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Yun Qingci’s lips trembled fiercely.
If it was not Li Ying who went back, who was that person?!
Li Ying hugged his head.
Agony entangled him tightly like a spider web, and suffocating despair was tearing him to pieces. He gasped, and sticky blood dripped from the corners of his mouth on his thin white undershirt.
Countless times, he had imagined how he would face Ah Ci after returning. Although he had been reminded that the ending of this world could not be changed, he thought he could accept this outcome.
He thought he could.
But he hated it.
Why was it not him?
Why was it not him who went back?
Why was it another him?
At this moment, he finally couldn’t help but begin to falter.
Why, they were both Li Ying, why couldn’t it be him!!
“Your Majesty…” There was a voice from outside. Li Ying suddenly waved his hand, and a strong wind broke through the door of Chaoyang Palace. He roared, with his eyes red, “Get lost!”
He raised his head and stared at the lamp, his eyes hollow.
He tried his best, suffered a lot, and finally got the opportunity, why should he hand it over to others.
Li Ying slammed his thin fingers into the pool of blood.
He slammed so hard that the bones of his hand rattled sharply.
His body was crouching and his irate expression made him look like a fierce ghost rising from h*ll. He walked over slowly.
Yun Qingci could see his intention.
He wanted to destroy the lamp.
Yun Qingci didn’t stop him, not because he couldn’t, but because he didn’t care what would happen after the lamp was broken, whether he would disappear, and whether everything in the other world would disappear with the broken lamp. He didn’t care.
If everything was annihilated, it would be the best. It will be over.
Anyways, as long as Li Ying was happy, he didn’t care if there was an afterlife.
He knew that Li Ying loved him, even crazier than he loved Li Ying, and it was enough.
Li Ying held the lamp in his hands.
He stared at the thing in his palms with monstrous hatred and jealousy.
Yun Qingci followed, looked at him and said, “Smash it, Ah Ying.”
“Anyways, it doesn’t matter.”
If the person in that world was not Li Ying, what did it have to do with Yun Qingci?
Yun Qingci put his palm on Li Ying’s hand and said, “Ah Ying, if you want to live, you can live well. If you don’t want to live, you can come and find me.”
“I don’t want to see you like this again…”
He looked at the Son of Heaven who had been so spirited in the past and who looked so haggard at this moment, and his heart was clenching in pain.
Enough, it was enough.
He saw Li Ying again and knew that he was not doing well after his death; so, that was enough.
Li Ying grabbed the lamp and stared at the crimson wick for a long time before slowly cradling it in his arms and sliding down to sit next to the table leg.
Yun Qingci didn’t understand what he wanted to do: “Ah Ying, smash it, it’s useless.”
“If you believe it, you have it, if you don’t believe it, you have nothing. If you believe it, you have it, if you don’t believe it, you have nothing, if you believe it… if you believe it…”
In the end, he cast away all his jealousy and anger but despair and helplessness engulfed him like a tide.
He hugged the lamp tightly. His head hung wearily and quietly, while his long hair scattered to block his ghostly pale face.
He just sat like this until dawn.
On the second day, Liu Ziru, who had not been summoned, pushed the door cautiously and entered. When he saw the blood stains on the corner of the screen, his expression suddenly changed.
He rushed over quickly, his gaze fell on the lamp that Li Ying was hugging, and his eyes turned red as he knelt in front of Li Ying: “Your Majesty…”
Li Ying looked up at him; the corners of his mouth twisted: “If you believe it, you have it, if you don’t believe it, you have nothing, look, sir, I’m back.”
He cautiously exposed the lamp, and Liu Ziru immediately burst into tears. He reached out to touch the child in front of him and then withdrew his trembling hand: “The words of the alchemist were not to be believed in the first place. We do not even know whether that world exists or not…… Your Majesty, Your Majesty, please give up, it is not too late for you to turn back.”
“No.” Li Ying shook his head: “He didn’t lie to me. He said that the ending of this life cannot be changed, but when the light turns red, I will go back. Now, when the light is red, I have already gone back.”
Liu Ziru didn’t know where he got such a big fixation from. He said, “Your Majesty, don’t be obsessed anymore. The light is red. You are still here. You simply…”
He met Li Ying’s eyes, and there seemed to be a monstrous fire burning in them. The light that Li Ying had longed for for twelve years – Liu Ziru could not say the words that would crush his hopes.
