Ch15 – Outsmarting Oneself
Tao Xian naturally didn’t know the reservations Xu Xingzhi had in his heart, and led him all the way to see Lu Yujiu.
Pushing open the door, all the stars of Xu Xingzhi’s novella, save Meng Chongguang, were congregated within.
Zhou Beinan was currently wiping away Lu Yujiu’s sweat, Zhou Wang knelt by the bed on one knee asking about the extent of his injuries, and the Skeletal Girl, Yuan Ruzhou, was by one side filling Lu Yujiu’s cup with a small pot of water.
Qu Chi stood off to the side with his whisk at hand, the look in his eyes as pure as silver.
When he saw that Tao Xian had come, he approached immediately, his tone feigning sternness like a child pretending to be an adult: “.
Why didn’t I see you in the room when I came back?”
Tao Xian responded respectfully: “To answer Qu-shixiong, I felt better, so I wanted to go for a walk.”
Qu Chi pressed his lips together, seemingly accepting this excuse: “Don’t randomly wander around in the future.”
As he spoke, he brought one end of the whisk before Tao Xian’s eyes.
Tao Xian understood his intentions and reached out to grab hold of a few of the fine tail hairs on the whisk, allowing Qu Chi to lead him inwards.
Qu Chi didn’t forget to turn back and call for Xu Xingzhi: “Xingzhi, come in ba.”
Standing at the door, witnessing this scene, Xu Xingzhi felt like he was a world away.
At this moment, he truly realized that he had indeed entered into the world of the characters beneath his pen.
However, in order to get out of this world, the only way was to actually cut down their only hope.
That dagger was still pinned at Xu Xingzhi’s waist, the burden was immeasurable.
It felt so hefty that it could nearly pull him into the center of the Earth.
On the side, Lu Yujiu who was resting on the bed saw Xu Xingzhi and straightened his back slightly: “Xu-shixiong? Why don’t you come in?”
“How did you get injured?” Xu Xingzhi forcibly pulled his mind back and approached the side of the bed.
Lu Yujiu still wore that incomparably hideous phantom iron mask that covered most of his face while the clothing around his shoulder was torn open.
After Yuan Ruzhou’s treatment, the wound had already recovered, but seeing how half of his lapel was soaked in blood, it could be imagined how horrendous the injury originally was.
“They possessed bows and arrows.” Lu Yujiu accepted the proffered cup of water from Yuan Ruzhou, “I was careless.”
Zhou Beinan pushed his head: “Who told you to always stand on the high ground? Practically a living target.”
Lu Yujiu rubbed the place he was pushed and glared at Zhou Beinan through his mask: “It’s none of your business.”
Zhou Beinan crossed his arms and leaned against the head of the bed, his posture a carbon copy of Zhou Wang’s: “How can I not care? I’m terribly afraid of you dying as we are twins of the same fate.”
Lu Yujiu’s ears reddened slightly: “Who is worthy of sharing a life with Yingtianchuan’s young master? I’m just a insignificant disciple of Qingliang Valley, my position isn’t worthy of yours.”
Zhou Beinan: “Ha? What kind of bullsh*t is that?”
Lu Yujiu raised his head, rather unconvinced: “You said this yourself, have you forgotten?”
Zhou Beinan scratched his cheek: “.
I said something like this before?”
Lu Yujiu immediately went to find someone for backup: “Xu-shixiong, you were also present at that time.
Didn’t Zhou Beinan say as such?”
Xu Xingzhi really couldn’t remember such a thing so he smoothly showed partiality: “Yes, he’s said it before.”
Lu Yujiu’s tone instantly changed, like a child supported by his parents: “Even Xu-shixiong said so, will you still not admit it!”
Zhou Beinan turned around with an expression of “Xu Xingzhi, I’ll f*cking remember this” covering his face.
Xu Xingzhi waved the folded fan, then stretched out his hand to help Lu Yujiu remove the phantom mask that was as oppressive as shackles: “You’re already lying down, why are you still wearing this?”
Before Lu Yujiu could stop him, a short spear shot out from Zhou Beinan’s sleeve first, barring the space between Xu Xingzhi and Lu Yujiu.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
“Gbc’a abemt tlr wjrx.” Itbe Dflcjc kjr ralii kfjglcu tlr ijmxjvjlrlmji rwlilcu ojmf, yea tlr ujhf yfmjwf j ilaaif wbgf rfglber: “Lf vbfrc’a kjca batfgr ab rff tlr ojmf.”
