ex and instead maintained their connection in some way. Mr Garth, who was a little hesitant at first, couldn't hide his happiness in the end, and they had become very good texting buddies.

They would often chat through messages at least a few times a week with little pressure, just discussing various casual matters or sending photos of anything interesting to each other. It was very fun, and in a way, they became a little closer than they had beforehand.

And the matters were really causal. Maybe it was because they had already spent quite a long time together for their standards; other than the initial awkwardness of trying to figure out new boundaries, there was practically no sense of discomfort or guardedness.

Sometimes Mr Garth would just pop in to compliment the new Jasmine blog post or mention he was trying a new type of cigarettes. In the same way, if Jia Hyson had an amusing story or was shared a particularly funny meme by a classmate, he didn't hesitate to send it to the other. Overall they were very friendly, but occasionally they couldn't help but be a bit more intimate and ambiguous, but it still didn't pierce the paper-thin barrier completely.

Probably the most affectionate thing was the gifts, especially Mr Garth, who would send him any cute accessories or skirts he saw on his missions. Maybe it's because he was a playboy who had dated many women, maybe it's because he was now an avid fan of Jasmine, or maybe his tastes were just so in line with Jia Hyson's own, but all of the things he sent were really in line with his aesthetics, which sincerely pleased him.

At the same time, Jia Hyson will not slacken in his ability to return back the kindness.

While he couldn't do as much given his relatively limited freedom, the closest place he could go out to visit on the weekends was catered toward the rich students of this academy. Therefore there were many snacks and gaming-related content, so he would occasionally pick out some new food and drinks to send off to the teacher, as well as any cute merchandise that was related to things Mr Garth had previously expressed his enthusiasm for.

Even though Jia Hyson wasn't especially interested in gaming, especially this sort of fighting multiplayer online battle arena type things, that didn't mean he looked down on others who did enjoy it. Since Mr Garth was willing to accept his penchant for dressing up, why couldn't he do the same to support his hobbies?

Immersing himself in the sweetness of this ambiguity between them, Jia Hyson ignored Prince Silas' handsome face that darkened at the reply.

If Mr Garth had been pleasantly surprised by this turn of events, Prince Silas, in turn, was incredibly displeased. No, 'incredibly displeased' could be considered a major understatement.

Seeing that Alaric's fingers began moving at a faster and faster speed as he got more engaged in his conversation with the other vampire, Prince Silas clenches his fists as a sense of despair seems to well up inside him.

When he found out the two had broken up, Silas obviously thought that maybe, during this period time, he could, well, take this opportunity to win the other over. During this time, Silas felt he liked Alaric more and more as they got closer, thanks to this almost boarding school-like school life.

Even if Alaric liked to scold and held high expectations, the other had become more understanding and softer, to the point it even became a cute point in his eyes. And because their daily lives were so intertwined now, Silas even got to see the childish and playfully sweet side of the other he had not normally gotten the privilege to see before as well.

Not to mention.. that blog…

Either way, it seemed that the more Silas learned about the other, the more he liked Alaric, and the more he tried to change for the better. Even if it wasn't a lot, he was doing his best, it was hard to alter his habits and very nature, but at the same time, it felt redeeming and so satisfying whenever Alaric noticed and praised him for working hard, validating his efforts. But every time he saw Alaric become so happy when Mr Garth contacts him, it felt like it was all meaningless.

It was like he was doing his best to run to the finish line, but the finish line was being moved further and further away. At first, it felt like it was still within reach but over time, the more he ran, the more he tried his best to chase, Silas felt the gap had become a nearly impossible endeavour, and he couldn't see the end of the line at all anymore.

It was so difficult and hopeless, but he still wanted to reach that goal despite that. This was the first person he took an interest in and really liked. This was the first time he felt a willingness to do his best and try to do more. He didn't want to let it go at all.

And that was probably the most despairing feeling of it all. That he still couldn't give up, despite knowing full well, he should.

"Are you done yet?" Silas tried not to sound so sour, but he couldn't help it. Watching Alaric look so sweet and pining toward the phone filled him with the uncomfortable feeling of anxiety and the ugly emotion of jealousy.

