Chapter 131 Jingling (Part 2)
Perhaps his heart pounded with his disciple’s company because he had been lonely for too long. It wasn’t right.
Ling Er was only sixteen or seventeen; he really shouldn’t have such thoughts about him.
Thus, he consciously estranged their relationship.
Ling Er seemed aware of it but did not ask.
He only saw Ling Er standing by the door when he occasionally sat in his study, staring at him with those indistinctly deep and dark eyes.
The fire hurt Ling Er’s throat.
It was from that exact fire in the secret realm a year ago.
Over the years, he had uncovered many ways to medicate the other party with little success.
He knew that divine fire injuries were incurable.
Just like the scar on his face. He could still sense the searing pain.
He once thought that if he could return to the fire, he would not help Rong Ran find the God-Returning Pill but try his best to rescue Ling Er at that time so Ling Er would not suffer and his injuries would be mended.
Therefore, he did not foresee that Ling Er could speak one day.
His voice was raspy.
It was like the dead branches in winter being crushed. He spoke every word slowly.
The first thing the other party said to him was:
He looked up in astonishment from his scroll and saw a young man standing before him, leaning down. His palm blanketed the back of his hand that was on the page.
The young man called again:
Delight followed his surprise.
“Ling Er, you can speak?”
The young man let out a soft “en” and intertwined their hands.
But he didn’t notice it. He continued to question: “How does your throat feel now? Don’t force your voice. We still have plenty of time to recuperate your voice gradually.”
The young man looked at him with lowered eyes and said softly: “I really like Master.”
His voice stopped abruptly.
He even suspected he was having auditory hallucinations.
If not, how could he hear his disciple confessing to him?
The young man leaned close, staring at him with dark eyes, and asked softly: “I like Master, but why has Master…been avoiding me recently?”
The other party’s breath sprayed on his cheeks. They were extraordinarily close.
He could not answer.
But blush had stained his cheeks and ear tips.
The young man said: “Master clearly likes me too.”
His eyelashes fluttered, “You… What nonsense?”
“Is it not the case?” The young man held his hand and rubbed his palm.
He discovered he could not articulate his words when he faced those dark eyes that could seemingly see through everything.
He turned his face away and no longer looked at the other party. He said: “Between a master and disciple, no, you can’t say love. It’s daoist ethics. Ling Er, I only see you as a disciple…”
The youth said: “Master is lying.”
He pursed his lips and stopped speaking.
The mood between the two stilled.
Bursts of bird cries were outside, accompanied by bamboo leaves rustling. The young man had been stubbornly pulling his hand, and in the end, he was defeated.
He opened his mouth to change the subject.
“Ling Er, since you can already speak, you might as well tell Master your real name. Like Master said before, I will help you replace the name in the sect registration when you’re grown…”
The young man said: “I forgot. I only like the name Master gave me, so I don’t have to change it.”
“Ye Ling, that name is just too female…” he said.
But seeing the young man get closer, he said softly, “If I were a girl, would Master admit he likes me?”
His face became even more flushed.
“Ling Er, you…” They were too close, and the youth’s thin eyelashes seemed to fly into his eyes.
He resumed: “No, no… That’s…”
Before he finished speaking, the young man kissed his lips.
He always wore a mask outside, but in the bamboo building, accompanied by Ling Er, he had never obscured it. They were accustomed to each other’s appearance and weren’t frightened like outsiders.
But now, he thought that it would have been good if he was still wearing his mask.
A disciple at only the Foundation Building Stage kissed a dignified Golden Core Stage cultivator, making him breathless. It was really not something that could be told to others.
After Ling Er kissed him, he asked, “How does Master feel?”
But how could he tell how he truly felt?
He only felt his blood pump and his heart beating rapidly. His face was an intense red.
Suddenly, he got up, went out, and entered the bamboo forest.
Ling Er didn’t chase him.
But he could feel the other party’s line of sight remaining on his back the entire time.
For three consecutive days, they did not speak again.
He was thinking about something.
It was about his and Ling Er’s relationship.
Ling Er was still very young and shouldn’t know much about love affairs. He probably liked him primarily because of his dependence on him. He was older than the other party, so he couldn’t allow him to make errors and persist down that path.
Besides, he was still the other party’s Master. Master and disciple; father and son. It was indeed time for Ling Er to be taught some common sense.
