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323 A Dangerous Evaluation

 'Shifu... Can I go back with you?'

Liu Zilang's brain stopped responding the moment he heard those words.

'Hey hey!'

'Our relationship is purely master and disciple online!'

'Is it really okay for us to bring this relationship further into real life out of the blue?'

Liu Zilang pondered as the scene kept repeating itself over and over again...

Then, a man who seemed to be in his thirties with an ID hanging underneath his neck walked hastily toward him.

He bowed politely toward Liu Zilang and spoke to him in broken Chinese, \"Sorry for disturbing you. I'm SST's squad leader. As the hotel we're staying in is fully booked, Mikoto said that she had a friend in Jianghai she could stay with. You must be Mikoto's friend that she spoke of, right?\"

He also added, \"It's fine if it's inconvenient for you to take her in. We'll arrange a place for Mikoto to stay.\"

'Convenient?'

Liu Zilang was living in an apartment with four bedrooms and one living room. There were two bedrooms that were vacant.

One of them was his parents' room, which they occasionally returned to stay in whereas the other one was catered for guests.

Hence, there was nothing inconvenient at all.

Although they were very close, they had only interacted online thus far. They rarely video called each other. Liu Zilang would feel awkward no matter what if they were to live under the same roof.

He pondered and he saw Misaka Mikoto staring at him eagerly when he turned his head around. Her gaze was identical to a puppy that had no home to return to. His heart softened as he said, \"Umm... Let's head back together.\"

\"That's great! Shifu!\" Misaka Mikoto was over the moon as she held her arms in front of her tightly.

The Japanese leader smiled as he kept thanking Liu Zilang profusely before ordering Misaka Mikoto to be safe at all times.

Although Liu Zilang acted wholeheartedly on the surface.

'We from Hua Xia can be described with one word.'

'Generous.'

However, he was quite frustrated as he had to bring his idiotic disciple back home.

How would he explain the situation to Zhang Xiaotong... He had picked her up on the street?

'Uhmm... It should be fine, right?'

...

The two of them carried their bags out of the stadium. Liu Zilang then hailed a cab by the road and got into the car together with Misaka Mikoto.

On the way back home, Misaka Mikoto who sat together with Liu Zilang at the back of the car was extremely anxious and excited at the same time. She could not stop looking around.

She seemed to have recalled something and cautiously asked Liu Zilang if his parents were home and that if she needed to buy a gift or take note of something beforehand.

Seeing how flushed her face was, Liu Zilang told her to relax and not think too much about it.

It was impossible for his father to return at a time like this.

Misaka Mikoto let out a sigh of relief. Just as she let loose, she seemed to have become rather disappointed as well.

Liu Zilang shook his head in his mind as he hinted Misaka Mikoto to be wary of his younger sister at home...

As they reached the community gate, Liu Zilang led Misaka Mikoto into the apartment.

It was dusk and the lights around the area had lit up.

Misaka Mikoto followed Liu Zilang from behind. She was getting nervous as she stared at Liu Zilang who was crossing his arms in front of her.

When she was speaking with her squad leader in the stadium, the squad leader thought that the two of them were real life friends and hence allowed her to follow him home.

However, Misaka Mikoto had realized something!

She was now... following a foreigner of the opposite gender that she only knew online back to his home.

She raised her head and looked at Liu Zilang's back cautiously. She calmed down afterward when she recalled how long they had interacted with each other online.

'Shifu is a good man!

'Yes. There's nothing to worry about!'

If Liu Zilang who was walking in front of her knew that Misaka Mikoto had placed him in the nice-guy zone, all he could say was that the idiotic disciple of his was slow-witted and extremely oblivious...

When they reached home, Liu Zilang took out his key.

\"Meow~ Meow~\"

98K who had grown bigger recently ran over toward him the moment the door opened up.

It immediately glued itself to Liu Zilang's as it showed affection.

It then ran away as soon as it saw Misaka Mikoto at the back.

It turned its head around and stared at her with its google pair of eyes.

\"Wow! Kawaii[1] kitten!\" Misaka Mikoto said excitedly.

She crouched down and waved at 98K. \"Ne ne[2] ... Come over here so that I can cuddle you!\"

Misaka Mikoto had totally let down her guard as Japanese men who had cats as pets were generally \"vegans\" and non-threatening.

As for the Celestial Empire... [3]

'Ahem. Let's not talk about that for now.'

98k which was on the floor tilted its head and stared at Misaka Mikoto. It seemed to be thinking if it should cuddle with a stranger.

Then, they heard a creak.

Zhang Xiaotong's door opened.

Footsteps could be heard as Zhang Xiaotong appeared at the corner of the wall.

She seemed excited as her face flushed.

However, Zhang Xiaotong was startled the moment she saw Misaka Mikoto crouching on the floor and Liu Zilang changing his shoes at the entrance!

Since she had been watching the tournament from the moment she came back from school, she immediately recognized the very popular female contestant.

Liu Zilang who had just finished switching his shoes at the door smiled. \"This is my friend and she'll be staying for the night... Hehehe...\"

Zhang Xiaotong wrinkled her nose as she ignored Liu Zilang and welcomed Misaka Mikoto, \"Hello.\"

She called out 98K the moment she greeted her.

98K who was in a dilemma heard Zhang Xiaotong's voice and turned its head around. It cried back before running toward her with its short legs.

Zhang Xiaotong bent down and picked up 98K as she turned around and headed back to her room.

As she turned around and looked at Liu Zilang, the latter seemed to have heard a very light harrumph ring in his ears.

Liu Zilang looked at his idiotic disciple who was still crouching down and had her hands reached out.

He wanted to explain the situation to her as he thought she would feel awkward.

However, Misaka Mikoto held her hands together as she said excitedly, \"Kawaii! Shifu Shifu... Is that your girlfriend?\"

The edge of Liu Zilang's lips twitched.

'Which part does she look like my girlfriend...'

He took a deep breath as he laughed wryly. \"Hehe, that's my younger sister. You can address her as Xiaotong-chan. She doesn't talk much so please don't mind her.\"

'\"Sister?\" Misaka Mikoto tilted her head as she looked at Liu Zilang.

She sunk into her thoughts afterward.

'Hold up... Where are your thoughts leading you!'

Liu Zilang crooked his lips as he did not want to know where her thoughts had led her to.

He took out a slipper from a shoebox for Misaka Mikoto to wear as he led her to her room.

Since Japanese average living spaces were smaller, Liu Zilang's room was relatively larger.

Misaka Mikoto looked around as she said shockingly, \"Shifu... How are you able to live in such a big house by just playing games...\"

\"I know.\"

\"You must be one of those rich people who don't need to work!\"

\"Uhh...\"

Liu Zilang's smile froze as he was completely speechless from his idiotic disciple.

'Since when am I considered rich. You've yet to see the mansions those extremely popular streamers live in... Furthermore, I'm still studying here in my homeland.'

'It's a given that I'm not working.'

...

[1] It means cute in Japanese

[2] Ne means hey in Japanese.

[3] Celestial Empire is a reference to the Chinese imperial court by Chinese envoys or by barbarians who paid tributes to China