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Four Parts Honey and One Part Vinegar

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“You know,” Ouyang Zizhen says thoughtfully over dinner one day, “I’ve never seen Wei-qianbei get jealous before.”

Lan Jingyi pauses for the briefest second, remembers the sect rule of keeping silence during meals, and decidedly forgoes it. “What?”

“Well,” Ouyang Zizhen continues, “Hanguang-jun always has a lot of admirers everywhere we go, but Wei-qianbei never seems to mind it.”

“Why are we talking about this?” Jin Ling asks flatly.

“Because! I heard that Hanguang-jun was the second most eligible bachelor of their generation. We get swarmed by suitors everywhere because of our generation’s number one eligible bachelor here—”

Lan Sizhui flushes and is very thankful for their sect rule of keeping silence during meals.

“—so I can’t imagine it being any different for Hanguang-jun.”

They all imagine it. It isn’t too hard to imagine.

“Just the other day,” Ouyang Zizhen says, “I saw a beautiful maiden brave enough to approach him with a flower and she shoved it into his hands before she ran off, and Wei-qianbei just… watched it happen and laughed! Like it was funny!”

“What? When was this?”

“Jingyi,” Lan Sizhui warns. They’re dangerously close to breaking the rule to not gossip behind one’s back. Lan Sizhui reluctantly gives up and pointedly says to Ouyang Zizhen, “They’re married. Happily.”

“That’s exactly my point!” Ouyang Zizhen makes a face. “Why doesn’t Wei-qianbei say ‘back off!’ or something? If your cultivation partner was pursued after so constantly, wouldn’t you feel at least a little annoyed?”

That’s… true. The other three can’t refute that.

Ouyang Zizhen barrels on. “And imagine if it was the other way around and Wei-qianbei was the one to receive a flower from that maiden. Can you imagine Hanguang-jun just laughing it off on the spot?”

They imagine it. They all see each other arrive at the exact same conclusion.

Before any of them can voice it out, Lan Sizhui swiftly reminds them, “No gossiping behind one’s back.”

“Jin Ling and I aren’t part of the Gusu Lan sect,” reminds Ouyang Zizhen.

“It would be good of this disciple to practice it,” firmly reminds Lan Sizhui.

“I can’t imagine anyone giving a flower to that idiot,” Jin Ling mutters.

Lan Jingyi’s eyebrows climb up to his hairline.

Jin Ling doesn’t need a vocal criticism on how objectively untrue his statement is, so he quickly clears his throat. “Okay, okay. He’s just too carefree, that’s all. He’s got no brain space to be jealous.”

Ouyang Zizhen considers this with a hum and they drop the topic for the rest of dinner for more interesting things to talk about.