Qfii bxjs, lo tf vbfrc’a kjca la ab yf rffc atfc tf kbc’a ibbx.
Coafg tf rtbbx la boo, We Wlcuhtl ofia j ilaaif jczlber lc tlr tfjga.
This wasn’t because he failed to see the real face hidden behind Lu Yujiu’s mask.
Xu Xingzhi has rarely had any concerns of the heart since he was a child.
One reason was because he was straightforward and open-minded; another reason was that he returns goodwill with kindness and enmity with hostility.
And so in the two days and nights he spent in the savage wasteland, he had spent it quite unpleasantly.
Xu Xingzhi was the type of person who couldn’t stand being treated with benevolence.
If he knew that the seriously injured person he picked up that day was Meng Chongguang, Xu Xingzhi would’ve definitely taken advantage of that opportunity to carry out the mission, resolving it once and for all.
That way, he would’ve also saved himself from the endless troubles that followed.
If he kept interacting with this group of people any longer, Xu Xingzhi was afraid that the concerns in his heart would increase unabated and he would be unwilling to complete the task when the time came, making him unable to leave this savage wasteland and unable to see his father or little sister again.
Xu Xingzhi idly chatted with them for a bit longer and then excused himself from Lu Yujiu’s room to return to his own.
When he passed the small room, Xu Xingzhi paused for a moment.
After interrogating the Beast Hide Person and obtaining the key fragment, Xu Xingzhi’s misgivings actually grew.
According to his observations from these past few days, Meng Chongguang didn’t try to recruit disciples and attempt to escape from the wasteland like the leader of Feng Mountain did.
Rather, he only led these select few to erect this high tower in the middle of the wasteland as if he was content to just exercise sovereignty over this small patch of land.
What exactly was Meng Chongguang plotting?
It stood to reason that although it was only rumored for the key fragments to be hidden in the wasteland, it was still a source of hope after all.
With Meng Chongguang’s demonic power alone, if he really wanted to escape the wasteland, he could have used brute force to annihilate each of the notable forces in the wasteland into dust and retrieve the key.
Instead, why would he waste an entire thirteen years of time in this savage wasteland?
With these doubts in mind, Xu Xingzhi retired to his room.
Meng Chongguang had long been sitting cross-legged on the bed, sporting a well-behaved appearance with both of his hands clenched into fists placed in front of him, giving him a crouching little pup look at first glance.
Xu Xingzhi no longer felt surprised when it came to seeing this person as soon as the door was opened.
He sighed and asked casually: “Don’t you have your own room?”
Meng Chongguang widened his eyes slightly: “Is Shixiong trying to kick Chongguang out?”
Xu Xingzhi: “.
Meng Chongguang seemed to have suffered a devastating blow and a pool of tears flooded his eyes as he aggrievedly whined: “In the small room just now, Shixiong pushed Chongguang away.
Did I do something wrong that made Shixiong displeased?”
You don’t say, Meng Chongguang’s pitiful and small tone really made people want to lavish love onto him, and when he was acting unreasonable, it wasn’t annoying.
The more he spoke, the more passionate he became: “I see how it is. Shixiong disdains how cruel Chongguang is, that the methods were too savage.
If Shixiong doesn’t like it, Chongguang won’t do it again in the future, Shixiong.
It seemed as if he didn’t stop him anytime soon, Meng Chongguang would cry for him to see, so Xu Xingzhi could only speak up to pacify him: “That’s not what I meant.”
Meng Chongguang blinked pitifully: “Really?”
Xu Xingzhi: “.
Meng Chongguang instantly changed his expression.
His eyes curled up at the ends, still carrying the tears within, but his smile was unimaginably beautiful: “I just knew that Shixiong treats me the best in the world.”
Xu Xingzhi was amused by his self-satisfied expression after being complimented and sat by the edge of the bed.
Meng Chongguang naturally laid his head down, using Xu Xingzhi’s thighs as a pillow.
His head bumped into the dagger by Xu Xingzhi’s waist.
The subtle touch made Xu Xingzhi stiffen momentarily, and he couldn’t bring himself to continue with any further intimate actions.
His original intent was to kill him, yet he had to use the body of someone he trusted to take his life in the middle of chatter and laughter.
