Edited by Fingerguns
Chapter 21: Period of Awakening
Jiu Zhi Deng’s lips trembled slightly upon hearing Xu Xing Zhi’s voice.
He supported himself by holding on to the wall and did not even dare to look at Xu Xing Zhi. “…Senior Brother.”
“Why aren’t you coming in?” Xu Xing Zhi questioned.
“I shouldn’t go in.” Jiu Zhi Deng answered, “I have wronged you, Senior Brother.”
Xu Xing Zhi was leaning against the pillar and his eyebrows raised in curiosity. “How have you wronged me?”
Jiu Zhi Deng: “Senior Brother’s injuries…”
Xu Xing Zhi waved his hand. “I, Xu Xing Zhi, only have one principle when it comes to my work and that is, I am willing, I am happy. Senior Brother is glad to be block that attack from you. Otherwise, wouldn’t this Senior Brother be inept?”
Jiu Zhi Deng suddenly lifted his head. “I didn’t want this to happen. I would rather it be… “
In the middle of his sentence, he choked up, so he could only bit his lips and scrunched his eyebrows, tilting his face to the other side.
Xu Xing Zhi was often left helpless against this appearance of Jiu Zhi Deng the most. He exhorted him saying, “Xiao Deng, don’t hold anything in your heart, just say it if you want to.”
After enduring silently for a while, Jiu Zhi Deng said in a muffled voice, “…Senior Brother, I know that your unwillingness to tell anyone about the injury isn’t because you are afraid that Senior Brother Zhou and the rest will laugh at you.”
Xu Xing Zhi scratched his cheek and looked at the side. “Xiao Deng, stop talking.”
Jiu Zhi Deng’s expression was gloomy. “…It’s because of me. Because of my identity.”
Xu Xing Zhi didn’t want him to say anything more. “…Xiao Deng.”
Jiu Zhi Deng stubbornly continued. “…If Senior Brother is injured because he protected Meng Zhong Guang, Senior Brother certainty will not conceal this matter to such an extent, because Meng Zhong Guang is a mortal with a clean and innocent background, he is not like me. If Master and Martial Uncle knew that you were injured because of me, they would be extremely angry. In comparison to me, Meng Zhong Guang is just different…”
“Jiu Zhi Deng!”
Xu Xing Zhi interrupted his words, “Did you hear all these impudent remarks spoken blindly by someone else or is this what you really believe?”
Since he had already made his point, Jiu Zhi Deng no longer bothered to conceal his worries; he was going to smash the pot to pieces because it had already cracked, so he gritted his teeth and said, “Could this matter be any clearer? There is no need for others to gossip…”
As soon as his voice fell, Xu Xing Zhi quickly went over to his side, raised his hand and struck his head.
Although this hit resounded loudly, Jiu Zhi Deng didn’t feel any pain, and instead, he was pulled into a cold embrace in the next moment.
Xu Xing Zhi held him in his arms and bit out every single word with power. “Jiu Zhi Deng, remember, no matter what your background is, you are my, Xu Xing Zhi’s, Junior Brother now. Never speak such self-contemptuous words anymore. Do you hear me?”
After a moment’s hesitation, Jiu Zhi Deng tightened his hold on Xu Xing Zhi even harder, and the strength of his arms was so great that he almost dislocated Xu Xing Zhi’s internal organs.
“… Senior Brother.” Jiu Zhi Deng’s hoarse voice called out, “Senior Brother.”
Xu Xing Zhi finally smiled. With his head lowered, he hugged Jiu Zhi Deng’s head and touched the green headband on his hair. He boasted, “Isn’t it good to be a Junior Brother of Xu Xing Zhi? Others are begging to be have a Senior Brother like me, but they’re not that lucky.”
Jiu Zhi Deng: “…En.”
Xu Xing Zhi then added, “Pulling a long face all day long, wouldn’t it be better to be like Zhong Guang and smile more?”
Hearing “Zhong Guang” these two words, Jiu Zhi Deng who was embracing Xu Xing Zhi calmly suddenly had a slight change in expression.
He released his grip on Xu Xing Zhi’s arm, his voice was full of displeasure. “Yes. I understand. “
Xu Xing Zhi flicked his nose. “What yes? It’s been so many years, but you are still so tense when you’re facing me.”
After his emotional venting, Jiu Zhi Deng was still the Jiu Zhi Deng with upright conducts.