"Almost.." Jia Hyson sends his last message before he slips his phone back into his blazer and looks at Prince Silas seriously. "Now, your highness," He quietly but firmly states, "You have grown a lot since we entered this school, and I'm extremely happy to see it. I am here to make sure you grow not just as a prince but as a person. Please try to understand."

Prince Silas almost coughs blood at the treatment disparity between himself and the chain-smoking sorry excuse for a teacher Mr Garth. Not only could the other easily gain Alaric's attention, but once Silas could finally get some himself, it was only so he could be driven away.

Try to understand? He didn't want to!

"I don't want to stop being friends, Alaric." Black eyes gaze into blue eyes with a passionate insistence. Such a fiery look, coupled with that incredibly handsome face, it was nearly impossible to resist. Unfortunately, Jia Hyson has long gained immunity to it, and while physically he can't deny the attraction, there was both too much trouble and annoyances to consider indulging in this attraction.

As he takes a few seconds to filter out the handsomeness and process the words that had been said, Jia Hyson finally rolls his eyes in response, "You- we'll still be friends, your highness. I just want you to make other healthy relationships too. Why don't you start with spending more time with the others already close to us?"

Prince Silas furrows his brows again. "Annoying." He rejects.

"Then find less annoying ones." Jia Hyson ruthlessly retorts back. "But I know you, you won't want to go through that much trouble will you?"

Prince Silas falls silent, knowing it was true. Already he was thinking which of the Academy Emperors would take the least energy and effort to get closer to.

While they were only in their third year, Alaric and Prince Silas, as well as a few other noble vampires who were on fairly friendly terms with them had already established an incredibly strong presence in the school.

Maybe it was just because Silas was the crown prince, maybe it was because everyone was too handsome, or maybe it was because in these sort of romantic-driven plot worlds, there was a constant need in schools to have' The Group Of Hot Popular People That Rule The School', but all the best-looking and talented had eventually gathered around Prince Silas and established The Academy Emperors. Including Alaric.

How did Jia Hyson personally feel about it? Well.. the rational, mature part of him wanted to cringe so hard that he sometimes wanted to become a tiny crumpled paper ball thrown off a cliff by a very unsatisfied artist that couldn't seem to find any inspiration. However, on the other hand… the chuuni part of Jia Hyson actually felt… it was a little cool ah.

There is no boy who won't feel a little bit pleased with the idea of many fellow schoolmates idolising and admiring him, clamouring to call him the school prince. Even if they say they find it annoying or even disgusting, there will also be a sense of pride and confidence in the knowledge they have been valued in such an excessive manner. While the term of 'emperor' was even more exaggerated, the domineering, handsome taste was undeniable ah.

But then, after feeling a little happy, Jia Hyson would once again feel embarrassed and would cycle back to his first idea of becoming a paper ball. Still, after so long, he had gotten used to it enough that the shame had half-dissipated, and vanity finally won out in a crushing victory.

Now, he had long embraced his Gentle Emperor title with secret narcissistic glee.

The Academy Emperors had six members. Alaric had been crowned the Gentle Emperor due to his seemingly kind temperament and his way of choosing to softly scold and rarely raising his voice.

To be honest, it was not very suitable as Alaric was also one of most rule-abiding and stern, but this title simply sounded better, and his temperament matched it well enough.

After himself, there was also the Arts Emperor, the Fighting Emperor, the Icy Emperor and the Tyrant Emperor. The first two were named for their skills and the last two for their temperaments. In fact, the Arts Emperor was aloof, and the Fighting Emperor was considered violent and fierce; other than Alaric, there were probably no others in the group who could be considered 'approachable'.

Prince Silas, as the one who the emperors circled around, and his undeniable talents, was deemed the Genius Emperor, but many people secretly deemed him the Lazy Emperor. He had a strong number of fans mainly due to his face and his effortless ability to be good at everything presented to him, but at the same time, he also amassed an equal amount of hatred and jealousy. At the very least, there were many who admitted he was very good, but they didn't like him much compared to the other Emperors.

And to be honest, Jia Hyson understood the students' feelings.

