Chapter 5: Lord of the Wilderness
A warm and soft hand covered Xu Xingzhi’s eyes effectively blocking his line of sight. “…Senior Brother, it’s alright now.”
The other hand of Meng Chongguang was raised, and the spider created by spiritual energy instantly disintegrated into flying ashes.
His fingertips picked and hooked the spiritual energy that Zhou Beinan did not have enough time to withdraw. He pushed his palm forward.
Outside the tower, thousands of vines suddenly erupted on the sides of Zhou Beinan. He was pulled underground before he could even react.
Zhou Beinan was furious. “Meng-“
A vine blocked his mouth decisively.
Soon, only his head was left out of the ground.
Lu Yujiu placed the repaired ghost spear next to his head and sat a little further away from him. He said in disdain, “Who asked you to do this? You deserve it.”
Zhou Beinan: “…”
Xu Xingzhi was dazed for a long time before he recovered from the coldness of his limbs and numbed scalp. He blinked his eyes and asked, “Is it dead?”
…The sensation of eyelashes sweeping across the hollow of his palm was miraculous.
Meng Chongguang retracted his hand and wrapped it around Xu Xingzhi’s waist. He pressed the other party’s forehead against the back of his hand and tenderly rubbed. He spoke gently. “…Senior Brother, rest assured, anything that brings obstruction will die.”
A shiver swept across Xu Xingzhi’s back. He always felt that this remark had an underlying meaning. He let go of Meng Chongguang’s legs and jumped off his body. Xu Xingzhi shook his sweaty palm and pretended to be relaxed before he said, “That scared me to death.”
He did not know what temperament the original owner had before, but since he was number one in the Heaven Rank, he thought he would not be as afraid of insects as he was.
He secretly stared at Meng Chongguang and observed his reaction.
Meng Chongguang smiled and held onto Xu Xingzhi’s chain. “It doesn’t matter. Senior Brother don’t have to be shy. Don’t you remember that time you were frightened by the maggots and blew up the entire ghost altar?”
Xu Xingzhi. “…” Don’t remember, never heard of it, how shameful, goodbye.
After the crisis was solved, Xu Xingzhi realized how ambiguous their postures were.
With such a beauty in front of him, it was truly seductive, but he wasn’t so confused as to forget the resentment between the original owner and the villain in front of him.
He pushed Meng Chongguang aside and said coldly, “Thank you.”
He had yet to finish his sentence when Meng Chongguang unhesitatingly pulled at the chain. Xu Xingzhi’s body lost its balance and he staggered and bumped right back into Meng Chongguang’s chest.
Xu Xingzhi was muddled. He looked up at Meng Chongguang and questioned, “…What are you doing?”
Meng Chongguang ignored Xu Xingzhi and told Zhou Wang, “Get out.”
Having watched the lively surroundings for a long time, she jumped down from the bedside and considerately closed the door for them before leaving.
Xu Xingzhi felt regretful that he was unable to inquire more information. He kept looking at Zhou Wang until she disappeared from the door.
Meng Chongguang’s eyes swirled slightly. “…Senior Brother, does she look good?”
According to Xu Xingzhi’s distinct nature, he certainly would say the truth; for example, “You look better than her, but if you don’t pull it out and it’s bigger than me, I will certainly marry you.” and so on.
But in view of this inappropriate situation, he had to continue his act of being cool. “…Stop acting like a fool.”
Meng Chongguang suddenly reached out his hands and pinched Xu Xingzhi’s cheeks. In a few seconds, Xu Xingzhi’s face was numb, but there was a faint wave of light prevailing in Meng Chongguang’s eyes. “… How long will Senior Brother remain aloof towards me? How long will I be punished?”
This bastard, I didn’t even cry after you deceived our master and betrayed our ancestors, so why are you crying?
The pinch was so painful that Xu Xingzhi’s gaze looked unfriendly. He struggled to grab Meng Chongguang’s front with his inactive left hand and shouted angrily, “Meng Chongguang!”
