Xiao Du still remembered how he set the heart-protecting spell on the nine-tone snail.
That was the night before he sent Xiao Yuan to Gu Louyin. He was having dinner with Xiao Rong but his mind was on Xiao Yuan. In fact, there was nothing to worry about. He had already made up his mind and everything had been arranged. But he kept feeling a little uneasy; he had a vague premonition that he was doing something wrong, something irreparable.
Xiao Du realized that he was hesitating. He had always hated indecisive people and he couldn’t tolerate himself becoming like that. Just send him away. He told himself that as long as Xiao Yuan was not around, these emotions he shouldn’t have would disappear.
But what if they didn’t, what if he just wanted Xiao Yuan to be by his side? That was okay, too, he could just let Xiao Yuan come back after getting Qingyan.
In order for Xiao Yuan to return to him safely, Xiao Du put a heart-protecting spell on the nine-tone snail. He couldn’t have imagined that this heart-protecting spell would become the most important means for Xiao Yuan to escape from him in the end.
Standing in front of him, Xiao Yuan pierced his heart with Bihai Chaosheng that he had worked so hard to find and personally ruined the last protection he had left to his beloved.
He stabbed so decisively and so fiercely, as if he had done it a hundred times in his mind. But he was still as good-looking as ever, and the deadly way his hand moved made one forget the pain.
“Heh…” Xiao Du chuckled softly. He clutched his chest, his breathing short and trembling. He bowed, looking at Xiao Yuan, and asked, “Since when?”
Xiao Yuan whispered, “Very early on.” As early as two years ago. After he had learned that the nine-tone snail had a heart-protection spell on it, he had taken it as his last retreat against Xiao Du.
“So it has been planned for a long time.” Xiao Du said with blood in his mouth, “You deliberately let Meng Chi discover the poisoning to irritate me… From beginning to end, you wanted me to die. Even though you knew that I was your brother, you still haven’t changed your mind.”
Xiao Du was suffering from a physical and mental torture, and his injured body could not take it much more. He vomited out a large mouthful of blood, finally unable to support himself, and fell to his knees in front of Xiao Yuan.
For the first time in his life, Xiao Yuan looked down at this powerful and terrifying man; there was a trace of bewilderment in his eyes, “I didn’t want it to be like this either. I won’t be much happier if you die. But… but why did you have to force me? I have been controlled for so many years, I just want to live a life of freedom, am I wrong?”
“Haha… haha…” Xiao Du laughed louder and louder, his expression almost crazy, “Ah Yu, look at how similar we are… deep inside, you are the same kind of person as me. You should stay with me, Ah Yu. Only I can protect you, only I am qualified to have you…”
Xiao Yuan slightly raised the corner of his mouth, “Look at what you look like now. Does it make sense to say this kind of thing? It’s better to think of your last words to say.”
Xiao Du stopped laughing; his vision gradually blurred and he had to work very hard to keep his eyes open to see Xiao Yuan clearly. “Ah Yu……”
Xiao Yuan looked down at him calmly, “En, I’m here.”
Xiao Du spit out another mouthful of blood, wiped the blood from the corner of his mouth and said, “Help me up.”
Xiao Yuan hesitated for a while but still helped Xiao Du get to the main seat. When he was about to withdraw, Xiao Du suddenly grabbed Xiao Yuan’s wrist, his strength coming from an unknown source. Xiao Yuan didn’t struggle at all and waited quietly.
“Another nine-tone snail is with me. If you destroy it, no one will be able to find you through it in the future.”
Xiao Yuan didn’t expect that Xiao Du would explain this matter to him. He was taken aback for a moment and said, “I know.”
Xiao Du’s breathing became more and more rapid. He knew that he didn’t have much time left, and every sentence he said might be the last sentence he said to Xiao Yuan. He wanted to say something about their childhood, and wanted to tell Xiao Yuan how much he had missed him in the past two years, and how much he regret hurting him. He… He prepared a lotus lantern, thinking about taking him to the Luoshui river on the day of the Qiqiao Festival and float a lantern together like when they were kids. He even wanted to use Xiao Yuan’s sympathy for the dying to get an active kiss from him. He wanted to say a lot but what he really said was only his unfulfilled plan: “Yunjian Pavilion.”
