After Meng Chi left, Xiao Yuan did not go back inside the house for a while. He stood leaning against the door and stretched out his hand involuntarily, letting the soft white snow fall on his palm.
Le’er, who woke up, saw him and said in surprise: “Young Master is enjoying the snow in the middle of the night?”
Xiao Yuan smiled, “Yes, I’ll take a few more glances now.”
Le’er was puzzled, “But Young Master, don’t you often see snow in Xingtian Sect? You can watch it whenever you want.”
Xiao Yuan turned his head and looked at Le’er, and suddenly remembered Ah Chu who was far away in Tong’an County. He had been away from Tong’an County for a while and he didn’t know how his household was doing. Not mentioning the other things, he had left a large fortune, so at least food and drink was not a concern.
Le’er called out, “Young Master?”
Xiao Yuan recovered, looked up at the floating snowflakes and said, “It’s a pity that I’m tired of watching it.”
Le’er felt that her Young Master tonight was indescribably strange. She couldn’t ask more questions and said, “Young Master should go back quickly and rest. It’s cold outside. Be careful of catching a cold.”
Xiao Yuan said lightly: “It’s okay.”
He returned to the house and laid down, his original drowsiness gone. The flickering candlelight vaguely illuminated the room. He absent-mindedly folded and unfolded Bihai Chaosheng; the night passed like this.
Throughout the next day, Xiao Yuan felt a little restless. He had been waiting but he didn’t wait for anything. It was not right. If Meng Chi told Xiao Du about ‘Waste’, Xiao Du should have come to him a long time ago. How could there be no movement at all? Did Meng Chi not say anything, or did Xiao Du’s affection for him really reach the point where even a poisoning could be forgiven?
In this world, what kind of person would forgive someone who deliberately harmed him? For Xiao Yuan it was really unimaginable.
It wasn’t until Xiao Du’s maid invited him to the main hall in the evening that he knew that the peace of the day was just the peace before the storm.
The main hall of Xingtian Sect was empty and silent, and the torches on the walls were burning quietly. A gust of wind blew from nowhere, causing the drapery to flutter and the flames to flicker.
Xiao Du was sitting in the main seat of the Venerable Lord, supporting his forehead with one hand and resting his other hand on the armrest casually. In just a few days, he had lost a great deal of weight, his face was bloodless, his head was bowed and his eyes were averted; he looked indescribably sad.
Xiao Yuan stopped in front of him and said, “My Lord.”
Xiao Du slowly raised his eyes and met Xiao Yuan’s gaze, “You are here, Ah Yu.”
Xiao Yuan said ”en” and asked, knowing the answer: “Your Lordship is looking for me for something?”
Xiao Du looked at him quietly for a moment and said, “In a few days, it will be the Qiqiao Festival. How does Ah Yu want to spend it?”
Xiao Yuan frowned. What happened to the promised punishment, what kind of medicine was Xiao Du selling in the gourd?
After not receiving a response from Xiao Yuan, Xiao Du continued: “When we were young, we also spent the Qiqiao Festival together. Does Ah Yu remember?”
Xiao Yuan said lightly: “I don’t remember.”
“I remember.” Xiao Du covered his mouth and coughed a few times, with a smile in his voice, “We went to the temple fair, floated lotus lamps on the Luoshui River, climbed to a high building to watch the stars and the moon… Later, you got tired of playing and I carried you home. You fell asleep on my back.”
Xiao Yuan didn’t like to hear this, so he simply made it clear: “You don’t need to say all this. Just say how you want to deal with me.”
The smile in Xiao Du’s eyes gradually faded but his voice was still gentle: “Deal with you? There’s not even enough time for me to love you, how can I bear to deal with you?”
Xiao Yuan smiled, “That’s boring, Xiao Du. You have never been a gentle and generous person. If others owe you, you will make them repay ten times or a hundreds times. In front of me, you don’t need to pretend, and you don’t have to endure so hard. I’m tired of watching you.”
Xiao Du said softly: “I didn’t pretend. I told you this before, you can do twice as much as I did to you. I infected you with Gu and you poisoned me. It is very good. By the way, I still owe you once.” As he said this, he smiled suddenly, “Besides, I also like the way Ah Yu does bad things.”
Xiao Yuan gave a chuckle and said, “If I knew you liked it, I would have done worse.”
“No matter how bad it is, I won’t die.” Xiao Du said calmly, “As long as I don’t die, you will stay by my side. Even if you hate me and complain about me, you can only have me in your eyes.”
Xiao Yuan said resolutely: “As long as I don’t die, I will definitely do everything I can to leave you. Xiao Du, if you are unwilling to kill me or make me suffer, then I will only make it worse. This time it’s keeping you from recovering and next time it might be just taking your head off.”
Xiao Du smiled and said, “Ah Yu is a bully?”
Xiao Yuan looked at him with his misty eyes that seemed capable of drowning people. “Yeah, whose fault it is that you’re unwilling. We can see if you become willing first, or if I play you to death first.”
Xiao Du was silent. He wanted to be a good brother, he didn’t want Xiao Yuan to see his ruthless and sinister side again. Why provoke him, why make him reveal his true nature!
The gentle mask shattered in an instant; Xiao Du stood up and approached Xiao Yuan step by step, with a biting chill on his body, “I like you so much and want to compensate you so much, I can even ignore the poisoning! But you still have to leave me, don’t you?”
Xiao Yuan gently opened his lips: “Yes.”
