"Even if we are to run to the ends of the earth, even if I am to die tomorrow, don't you ever think of abandoning me either."
Fourth Year of Taiyuan Period, First Day of the Second Lunar Month, Xiangyang.
Dungeon, dungeon, dungeon… Zhu Xu's voice seemed to turn into an echo in his ears. Chen Xing suddenly tore off his blindfold and turned around in disbelief, just to be met with Zhu Xu's puzzled gaze.
"He was pretending to be blind!" the registrar was immediately stirred up as he shouted. "A pretender! A liar!"
Chen Xing swirled around and rushed into the depths of the dungeon. At the same time, from inside the void, a glowing butterfly flew out. Flapping its wings, it went straight into the darkness.
Xiang Shu, Xiang Shu?! Are you in there?
Chen Xing walked staggeringly forward, nearly tripping and falling. That butterfly, however, lightly flew ahead of him, towards the figure in the darkness before disappearing. Chen Xing scrambled and slipped; he fell down on his knees and slid over, his body practically eating dirt.
Xiang Shu was motionless; he was lying on his side on the ground, completely still.
Chen Xing's eyes were brimming with tears of joy. He let out a scream full of emotions and tightly embraced Xiang Shu.
After the period it took for an incense stick to burn.
In the governor manor, there was another round of quarreling regarding Chen Xing's identity. Everyone once more spoke up one after another that this young man's purpose in coming here was extremely suspicious, and that he must be thoroughly investigated.
"An official document from the Ministry of Appointment, issued by Xie An himself can't be forged. What do you want me…" Zhu Xu's voice abruptly stopped. He was stupefied and thought out loud, "Why does it seem like I've said the exact same words somewhere before?"
Everyone suddenly felt a sense of déjà vu at this situation. Moments later, the diplomat opened his mouth, "Daren, this young man must've come for that death row prisoner. He’s being deliberately mystifying, scamming people by calling himself that so-called 'exorcist.' There is something very strange about the origin of that death row inmate."
Doubt was plastered all over Zhu Xu's face, and he became lost in his thoughts.
Governor Manor, Guest Room.
Chen Xing was embracing Xiang Shu. At first, he was so moved he couldn't stop himself from crying out loud, but after a moment, he just laughed and laughed. After bringing back the man, he didn't do anything at all; he just hugged Xiang Shu's upper body in his bosom, both crying and laughing.
He and Xiang Shu were practically bawling into each other's arms.
Xiang Shu: "......"
"How could you be like that?" Chen Xing felt incomparably sad when he recalled that last scene he saw regarding the Dinghai Pearl. He once again couldn't help but look at Xiang Shu and sobbed hard. "Why didn't you tell me from the beginning?"
The shattered Dinghai Pearl, the light aura filling the entire sky, the Revival of All Magic, the rotating wheel of cause and effect…… In just a short moment, Chen Xing had recalled countless scenes before their deaths; he immediately pinpointed that at the very last moment, they had gone back to three years ago!
"This time, we're definitely going to succeed!" Chen Xing told Xiang Shu. "Definitely! I won't ever leave you any more! Xiang Shu!"
Xiang Shu's eyes were tightly shut. In the dungeon, he had opened them for a short time and briefly returned to clarity, although he had fallen into a coma again not a moment later. Although, Chen Xing still didn't understand the specific details of the event at that last moment... Perhaps, it's because if Xiang Shu dies, the Dinghai Pearl will shatter. So, in order to protect him, they were sent back to the past? It doesn't matter, it's not like it'll be too late to ask again after Xiang Shu has recovered. He must've used up all of the mana in his body in order to alter their fate.
"Oh, right," Chen Xing remembered and said, "Take the medicine, you need to take it first."
Chen Xing had almost forgotten that Xiang Shu was on his deathbed the first time they met, only managing to gradually recover thanks to the last pill handed over to him by his master. After taking the medicine, he also hadn't been able to speak or move for six shichen afterward.
Chen Xing held the medicine in his mouth and fed it to Xiang Shu. Afterward, he touched his forehead while his eyes were fixed on Xiang Shu's lips.