Meng Chongguang thought that he was angry, and for a second, his eyes reflected a little grievance, but instantly, it was replaced back to by raging flames.
Immediately, Xu Xingzhi’s clavicle was bitten.
It was a genuine bite and it made Xu Xingzhi terrified that his tears came close to dripping.
Meng Chongguang, who had upgraded from a bastard to a puppy, was full of hope. “…Senior Brother, call me by my name again.”
His fervent eyes could almost set Xu Xingzhi aflame. Although it was unclear what kind of feelings Meng Chongguang had towards the original owner, Xu Xingzhi suppressed his doubts in order to break away from him. He sneered, “Meng Chongguang, if you still treat me as your senior brother, don’t chain me. I saved your life today, is that how you treat your life-saving benefactor? Is that what I taught you?”
Meng Chongguang immediately woke up. He hurriedly loosened Xu Xingzhi and knelt down in front of him. “Yes, Senior Brother. I- I know I’m wrong…”
Xu Xingzhi thought that he had finally understood. This child was just like a gyroscope that needed to be pulled.
He was still in his thoughts when Meng Chongguang raised his head slightly and begged, “…But Senior Brother, the wilderness is dangerous. I’ve locked Senior Brother in the room because I feared Senior Brother would run wildly and meet more danger… Chongguang can’t afford to lose Senior Brother anymore. I cannot even afford to risk in any fraction…”
Xu Xingzhi had never been able to resist beautiful things, let alone this pitiful face in front of him.
For a moment, Xu Xingzhi even felt a fatherly love arising from his chest and he could not stop it. He was bitten by a puppy and it seemed like it was not that upsetting after all.
Xu Xingzhi took a deep breath and bargained with him. “But I can’t stay in the room all day long. I might as well be in a cage.”
Although the wilderness itself was a huge prison, at least it was bigger than a room.
Meng Chongguang thought for a moment and reluctantly said, “… Then Senior Brother could go for a walk in the daytime, but don’t ever leave the tower, and make sure to come back in the evening…”
Although this was not that better, at least Xu Xingzhi had a little more benefit, so he did not mind.
When he nodded his head and agreed, Meng Chongguang finally showed a smile. He lowered his body and even held Xu Xingzhi in his arms.
Xu Xingzhi was shocked, and because of his unbalanced position, he could only instinctively encircle Meng Chongguang’s neck with his arms. “What else are you going to do?”
Meng Chongguang sincerely answered, “It’s already evening, Senior Brother.”
Xu Xingzhi looked out of the window frame only to find that the sky outside was no different from what he had just seen.
Meng Chongguang answered Xu Xingzhi’s questions and puzzles. “In the wilderness, day and night are inseparable. But right now, it’s night, really.”
Xu Xingzhi: “…”
It would be amazing if I believe in your ridiculous words.
Meng Chongguang carried Xu Xingzhi back to the bed and asked, “Senior Brother, let Chongguang sleep with you.”
Xu Xingzhi knew that it was useless to oppose him. If his tone was set heavier, he might even see a tearful Meng Chongguang as if someone had given him a great grievance.
He closed his eyes and rolled onto the corner of the bed, making room for Meng Chongguang.
Meng Chongguang joyfully climbed into bed and pulled at the quilt. He carefully covered Xu Xingzhi. He only occupied a small area at the outer side of the bed and covered himself with a little of the quilt before he went to sleep peacefully.
Xu Xingzhi couldn’t sleep. He tossed and turned for a long time before facing Meng Chongguang in the end.
After several rounds of tossing, Xu Xingzhi pressed his gold chain with his right hand to stop it from making a crackling sound, while his left hand slowly drew a dagger from his waist.
He pointed his knife down to Meng Chongguang’s forehead.
…Everything would be solved once he plunged the knife downward.
He could get out of this ghostly wilderness and go back to his home with his father and sister. As long as he do not write this story again, he could say goodbye to this world forever.
However, Xu Xingzhi felt that everything in front of him had an indescribable strangeness.
