How did the plot take such a twisted turn?
Originally, the neutral Xu family had no reason to rebel. And why did Xu Chunmu, who initially stood by the Crown Prince, abandon the cause of preserving the rightful imperial bloodline and only think about escaping with him?
According to the original text, the biggest obstacle to Jiang Yanchi’s ascension to the throne was himself.
But now, when he no longer posed a threat, the path to seizing power seemed fraught with difficulties.
It was as if the supporting villain was used to aid the protagonist’s career. Back then, he had gone offline too early, and the protagonist’s career had turned into a chaotic mess.
He couldn’t run.
He had to save Jiang Yanchi.
As he approached the city gate, he had a clearer mindset in the perilous circumstances.
The Yubei County Prince was cautious in his actions, and rebellion was not something he would easily commit to without a blade at his throat. At present, Marquis Xu’s exerted pressure was the only thing that kept him in check.
However, this place was near the capital city, in the central territory. It was impossible for Xu Yi to bring a large force to the city gates. Now, like himself, they were merely putting on a show to intimidate others.
Much like when they suppressed the case of Jiang Jingan’s, the Yubei County Prince was in a dilemma, and he would delay things first.
At this point, all that mattered was getting a message to the capital. It could be their lifeline.
Xu Chun was right.
Xu Yi would surely try to kill him, just as he had used Jiang Jingan’s death to intimidate and win over the county prince.
Xu Yi would use his death to force Yubei Wang into a corner, leaving him with no choice but to side with the rebellion.
However, if Yubei Wang’s ambitions were limited to mere survival, he might choose to secretly preserve his own life, sending Chu Xie back to the capital if there was a chance.
Now, the question was, would the guards at the city gate be under Xu Yi’s command, or would they be loyal to Yubei Wang?
Chu Xie approached the city gate, determined to find out.
“Lord Chu, you cannot enter the city right now,” one of the guards was familiar and came from the County Prince’s residence. Seeing him approaching, the guard did indeed stop him.
Chu Xie couldn’t show any anxiety.
He couldn’t help but sigh, “Yubei Wang indeed knows how to seize an opportunity from both sides.”
The guard, still bewildered, hesitated before saying, “Please forgive me, Lord Chu. Puyang is a vital pass, and it’s a tumultuous time. We naturally have to interact with people from various places.”
“I won’t enter the city, but I can provide you with a clear path. While Xu Yi hasn’t completely taken control of Puyang County, take a small contingent of troops and go to the capital immediately to deliver the message. If Xu Yi’s rebellion succeeds, you will bear the responsibility. If the rebellion fails, even if the County Prince needs to do something that might offend the Crown Prince in the future, this could give you and the county prince another chance.”
The guard pondered the situation carefully.
“Be quick, in a few hours, you won’t be able to leave,” Chu Xie urged.
Chu Xie’s strategic thinking was chilling, making it necessary for them to make a prudent decision. Ultimately, the guard led a small team of soldiers to depart for the capital.
Chu Xie was right. In times of chaos like these, they didn’t need to achieve glory, but they had to seek redemption.
The journey from here to the capital would take only half a day if they traveled swiftly. Departing at this time meant they would arrive by nightfall.
An arrow grazed past Chu Xie’s face.
It wasn’t good; there were indeed Xu Yi’s spies on the city walls.
The guard was in a dilemma, and seeing that the situation was unfavorable, he pretended to draw his blade, saying, “Seize him!”
Chu Xie realized the situation was turning bad, and another arrow came his way, but it was deflected by a stone thrown from behind him, burying itself into the ground.
He immediately turned his horse and fled.
Xu Chunmu, who had been following him, swiftly mounted a horse and rode beside him, urging their horses forward. “You wanted to report to the capital city, why didn’t you return on your own…?”
“Do you think if I hadn’t distracted the spies at the city gate, creating chaos, that the messenger could have made it past the first two miles?” Chu Xie said coldly. He had planned for such risks in his mind.
“Chu Xie, do you always like to take such risks?”
“We seek fortune amidst danger.” Hearing the approaching sound of hoofbeats from behind, and with both of them sharing one horse, their speed suffered. Chu Xie pushed Xu Chunmu and said, “Go grab a horse from the back, or we’ll be caught.”
Xu Chunmu hadn’t expected to be scolded. He handed over the reins to Chu Xie. “In that case, you hold the reins for now. This horse is very agile and will follow the road. You just need to use the whip at the right time.”
After saying that, he jumped off the horse. The pursuing soldiers were indeed from the Xu family, and naturally, they didn’t dare to harm Xu Chunmu. Xu Chunmu engaged them briefly, buying some time before also finding a horse to join Chu Xie.