"This time it's my turn to follow you closely to the point we'll not even be a cun apart," Cheng Xing softly said. "Even if we are to run to the ends of the earth, even if I am to die tomorrow, don't you ever think of abandoning me either."
Maybe, it was a blessing from heaven; a miracle had happened and actually returned them to the first day they had met each other. At this time, Xiang Shu was indeed too thin, thin to the point it made Chen Xing so distressed for him. Feeling sad yet also glad at the same time, he recalled that in their final moments, Xiang Shu had also been holding him in his embrace like this. Furthermore, he had also lowered his head and kissed him… All of a sudden, that feeling in his heart burned so fiercely until it exploded because he wasn't able to contain it any longer.
Xiang Shu's cold body gradually warmed up, and his lips turned moist, regaining their original color.
Chen Xing held Xiang Shu in his arms and lowered his head a little. He couldn't help but want to take advantage of him while he was still unconscious to kiss him on the lips.
Just kiss him, Chen Xing said to himself in his heart. He won't wake up anyway, so just give it a go and kiss him.
But Xiang Shu did wake up and opened his eyes.
Xiang Shu: "......"
The bedroom door wasn't closed. Zhu Xu had personally come over to observe Chen Xing, only to catch a sight of Chen Xing hugging that currently immobilized prisoner who had just been rescued from death row and lowering his head to kiss him. He was too embarrassed to say anything at this moment.
Zhu Xu: "......"
Chen Xing awkwardly coughed at once. He doubtfully looked at Zhu Xu; Zhu Xu seemed to have forgotten everything. Could it be that when they returned to three years ago, the only person who actually remembered the whole thing, was him?
"Zhu-daren, I still have work to do," Chen Xing laid Xiang Shu flat, closed the door, and drove him away. "You come back later ba. Though I guess you also won't be free later, so goodbye ah."
"Guards!" Zhu Xu angrily roared. "Take this con man downstairs and lock him up for now!"
"Wait, wait, wait!" Chen Xing thought in his heart, why is it different from the last time ah, before rushing to say, "Let me explain! Right! I'll explain now!"
However, the men had already broken into the room and flanked Chen Xing as they dragged him away, leaving Xiang Shu lying all alone on the bed.
Xiang Shu: "……………………"
"The Qin army is going to attack the city tonight!" Chen Xing, who was dragged, yelled on the ground. "Zhu-daren! When I sneaked into Xiangyang, I spied on important military intelligence! Hear me out!"
Zhu Xu halted his step, turned his head, and looked at Chen Xing.
After another period of incense passed, Chen Xing said while standing on the terrace of the governor manor, "Listen to me. Do not, ever, touch Xiang Shu; his identity is extremely important."
Perching on the eaves of the manor, was a red-colored bird with flames engulfing its whole body.
Tone cold, Zhu Xu said, "I just knew you were up to something. Go on, one wrong word, and both of your heads will fall to the ground. Even if the city is going to fall tonight, I'm still going to kill you first!"
The snow fell without stopping, and Zhu Xu stood on the 3rd floor balcony of the governor manor as he overlooked the whole city of Xiangyang, which was filled with lights, from above.
Chen Xing took a deep breath. Until this moment, he still didn't dare to actually accept the fact that he had really returned to the past. One moment, he felt his heart bursting with joy, though at the same time, he also felt as if some parts were not right, that there was still something amiss.
He felt as if he was inside of a dream, laughing from time to time, yet in the next moment, feeling heavy. However, he was already too busy to continue thinking about it; he must first resolve the trouble in front of him.
"What to say, ne?" Chen Xing thought about this and that before continuing, "It's better to make a long story short, ba. Zhu-daren, to tell you the truth, I am indeed an exorcist who came here because 300 years ago, all of the magic——"
Once he reached that point, Chen Xing suddenly realized something. At this time, was he still in the period of Silence of All Magic? Or had the magic all recovered already? Did the spiritual qi of heaven and earth still exist at this moment?! I feel it! The spiritual qi is currently circulating! The magic has all returned!
Zhu Xu: "???"
