Chapter 15: To Overreach Oneself
Naturally, Tao Xian did not know about the mental debate going through Xu Xingzhi’s mind. He led him all the way to see Lu Yujiu.
With the push of the door, with the exception of Meng Chongguang, all the characters from Xu Xingzhi’s story in the wilderness were gathered here.
Zhou Beinan was wiping off Lu Yujiu’s sweat; Zhou Wang was kneeling by the couch, inquiring about his injuries; Skeleton girl, Yuan Ruzhou was standing at a side, filling Lu Yujiu’s cup with water from a small teapot.
Qu Chi stood at the side with a duster in his hands and his gaze was as pure as silver. When he saw Tao Xian approaching, he stepped forward. His tone was akin to that of an adult-like child. “…Why didn’t I see you in the room when I came back?”
Tao Xian respectfully said, “Replying to Senior Brother Qu, my body is feeling better, I wanted to walk around a bit.”
Qu Chi pursed his lips, which probably meant he had accepted this excuse, and he said, “Do not run around in the future.”
With that, he presented the end of the whisk to Tao Xian.
Tao Xian understood tacitly. He reached out and grasped the fine hairs of the duster and allowed Qu Chi to lead him in.
And Qu Chi did not forget to turn his head back and called out to Xu Xingzhi, “Xingzhi, come in.”
Standing in the doorway and glancing upon this scene, Xu Xingzhi had a sense of isolation for a moment.
At this moment, he truly realized that he had arrived in the world of the characters he’d created.
And the only way to leave this world was to personally cut off their only hope.
That dagger was still at Xu Xingzhi’s waist. It felt extremely leaden, almost like it was dragging him down to the very core of the earth.
At that side, Lu Yujiu who was resting in bed, saw Xu Xingzhi. He straightened his back slightly. “Senior Brother Xu? Why aren’t you coming in?”
“How did you get hurt?” Xu Xingzhi forcefully dragged his mind back to the present and walked over to the bedside.
Lu Yujiu was still wearing the ugly iron ghost mask that covered most of his face. The clothes on his shoulders had been torn open. After Yuan Ruzhou’s treatment, his wound had recovered. However, just by seeing his clothes that were dyed with blood, one could judge how serious his wounds were.
“They had bows and arrows.” Lu Yujiu took the cup from Yuan Ruzhou. “I didn’t notice.”
Zhou Beinan pushed his head. “Who told you to always stand at such a high position? You’re practically a live target.”
Lu Yujiu kneaded his head and stared at Zhou Beinan through the mask. “That’s none of your business.”
Zhou Beinan crossed his arms and leaned against the bedbroad. His posture was exactly the same as Zhou Wang’s: “How can I not care? I’m afraid you’d be dead. After all, we both share the same fate.”
Lu Yujiu’s ears reddened slightly. “Who is worthy enough to share the same fate of Young Master Zhou of Yingtian Island? I’m just a little disciple in Qingliang Valley. I am not worthy of being associated with you.”
Zhou Beinan: “Hah? What kind of bullshit is this?”
Lu Yujiu raised his head, feeling quite dissatisfied. “You said that yourself, did you forget?”
Zhou Beinan scratched his cheek: “…I said that?”
Lu Yujiu immediately went to seek support. “Xu Senior Brother, you were there at that time. Did Zhou Beinan say something like this?”
Xu Xingzhi honestly could not remember if this sort of thing had happened. He simply pulled a skewed frame of reality and said, “Yes, he said that.”
Lu Yujiu’s tone was like that of a child supported by his parents. “Even Xu Senior Brother said that, but you still don’t want to admit it!”
Zhou Beinan turned around and had an expression that read ‘You better remember this, Xu Xingzhi’.
Xu Xingzhi shook the folding fan and reached out his hands to help Lu Yujiu. He wanted to remove the ghost mask that seemed so heavy, like it was a shackle on his face. “You are already lying down, why are you still wearing this?”
Without waiting for Lu Yujiu to stop him, from Zhou Beinan’s sleeve appeared a □□, serving as a shield between Xu Xingzhi and Lu Yujiu.