He picked up the pills on the ground one by one and stuffed them into Xu Xing Zhi’s arms.
Xu Xing Zhi also accepted them without any hesitation. He needed the medicine and he also didn’t want to brush away Jiu Zhi Deng’s goodwill.
When their fingers touched during the passing, the coldness of Xu Xing Zhi’s fingertips caused Jiu Zhi Deng to freeze.
After giving all the medicine to Xu Xing Zhi, Jiu Zhi Deng untied his outer robe, put the clothes with body temperature on Xu Xing Zhi’s shoulder, and carefully tucked them in. “Senior Brother, you are injured, don’t expose yourself too much. Be mindful of your body.”
Xu Xing Zhi’s hands were full, so he could not refuse him. He simply lifted his leg and kicked Jiu Zhi Deng’s back. “Go, go back and rest quickly. I have something to do.”
Jiu Zhi Deng casually asked, “It’s so late already. Where is Senior Brother going?”
Xu Xing Zhi said, “Zhong Guang is going to move in and live with me. I’ll go and explain to Martial Uncle.”
Jiu Zhi Deng’e eyes immediately became even darker, with cold fog swirling in them. “…Is that so?”
Jiu Zhi Deng was always like this, putting on a cold appearance and spoke coldly. Xu Xing Zhi was used to it so he didn’t think much about it. “Go back, go back.”
Xu Xing Zhi had already turned around and taken a few steps when he suddenly heard Jiu Zhi Deng call out to him, “Senior Brother.”
Xu Xing Zhi turned around only to see Jiu Zhi Deng on the opposite side of the corridor, bathed in the soft and illusion-like moonlight. He moved the corners of his mouth with great efforts just as if he wanted to deliberately make an expression.
Xu Xing Zhi’s eyebrows scrunched in slight confusion.
At that moment, Jiu Zhi Deng finally discovered that fact that he wasn’t good at controlling his facial expression. After half a moment of determination while having his head bowed, he put his forefinger and middle finger at the two ends of the corners of his mouth, lifted them upward and made a smiling face.
Xu Xing Zhi was immediately amused and laughed out loud. He walked in big strides toward him, but since he couldn’t extend his hands to hug him, he bent down a little and kissed him on the top of his hair.
Jiu Zhi Deng instantly stiffened. His lips and teeth collided slightly, and the normally cold face and lips turned abnormally red. Fortunately, none of this was obvious under the nightshade.
In fact, Xu Xing Zhi somewhat regretted his actions after he had done it.
He was used to doing similar intimate acts with Meng Zhong Guang, but this was the first time he did it to Jiu Zhi Deng.
Seeing that Jiu Zhi Deng had no adverse reaction to it, Xu Xing Zhi was relieved. “If you don’t like to smile, you don’t have to force yourself. Senior Brother only wishes you to do what you want to do. Being safe and happy is what’s most important.”
Jiu Zhi Deng clenched his fists tightly and was trembling all over from his excitement. It wasn’t easy for him to suppress his surging moods before he could steadily respond with, “Yes, thank you, Senior Brother.”
Xu Xing Zhi left the corridor, put the medicine in his room before heading toward the Disciple’s Hall.
Jiu Zhi Deng remained stationed on the spot, sending Xu Xing Zhi off with his eyes.
The moment Xu Xing Zhi’s figure disappeared, the window located at the side of the hall was suddenly pushed outward from the inside.
Meng Zhong Guang was seated at the edge of the bed. He looked at Jiu Zhi Deng with a cold glint in his eyes. The warmth and gentleness his face had shown when he was with Xu Xing Zhi were no longer present. He was itching to wrap his fingers around Jiu Zhi Deng’s neck and strangle him on the spot.
Jiu Zhi Deng didn’t show a good expression at that beautiful face either. He glanced back with indifference.
Meng Zhong Guang provocatively pointed to the inner palace hall lit with candles, and then, to himself.
Jiu Zhi Deng turned towards Meng Zhong Guang and touched the top of his hair that had been kissed by Xu Xing Zhi. The corners of his lips curved upwards.
Meng Zhong Guang grew so angry at once that he closed the window with a slam.
When Meng Zhong Guang’s figure had disappeared, Jiu Zhi Deng retracted his stoic expression and looked intensely at the closed door. The dark fire of jealousy burned in his eyes for a long time with no hint of dying down.
