Si Tian Guan Chapter 227

Chapter 227 – Extra 4

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A jet-black ring spun between his fingers, catching the sunlight and cutting out a clear circle in the sky.

The circle of sunlight fell onto one of his eyes, casting his golden-colored iris as if it were a kaleidoscope of flowing light.

“I want it.”

He spoke slowly, as if he needed to reassure himself and gather more courage, repeating himself.

“I want it.”

He knew what he wanted.

Having followed the Young Master for many years, he rarely traveled the mortal realm alongside him. He couldn’t quite understand the Young Master’s fascination with the mundane world, nor comprehend the myriad joys and sorrows that came with it.

However, witnessing the Young Master being granted the title of Jian Wang had left a subtle impact on him, the first time he felt such a delicate stirring.

He was a live spirit, and the laws among live spirits were very simple: might makes right.

Yet these insignificant humans would devoutly kneel before a position, even if the person seated in that position was an ordinary individual with no strength.

He found himself greatly bewildered and puzzled by this, along with an envy he couldn’t hide.

To be worshipped and acknowledged by countless people, what did it feel like?

What was the taste of worldly wealth and glory?

This notion was like a spark landing on a piece of coal, inconspicuous at first, but gradually igniting and burning within him, causing him to stay awake all night, tossing and turning.

The more he couldn’t have it, the more he wanted it.

However, within the rules set by the Eldest Young Master, the capital was not a place for live spirits. He couldn’t employ many techniques like the Young Master, nor was he as familiar with the rules of humans. He didn’t know how to reach that position.

Therefore, this jet-black ring was his only shortcut and opportunity.

“In the present day, the Emperor Xiao Wei and I were once as close as brothers…”

When the Young Master handed him this token, he hesitated for a long time.

“Show him this token.”

“If he remembers the past at the Azure Water Cold Abyss, tell him to come to Qinghe Ferry to find me. If he has forgotten, you… don’t need to come back to me.”

He couldn’t understand.

The Young Master, one of the three spirits of heaven and earth, lacked nothing, yet he hesitated over a mere mortal. He even pondered seeing him face to face.

He wanted…

Not only did he want the easily attainable worldly wealth, but he also wanted to understand, what were the bonds that tied the Young Master to the mortal world? What was it?

Truly within reach.

He circumvented Qinghe Ferry and arranged for them to meet at Molingkou.

Originally thinking there would be many difficulties, he didn’t expect that the Supreme Emperor Xiao Wei would actually accept the invitation in person and naturally fall into his trap.

When he, like a divine soldier from the heavens, repelled the prepared ambush, he walked through the blood and extended his hand toward Xiao Wei, the young emperor threw himself at him, hugging him tightly and choked with sobs.

Even after a long time, he couldn’t deny that the depth of emotion and impact in that moment was unparalleled.

He thought, perhaps this was what a bond felt like.

He thought, at that moment, he was genuinely envious of the Young Master.

He thought, how wonderful it would be if someone cared for him like this, dedicating their heart to him.

Unfortunately, this goodness ultimately came through identity substitution, not something meant for him.

Initially, Xiao Wei regarded him as the Young Master, not only shouldering all the pressures to appoint him as the Imperial Teacher, but also standing against everyone to protect him.

But gradually, Xiao Wei changed.

He knew where the problem lay.

Although he had done his utmost to imitate the Young Master’s demeanor and speech, and listened to the Young Master describe his situation trapped in the cold abyss, the Young Master had experienced countless worldly matters, remained indifferent to honor and disgrace, possessing a freedom of spirit that he could never match.

He had gained too much, wanted too much.

Finally, Xiao Wei realized he had invited the wolf into the house. He pushed him into a corner, but the allure of worldly wealth and glory silently invaded like an addictive drug, rendering him unable to quit.

Greed led to irrationality.

If his past desires were only greed, now he was becoming insane. It wasn’t just about wealth and glory, nor just because of Xiao Wei’s enmity, but also his desire for victory and his unwillingness to admit defeat.

