Chapter 74 Nightmare
That soft, low shout was enough to arouse a person’s wild and fanciful thoughts.
The pale moonlight shone in from outside the window, and the cold scent entangled him. He saw the person in front of him, tilting his head slightly. His moist black eyes filled the other person deeply into his eyes.
He squeezed the other party’s slender wrist abruptly, then pressed the other party on the bed. He clamped the other party’s chin, and his low, hot breath sprayed on the other party’s cheeks.
“Don’t move.” He muttered.
Just now, the other party pulled apart the clothes on his body. Vicious currents filled his long, narrow eyes like a fierce, hungry wolf. His stomach was rumbling with hunger as he stared at the prey before him, wondering how he should devour it.
The person under him looked at him docility and quietly, neither resisting nor taking the initiative anymore. His black hair covered the bed, and his plain white clothes were as neat as new.
Such a quiet, calm appearance made people want to peel open this person up inch by inch to see clearly inside, to watch their calm expression break down, to see him unable to help himself when the red at the end of his eyes becomes moist.
But when he stretched out his hand to touch the other party, he suddenly hesitated.
He felt a bit of absurdity and fear that came out of nowhere as if he was a prisoner carrying a treasure and walking on a single broken bridge. There was a dark and bottomless abyss in front of him. Crossing the boundary of this step, he would not gain but lose.
Only, they were obviously husband and wife. Finding joy in this matter was a natural thing of this world.
He stared at the person under him for a long time, then let go of the hand that was clamping the man’s jaw. He straightened up and rubbed his eyebrows.
When he raised his head, his gaze hit the cold, bright moon that hung on the window sill. He was startled with a somewhat dazed gaze.
Behind him came the sound of clothing rubbing. A soft and warm body covered his back.
The other party placed his sharp lower jaw on his shoulder and asked softly: “Why don’t you continue?”
He was silent for a moment, then said hoarsely: “You are not well, let’s go to bed earlier today.”
The person behind him seemed to be startled, then stretched out his arms to wrap around his neck, “My husband, have you forgotten? If you did not help me dual cultivate all year round, my body would have been long gone.”
His Adam’s apple rolled: “I’m afraid you do not like it.”
“How could I not like it?”
The man behind him’s chin rested against his left shoulder. His slender fingertips rubbed his Adam’s apple. There was a slight laughing tone in his voice.
“Back then, I promised you to return to the mountains and forests together and live peacefully… From now on, you don’t have to worry about the world’s gaze. Between us, we are no longer master and disciple, but husband and wife.”
“Master once lived for you.” The other party said, “Now, I only want you.”
Ye Yunlan walked in the secret realm.
He followed the direction his spiritual sense calculated and walked eastward. He saw a deep green pool in the endless sea of red flowers.
The secluded pool looked like a piece of green jade embedded in red silk from a distance. He walked over, holding the heart-clearing charm in his hand. Using a little spiritual perception, he discovered that Shen Shu left deep residual sword energy there.
It seemed that the path he was searching was correct.
The Netherworld Secret Realm was divided into three levels. The more you go down the secret realm, the narrower the secret realm. The first level that intruders fall into when they first enter the secret realm was actually the secret realm’s most expansive part.
Therefore, even if Ye Yunlan had been here in the previous life, he didn’t know all the secrets in the first level of the secret realm. He had to find Shen Shu as soon as possible to avoid any issues.
Ye Yunlan walked around the secluded pond and found some flowers and leaves destroyed in the sea of flowers. It led into a winding path. He pondered for a moment, then using his spiritual sense, he figured out the direction and followed the path north.
He coughed again, and some bright red sat in his palm. He glanced at it in silence and wiped it with a silk handkerchief.
The plain white silk handkerchief fell on the flowers on the other side, then his figure followed along the pathway.
A quarter of an hour northward, several houses faintly appeared in front. A sea of red flowers surrounded the black tiles and white walls on the other shore from afar.