He stood under the porch for a while longer before turning around and walking away, letting the night drown his thin and solemn figure.
When Xu Xing Zhi came back with the bedding in his hands, Meng Zhong Guang still hadn’t fallen asleep. He was rolling around on the bed like a mad dog.
As soon as he saw Xu Xing Zhi, he jumped on him directly and hugged him tightly with the layer of bedding separating them. “Why did u take so long? Zhong Guang misses Senior Brother so much.”
Xu Xing Zhi pretended to scold him, “What miss? In the past, when Senior Brother was not around you, were you as insolent as this when you were in the Disciple’s Hall?”
Meng Zhong Guang boasted shamelessly, “At that time, Senior Brother was always in my dreams. When I woke up, I missed you so badly that I will even secretly go to the door of Senior Brother’s palace hall to sleep for a night.”
Naturally, Xu Xing Zhi didn’t believe it. “…If you want to speak such nonsense… Go to bed! It’s really cold outside.”
Meng Zhong Guang stopped Xu Xing Zhi. “Senior Brother went out and got cold because of the cold air. Don’t you need to bathe?”
Xu Xing Zhi pondered over that and finally agreed with him. He put down the bedding and was about to take off his clothes when saw Meng Zhong Guang also taking off his clothes.
Xu Xing Zhi: “…What are you doing?”
Meng Zhong Guang’s gaze were as sparkly as an animal cub’s. He bit his lips and mumbled, “I haven’t bathed since we came back from Bai Ma Jian.”
There’s nothing wrong with two men bathing when one thought about it. So, Xu Xing Zhi didn’t think much about it, he just took off his clothes and walked towards the hot spring.
Meng Zhong Guang was overjoyed. He tagged behind Xu Xing Zhi, jumped into the hot spring pool, and buried half of his face in the pool that had cleared up. He ‘gululu’ed, blowing out bubbles for a while before swimming to Xu Xing Zhi’s side, hugging him from behind.
Xu Xing Zhi had always been used to bathing alone. At this moment, he was relaxing with his eyes were closed when he was suddenly wrapped by warmth, and his shoulders stiffened instantly. This then reminded him that there was another person in the pool with him. He turned around and asked him, “You don’t have to wait in line with other disciples to bathe, isn’t that good?”
Meng Zhong Guang nodded obediently, but his sight stayed on the pair of lips that had kissed Jiu Zhi Deng just now.
The distance between the two men was already very small, this was also the first time they were facing each other naked. Xu Xing Zhi was somewhat nervous from his stare. “…What is it?”
Meng Zhong Guang said, “Senior Brother, you have something dirty on your lips.”
With that, he raised his hand and rubbed Xu Xing Zhi’s lips that had become exceeding soft from the steam. Each stroke was rubbed with great strength, as if the greatest filth of the world had adhered to it.
Xu Xing Zhi inhaled sharply at the harsh tugging at his lips, and covered his mouth with his hand. When he removed his hand, he saw that there was some blood on his palm.
…His lips had been torn by his teeth from all that friction.
Xu Xing Zhi didn’t know whether he should get angry or be amused. “Why did you use so much strength? Do you think Senior Brother is a luffa gourd?”
Meng Zhong Guang looked at the thin layer on the corner of Xu Xing Zhi’s mouth and carefully licked his lips. He restrainedly shifted his gaze away. “Senior Brother, there is some blood on the corner of your mouth.”
Xu Xing Zhi felt this was funny. As he wiped it off with water, he said, “Why don’t you help Senior Brother wipe away his blood too?”
Meng Zhong Guang’s cheek was scalding. “…I’m afraid I’ll frighten Senior Brother.”
Xu Xing Zhi felt baffled, but he didn’t think about it too much.
After they had bathed, they made the bed and went to sleep.
Xu Xing Zhi told his Martial Uncle, Guang Fu-jun that that he would be taking Meng Zhong Guang to his side to serve him.
The so-called ‘serve’ was of course, one would sleep in bed while the other would have guard duty for the night.
That was also the rule of the other three sects.
But Xu Xing Zhi’s personality made him dislike such a rule entirely. He wasn’t willing to let Meng Zhong Guang sleep on the floor. He simply let him sleep on the same bed with himself.
…His bed was spacious enough anyway.
