With every word Xiao Yuan said, Xiao Du’s tremor increased a little.
Why bother? He had been looking for so many years and finally found his younger brother who he couldn’t wait to hold in the palm of his hand. But after learning about their relationship, his brother only said these two indifferent words.
He thought that Xiao Yuan would be shocked, he would yell, he would attack him and maybe his eyes would be red with grievances. As a result, there was nothing. The fact that they were brothers was not even comparable to Mu Yingyang’s hand in Xiao Yuan’s heart.
Recently, he has been able to control his emotions in front of Xiao Yuan quite well. As long as Xiao Yuan continued to be well-behaved and docile, he could even use this illusion of peace to deceive himself. But now Xiao Yuan’s simple words once again easily upset his mind and his emotions swelled.
Regret, embarrassment, disappointment, irritation, jealousy and anxiety surged into Xiao Du’s heart at the same time. The injuries on his left shoulder and his back felt painful, and several cracks appeared on the cup squeezed in the palm of his hand. Xiao Du suppressed his anger and said to Xiao Yuan as calmly as possible: “Did you ask me why bother? Ah Yu, your parents and mine are all dead. You are the only… only person I care about in this world.”
Xiao Yuan seemed to have heard a big joke, and his eyes felt a little sour with laughter. “Of course you care about me, I am your brother. If I weren’t your brother, would you still care?”
Xiao Du looked at him steadily, “Yes.”
“You wouldn’t.” Xiao Yuan said, “You would infect me with Gu, throw me to other people and try your best to use me.”
Xiao Du couldn’t argue with it. Everything Xiao Yuan said was done by him. How could he tell his Ah Yu that, in fact, even at that time, he cared for him deeply but he didn’t want to admit it, and because he didn’t dare to admit it, he ended up like this.
Xiao Du closed his eyes and said, “Ah Yu, my affection for you in those six months was sincere.”
Xiao Yuan smiled, “I believe that. Even if it’s a dog, the owner probably really wants it to be happy when he feeds it. After you found out that Xiao Rong was not your brother, you threw him into the water prison and tortured him. By contrast, I was much better off. I need to thank Your Lordship for it.”
Xiao Du held back and said, “Do you have to say that about me? Do you have to say that about yourself? If I only cared about my brother, why would I look for you for two years, and why would I place on the nine-tone snail…”
“I don’t know,” Xiao Yuan interrupted him indifferently, “I don’t want to know either. You can tell me about my origin, but it won’t change anything.”
Xiao Du was silent for a moment, then said softly, “Really? Then do you want to know how your mother died.”
Xiao Yuan’s face froze.
“There are also things about when we were young, how the Xiao family died and how we separated – don’t you want to know?”
Xiao Yuan couldn’t deceive himself. He was raised by Li Xianting; in his childhood memory, there were only two people, Li Xianting and Mu Yingyang. He hardly remembered anything before that. He didn’t remember the names and appearances of his parents. He didn’t remember anything from when he was a child, but he always vaguely remembered that he had an elder brother.
He remembered that his Gege was very tall, and he had to raise his head hard to see his face. He remembered that his Gege loved to wear red clothes, and when he chased after his Gege, he would always see his clothes swaying.
Xiao Yuan raised his hand to block his eyes and whispered, “Why did you recognize the wrong person?”
Xiao Du said solemnly: “Someone arranged it. From Xiao Rong to your father’s grave, it was all according to that person’s calculations.”
“But aren’t you powerful? Aren’t you omnipotent? Such an important brother, why would you recognize the wrong person?! It’s not enough for you to be blind once, did you have to be blind a second time? If, if you hadn’t been mistaken, then I…… then I would have really had a Gege…”
At the end of Xiao Yuan’s words, his voice trembled slightly. Xiao Du hadn’t seen him so out of control for a long time. He had always wanted to tear through the superficial calm that Xiao Yuan had maintained and see what was going on in his heart. Now he got what he wanted, he forced Xiao Yuan to expose his emotions, but it was he himself who was in pain.
Xiao Yuan’s indifference, his sarcasm, his disdain, even the pain of seeing him making out with others were not as bad as this moment. Ah Yu was blaming him, blaming him, he… he made Ah Yu sad.
