Xiao Zhongnan went on the journey south this time with six people, not too many, but all of them were elites in the Castle.
Although the physicians couldn’t cure his illness, they prescribed a lot of medicines for calming his nerves and helping him sleep. After taking one pill, he would not wake up all night. Therefore, throughout the journey, either when eating in the wind and sleeping in the dew or staying overnight in an inn, I stayed close to him. I was afraid that someone who didn’t have eyes1Doesn’t know what’s good for them. Overestimating themselves. would really attack him in the middle of the night.
In fact, when we first stayed at an inn, he originally wanted to have a separate room from me, but I stopped it in time and insisted on sleeping with him. In the end, he had no choice but to agree. The innkeeper’s eyes changed, and he gave both of us a meaningful glance.
When it was time to sleep that night, I said, “I’ll just sit in a chair for the night and keep watch for you.”
As a result, he didn’t agree. “You sleep in the bed too, this bed is big enough and can accommodate the two of us.”
I felt a little awkward because I hadn’t slept with him on a bed while he was clear-headed. I waved my hand. “There’s no need; I’ll just sleep on the chair…”
He coldly ordered, “Come here.”
Whether it was Psycho or Xiao Zhongnan, a child putting on a stubborn face can only get intimidated and cry.
I didn’t dare to irritate him, so without any better options, I walked over and lay down. “Then you sleep; I’ll keep guard.”
“You sleep as well, you don’t have to guard me. There are our people around for that, what are you afraid of?”
I’m afraid that someone will secretly attack you?
“Alright, okay, fine. I’ll sleep, I’ll sleep.” I dealt with him and made up my mind not to fall asleep.
Xiao Zhongnan took a pill before going to bed. At this moment, it’s possible that the medicine hasn’t taken effect yet, and there’s still room for him to speak.
He said, “Ah’Qing… there’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask you.”
I could hear his hesitation, and I was surprised. “Ask, ba.”
It took a while before I heard him speak.
“Do you hate me?”
I frowned into the darkness. “What do you mean?”
“You’re a man, but I treated you like that— don’t you hate me at all?”
This question aimed for the bottom of my heart. I can hate him once or twice, blame him for three or four, five, six times or even more than that, but where is there so much time for me to hate him, to blame him? I’m already numb.
But of course, this cannot be said to the other party, so I pretended to play the profound thinker and say, “I hate you, ah, why not? When you forced me, I was hateful, and I thought you were a bastard. But after you returned to normal, you really couldn’t be considered bad; I just can’t keep hating you.”
He sighed and said, “You’re too soft-hearted.”
When I heard this, I smiled. “So you mean you want me to hate you? That’s fine too… you don’t know how painful it is, being penetrated repeatedly like that. If you let me penetrate you once, I won’t hold a grudge.” That’s what I said, but inside I shuddered at the thought of Xiao Zhongnan, such a tall man, lying under me. It made all my hair stand on end, and I quickly rest my case, “Forget it, even if you let me penetrate you, I won’t get hard.”
No sound came from Xiao Zhongnan, and just when I thought he was already asleep, his voice suddenly rang beside my ear.
“I don’t want you to hate me, but there’s nothing in it for you. Next time, if I fall ill again, you can stab me to death with a knife if you want, I deserve it.”
He would go that far because there’s nothing in it for me? My heart thumped violently and almost jumped out of my chest.
I turned my back to him, closed my eyes, and reprimanded, “What nonsense— you can leave when you’re old, just die of old age!”
Thinking carefully about Castle Master Xiao, when it comes to looks, he has them. Status? He has that too. He’s also an expert among many masters. Getting close to such a person amidst dragons and phoenixes, it really is difficult to say who’s taking advantage of who. It would’ve been much better if this person could be more careful, gentle, considerate, and not so rough when he falls ill.
After that, he was completely quiet; I think it was because of the pill’s effect that he fell asleep.
Our party sped up the pace and arrived at the foot of Partridge Mountain after half a month.
By the time we arrived, many cultivators had already surrounded the mountain. When they saw Xiao Zhongnan’s arrival, their eyes lit up, and they came to say their greetings one after another.
I stepped aside, my eyes fluttering everywhere. I was afraid to be seen by someone familiar with my appearance who could expose my identity and think I was a spy sent by the demon sect. If that happens, I really won’t be able to explain; I can only knock off my teeth and swallow my blood.
Fortunately, there were not many people who met me in the past, and I also especially changed the way I dressed. Now I look like an average Black Hawk Castle disciple, and no one should be able to recognize me.
Numerous Wulin people camped at the foot of the mountain, just waiting for an order from the Alliance Leader to attack the mountain.
Xiao Zhongnan asked me to stay at the foot of the mountain and wait for him. He also left behind a disciple to protect me, and I didn’t have intentions of refusing it. I have to act alone afterwards anyway so what’s the matter with another baggage2the original translation was dragging an oil bottle which means dragging a child from the previous marriage?
After the sun went down, several leaders, sect masters, and the like came over and said that they wanted to go to the Alliance Leader to discuss tomorrow’s countermeasures. I asked Xiao Zhongnan if he wanted to go together, but Xiao Zhongnan told me to take care and followed them out. He didn’t come back until midnight.
He sat down beside me near the large bonfire our party had spread around, showing no intentions of sleeping.
“You’re not sleeping?” I asked him.
He nodded. “It’s too risky to lose consciousness here; I’d better keep my eyes open until dawn.”
