"Hongjun, what did you dream of?"
Editor(s): juurensha, namio
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Hongjun panted harshly, his eyes wide. The carp yao immediately said, “Don’t overthink it, Hongjun, the person they were talking about isn’t Lu Xu.”
After that, through a bitter battle, Li Jinglong had finally woken Hongjun. The Grey Wolf, with them in tow, then sped towards the north-west. The carp yao and Mo Rigen originally decided to seek medical help nearby, but it was Li Jinglong who brought up that he had once heard Hongjun say that in the Guazhou region, he had relatives.
“Why?” Hongjun asked.
The carp yao answered, “Mo Rigen said that nightmares are distant when you’re close to your loved ones and relatives. As expected, the second day we got to Yumen, you woke up.”
Hongjun recalled the first time that he had woken; when he fell asleep again after that, he did in fact not have any more dreams.
“And what’s going on with Lu Xu?”
The carp yao hesitated for a while, before finally saying, “Zhangshi’s guess is that he was kidnapped by them and turned into the state he’s in now.”
The carp yao said, “When you met again, was his outfit all black?”
Hongjun remembered, the guards outside the city said that when Lu Xu left, he had been wearing the white uniform of the scouts. But he had two sets of clothes from the beginning, so this didn’t mean much.
“So, Liu Fei came back, also because of…” From these scraps of news, Hongjun managed to guess the key point.
“I didn’t say that!” the carp yao hurried to wave its hands. “I didn’t say anything!”
Liu Fei had run into Lu Xu on his way, and somewhere after that, they had fallen prey to an ambush, so Lu Xu had been taken away! And after that, Xuannü managed to gain control of Lu Xu, and through him was trying to control Hongjun!
“He’s the White Deer?!” Hongjun was on the verge of shouting.
The carp yao didn’t respond, merely shrinking into its basin. The emotions in Hongjun’s heart were as tangled as a skein of thread; if Lu Xu was really the White Deer that Mo Rigen had been searching for all this time… but how did the yaoguai manage to gain control over him and blacken him?
“Hongjun?” Li Jinglong asked from outside. “Are you feeling a little better?”
When Hongjun heard Li Jinglong’s voice, he immediately remembered the pain and agony he had suffered in his dream.
Li Jinglong walked into the room and knelt down in front of him, looking him over with worry.
“What did you dream of in the graveyard?” Li Jinglong asked.
Hongjun himself, even now, was unable to confirm how much of what had happened in the dream was true or false. What if it was a nightmare that blackened Lu Xu had deliberately planted in him to gain control over him? His mind swam with confusion.
The carp yao said unhappily, “Didn’t I tell you not to disturb our family’s Hongjun?”
Li Jinglong furrowed his brow. “I’m worrying about him!”
Li Jinglong’s entire body ached. Before, he had been wounded too heavily by those throwing knives of Hongjun, and his bandages were hidden under his robes. Incessant pain will cause a person’s temper to become extremely short, and sure enough, when he spoke, he unintentionally adopted a severe tone.
Hongjun suddenly asked, “Jinglong, when you were small, did your family live in… Fuxing Ward?”
Li Jinglong startled, and he asked, “Did I mention it before? Yes, not too far from Chongfu Temple.”
Hongjun looked into Li Jinglong’s eyes, probing him. “There was a pomegranate tree planted in your family’s courtyard.”
Li Jinglong began to smile, and he said, “How did you know? Did you dream of my childhood?”
When Hongjun heard these words, his heart sank heavily.
“The year you were nine, do you remember what happened?” Hongjun then asked.
Li Jinglong furrowed his brow and said, “Hongjun, what exactly did you dream of?”
“Answer me, Jinglong,” Hongjun said.
Li Jinglong appraised Hongjun, not understanding. Ever since that day that he had been controlled by Lu Xu, Hongjun seemed to have changed; many matters weighed on his mind, and he was no longer carefree and unburdened.
“According to my and Mo Rigen’s hypothesis,” Li Jinglong replied, “Lu Xu should be the White Deer, the god that possesses the power to enter dreams, but he was taken away by the yao tribe. Now, he is no longer the Lu Xu that we knew.”
Hongjun en-ed once, avoiding Li Jinglong’s gaze. He searched his thoughts, before asking, “We’re going to go save him?”
“We have to wait until you’re recovered.” Li Jinglong’s gaze, however, had never left Hongjun’s eyes, and he persisted, “As soon as the White Deer fell under the control of the yao tribe, the black qi that he gave off could bog people down in nightmares. These nightmares aren’t real. Tell me, Hongjun, what did you dream of?”
“Jinglong,” Hongjun said. “A yaoguai lives in my body.”
Li Jinglong: “...”
“You already know it all?!” Li Jinglong asked, astonished.
“I didn’t say it!” the carp yao immediately added, to avoid all responsibility.
“Right here,” Hongjun said, pointing where his own heart was. “It has nothing to do with Zhao Zilong, I sensed it myself.”
“That was only a dream,” Li Jinglong said. “Just a dream, Hongjun!”