What others could achieve, he had clearly surpassed, yet opposition grew stronger. He didn’t want to hear any voices, all that stood in his way were enemies.

It wasn’t until the day Xiao Wei took his last breath in front of him that he suddenly woke up, filled with panic.

Serious crime.

Impersonating the Young Master, a grave crime!

Causing the death of the dearest friend of the Young Master, a grave crime!

Yet greed was a poison. Before the day of judgment arrived, he felt even more fortunate, wanting even more.

It wasn’t just about wealth and prosperity, not just about family bonds, not just about approval and recognition, but much more… he wanted everything.

At the moment he cast his spells, everything fell like withered leaves blown off a branch by the cold wind, gently fluttering down.

This was a taboo, something that would invite divine punishment.

But what could he do? When facing foreign invaders, he had to fight back. Yet he knew nothing about formations and strategies. In his desperation, he could only cast spells and turn beans into soldiers, achieving a great victory in battle.

People once again looked at him with awe and reverence.

As people celebrated the victory with thunderous cheers, he was on the run. He unavoidably suffered the first celestial thunderstorm, crawling into a cave in a daze.

That cold and damp cave became the nightmare he couldn’t escape from.

Every part of his body ached as if being tortured. It was agonizing, worse than death. He felt like a desolate dog, clinging to life with the last bit of resilience, though he knew that this struggle wouldn’t last long.

The pain was too intense. Even his usual pride was stripped away, and he heard his own pitiful sobbing.

“It’s all your fault… it’s all your fault…”

Even he wouldn’t have expected that when facing death, he would think of that person.

Both serving the Young Master, that person had joined the Young Master’s side slightly earlier than him. He would always put on an air of seniority and lectured him, as if everything he did was wrong.

If he hadn’t consistently lost more than he won, if he hadn’t been holding his breath to prove himself, perhaps he wouldn’t have dared to take such a dangerous risk.

Time left for him was running out, but the more his body burned with pain, the less control he had over his mind. Images flashed through his mind like a revolving lantern, all the arguments and bickering with that person.

He would never see that annoying face again, never have arguments with anyone. It should have been a relief, but in the cave, all that echoed were his involuntary sobs.

“Zhong… Zhongming… Where are you…”

Someone responded to his voice, but as always, it was filled with anger, without a hint of comfort.

“I finally found you!”

“Why didn’t you say anything before you left! I’ve been looking for you for so long!”

The searing pain gradually subsided in the steadily flowing spiritual energy. However, the tiny trace of gratitude he felt turned into resentment in the face of familiar reproach.

“Where I’m going, why should I tell you! What do you want from me! I don’t want to see you!”

He was carried out of the cave, leaning weak and powerless against someone’s chest for the first time. He felt a mix of shame and anger, unable to break free.

“You… Let go of me… My life and death… have nothing to do with you.”

The other person was clearly well aware of what he had done during this time. They didn’t even question him, but kept talking incessantly, filled with frustration.

“Why are you so foolish! Just for some worldly prosperity, is it worth breaking taboos like this?”

“For something so significant, why didn’t you consult me!”

He cried without dignity, curled up, and remained defiant.

“Who do you think you are! What can you do by coming here? What do you mean by ‘just for some worldly prosperity,’ I want…”

The person placed him gently on a soft bed, listening to the distant rumble of thunder outside and growing increasingly anxious.

“What you want, I can help you achieve. But you can’t knowingly break the rules like this!”

“I don’t want you interfering!” He struggled to get up. “I’ll handle things on my own! It’s just my life! Stay away, I don’t want to see you!”

Seeing he was unyielding, the other person stopped bothering with words. They raised their hand and with a touch, a supple red cord immobilized him on the bed. Ignoring his desperate struggles, they tried to pry his hand open.

“Give me the Young Master’s token!”

He froze for a moment, then suddenly panicked, “What are you going to do!”

Even though he despised the other person, he was acutely aware of their intentions. As fellow attendants to the Young Master, the token served as irrefutable evidence. It could be used as a substitute for him.