“There was always one of me that had to stay.” Li Ying said, “But I’ve gone back, I believe it, I went back.”
Liu Ziru squeezed his fingers tightly.
Yun Qingci finally understood what he meant.
If you believe it, you have it, if you don’t believe it, you have nothing. Li Ying believed that another world had been opened by his obsession, and that there was already another one of him who had gone back. At the moment when the light turned red, Li Ying split into two. One traveled back in time, and the other was left in the present.
These two were the same Li Ying.
After that, Li Ying behaved as always, and even though he seemed to be about to collapse at any time, he still straightened his back. He helped Li Heng take care of everything. The day before the enthronement ceremony, he took the lamp to the imperial mausoleum.
Only Liu Ziru was by his side.
Li Ying entered the room where the mausoleum guards lived and sat silently in front of the window looking at the sky.
In the past month, he hadn’t deliberately eaten things he didn’t like to eat; he just ate a little porridge and side dishes every day. His body was almost emaciated and he looked extremely tired of life.
Liu Ziru quietly came to him and handed him a jade cup. His old voice sounded regretful: “Your Majesty, drink some water.”
Li Ying took a sip, held the teacup in his fingers and put it back on the table.
He sat like this for a long time. When it was dark, with the help of Liu Ziru, he changed into a funeral gown and put on a crown. Yun Qingci could see that Li Ying’s outfit was mirroring his own that he wore lying in the coffin.
On Li Ying’s pale face, there was a faint trace of fondness and expectation, as if he were a teenager about to meet his sweetheart.
Although he was no longer young, his sweetheart had been waiting in the coffin for twelve years.
It was night and the curved moon looked like a hook.
The Son of Heaven lifted the red glazed lamp and walked out. Liu Ziru followed him. His old eyes were tearful, but he didn’t dare to let Li Ying find out, so he could only press his eyelids and rub his eyes frequently.
Yun Qingci chased after Li Ying, looked at him up and down and said, “Are you coming to me? Ah Ying, actually, you… it’s great that you are coming.”
It should be better than to live like you do, it doesn’t matter if you die, he thought.
The black-robed Son of Heaven came to the door of the underground palace and stopped. Liu Ziru also stopped and listened to him say: “Thank you, sir, let’s part here.”
Liu Ziru knelt down: “Your Majesty… Your Majesty, think about it again. If the Lord Empress knew, he would also feel sorry for you.”
“After the light turns red, I must complete the agreement within the period of forty-nine days, otherwise, all my hard work will be in vain.”
Liu Ziru didn’t know exactly what he had agreed to, but he knew that if Li Ying went in today, he would never come out again.
Li Ying believed that as long as he completed the agreement, he would save the world where he went back to, and he would also save Yun Qingci who was still alive.
But for Liu Ziru, the so-called another world was actually nothing more than an illusion. It was just a comfort that helped the Son of Heaven to live in this world. No one knew whether it really existed. Only Li Ying remembered the words of the alchemist: if you believe it, you have it, if you don’t believe it, you have nothing.
He now had to walk into the underground palace where the Lord Empress resided in order to let another him, the one that existed only in imagination and was reborn into the past, to live on.
No one knew that he would die tonight, and no one knew that the Son of Heaven that ascended the throne at the age of thirteen would leave this world completely.
Liu Ziru shook his head: “Your Majesty, please think twice.”
“Sir, please take care.”
The dragon boots moved forward, the hem of the clothes swayed and the crown was held high on his head.
The Son of Heaven walked into the underground palace, and the stone gate slowly closed behind him.
Yun Qingci turned his head and saw Liu Ziru drop on the floor in a standard kowtow.
Liu Ziru was the only one to send him off.
Yun Qingci quickly followed Li Ying to the center of the underground palace. In the round eight-character array filled with fine sand, those transparent crystal-clear snakes straightened up one after another.
From under the high platform where the sarcophagus was placed, the female snake that had been fed by Li Ying all year round came out gracefully and also straightened her upper body to look at Li Ying.
Yun Qingci smiled and said, “They used to ignore you when you came, but today you are welcomed…”
His smile was yet to disappear.