“Don’t touch his mask.” Zhou Beinan still had a smiling face, but his eyes were serious. “He doesn’t want others to see his face.”
…All right, he won’t see it then.
Since when he was young, there wasn’t much that weighed down Xu Xingzhi’s mind. Having a frank personality was one reason, another reason was that he just made sure to avenge every wrong done to him anyway.
As such, spending these two days and nights in the wilderness were truly unpleasant for him.
Xu Xingzhi was a man who couldn’t stand being treated well by others. If he knew that the seriously injured person he picked on that day was Meng Chongguang, Xu Xingzhi would have absolutely taken advantage of that and let death end all his trouble. This would also save him the endless problems afterward.
If he were to continue interacting with these people, Xu Xingzhi feared that the load on his mind would accumulate more and more. When the time comes, he wouldn’t be able to lay his hands down and even more so, unable to leave this wilderness and reunite with his father and sister.
Xu Xingzhi made small talk with them for a little while longer, and soon, he left Lu Yujiu’s room, intending to return to his room.
As he passed the chamber, he paused slightly.
After questioning the hide wearing man and obtaining the key fragment, unexpectedly, doubts were rising in Xu Xingzhi’s heart.
According to his observation in the past few days, Meng Chongguang was unlike the Lord of Feng Mountain, recruiting disciples everywhere with the intention to escape the wilderness. Instead, he brought a trifling amount of people and built a tower like this in the center of the wilderness, like he was content with holding on to this small corner.
What exactly did Meng Chongguang have in mind?
It was reasonable to say that although the existence of key fragments in the wilderness was only a rumour, it was after all, a glimmer of hope. With Meng Chongguang’s demonic power, if he truly wanted to escape the wilderness alive, it’d be no big deal for him to tear apart the forces of the various sects in the wilderness into pieces one by one and find the key’s fragments. Why did he waste 13 whole years in the wilderness?
Harbouring such doubts in his heart, Xu Xingzhi returned back to his room.
Meng Chongguang was already there, sitting cross-legged on the sitting bench near the door. He looked extremely obedient, both of his hands clenched and placed in front of him. At first glance, he looked like a crouching puppy.
It no longer surprised Xu Xingzhi to see this person the moment he opened the door.
He sighed and asked casually, “Don’t you have a room of your own?”
Meng Chongguang’s eyes widened slightly and he said, “Is Senior Brother chasing Chongguang away?”
Xu Xingzhi: “…”
Meng Chongguang seemed to have received the most terrible injuries. Tears pooled up in his eyes as he complained grievously: “Back then in the chamber, Senior Brother pushed Chongguang away. Did I do something wrong that made Senior Bother unhappy?”
Needless to say, Meng Chongguang’s voice really induced one to dote on him. Even if it was pretentious, it was unlikely to make one feel annoyed.
The more he spoke, the more agitated he was becoming: “I know what it is! Senior Brother finds Chongguang vicious and his method too ruthless! If Senior Brother doesn’t like it, Chongguang will not do it again in the future, Senior Brother…”
If he does not stop him now, Meng Chongguang is going to work himself up to the point of tears and show him. Xu Xingzhi had no other options but to say something to soothe him, “This isn’t what I meant.”
Meng Chongguang blinked piteously: “Really?”
Xu Xingzhi: “…Really.”
Meng Chongguang’s expression instantly changed. His eyes curved, and within his eyes that still held teardrops, was a smile so beautiful that one simply cannot take it in: “I knew that Senior Brother treats me the best in the world.”
His juvenile expression of being amply satisfied with being praised amused Xu Xingzhi and he sat down at the bedside.
Meng Chongguang naturally rested his head on Xu Xingzhi’s thigh.
His head lightly came into contact with the dagger at Xu Xingzhi’s waist. This subtle contact caused Xu Xingzhi’s muscles to tense up, and he couldn’t make any more intimate actions.
…In the first place, he came here to kill Meng Chongguang, but he was making use of the body of the person he trusted to take his life to converse and make laughter with him. Was there anything more hypocritical than this?