So he summoned Ling Er to the study, carefully discussing his thoughts with the other to make it clear. He hoped Ling Er could understand his painstaking efforts.
Ling Er laughed hoarsely.
“Master, I had a dream last night.” Ling Er said, “The dream had only Master and I. We were very close, not the closeness of a Master and a disciple, nor the closeness of friends, but more in-depth…more intimate.”
“Even so, Master still thinks I don’t understand anything?”
He blushed again.
He did more than reddening. Even his heart seemed to be burning.
An emotion was seemingly present that he had dismissed for a long time, intermingled with his usual pampering and pity for the youth. It formed an indescribable feeling that also made him slightly dizzy.
He had no reason to deny the young man’s confession anymore.
Ling Er came over to embrace him and kissed his eyelashes.
His eyelashes fluttered, but he didn’t push the other party away again.
When he first saw Ling Er, he looked like a docile little animal.
Only now did he know that the other party was a wolf.
He desired more than hugs and kisses.
He always had no way to decline the other party.
In the process of trying, the fear of turning his back against virtue and ethics wavered in his heart. He trembled terribly.
Ling Er held him tighter and said to him, “Don’t be afraid.”
The aroma of flowers floated into the bamboo house with the wind and melted into a richer fragrance.
Ling Er taught him not to be afraid and then turned to call him Master.
Sound after sound.
He wanted to hide in a place where no one could see him.
The other party dragged him to fly into the clouds together.
Because he insisted, they still abided by the rites of a master and disciple.
However, the other party held back a ton in front of that person, and afterward, the person would become a little wild.
Ling Er’s body was always scalding as if a never-ending fire was concealed in it.
Before entering the bamboo building, Ling Er pressed him against the door and kissed him.
Suddenly, he heard a familiar voice from a distance.
“Junior Brother hasn’t come to visit me for a long time. It turns out you have accepted a disciple.”
Someone was standing in the sun, holding a bamboo umbrella.
It was Rong Ran.
Rong Ran’s voice was slightly chilly, but his face was still smiling softly.
“It seems that Junior Brother has a good relationship with his disciple, which is really the envy of Senior Brother.”
He hurriedly pushed Ling Er away and called the other party: “Senior Brother Rong.”
Ling Er stood beside him wordlessly.
Rong Ran had not come to see him in the bamboo building for a long time. Hence, when he saw Rong Ran’s face, he felt somewhat unsettled.
He walked over.
“I didn’t know Senior Brother would come here at this time; did something happen?” After a pause, he said, “If Senior Brother doesn’t mind, Senior Brother can come in for a cup of tea and sit down and talk slowly.”
Rong Ran glanced at the person beside him, Ling Er, then walked into the bamboo building.
Rong Ran had him sit down, made the tea himself, and poured it for him.
The favor overwhelmed Ye Yunlan somewhat.
He heard Rong Ran say: “I’m here this time to invite Junior Brother to go to a secret realm with me.”
He wondered: “What secret realm?”
A little smile appeared on Rong Ran’s face, and he said slowly: “Netherworld Secret Realm.”
The Netherworld Secret Realm had opened, and there was a lot of noise in the cultivation world.
It’s just that most of the secret realms that came from ancient times were dangerous. He had already suffered an injury in the secret realm’s divine fire, and he didn’t want to take this risk anymore.
However, Rong Ran’s expression was trying to appeal.
“Yunlan, Senior Brother Helan is in retreat this time. Thus, I will lead the trip to the secret realm. It’s just you know that although I have made many friends in Sky Sect, there are not many people to who I can trust my back. You are one of them. For the sake of our friendship for so many years, can you help Senior Brother with this favor?” Rong Ran glanced at Ling Er beside him again, “Not to mention there are many treasures in the Netherworld Secret Realm. You and your disciple can cultivate the sword technique inherited from the olden times. You have already accepted a disciple, so you should consider more for your disciple.”
The sword techniques that Rong Ran spoke of moved him. He hesitated, then nodded.
Rong Ran smiled, “So, Yunlan, I’ll see you on the flying boat in three days.”
After saying goodbye to Rong Ran, the silent Ling Er next to him suddenly said:
“Master, that Senior Brother isn’t a good thing.”
His expression changed slightly.
Ling Er had always been blunt and very keen on perceiving malicious people. When he said someone was not good, usually they were.