Turning around, Zhu Xu looked at Chen Xing with an imposing gaze as he slowly unsheathed his sword; he actually wanted to hack him to death on the spot!
"Don't be rash!" Chen Xing immediately said as his mind kept whirling, How exactly did I fool this guy last time? Damn, I was too pumped up, I actually can't remember!
"Oh, right!" Chen Xing resumed his serious, world-expert kind of appearance as he continued, "Daren, do you believe that there are yaoguais and immortals in this world? If I say I have mana, will you believe it? Aiya, this won't work, I can't help it! I'm so happy! Zhu-daren! Long time no see ah! All magic has recovered! Chiyou and whatever can all go to hell ba! Every dog has its day, and it's finally my time to be in business la!"
Chen Xing really didn't know who to share the happiness inside his heart with, and he just wanted to hold Zhu Xu while venting to him for a good while.
Zhu Xu: "……………………"
Zhu Xu roared in anger, "GUARDS——"
"I'll prove it!" Chen Xing took a deep breath before continuing, "Once you see it, if you still don't believe it, I'll stay put, and you can just arrest me then."
Zhu Xu, because of Chen Xing, had already become so angry that his whole body was trembling. However, Chen Xing just earnestly smiled as he spoke, "I know what you did earlier today was only to stabilize the morale of the army, and that inside your heart, there was once a 'lamp.'"
Zhu Xu's complexion suddenly changed. Why do I feel a bit of déjà vu at this remark? He looked at Chen Xing, full of attention, and his mood gradually stabilized. He couldn't help but say, "Wait, I don't know why, but I suddenly feel as if we've known each other?"
Chen Xing replied right away, "That's correct. Although you will surrender the city to them in a moment, I believe that deep inside your heart, you are still loyal to the Great Jin…"
At this remark, Zhu Xu immediately exploded, "The city of Xiangyang still hasn't been breached, ne! Are you finally showing your true colors, spy?!"
"No." Chen Xing then rolled up his right sleeve before replying, "Spy? I'll show it to you…"
As he said that, Chen Xing raised his right hand and told Zhu Xu in an incredibly sincere manner, "Daren. Please. Look."
And then, Chen Xing channeled his energy in an attempt to invoke the Heart Lamp.
In a split second following that, on the 3rd floor balcony of the governor manor, the Heart Lamp suddenly went rampant under the abundance of spiritual qi of heaven and earth; it erupted a flash of light so bright it could split heaven and earth apart.
Chen Xing and Zhu Xu simultaneously shouted in pain.
Zhu Xu wildly roared, "MY EYES——!"
Chen Xing shrieked out, "WHAT'S HAPPENING! I'M BLIND!"
Zhu Xu: "ASSASSIN! SOMEONE! THERE'S AN ASSASSIN!"
Chen Xing set off the Heart Lamp, and it complied. Actually, in these past 300 years of the Silence of All Magic, during the time when all of the spiritual qi had been exhausted, it was a given that magical arts had been less effective by half, while heart mantras used to cast spells had required about 1.5 times power than usual. It was just, he hadn’t expected that the Heart Lamp's power would strengthen under the influence of the spiritual qi. It appeared similar to a lightning bolt with no sound, blooming in some ten folds more intensity than normal and erupting right in front of their faces currently facing each other —— that flash of the Heart Lamp had simultaneously blinded them for a moment.
Before Chen Xing's eyes, there was only a vast expanse of whiteness, before it once again dimmed in an instant and turned pitch-black; there were seemingly countless lights and shadows flashing before him in a chaotic mess. With that one flash of the Heart Lamp, the fiery-red bird perching on the outside of the governor manor spread its wings and flew away.
Under Zhu Xu's loud shout, a diplomat rushed in a flurry with a register in his hands, startled as he spoke, "Daren! Are you both all right?!"
Chen Xing shouted, "Assassin, where?! Catch the assassin!"
Zhu Xu originally thought that Chen Xing would've seized an opportunity to assassinate himself, so he had shouted "Assassin!", but Chen Xing just thought there was an assassin the moment he turned blind. For a moment, the two just looked everywhere possible in confusion, their hands groping all over the place before they finally hugged each other.
