Edited by Fingerguns
Chapter 15: To Overreach Oneself
Naturally, Tao Xian did not know about the mental debate happening within Xu Xing Zhi’s mind. He led him all the way to see Lu Yu Jiu.
With the push of the door, with the exception of Meng Zhong Guang, all the characters from Xu Xing Zhi’s story in the wilderness were gathered here.
Zhou Bei Nan was wiping off Lu Yu Jiu’s sweat; Zhou Wang was kneeling by the couch, inquiring about his injuries; Skeleton Girl and Yuan Ru Zhou was standing at a side, filling Lu Yu Jiu’s cup with water from a small teapot.
Qu Chi stood at the side with a duster in his hands with 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 child1: “…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.”
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 duster 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.
Qu Chi did not forget to turn his head back and called out to Xu Xing Zhi: “Xing Zhi, come in.”
Standing in the doorway and glancing upon this scene, Xu Xing Zhi 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 Xing Zhi’s waist. It felt extremely leaden, almost like it was dragging him down to the very core of the earth.
At that side, Lu Yu Jiu who was resting in bed, saw Xu Xing Zhi. He straightened his back slightly. “Senior Brother Xu? Why aren’t you coming in?”
“How did you get hurt?” Xu Xing Zhi forcefully dragged his mind back to the present and walked over to the bedside.
Lu Yu Jiu 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 Ru Zhou’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 Yu Jiu took the cup from Yuan Ru Zhou. “I didn’t notice.”
Zhou Bei Nan pushed his head: “Who told you to always stand at such a high position? You’re practically a live target.”
Lu Yu Jiu kneaded his head and stared at Zhou Bei Nan through the mask. “That’s none of your business.”
Zhou Bei Nan 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 Yu Jiu’s ears reddened slightly. “Who is worthy enough to share the same fate of Young Master Zhou of Ying Tian Chuan? I’m just a little disciple in Qingliang Valley. I am not worthy of being associated with you.”
Zhou Bei Nan: “Hah? What kind of bullshit is this?”
Lu Yu Jiu raised his head, feeling quite dissatisfied: “You said that yourself, did you forget?”
Zhou Bei Nan scratched his cheek: “… I said that?”
Lu Yu Jiu immediately went to seek support: “Senior Brother Xu, you were there at that time. Did Zhou Bei Nan say something like this?”
Xu Xing Zhi honestly could not remember if this sort of things had happened. He simply pulled a skewed frame2 and said, “Yes, he said that.”
Lu Yu Jiu’s tone was like that of a child supported by his parents: “Even Senior Brother Xu said that, but you still don’t want to admit it!”
Zhou Bei Nan turned around and had an expression that read ‘You better remember this, Xu Xing Zhi’.
Xu Xing Zhi shook the folding fan and reached out his hands to help Lu Yu Jiu. 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 Yu Jiu to stop him, from Zhou Bei Nan’s sleeve appeared a □□3, serving as a shield between Xu Xing Zhi and Lu Yu Jiu.
“Don’t touch his mask.” Zhou Bei Nan still had a smiling face, but his eyes were serious. “He doesn’t want others to see his face.”
… All right, he wouldn’t see it then.
Since when he was young, there weren’t much that weighed down Xu Xing Zhi’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 Xing Zhi 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 Zhong Guang, Xu Xing Zhi would have absolutely taken advantage at that and let death ended all his trouble. This would also save him the endless problems afterward.
If he were to continue interacting with these people, Xu Xing Zhi 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, he would not be able to leave this wilderness and reunite with his father and sister.
Xu Xing Zhi made small talk with them for a little while longer, and soon, he left Lu Yu Jiu’s room, intending to return to his room.
As he passed the chamber, he paused slightly.
After questioning the Animal Hide Man and obtaining the key’s fragment, unexpectedly, doubts were rising in Xu Xing Zhi’s heart.