“No!” He clenched his fists, trying frantically to break free. “No!”

Eventually, the token was taken away. The person stepped a couple of paces back, then returned to pat his hair.

“Don’t keep making mistakes, quickly admit your fault to the Young Master, and from now on… I can’t help you anymore.”

Footsteps by the bedside jumped out of the window, stepping on the bricks and tiles. Amidst the distant and near rolling thunder, he heard that melody for the first time, sung repeatedly.

“One watch drum sounds, the March flowers bloom, the cuckoo screams in disorder, the small swallows fly, and the east wind calls every day. After changing the color of the horizon, it slowly returns to the streets.”

“Two watch drums sound, the screen is idle and spread out, spring and autumn clouds, drunken farewell to the west building, little by little walking. The red candle is no good and the half moon is leaning against the window.”

“Three watch drums, hundred generations in court at sunset, the water flows, the flowers wither, the north and south diverge, and the radiance of spring is missed. The flute leaves late from the pavilion, and the lord goes to Xiao Xiang.”

“Four watch drum sounds, the wine in front of the bottle is cold, the railings are beaten all over, and one sings loudly to mutually inquire as if affectionate and ruthless. Tomorrow, across the mountains, the affairs of life will be boundless.” 

“Five watch drums sound, the bead curtains are all wet, the snow is all over the Sky and Mountains, the clouds are thousands of miles away, and there are thousands of guests in the cloud.” 

“Don’t go… Zhongming… I was wrong…”

Amidst his hysterical sobbing, half of the sky outside the window turned red. The figure outside, together with the farewell melody, was engulfed by flames.

No one nagged him anymore, no one blamed him, no one lectured him. But from then on, he turned into an empty shell.

When the Young Master came to hold him accountable, the fear and worry were long gone, replaced with a sense of release.

“It was me…” He knelt on the ground, utterly lost. “I used the Young Master’s token to summon the Zhongming Bird… I offered blood… it’s my fault.”

In the end, the Young Master’s heart softened. He didn’t let him fall apart completely. Not only did he take his inner core, he also revealed that the Zhongming Bird hadn’t been obliterated, but had entered the cycle of reincarnation.

Two choices lay before him…

Every day he spent imprisoned on the deserted island, he would sit blankly on the high ground, staring at the rolling waves in the distance, lost in thought. 

Should he enter the cycle of reincarnation to find Zhongming, or should he stay on this seemingly uninhabited island, waiting for Zhongming… 

He chose the latter, even though he would endure excruciating punishments every ten days, and even though Bi Fang tried to persuade him each time. 

Perhaps it was genuine aversion, or perhaps the decades spent in the mortal world had made him hesitate to face that bustling place. 

In truth, he didn’t know how to face Zhongming, and the suffering of captivity became his way of avoidance. 

But fate was unwilling to let him escape peacefully. Like an ant invading his territory, someone had entered. 

Loneliness had persisted for too long. Anyone who came was welcome; he didn’t mind playing with ants.

However, just as he was about to crush the wooden figure, that Yanshi risked their life to block him, a futile effort that seemed absurd.

“Why did you save him?” he asked, puzzled.

“Because,” the Yanshi replied, “we are husband and wife.”

Husband and wife…

His nose tingled with an odd sensation. Those two words were spoken without a sound, and no one heard his whispered words in the dark.

“I will really listen to you from now on… I don’t want wealth and prosperity anymore.”

“Zhongming, I miss you…”

“Where are you…”

Unfortunately, there was no one to nag him incessantly in his ear. It turned out the goodness he longed for, that complete and unreserved goodness, had been beside him from the very beginning.

“Zhongming, if you come back… I won’t argue with you anymore…”

“Mr. Huashe,” the young Yanshi, who didn’t know better, hummed that melody in front of him and timidly told him, “When we roamed around, we met a qin teacher named Jiang Zhongming. He taught us this melody.”