Was there anything more hypocritical than this?
In order to distract himself from the guilt in his heart, Xu Xingzhi tried to change the subject: “Lu Yujiu’s injuries are already no longer serious.”
Meng Chongguang was slightly indignant.
“Shixiong only cares for Lu Yujiu, no longer caring for Chongguang.” Meng Chongguang pulled his sleeve up, revealing a bloody gash on his arm, “Shixiong, quickly look, Chongguang was also injured.”
Xu Xingzhi gave it a glance.
It indeed needed to be looked at quickly.
This wound that looked like it was scored by a nail or small wooden chip probably would’ve healed on its own and stopped bleeding if he’d dallied any longer to take a look.
After Xu Xingzhi examined the wound for about three seconds, he called his name: “Meng Chongguang.”
Meng Chongguang immediately revealed a gaze akin to a small animal, making an attempt to muddle through this situation by acting cute.
Xu Xingzhi wasn’t deceived: “.
You cut this wound yourself ba.”
Meng Chongguang quickly and ruefully glanced at the carved wooden bedpost at the head of the bed and stubbornly insisted: “Of course not.
it was made by someone else.
Xu Xingzhi raised his eyebrow as he questioned closely: “What was it made by? A backscratcher?”
Meng Chongguang instantly became aggrieved again.
He lowered his head and rolled his sleeves back down, leaving Xu Xingzhi with only a hair whorl that seemed besides itself.
Xu Xingzhi: “.
What are you thinking about?”
Meng Chongguang was petulant: “Nothing.”
Xu Xingzhi blurted out unwittingly: “You’re not thinking about slicing a larger gash next time, right?”
As soon as the words left his mouth, Xu Xingzhi felt stunned himself as well.
Under the influence of interacting with each other for only two days and nights, he felt as if he’d known Meng Chongguang for a long time and could venture a guess about what he was thinking in an almost effortless manner.
Meng Chongguang was delighted when he heard the warning and hugged Xu Xingzhi’s waist, burying his head into his lower abdomen and refusing to lift his head up for a long time.
After a while, he spoke with a muffled and low voice as if speaking through an urn: “.
. Shixiong knows what Chongguang is thinking in his heart, it makes me so happy.”
Xu Xingzhi was just as angry as he was amused.
This veteran evil spirit really possessed a child’s disposition, just some slight coaxing and he would become genuinely pleased.
After his mood was uplifted, Meng Chongguang stretched out his hands again to brag: “Actually, those from Feng Mountain really couldn’t take a beating.
I wasted some time luring them away from the high tower, fearing that they would disturb Shixiong‘s sleep.
I was also afraid that the sanguine scent would assail Shixiong.
Before returning, I told them all to scrub their hands and wash their bodies in the nearby stream which was why our return was delayed, nearly allowing Shixiong to come to harm.
His voice became smaller and smaller.
He locked eyes with Xu Xingzhi and timidly whispered: “If anything were to happen to Shixiong, what am I to do?”
Meng Chongguang’s cautious little appearance tickled Xu Xingzhi’s heart lightly.
Since Meng Chongguang already brought up the Beast Hide Person, Xu Xingzhi simply asked the question that was plaguing him: “Before this, were you not aware that there might’ve been fragments of the key in the wasteland.”
Meng Chongguang replied agreeably: “I knew.”
“Then why did you not seek them?” Xu Xingzhi was very puzzled, “With the fragments, you could finally depart from the wasteland.”
Saying this was somewhat strange for Xu Xingzhi, after all, he was here to prevent Meng Chongguang from escaping the wasteland.
However, at this moment, he really wanted to know: why did Meng Chongguang continue to dawdle without leaving even though there was hope?
After a pause, Meng Chongguang whispered: “.
I thought Shixiong was in the wasteland.”
Xu Xingzhi momentarily didn’t clearly capture what he said: “What?”
Meng Chongguang answered: “.
That year, I thought Shixiong was also thrown into the wasteland by Jiu Zhideng.
I have always been looking for Shixiong.
but the wasteland is too vast, so extensive that it seemed to be boundless.
I looked for you for so many years and never found you.”
Whenever Meng Chongguang conversed with Xu Xingzhi his voice and tone would always be extremely light and soft as if he was afraid that if he spoke any louder, Xu Xingzhi would be frightened: “In these past thirteen years, I have sought and gathered all of the people that Shixiong cared about the most to my side; the search for the key fragments has always been handled by Zhou Beinan and the others, so I could just wholeheartedly focus on tracking Shixiong down.”