It seemed a knife was twisted in Xiao Du’s heart; he was overwhelmed with pain. He held Xiao Yuan’s hand, losing all his self-esteem and arrogance, and spoke with an uncharacteristic eagerness: “It’s okay, Ah Yu, it’s not too late. I will get rid of the Acacia Gu in your body, and I will also slaughter everyone in Yunjian Pavilion and bleed them dry to avenge taking your blood back then. If you still blame me, you can do twice as much as I have done to you before, and I will bear it with joy. Ah Yu, as long as you want, we will be like during those six months – no, I will treat you even better than then, because I am already happy…”
“It’s useless.” Xiao Yuan put down the hand blocking his eyes and looked at Xiao Du absolutely soberly with his slightly intoxicated eyes. He had calmed down. “What you offer may not be what I want.” Only then did Xiao Yuan discover that Xiao Du was too naive in the matter of feelings, as naive as a child.
I did something wrong to you, I know I was wrong, so I’ll make amends and we can go back to being like before. If feelings could be dealt with so simply, there would not be so many crazy men and women in the world, full of grudges and regret.
Xiao Du paused and his hand that held Xiao Yuan loosened but he clenched it again tighter, “Then tell me what you want.”
To answer this question, Xiao Yuan didn’t need to think or hesitate: “I want to be far away from you, want to be free, to be alone, want to only see the people I want to see and only do what I love to do.”
Xiao Du’s eyes darkened, “It’s the only thing I can’t do. I don’t want to make you unhappy, but I can’t control it – I can’t help trapping you by my side and making you mine.”
Xiao Yuan smiled, “You will always only do what you want, and you never care whether others are willing or not.”
“Yes, I admit, I am such a person.” Xiao Du’s eyes were deep and dark, and he held Xiao Yuan’s face forcefully, “So, Ah Yu, you can’t escape.”
Xiao Yuan rubbed his forehead, feeling tired. Didn’t he see through Xiao Du a long time ago, so why waste his words on him again. Xiao Yuan turned his head and looked out of the window. Beside the ferry crossing where they had come ashore, a young woman was holding a child in her arms and looked across the river, as if waiting for her husband who was traveling far away.
The brief silence calmed the emotions of both of them a little bit. Xiao Yuan asked, “How did my mother die?”
Xiao Du said, “Take a rest for a couple of days, and I will tell you.”
“No, you can tell now, I can stand it.”
Xiao Du hesitated for a moment and said, “Ah Yu, be obedient, let’s not talk about this yet.”
Xiao Yuan chuckled lightly and then asked, “I used to… what was my name?”
The name ”Xiao Yuan” was given to him by Li Xianting. He didn’t know his original name.
“Ah Nian,” Xiao Du said, “Liang Nian.”
On the way back, Xiao Yuan said very little and he didn’t even bother to pretend to be good. Xiao Du didn’t say much. Most of the time, he was either watching Xiao Yuan or keeping his eyes closed recuperating. His wounds had gotten worse, and his pale, handsome face was heart-wrenching to look at – but unfortunately, Xiao Yuan’s heart was not affected.
After they returned to Xingtian Sect, Xiao Du said, “It was a long journey, Ah Yu, go and rest.”
Xiao Yuan turned around and left. After he had gone, Xiao Du said to his entourage: “Call Meng Chi.”
Xiao Yuan returned to Chanxin Courtyard and sat alone in a daze until Le’er found him and said, “Young Lord, you are back.” Xiao Yuan was startled, “What did you call me?”
“Young Lord.” Le’er said with a smile, “His Lordship gave an order before he went out, so we will call you that in the future.”
As soon as he heard the words “Young Lord”, Xiao Yuan remembered Xiao Rong in the water prison. That was what the entire Xingtian Sect called him back then.
“You should call me ‘Young Master’.” Xiao Yuan said, “Go heat some water, I want to take a bath.”
After Xiao Yuan had finished bathing, it was not dark yet, but he was already exhausted. He was lying on the bed, looking at the plum blossoms outside the window, and thinking of his childhood name.
Liang Nian, Ah Nian.