Ye Yunlan’s eyesight was lacking, and he couldn’t see clearly. He walked in quickly and realized lights, lanterns, and red silk decorated the houses everywhere. It seemed that the people living in them were celebrating a festive event.
A small path appeared in the sea of flowers on the other shore leading to it. Firecrackers and red flowers were scattered all over the white path winding inward.
Ye Yunlan felt a slight heat in the front of his jacket. This charm was made by taking a drop of Shen Shu’s blood before leaving. He could sense the life and death of the other party, and he would have some reaction when his position was close.
He looked around, and there was no place for the person to hide except for the few houses. He hesitated for a moment, then walked in along the path.
The bloody moon that hung in the secret realm gradually turned pale. When he walked to the light and colorful houses, the moonlight had completely turned into a cool white as if he had entered another mysterious realm.
It was deep into the night and quiet all around. Orange lights came out from the house, but there was no voice.
Ye Yunlan paused for a while and looked back. At some unknown time, the fog had hidden the trail entrance he came in from, and the flowers on the other side were gone.
The mist was slowly spreading inward along the trail, and some “protruding” things were constantly protruding from it. Ye Yunlan couldn’t see what they were and stopped looking at it. His spiritual consciousness told him that those things were dangerous.
If he could avoid some things, he should avoid them in his current situation.
He continued to move forward, the charm on his chest getting hotter and hotter.
He saw a lighted house in front of him. The night hid the black roof tiles. The white wall’s window was half open, and he could vaguely see a figure sitting inside.
Ye Yunlan clung to his Queying sword and walked quickly to the window, looking in through the window gap.
A red candle was burning on the table inside. It was the room light’s source, but the brightness was a little dim.
At the front end of the makeup mirror, a figure sat wearing a festive dress, with his hands on his knees, hands clasped. His back was facing him, holding a red handkerchief. Dragons, phoenixes, peonies, magpies, and other festive patterns were embroidered in the festive dress. There was also a gold hairpin and jasper on his head.
——The lanterns and banners in this house turned out to be a wedding ceremony.
Ye Yunlan’s eyes swept across the furnishings and every corner of the room but did not find any trace of Shen Shu.
The bride was still sitting in the candlelight, unmoving. His brows frowned slightly. When he looked on the dressing table, his eyes suddenly condensed, seeing the bronze mirror.
The bronze mirror reflected the bride’s face.
His complexion was pale, his cheeks bulged, his upper face was painted with a pinkish purple color, while his lips were only a little bit brighter. His eyes were black and round without eyelashes, clearly not a living person.
——That was a paper man.
Ye Yunlan took a step back but heard a strange sound in his ear. He turned to look, and the gray mist was about to spread behind him!
He finally saw clearly what those bulges in the gray mist were just now.
——Those things, some resembled human faces, while some resembled snake bodies. They were very grotesquely distorted, constantly surging, and made people feel creeped out.
The gray mist had already swallowed a few houses, but they haven’t completely disappeared like the sea of flowers on the other side. He could still vaguely see the houses’ shadows with the light swaying.
But the strange thing was, the houses’ windows started to have figures coming back and forth. It was very noisy. Those strange sounds were the sound of gongs and drums coming from those houses mixed with the buzzing people.
Ye Yunlan’s complexion became even paler. He turned and walked forward. He didn’t want to fall into the gray fog, but he could see the same fog spreading in front of him.
He held the Queying sword with his hands slightly clenched. He seemed to hesitate for a moment. In the end, he didn’t draw his sword but turned over and entered the paper man bride’s house.
The gray mist covered where he was standing. A twisted human face protruded from the open window sill, but it seemed that the candlelight blocked it, and it did not come in after all.
Ye Yunlan glanced at the distorted face and closed the window sill with a bang.
He turned around and found the paper man bride was still sitting there, without a trace of life.
The spell on his chest was still hot. Shen Shu’s position should not be far away.
He observed the house outside and found it occupied a large area, not only just the room where the paper man was.
