Cai Yan stuck out her tongue childishly and remarked cheerfully, "Elder Sister got this starling for me! When she was still training in Sichuan, she would come into contact with various flora and fauna, so she can differentiate birds really well! It will learn very quickly if you teach it a phrase or two."
"That also requires patience on your part," added Cai Ning.
"Honestly, Elder Sister, don't you have any faith in your own sister?" Cai Yan rebuffed.
Cai Ning nodded without any hesitation. "I don't."
Cai Yan pouted and sulked. Her face looked as if she had bitten into a bitter gourd.
Yang Chen reached out to squeeze her cheeks and said, "Alright, stop pouting. Let's grab something to eat. Are there any good restaurants nearby?
"Yeah, yeah!" Cai Yan nodded enthusiastically. "I know this great place on the east side of this market. It's a restaurant serving Hunan cuisine, and even the air in the place carries a faint spiciness to it. Can you handle spicy food?."
"Cut the crap. Let's go." Yang Chen watched Cai Yan's mood lift and let her lead the way to the restaurant.
When they arrived at the restaurant that Cai Yan mentioned, the number of patrons were already thinning out. They walked to the second floor and seated themselves at a table that had a bird's-eye view of the street.
Even though there was a weird scent in the air, it was a unique dining atmosphere nonetheless.
Yang Chen wasn't eating simply out of hunger, but out of a sense of liking and appreciation for food. It was a deep-set habit as well. Whenever he was feeling low, he could always snap out of his funk by binge eating. He flipped through the menu, and promptly rattled off a number of dishes to the waiter.
"Are you some sort of pig? Why are you ordering so much?" Cai Yan's eyes widened.
Yang Chen rolled his eyes at that. "Can't you be more delicate?"
Cai Yan just grunted at that. "If you waste even a single grain of rice, you're doomed. I'll stuff it right down your throat if I have to," she said huffily.
Yang Chen was at a loss of words and could only smile bitterly. One moment she was so obedient and the next, she became so aggressive. It was tiring to keep up with her ever-shifting moods.
Can Ning just silently sipped a cup of tea which was of rather mediocre quality and didn't speak a word. She broke her silence like she suddenly thought of something and asked, "Yanyan, when you bought the bird, did you ask the seller about the kind of bird feed to get?"
Cai Yan stilled, and blinked in confusion. "Elder Sister, you didn't tell me that I had to get bird feed."
At that, Yang Chen just froze and Cai Ning's face twitched.
After a moment, Cai Ning smiled warmly and asked, "Why don't you go over to the store now while we're still here? The store is just nearby, and the store owner might just give you a little something. Besides, you need to feed the starling, if you want your starling to sing."
Cai Yan nodded eagerly then stood up to retrieve the bird cage. "In that case, I'll head over right now. Don't start eating without me!"
"You can visit the store by yourself, so why do you need to bring the cage along with you?" Yang Chen said dismally.
"Hmph, it's none of your business! I'm going to deepen my bond with the bird." With that, she stuck out her tongue before she turned and rushed downstairs.
Yang Chen sighed loudly and shook his head. "Ning'er, has your sister always been like this?"
Cai Ning understood what he was trying to say, unable to hold back her amusement. The edge of her lips twitched and she said, "You know, when my grandfather was still alive, he called the whole family together, and told us all one thing."
"What did he say?" Yang Chen asked curiously.
"Grandfather said something along the lines of, 'throw Cai Yan into a tiger's den, and she'll befriend it.'"
Yang Chen nearly spat out his tea and burst into laughter. "Isn't this her adorable side? At times, she acts just like a child and yet she wants to become a violent policewoman."
Cai Ning turned to Yang Chen who was thoroughly amused. Her tender gaze was directed at him as she said, "I guess your mood is much better now."
Yang Chen halted in his movements. "How could you tell that I was in a bad mood?"
Cai Ning grinned. "Because it's your feelings, that's why."
Yang Chen felt touched and reached out his right hand to hold her hands before asking, "Ning'er, can you answer a question of mine?"