After all, what was very attractive was a person who was deemed a genius but actually also worked hard behind the scenes to improve himself further. It's true Prince Silas has stopped being complacent and decided to work on himself, but the effort he made to accomplish it was probably the same level of effort one would use to beat the first ten levels of Candy Cr*sh.

Jia Hyson could only describe it as the feeling of seeing a person who had great talent but lazed all day wasting it, only doing the bare minimum homework. Yet despite this lack of effort, they can still take a mock exam test and get 600. This is already frustrating enough in various ways, but one day the person decides to take everyone's advice and put a little more effort into their studies. This person then puts that effort into borrowing someone else's notes, reading them a few times before the real exam, and then gets a 745.

*China's version of the American SAT, and British A-level exams take place in June every year. It's called the gaokao, and it scored on a scale of 750 points

No matter how big your heart is, this sense of heaven and earth is really too crushing and can make many people uncomfortable in their hearts. Therefore while there is admiration toward Silas, there is also a deep feeling of unfairness that many people will project into dislike. It is amazing to be a genius, but there are levels among genius. Prince Silas was simply so far up it felt like cheating the genetic lottery.

This was also why Jia Hyson would not let himself become too interested. After all, Silas was still quite immature and insisted on a proper lovers relationship. But Jia Hyson didn't like the large gap between them, nor did he like being the personal life coach to his boyfriend either.

Maybe it's acceptable to handle one of those emotional problems, but having both extremes of incompetence in the form of laziness and then impossible to reach genius felt too much to untangle in a relationship. It was better to be friends, which he had made quite clear for a while now.

Unfortunately, some people were not willing to be clear and would rather let things continue to be muddy. Even more, unfortunately, the other was even his big golden thigh Jia Hyson relied on for an extra layer of protection against the protagonist later on.

Jia Hyson internally sighs as he silently communicates with Bebe. 'This time, I really do think I've messed too much with Prince Silas.' What was the most annoying thing was that Jia Hyson didn't even try to seduce the other or anything. It would be fine if the other just had a sweet naive schoolboy's crush or was of lower standing than himself, but since neither condition was fulfilled, it had become greatly troublesome to handle.

Bebe also sighs and comforts, 'It really wasn't your slutty self's fault. Who knew the crown prince was such a cuck?'

In Bebe's opinion, this guy was even worse than Sefu. Sefu was a coward, but at least he didn't confess or try to pursue people who he knew were already in a relationship or anything.

Jia Hyson: '...' Well, he wouldn't have said it like that. But sure.

"..okay I'll do it." Prince Silas reluctantly agrees before reaching out to grab the other's cool hand, rubbing his thumb on the smooth skin. Jia Hyson smiles gratefully and slips his hand out of the other's grasp with little emotional fluctuation. Even though the image was very handsome, Jia Hyson still felt a little bored in his heart.

The ability to tell Prince Silas what to do was satisfying at first, but Jia Hyson felt more and more like a mother with a very passive child. The child is still eager to please but is too sticky and must be told exactly what to do. A bit cute, but over time it just became more than a little frustrating.

It was a pity Prince Silas was so beautiful, and the taste of his appearance was unique and full of fantasy with his noble aura, dark eyes with glasses and silvery white long hair, which greatly satisfied the aesthetics of any human being with the ability to see. But the emotional compatibility was quite weak in Jia Hyson's opinion. At the very least, it was severely unbalanced. Still, solely because of that heaven-defying face of his, Jia Hyson had to constantly remind himself in his heart of his reasons lest he is swayed by the beauty.

Bebe, who was forced to listen to the same reasons over and over again for the past few years: CatPlayingDead.jpeg

Fortunately, the teacher had finally entered the class, and the order quickly resumed. As a good student and a person who no longer wanted to be part of the current conversation, he was especially attentive today, making the teachers who taught him look at him with a loving gaze. Jia Hyson, who was especially sensitive to praise, soaked this positive attention as well as the admiring and coquettish looks from his classmates.

In contrast, though, Prince Silas, who had been ignored, looked gloomier and gloomier.

Alaric was so good and well-liked.

Why couldn't he be his?

After classes ended Jia Hyson was surrounded by a few bright eyed classmates with notes in hand.