Xiao Yuan understood what he meant, nodded lightly and said, “I will try my best to destroy Yunjian Pavilion for you.”
“No, it’s not about trying your best, you have to do it for sure.” Xiao Du’s hands were cruel, “Hundreds of members of the Xiao family, as well as your mother, all died at the hands of Yunjian Pavilion. You must, you must…”
Xiao Yuan frowned and said, “As expected.”
A light flashed in Xiao Du’s dilated pupils, “How do you… Ah, do you remember?”
Xiao Yuan shook his head, “I guessed it. You took it as your mission to destroy Yunjian Pavilion, it had to be more than just for Qingyan.”
“Ah Yu is really smart.” Xiao Du panted, “But how can you take revenge without me.”
Xiao Yuan said indifferently: “Even with you, Xingtian Sect is not an opponent for Yunjian Pavilion and many lives would be lost in vain. You have to use your brain to take revenge.”
Xiao Du smiled quietly, “Like you have just now?”
“I never thought about revenge and I didn’t do it for revenge, I just…” Xiao Yuan’s voice halted and he smiled at himself, “Forget it, I can’t explain it to you.” He took a deep breath and said, “Are you finished? I can’t stay with you for too long.”
Xiao Yuan’s words broke the only string left in Xiao Du’s body. His eyes were full of fondness and reluctance as he stared desperately at Xiao Yuan, his blood-stained lips trembling, “Ah Yu, I am unwilling. So close, you… you would have been mine.”
Xiao Yuan looked at his reflection in Xiao Du’s pupils and said softly, “Sleep well.”
Xiao Du’s eyelids seemed to weigh a thousand catties, and he slowly closed his eyes as he didn’t even have the strength to look at Xiao Yuan. “Ah Yu, I can’t protect you from now on.”
“It’s okay, I will protect myself.”
Xiao Du’s voice was so low that he seemed to be whispering. He seemed to be caught in a memory, and Ah Yu in the memory was asking if it hurt. “It doesn’t hurt…” He said, “Don’t cry, Ah Yu, it hurts when you cry.”
“I’m not crying.” Xiao Yuan’s throat rolled and he said hoarsely, “I haven’t shed tears for you before and I won’t in the future. I will not cry for you.”
Xiao Du closed his eyes and a satisfied smile appeared at the corner of his mouth, “Okay… then, Gege is gone.”
Xiao Yuan stood by Xiao Du’s side, watching his smile fade away slowly. Suddenly he stretched out his hand, wiped the blood from his lips with his sleeve and said softly: “We are clear, ge.”
There was a sound of agitated footsteps outside the hall and Meng Chi rushed through the night. She smelled the strong smell of blood and her face changed. She thought it was Xiao Yuan’s blood. After entering the hall, Meng Chi couldn’t help but breathe out a sigh of relief when he saw Xiao Yuan standing next to the Venerable Lord intact. “Where is His Lordship?” she asked.
Xiao Yuan glanced back at Xiao Du and said, “He is here.”
Meng Chi noticed something was wrong and walked forward to see Xiao Du sitting on the main seat with his head down, his eyes closed, his expression calm and free from arrogance, as if he were asleep. Meng Chi called out, “Lord?”
No one answered.
Meng Chi looked down and when she saw Xiao Du’s blood-stained clothes, she suddenly took a step back, shook her head and said, “How could it be… Lord!”
Xiao Yuan’s face was expressionless, “He is dead. Had you come earlier, he might have still been saved.”
“No!” Meng Chi cried out in sadness, “Venerable Lord, Venerable Lord, wake up, open your eyes and look at me… You are the Venerable Lord, you are Xiao Du, how can you die!”
Meng Chi was hysterical, sobbing uncontrollably. Xiao Yuan didn’t say anything. He watched Meng Chi cry bitterly for Xiao Du, as if he was just an outsider.
Meng Chi’s crying gradually stopped, her eyes red and swollen, but her gaze had recovered a little clarity. She looked at Xiao Yuan, gritted her teeth and said, “It’s you…”
Xiao Yuan smiled, “You look up to me too much. Me alone, can I kill Xiao Du?”
