Chapter 99 Sugar Drawing
In the early morning, faint light entered from the window’s exterior and birds sang.
A large carved sandalwood bed was in the bedroom, occupying half the space. The square bed was tall and wide. Primitive patterns engraved the head and foot of the bed, and the entrance and exit sides were made into arch shapes. It was very pleasant and warm.
Someone was sleeping peacefully in it.
The azure moire brocade covered the person in the bed, and some fell off the edge of the bed.
Ye Yunlan leaned on his side. Long black hair scattered beside the pillow, only displaying the small half of his pale face. His breath was very light.
Next to him, Shen Shu was already awake. He was leaning on his side, fingertips drawing a strand of black hair from his master and slowly curling it.
He seemed to think this to be a very interesting thing. A strand of hair curled up and up, and he enjoyed it very much.
When a cultivator reached his level, they didn’t actually need to sleep anymore.
He just wanted to be by Ye Yunlan’s side.
Get closer, get more familiar.
He already discovered his master was like a cat. His fur was white and beautiful, but he didn’t like to approach people. He could only slowly have his aura become familiar with it, and follow its temperament. Only then would it occasionally allow him to be held in his arms and touch his fur.
This touch shouldn’t be excessive. Otherwise, it would blow up and get angry. Once it was angry, it wouldn’t speak. It would take a long time to coax it back.
Shen Shu lazily curled up Ye Yunlan’s hair while thinking about what morning meal he would prepare for Master today.
It shouldn’t be greasy in the morning, nor should it be too cold.
He just ground some lotus root flour, so let’s make a bowl of sweet-scented osmanthus almond lotus root noodles.
After thinking about it, he started to wait.
Waiting for the person beside him to wake up.
Ye Yunlan’s sleep was very shallow. He would awake when the wind blew, and he usually had nightmares. When he had nightmares, he slept very deeply. Young Shen Shu had discovered these things. At that time, he couldn’t do anything for Ye Yunlan, but now it was different.
So when he noticed that Ye Yunlan’s body began to tremble slightly again, he stretched out his long arms and fished his master into his arms.
Ye Yunlan frowned tightly, and his eyelashes kept trembling. His forehead was full of cold sweat.
Shen Shu hugged him and stroked his back again and again.
This action seemed to work.
The tremoring of the person in his arms gradually calmed down, and his breathing slowly became stable.
Shen Shu didn’t know what could make Ye Yunlan be in so much pain but still so silent as his dream plagued him over the years. He just hugged Ye Yunlan and didn’t let go.
There was no way to curl his hair comfortably in this position, so he lowered his head and counted Ye Yunlan’s eyelashes.
He counted leisurely, one by one.
He counted until the person’s eyelashes unhurriedly shuddered and opened. The slightly confused black eyes reflected his face, and Shen Shu opened his mouth to speak.
“Good morning, Master.”
A bowl of sweet-scented osmanthus almond lotus root noodles was placed before him.
Amber-colored hot tea filled the bamboo cup, and next to it was a soft sesame cake cushioned by bamboo leaves.
Ye Yunlan got up to eat.
Warm lotus root flour was put into his abdomen, leaving a faint sweetness on the tip of his tongue. The sesame cake was soft and delicious with the fragrance of bamboo leaves. The hot tea brewed from fried rice helped warm the stomach and remove the greasiness.
Ye Yunlan finished his last mouthful of sesame cake and said softly: “Not bad.”
Shen Shu supported his chin to look at him. His eyes curved when he heard the words, and he said with a smile: “As long as Master likes it.”
The young man with blood-colored eyes smiled and looked at him. He didn’t have that hideous ghost mask, his long-standing high position, or the bloody, evil smell deposited on his body after killing many. Ye Yunlan was in a daze for a while.
He was silent temporarily, then said: “You actually… don’t need to do this for me. Spend more time cultivating. Improve yourself, and Master will be happy.”
Shen Shu: “Disciple likes doing these things and doesn’t forget the matter of practice, so Master doesn’t have to worry.”
The Demon Lord had told him that he had such a hobby.
But Ye Yunlan knew the Demon Lord’s cultivation of the nine-turn celestial demon body made his vision and taste different from ordinary people’s. It was actually very difficult to make normal food.
When he stayed in the demon palace that year, he once had a fever. For the first time, the Demon Lord personally cooked a bowl of porridge for him, but the taste was peculiar and indescribable.
At that time, he only frowned and slowly drank the porridge. The Demon Lord seemed to see something, and he didn’t cook again after that.
It wasn’t until later that they went into exile in the Central Continent, and somehow that man’s cooking skills suddenly improved. Whether it was staple food or dessert, he could tingle a person’s stomach to move.
Once, the Demon Lord painted a sugar painting of a phoenix bathing in the flames with the technique of sugar drawing. He also made a box full of apricot blossom cakes covered with red silk to celebrate his birthday.
At that time, he had just recovered from his injuries in the Buddha Pagoda, and his spirit was still very unstable.
He stared at the painting for a while and asked if the Demon Lord had spent a lot of time on it.
The Demon Lord just smiled: “This is my hobby. I’ve always learned things very fast. Senior Immortal should know I can learn these little things after seeing it once or twice.”
He liked sweets.
But his body then wasn’t suitable for eating too many sweets. It was also his birthday, so the Demon Lord made a lot of sweets for him. Therefore, he couldn’t miss it.
Hence, after eating the apricot blossom cake, he picked up the sugar painting and licked it slowly.
The Demon Lord slowly watched him finish eating, then asked: “Does Senior Immortal know the phoenix nirvana?” (how a phoenix rebirths from his ashes)
He didn’t say a word.
After coming out of the Pagoda, talking made him feel tired. Thinking also made him feel tired.