But he spoke in a low voice: “Senior Brother Rong led me into the dao, took me into Sky Sect, and took care of me a lot. He is not a treacherous person. Maybe he invited me to the secret realm this time to use me, but he won’t do anything to me.”
Moreover, Ling Er’s recent progress in cultivation worried him. It stood to reason that Ling Er had been building his foundation for a long time, but his cultivation base had been slow to advance as if something was blocking and swallowing his cultivation base.
However, when he asked Ling Er, Ling Er was always muted or said his aptitude was dull, which disappointed him. After asking many times, he didn’t dare to ask again for fear of damaging his self-esteem.
If he could find better cultivation and sword techniques in the secret realm and teach Ling Er to cultivate, it would help Ling Er break through his shackles.
He had to go to the secret realm just for this.
Ling Er was silent for a moment, then said: “I also want to go with Master.”
He said: “No, your cultivation is only at Foundation Establishment. There are many dangers in the secret realm, and it is difficult to protect you as a teacher.”
Ling Er: “I have a way to protect myself.”
But he still said: “No.”
That night, Ling Er tossed him around all night.
But Ling Er seemed to stop mentioning going to the secret realm with him, and he relaxed his vigilance.
As a result, when the Sky Sect’s flying boat took off and arrived at Zhanxing City, he discovered Ling Er among the assembled Sky Sect disciples after entering the Netherworld Secret Realm.
“You… How did you come here while hiding it from your Master?” He went over to Ling Er, suppressing his surprise and anger.
Ling Er silently went to hold his hand and said: “I was worried about Master.”
The fury in his heart suddenly evaporated.
If he’s here, he’s here.
He could only shield his disciple with all his strength.
Although he had decided in his heart, he threw away Ling Er’s hand and said, “How is this appropriate in public?”
Ling Er nodded, retracted his hand, and followed him.
Perhaps Ling Er was quite well-behaved the whole way because he knew he had done something wrong.
The danger was deeply abnormal in the Netherworld Secret Realm.
He encountered danger several times, but during the last moment, it was as if something was helping him.
But he didn’t think much about it.
Sky Sect, their party, successfully arrived at the third level of the secret realm. After passing through the forest of ten thousand steles, they could see the bright beam of a magic weapon in the sky.
They were not the first team to enter the third level.
There were already many cultivators from the five continents and four seas. Moreover, most were weary and injured. They had suffered heavy losses on the previous two floors. The expressions looking at the magic weapon were brimming with greed. Many were already in the state of not giving up until death.
This atmosphere made the surroundings significantly heavy, as if a precursor to a melee.
As the mountain wall separated, it revealed Fuyou Mountain’s uphill road. The cultivators in the secret realm fell into madness. Numerous people swarmed toward the mountain road. Some were submerged in the killing array, and others were cut into flesh and blood. The transition from maple leaves to fresh blood was indistinguishable on the maple leaves-covered mountain road.
“Yunlan, let’s go up the mountain too.” Rong Ran smiled at him.
They went up the mountain.
They had people exploring the way ahead, all the way to the top of the mountain. However, they unexpectedly encountered a meteorite impact. He rushed over to push Rong Ran down, and the two entered a killing formation. When they looked back, they found that Ling Er had also followed suit into the killing formation.
The killing array was perilous. He was critically injured from protecting the two. When he was about to fall, Ling Er embraced him.
Ling Er said to him, “Don’t be afraid.”
When he spoke, a dark shadow was floating behind Ling Er. Although Ling Er’s cultivation base was only at Foundation Establishment, he intercepted the killing moves in the secret realm at this moment by depending on those shadows.
They broke through the killing array and fell into the underground cave.
Ling Er’s qi became extremely evil with a gloomy and hostile spirit.
——This was something he had never seen before.
Rong Ran fell with them. He restrained his fears while looking at the darkness on Ling Er. His thoughts were unclear, but he muttered: “What that man said was true. There are monsters in Sky Sect…”
“I persuade you best not to do anything to me,” Rong Ran said suddenly, “My Gu has already poisoned your master’s body, and it’s now in my hands.”
The shadow that had extended to behind Rong Ran stopped.
He was seriously injured, and Ling Er was holding him. His eyes widened in disbelief. When did Rong Ran poison him? Why did he want to poison him? Weren’t they friends and brothers?
He remembered the cup of tea Rong Ran had made for him when he came to the bamboo building to find him.