Hongjun’s chest rose and fell raggedly, even as Li Jinglong continued, “Trust me, you have no yaoguai in your body! Hongjun!”
He reached out a hand, firmly grabbing Hongjun’s wrist. Subconsciously, Hongjun wanted to break free of his grasp, but a wave of warm and bright energy permeated through his meridians, spreading through his entire body.
Li Jinglong’s palm glowed with light that slowly soaked through him, making him recall many happy times. Early autumn in the Exorcism Department, the leaves of the parasol tree rustling under the sunlight; the hot springs amidst the white snow, and as soon as one of the many blossoms of snow filling the sky landed in the pool, it would melt into nothingness.
Hongjun slowly calmed, only for Li Jinglong to ask earnestly, “Don’t think about it wildly on your own, alright?”
Hongjun nodded. Li Jinglong released his grip, pondered for a moment, and said, “The year I was nine, my dad passed away, and I came down with a serious illness. My memories of many things that happened that year are already too blurry, and I can barely recall anything that happened before then. Since you’ve asked, I’ll naturally think about it some more.
“Now, Hongjun,” he continued, “tell me, what exactly did you dream of? Did you dream of your parents’ deaths?”
Hongjun’s heart jerked once, violently. He stared at Li Jinglong fixedly, not making a single noise.
Li Jinglong’s gaze was anxious and unsettled as he said, “Trust me, Hongjun.”
In that instant, Hongjun recalled that moment in the dream, where Li Jinglong, holding the Sword of Wisdom in his hand, had been taken over by that glowing golden warrior. At that time, his gaze had been exactly like how it was now: pained, guilty, grieved, and anxious.
Hongjun hesitated time and again, but at that moment, Jia Zhou knocked the wide-open door, saying, “Sorry to disturb you two. Chouxing, shall we eat dinner together?”
Jia Zhou’s wife had passed away twelve years ago in childbirth, and both mother and child had perished. He hadn’t remarried all these past years, nor was he willing to return to the Central Plains; he had no sons at his knee, and when he saw his nephew again, he naturally felt a sense of excitement and closeness that he couldn’t hold back. He had many things he wanted to say, but considering that his nephew had just woken up and was recovering from an illness, he managed to hold it back in the end.
“So many years have passed.”
When they were eating, Jia Zhou said that to Hongjun, smiling as he did so.
In this world, probably no one would be so bored as to wildly acknowledge blood relations. The moment that Hongjun saw Jia Zhou, he had felt very sad in his heart. It was only that there were too many complicated things that had dampened the joy of their reunion.
“Rare for you to come to Hexi, and to also bring along something for Uncle,” Jia Zhou smiled.
Something? Hongjun startled, but Li Jinglong reminded him, “They were bought in Chang’an city, you forgot already?”
With this reminder, Hongjun finally managed to recall. Before they left, Li Jinglong had bought a box of tea cakes, some rouge, silk, and a pearl hairpin. Back then, the carp yao had even scoffed at him, saying that he wanted to crossdress.
“What a pity that your aunt has long since passed,” Jia Zhou said. “In a few days, I’ll take you to visit her, and I’ll go burn these for her.”
Hongjun nodded, saying, “Death by old age or by illness, the alternation of rises and falls in fortune, all is the will of the heavens. There will always come a day when you meet again.”
When he was small, Chong Ming had once spoken that line. The him back then hadn’t comprehended it, but today, he understood.
Jia Zhou smiled. “When I see you, I always think of your father. Back in the day, your father was a famous doctor, but I never thought that after you grew up, you’d become an exorcist instead. Are you sure it wasn’t because he stuffed you full of medicine every day, so much so that you were gifted with talents beyond the average person?”
At that, Hongjun replied, “It was my father’s brother who later adopted me and taught me some magic to exorcise evil.”
Jia Zhou nodded and continued, “The year that Kong Xuan came to Xiliang, he also displayed his skills once and helped me deal with some yaos and demons…”
This entire time, Li Jinglong hadn’t been paying much attention to Jia Zhou’s words, instead observing Hongjun’s expressions. It was at this time that Mo Rigen suddenly asked, “What yao?”
Jia Zhou thought for a bit, before replying, “I’ve forgotten, but there was a group of soldiers massacring each other in Yadan. Kong Xuan believed that there were yao at work, so he personally went forth to get rid of the yao. After that year, no other events like that happened, until this year, when the yaos came to cause a ruckus. We were going to hold out until Kong Xuan came, but he never did; instead, it was you.”
Jia Zhou was surrounded by an air of fatigue. For many years now he had guarded the border pass, but he had never been promoted, all because his father, Hongjun’s grandpa, had been the vice jiedushi two generations ago. And today, with Geshu Han holding the power, many of his old lieutenants had either retired or been transferred to the capital to hold posts there, while only Jia Zhou remained to guard Yumen Pass. Geshu Han greatly respected his ability to lead his troops in battle, but he was not willing to promote him. Jia Zhou hadn’t thought much of it either; he only planned to stay here, guarding the memories of his wife and son for the rest of his life.
