The pair reached their destination without delay. Li Meirong guided Snowball to the outer sect disciples' quarters, hoping to meet Bao Li before the head chef would leave to do her work.
The outer sect disciples' residence was structured as a double courtyard house, but with all the rooms divided into separate sleeping quarters, keeping male disciples on one end and female disciples on the other.
The housing establishment of the outer sect disciples was in far better condition than Li Meirong's badly constructed wooden cabin, although it wasn't altogether impressive.
The walls were made from mudbricks stacked into a solid mass and the roof tiles were moulded from clay and painted a dark shade of blue.
After they entered the courtyard, 'Snowball' thereupon inspected his whereabouts. In the courtyard, there was a small gated block for pigs and hens to reside in. Chunks of haystack were collected in one corner. A line of rope extended across the yard with sheets and robes hanging on top of it.
Inwardly, Bai Yu was a little surprised and even slightly repulsed. He knew this was a cultivation sect, but for the life of him, he could see no difference between this and a poverty-stricken farmer's village!
He was confident in his skill of masking his expressions, so when Li Meirong whispered at his side, he couldn't help being slightly taken aback.
"That's why I chose to build my own place!" Her Ladyship spoke with utmost pride, clearly wanting to be praised.
Bai Yu wanted to say that in his own house, even his pets have better living conditions than hers but he wouldn't dare insult his Lady.
"Your house is most impressive." "Snowball" blandly answered. He was more perturbed by the fact she managed to catch on to his inner thoughts. She couldn't possibly be a mind reader, right? Otherwise, his Lord would have been in a big mess by now!
Li Meirong peered at her Fox Spirit as they kept on walking. Something about him felt a little odd today, she thought.
However, it was too early to mention anything. She chose to keep her speculations to herself.
When the servants' rooms came into view, the residence's appearance shifted from a "farmhouse" to what finally seemed like proper living quarters.
Only women could be seen. Most of them busied themselves in preparation for the upcoming day, drying their beddings and coiling their hair into buns.
"Snowball" tactfully kept his eyes aimed at the floor.
Suddenly, a loud feminine voice cheerfully yelled in the courtyard. "Sister Meirong! You finally came to visit me!"
Bao Li made her way to greet the pair while clutching a damp looking cloth to her wet curls.
Li Meirong felt her worries lessening as soon as she saw Bao Li. The head chef had this certain charm to her that managed to calm her soul. She greeted her back, bobbing her head courteously.
At the same time, "Snowball" curiously peered at the noisy woman.
So this was her Ladyship's subordinate…
He saw an attractively curvy woman of short stature, wearing the same robe as her Ladyship. The woman's mouth was stretched into a bright, youthful smile and her almond-shaped eyes narrowed into crescents. She smelled fresh and clean. Tiny drops of water trickled down the tips of her dark brown her and dampened the top of her garment. She probably bathed very recently, Bai Yu presumed.
While he was observing her Ladyship's "subordinate", Bao Li returned the favour. Her mouth hung slightly open as she stared at the adorable fox.
"I can't believe that he was the cause of the mess in the marketplace…" Bao Li said her thoughts aloud, awed. Her gaze fixated on the baby fox.
"What do you mean by that? I was the one responsible for ruining the shop. Snowball had nothing to do with it." Li Meirong concernedly asked, unconsciously hiding Snowball behind her.
Bai Yu's fluffy eyebrows rose higher after noting Li Meirong's movement. The impression he received from his Lady just kept on getting better. Wasn't she very protective? She'd be a good mother for the future generation!
Noticing the intrusive glances from her fellow disciples, Bao Li was silent for a moment and then said, "Come into my room, we'll speak about this privately."
She grabbed Li Meirong's hand and dragged her into her private bedroom.
Before they entered, "Snowball" stood outside the open door and preached. "I don't think it'll be appropriate for me to go inside an unmarried lady's room." He already felt awkward enough as it was inside the female courtyard!
Li Meirong groaned and grabbed him by the belly, unceremoniously slumping the white-furred cub on top of her shoulder. "Stop being so silly Snowball, you're too young to worry about these kinds of things!"
Bao Li giggled inside the room, sitting comfortably on a chair as she dried her hair. "He's so considerate!"
Li Meirong wasn't cheerful anymore. She was too scared of her previous actions somehow implicating Snowball.
She dropped Snowball onto one of Bao Li's unoccupied stools and worriedly questioned her friend, "Please tell me what you meant before, why is my Fox Spirit being blamed?"
Meanwhile, Bai Yu was far too occupied with his humiliation to eavesdrop on their conversation. Wasn't this the most shameful moment in his life?!
She carried me like a sack of potatoes… uuwuuwuu.
Bai Yu's impression of his Lady changed, once again. Li Meirong certainly had her own vicious way of handling people, stripping them of their dignity!
The female "subordinate's" words interrupted Bai Yu's train of thought. He managed to catch part of her sentence as she said, "... I didn't mean what happened to the Spirit Beasts shop, I meant the part that everybody's been talking about. There's gossip circling around, saying things like your fox fried all the disciples at the marketplace!" 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2018 So Far