According to logic, this was a false world created by himself; however, he had only stayed here for one day but Xu Xingzhi had already produced a sense of down-to-earth reality.
These characters were no longer dummies created on paper. They had flesh and blood. They could move and laugh. They could speak and be angered. They could play pranks and had tender feelings.
…Including Meng Chongguang.
He might have looked like an immature puppy, but when he hugged himself and covered his eyes, including now, he was warm.
For Xu Xingzhi, perhaps the best way was to fight quickly and decisively. But the characters that came alive through his writing gave him a subtle feeling. Xu Xingzhi could not convince himself that he was only going to kill a fake person in a book.
Xu Xingzhi gave a light self-mocking laugh and put his dagger away. He lay down with his eyes closed.
…He wasn’t the real Xu Xingzhi. He had never experienced the hatred and the pain of his roots removed. Therefore, it was difficult for him to hold genuine hatred for Meng Chongguang. On the contrary, he actually held a little affection for him.
Meng Chongguang was a living person. He walked from his dream to his story and now, he came face to face with himself.
Xu Xingzhi needed to find other reasons to kill him. Otherwise, he would not be able to do so.
Feeling relieved of his heart-knot, Xu Xingzhi fell asleep after putting away his dagger. Meng Chongguang slowly opened his eyes.
His sight stopped somewhere in space.
His gaze was steady, and it just happened to land on exactly where Xu Xingzhi had stopped the dagger at a moment ago.
Meng Chongguang sat up silently and watched Xu Xingzhi’s sleeping face.
In the end, he gently brushed across Xu Xingzhi’s lips with his finger and murmured, “Senior Brother, I’ve been thinking, where have you been all these years?”
Later, with a sudden look, he smiled and said to himself, “…Ah, I guess, Senior Brother is with Jiu Zhideng, isn’t that right?”
“I am in the wilderness while you are out there with him day by day. Senior Brother listened to his slander and came to kill me. Is that so?”
With that, Meng Chongguang raised his hand and strangled Xu Xingzhi’s throat.
The long breaths circulated like beads under his palm. With little effort, he could easily crush his throat.
He didn’t know how long he had maintained this position, but Meng Chongguang released his hands in the end. His expression was complicated as he whispered, “Senior Brother, I know that you will always change your mind. It doesn’t matter. I’ll wait a while longer.”
In between his speech, a light fragrance of plants dissoluted in the room.
Meng Chongguang lay down again, but he was no longer as restrained as before and left more space for Xu Xingzhi.
He wrapped his limbs and warm body tightly around Xu Xingzhi. He stuck close to his ear and said slowly with his breath, “Thank you for not killing me today. But, Senior Brother, you still must be punished a little bit.”
Xu Xingzhi, who gave up the assassination, fell asleep very quickly. In a twinkling of an eye, he fell asleep. But somehow, his body was gradually burning up and getting hotter. His limbs were paralyzed and numbed, and he had no strength.
In his sleep, foreign bodies akin to vines climbed up his thighs. They slowly grabbed his ankles and separated his legs. They coiled around and played with him patiently. Often, they buried their head downward, taking a sip in the rippling stream.
Xu Xingzhi wanted to struggle, but his hands and feet were weak and sore, as if there were layers of convolution clouds that brutally yet gently wrapped him up and floated him into the air.
He was anxious to break away from this strange dream, but there was nothing he could do about it. He woke up from fright with dried lips and dizziness. He got up and wanted to drink water, but when his feet touched the ground, he felt a tender pain at the root of his thighs. He couldn’t support himself and fell onto his knees.
Meng Chongguang was roused from this sleep and got out of bed quickly, he held onto Xu Xingzhi from behind. “Senior Brother, what’s wrong?”
Xu Xingzhi’s body was so sensitive that he could not be afforded to be touched. With this touch, he almost couldn’t control his foot and kicked Meng Chongguang out.
After a moment’s delay, he regained his voice. “It’s nothing. I just had a nightmare. Could you pour me a cup of water?”