The pain on his body still hadn’t disappeared, but on seeing Meng Zhong Guang, Xu Xing Zhi’s mood was a little brighter, and since he couldn’t fall asleep, he simply decided to have a late night chat with Meng Zhong Guang.
Xu Xing Zhi pinched Meng Zhong Guang’s nose and wiggled it. “When I took you back, your spiritual root was good. Master even approved and said that your future is limitless. So many years have passed, how come there is no progression after you have formed your core, en?”
Meng Zhong Guang crawled out of his blanket and climbed onto Xu Xing Zhi. He acted coquettishly. “Senior Brother doesn’t want Zhong Guang anymore because Zhong Guang’s not showing any improvement?”
Xu Xing Zhi rested his head on his hand and bowed looked down slightly to look at Meng Zhong Guang. His pair of eyes were the brightest and roundest, and he looked akin to a puppy that was laying down and looking up at him.
Xu Xing Zhi immediately felt his heart soften. “Want. Of course I want.”
Meng Zhong Guang curled up and leaned on Xu Xing Zhi’s chest. “Zhong Guang is stupid. I have been practicing for a long time but still have no merit. If I had not been taken care of by Senior Brother who frequently gives me the treasures that Master has given to him. I’m afraid that I wouldn’t even be able to form my core.”
Xu Xing Zhi pinched Meng Zhong Guang’s soft face. “Isn’t this what a Senior Brother should do? If Senior Brother doesn’t protect you all, who else would he protect?”
Meng Zhong Guang’s face turned black when he heard the words “you all”, but he soon calmed down. “Senior Brother, if you had to choose between me and Senior Brother Jiu Zhi Deng, who will you be more willing to stay with?”
Xu Xing Zhi couldn’t help laughing at that. “What kind of question is this?”
Meng Zhong Guang was serious, he held him by the collar of his undershirt and shook him. “Senior Brother, please answer me.”
There was such a small warm stove leaning against his arms. The chilliness permeating Xu Xing Zhi’s body was slightly relieved, and sleepiness surged up gradually. “…You.”
Meng Zhong Guang’s eyes grew bright and he followed it up by asking, “Why?”
“Xiao Deng is mature when though he is young, so he will be able to take good care of himself. As for you…” Xu Xing Zhi reached out and patted Meng Zhong Guang’s head, “…you are like a silly child.”
“I’m not silly.” After Meng Zhong Guang protested, he leaned his lips against Xu Xing Zhi’s ear and whispered, “…Senior Brother, I have a wish.”
The hot breaths were puffing onto his ear, making Xu Xing Zhi even more dazed with sleep. “…En?”
“…I want to lock you up.” Meng Zhong Guang boldly turned over, with one arm above Xu Xing Zhi’s head, while the other was pressed against Xu Xing Zhi’s chest. “…So that only I will be able to see you, only I am allowed to see you. Sometimes when I think about how Senior Brother smiles at others, talks to others and holds others, I feel like I will go insane… I want to forge a top-notch chain and use it to lock Senior Brother away.”
Xu Xing Zhi had exhausted a considerable amount of his strength through the day, so he was beyond weary. The voice that fell into his ears just echoed around in circles vaguely. He couldn’t process the meaning behind Meng Zhong Guang’s words at all. Instead, he was stuck between wanting to laugh and cry. “…Good boy, you think your Senior Brother is a dog. But if one day you can make great progress in your cultivation and beat Senior Brother, Senior Brother will let be yours to lock up.”
Meng Zhong Guang smiled until his little white teeth were showing. “En, Senior Brother, that’s what we have decided on.”
After coaxing the little devil, Xu Xing Zhi was just about to fall asleep when suddenly, he heard a younger junior brother shouting from outside, “Is Senior Brother Xu asleep?”
Without waiting for Xu Xing Zhi to collect his wits, Meng Zhong Guang took the initiative to answer the call, so he turned over, climbed up, walked to the door and opened it. “Senior Brother is sleeping!”
When Xu Xing Zhi heard the word “Master”, his sleepiness muddling his head eventually cleared away. He put on his clothes and went to the door. He pressed Meng Zhong Guang’s head down.”I haven’t slept yet. What’s the matter?”
The little junior brother was an attendant of Qing Jing-jun. He clasped his hands to Xu Xing Zhi before saying, “Senior Brother Xu, Martial Uncle and Master is looking for you to discuss something important.”