"Alaric, Alaric, I don't understand what Mrs Thompson said about the symbolism of the blue valley scene." A pretty girl blinks her long eyelashes and hugs her book cutely, "Please, can you help?"

"Bah, that's so simple! Don't use this sort of excuse just to try flirt!" A freckled boy scowls before turning to Alaric with an exaggerated expression of distress, "Not when there's people in need like me! Wuwuwu, Alaric please explain what the kreb's cycle is, I still don't understand after asking Mr Walsh, I'm literally going to die if this is on the test next week."

"Alaric, what did you answer for the homework question 2b in math?" A short haired girl frantically asks as she eagerly pushes her own worksheet to him, wanting to compare answers. Not to be outdone, a spectacled boy also pushes the same worksheet enthusiastically.

"And question 5c, I feel like it's a trick question I'm doing way too many steps for this!" The spectacled classmate adds.

"You guys are always bothering Alaric," A female classmate with dyed green hair complains, "he's too nice to tell you to go away, but don't think I am!"

"Obviously nobody thinks your too nice." The first pretty girl mutters under her breath. The green haired classmate glares at her and successfully causes most of them to scatter before she drags her seat to sit in front of Alaric's desk with a heavy sigh.

During this time, barely anyone interacted with Silas save for a few blushing glances. Silas in turn did not give anyone face and ignored them. Even though he was considered the leader of the Academy Emperor's, his main fanbase was those who would watch over at a distance, so he looked especially lonely. Fortunately, or unfortunately, he was too lazy to interact with others he held no interest in, which meant he didn't feel any problems with the situation and even encouraged it.

Jia Hyson also personally didn't think there was anything wrong with it. The crown prince was smart enough, powerful enough, and good-looking enough to be able to live freely in any other context. But as Alaric, the loyal royalist and supporter of the Golden Rose Coven crown prince, of course he couldn't think so carelessly and should be distressed and worried about Silas' apathy.

After all charisma was an important trait in leadership and royalty. Even ignoring that, learning to be able to develop connections was just a vital aspect of living in this complex society, whether you're vampire or human.

Therefore with a smile he gestures toward his desk mate. "I'm sorry I do have something to talk about with Amelia, but Silas' grades are far better than mine, maybe you could ask him for help?"

The surrounding students went quiet.

It's not that nobody had the idea at the start. There was especially many girls who tried with the intention of getting closer to the other, but Silas' answers were.. infuriating.

For example:

Student A: "Silas I don't understand this question, can you please explain to me?"

Silas: "Probably because of genetics."

Student A: "…" Explain the question! Not explain why I can't understand it!

Another example:

Student B: "How did you read the book so quickly? That's so amazing! Can I get some advice?"

Silas: "Just used my eyes. It's amazing you don't."

Student B: "…" Well, sorry I don't use them as well as you!

And another example:

Student C: "Please I'm begging you, this equation, how??"

Silas: "The answer is x = 4y^2."

Student C: "Thank you! But, how did you get the answer?"

Silas: "I look at the equation, use my brain, and I get the answer."

Student C: "…" There is nothing wrong with the statement but there's even less right with it.

Jia Hyson was also not unaware of it, but he could only play dumb. Ignoring the sudden silence he turns to look at Silas with wide and expectant eyes. "Silas, you could help a little right?"

Silas makes a faint tongue clicking sound before nodding shallowly. He then looks at the other students and gestures to the spectacled one like how an emperor gestures to a slave for grapes. "Yes, I'm happy to help you guys for a little while."

Classmates: "…" Don't think we couldn't hear the 'tsk' you made! Do you think you can get away with everything just because you have a pretty face???

Despite spitting in their hearts, for the sake of both Silas and Alaric's faces they put on appropriately flattered expressions.

In turn, Silas flashes them a rare, soft and pleased smile. Immediately there were people who had become blinded and someone even stumbled and fell backwards under the sheer brilliance of the vampire's good looks.

Classmates: "…" Okay, okay, it seems you can get away with anything you want ah!

After a moment of recovering, the glasses wearing student passes his paper with the problematic question he needed help with, happy he was the first to be called out.