In order to divert the guilt in his heart, Xu Xingzhi attempted to change the topic. “Lu Yujiu is fine.”
Meng Chongguang was somewhat unhappy,
“Senior Brother only looks at Lu Yujiu, he doesn’t care about Chongguang.” He rolled up his sleeve and on his arm was a bloody laceration. “Senior Brother, hurry up and look, Chongguang was also injured by someone!”
Xu Xingzhi took a look.
…It indeed must be looked at quickly; if it was any time later, this wound which seemed to be scratched by his own fingernails or a little wood chip was most likely going to heal by itself soon.
Xu Xingzhi looked at it for about 3 seconds and called out his name: “Meng Chongguang.”
Meng Chongguang instantly revealed a pitiful little animal’s expression, trying to weasel his way out.
Xu Xingzhi remained unmoved: “…This wound was made by you, right?”
Meng Chongguang quickly cast a glance at the carved flowers and trees on the headboard guiltily. He was still reluctant to admit: “It’s not…someone harmed me…”
Xu Xingzhi’s eyebrows rose, he countered: “What did? The backscratcher?”
Meng Chongguang was grief stricken all at once. He lowered his head and rolled down his sleeve, leaving an upset hair whorl for Xu Xingzhi to see.
Xu Xingzhi: “… What are you thinking about?”
Meng Chongguang was peeved: “I’m not thinking about anything.”
Xu Xingzhi blurted out, “I hope you are not thinking of making the wound larger next time.”
As soon as he spoke, Xu Xingzhi was stunned.
He only interacted with him in these two short days, but he felt like he knew Meng Chongguang for a long time. It hardly took him much thought to guess what he was thinking in his mind.
Meng Chongguang was very happy when he heard the words. He grabbed Xu Xingzhi’s waist and buried his face in his stomach. He refused to raise his head for a long time.
After a long while later, he spoke in a muffled voice: “…Senior Brother knows what’s going on in Chongguang’s mind. I’m so happy.”
Xu Xingzhi was happy and found this funny.
This old demon really had a child’s disposition, a slight coaxing could make him so sincerely happy.
Now that his mood had improved, Meng Chongguang put out his hands and flaunted. “In fact, the people from Sealed Mountain could not fight at all. I spent some time luring them away from the tower, fearing that they would disturb Senior Brother’s sleep and that the bloody smell would infect this place…before returning, I told them to go to the nearby stream to wash their hands and bodies, that’s why I came back late, almost causing Senior Brother to get hurt.”
His voice was becoming softer and softer and his eyes locked onto Xu Xingzhi’s eyes. He said timidly, “What do I do if something happens to Senior Brother?”
Meng Chongguang’s cautious appearance caused Xu Xingzhi to feel a rather hard jab at his heart.
Since Meng Chongguang had already mentioned the matter of the Animal Hide Man, Xu Xingzhi simply voiced the question that had just been nagging his mind: “Before all this, were you aware that the key fragments might be around in the wilderness?”
Meng Chongguang answered smartly, “I know.”
“Then why didn’t you look for it?” Xu Xingzhi was puzzled. “With the fragments, you can leave here.”
This remark of Xu Xingzhi was very strange. After all, he came here to prevent Meng Chongguang from leaving the wilderness But now he was wondering why Meng Chongguang had been staying in the wilderness when there was hope.
After a long time, Meng Chongguang whispered: “…I thought Senior Brother was in the wilderness.”
Xu Xingzhi did not hear clearly what he was saying for a moment: “What?”
Meng Chongguang answered: “… At that time, I thought Senior Brother had been expelled into the wilderness by Jiu Zhideng, so I was looking for Senior Brother all the time. But the wilderness is so big, there’s no limit to it. I have been searching for you for so many years, but I still couldn’t find you.”