After a good while, the soldiers all came up and saw that there was no assassin. Chen Xing and Zhu Xu also finally regained their sight; they looked around while gasping for breath.
Zhu Xu was frightened and still in doubt as he looked at Chen Xing. Chen Xing secretly thought, All magic has indeed recovered! Did I use a bit too much strength and overdo it?
"So… that's it," Chen Xing said. "I'm not lying to you, see? I can do magic."
Chen Xing had barely lifted his hand when Zhu Xu suddenly shouted in horror, "Keep your hand down! You almost blinded me just now! Your magic, what can that light do?"
Chen Xing replied, "Err… seems like it can't do anything. How come even though all magic has returned, I can only emit some light? Ah, right! Fire, come! Why doesn't it work? Maybe the spell and the Heart Lamp repel one another?" Chen Xing snapped his fingers several times while mouthing the five-elements mantra, yet until the end, he wasn't able to summon out any magic.
Chen Xing's mind was currently full of Xiang Shu. He patiently said, "Forget it. Anyway, as you can see, I am indeed an exorcist who came here to find my Protector; I'm not deceiving you. Now, since I've already found him, I'll…"
Zhu Xu interrupted, "You and your Protector will help me defend the city?"
Chen Xing replied, "I'll need to take him away. I'm very busy. You continue to work hard ba, see you later in Shouyang!"
"Wait!" Zhu Xu hurried to chase after Chen Xing. "Exorcist! I suddenly have an idea. You can stand at the city gate tower on my behalf later and use that light to blind the enemy's eyes——"
"No time!" Chen Xing was returning to the room at a rapid pace and shouted. "Moreover, Zhu-daren, the distance is too far, you really think it'll be useful ma? The other party is going to attack the city, and here you are, turning on lanterns for them ne! Are you afraid the enemy troops will not be able to find their way in the dark?"
That idea of Zhu Xu’s, at a short-range, that skill would indeed be useful. However, if the enemy troops were far away, it would be tantamount to lighting things up for them; he was trying to be clever yet got egg all over his face instead. He hurriedly said, "Then, you'll…"
Chen Xing turned his head and replied, "I'll tell you something! They'll arrive soon! Xiangyang will definitely not be able to hold against it today! But Murong Choi and the rest, after they enter the city, they'll use this place, the governor manor, as their base of operation! You'd better set up an ambush at once ba! Maybe you could change the course of events…"
Zhu Xu was startled, and right at this moment, a shout came from the outside.
"The Qin army is attacking the city——!"
"The city has been broken through!"
Zhu Xu was once again unable to deal with Chen Xing; he turned around in an instant and rushed to the main hall.
Murong Chui led the army and began to attack the city. Fireballs were filling the entire sky, looking just like shooting stars. Chen Xing rushed back to the bedroom and saw that Xiang Shu was still lying on the bed. When he heard the sound, he turned his eyes with great effort to look at him.
"We must quickly run." Chen Xing bundled Xiang Shu in a blanket before continuing, "Don't worry ba, we'll manage to escape."
Suddenly, Chen Xing once again recalled that soon, the Qin army would come in... and he must first pretend to hang himself. So Chen Xing hurriedly did according to what he had once done in the past situation: he stuffed the already-bundled Xiang Shu under the bed before taking off the bed sheet and rolled it into a made-up rope; he then threw it over the beam and tied a knot before starting to hang himself.
Xiang Shu looked at Chen Xing from under the bed.
Xiang Shu: "……………………"
Chen Xing was still in the middle of his preparation when the sound of a door being broken down was heard, and a Qin soldier rushed inside with swords in his hands.
Chen Xing absolutely didn't expect that they would actually come so soon! He and that Qin soldier immediately looked at each other; that soldier only thought that this scholar was just about to hang himself, and for a moment, he also didn't know whether he should kill him with his weapon or not.
What to do? In this deadlock, Chen Xing's mind whirled as fast as lightning. What went wrong? Why am I out of luck this time around? It's over, you don't mean I'm going to die in this place ba?
It would seem that right after that soldier lifted his sword and rushed at him, Chen Xing's small life would come to an end under such circumstances.