Xu Xingzhi was unaware that his cheeks were flushed and his tear mole was distinct, creating an aesthetic feeling arising from his lack of awareness.
Meng Chongguang obediently went to pour the water. There was an unspeakable joy in his shadow and it almost seemed as if his dog’s tail was wagging.
Xu Xingzhi was lifted up and leaned on the head of the bed. He felt that Meng Chongguang looked cute in this manner.
In the corner of the wilderness, there was a hill, named “Sealed Mountain”. Yellow sand was everywhere, and the frost wind was gloomy and harsh. There was a haggard glimmer in the mountain grottoes, which seemed to be extinguished by the strong wind at any time.
Within a rock cave.
A man wearing an animal hide leaned forward and his eyes shone. “Did you see it clearly? Is it really Xu Xingzhi?”
A man below answered, “I saw him when I was evacuating. The one who stood beside Meng Chongguang was indeed the head disciple of Qing Jing-jun of Fengling Mountain, Xu Xingzhi! At that time, on the day of the Heaven Rank competition, I had the pleasure to meet him and I still remembered it clearly.”
The hide wearing man looked happy as he clapped his hands and laughed. “Good, very good! With him, we have hopes of getting out of the wilderness!”
The man below seemed puzzled for a while, he couldn’t comprehend this reason.
The hide wearing man suppressed his joy and said, “I ask you, who is Fengling Mountain’s lord now?”
Upon mentioning the man, all the people below him gnashed their teeth with hatred. A voice reluctantly answered, “Jiu Zhideng.”
The hide wearing man answered, “That’s right, as long as we catch Xu Xingzhi and trade with Jiu Zhideng, he will certainly let us out!”
Someone objected, “Jiu Zhideng is sick and frenzied. He had always wanted us dead. How could he, because of Xu Xingzhi…”
“Why not? Jiu Zhideng, like that Meng Chongguang, was brought up by Xu Xingzhi himself. Who doesn’t know that Xu Xingzhi has the manner of a cut sleeve, all the junior brothers he brought up were all hopeless cause. Jiu Zhideng and his relationship is unusual. If we catch his senior brother, it is tantamount to holding his lifeblood!”
The more he talked, the more excited he became, the more enthusiastic he looked. “I’ve had enough of being a tramp for so many years!” As long as Xu Xingzhi is caught, we can…”
A beautiful woman leaned on the stone wall and thought for a long time before interrupting the excited speech of the hide wearing man. “For Xu Xingzhi to appear so suddenly in the wilderness, don’t you think it’s strange? For more than a decade, the only person who has the key to the wilderness is Jiu Zhideng. How did he get in?”
She played with her newly dyed nails and the corners of her lips were brought up to a smile. “Did Xu Xingzhi fail to serve Jiu Zhideng on the bed? Or did Jiu Zhideng send him in with a task? For example, to kill his good junior brother, Meng Chongguang? After all, Meng Chongguang is now in the wilderness, no one dares to say two if he calls one. If he had a plan to rush out of the wilderness, wouldn’t Jiu Zhideng have a headache? If it was these two possibilities, catching Xu Xingzhi will not help you, but instead be self-defeating.”
The more he thought about it, the more reasonable he felt it was. He couldn’t help but felt frustrated.
He hatefully said, “Yeah. Xu Xingzhi murdered his master. Who doesn’t know this in the world? What kind of things can’t be done by such villains?”
The woman was exasperated at the failure and clicked her tongue twice. She stepped close to the hide wearing man and sat down on his stone pedestal. Her chest was close to his arm and she was full of laughter. “But who said Xu Xingzhi was useless?”
The hide wearing man. “…What do you mean?
The woman teased at his chapped lips. “Jiu Zhideng is far away from the wilderness, but… don’t you want to rule over Meng Chongguang? Don’t you want to take back the position of the Lord of the Wilderness he had taken away?”
The author has something to say.
Chongguang: I have special brainpower.
Senior Brother:…get lost.