However, after they had made three turns on the official road, Xu Chunmu had a bad feeling. This road formed a circular route, and there was a shortcut through the forest that some with knowledge of the area could use to intercept them from a hillside ahead.
When they caught up with Chu Xie, he was crossing a wooden bridge over a river, with a mountainous gap on the other side.
Xu Chunmu had an instinct that there might be an ambush and shouted, “Come back!”
Chu Xie didn’t hear clearly and turned around to see several black-clothed figures emerging from the woods, each brandishing short knives as thin as cicada wings, closing in on him.
The wooden bridge was narrow, and Chu Xie couldn’t turn around. He had no choice but to abandon his horse, using his short knife to prick the horse’s rump, sending it galloping forward and knocking two of the pursuers down.
Chu Xie ran back frantically. Xu Chunmu pulled him along the mountain path towards the mountaintop. The small branches scratched their faces, and Xu Chunmu’s throat felt like it was on fire.
Run, run as fast as they could.
Xu Chunmu carried him on his back and walked along a treacherous path, crossing over half of a mountain.
The hidden guards behind them were in relentless pursuit, clearly not willing to give up until they had captured Chu Xie. The two found themselves at a cliff with no way to retreat.
Chu Xie saw a short knife plunge into Xu Chunmu’s abdomen, and blood gushed out instantly.
His eyelids kept twitching, knowing that Xu Chunmu couldn’t protect him this time.
Xu Yi was indeed ruthless, even willing to harm his own grandson.
As he looked at the blood and Xu Chunmu’s pale face, Chu Xie suddenly felt a sharp pain in his chest. A buzzing sound filled his ears, taking away all his senses.
He hesitated, took a few steps back, looked at the swiftly flowing water below, clutched his chest, and jumped.
In that moment, Xu Chunmu also jumped down, holding him tightly in his arms.
Blood continued to flow from Xu Chunmu’s abdomen, and the scent of blood filled the air.
At that moment, Chu Xie felt like he was being dragged into darkness, and memories from his past life flashed before his eyes: a dimly lit room, the flickering orange glow of a charcoal fire, illuminating a woman huddled in the corner. The woman was holding a young girl in her arms, singing a soothing lullaby.
“Once you’re asleep, there will be no more pain…”
He heard his own voice, a young and tender voice, and in his line of sight, he saw himself crawling and rushing to the woman, pointing at the iron chain locking the door. “Where’s the key, Mom?!”
“Little Chu, there’s no key, we… have no way out.”
“No, Mom, there is. Listen to me, I’ll find a way, I…”
“Little Chu.” The woman reached out, using her finger, dampened with her own tears, to wipe the dust from the boy’s face. “Go with your sister, accompany Mom to death.”
The boy was dazed and felt his vision growing blurry.
Suddenly, he couldn’t hold back his tears.
“Mom, I’ll accompany you in death, just spare Little Yin, she’s still a child… Give me the key, let her escape, I’ll accompany you in death, please.”
Memories that had always been vague became incredibly clear in a single moment.
They clutched his heart tightly, making it hard to breathe.
In the bathroom, blood was everywhere.
The blood flowed to his feet, splashing light red water droplets when he stepped on it.
The woman in front of him had no breath left, and her white dress had been dyed a deep red.
“Ah Xie, Ah Xie!” Weak cries gradually faded away, and Chu Xie trembled all over.
Those deeply buried memories seemed to burst forth at a certain moment, leaving him powerless to resist.
The sound in his ears turned into the crackling of a burning fire, as if a devouring flame was chasing after him. Many people were crying and shouting, but eventually, it became a quiet, rhythmic sound.
He tilted his head and listened carefully for a long time, only to realize that it was the sound of a doctor clicking a ballpoint pen.
“Still can’t bear to see any blood, can you? What about these images? Can you look at them directly?”
“Still can’t close the window?”
The thick door muffled the doctor’s voice, and only a few scattered words could be heard.
“This is actually a form of self-defense mechanism. When someone’s mental state is severely traumatized, in order to defend against negative emotional disturbances, it can transform into another extreme condition stress response… We refer to it as, claustrophobia, along with the fear-based aversion to blood.”
“Don’t be fooled by his current outgoing and lively personality, sharp thinking, and quick reactions. It’s an extreme reaction, a result of the brain’s long-term self-mutilation of his negative emotions. Once triggered, the consequences can be very severe.”
“If possible, try to avoid exposing this child to large amounts of fresh blood, and don’t place him in dimly lit rooms. Also, try not to mention that other child in front of him.”
“Shen Yin, his younger sister.”
The two fell into the fast-flowing water, and the icy river water rushed into their mouths and noses, causing Chu Xie’s body to convulse from the pain.
Countless voices flooded his mind along with the sounds of the rushing water.