Risk it all and fight it, ba. Chen Xing's mind was in a jumble. In a short, twinkling moment, Chen Xing bent himself and jumped over the short table, loudly shouting as he pounced on that Qin soldier!
The soldier was immediately caught off guard; he didn't expect the man who was just about to hang himself would go crazy a moment later. He subconsciously took a step back, but Chen Xing managed to hug him on the waist; he tackled him down and made him fall to the ground!
Xiang Shu: "......"
The soldier grabbed his sword and rained curses at him. Chen Xing, however, was frantically trying to leave the room for fear that the soldier would discover Xiang Shu hidden under the bed while shouting, "Come and get me ah! You come and get me ah!"
Then as if he had smeared oil on the soles of his feet, he ran away.
Sure enough, that soldier was aggroed away and readied his bow whilst still raining curses, nocking the arrow in place and starting to open fire. Chen Xing just wanted to lead him to the main hall of the governor manor. If Zhu Xu still hadn't left, he would naturally kill the man. It was just, as he ran through the winding corridor, he saw two Qin soldiers aggressively charge at him, making him immediately turn around and flee in a random direction in a panic.
That previous Qin soldier joined up with the latter ones and together, the three of them chased after Chen Xing. Chen Xing's heart had already felt as if it was about to jump out; he ran into the hallway and suddenly turned around. Spreading out both of his hands, he invoked the Heart Lamp while closing his eyes at the same time.
"Take this!" Chen Xing shouted.
Another spark of light that shook both heaven and earth flashed, making the three Qin soldiers shriek miserably at once. Chen Xing felt inspired; he could rely on this method when they were going to escape later. He quickly took advantage while they were still down to go back to carry Xiang Shu away.
And so, Chen Xing went out. But, he couldn't see any carts at all. He snarled, "Where's the cart from the first time? The horse?!"
Looking from under the bed, Xiang Shu saw Chen Xing running in from the courtyard outside again. However, just as he was about to cross the door, the three Qin soldiers rushed in once more.
Based on Xiang Shu's field-of-vision from his location under the bed, there was an open door in front of him, and the outer side of the door was like a moving painting that had the following scene:
Chen Xing disappeared to the left side, although he reappeared soon afterwards, wielding a tree- net he got out of nowhere in his right hand while his left hand dangling back and forth; he was so nervous and wanted to draw them closer first before raising his hand again.
The three Qin soldiers then appeared on the right side with a sword in each of their hands. They dared not get too close to Chen Xing, and both sides entered a stalemate once more.
Chen Xing thought in his heart, First let's use the net to strike that man on the head to hook him over, and then use his sword to hold him hostage by placing it over his neck —— that might work. Also, later when using the Heart Lamp, must not forget to close my eyes...
The leader of the Qin soldiers had obviously begun to take Chen Xing seriously; they couldn't lower their guards just because he looked like a scholar. He raised his hand and gave the order, but just as the three men were about to charge and surround Chen Xing, from the top of the wall behind them, a man suddenly appeared. Chen Xing could only see that man bent over and pulled out his long sabre; he made a circle, and a white light flashed.
Chen Xing immediately cried out!
Xiang Shu: "!!!"
From Xiang Shu's field of vision: blood splattered all around, and Chen Xing suddenly retreated back; on the other side of the scene, a handsome wanderer with a height of 9 chi and wearing a bamboo hat showed up, and the three Qin soldiers fell down at the same time.
That wanderer, in a free and easy manner, took off his hat and sized Chen Xing up.
"Feng-dage!" Chen Xing sprang to his feet and hugged Feng Qianjun, glomping on his body.
"Good thing I managed to catch up," Feng Qianjun said. "I heard you mention before that you were in Xiangyang on this day. Tianchi, TIANCHI!!"
Feng Qianjun hugged Chen Xing, rubbing him like his life depended on it. The two people were both crying and laughing for a while.
He and Feng Qianjun were practically bawling into each other's arms.
Xiang Shu: "………………"
WE’RE BACK TO FUN TIME FUN TIME FUN TIME FUN TIME FUN TI——
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Elestrea.