I thought so as well. If Lin Yue sent someone to ambush us in the middle of the night, Xiao Zhongnan would be unable to wake up and that would be too outrageous.
Might as well not sleep. I got up and sat next to him and asked him, “When did the Alliance Leader decide you will attack the mountain?”
“While the sky is not yet bright, once we hear the first birdsong.”
I counted down the hours and realized that there wasn’t much time left.
“This time, do you want to capture the demon sect master alive or behead him on the spot?”
“If he resists, he will be killed. If he doesn’t resist, he will be captured alive.” Xiao Zhongnan’s face was cold and solemn. “I still hope that he’ll resist. Such people must be justly killed.”
My body unconsciously shuddered, and my hairs stood upright, causing the other person to look at me.
“Cold?” He asked in surprise.
It was almost summer, and although we’re near the mountains, it wasn’t cold enough to make me shiver, but I couldn’t tell him I was scared by him, could I?
I chuckled. “It was a bit chilly just now, but I’m all right now.”
He took a branch and poked at the fire to make the blaze a little bit stronger.
“I’m afraid this fierce battle may not be over within a short time. You must always be careful even when you’re here at the foot of the mountain. There may be fish that slip through the net and escape all the way to your direction. If you happen to encounter them, you can go hide in the distance and let other people handle them.”
When I heard this, I nodded seriously. “Un!”
I chatted with him idly all night until the bonfire went out, the sky became slightly white, and we heard the sound of the first birds chirping. He stood up, and many people stood up like him one after another.
“I’m leaving.” He motioned to the others to go first, and he remained to say his goodbyes to me.
“Be careful in everything,” I told him with full earnestness.
He smiled slightly. I didn’t know what it was I said that pleased him.
“So should you.” He stroked my head and then sprinted towards the mountain with light, quick steps.
I saw that they were gone and not even their shadows remained. I glanced left and right and saw that it was all clear; no one was paying attention to me.
I slowly retreated to the edge of the camp, and soon blended into the woods. After I could no longer see those Wulin people, I turned around and started to run away.
The narrow bypath wasn’t far from the camp, and because I was quite familiar with Partridge Mountain, I was quickly able to find it.
I went all the way up the bypath and walked for no less than a shichen3时辰 Shichen: one of the two hour periods of the day. So it basically took him less than 2 hrs. before finally reaching the back mountain entrance of HanYiJiao. As I expected, there were only a few disciples in the back of the sect. I easily snuck past and flipped over the courtyard wall.
After that, I used my light footwork to quickly head towards the outside of the sect master’s residence. The huge wisteria tree in the courtyard was already blooming with flowers, but I had no time to appreciate it.
I lay on the wall for a while, and only when I saw that there was no one left behind did I stand up to enter. Lin Yue was not a legitimate successor, so he doesn’t know of the existence of the hidden chamber or its location.
I jumped in through the study’s window and deftly rolled onto the ground. I stood up and looked around before walking over to the bookshelf and carefully twisting a pen holder placed on top. Soon, the entire bookshelf moved to one side, revealing a hidden tunnel only wide enough for one person to pass through at a time.
I took out the torch I was carrying and lit it before slowly walking forward.
The passage is not long; I walked until the time it takes to brew a cup of tea had passed4 4 to 5+ minutes for herbal tea and black tea and 3 to 4 minutes for white tea and green tea and reached a stone gate at the end. I used the method given to me by the old sect master to unlock the mechanism on the stone gate, and the stone gate rumbled as it opened wide for me.
This hidden chamber isn’t large. Most of what’s inside consisted of all kinds of classic works filling up three walls, and there are also rare books on martial arts, long-lost music scores, and even many authentic works from known scholars.
I don’t know why this secret room exists. I only know that it has what I want.
I randomly flipped through the books on the shelf, and when I see that they were not what I was looking for, I would throw them on the floor out of convenience. I swept through the neatly arranged classics until they were all scattered on the ground, not at all feeling sorry.
Fortunately, I remembered the approximate location, so I found it after a short while.
“The 《Secret Ritual of the Hidden Flower》, I finally found it!” I was overjoyed, and immediately held the rare book in my arms, and then planned to return the same way.
I just didn’t expect that when I entered the study after coming out of the hidden tunnel, the moment I took one step across, I would run into my arch enemy.
I took a step back in shock, never expecting Lin Yue would come back at this time.
“Han Qingyan, you’re actually not dead!” Lin Yue glowered at me, and suddenly said grimly, “Did you draw those righteous cultivators here? You took refuge in them!”
At this moment, another person walked out from behind him and stared at me in shock. “Sect Master?”
The visitor has a clean face with no beard and a gentle appearance. He is a guardian of HanYiJiao, named Yang Chengqi.
He can be regarded as one of the few people in the demon sect who was loyal to me. I wasn’t sure if he knew what Lin Yue did to me, but I never dared to look for him. I don’t know what his expression looks like right now, but unfortunately now is not the time to relive the past.
Seeing the red-eyed Lin Yue about to attack me, I sprang out through the window to escape and began to run desperately.
- 1Doesn’t know what’s good for them. Overestimating themselves.
- 2the original translation was dragging an oil bottle which means dragging a child from the previous marriage
- 3时辰 Shichen: one of the two hour periods of the day. So it basically took him less than 2 hrs.
- 44 to 5+ minutes for herbal tea and black tea and 3 to 4 minutes for white tea and green tea