"I'm such a problematic person with so many personal issues, yet how did I still end up with so much love from you all?" Yang Chen said disbelievingly. "Sometimes I think it's just because I have money, or because I can fight and possess authority to a certain extent but… does any of those things really matter?
"I'm not even capable of providing any of you with the love you deserve. With your own charm and merit, finding a wealthy person who will treat you well wouldn't even be an issue…" Yang Chen trailed off, at a loss for words.
"What happened?" Cai Ning interjected and added, "Have you lost faith in yourself?"
Yang Chen couldn't bring himself to form his next words but when he finally did, he said, "The whole situation feels really surreal to me if I'm being honest. When I was at the entrance of the market and saw you two sisters waiting for me, I thought to myself that the feeling of being looked forward to was really nice, y'know? Yet in an instant, I thought that I was being too extravagant with my emotions."
Cai Ning regarded him silently and reached out her hand to hold Yang Chen's palm in her own. "Are you alright? You've never acted like this before. What happened today?"
Yang Chen laughed bitterly at that. "Maybe it's because I met someone who seemed to have it all, but was actually hiding all his deeds behind a facade of luxury. It got me thinking about how none of these matters and will eventually fade away anyway."
Trapped in an ever-worsening spiral of thoughts, Yang Chen gazed out the window, and Cai Ning stayed silent.
After a while, she burst into a smile for seemingly no reason at all and said, "Do you know what the best part about you is?"
He was taken aback but just shook his head. "I honestly have no idea. What do you all see in me?"
Cai Ning let out a little huff and said, "I can't speak for others but, to me, the best part about you isn't wealth or your power, nor was it your family background. I can't deny the fact that all these things were the ones which led to me knowing you but, to me, those are all just details anyone can find from your business card."
She took a deep breath and continued, "The way I see it, the best part about you is that you don't even realise the best part about yourself and that's why I made the decision to follow you."
Yang Chen stared dumbly at the woman, still in a daze from how her simple words had such a huge effect on him.
He smiled gently and in one move, slung his arm around her petite waist. He leaned in to close the distance between them and said, "Ning'er, give me a kiss."
Cai Ning was shocked by the sudden display of affection and her face flushed but she stubbornly kept her head down.
"I guess I'll do it instead," he said without any regards to her deepening shyness. He kissed her multiple times on her cheeks and her ear then backed away while laughing loudly.
She bit her bottom lip, and glared at him with a mixture of affection and annoyance. "I should have just said that there was nothing good about you."
He was in a great mood and just about to tease her more when they heard a loud shout from downstairs. "Thief! Don't run! Everyone, stop him!"
At the sound of the familiar voice, Yang Chen shared a look with Cai Ning before they turned their attention to a street to their west. It turned out that it really was Cai Yan who shouted.
The market was naturally crowded with people and various stalls selling plants or birds were set up with no rhyme or reason, making it hard for anyone to navigate the market freely.
Yang Chen's field of vision was much larger than a normal person and when he looked closely, there really was a boy who seemed to be in his early teens and was running at a breakneck speed. That boy was probably the one that Cai Yan yelled at.
Some passersby were stunned when they felt Cai Yan's powers rising off of her. At the sight of the teen fleeing, most chose to hang back and watch from the sidelines with the assumption that someone else was going to stop the teen.
Yang Chen let out a long suffering sigh, and said to Cai Ning, "I guess it's time to help a certain heart set on bringing justice to this world." He exchanged a knowing look with her, and they both made their way downstairs.
Since it had already come to this, they very well couldn't let Cai Yan chase after the thief blindly and cause a ruckus.
However, releasing his powers in an area with so many civilians was out of the question. This left them with no choice but to quickly slink their way through the crowd and they caught up with Cai Yan in no time.
Cai Yan was obviously given special training as well and was in top physical condition. The thief was just a normal human, and simply couldn't keep up in terms of stamina. After running past two different streets, right in front of a stall selling bonsai, he tripped and fell.