Chapter 29: The Deranged Man
Disregarding Ye Buyi’s resentment and resistance, Nan Li carried Ye Buyi who had coughed a mouthful of blood, on his shoulders and brought him back to the room only to toss him roughly onto the bed.
With tears running down his face, Ye Buyi wanted to get away, but Nan Li strangled his neck and pressed him back to the bed. “Ye Buyi, don’t fail to appreciate my kindness towards you.”
Ye Buyi finally stopped moving.
Nan Li had just breathed a sigh of relief when he heard Ye Buyi whispering, “Nan Li, let me go.”
In the first place, Nan Li had drunk a lot and the alcohol had gone into his head, so when he heard those words, the fire in him immediately flared up and he had to force himself to be patient. “…Where do you want to go? Where else can you go?”
Ye Buyi didn’t speak.
Nan Li sneered. “Can you even survive a day in the wilderness without me? Ye Buyi, do you even have a conscience?”
Ye Buyi looked at him with his red eyes and sobbed softly. “Nan Li, thank you. But I beg you, please let me go.”
Nan Li was so furious that his facial features had distorted. “Dream on. Listen, Ye Buyi, even if you were to die, you have to die inside the Tiger Leaping stream.”
Ye Buyi began to tremble. “…On what basis?”
“Just because I have saved your insignificant life.” Despite his rage, Nan Li laughed, “Otherwise, do you think you can live to this day in the wilderness?”
Ye Buyi’s lips had become pale and he mustered up all his courage to say what was in his heart. “…You weren’t trying to save me at all. It was all because I have a pair of eyes that are similar to your dead wife.”
At that time when he first saw the mural of Nan Li’s deceased wife, the naive and one-track minded Ye Buyi didn’t expect himself to be a substitute. He was only absorbed in feeling ashamed of his inferiority.
…She was so wonderful, Nan Li would naturally place her at the cockles of his heart. Now that it was him who was accompanying Nan Li, he should learn to act like what Nan Li liked so that he could be happier.
He treated Nan Li as his whole world, but Nan Li only regarded him as a dispensable toy.
When he heard Ye Buyi exposing him, Nan Li flew into a rage that even the veins on his forehead had popped up. “What do you say? Say that again?”
Nan Li always had a violent temperament, and it was only in front of the previous Ye Buyi that would he restrain himself slightly. This was also the first time that Ye Buyi was seeing him so angry, and he was so terrified that he began to shiver and had shrunk to the corner of the bed.
“You should thank your parents for giving you some good looks.” Nan Li sneered, “Otherwise, on the first day of our meeting, you would have died in my body like the soul of your daoist comrade.”
Ye Buyi suddenly raised his head. “…What did you say?”
“What do you think I cultivated with?” Nan Li didn’t think there was anything wrong with this. “Your daoist comrade has died and his soul has no other use. So what if I take his soul for my cultivation? By contrast, I have treated you well enough, so what are you dissatisfied with?”
Ye Buyi glanced at Nan Li, and his gaze were so unfamiliar as if it was the first time he was seeing him in his life. “You-you absorbed his soul? Didn’t you promise me that you will bury him…”
Nan Li felt that Ye Buyi was being unreasonable, and he said with a sneer, “Isn’t he buried? Otherwise, where else did that grave by the lake come from?”
Ye Buyi raised his pitch, “But you’ve said that if I follow you to the Tiger Leaping stream. You- you will bury him properly, so why did you…”
Nan Li asked in return, “Did I say I wouldn’t absorb his soul?”
Ye Buyi’s mouth opened only to disappointedly close back.
At this point, Nan Li’s anger had simmered down slightly and he wanted to touch Ye Buyi’s head, but Ye Buyi dodged it.
Ye Buyi said between tears, “During our first time, we did a pinky swear. You said you will never lie to me and will treat me well… It’s all a lie… You never have treated me sincerely since the beginning…”
Under the provocation of Ye Buyi’s words, the originally suppressed flame within Nan Li suddenly had the potential to start a prairie fire. In his anger, Nan Li talked recklessly, “Sincerity? You want it, but do you deserve it? Do all of you deserve it?”