According to his observation in these past few days, Meng Zhong Guang was unlike the Lord of Feng Mountain, recruiting disciples everywhere with the intention to escape the wilderness. Instead, he brought a trifling amountd of people and built a tower like this in the central of the wilderness, like he was contented with holding on to this small corner.
What exactly did Meng Zhong Guang have in mind?
It was reasonable to say that although the existence of key’s fragments in the wilderness was only a rumour, it was after all, a glimmer of hope. With Meng Zhong Guang’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 Xing Zhi returned back to his room.
Meng Zhong Guang was already there, sitting cross-legged on the wooden bench4. He looked extremely obedient with both of his hands clenched and placed in front of him. At first glance, he looked like a crouching puppy5.
It no longer surprised Xu Xing Zhi 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 Zhong Guang’s eyes widenered slightly and he said, “Is Senior Brother chasing Zhong Guang away?”
Xu Xing Zhi: “…”
Meng Zhong Guang 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 Zhong Guang away. Did I did something wrong that made Senior Brother unhappy?”
Needless to say, Meng Zhong Guang’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 Zhong Guang vicious and his method too ruthless! If Senior Brother doesn’t like it, Zhong Guang will not do it again in the future, Senior Brother…”
If he did not stop him now, Meng Zhong Guang was going to work himself up to the point of tears. Xu Xing Zhi had no other options but to say something to soothe him: “This isn’t what I meant.”
Meng Zhong Guang blinked piteously: “Really?”
Xu Xing Zhi: “… Really.”
Meng Zhong Guang’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 Xing Zhi and he sat down at the bedside.
Meng Zhong Guang naturally rested his head on Xu Xing Zhi’s thighs.
His head lightly came into contact with the dagger at Xu Xing Zhi’s waist. This subtle contact caused Xu Xing Zhi’s muscles to tense up, and he couldn’t make any more intimate actions.
…In the first place, he came here to kill Meng Zhong Guang, 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 that this?
In order to divert the guilt in his heart, Xu Xing Zhi attempted to change the topic: “Lu Yu Jiu is fine.”
Meng Zhong Guang was somewhat unhappy,
“Senior Brother only looks at Lu Yu Jiu, he don’t cares about Zhong Guang.” He rolled up his sleeve and on his arm was a wound. “Senior Brother, hurry up and look, Zhong Guang was also injured by someone!”
Xu Xing Zhi 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 Xing Zhi looked at it for about 3 seconds and called out his name: “Meng Zhong Guang.”
Meng Zhong Guang instantly revealed a pitiful little animal’s expression, trying to weasel his way out.
Xu Xing Zhi remained unmoved: “…This wound was made by you, right?”
Meng Zhong Guang 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 Xing Zhi’s eyebrows rose, he countered: “What did? The backscratcher?”
Meng Zhong Guang was grief stricken all at once. He lowered his head and rolled down his sleeve, leaving a upset hair whorl for Xu Xing Zhi to see.
Xu Xing Zhi: “… What are you thinking about?”
Meng Zhong Guang was peeved: “I’m not thinking about anything.”
Xu Xing Zhi blurted out, “I hope you are not thinking of making the wound larger next time.”
As soon as he spoke, Xu Xing Zhi was stunned.
He only interacted with him in these two short days, but he felt like he knew Meng Zhong Guang for a long time. It hardly took him much thought to guess what he was thinking in his mind.
Meng Zhong Guang was very happy when he heard the words. He grabbed Xu Xing Zhi’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 Zhong Guang’s mind. I’m so happy.”
Xu Xing Zhi was both happy and amused.
This old demon really had a child’s disposition, a slight coaxing could make he so sincerely happy.
Now that his mood had improved, Meng Zhong Guang put out his hands and flaunted. “In fact, the people from Feng Mountain could not fight at all. I spent some time luring them away from the tower, fearing that they would disturb Shīxiōng’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 Shīxiōng to get hurt.”
His voice was becoming softer and softer and his eyes locked onto Xu Xing Zhi’s eyes. He said timidly, “What do I do if something happens to Senior Brother?”