Xu Xingzhi never expected that this tall tower was built, not for defense, nor for shelter, but to serve as a signpost for the original owner.
Thinking back to when he first arrived in the savage wasteland, he spotted this tower from a long distance away.
Even if Meng Chongguang didn’t appear at that moment, he still would’ve come straight here.
.Thinking about it carefully, this seemed like a joke.
Meng Chongguang’s signpost didn’t attract the Shixiong he had been yearning for, but instead attracted a fake that had been substituted in.
Xu Xingzhi, who didn’t know how to respond, countered: “How can you be so sure that I would be in the wasteland?”
Meng Chongguang grabbed Xu Xingzhi’s sleeve and rubbed it carefully: “Even if it was a 0.01% probability, I still wouldn’t give up.”
As he spoke, he raised his eyes to look at him and earnestly continued: “I always thought, wait one day, just wait one more day and I would be able to see Shixiong, so why should I bother leaving? What if Shixiong was waiting for me in the wasteland?”
Xu Xingzhi: “.
He suddenly realized that if the so-called “World’s Consciousness” didn’t drag him into the wasteland, Meng Chongguang would actually have had no intention of escaping.
He would’ve only continued to scour the savage wasteland for the sake of that slim possibility and then they wouldn’t have ended up in this current situation.
He not only found his beloved Shixiong, but because the Beast Hide Person attempted to kidnap himself to threaten Jiu Zhideng and Meng Chongguang, he also unwittingly obtained a key fragment that was delivered to his doorstep.
There was probably nothing more paradoxical in the world than this.
The only thing Xu Xingzhi could do was force a smile: “At that time, my root was stripped.
If I were to enter the wasteland under those conditions, I’m afraid I would’ve lost my life long ago.”
Xu Xingzhi only spoke in jest so how would he have predicted that the color of Meng Chongguang’s face would drain abruptly and that he would violently yank the collar of Xu Xingzhi’s robes with force: “I won’t allow Shixiong to say such things!”
The expression on Meng Chongguang’s face became extremely dark and the corner of his eyes and the middle of his forehead even glowed with a flashing vermillion light.
This time his voice was genuinely laden with a sobbing tone: “Can matters regarding life and death really be spoken of so lightly? Shixiong won’t die, Shixiong can’t die!”
Xu Xingzhi originally also wanted to ask, in the past thirteen years he spent searching, why had he never considered that he had already passed away in a random corner in the savage wasteland and decomposed into a pile of white bones.
However seeing how agitated he became, it seems that it was no longer necessary to ask further.
—For the answer was before him.
He couldn’t bear the possibility of that ending at all and just thinking about it would cause him to have a breakdown.
He patted Meng Chongguang on the head: “Alright, it was Shixiong who misspoke.”
Meng Chongguang wasn’t appeased: “Shixiong needs to pei three times.”
Xu Xingzhi: “Yes, yes, yes, peipeipei.”
Only in this way did Meng Chongguang feel mollified and loosened his grip as he demanded unreasonably: “.
. Shixiong needs to pet some more for it to be okay.”
Xu Xingzhi smiled helplessly: “Fine, whatever you say.”
Meng Chongguang was stroked several times by Xu Xingzhi, and even his ears were touched.
He felt so soothed that he rolled around on Xu Xingzhi’s thighs and his cheeks became slightly flushed, looking especially like a spoiled domesticated cat.
He squinted his eyes in comfort while he casually stated: “Shixiong, let me tell you something.
That leader of Feng Mountain begged me to kill him just now, and as payment, he sold me a piece of information.
—The Ghost King at Hutiao Ravine most likely also has a key fragment hidden there.”
During Xu Xingzhi’s stupefaction, Meng Chongguang buried his face into Xu Xingzhi’s embrace and rubbed himself against him with fondness: “Shixiong, now I’ve found you.
Just wait for a few more days, I’ll collect all of the key fragments and bring you out of the savage wasteland.”
The Author has something to say:
Chongguang: who is it that sent Shixiong to my side, it’s that World’s Consciousness who doesn’t want me to escape~
World’s Consciousness: .
Author's Chapter Summary:
Coincidence, signpost, Hutiao Ravine.
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