He walked to the door, wanting to open the door, only to find the door locked from the outside. He maybe could force it open with sword energy, but…
Ye Yunlan remembered those people who came and went in the lights. He didn’t know if that would be too big of a movement and if it would disturb the unknown existence in this house, bringing danger to him and Shen Shu.
There were treacherous things in the Netherworld Secret Realm. Back then, one out of ten cultivators would survive when they entered the Secret Realm.
He pondered for a moment, then decided to search in this room first, to see if there were any clues about leaving here, or… the key to breaking the illusion.
Ye Yunlan came to the carved bed inside and walked closer.
He saw Afterglow, Shen Shu’s spirit sword, lying quietly on the edge of the bed. The other party’s black outer robe was scattered on the brocade.
Suddenly, a crisp sound was behind him, and a round blue-patterned splendid rouge box rolled to his feet.
Ye Yunlan turned abruptly and found that the red candle on the table was burning quietly. The paper bride was still sitting in the distance, and the window had been closed tightly so that no wind could come in.
He didn’t pick up the box of rouge on the ground but clenched the Queying sword in his hand and slowly walked to the paper man. The paper man sat quietly, facing the bronze mirror in front of him. There was no sign of life on his face painted by brushes and paints, and he clasped his hands in front of his knees and held a red handkerchief, like a shy bride.
Ye Yunlan frowned slightly. His memory was outstanding, so only from his sweep earlier across the room, all the furnishings that he could see were already in his mind.
Therefore, he remembered the blue-patterned splendid rouge box’s original position was on the top of the dressing table, on the paper man’s left-hand side.
He quietly stared at the paper man’s face for a while, averted his gaze, and began carefully examining the things on the makeup mirror.
Lipstick, brushes, jewelry, hairpins… Nothing special.
His eyes moved to the oval bronze mirror, which reflected his pale complexion. It also reflected the paper man.
Ye Yunlan was about to take back his gaze but found that the paper man’s eyes in the mirror suddenly moved slightly and looked at him.
The pale moonlight enveloped the quiet courtyard.
——Master once lived because of you, but now I only want you.
No man could refuse such an invitation.
Shen Shu’s Adam’s apple rolled, and the slender fingertips of the person behind him were still on his Adam’s apple, lightly rubbing it. The cold fragrance permeated the air.
He raised his head slightly and looked at the bright moon outside the window with a faint gaze. The thin lips of the person behind him pressed against his long neck, and red flushed his handsome face.
The fingertips of the people behind him slid down his Adam’s apple.
Shen Shu’s eyelashes trembled slightly, his fingers clenched and loosened. The flowing moonlight reflected on his young face, showing a fragile forbearance posture.
“Husband, I want you.” The person behind him whispered in his ears, “Didn’t you always hope that we can be one, couldn’t be separated even in death… Now, we can…”
He did hope so.
The temptation of the person behind him continued. Shen Shu’s eyes trembled slightly. Looking at the bright moon outside the window, he thought about the answer. The more he thought about it, the more pain he felt as if someone had inserted their slender fingers into his brain arbitrarily. They stirred, blocking his thoughts, making him want to sleep in this cold and familiar fragrance and enjoy eternal happiness.
When the person’s temptation behind him was about to exceed a certain limit, Shen Shu suddenly felt an uncontrollable resistance come to his heart.
No——Ye Yunlan would never be so proactive and docile! That person was like a mountain of ice and snow and difficult to get close to. Even if they were husband and wife, he would never be so unconventional and intimate with him——suddenly, his body trembled.
His pupil color changed into a very deep and heavy black.
It was like two black caves, with dried blood and dense bones deposited.
He turned around. Looking at the pale white shadow in the darkness behind him, he grabbed its hand, and his voice was slightly tired and cold.
“You’re just a nightmare, but you dare to confuse this Lord?”