Li Ying walked into the sand without looking back, and all the snakes swarmed up in an instant, frantically climbing up his body over his dragon boots.
Yun Qingci’s eyelashes fluttered very lightly.
He saw Li Ying walk unswervingly to the side of the sarcophagus while his whole body was already covered with those things. He stretched out his hand and calmly put the scarlet lamp in the groove directly in front of the sarcophagus.
The sound of flesh and blood being gnawed on sounded in his ears.
Yun Qingci stood petrified.
He was just taken aback for a moment.
He was really just taken aback for a moment.
Probably, probably, just for a few breaths, or a dozen breaths?
When he realized what was happening in front of him, the crown on Li Ying’s head had fallen from his hair to the ground.
The crown beads made a crisp sound.
Yun Qingci moved his feet and rushed into the sand and watched the black-robed emperor fall down heavily.
Under the wide dragon robe, his flesh and blood disappeared and his body was turning into a skeleton.
The transparent snakes that sucked his blood and ate his flesh were turning red one after another. Yun Qingci knelt down in the sand. All the red snakes seemed to have seen something terrifying and immediately fled in all directions.
Yun Qingci stretched out his hand and caught Li Ying’s body.
The skeleton that had lost all flesh and blood became very light.
Yun Qingci carefully held his skull. At this time, he was still in a daze. These snakes gnawed so cleanly. Apart from the bones being moist, there was no flesh at all.
He looked down at the skull in front of him, and through the hollow sockets he could see the inside of the head of the person in his arms.
He opened his mouth.
He said again: “Am I hallucinating?”
He closed his eyes and pressed his chin against the still warm bone.
When he opened his eyes again, his expression changed uncontrollably, turning into a smile that was uglier than crying.
“I can, I can meet you…”
“I can meet you, look, Ah Ying.”
“Li Ying, Li Ying? Li Ying–”
“I can meet you ahhhhhh–”
He screamed and cried, holding the other tightly in his arms, shaking like a leaf.
Outside the underground palace, Liu Ziru, who was alarmed by the sound, raised his head. He staggered a few steps, and as soon as he was about to rush in, he was tightly held by someone.
The alchemist made a silent gesture.
Liu Ziru swayed and was dragged out.
There was silence in the underground palace. Yun Qingci finally raised his head from the skeleton in his arms, and his gaze fell on the motionless snakes hidden in the sand.
Drop of tears from the tip of his nose fell on Li Ying’s body. He slowly picked Li Ying up, put him in the sarcophagus where he himself was laid.
Then he brushed off the sand from the crown and put it on Li Ying’s head.
He carefully took his hand bones and carefully overlapped them on his chest.
After that, he climbed out of the sarcophagus, walked into the sand and grabbed a stone lamp.
“Li Ying is all dead, you guys, go to hell too.”
His hair was disheveled, resentment flowing in his eyes, as he rushed over like an evil spirit, bursting the sand and smashing the little red snakes hidden in it into pieces.
The snakes scurried around, seeming to be very afraid of him. Yun Qingci, carrying a stone lamp, chased and smashed them like crazy.
The underground palace was quickly stained with blood, and there were spots of red everywhere.
Yun Qingci was full of perseverance. He would lie motionless by the sarcophagus for several hours, watching the tracks of these snakes motionlessly.
As long as they showed their head, he would kill them with one blow.
He didn’t know how long he had been fighting with these things. It was only until he walked all over the palace and could no longer see a single snake, then did he finally drop the stone lamp and walked slowly towards the sarcophagus.
His whole body was already covered with the blood of Li Ying, or of those snakes.
When he came to the coffin, he looked at Li Ying who had become a skeleton, and then at himself who was intact.
He easily lifted the red glazed lamp that Li Ying had placed in the groove and slammed the lampshade against the wall of the coffin, breaking it into pieces.
The scarlet candle light fell on the silver-robed man, lighting him up in an instant.
Yun Qingci pulled the mechanism of the coffin lid. The heavy lid made a booming sound and slowly moved, closing.
Yun Qingci stepped on the stone platform, his blood-stained clothes flew over and his figure disappeared into the coffin instantly.
The fire was raging in the coffin.
The sound of the coffin lid moving stopped, and the sarcophagus closed tightly.
“From now on, no matter where you go, I will follow you.”