“Zhongming!” Chaos swirled within him at the sound of that name. “How is he?”

“He said he taught himself this melody since he was little, with a vague sense of waiting for someone.”

“But he didn’t know who he was waiting for or how to find them, so he could only wander around, singing this melody.”

“He also asked us to help spread it, hoping the person he was waiting for would hear the melody and come to find him.”

All his pride and obstinacy shattered into dust.

That fool, naive as a living being, and even as a human in reincarnation, had forgotten their past, yet somehow remembered to painstakingly search for him.

What was he supposed to do now?

Qu Chenzhou turned over with difficulty.

This heavy and lengthy dream finally reached its end. At the dream’s conclusion, his body turned into a brilliant radiance, dispersing on the horizon.

The capricious and stubborn live spirit finally lowered his head and re-entered the cycle, all for the sake of that most important person.

He breathed heavily, having endured many colds back at Qisheng Building earlier. When he was young, he didn’t mind, but as he grew older, he frequently suffered from asthma attacks, particularly severe in the autumn.

“Zhongming, I just… dreamt of many things…” He struggled to breathe, his voice hoarse. “You said, is it… our past life…”

The person beside him sensed his restless sleep, instinctively pulled their arms tighter, but due to their advanced age, they continued sleeping soundly.

“Zhongming, I might… be leaving soon.”

He raised his head slightly, as if he wanted to touch a familiar lump in his throat, or like a fish submerged in water before a storm, struggling to find a breath of air.

That gentle voice, as soft as a breath, was drowned out by the rain outside.

“In this lifetime with you, I was truly happy…”

Unexpectedly, in the early hours, the night rain intensified, hitting the window lattice with a resounding sound. Lying half asleep, Liu Zhongming was awakened by the noise. Without opening his eyes, he slowly reached out and touched the person in his embrace, softly muttering.

“It’s raining, are you cold? Did you kick the blanket off again? Is there phlegm in your throat?”

The person in his embrace had always been delicate, yet this time, they didn’t respond.

“Chenzhou,” he noticed the chill in his arms, reached out to touch, and then bent down to place a kiss on their forehead. “Chenzhou?”

Still, there was no response.

The rain outside grew more rampant, and the silence within the room created a separate world.

Liu Zhongming’s hand curled up, then slowly unfurled. Repeatedly, he gently caressed, his throat slid a few times, until finally, he let out a light chuckle amidst a sob.

“I’m fortunate you went first…”

“Otherwise, how could I rest easy…”

“You go ahead, I’ll be right behind you.”

In the tenth year of the Mingde era, during the autumn, Si Tian Guan Qu Chenzhou passed away in his sleep.

Anding Marquis, Liu Zhongming, arranged everything for after his passing. He rested in the same coffin with Qu Chenzhou, their bodies embraced, laid to rest together.

Life together, death in the same tomb.

Two side-by-side tablets stood outside the grave – “My Wife, Qu Chenzhou,” and “My Husband, Liu Zhongming.”

“This is the tomb of the Anding Marquis!” A voice in the darkness whispered, “Show some respect! Be careful not to incur the wrath of the Lord from above!”

A young voice weakly reminded, “Big brother, we’re grave robbing here. What’s there to fear? Besides, the man’s been dead for so long.”

The leader didn’t want to explain much. He simply reprimanded, “Shut up! Focus on the job!”

They had already broken the soil, entered the passage, and after opening the stone door ahead, they entered the underground chamber where the coffin was placed.

No matter how great their spoils were outside, they couldn’t compare to what lay beside the deceased.

They recognized the use of natural stone on the door. Using a picklock key, they poked at the door for a while. Dust fell as the stone door slowly opened.

The leader couldn’t contain his excitement. To them, this was great news – it had been years since anyone entered the tomb. The valuable items buried with the deceased a century ago were still likely there.

For some reason, perhaps due to their years of tomb raiding, they sensed it even in this complete darkness – there seemed to be someone, someone breathing ever so lightly.