“So no matter how much I try my best for you, it’s all in vain.” Xiao Du sneered with a fierce look in his eyes, “I see, Ah Yu. But do you know that as long as it is what I want, I will always have it.”
As Xiao Du spoke, his hostility surged violently. He had a strange poison in his body and his injuries wouldn’t heal for a long time, but he was still Xiao Du, the Venerable Lord of Xingtian Sect who made the whole cultivation world talk of him and look at him in fear.
Xiao Yuan smelled danger, he knew he couldn’t hide, so he stood motionless, letting Xiao Du’s hand clamp his chin with so much strength that he couldn’t move at all.
Xiao Du looked at him condescendingly, an extremely cold smile twisting the corners of his lips. Since Xiao Yuan would never look at him, no matter how gentle, considerate and empathetic he was, then he wouldn’t need to endure. He wouldn’t need to pretend and would show Xiao Yuan his true face, just like Xiao Yuan wished.
Xiao Yuan looked back at him and sneered, “Now you are willing?”
Xiao Du gently stroked Xiao Yuan’s lips with his fingertips, “No, I still can’t bear to hurt you. But you made me understand your determination and I also want you to see my determination.”
A glimmer of light flashed in front of him, and Xiao Yuan saw something he was very familiar with. His expression changed slightly, “You…”
“Ah Yu, do you remember it?”
Of course he remembered. It was the nine-tone snail that Xiao Du gave him two years ago, and there was also a heart-protecting curse that Xiao Du personally placed on it. The reason why Xiao Du was able to find him was all thanks to this nine-tone snail.
“I always wanted to do this but I was afraid that you would not be happy, so I could only bear it.” Xiao Du’s voice was deep, “With it, I will find Ah Yu even if he flees to the end of the world.”
Xiao Yuan guessed Xiao Du’s intention and said coldly: “Xiao Du, I advise you not to do this – you will regret it.”
“I won’t,” Xiao Du’s eyes flashed with excitement, “because I like Ah Yu and want to pamper Ah Yu forever.”
“Ugh–” There was a sudden tingling sensation in his chest, and Xiao Yuan clearly felt the earring made of a nine-tone snail submerge into his body little by little, drilling into his golden core.
His golden core repelled the invasion of the foreign object, and Xiao Yuan’s qi was rushing around uncontrollably. He couldn’t stand upright anymore, gasped and started falling down and was caught in Xiao Du’s arms.
Xiao Du lowered his head and kissed Xiao Yuan’s forehead, sending his qi to Xiao Yuan with one hand, “Ah Yu, bear with me, it’ll be fine soon.”
As soon as the nine-tone snail entered his golden core, whenever and wherever the owner of the other nine-tone snail summoned it, it would definitely give a response.
This was Xiao Du’s determination. He wanted Xiao Yuan to be tied to him for the rest of his life.
Xiao Yuan closed his eyes tightly; fine sweat appeared on his forehead. Soon, the nine-tone snail was completely integrated into his golden core and his rioting qi calmed down under Xiao Du’s comfort, as if nothing had happened.
“Does it still hurt,” Xiao Du’s voice sounded in his ear, “Ah Yu?”
Xiao Yuan slowly opened his eyes in Xiao Du’s arms, his expression abnormally calm. “This is your determination?”
Xiao Du hugged Xiao Yuan, pressed his chin against his forehead and murmured, “I don’t want to hurt you, Ah Yu. I just want to keep you by my side, but you don’t want to, so I have to do this.”
“You have to do this?” Xiao Yuan said softly, “yes, besides doing this, you didn’t seem to have any other way. And for me, there is no other way but to do that.”
Inexplicable apprehension surged into Xiao Du’s heart and he couldn’t help but whisper, “Ah Yu?”
Xiao Yuan’s tone suddenly changed, “Xiao Du, why do you have to force me? All I ask for is freedom. You can give me anything, why can’t you give me this one word?!”
Xiao Du let him go and looked down at Bihai Chaosheng that was pointing at his chest, showing an admiring smile. “As expected of my Ah Yu.”
Xiao Yuan stood up slowly and said, “Bihai Chaosheng is made from ice crystals of the Wuchuan Sea. It is the hardest thing in the world. If you use it to stab a person’s heart, isn’t that person bound to die?”
Xiao Du also stood up, not caring at all about Xiao Yuan’s threat. “Ah Yu, stop it. You should know very well that even if you have Bihai Chaosheng, even if I am injured, you are still not my opponent.”
“I know,” Xiao Yuan smiled, his face as bright as spring, “Bihai Chaosheng can’t take your life, but it’s more than enough to take mine.”
Xiao Du was instantly awakened, “Ah Yu–!”
It was too late. Xiao Yuan raised the jade fan in his hand and stabbed himself in the chest fiercely and without hesitation. Bihai Chaosheng turned into a sharp blade that cut through his flesh and blood and pointed straight at his heart.
The fan pierced his heart.
Throughout the whole process, Xiao Yuan’s face remained unchanged. He did not feel any pain, not even a little discomfort.
Xiao Du’s eyes widened, and his face distorted with pain. Soon, a large amount of blood gushed out of his chest, and his crimson robe was dyed dark red. He stretched out his hand to cover the wound but the blood continued to overflow between his fingers and fell to the ground, making a tickling sound, like a death knell.
His heart-protecting spell that he had cast with the intention of protecting Xiao Yuan for the rest of his life was fulfilled.