After all, he had been classmates with the two last year as well. Therefore he knew that 'a little while' for Silas could be between an hour to the same amount of time it takes to cook cup noodles. As for his 'helpfulness'… well, it's easier to reverse engineer and figure the process out as long as he had the answer!

Whilst this was happening, the green-haired girl, Amelia, drags Jia Hyson away with a smile. Jia Hyson helplessly allows the teenager to do as she pleases.

Amelia was one of the closer friends he had made during his time at the academy, and Jia Hyson appreciated her a lot. A rebellious, rich girl but with a decent head on her shoulders.

They had been lab partners in their first year, and thanks to Jia Hyson's friendliness and lack of judgement, the originally prickly girl, had smoothed out a lot of her edges- mainly toward himself anyway. This sort of rough and blunt person was someone Jia Hyson had felt was quite refreshing given how most of the student body was quite snobbish. Conversely Amelia liked Alaric's gentle kindness and felt the other understood her in a way a lot of others couldn't.

Unfortunately for her, just like Silas, their relationship was also quite unbalanced as Alaric had many friends but he was one of her only ones.

"Thank you, Amelia," Jia Hyson laughs as they start walking down the stairs away from the classroom. Because classes were over there were many students still lingering in the halls and stairs, so he had to move a bit closer to her to communicate clearly, "I appreciate it."

Amelia blushes, "Th- Well, that's what friends are for!" She laughs a little loudly before awkwardly halting as a few people glance at her strangely.

Jia Hyson ignores it, his eyes curving with amusement, "Indeed." He focuses on walking down the stairs as his green-haired friend silently fiddles with her fingers and looks like she's mentally scolding herself.

Did he know that she liked him?

Of course. If Jia Hyson would be perfectly honest, he would've been genuinely surprised if she didn't.

It's not just his narcissism talking here, but basic psychological logic and his own experiences talking.

It's true a lot of people will be attracted to abusive, rude or cold assholes as long as they had a good face, strong abilities and, or, good status. But if there was a decent and kind person that also had all those traits, the majority will lean toward the latter rather than the former.

He was one of her only male friends who supports her, acts considerate, and is both popular, smart and very good-looking. Neither clingy, nor too aloof, he can remember her favourite things and they can have entertaining discussions despite being clearly different people. Plus, people have often said that seeing someone attractive be serious and focused in their work was very attractive, and Alaric was often working hard both in studies and out of studies.

Therefore it would be strange if Amelia's heart wouldn't be a little moved.

But that's not his problem. He has way too many people who think they're in love with him and Jia Hyson frankly does not have the time to deal with it. If anything, having so many people interested in him was simply just another net of self-protection woven over himself.

As he said before, connections were important ah.

Bebe: 'It's amazing you don't feel bad leading them on like this.'

Jia Hyson: 'Aiyah, don't be like that Bebe,' ╮(╯∀╰)╭ 'I'm not really taking advantage of them, just let them have their bittersweet high school love ah.'

If they confess he will reject them nicely, if they don't why should he go out of his way to embarrass them. He will silently let them feel what they wish, and all he asks is to let his life go a little smoother, is that so wrong?

In Jia Hyson's opinion, he was a much better choice to have a crush on than many others, at the very least he will only sleep with people when they're about to graduate and his attitude toward others, no matter which gender confesses to him, was accepting and polite. It's true he was cruel and manipulative. But in a way he was less scary than the arrogant, second generation teenagers here with little concept of self-control and consequences.

As they walk out of the building, Jia Hyson offers the girl to buy her an ice cream from the canteen. For a rich school, of course the food was consistently both high-quality and delicious, and while meals were part of what their family paid for, the snacks between the main meals came out of their own pockets.

Amelia was not favoured in her family so her pocket money was lacking, albeit still much more impressive than any girls from middle-class households. Therefore she shyly agreed.

"What flavour will you get?" She asks as they wait in queue to order. Unlike Amelia most students here could afford these high class snacks without even blinking an eye, so the canteen would never be empty.