Xu Xing Zhi: “It’s so late now. What’s the matter?”
The junior brother replied, “It’s about the Appreciation Meeting of the four Immortal Artifacts.” He lowered his voice. “Qing Jing-jun is drunk again. Guang Fu-jun is angry with Qing Jing-jun. Senior Brother, please go and advise them.”
Xu Xing Zhi sighed. “Wait outside, I’ll change my clothes and go at once.”
The so-called “advise” was just getting Guang Fu-jun to change the object of his anger.
When Xu Xing Zhi returned to the room, Meng Zhong Guang asked curiously, “What is an Immortal Artifacts Appreciation Meeting? I haven’t heard of it even though I have entered the door six years ago.”
As Xu Xing Zhi changed into his clothes, he replied, “The Appreciation Meeting is held once every seven years. The last time was a year before you came. At the Appreciation Meeting, the four sects will take out the four kinds of artifacts they have collected and have a party of poetry, wine, tea and flowers. To be frank, it is just to show off their power, so that those demonic and devil cultivators will not dare to move recklessly and bring harm to the world.”
Meng Zhong Guang asked, “What are the four kinds of Immortal Artifacts?”
Xu Xing Zhi replied, “Fengling Mountain’s is called “Shi Jie Book”, the artifact of Ying Tian Chuan is called “Li Hen Mirror “, the artifact of Qingliang Valley is called “Tai Xu bow”, and that of Danyang Peak is “Cheng Ming Sword”. Don’t you have to recite all of these in your class?”
Meng Zhong Guang: “…”
Xu Xing Zhi immediately understood. “You didn’t do your homework well, did you?”
Meng Zhong Guang put his back on his hands and began to be coy for a while. He immediately turned away from the topic, “I haven’t seen the power of those artifacts before.”
Xu Xing Zhi did not want to look into it more and tied his buttons one by one. “…As if I’ve seen it. With those artifacts here, all kinds of demons will not rashly commit harm, so those artifacts have little use.”
After that, he opened the door, turned to Meng Zhong Guang and said, “Watch over the house, I will be back soon.”
The moment he stepped out of the door, he fell into the abyss.
Xu Xing Zhi fell directly into the wilderness’s bed from the void of nothingness.
He sat up and his heart beating like a drum. When he bowed his head, his hands and feet were tied by silver chains, and sounds of clanking came the moment he moved his body.
When he saw the chain, he somehow thought of the sentence in his memory, “Senior Brother will be yours to lock up”. He was flustered for no good reason.
Then he turned his eyes and saw Meng Zhong Guang seated at the table. Xu Xing Zhi couldn’t bear to look at him directly.
…Today, especially when compared to the past, he felt that the original owner had simply raised a purebred wolf cub.
Hearing the sound of the silver chain, Meng Zhong Guang knew that Xu Xing Zhi had awakened.
He stood up and sent water to Xu Xing Zhi’s side. “Senior Brother, drink some water.”
Most of what he saw in his dream was a little ambiguous. His mouth was dry, and he hesitated for a moment before he took over the water.
As soon as the water cup was close to his lips, Meng Zhong Guang asked, “Senior Brother has been sleeping a lot recently, why is that?”
Xu Xing Zhi held the water cup and drink it without speaking.
Meng Zhong Guang looked into his eyes and asked again, “…Who’s in Senior Brother’s dreams?”
Xu Xing Zhi swallowed a mouthful of water and involuntarily replied, “You.”
Meng Zhong Guang was shocked. “What did you say, Senior Brother?”
As soon as the words came out, Xu Xing Zhi himself choked on the water.
This was a genuine sentence, but these weren’t words that could be spoken lightly between men. However, it was strange that Xu Xing Zhi said this naturally, as if he was used to saying such words to the person in front of him.
…It was like the “Wen Bai Mao” he had blurted out before he fainted.
Thinking about it, Xu Xing Zhi could only attribute all this to the original owner’s memory being too strong.
Xu Xing Zhi waved and tried to make up for his words. “Nothing, nothing.”
He sincerely hoped that Meng Zhong Guang would be deaf at that moment.
However, Meng Zhong Guang did not make any movement, he just maintained a long silence.
He reached for the empty cup in Xu Xing Zhi’s hand and said, “Senior Brother, let’s find the key’s fragments.”
TN: for those who couldn’t imagine the bed scene above:
See you guys next week~