“It was you and all those hypocrisy daoists who have sent me into the wilderness. You deserved it that I fucked you, Little Daoist!”
Ye Buyi was stumped for words on the spot.
Nan Li’s words were like a sharp ice hoe that pounded right into his heart. Perhaps, the ice shards had sneaked into the cracks of his bones, because he felt so numb, so cold, and so appallingly painful.
He didn’t know how long he had stayed dazed. Eventually, Ye Buyi stooped down in pain and knocked on the edge of the bed with his head, filling the room with thudding sounds.
In the past, he thought that the so-called ‘heart aching’ was just a sort of description, but now that things had come to this point, he knew that it was a truly dull kind of pain. It was so painful that his head was perspiring cold sweat.
After saying those angry words, Nan Li didn’t feel elated at all, instead, his chest had swelled with tightness. Seeing Ye Buyi’s action, he immediately reached out his hand to guard his forehead. “What are you doing?! Don’t act crazy in front of me.”
Before he had finished speaking, he heard the sliding sound of a dagger being unsheathed from his waist area.
When Nan Li retreated and moved back, he saw Ye Buyi holding a dagger in his hand. Ye Buyi’s eyes were as red as an infuriated rabbit as he stared at himself fiercely.
“What? Do you want to kill me? ” When he came back to his senses, Nan Li somewhat regretted speaking so vicious towards Ye Buyi. However, he was used to being a king, it was impossible for him to admit his mistake immediately and swallow his words back. “You are getting bolder, Ye Buyi.”
He truly believed that Ye Buyi would rush over to stab him.
In those few short instances, Nan Li had already worked out the next few scenes that would occur after he rushed over.
He would not dodge his attack, instead, he would let him stab him as he wouldn’t be killed by something so insignificant. So, when Ye Buyi’s anger had simmered down, he would then slowly coax him, and no matter how small temper was like, it would surely go down.
Nan Li felt that he understood Ye Buyi very well, so when Ye Buyi’s severed little finger rolled off from the bed, Nan Li didn’t react at all.
After a few seconds, Nan Li cursed and knocked the dagger to the floor. “Have you gone fucking crazy, Ye Buyi?”
Ye Buyi had huddled up on the bed and was hugging his right arm as blood gushed from the area of the severed finger.
His shoulder twitched incessantly. “Hurts… It hurts…”
Nan Li took his hand and used his strength to stop the bleeding. “Do you feel the pain now? Why don’t you stab me if you are angry? You really got a goddamn knack for hurting yourself.”
Ye Buyi’s face was pale, his lips were dry and cracked, and his breath was very light, yet, he still tried his best and exerted all his strength to push Nan Li away. “Dirty.”
Nan Li’s wrath was aroused. “You find me dirty? So you cut off your finger? Why don’t you go and die since I’ve fucking touched you everywhere from the inside to the outside?”
After listening to this, Ye Buyi was stunned for a long time, eventually, he whispered. “…Yes, I’m dirty. I’m the dirty one. I beg you, let me go.”
Nan Li realised that the man wasn’t listening to him at all. Seeing that his bleeding had stopped, Nan Li swung his sleeve and said, “If you want to leave, then hurry scram. With your body reeking of blood, the moment you leave Tiger Leaping stream, you are just dead.”
After throwing those words out, he left in a pique.
When the cold wind blew onto him, Nan Li sobbed up a little from his drunken state. After pacing back and forth around the door impatiently, he heard sobbings coming from the room.
Gradually, the sobbing became weeping, and then it evolved into hoarse crying.
Nan Li had never heard someone crying out in so much anguish before, and it was like he was helplessly watching a part of his body being forcibly torn off, and there was nothing he could do about it but bawl like a child.
Nan Li felt a little out of breath when he heard Ye Buyi’s crying. He wanted to push the door and go in but stopped when his hand was half-way stretched out.