"I heard this week they have a coconut pandan* flavored ice cream," Jia Hyson's smile was much more genuine and bright as he tells her, his mouth was already secreting saliva at the thought of it. Getting genuine South Asian and South-east Asian flavours in this country was quite difficult as the eastern cultures have not been as widely accepted and spread out like during his own modern time period.

*widely used flavouring in the cuisines of Southeast Asia and South Asia. It is a leaf with a unique fragrance its yummy.

"Panda?" Amelia asks curiously, "So it's black and white?"

"No, no," Jia Hyson chuckles, and tries to describe to her the unique sweet aroma and flavour of the plant. Unfortunately it was really too difficult, like trying to describe the colour teal to a blind man. In the end he could only say, "You just take a bite of my ice cream, then you'll understand what I mean!"

Amelia's face reddens. "I'm looking forward to it!" She bursts out before quickly adding, "The pandan flavour, I'm, I'm excited to try it."

"What are you getting then?" Jia Hyson asks, "No, wait, let me guess… Blueberry cheesecake ice cream?" He winks teasingly.

"No!" Amelia instinctively denies, but after a moment mutters, "Yes…"

Jia Hyson laughs, while Amelia hits him lightly in embarrassment. By the time they finished debating whether Amelia needed to try something new this time or not, they had already reached the place to order.

"A cup of coconut pandan and-" He looks at the green-haired girl playfully.

"..And one toasted hazelnut and chocolate in a cone." Amelia defeatedly orders, but the smile on her face ruined the effect somewhat.

After paying for the ice cream, they were about to go to the side and wait for their orders when a teacher walked quickly up to them. "Alaric Rong, the principal needs you for something."

Jia Hyson frowns lightly before looking at Amelia with some embarrassment, "This- is it really important?"

"I'm afraid so," The teacher nods, "Principal Matthews was very insistent you come as quick as possible." He looks at Amelia and adds considerately, "Don't worry I will reimburse you for the ice cream you and your friend paid for."

Putting on a troubled look, Jia Hyson glances back at Amelia. However Amelia was very understanding and shoo-ed him away, "Don't worry, Alaric, I'll consider your pandan ice cream my compensation." She jokes, giggling as she sees her friend's troubled expression turn into one of despair, "Seriously, I'm good, tell me what happened later though okay?"

"Of course," Jia Hyson nods, waving and trotting toward the increasingly impatient teacher. "Thanks for understanding, Amelia!"

Amelia smiles and waves back before sighing when the other turned away.

"Order for a coconut pandan in a cup, and a toasted hazelnut and chocolate in a cone."

"That's me." She walks over to the counter and then falls into a moment of silence.

This… how is she meant to carry this without looking like a glutton!

"Thank you for coming so promptly, Alaric."

Principal Matthews gestures to Jia Hyson to take a seat. There were three seats in front of the principal's desk, presumably for parent meetings and other such things.

However two out of the three seats were filled, one was a handsome, dark haired older man with a goatee, and the other… Jia Hyson had to force himself not to stare too hard at the other, but despite himself he couldn't help but give a few more looks as his upper limit of beauty was once again refreshed.

Mentally he can't help but sigh emotionally. To be honest, he had always felt his past identity as Bai Li Wei, and this world's Prince Silas were the most objectively beautiful and attractive people he had ever seen but, if Bai Li Wei was a tragic and evil beauty, and Silas was a studious and aristocratic beauty, then this person would fall into the realm of heavenly.

If it wasn't for the eyepatch on his left eye, then he would be even more perfect. After all, the other eye that wasn't covered was a beautiful silver, that made the young man look even more fantastically beautiful.

Jia Hyson wasn't religious by any means, but there was a strange feeling that an angel had really descended the earth and walked among them.

There was no doubt this person was a vampire. If humans could achieve this level of beauty, then the modelling and beauty industry would rule the world.

Still, just because Jia Hyson was stunned momentarily, he did not surrender to the beauty and once again regained his wits. Silently he thanked Silas and his stupidly beautiful face for sticking around him and raising his resistance to appearances on similar levels. Like drinking poison a little each day to naturally produce antibodies and develop a certain level of immunity.