The shadow’s eyes widened, then dispersed into a cloud of mist. The nightmare hiding in the shadow next to it was surging, desperately trying to escape from the deeper darkness. He curled his lips but did not stop. Just as the nightmare fled into the darkness, something dark within the deeper darkness was there and spread out, wrapped around it, then greedily devoured it in one bite.
He licked his lips. His dark eyes turned scarlet, then he got up and tidied his clothes. He picked up Afterglow by the bed.
“Things in the Demon Abyss, how can they come to this secret realm…”
The Netherworld Secret Realm was at the Eastern Continent and Southern Frontier’s junction, while Demon Abyss and Demon Realm were at the Western Continent and Northern Territory’s junction, spanning the most distance between the entire continent.
Nightmares were good at fascinating the mind. Step by step, it would invade the heart and soul of its prey. The more obsessed the prey was, the more difficult it was to escape the nightmare’s control.
This demon would only arise in the Demon Abyss. It appeared here, making him feel strange.
He walked out of the room and looked at the pale moonlight in the sky. A thick mist enveloped the surroundings. He couldn’t see the way forward. The scarlet color in his eyes became worse, showing its interest and greed.
He felt the aura of monsters and ghosts.
In the room covered with red silk.
Ye Yunlan was sitting in front of the mirror wearing a wedding suit. His black hair was pulled up high, with a golden hairpin and jasper inserted, and his hands were clasped in front of his knees, holding a red handkerchief. He looked at himself in the mirror without an expression.
He just stared at the paper man with the moving eyeballs in the mirror for one glance, and after a moment, he was sitting there. It was as if he had exchanged positions with the paper man in the mirror.
The furnishings in the room were still the same, except that the paper figure was missing.
Was this the world in the mirror or another illusion?
The candle was burning on the tabletop. He didn’t know when it would burn out.
He wanted to get up and go to see if Shen Shu’s sword and robes were still on the bed just now, but suddenly he heard a knock on the door.
His body was slightly stiff. He heard an old voice coming from outside the door.
“The outside ceremony has been completed, and the bride is waiting quietly for the groom.”
After saying this, slow footsteps moved further away. The knocker did not unlock the outside lock and enter the room.
Ye Yunlan frowned deeply.
What the knocker said just now seemed to be the marriage of the paper man in the mirror?
But after getting married, why should the paper man be locked in the room?
…Or, was it not the paper man who needed to be locked, but him, who the paper man pulled into the world in the mirror?
The range of strange things made the person feel a chill on his back. He got up to the carved wooden bed and found that the brocade was neatly folded and covered with dried fruit wedding candies. Shen Shu’s spirit sword and clothing on it had disappeared.
The charm in his heart was no longer hot… No, it was that the charm was gone. Even the Queying sword was missing. After he and the paper man in the mirror exchanged glances, he disappeared.
Except for his body, everything he carried before seemed to be left behind in the world outside the mirror.
As a result, with his current mortal body, the methods he could use became extremely few.
——In addition to the use of forbidden techniques: forcibly promoting to the Void Tracing Realm.
Even if only for a moment, his power would be enough to break this mystery completely. But for this method, his body couldn’t bear stepping into the Void Tracing Realm and the forbidden technique backlash. He was afraid that after using it, he couldn’t survive.
He still needed to find the soul-attracting flower to remove the puppet seal for Shen Shu, so he would not use this method unless as a last resort.
He stood by the bed, thinking for a while. He walked to the closed window, then hesitated for a moment to decide whether to open the window again.
The thick fog outside didn’t clear, and sometimes, raised faces and limbs struggled in the thick fog. He took a step back, then crumpled the red handkerchief in his hand and threw it out.
When he threw the handkerchief that had a living person’s aura, the dense fog gathered and formed several distorted monsters that competed and fought for it. Ye Yunlan watched the handkerchief being torn apart in an instant, then disappear into the dense fog.
He thought about his body. He was afraid it was not much sturdier than the red handkerchief. He knew that this way to leave might not work.
Then, there was only one left.