Meng Zhong Guang’s cautious appearance caused Xu Xing Zhi to feel a rather hard jab at his heart.
Since Meng Zhong Guang had already mentioned the matter of the Animal Hide Man, Xu Xing Zhi simply voiced the question that had just been nagging his mind: “Before all this, were you aware that the key’s fragments might be around in the wilderness?”
Meng Zhong Guang answered smartly, “I know.”
“Then why didn’t you look for it?” Xu Xing Zhi was puzzled. “With the fragments, you can leave here.”
This remark of Xu Xing Zhi was very strange. After all, he came here to prevent Meng Zhong Guang from leaving the wilderness But now he was wondering why Meng Zhong Guang had been staying in the wilderness when that there was hope.
After a long time, Meng Zhong Guang whispered: “… I thought Senior Brother was in the wilderness.”
Xu Xing Zhi did not hear clearly what he was saying for a moment: “What?”
Meng Zhong Guang answered: “… At that time, I thought Senior Brother had been expelled into the wilderness by Jiu Zhi Deng, 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 Zhong Guang spoke to Xu Xing Zhi, his voice would be very soft and light, as if he was afraid a louder voice would frighten Xu Xing Zhi: “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’s fragments has always been handled by Zhou Bei Nan and the rest, and I only wholeheartedly sought for Senior Brother to come back… By the way, I also built this tower in the middle of the wilderness. I built it higher and higher each year… hoping that if Senior Brother is in the wilderness and sees such a tall tower, he will come and take a look. This way, Zhong Guang will be able to see his Senior Brother again…”
Xu Xing Zhi 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 Zhong Guang 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 Zhong Guang’s road sign did not attract the Shīxiōng he was missing so badly, on the contrary, it attracted fake goods like him.
Xu Xing Zhi, who was left dumbstruck, then asked in reply, “How can you be sure that I was in the wilderness?”
Meng Zhong Guang took Xu Xing Zhi’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 Xing Zhi: “…”
He suddenly realized that if the so-called “Knowledge of the World” did not pull him into the wilderness, Meng Zhong Guang 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 Shīxiōng in the wilderness, and it was only because the Animal Hide Man wanted to sabotage himself by threatening Lu Yu Jiu and Meng Zhong Guang that a key’s fragment was sent to their doorstep by mistake.
… There was nothing more absurd than this.
The only thing Xu Xing Zhi could do was laugh forcefully: “I was pulled out of my immortal sacrum at the beginning. If I went into the wilderness under such conditions, I’m afraid I’d be dead.”
Xu Xing Zhi was only making a joke casually. It was unexpected that Meng Zhong Guang’s expression suddenly changed and he pulled Xu Xing Zhi’s lapel with great strength: “I will not allow Senior Brother to say such a thing!”
“… Zhong Guang?”
Meng Zhong Guang’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 Xing Zhi 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 Zhong Guang’s head and said, “Well, it is Senior Brother who spoke too casually.”
Meng Zhong Guang was not reluctant to spare him: “Senior Brother should also pei6 three times.”
Xu Xing Zhi: “Okay, okay, pei, pei ,pei.”
Only then was Meng Zhong Guang reassured. He released his hand, and demanded with righteousness and dignity: “… I will recover only when Senior Brother touches me again.”
Xu Xing Zhi smiled helplessly: “Yes, I’m afraid so.”
Xu Xing Zhi ran his fingers through Meng Zhong Guang’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 the Feng Mountain asked me to kill him and as the price, he sold me a piece of information. —— There is probably a key’s fragment hidden in the Tiger Leaping Stream of the Ghost King.
In Xu Xing Zhi’s trance, Meng Zhong Guang 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’s fragments and take you out of the wilderness.”
The author has something to say:
Zhong Guang: Who sent Senior Brother to me, is it the Knowledge of the World that did not want me to escape?~
Senior Brother: :…
Knowledge of the World: …mmp7.