The poisonous face of Prince Silas: '…'

Ignoring what felt like the holy aura emanating off the younger of the two strangers, Jia Hyson finally noticed how both people were dressed in a way that looked a bit too Edwardian London to match with the current times.

The older man was wearing a three-piece suit, with a high round-collared white shirt and a bowler hat placed on his lap. Meanwhile, the angelic young man was wearing a long sleeved white shirt with a ribbon tied around his neck, knee-length shorts, dark socks and a dark blazer to match. And yet the teenager wasn't embarrassed in the slightest, sitting up proudly and regally.

It was a little strange that they would wear such clothing… but when you look good enough, even the strangest outfits could just become trendy and chic.

Jia Hyson: 'Maybe I should go for this style next time for the blog.'

Skirts fitted at the waistline and flared at the hemline, lacy tea dresses, and the loose but still elegant corset free dresses and large hats. Maybe he could even wear a proper three-piece suit with a classic female hairstyle of the era like the Gibson Girl's style- ah, ah, he was so excited just thinking about it! (⁄ ⁄>⁄ ▽ ⁄<⁄ ⁄)< p>

"This is Prince Rigel Delune, Royal heir of the Eclipse Coven." The principal introduces as he wipes some sweat from his forehead, not noticing Jia Hyson's wandering thoughts. "I understand things are a bit tense politically between the covens but I believe you, Alaric are still the best fit to help him despite that."

Alaric's smile stiffens as the words the other had said sunk in. Suddenly his gaze toward the angelic teenager became more complicated.




A/N: Hello hello~ it has been about three weeks~

This author has been having a bit of issues and stuff in real life as her father, with all of the author's father issues and depression, has come home for a few weeks which means author is hiding a lot in her room and no computer time D:

Btw speaking of having issues, I also got a very awful comment which I will put in the paragraph comment here ah~ I would like to say, I was very surprised and shocked when I got it, I thought omg what scene could have triggered this person to say these things- and when I saw my shock went to "..." very fast. The person was triggered by the explanation I gave last chapter about how some parents compare their children with other children.

I would like to say that 1. if it triggers you so badly that the mention of people comparing children will send you into such an emotional state, than I strongly suggest you get some mental help, because you do seriously need it and 2. fuck you, fuck you and fuck you back ah, this was hella unwarranted.

If I went ahead to single you out with malicious intent to trigger you then I would be the asshole here, but as I see it, I gave an explanation toward something so common that it's a saying/idiom in Chinese culture and you have decided to put the blame over your childhood problems and self-worth onto me. While I didn't contemplate suicide, this author has a glass heart and this comment has been living rent free on and off in my head which is very bad for my motivation really. Not to mention I'm also dealing with family issues right now and it makes me think, what gives you the right to think it's ok to put that sort of anger on a stranger? Are you the only one with family problems and it's okay to aim that frustration onto people unrelated just to make you feel better? Do you not think what you said was far more malicious than the description I provided to the general public to view? The intent was clearly to make me feel bad about what I wrote but the thing is, I don't see what I did was wrong. 

Tbh its been three weeks and I am no longer so bothered with it ah but I needed to write this to clear up the grievances and let everyone know that I am also a person and you cannot just treat this little author like this. HealingMoon, you probably won't read this but I just want to say- I hate readers like you, I prefer straight up haters or people I can happily debate with on why x character sucks etc but readers who act like this, I really quite despise. I cant stop you from reading this, I cant control who reads or not, but I hope you know that I really hope you aren't ah.

My father will be gone in a week so hopefully chapters will come back properly by then oh~

My big book recc is I'm Walking the Career Line In Dog Blood - it's MTL again and the start is a bit hard to get through but I guarantee it's beautiful. I don't call stories beautiful but this one is - especially the first three arcs (the rest is ok and the ending is super abrupt), its GORGEOUS.  This is the first time I've read a BL QT where the romance line is legit more a side story and doesn't take over the main thing (again mostly in first three arcs but I do like other arcs too very sweet) it's got a lot of unique points, not much humor though, and one of the most considerate MLs everrrrr. Highly recc it's one of my top favs, at least top 10 in my opinion. 

Support, love, donate~ Ko fi is best but this author will take anything keke~

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