When Meng Chongguang spoke to Xu Xingzhi, his voice would be very soft and light, as if he was afraid a louder voice would frighten Xu Xingzhi: “In the past 13 years, I have found all the people Senior Brother cared most about and gathered them around me; the search for the key fragments has always been handled by Zhou Beinan and the rest, and I wholeheartedly only sought for Senior Brother to come back… By the way, I also built this tower, in the middle of the wilderness, building it higher and higher each year….hoping that if Senior Brother was in the wilderness and saw such a tall tower, he would come and take a look. This way, Chongguang will be able to see his Senior Brother again…”
Xu Xingzhi never imagined that the tower was built not for defense nor was it for shelter, but as a guiding tower for the original owner.
Thinking back to how he saw the tower from a distance the first time he entered the wilderness, even if Meng Chongguang did not appear at that time, he would still come running here.
…thinking about it carefully, the cruel irony of it all was not lost on him.
Meng Chongguang’s road sign did not attract the Senior Brother he was missing so badly, on the contrary, it attracted fake goods like him.
Xu Xingzhi, who was left dumbstruck, then asked in reply, “How can you be sure that I was in the wilderness?”
Meng Chongguang took Xu Xingzhi’s sleeve and rubbed it carefully: “Even if it is one out of many possibilities, I don’t want to give this possibility up.”
With that, he looked up at him and said earnestly, “I kept thinking that I would wait, wait for one more day and I’d be able to see Senior Brother someday. What am I going to do if I leave? What if Senior Brother was waiting for me in the wilderness?”
Xu Xingzhi: “…”
He suddenly realized that if the so-called “knowledge of the world” did not pull him into the wilderness, Meng Chongguang on the contrary, did not have any intention of escaping. He was only hung on to the one in ten thousandth chance of finding his beloved Senior Brother in the wilderness, and it was only because the Animal Hide Man wanted to sabotage himself by threatening Lu Yu Jie and Meng Chongguang that a key fragment was sent to their doorstep by mistake.
…There was nothing more absurd than this.
The only thing Xu Xingzhi could do was laugh forcefully: “I was pulled out of my immortal bones at the beginning. If I went into the wilderness under such conditions, I’m afraid I’d be dead.”
Xu Xingzhi was only making a joke casually. It was unexpected that Meng Chongguang’s expression suddenly changed and he pulled Xu Xingzhi’s lapel with great strength. “I will not allow Senior Brother to say such a thing!”
Meng Chongguang’s expression became extremely ugly, the corners of his eyes and eyebrows were even lightly growing with a red color.
This time he was speaking with a weeping accent: “Is it so easy for you to talk about life and death?! Senior Brother will not die, Senior Brother cannot die!”
Xu Xingzhi had wanted to ask, how could he not doubt whether he had died in one corner of the wilderness and turned into bones after 13 years of searching, but seeing that he was so agitated, there was no need to ask any more.
—— He could not bear this sort of possibility at all, just thinking about it would make him crumble.
He touched Meng Chongguang’s head and said, “Well, it was Senior Brother who spoke too casually.”
Meng Chongguang was not reluctant to spare him: “Senior Brother should also pei three times.”
Xu Xingzhi: “Okay, okay, pei, pei ,pei.”
Only then was Meng Chongguang reassured. He released his hand, and demanded with righteousness and dignity: “…I will recover only if Senior Brother touches me again.”
Xu Xingzhi smiled helplessly. “Yes, I’m afraid so.”
Xu Xingzhi ran his fingers throughMeng Chongguang’s hair several times, even lightly brushing his ears many times. He was so comfortable that he rolled over and over on his legs. His cheeks were slightly flushed, looking really similar to a domestic cat.
He squinted his eyes and enjoyed this moment, nonchalantly saying, “Senior Brother, I’ll tell you something. The Lord of Sealed Mountain asked me to kill him and to pay me back for it, he sold me a piece of information. —— There is probably a key fragment hidden in the Tiger Leaping Stream of the Ghost King.
In Xu Xingzhi’s trance, Meng Chongguang pressed his face into his chest and rubbed against it with attachment. “Senior Brother, now that I have found you. You just need to wait a little longer, I’ll collect the key fragments and take you out of the wilderness.”
The author has something to say:
Chongguang: Who sent Senior Brother to me, is it the Knowledge of the World that did not want me to escape?~
Knowledge of the World: …mmp.