Ling Er hoarsely said: “The antidote, hand it over.”
The soft smile on Rong Ran’s face faded. He coldly said: “Do you think I am a fool? If you want your master to live, just follow my instructions.”
Ling Er was silent.
The surrounding shadows were about to move.
Obviously, he didn’t believe in Rong Ran’s words very much.
Rong Ran sneered.
He suddenly felt a tingling sensation in his heart and spat a mouthful of blood out.
The blood was pitch black and reeked.
Ling Er’s hand froze while holding him.
“Explore the road ahead,” Rong Ran urged.
He felt Ling Er hugging him and walking forward. The young man’s arms were steady and robust, but his heart seemed constricted.
The poisonous Gu’s pain made him half-comatose and half-awake. He wanted to stop it and speak, but it was challenging.
Rong Ran, why? Why? And Ling Er, what did he hide from him? Why was there such a thing? Such a treacherous force…
The cave wound around. After some time passed, he suddenly heard a bat flying.
A pool was in front.
The sound of wind came from the cave behind the water pool, and they were not far from the exit.
Rong Ran: “You go first.”
He felt Ling Er kissing his forehead. Then, he was laid flat on a clean stone.
Then he heard someone entering the water and a water snake hissing.
He suddenly thought of Ling Er’s words when he was just able to talk. When they were first together, he asked the other some questions.
“Ling Er, do you have something you like?”
Ling Er swiftly responded: “I like Master.”
He said: “Besides me.”
Ling Er was speechless. Then, he said: “There should be…nothing.”
He was a little surprised, “Why not?” There are many beautiful things in this world, such as flowers, beautiful scenery, good wine, and delicacies. Isn’t there anything you like? ”
Ling Er did not speak.
“It’s fine.” He would not insist on the other party answering. He changed the subject, “Since there is nothing you love, is there something you fear or dislike?”
Ling Er said: “I’m afraid of snakes.”
Ling Er: “When they climb on one’s body, it will hurt and be cold.”
He listened to the water snake’s hissing in his ear.
It suddenly occurred to him that with this many snakes crawling on his body, he was afraid it would be agonizing and freezing.
His heart was in so much pain that it was difficult to breathe.
He didn’t know if it was because of poison or distress.
He struggled to get up, with blood spilling out of his lips.
Suddenly, he regretted it.
Why did he agree to Rong Ran, thinking of their friendship of the past years, to come to the Netherworld Secret Realm?
Rong Ran was the past.
Like his memories of those years, he was about to forget it all.
But Ling Er was his everything these past few years. He was his present and his future.
He heard the sound of going ashore.
His body was picked up again, and the other party’s clothes were wet.
“This road leads to nowhere. You have to find someplace else.” Ling Er said hoarsely.
They turned back, looked for another way, and reached the exit.
Fuyou Palace was far away.
The poisonous Gu had severely wounded his body, and blood continously flowed down his lips. Ordinary pills couldn’t detoxify poison, and the poisonous Gu would swallow healing pills before they could dissolve.
“When are you going to give Master the antidote?” Ling Er asked, “Master’s injuries cannot be dragged out anymore. You give the antidote, and I won’t hurt you.”
Rong Ran: “Who in the world will listen to the words of a monster? Unless you jump off the edge of the cliff.”
Suddenly, thunder rang out from the horizon.
A closed space enveloped them. Its four sides were smooth stone walls.
He was sitting on a stone chair.
Pitch-black lock rings bounded his hands and feet.
Someone asked him:
“Yunlan, who do you love?”
He opened his eyes blankly, looking at the familiar face of the person in front of him. A turbulent emotion bred from his heart. It streamed through his dry heart, making him shudder and burst into tears.
The person on the other side showed a satisfied smile but still waited for him to speak.
——Who did he love?
The smile on the other party’s face vanished.
A person was standing next to him and holding a scroll, saying: “Pavilion Master, I have failed again. Do you want to continue?”
The other party’s voice was frigid.
The Demon Lord’s blood dripped on his lips.
Ye Yunlan’s golden eyes went from slack to sober. The memory fragments, lost for many years, were finally pieced together entirely. The past years flashed past his eyes like a stream.
Tears slid from his eyes.
He raised his hand to cover the wound of the Demon Lord’s heart.
It turned out they were already in love.
Before life and death.