“Years ago, his mother forced both children into suicide, twice. The first time, all three were rescued successfully, but the second time—one dead, one injured. His sister, Shen Yin, still occasionally ends up in the intensive care unit. We have been advising him that given their financial situation, it might be best to discontinue her treatment…”
“He finally agreed to that last week.”
After what felt like an eternity, Xu Chunmu managed to pull Chu Xie onto the shore. However, he noticed that Chu Xie had fallen into unconsciousness and couldn’t be awakened. He was shivering uncontrollably, clutching his arms, as if trapped in an unending nightmare.
“This child, he no longer has any family.”
“Only he has survived.”
In that charcoal-burning suicide attempt years ago, his sister hadn’t been able to completely escape due to the delayed rescue. Organ failures caused by years of brain damage had left her weak and in constant pain.
It was him who had insisted on her survival, him who selfishly couldn’t part from that child.
Because he didn’t want to be alone.
For all these years, he had worked tirelessly, resorted to theft and robbery when desperate, explored every legal and illegal path. He had no time for despair, couldn’t afford to waver. He had worked eighteen hours a day for three consecutive years… he had earned a lot of money, but it was still not enough, not enough to cure Little Yin, not enough to keep his only family member alive in this world.
A week after signing the consent form to discontinue treatment, he returned to that old house where his mother had died.
Just like his mother all those years ago, he slit his own wrist.
This is how he died.
This is how he arrived in this world through transmigration.
It was his forgetting, complete and total, that led him to believe he still had his only blood-related relative in this world.
With a deep sense of empathy, Chu Xie briefly shared his sight with the soul that had originally occupied his body, his eyes slightly opening just a crack. He saw Xu Chunmu lying on the riverbank, drenched in blood. Chu Xie closed his eyes and, in the darkness, heard that same voice, now filled with hysteria: “Save him, save him! Save Xu Chunmu! Can’t you see he’s injured?!”
Chu Xie had lost his will to live and simply curled up in the darkness.
Little Yin was gone.
“Save him, quickly, save him…” The voice continued relentlessly, and the formerly fierce voice had transformed into a plea. “I’m begging you… save him!”
For him, the desire to return to the real world had become a true h*ll.
Nothing had meaning anymore.
A calling voice filled his ears, rekindling Chu Xie’s heart, which had been as lifeless as ashes.
The shout became more and more urgent. “Brother, what’s wrong? Brother, why did you suddenly pass out…”
“Chu Xie” willingly ceded control of his body for a moment, and Chu Xie struggled to open his eyes. He saw little Yin’s face, who was lying in a hospital bed but could now sit up, eating a simple meal obediently. Her slender face bore a gentle smile. “Brother is awake. Maybe you’re just tired; why did you suddenly pass out?”
He shivered as he raised his hand.
He had already signed the consent form to discontinue treatment.
How could little Yin possibly be alive and well in front of him?
Before his hand could touch that face, an agonizing, soul-rending pain swept through him once again, as if his very soul was torn apart. Chu Xie was forced out of that body once more, sinking back into darkness.
“Save Xu Chunmu!”
That voice rang out once again in the darkness.
“She needs a second surgery. There’s a matching liver, Shen Chu, and I saved her. I can save her, but I can also give up on her… You listen closely, if Xu Chunmu is dead, I will not let your sister live, you understand me!”
The agonizing pain in Chu Xie’s heart gradually eased, and slowly, his body seemed to find its rhythm of breathing.
After letting out a sigh of relief, he rolled over and spat out a mouthful of water.
“If you save Xu Chunmu, I will return this body to you… completely, I’ll give it all back to you… I just want him to live, do you understand?”
Chu Xie wasn’t fully awake yet, but in that darkness, he rallied as if an endless clear stream had once again begun to flow from a dry spring.
“Good, good… you save her, earn money, get her the surgery… let her live a happy life forever. I know you’re Chu Xie, I’ll save Xu Chunmu… you… you take good care of Little Yin… she’s very sensible, she’s just like me, afraid of blood, afraid of darkness, afraid of closed spaces, she…”
Before he could finish speaking, a ray of sunlight pierced his eyes.
Chu Xie woke up.
The river rushed by, the cry of cicadas echoed in the late autumn, slowly filling his ears.
As the empathic connection ended, he could no longer hear Little Yin’s voice or the voice of the other world’s “Chu Xie.” However, he knew Little Yin was alive, and it was as if he had grasped some form of hope after two decades of despair.
He couldn’t do in the original world what the “Chu Xie” from that world could.
He had earned enough money. He had paid for Little Yin’s medical expenses.
He had saved her.
As he cried, he suddenly started laughing.
Although he didn’t know the reason, he was determined to save Xu Chunmu no matter what.
For Little Yin, he would overcome every obstacle in this world, unravel Xu Chunmu’s fate, and save him.
