Edited by Fingergun
Chapter 20: Words in the Autumn Night
Xu Xingzhi collapsed and fell in Jiu Zhideng’s arms. His outer robes was removed and had fallen to his waist. There were beads of sweat rolling down the lines of his musculature and yet, his body was gradually losing its temperature.
He spoke softly, “… The silver loop snake mark.”
The ghost clan of the Ming Ya Nation had always been proficient in formations and curses, one of those being this move called the “Snake Mark”. “Snake Mark” was then further divided into two categories, Gold Mark and Silver Mark. In the former case, a faint cyan light would be emitted when it was cast, and the body of the one that received this mark would sear as if he was burning, and his meridians would be subjected to the hellish torment of fire; in the latter case, the Silver Ring Snake Mark was of a fiery red color. Once someone received this mark, the receiver’s whole body would undergo a sensation akin to bathing in cold ice, and his blood circulation would freeze.
Although Xu Xingzhi had utilized his spiritual energy to suppress the mark before it could enter into his body, it was evident that the ghost cultivator had given his all in this strike. No matter how much Xu Xingzhi tried to force this mark back with his spiritual energy, he wasn’t able to escape suffering from this enclosure of coldness.
There was also another special trait of this skill which was very grotesque: once the curse mark was formed and had locked on its target, it must enter the target’s body. Even if Xu Xingzhi had killed the ghost cultivator in time, the curse mark would still fall on Jiu Zhideng.
Only by having Xu Xingzhi take Jiu Zhideng’s place and receiving this curse mark could Jiu Zhideng escape this calamity.
Jiu Zhideng’s voice choked slightly, he was unbearably filled with remorse, “Senior Brother, I shouldn’t have been so careless…”
“What’s the use of saying that now?” Xu Xingzhi clenched his teeth and grasped Jiu Zhideng’s shoulder tightly. His breathing was heavily and a faint purple-red colour was tinting his lips, “What are you undressing me for? Put my clothes on for me properly.”
Meng Chongguang couldn’t restrain his emotions and a faint light emerged from the center of his palm. “Senior Brother, be good and lay down. I will help you with the curse mark…”
Xu Xingzhi struggled to get his body up and slapped Meng Chongguang’s hand away. “If Zhou Beinan know that I was hurt by such a small minion, I have to be mocked by him for the rest of my life!”
Jiu Zhideng’s body jolted like he had comprehended something. He bit his lips and remained silent.
Meng Chongguang gritted his teeth harshly. “Senior Brother, do you not cherish your body the slightest bit?”
Xu Xingzhi, however, was acting quite uncharacteristically and spoke with a rare determination, “Where did so much nonsense come from? Put my clothes on for me! Remember, neither of you is allowed to talk about my injury to anyone else. If this matter is exposed, then let it be!”
Just now, the sound from the explosion of the altar in this secluded space could be regarded as shaking the sky and vibrating the earth. Just after Xu Xingzhi tied his belt, Zhou Beinan and a disciple of Danyang Peak flashed out from a path. “… What was the sound from just now?”
Xu Xingzhi exerted his strength and leaned on the edge of a larger altar stone. He said with his legs crossed, “The Ghost Clan have forgotten to take their Gu away and scared this Lao Zi.”
Zhou Beinan burst into loud laughter, “Xu Xingzhi, you are not afraid of gods and ghosts, how can you be afraid of insects to such extent?”
Xu Xingzhi leaned backward and condescended, “If you, Young Master Zhou, were almost eaten by ants when you had fainted because you were sick in your childhood, you may even be more afraid of them than I am.”
Zhou Beinan did not wish for Xu Xingzhi to recall his childhood memories. He coughed lightly and retracted his smile a little before diverting the topic, “Your complexion doesn’t look good.”
“Don’t you feel that it’s cold here?” Xu Xingzhi asked in reply to his question.
“You are so weak.” Zhou Beinan disdained.
Xu Xingzhi conveniently picked up a stone and threw it at Zhou Beinan. “Scram! Scram, scram! If you have time to bicker with me, it’s better to see if there’s any fish that have escaped the net.”
After searching around, this group of people was able to confirm that none of those revolting ghost cultivators had escaped and that they were completely exterminated. There was a total of 37 corpses and they were sealed by Wen Xuechen’s talismans before being incinerated. This allowed their soul to reincarnated smoothly.
… No one realized that there was a missing corpse.
Within the deep corners of Bai Ma Jian.
The corpse of the ghost cultivator that had wounded Xu Xingzhi was dragged towards the inner mountain.
Twilight donned the sky and numerous vines crawled out of the depths of the damp forest, making a rustling noise. Like a water snake, they twined around the ghost cultivator’s corpse and restrained tightly; bundling and distorting the corpse into a dumpling.
