Quality Check: Kittsune
First Published on Ainushi.
At six o’clock sharp, I arrived at the Man of the West Bar. This bar wasn’t that far from NT University. Its interior designs were rather simple, and a couple of indie bands frequently performed here, so it attracted many students.
“Qing Xia, we’re over here.”
As soon as I walked into the bar, I saw Xia Mei Wei standing by the pub counter waving frantically at me. I hurried over to her.
“Where are the others?” I asked. It was then that I noticed the strange attire she was wearing. “Isn’t today just an ordinary mixer? When did it become a masquerade ball?” I speechlessly stared at her.
What the heck was she wearing? It was a soft, purple-colored dress, with the top consisting of faint leopard prints. The hem of the dress was embroidered with several strange-looking red roses. I had no idea what kind of material this floor-length dress was made of, and under the illumination, it had a metallic, glossy sheen to it. Her ordinarily supple and pleasant long hair was currently dyed purple, with several streaks of silver highlights. She had stuck a row of glistening crystals onto her forehead above her eyebrows. She was dressed for a masquerade ball, right?
She unhappily shot me a glance. “You don’t understand. This is fashionable this year.”
This kind of horrific weird witch getup was fashionable this year? Um, I beg your pardon?
“Let me tell you some good news!!” She suddenly drew close to my ear and furtively whispered, “The celebrity twins are also here. They’re so cool! If they weren’t so young, I’d definitely pounce and gobble them right up. But since you’ve got your eyes set on the younger type, you should definitely take advantage of this opportunity. When else are you going to get the opportunity to get close to Prince Charming-type of people like them?”
This sudden information practically turned my brain completely blank. Why were they here? At lunch when I was eating with them, they said they wouldn’t come. Did they come here specifically to monitor whether or not I would cheat on them? Did I seriously seem that thirsty?
I didn’t know why they had come. However, one thing for sure was that now that they were here, they would definitely make things disastrous for me. Perhaps they would even ruin the fake tranquility of my life.
“I… I have something to do… I’m leaving for now…” The powerful danger signals in my head led me to decide to leave immediately.
I clutched the small purse beside me, and from the high barstools in front of the counter, I resolved myself to slip away before anyone noticed. However, I was not successful at achieving this…
“Oh dear, don’t be shy~ If a woman is too reserved she won’t be able to get herself a good man. You have got to take the initiative to attack if you want to have any tasty pieces left.” Xia Mei Wei grabbed my arm with her swift reaction, and a surprisingly ferocious amount of strength came from her grip as she pulled me over to a corner.
“You’re mistaken… I…” In a blink of an eye, I was roped in by her into the crowd of classmates attending the mixer.
“Shi Qing Xia?! I haven’t seen you in forever at club activities. I had no idea that you’d be coming to the mixer tonight!” A senior that mentioned club activities recognized me, and he warmly greeted me. Immediately, everyone’s eyes converged onto me, including Zhao Yi Bo and Zhao Yi Xuan.
“Hello Senior,” I awkwardly returned the greeting to him.
Xia Mei Wei, it’s all your fault! I’m going to get killed because of you!
Since I had been discovered, I could only find a spot near the corner to sit down, hoping that I could forge my way quietly to the end.
Everyone forgot about me very quickly and began to enthusiastically chat it up with people whom they were attracted to at the mixer. I sat to the side, sullen as I drank my drink, sizing up the men and women present. I realized that pretty much everyone was dressed up in some way today. The men who were normally sloppily dressed in casual clothes were all wearing impeccable suits, as if they were the cream of the crop — but after my evaluation, I’d still say that the Zhao brothers were objectively the most handsome and attractive out of all the men. Apart from Xia Mei Wei, the girls had also pulled out all the stops — even though I wasn’t that knowledgeable about fashionable brand names, from the quality and style of their clothes alone, I could tell that their clothes were definitely not cheap.