Looking at Xu Chunmu lying by his side with a dagger stuck in his side, Chu Xie tore off a piece of his tattered clothing. He wrapped it around the wound to apply pressure before searching the nearby woods for some herbs to stop the bleeding.
With great care, he pulled out the knife and applied the herbs, layer by layer, over the wound.
“Xu Chunmu, wake up… you can’t die…”
Under Chu Xie’s relentless calls, Xu Chunmu slowly opened his eyes, regaining some consciousness. He saw Chu Xie’s anxious expression and reassured him, “Don’t worry. I didn’t receive a fatal blow; it’s not a life-threatening injury. I won’t die…”
“But you can’t return to Puyang County; it’s too dangerous. I’m injured too, and I can’t protect you…”
Chu Xie wiped his face, blood and dirt smeared across his hand.
His eyes were turning red, and tears flowed uncontrollably.
“Why are you crying…?”
Xu Chunmu raised his hand to wipe away the blood from Chu Xie’s face. “Please don’t cry… I’m fine…”
“Alright, I won’t go back to Puyang County. You can’t die; you absolutely… cannot die!”
Xu Chunmu’s gaze gradually changed, feeling Chu Xie’s trembling hands pressed against his wound. Suddenly, he covered Chu Xie’s hand gently with his own back and said, “Don’t be afraid. I won’t die. Chu Xie, I won’t die.”
It felt like he was making a promise, and he tightened his grip on Chu Xie’s hand.
“I want to tell you… a secret. You might not believe me, but I need to say it.”
“I feel like I had a very long dream. I dreamed of our past lives… In our past life, you were the utterly wicked Chu Zhangyin, and I was just a little general loyal to the rightful cause. I sneaked into the capital and helped the Crown Prince defeat you. But at… the moment I was framed and thrown into the Zhao Prison, you saved me. Chu Xie, I’ve always wanted to ask you, why, after opposing me for so many years, did you risk your life to save me at the end?”
“I was deeply entangled in that doubt. But now, none of that matters… I don’t care why you saved me in our past life, and I don’t want to understand why you always choose to do evil things… I only want to take you away from here. Let’s leave the capital, leave behind all the luxury and the conflicts, and live a simple life together, is that okay…?”
He looked into Chu Xie’s bewildered eyes.
Xu Chunmu raised his hand and said, “If possible, I hope you won’t live so despairingly for the rest of your life.”
“I like you.”
“Really like you, very much.”
Chu Xie’s gaze gradually turned strange, and after a long while, he abruptly withdrew his hand, as if he’d been shocked.
“No, you like me not as I am now, but as… as the ‘me’ from our past life who saved you, right? You were deeply in love with that ‘me’ in our past life. If it weren’t for that…”
If it weren’t for that, why would ‘Chu Xie’ ask me to save you again and again?
Aren’t you lovers?
Chu Xie seemed to be lost, hesitated for a moment, and asked again, “You didn’t like the ‘me’ from our past life?”
Xu Chunmu stated firmly, “I didn’t know you well in our past life, we barely crossed paths, so how could I like you?”
“I don’t like anyone due to gratitude, or owing them. Chu Xie, I can clearly distinguish my own feelings.”
“What I like is the person in front of me.”
Chu Xie was completely shocked.
Realizing that he had seriously misunderstood something for a long time, he had unintentionally deepened his involvement with the person in front of him. Chu Xie hurriedly explained, “Xu Chunmu, I don’t like you.”
“I don’t have those kinds of feelings for you. Please don’t like me; I just want to save you.”
“Then tell me, why do you want to save me?”
Xu Chunmu pressed his already-stopped bleeding abdomen and endured the pain as he sat up. “Why, when you saved the Crown Prince and claimed you were me, you did it to secure this favor. Why, when you pretended to be dead and woke up, you chose to believe me and follow me back to the Northern Territory. Why, with everyone else, you’re so ruthless, but you’ve been especially kind to me, never scheming or plotting…”
This made no sense.
Telling Jiang Yanchi that I was Xu Chunmu, it was just to prevent going out of character.
When I pretended to be dead and woke up, only you were by my side. I thought that the original owner’s old flame, who wanted to take advantage of this, wanted to save himself.
As for why I am so kind to you compared to others—it’s because the original owner, ‘Chu Xie,’ was always threatening me!
“Chu Xie, just a moment ago, you said you were willing to leave everything behind and live a secluded life with me, even if you don’t like me. Why did you choose to abandon the glory you’ve pursued for half your life and the deep-seated hatred you’ve held for me?”
Xu Chunmu, enduring the pain, stood up.
“I know your feelings, don’t worry. You treat me so well, and in this lifetime, I promise not to let you down.”
This is a mess; how did it become so chaotic?
I really don’t like men!
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