Soon after, bits and pieces of snow white froth began to emerge on the surface of the vines. The dead ghost cultivator first lost his skin, and not long after, under the scorching heat, his fragmented bones were exposed.
Within a quarter of an hour, he was obliterated to the point that none of his bones were left.
After the body had withered away, a wisp of light rose unhurriedly from the vines.
That was the core of one’s soul that everyone would have. After dying, if the soul was still present, one could rely on this for reincarnation.
And a vine swiftly shot out like lightning bolt, capturing the soul core that had floated mid-air and shattered it to pieces.
Xu Xingzhi had the intention of concealing his injury, so naturally, no one was able to tell anything was off about him. Throughout the journey, he laughed and was as noisy as he was before, to the point that even the attentive Yuan Ru Zhuo did not perceive any abnormality from him.
When he returned to Fengling Mountain and reported to his Master and Martial Uncle about the mission, Xu Xingzhi was so cold that he had lost all sensations. However, his consciousness was still present. When he walked back to his room, he didn’t forget to greet the several familiar junior martial brothers.
The moment Xu Xingzhi closed the door, he felt spent and exhausted.
There was a hot spring bathing pool at the back of his room that was boiling hot all year round. Xu Xingzhi untied his clothes as he walked towards the pool, leaving behind his falling white robe, belt and the embroidered shoes he had kicked off.
When he reached the edge of the pool, his trembling hands took out the dried bottle gourd that was hanging by the edge of the pool and poured out several medicinal pills. He didn’t count how many pills there were but just threw all of them into the pool.
The transparent pool water instantly turned into a cream color, the steam from the heat wafted around, and the fragrant smell of medicine assaulted the nose.
Xu Xingzhi directly went in, soaking in it and letting the medicinal hot spring steam through his whole body.
However, due to the delay of treatment, even after soaking in the hot spring for an hour, Xu Xingzhi still felt extremely cold, so much so that his very bones were aching from the coldness when he crawled out of the pool.
Cursing “to hell with it” in his heart, he knew that his body would not recover from the curse any time soon. He simply wiped off the water droplets on his body and walked out naked.
Having soaked in the hot spring for a long time, Xu Xingzhi was feeling a little dazed, so he didn’t notice that all the clothes he had thrown on the ground were properly hung back on the clothes hook after returning to his room.
… Until he saw a cute and lovely big ball lying on his couch/bed.
The person was holding onto his bed and had wrapped himself in a soft ball.
Xu Xingzhi guessed who that was the moment he saw this.
… After all, there weren’t many people who dare to enter his room in broad daylight and lift his bedding.
He pulled the night robe that was hanging on the clothes hook in one go and wrapped himself up in a jiffy. “Chongguang?”
A beautiful little face with sweat beading on it peeked out from the quilt.
His voice was soft and sweet, like that maltose that was sold on the street for three pennies per catty, “… Senior Brother, I’ll warm your bed. “
Xu Xingzhi was amused upon hearing that, and he went over to catch him. “Who told you to go to my bed?”
“Senior Brother’s hands are cold.” As usual, Meng Chongguang did not answer his questions. He took his hands and placed them near his mouth, blowing on them twice, “I’ll warm Senior Brother up.”
Xu Xingzhi was stunned and he even felt his face heat up a bit. He pulled his hand back and told him, “… Don’t give me such a reason. Go back to your room and sleep.”
Meng Chongguang said, “I won’t leave.”
Xu Xingzhi tugged at Meng Chongguang’s arm. “Get up. If Martial Uncle goes to the Disciple’s Hall to check…–“
Before he could finish speaking, Meng Chongguang had already grabbed Xu Xingzhi’s wrist, yanked it hard, rolled over and pressed him on the bed!
Xu Xingzhi didn’t know how such strength came from with this weak body which looked like a light gust of wind would make knock it down. Maybe it was because he had just been cursed and his body was a little weak that he was half suppressed and could not struggle at all, but he could not even free his wrist from Meng Chongguang’s hands.
Another delicate and beautiful hand seized the opportunity and covered Xu Xingzhi’s eyes, blocking them from the shaky rays of light emanating from the lit candle.
Xu Xingzhi exerted all his strength, but he couldn’t even move a whisker. He only felt like there was a Mountain Tai on his body, and he could hardly breathe.
Meng Chongguang’s voice came steadily from above. It was as soft as ever, so much so that one could never tell he was exerting any strength at all.
“From today on, I will move into Senior Brother’s room,” he said. “I want to watch over Senior Brother. I can’t let him get hurt ever again.”