After giving everyone a look, I realized that among all the girls, I was the most plain-looking one with the white dress I was wearing. No wonder there were no boys hitting on me.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have clothes. After I got involved with the twins, they would purchase an enormous quantity of clothes and jewelry for me every month. They’d buy dresses, coats, casual clothes, night clothes, shoes, handbags, hats, necklaces, bracelets, etc. They even bought quite a lot of sexy underwear. All of this had already completely filled up the wardrobe in my room, yet more kept coming. Apart from the underwear, which they forced me to wear a few times, the remaining clothes and jewelry were left untouched. The clothes made me feel like those were gifts that a prostitute would receive for her services. As for this white dress I was currently wearing, my mom had given this to me as a present before I came to Taipei for university. It wasn’t particularly expensive, but it was the best dress I had in my original wardrobe.
“Senior, are you not fond of chatting with the others?” A gentle and graceful voice suddenly interrupted my dull thoughts and observation.
A familiar voice made my scalp tingle, and I rigidly turned my head to face Zhao Yi Bo who had at some point sat down next to me.
“I’m not very good at conversations.” I smiled stiffly as everyone’s eyes once again converged onto me.
“When I see my Senior sitting alone on the side, it seems rather lonely. Why don’t we chat for a bit?” Zhao Yi Bo’s attitude was warm and good-natured, but I could see the malice within the depths of his eyes.
“No… no need…” The cramping smile on my face was grotesque. Could he not lean so close to me? Didn’t he notice that all the girls present were glaring at me jealously?
“There’s no need to be polite, Senior. I heard that you were at the top of the class in the Informatics Department. That’s quite impressive. I always thought that most girls only liked shopping for clothes. Who knew that you were that good at studying?”
I’m screwed. The glares were getting more severe, as if they wanted to cut me into a thousand pieces.
“Haha~~” Unsure how to reply without enraging the audience, I could only laugh dryly.
“Furthermore, Senior’s pretty attractive too. You must have a lot of boys that are interested in you, right?”
Could he just shut up now? And let me go? How am I supposed to go to school after this? I silently howled with anguish inside me, but of course he couldn’t hear. Even if he could hear, he wouldn’t have let me go anyways.
“Senior, have some of this.” Zhao Yi Xuan, who was always silent and cold at school, also diligently brought me a drink. The envy in the crowd of girls’ eyes deepened even further.
I hurriedly took the drink from his hands, and swallowed it all in a gulp.
“Do you have a boyfriend?” Zhao Yi Bo continued to ask. “If not, would you be interested in becoming my girlfriend?” His arm reached around the back of my chair, as if he were wrapping it around me.
I hurriedly scooted forward under the pretext of grabbing another drink. My face was flushed after downing a drink, and I wasn’t really sure what the drink had been paired with.
“Senior, is that alright?” He continued to press relentlessly.
“Junior, don’t joke around…” I smiled dryly.
Desperate to get away from answering his teasing questions, I drained cup after cup of all the drinks on the table.
For the entire night, I drank an entire belly full of drinks while suffering from the twins’ teasing as the girls glared at me as if they would kill me. My vision gradually blurred, and everyone’s faces started to sway in front of my eyes. My body felt as light as a feather, and I was awfully sleepy…
“I… I’m going now…” Just as I was about to lose all my strength, I gave up on my manners and stood up in a hurry, wanting to leave this hectic mixer.
“Senior, you’re drunk. Let me send you home.” Zhao Yi Bo grabbed my wrist.
“No need…” Not caring whether I’d offend him, I shook off his large hand on my wrist. The reckless movement caused me to fall forward.
“Be careful…” A couple voices sounded. I tumbled onto Xia Mei Wei’s legs.
“It’s probably better if I send you home.” His large hand once again wrapped around my arm. From the outside, it looked like his actions were intensely compassionate and gentle. However, only I knew how much strength he was using to grip my arm.
“Okay, thank you…” His palms seemed to transmit a powerful sense of danger, and I didn’t dare resist any further. I obediently gave in.
Thanks to his assistance, I slowly got back up from Xia Mei Wei’s lap.
“Don’t forget to use condoms.” As I was getting up, Xia Mei Wei whispered quickly into my ears, and she winked vaguely at me.
Those words entered my brain like a lightening bolt. However, my muddled head and drifting thoughts already had no energy to think about this any further. Under the support of Zhao Yi Bo and Zhao Yi Xuan, I meekly departed from the Man of the West Bar.