He couldn’t face Ye Buyi’s face at the moment, so he could only turn around and leave, leaving behind the weeping that grated his heart painfully.
That night, he finished seven to eight jars of wine and slept on the throne of the main hall.
Who knew that when he went back to the room the next day, there was no sign of Ye Buyi.
…He didn’t take anything, including the severed finger.
When he interrogated the guards, the answer he got was that Ye Buyi had gone out of the Tiger Leaping stream last night, saying that it was the ghost king who had ordered him to go out.
After hearing the news, Nan Li walked several times in the hall before he lifted his hand and smashed a pottery figurine.
Instead of calming him down, the screams coming from the inside of the figurines made him even more irritable.
Soon, the ground was filled with broken pieces of pottery figurines as Nan Li stood in the middle of the debris-filled ground. His throat choked with pain.
The little daoist had run away?
Why did he dare to run?
He couldn’t even hold his sword properly. Last night, he even cut his finger…
He did not dare to think further. “Zhu Dongfeng! Get here now!”
Zhu Dongfeng came from the outside and saw the mess. He couldn’t help but be startled. “You…”
Nan Li pointed outside of the hall. “Go, go and get the little daoist back to me.”
Zhu Dongfeng naturally would not defy Nan Li’s will. “…Yes.”
Nan Li hesitated for a moment and then called Zhu Dongfeng back. He carefully urged, “He is injured, so he shouldn’t have gone very far. When you find him, tell him to cut it out… I drank too much last night, which was why I said such imprudent remarks; if he still doesn’t want to come back, carry him back. Be careful not to pull his hand.”
Zhu Dongfeng felt exasperated, but he still accepted his orders and left.
Nan Li sat restlessly in the hall for a whole day and finally waited for Zhu Dongfeng to come back.
“You didn’t find him?” Nan Li clenched his teeth and said, “What’s the difference between him, a daoist with low cultivation, and a mortal? You can’t even catch a mortal?”
Zhu Dongfeng sweated. “Your Majesty, we have searched the vicinity, but we really couldn’t find the queen.”
Nan Li was even more flustered.
Where could he go in the vast wilderness?
He suppressed his dread and irately said, “A bunch of trash! I’ll find him myself.”
One day, three days, three months had gone by.
Nan Li was alarmed to realise that he really couldn’t find Ye Buyi.
He experienced the feeling of being unable to sleep at night.
At that time, Yunhua, his wife, had died at the hands of a daoist and Nan Li was sent to the wilderness by that man. After thousands of years later, Yunhua had already become a red mole in his heart1 . It wasn’t easy for a person like Ye Buyi to arrive by his side, but now, he had turned into a needle, a thorn that wedged into his heart, making him unable to sleep and eat in peace.
His dream was the only way he could see Ye Buyi, so he drank more and more fiercely because fortunately, he could still look for Ye Buyi when he was drunk.
On this day, he dreamt of Ye Buyi and something that had happened in the past.
They were playing the tossing game by the lake again. After playing for several rounds, Ye Buyi yelled that he was tired. He climbed onto the bank and lay still on the ground. His damped clothes outlined his round butt and it was truly adorable.
Lying on the ground, he fiddled with the thing he had fished up and admiringly fondled the gadget.
It was a piece of fragment that was still glowing and it seemed to have fallen off from some kind of ornament.
Ye Buyi put that thing on his chest and gesticulated as he said, “It would definitely be very beautiful if this was made into a necklace.”
Nan Li picked him up and put him on his legs. He teased him and said, “Necklace? Why do a big man like you like this shining thing like a little girl?”
Little Girl Ye did not speak but moved the piece in his palm.
“Is it that beautiful?” Nan Li grasped Ye Buyi’s hand holding the fragment. “…Stop looking at it, look at me instead.”
Little Girl Ye glanced at him only to bow his head and purse his lips, and it made him look even more like a little girl.