He drew his knife in his hand, struck a flint, and almost simultaneously, the screams of everyone in the tomb reverberated like a drone.

“There… there’s someone!”

In the instant the light appeared, they all clearly saw a person lying on the central coffin.

“Don’t make a fuss!” The leader rushed to extinguish the flint that had fallen to the ground, shouting, “Stop shouting! How could there be someone! It’s a grave-sealing stone!”

Before he could relight the flint, someone in the darkness snapped their fingers, and the lamps on the walls, which had long dried out, lit up one by one, illuminating the chamber as if it were daytime.

Now they could all see clearly. There was indeed a person in the coffin. The young man in white sat cross-legged. He had a vermilion birthmark under his peach blossom eyes, and his arms were crossed in front of his chest. He looked at them from the corner of his eye, raising an eyebrow slightly.

“Grave robbers?”

The group exchanged glances. The leader, still the boldest, spoke up first. “Same field?”

Someone chuckled dismissively and poked their head out from the other end of the coffin. It was a girl of fifteen or sixteen.

“Young master, they said you’re grave-sealing, that you’re grave robbing! Give them a good beating!”

“Shut up, you useless thing. You can’t help with anything.” The young man scolded with frustration, then addressed them. “Whatever you guys are up to doesn’t matter. I was about to unseal the coffin. Hurry up and leave.”

He slapped the coffin under him with a resounding thud.

The leader burst into laughter.

For the joint burial of the Anding Marquis and his wife, three coffins and two outer coffins were used. With only the young man’s strength, it was impossible to open them.

Although they didn’t know which passage the intruders had come from or the trick behind the ignited flint, the fact remained that there were only two of them. One of them was even a young girl. There was no need to be afraid.

“Young friend,” he clasped his fists, “we’re all sharing the same meal from our ancestors. Although you were here first, if it weren’t for our assistance, you wouldn’t be able to open the coffin. Once you’ve unsealed it, we’ll take the items first.”

“You should hurry and leave. I want to unseal the coffin properly so that there’s at least some bone ash left,” the young man said as if he hadn’t noticed the larger group, looking at them sideways and sighing helplessly. “Grave robbing is a crime, but it doesn’t deserve death. Heaven has the virtue of kindness…”

The girl next to the coffin leaned out again. “Young master, why do you sound like an old monk?”

“Another word from you?” The young man narrowed his eyes, intimidating the girl into silence. Then he extended his right hand, creating a void not far from the crowd.

“I’ve opened a path for you. Hurry up and leave. Don’t engage in these shameful activities again.”

However, who would dare to leave? The void was filled with black smoke, concealing whatever lay within. It was eerie enough to see it anywhere, let alone inside this chamber, and especially not when it was referred to as a “ghost path.”

“Loose Lips.” The young man called out, “Get to work!”

Several vines, each as thick as a wrist, shot out from one side of the coffin, directly towards where the girl was.

“Master, I’m not Loose Lips,” the girl complained unhappily, “I’m Shen Ronghua.”

Before anyone could react, the vines swiftly and unceremoniously wrapped up the group, yanking them all into the void.

The chamber fell silent once again.

The young man leaped down from the coffin, attempting to push it open, but it remained unmoved.

“You two idiots,” he grumbled, “always causing me trouble.”

Shen Ronghua approached him too, puzzled. “Master, they’ve been unconscious for so long and haven’t bothered you. How have they caused trouble?”

The young man picked up a pry bar and examined the surroundings, but there was nowhere to insert it. He gritted his teeth in frustration.

“They won’t wake up, and I don’t even have someone useful to boss around. Bi Fang is still usable, but someone like you, all you do is cause trouble for me every day.” 

“Master, you’re mistaken,” Shen Ronghua corrected with seriousness, “Without my ability to eloquently put your military and strategic genius into words, how could your unparalleled talents be recorded?” 

“Shut your mouth,” the young man replied without raising his head. 

“Don’t think I don’t know you spend all day writing some nonsense. Second brother came to me last time, saying if you write another one of those stories about him and Jiurong, he’ll chop your petals into stuffing.” 