He then added, “I used to think that Senior Brother could do anything. I was too remiss. This time, I didn’t observe carefully and Senior Brother ended up getting harmed. I promise that nothing like this will ever happen in the future. “
Xu Xingzhi gradually stopped trying to break away from Meng Chongguang and listened to his words.
Meng Chongguang harped on for a while longer, then he realized that Xu Xingzhi was not moving. He couldn’t help panicking and immediately got down from Xu Xingzhi before releaseing his hold. “Senior Brother?”
Xu Xingzhi got up in silence, relaxed his neck and shoulders, and straightened out the scattered robes above his waist before standing up.
In his panic, Meng Chongguang walked up to the bedside with his knees and pulled at his belt: “Senior Brother, talk to me…”
With that pull, Xu Xingzhi’s clothes were almost shucked right off by Meng Chongguang on the spot. “Ah ah ah, let go!”
Meng Chongguang spoke with a soft little nasal sound, and he looked like he’d been wronged, “Senior Brother…”
Xu Xingzhi heaved a sigh at the sky: “…Where do you think I’m going? I’ll go to the Disciple’s Hall and bring your bedding!”
Meng Chongguang’s eyes brightened. He immediately and obediently let go of his hand and knelt down on the bed. “Really?”
“It’s really boring to live alone in this spacious hall.” Xu Xingzhi said, “If you move here, I’ll have another someone who I can chat and relieve boredom with.”
Meng Chongguang was so excited that his cheeks were red. He went down to the ground barefoot. “Senior Brother is in a bad condition. I will bring them instead.”
Xu Xingzhi pushed him back to his bed. “I’ll go. I have to explain to Martial Uncle. Do you think Martial Uncle would let you come easily if you are the one that makes the explanation?”
He flicked Meng Chongguang’s forehead.
“Stay here and warm my bed. “
As soon as he said this, Xu Xingzhi felt that there was something off about this whole situation, but at the moment, it was hard for him to pinpoint exactly what was wrong.
…Like how he had don’t know why he had muddle-headedly agreed to Meng Chongguang’s impertinent request.
He just felt that there wasn’t anything wrong with Meng Chongguang being with him in the same room at night, considering how he’d always made it a point to stick to him in the daytime.
He quickly changed into clothes suitable for traveling. After setting up the screen1 and turning around, he said as he tied his belt, “You can sleep first, don’t wait for me.”
Meng Chongguang arched in Xu Xingzhi’s quilt and whispered: “Senior Brother, the moonlight outside the window is too bright, Chongguang can’t sleep.”
Xu Xingzhi was helpless. He raised his hand and set up an array. The round window with moonlight streaming through mmediately was blocked with a thick fog.
He seemed to have made a cage with this fog barrier, placed the moon in it and softened the moon ray into a fluffy, gentle light.
“Is this okay?” Xu Xingzhi asked.
Meng Chongguang nodded softly, pulling the quilt over half of his face before mumbling, “The moonlight outside Senior Brother’s hall is much nicer than the other places. “
“Sweet talking, huh?” Xu Xingzhi jested.
When Xu Xingzhi was about to leave the room, Meng Chongguang urged him, “Wear more clothes before you go out.”
Xu Xingzhi said, “No need.”
As soon as he opened the door, a sharp autumnal wind blew on him, making him shiver. He immediately felt like the cold was painfully piercing through his limbs, so he had to close the door immediately, put on a robe lined with fur, and then once again opened the door to leave.
He closed the door carefully, but Xu Xingzhi didn’t go to the Disciple’s Hall at the first moment.
He made a turn and walked a few steps around the curtained palace hall. As expected, under the window, he saw the slim Jiu Zhideng sitting down who was hugging his knees.
There were dozens of bottles and jars in front of him, all of which seemed to be pills for treating cold poison. He sat under the window outside his room, and the warm light from his room passed over his head. The cool moonlight dragged his shadow long.
… He was rarely in a daze, to the point that he was even unaware of Xu Xingzhi’s arrival.
When Xu Xingzhi was pressed on the bed by Meng Chongguang, he had sensed the presence of a third person outside his hall.
Looking at Jiu Zhideng’s appearance, Xu Xingzhi figured that if he hadn’t come out to find Jiu Zhideng, he was most likely going to sit outside until daybreak and he still wouldn’t have knocked on his door.
…These two children were really competing with each other to see who was more worrying.
Xu Xingzhi tightened the belt on his clothes and called out to him, “… Xiao Deng.”
The author has something to say:
First line of a couplet: Children who know how to cry have milk to drink
Second line of a couplet: Sensible children gets themselves
Couplet: You stabbed my heart, buddy!