“One glance and you became like this? How much do you like me?” Nan Li couldn’t help teasing him.
Ye Buyi bit his lips with a flushed face and pondered for a moment. He seriously replied, “The kind…. enough to want to be your bride.”
Nan Li was very satisfied with his answer and landed a kiss on his lips. “Alright. I will make this into a necklace. One day when I want to organise a wedding to liven up the place, I will ask you to wear this and marry me.”
After this sentence, Nan Li woke up.
He was sleeping on Ye Buyi’s bed.
After opening his eyes and seeing the empty room, it also instantaneously emptied his heart.
When he was ready to get out of bed, Zhu Dongfeng knocked at the door and came in. “Your Majesty.”
“What’s the matter?” Nan Li looked up lazily, “Have you found the little daoist?”
Zhu Dongfeng paused for a moment. “Yes, I have found him.”
Nan Li was not prepared to hear the good news at all. Hearing such a reply, he was shocked and jumped off the ground barefooted in excitement. “Really? Where is he? Is he injured? Did he grow thinner?”
Zhu Dongfeng’s face showed an unbearable expression. “Your Majesty… My condolences.”
Nan Li was so overjoyed that he didn’t even comprehend Zhu Dongfeng’s words. “Condolence? What condolence?”
Zhu Dongfeng signalled at the door and two ghost servants carrying a roll of white cloth entered.
When the cloth was laid out, there was a disordered skeletal remain with obvious marks of it being gnawed and dragged by wild animals inside. Most of the muscles and flesh had disappeared, only his arm had not been gnawed too badly, so it could be seen that his damaged right-hand palm was clasped together.
…There was a missing little finger.
“The queen actually hasn’t gone far.” Zhu Dongfeng explained, “A ghost servant found him under the cliff not far from the Tiger Leaping stream. The weeds have grown so tall that we couldn’t find the queen when we first searched for him.”
Nan Li stared at the bones on the ground, and his gaze was very strange.
He didn’t believe those bones were his little daoist that loved to cry so much. “Why did he go there?”
Zhu Dongfeng: “It seems that the queen had fallen off from a cliff… When we found the queen, these were scattered underneath him…”
He took out a cloth bag from his chest and unfolded it layer by layer.
Several withered petals fluttered and fell on the corpse.
Looking at those petals, Nan Li remembered it.
——When he met Ye Buyi for the first time, he was sitting on a cliff full of Louhua flowers as he tuned his wind instrument.
The cliff was by itself and there wasn’t any mountain road that one could use to climb up to it directly. After leaving the Tiger Leaping stream, Ye Buyi climbed up the cliff with his bare hands, perhaps because he wanted to pick a Louhua flower as a keepsake.
He mumbled to himself, “…Was it that cliff?”
Zhu Dongfeng was lost for words.
He didn’t understand what Nan Li meant.
Nan Li looked at the corpse on the ground and asked again, “…Dead?“
Zhu Dongfeng couldn’t say anything.
Nan Li pointed to his corpse with a seemingly smile.”He’s dead? Just because he wanted to pick a flower?”
He looked at the corpse and whispered, “…You didn’t even want to take the necklace I’ve made for you but you just wanted to pick flowers. You are really a silly daoist.”
After he had said that, he coughed a few times and felt an increase of saliva production in his mouth that choked his chest uncomfortably.
Intending to spit out his saliva, he craned his neck but ended up spurting a big mouthful of blood.
All of Ye Buyi’s memory ended on the day when the blood fell on his corpse.
This chapter’s not edited! I hope there isn’t any foolish grammar mistake cries.
This is part 1, I will upload part 2 in a day or two.
And, seriously, when the writer wrote that Zhu Dongfeng felt exasperated, I lol’ed. This servant knows his master is crazy.
Also, I changed our ML and Mc’s spelling name to Xu Ping ( explained in the later part of the novel), and Chongguang( Remember in Chapter 8 when ML was called double Guang, so it made more sense to spell as Chongguang than Chongguang).