“If I catch you making up stories about me and Jing Chuan, I’ll hand you over to Second Brother for punishment.” 

“And don’t think others won’t notice. When Zhongming and the others wake up and see all that weird stuff being sold in the ghost market, they’ll make your life h*ll!” 

Shen Ronghua was scolded into silence. After circling around with him for a while and not finding a civilized way to open the coffin, she couldn’t help but ask out of curiosity, “Master, they finally made it out of the cycle of reincarnation. Their spiritual cores are perfectly matched. Why don’t they want to wake up?” 

“How should I know?” the young man leaned against the coffin, “Isn’t it because of what you wrote in the book? You said that if they woke up like this, they wouldn’t be tainted by the mortal world, and they’d forget about their past. Otherwise, why would I, with nothing better to do, come here to play with their bones?”

“I…” Shen Ronghua touched her tender hand and started to worry about her own safety. She weakly explained, “Master, that book… shouldn’t be taken seriously…”

“I’ll discuss it with Big Brother, and we both feel like there’s some truth in it.”

“But if it fails, please don’t blame…”

Before she could finish her sentence, the young man placed his index and middle fingers against his lips, pointed forward, and exhaled a deep gray dragon’s breath. The breath shot directly at the coffin.

Shen Ronghua screamed, but it was already too late to stop him.

Under the force of the dragon’s breath, the thick coffin disintegrated into rolling dust and ash. As the young man raised his hand and summoned the wind to disperse the dust, a deep pit was revealed where the coffin had been.

“We’re done,” she clutched her chest, “they’ve turned into ashes completely.”

“Oh, this…” The young man laughed sheepishly, “It was just too fragile, I really didn’t use much force…”

He didn’t have time for anything else. He tucked his robes and jumped into the pit, searching for a while before crawling back up, covered in dirt and dust, with two leg bones in his hands.

“That’s probably enough.”

A red and a blue spiritual core floated above his palm, the surging spirits of ice and fire swirling around them.

“Build the foundation with bones! Remember the past life!”

He raised his hands and brought them down simultaneously.

“Get up, all of you!”

The spiritual energy and inner cores attached to the bones, merging like ice melting into water, gradually taking shape.

“Master…” Shen Ronghua had been trying to interject all this time and now cautiously extended her finger, “I have some doubts, please enlighten me, Master.”


“Regarding Zhongming… he should be a bit taller than Huashe… right?”

“Yes, so?”

“So, I believe… the one on the left should be Zhongming. Master, did you… switch them by mistake?”


The young man stared at the two gradually forming figures.

“I think you might have a point.”

Although he immediately held the cores in his hands, the spiritual energy had already fused with the bones.

“But it’s too late now, ah hahaha…”

On the night of the lunar eclipse, the Ghost Market thrived.

Most live spirits were solitary creatures, scattered everywhere. It was only on the night of the lunar eclipse that they gathered in the Ghost Market. It was lively for one night, but they didn’t know when they would gather again.

The city where the Ghost Market was held only existed as an illusion for tonight. Three young masters took turns overseeing it. To know which young master was in charge this year, one only needed to look at the color of the tower in the center of the Ghost Market.

It blended seamlessly with the night, appearing jet-black.

A dashing young man emerged from the bedchamber, contentedly burping after a hearty meal.

Even though it had taken on a human form, its two tusks still protruded from its lips. The particularly foul belch it let out after having its fill made those around it retreat in disgust.

It disdainfully snorted a few times with its nose, using a piece of cloth around its waist to wipe its tusks, and surveyed its surroundings. Just as it was about to find a place to cause more trouble, its gaze suddenly landed on a figure in front of it.

The person was draped in a snowy white cloak, slender and slim, holding a jar of wine and walking slowly.

Squinting, it focused its gaze for a while. The tightly wrapped cloak would occasionally flutter with the person’s steps, revealing glimpses of slender, well-defined legs.