He walked to the locked door. He tried to push, but as expected, the room door was locked from the outside. Queying was not in his hands, and he was weaker than ordinary people. He was afraid it would be very difficult if he wished he could open his door.
But he actually didn’t want to push the door rashly, so he pulled out a hairpin on his head and poked a small hole in the paper door.
When he lowered his head, wanting to look out of the hole, he felt that the situation was a bit familiar.
He remembered that he had just returned from being reborn a few years ago. When he was resting in He Lanze’s Courtyard, he had seen a wolf-like gloomy eye in the window hole.
It was Shen Shu’s eyes.
At that time, Shen Shu was still a pale and gloomy face, a young man full of hostility. But because of a little life-saving grace, he stubbornly wanted to repay him.
But now, Shen Shu was handsome, sturdy, tall, and always wanted to protect him.
Ye Yunlan was only in a daze for a moment, then soon recovered.
His eyes were close to the door opening, but he could only see the faint darkness.
There were no guests, no lights, just pure silent blackness.
Obviously, there was nothing, but he felt a familiar, deep, indescribable fear.
He wanted to retreat, but he found something entangling his ankle, and he couldn’t move it anymore.
The door was still locked, but when he looked down, he found something black spreading in from underneath, entwining him like thick hair, climbing up from his toes.
In such a scene, a little familiarity lies amidst the peculiarness.
Ye Yunlan struggled hard. He inserted the golden hairpin in his hand into the black matter that was making threatening gestures. But he felt as if he inserted it into a soft and greasy mucus. Not only did it not hurt the other party, but it entangled him more tightly.
That black matter spread more and more, wrapping his hands and feet and dragging him to the carved bed covered with dried fruit wedding candy.
It dragged Ye Yunlan onto the bed, and his spine touched the raised dried fruit, making him frown deeply.
The mad black curls slowly converged into a human form.
He wore a mask and also a red outfit on his body. His eyes were as red as blood, and a black mist spread out behind him. The black and mist and his body seemed indistinguishable, making him look more like an evil, terrible monster and not a human.
…It was the Demon Lord.
Ye Yunlan’s struggling movements stopped. The tall and familiar person stood in front of him, making him dazed for a moment.
He heard the other party muttering: “Senior Immortal.”
Then, he leaned over his ears and said: “Wife.”
The low voice aroused him and made him shudder. He quickly returned to his senses after a moment of trance.
Ye Yunlan loathed illusions.
His “mind” had actually reached the Void Tracing Realm, so it was difficult for ordinary mind illusions to confuse him. It clearly outlined what he wanted, but his mind was clear that he could never indulge in it.
This was the case when he was crossing the pool of forgetfulness bridge when he had just entered the secret realm before. It was the same now for the so-called wedding ceremony, and in front of the “groom.”
He and the Demon Lord never had a complete marriage ceremony in his previous life. No actual status.
There had not been any marriage contract between them.
When the other party held a wedding in the Demon Palace the first time, it was destroyed. The Dao Sects had set up a trap to chase and kill the Demon Lord, and the next time, there was no time. The other party was gone.
Ye Yunlan saw darkness descend.
That kind of feeling reminded him of the horror he had suffered from when he was summoned into the Demon Lord’s sleeping chambers on the night of the full moon in his previous life when he kneeled and played the qin.
Every time the Demon Lord’s mind was out of control, he would be deeply wrapped up, close to suffocation.
Those soft and cold things would untie his outfit.
They and the Demon Lord were one body. They once gave him fear and pain, made him cry for mercy, but also gave him the ultimate joy.
Chen Weiyuan made him into a furnace for several years, and he was extremely sensitive. Those things had deeply engraved his body, and even if he was reborn, he couldn’t forget it for the rest of his life.
It couldn’t continue like this…
Ye Yunlan bit his lip. He looked sideways at the window and found the thick fog outside had dissipated at some point.
The pale moonlight was shining on the earth. There was a road winding in the distance, with no end in sight.