He had a dream. He dreamed that when he was young, he picked a small pink flower from somewhere. He held the small flower and followed the heels of a young man in red.
“Gege, Gege, look! Flowers like butterflies… Ah Nian, Ah Nian likes them.”
The boy asked, “Do you prefer flowers or butterflies?”
Little Ah Nian held his head for a long time trying to think, and finally said, “Ah Nian likes them all, Ah Nian wants them all.”
The young man raised the corners of his lips in a smile, “Then watch.”
The young man took the small flower from his hand and placed it in his palm. After a glimmer of light, the small flower suddenly moved. Then its petals flapped like butterfly wings, flying around the little Ah Nian.
Little Ah Nian flushed with excitement, and instead of chasing his brother, he chased the ‘butterfly’ instead. The young man stood aside and said lazily, “Be careful not to stumble.”
“En, okay!” Little Ah Nian kept chasing and suddenly it rained. Raindrops hit the ‘wings’ and the ‘butterfly’ couldn’t fly no matter how hard it tried. Little Ah Nian watched the butterfly made for him by his Gege fall to the ground. Before he could pick it up, it was stepped on by his mother who came to them with an umbrella.
Little Ah Nian was stunned for a moment and then began to cry, “Mother trampled the butterfly to death, mother trampled the butterfly to death –”
His mother bent down, wiped his tears with a handkerchief and said softly, “I’m sorry, Ah Nian. When it’s sunny, let your Gege make another one for you, okay?”
Xiao Yuan woke up suddenly; it was already dark outside and it was not raining but snowing. He saw a figure standing by the door that looked like a woman.
No one in Xingtian Sect would dare to do anything to him. Xiao Yuan put on his snow-white fox fur, took Bihai Chaosheng and opened the door – it was Meng Chi.
Meng Chi looked cool and gazed at him quietly with an extremely complicated expression in her eyes.
Xiao Yuan said in confusion: “What’s the matter?”
Meng Chi’s lips opened lightly: “Is it you?”
Xiao Yuan raised his eyebrows, “What?”
“No matter how much medicine he takes, my Lord’s injury has not improved.” Meng Chi’s lips trembled slightly, “Is this because of you?”
Xiao Yuan said calmly: “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“’Waste’.” Meng Chi said clearly, “On the night of the full moon, although you did not find the antidote to Acacia Gu, you took away another thing, the ‘Waste’ that cannot poison to death but can make an injury worse and a poison impossible to detoxify.”
As soon as Xiao Yuan was about to speak, Meng Chi continued: “That poison was newly made by me. I haven’t mentioned it to anyone except you.” She always thought that the Lord’s injury didn’t get better because Mu Yingyang’s poison was too complicated and tricky, until she suddenly remembered the existence of ‘Waste’. She rushed to the medicine room, found the bottle containing ‘Waste’ and found that the medicine inside had already been stolen.
Xiao Yuan did not admit or deny it, but only said, “If you suspect me, you can tell Xiao Du about it.”
Meng Chi smiled, “Of course you would say that. You know in your heart that with the Lord’s love for you, even if you poisoned him, he can’t bear to do anything to you, right?”
Xiao Yuan also smiled, “I don’t know, why doesn’t Jiejie give it a try.”
“Ah Yu, why on earth are you doing this?” Meng Chi’s tone softened, “The Venerable Lord is your Gege, do you really want to be so cruel and let him be tortured by poison?”
Xiao Yuan asked rhetorically: “Then why did he want me to be tortured by the Acacia Gu and why does he want to trap me in Xingtian Sect?”
“I know he made a mistake, he was ridiculously wrong,” Meng Chi was already choking, “but have you ever thought that if his injury keeps going on like this and the poison gets to his lungs and heart, he might, he might…”
“Then I ask Jiejie to keep working hard and not let him die.”
Meng Chi was speechless for a while, looking at Xiao Yuan with reddened eyes. After a while, she said, “I admire you, but I am a member of Xingtian Sect, and I will tell the Lord what I know.”
Xiao Yuan nodded, “Go ahead.”
Meng Chi gave him a deep look, then turned and walked into the vast snow.