The figure didn’t even turn its head; just this sight alone caused a dryness in its throat.

Sniffing, it chuckled to itself – this scent was that of a human. To think someone was so audacious, daring to infiltrate the Ghost Market; it was as if a lamb had walked into a tiger’s den.

“Little one, where’s your company?” Taking a few steps forward, it planted its hooves on the person’s shoulder. “Brother will show you something interesting to play with.”

The creatures around, some standing and some walking, all froze and stared at it. 

A plump thing dropped from the roof, pushed up its glasses, and suddenly burst into hearty laughter. 

That other thing behind it grabbed its shoulder, leaving it baffled and about to scold, “What are you laughing at?”

“What did you just call him? What interesting thing are you planning to do with him? Let me see!” 

Dang Kang got startled, it realized that in this ghostly market teeming with spirits, it couldn’t sense any spiritual energy from either of these two. Instead, they both had human-like scents. 

“What kind of creature are you…” 

It slapped away the hand on its shoulder and turned around, only to meet a pair of fiery red eyes, looking at it with a smirk. He immediately knelt down with weak knees. 

“Lord… Lord Zhongming…” 

Now, it finally recognized which of the two it had just teased. 

He had heard about these two lords from the Third Young Master, who had traveled to the mortal world and become even more formidable. They could even seamlessly blend into crowds without being noticed. 

Today, with the Third Young Master overseeing the ghost market, having these two patrolling here was quite normal. It realized it had been foolish to strike up a conversation. 

“It’s my mistake, I was blinded by ignorance,” Dang Kang stammered as it retrieved a small local product from its pouch. “This is a little something from my hometown. I hope you’ll accept it, my lords…” 

The figure in the long cloak ahead turned his head slightly, his golden eyes curved slightly. He sneered and then turned to leave.

A tap from the Zhongming bird’s talon made the oilcloth package land in his hand. When he looked up, he couldn’t find any trace of the person.

He kicked Dang Kang away, slowly walking through the path the crowd opened up. He meandered around the Ghost Market for two rounds before finally looking up at the sky.

An array of various lanterns floated in the sky, big and small, near and far. They bobbed and flickered, some even hung between the clouds. When viewed from the ground, the extended sea of lanterns resembled a galaxy spilling onto the earth.

He stepped onto the empty space and landed on a large lotus lantern. There was no candle inside; only the flower’s core emitted a soft light.

Someone lay lazily on it, one foot raised and resting on the petals that curved inward. An empty wine jar had rolled to the side.

“Why are you hiding here?”

He casually grabbed the raised ankle and planted a kiss on it. Just as he was about to move further up, his shoulder was kicked.

“Don’t touch me, it’s so hot…” the reproachful voice murmured softly, “It’s all your fault.”

“Where’s it hot?” He continued to hold both ankles, sliding his fingers along the smooth calves. “Tell me, where’s it hot?”

The person made a light hum but refused to answer, tilting their slender neck back. The contours of their neck were clearly visible under the light. “It’s all your fault, your spiritual energy… why is it so hot…”

“I didn’t even mind your coolness…” He leaned down and kissed them. “It just warms me up.”

“Not here…”

“Here is fine. It’s better if you’re a bit nervous; it makes me feel better,” he raised his hand and the lotus petals rose layer by layer, leaving only the one in the middle with a smiling voice, “But I’m molting recently, so it might be a bit prickly there. Just bear with it, and don’t cry too loudly.” 

“You jerk… Don’t…,” the other voice was muffled by kisses, and amidst it came intermittent sob-like sounds. “Wait until you’re done molting… No hurry now, anyway, we have a long time ahead of us…”

“We do have a long time.”

He sighed comfortably – they indeed had a long time ahead. Not just now, not just this year or the next. They had an endless stretch of time and life, always together.

However, after countless cycles of reincarnation and enduring so much suffering, every moment they spent together now was worth cherishing.

“Chenzhou, look.”

“The moonlight is truly beautiful.”

[End of the Full Text]

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