The Creatures That We Are - C.444: Sisters


At midnight, the departure gate was empty and quiet. There were only a handful of passengers scattering around the benches, either resting with a sleeping mask on or using their phones.

Outside the large window walls was the wide expanse of the ramp, covered in the deep blue shroud of the night. Every once in a while, a plane would take off or land, the red aviation lights flickering and trailing faintly in the night sky.

Gao Yang could tell that Qing Ling had been acting strangely since getting through security.

While she spoke little, she had always been open and confident in everything she did, putting up no pretense. Now, however, she seemed a little agitated. While she was as expressionless as ever, she fidgeted often. It looked like she was either in a fight with someone, or bottling up feelings she couldn’t resolve.

The boarding time was half an hour away. The two of them sat shoulder to shoulder, in awkward silence.

After a moment of hesitation, Gao Yang asked tentatively, “Little Qing Ling?”

Since their names were pronounced the same, Gao Yang had always differentiated between the sisters by adding ‘little’ to her name, and Little Qing Ling had approved of it with silent acknowledgement[1].

Little Qing Ling paused, turning around to look at Gao Yang. “I didn’t say anything. How did you know it’s me?”

Gao Yang smiled. “It’s quite obvious.”

Although they shared the same body, their presence was night and day.

“How so?” Qing Ling pressed.

“You just feel different.”

“Feel different? Explain in more detail.” Little Qing Ling stared at Gao Yang, getting a little pushy.

Gao Yang didn’t expect her to care so much. After careful thinking, he answered, “With Qing Ling, she always feels like she’s ready to pick up her blades and fight at any time.”

Outside of when she was asleep, of course.

“How about me?”

“You?” Gao Yang considered his words. He couldn’t find a more fitting descriptor than the one he had in mind, so he said boldly, “You’re more gentle.”

Little Qing Ling paused, a soft light flashing through her eyes.

She didn’t get angry or snap at Gao Yang for being glib.

She lowered her head and only responded after a moment, “I had a fight with my sister.”

“Why?” Gao Yang was curious. He didn’t expect the sisters to get into fights.

“She’s angry with me.” Qing Ling sounded a little down.

“With you?”

“Yeah.” Qing Ling held tightly onto her skirt like a kid having made a mistake. “I came out during the fight.”

Surprised, Gao Yang thought back to their fight with the life monster. Qing Ling’s moves had been smooth throughout. He didn’t remember Little Qing Ling ever coming out.

“When your...” Little Qing Ling looked around to make sure there was no one in earshot before saying in a low voice, “ stabbed.”


He had been too focused on fighting to notice, but thinking back, he had heard Qing Ling calling out to him when his double got stabbed.

So it was Little Qing Ling.

“I went back immediately and didn’t interrupt the fight...”

Qing Ling felt a little hurt. “But sister is still angry. She said that everything can be fatal in a fight. Not only could I get her killed, but also others...”

Gao Yang sighed softly. Although the truth would hurt, he still had to say it. “She’s right, Little Qing Ling. You should never be stubborn like that again.”

“I wasn’t being stubborn. I was just worried that...” Little Qing Ling’s head jerked up, but she stopped herself when she met Gao Yang’s eyes.

She turned away and scoffed quietly. “So you consider me a troublesome burden too...”

“Don’t say that,” Gao Yang cut her off seriously. “You must know why your sister is angry. She’s gotten this far and has been constantly improving herself in order to protect you.”

Little Qing Ling gnawed at her bottom lip, her voice softening. “But without me, Sister would be better off...”

“Little Qing Ling,” Gao Yang continued. “Your sister’s purpose is to protect you. If you’re gone, she won’t know what to do with her life.”

Little Qing Ling shuddered, looking up at Gao Yang with a lost look.

“Both of you must stay safe and sound. Don’t ever think like that again, you hear me?” Gao Yang’s gaze was blazing.

He never wanted to experience losing her like he did during the Werewolf game ever again.

“I get it.” Little Qing Ling turned away to look everywhere but at Gao Yang, pretending to be irritated. Her cheeks felt hot, and her heartbeat had gotten quicker. She tucked her hair behind her ear with a mess of thoughts in her head.

Following her gaze, Gao Yang saw a cakery glowing a warm, orange light, and the design of the shop reflected the feeling. The glass cabinet was filled with various desserts with beautiful or cute designs, attracting the eyes.

“I’m hungry,” Gao Yang said on purpose.

Little Qing Ling paused, rubbing her stomach. “Me too.”

“What do you want to get?” Gao Yang asked before adding, “All expenses during the working trip will be reimbursed.”


Qing Ling stood up and walked toward the cakery, her hands held behind her back. The Black Gold bracelet on her right wrist jumped as she skipped her way to the shop.

She bent down to check the desserts seriously. After a good moment of careful consideration, she came to a decision.

She turned back to Gao Yang, proclaiming, “I’m having matcha cake, and my sister wants black forest.”

“Sure.” Gao Yang took out his phone to pay the bill.

“But we can’t finish both. Isn’t that going to be a waste?” Little Qing Ling was a little hesitant.

“It’s fine. Get another fork, and I’ll finish the rest.”


When Gao Yang and Qing Ling arrived at the airport in Li City, it was already near evening. Gao Yang headed back to his dorm. His three roommates asked after his health. Gao Yang told them that he had more or less recovered fully, and the results were good.

To celebrate, he went out and got barbecue and drinks with his roommates, only going back to their dorm room when it was almost time for light-out.

The second day, he went to classes normally. Nothing happened.

One o’clock in the morning, after making sure that his three roommates were sound asleep, Gao Yang teleported out of his dorm and headed to the Blue House Psychiatric Clinic.

It was two o’clock when he arrived. He found the front door half open. The receptionist, of course, had long gone off work.

He dove through the opening without rustling the windchimes. The door to the therapy room in the back was ajar. The light was on inside, and clear voices could be heard.

“You promised me, Guildmaster!” Vermilion Bird said vehemently, sounding equal parts imploring and threatening.

“I’m sorry, Little Xia. I don’t think I can do it...” Their Guildmaster, the embodiment of grace and confidence, sounded hesitant and intimidated.

“It’s gonna be the end of the world in two years, Guildmaster, and if we die, won’t you regret it?”

“A little, but...”

“Trust me. Here, look at my eyes. You’re not running away again... Yes, that’s right... I promise you that I’ll be quick and gentle...”

It sounded like Vermilion Bird was coaxing Qilin.

“No, I still think I can’t...” Qilin’s voice tightened, and he sounded a little dejected. “I can’t control my body...”

“Don’t be nervous, Guildmaster. Relax and take a deep breath. It’s always like this the first time. Don’t worry. You are in control. Once you’re used to it, it’ll feel natural and good...” Vermilion Bird’s tone got softer and softer.

“Why don’t we stop here, Little Xia...?” Qilin, on the other hand, seemed increasingly on edge. “Seven Shadow’s coming. It’s inappropriate for him to see...”

Holy shit, what the hell are they doing?

It can’t be that, can it?!

1. In the raw, Gao Yang calls both of them Qing Ling, but pronounces ling in different tones despite both characters having the same tone in Mandarin. He uses the second tone to refer to Qing Ling the older sister, and the third tone to Little Qing Ling. ☜

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