Meng Chi said loudly: “Besides you, who else can there be!”
“He himself.” The nine-tone snail was given to him by Xiao Du and the heart-protecting curse was given by him willingly. All this was a trap set by Xiao Du for himself. He just pushed him into it at the end.
Meng Chi obviously didn’t believe it, “Xiao Yuan, you can’t fool me. Others can’t take the life of the Venerable Lord but you are different. You are his only weakness, a weakness that the Venerable Lord can’t resist… If anyone in the world can take his life, it is you. Even if you didn’t kill him, he died because of you!”
Xiao Yuan applauded and smiled, “Jiejie said it well. What do you want to do to me? Kill me to avenge your Lord? Or put me in Suoxian Prison and make me suffer?”
Meng Chi choked again, “How can I hurt you if the Venerable Lord died to protect you? His Lordship said that if something happened to him, I would work with Li Yanzhi to help you lead Xingtian Sect and destroy Yunjian Pavilion.”
Xiao Yuan was quiet for a moment and said, “You can decide whether you want to listen to him.”
Meng Chi’s tears rolled down, “I… I don’t know.” She had to obey the Lord’s wishes but she couldn’t face this unfamiliar, chilling murderer in front of her.
Xiao Yuan looked down at Xiao Du, still under the illusion that he was about to wake up. He didn’t want to stay with Xiao Du’s corpse anymore and said, “You are Xiao Du’s most trusted person. His affairs are left to you to handle them in secret.”
“In secret?” Meng Chi asked, “What do you mean? Do you want to hide it from Xingtian Sect?”
“The battle between Xingtian Sect and Yunjian Pavilion is about to begin. Once the news of Xiao Du’s death spreads, it will disturb the hearts of Xingtian Sect and will increase the ambition of Yunjian Pavilion. Listen up, from today on, His Lordship will go to retreat to recover from his injuries. When he is healed, he will go out of retreat and let the others do their jobs. During his retreat, you and Li Yanzhi will be in charge of everything in the sect.”
Meng Chi blurted out: “What about you?”
“Me?” Xiao Yuan smiled, “Of course, I came from nowhere and went back to nowhere – gone.”
Xiao Yuan walked out of the main hall step by step, holding another nine-tone snail found in Xiao Du’s hand.
He didn’t look back even once. Everyone else, starting with Li Yanzhi, believed the news of Xiao Du’s retreat. Li Yanzhi said that since His Lordship suffered so many injuries, he should have gone into a retreat a long time ago. Xingtian Sect was calm. The only anomaly was that Meng Chi suddenly disappeared. At the same time as her, Xiao Du’s body disappeared as well.
“Young Master, where did you say Ah Chi went?” Li Yanzhi frowned sorrowfully, “I haven’t seen her for several days.”
Xiao Yuan said as he packed his bags: “She may have something to do.”
“What about the secret report sent from Huaizhou?”
“Huaizhou? Yunjian Pavilion?”
“Yes, the Venerable Lord arranged a secret agent in Yunjian Pavilion before. The Venerable Lord personally inquired about this matter before and if he wasn’t managing it, Ah Chi would deal with it. I’m not good at this, I get a headache when I see the information.”
Xiao Yuan stopped, thought for a while and said, “Show me the secret report.”
Li Yanzhi said with joy: “Right away, right away.”
Xiao Yuan put the packed things back in place one by one. Forget it, let’s stay for a few more days. Anyways, he could leave anytime he wanted, and no one in Xingtian Sect would dare to stop him.
When he came to Suoxian Prison again, Xiao Yuan walked in without any disguise. The identity of the Young Lord had long been revealed to the whole sect. Now that the Venerable Lord was in retreat to recover from his injuries, he was the head of Xingtian Sect. Who would dare to stop him.
When Mu Yingyang saw his beloved Shixiong, his eyes instantly sparkled with a smile, as bright as stars, making the cold prison glow. “Shixiong!”
“You’ve been waiting for a long time, Shidi.” Xiao Yuan said, “Shixiong is here to pick you up.”