If a place where he could have his eternal rest existed, he wouldn’t mind just lying down.
The Demon Lord also didn’t require him to answer but continued.
“…Phoenix nirvana, it means a new life.”
“A phoenix can be reborn. Thus, naturally, humans can too. The past belongs to the past, and the future is still very long.” The Demon Lord helped him remove the sugar stains on his fingertips. He wiped it dry, then pulled him into his arms. He kissed his eyes and said, “I want to see you flying in the sky, no longer bound by anyone or anything, and do what you want. Do whatever you want to do.”
“You should be the freest phoenix in the world. My little Phoenix.”
The memories seemed to be still yesterday.
Ye Yunlan’s hand holding the teacup tightened.
He said hoarsely: “Fried rice tea easily causes excessive internal heat. Shen Shu, change the pot to chrysanthemum tea.”
An unreasonable demand.
However, Shen Shu was very hardworking. He said, “okay,” then picked up the teapot and went to the backyard to boil water.
When Shen Shu disappeared, Ye Yunlan couldn’t help it anymore and coughed.
The pain in his chest was continuous, as dense as a needle.
He took out a piece of silk cloth and coughed quietly. The blood quickly spread on the silk cloth.
In the past few days, he coughed up blood more and more frequently. The trip to the Netherworld Secret Realm consumed too much of his energy, and even slight emotional ups and downs caused injuries.
He didn’t want Shen Shu to know this.
The promised forever was too far. The past that had gone by was too long. Even the present he could grasp wasn’t much.
The cough slowly subsided. He wiped the blood off the lips, put the blood-stained silk cloth into the sleeves, and slowly sipped the tea. His drooping brows regained their peace.
Only, his face was a little pale.
It was as if nothing occurred.
Shen Shu was boiling water and making tea in the backyard.
But a shadow flew out from the inner room and merged into his feet.
The scene of Ye Yunlan coughing up blood entered his mind. The action of brewing chrysanthemum tea was a bit stiff, and the smile on his face disappeared. His bloody eyes were dull as the abyss.
It wasn’t the first time he saw Ye Yunlan coughing up blood in the past few days.
His master thought he’d kept the secret very well, but he didn’t. Everything in this bamboo building was firmly in his eyes. There wasn’t an inch of missed space.
To find a way to heal his injuries, he searched the books in the Sect Library and even searched within the memories of the Demon Lord sealed in his mind.
But he still didn’t find a suitable solution.
As a result, the other consciousness that split from his memory also became active, just like now– “He’s injured too badly with zero cultivation to protect his body. Anyone who unlocks the seal to forcibly remove the divine fire would cause his meridians to rupture, and he’ll die immediately. Only extradition via dual cultivation could save his life.”
The demon’s voice was bewitching, brimming with evil influence.
“You don’t dare? Is it because you’re afraid of it? Afraid that you can’t bear the divine fire’s burn, so you don’t dare to save the master in your heart and mind?”
“But you know that, as long as you follow my method, go to the bottom of the Demon Abyss and refine a nine-turn celestial demon body, a mere divine fire, how can we fail?”
“Your body has absorbed all the demonic energy in the Netherworld Secret Realm. It’s already difficult to want to return to the dao path now. Our master still doesn’t know, and you’re hesitating. Are you afraid he’ll be disappointed in you?”
“Enough.” Shen Shu let out a low growl.
“Master promised that if I no longer use the power in my body and cultivate quietly, he’ll stay with me forever. I want to stay with him and do as he wishes. I don’t want the secular world to affect him, just for him to live happily…”
“–And then watch him die?” asked the Demon Lord.
Shen Shu was silent.
The hand holding the teapot became tighter and tighter.
Ye Yunlan was waiting for Shen Shu to make tea.
The wind chime at the door rang.
Before he got up, the door opened a little.
A man dressed in a white crane cloak stood at the door. Peach blossom petals that had never fallen were still on his shoulders, and mud stained the hem of the forever white crane cloak. His white hair, high crown, and cool and handsome face looked like frozen ice.
One of the people that Ye Yunlan didn’t want to see the most in this life.
He felt the pain in his chest seem to vaguely surface again, accompanied by the unspeakable phantom pain. That kind of pain, even if hundreds of years have passed, was still entangled in his dreams, lasting for a long time. It was one of the sources of his nightmares over the years.
“Why did Sect Master come?” he asked blankly.
When speaking, he still sat in front of the table without any thoughts of getting up to greet him.
It was very impolite and also very disrespectful.
Few people in the world were so presumptuous in front of Qiyun Jun.
But Qiyun Jun was silent. He just stepped forward toward Ye Yunlan, then took out an object from his arms. He bent over and placed it on the table in front of him.
It was a black jade.
A black jade broken into pieces and carefully glued together piece by piece.
Ye Yunlan looked down and didn’t reach for it.
“Sect Master’s move, what’s the meaning behind it?” He asked.
The voice was frigid.
Qiyun Jun was silent for a while, then said: “This is your item, you should take it.”
Ye Yunlan: “I remember Sect Master saying this jade is the only one in the world, it’s a Sect Master’s token, and something I wouldn’t own. Isn’t it a bit ridiculous now that Sect Master’s saying it’s mine?”
Qiyun Jun was silent for a little longer before he said hoarsely: “I confess, I got the wrong person and calculated the wrong karma. I also… destroyed the wrong jade.”
In his life of no desire and heartlessness, his talent with his sword dao, he’d never admitted his mistakes to anyone.
It was his first time for Ye Yunlan.
He’d never regretted anything.
But for the first time, he took the jade he destroyed himself and stuck it together again, piece by piece.
He said: “Now that the jade is returned to you, the karma I owe you, I’ll definitely pay it back.”
Ye Yunlan: “A piece of broken jade, what would I want it for?”