Hongjun replied, “Uncle, Zhangshi will successfully take care of this matter, you shouldn’t worry too much.”
Jia Zhou thought for a moment, before saying, “Chouxing, to be honest, are you really set on being an exorcist? Must you earn a living through this government post?”
Hongjun didn’t know how to respond to these words directed at him, but Li Jinglong’s forehead began to furrow.
Jia Zhou continued, this time to Li Jinglong, “Li Jinglong, I don’t know about the Kong family, but the Jia family, after so many years, has only Chouxing as a descendant.”
Li Jinglong’s position was of the same rank as Jia Zhou; both were martial officials, but with the Great Tang’s unwritten convention of looking down on scholars, the martial officers that guarded the border territories, while officially at the same rank as the imperial capital’s officials, were always regarded as half a rank higher. Though Jia Zhou had been unflinchingly polite, when they spoke of Hongjun, his thoughts on this matter were obvious.
“Seeing you all catch yao and fight battles everywhere,” Jia Zhou said, “you won’t lack my nephew amongst your ranks. Plus, with his serious illness right now, he almost lost his soul on the journey here, and who knows what yaoguai you ran into… How about instead, let me pen a letter and have it presented to the Crown Prince, begging him to spare me some face and let Xing’er stay here at Yumen to recuperate?”
Li Jinglong’s brows furrowed. If it was anyone else, he would definitely say, even if he’s the sole descendant of your family’s three generations, I can’t have a whole band of brothers? But even though he and Hongjun could consider themselves brothers, he couldn’t contradict an elder.
“Let Hongjun decide ba,” Li Jinglong said, after thinking about it for a bit.
“No way,” Hongjun responded. “I still have to go save Lu Xu.”
“Later ba,” Jia Zhou said. “Think about your dad, and then think about your mom. Back in the day, your mother wanted to live a peaceful life. With all this dashing about right now, you can’t make your wife dash about in the future with you as well, right? If she had listened to me back then, today you wouldn’t be all alone, with no one to rely on. In the coming days, you should think about your children as well…”
Though Jia Zhou expressed respect for Kong Xuan, it was not hard for Hongjun to sense that in regards to his mother’s death, Jia Zhou always attributed it to his father.
Hongjun suddenly said, “Uncle, actually it had nothing to do with my father. He treated my mother very well, and he cared greatly for me too. At the end of it, both Dad and Mom died because of me.”
Upon hearing these words, everyone’s expressions changed. Mo Rigen revealed a shocked expression, while Li Jinglong raged, “Hongjun! What are you saying?!”
When Jia Zhou heard these words, he sensed how many heavy burdens his little nephew was carrying, how deep the darkness was in his heart, and how much he yearned for redemption.
“How can you think like this?” Jia Zhou put down his chopsticks and moved to Hongjun’s side, spreading out an arm and hugging him to his side, comforting him. “Your mother said that the happiest thing in her life was having you. I don’t know what happened to them, but you must remember, just like what you yourself said, life and death are part of living, and fortune comes and goes. What has passed is past, and this had nothing to do with you. Even less so was it your fault.”
When Hongjun heard these words, he felt full of conflicting emotions that almost burst out at once. He silently wiped his tears away with his sleeve, resisting giving voice to his crying. When Jia Zhou looked towards Li Jinglong, his gaze was filled with blame. Li Jinglong only took it in stride; he was anxious, but he didn’t know what was best to do at this time.
That night, Li Jinglong stood in the corridor, observing the sky. It was cloudy, and there was the atmosphere of an impending blizzard.
“Xuannü’s yao energy isn’t at work here, it’s just a normal snowy day,” Li Jinglong said. “Looks like you hurt her pretty badly that time.”
“Right now, I’m only worried about Lu Xu,” Mo Rigen said. “After that child was kidnapped, who knows how he is now.”
Li Jinglong said comfortingly, “Since he’s already fallen into the grasp of Xuannü and the Plague God, I imagine that they must have a use for him. He shouldn’t be in danger; I’m just worried about how exactly they managed to control Lu Xu, and about what Zhao Zilong said, who that black-robed Lu Xu is.”
“Perhaps it’s like what you and I guessed at before,” Mo Rigen said. “When the White Deer was undergoing reincarnation, the yao tribe interfered, and a portion of it reincarnated into a human, entering what should have been infant Lu Xu’s body. And the other portion became…”
Li Jinglong continued, “...black-robed Lu Xu.”
Mo Rigen’s expression was grim, but Li Jinglong smiled bitterly. “Damn, that’s pretty bad, this… is the one that you’re trying to find? Not being a woman is one thing, but now there’s two of them?”
Mo Rigen replied, “We must first come up with a way to rescue Lu Xu. As for the rest, we can discuss later… I’ll go check up on Hongjun first.”
Mo Rigen brushed shoulders with Li Jinglong as he passed by, leaving the corridor.
Hongjun laid on the bed, thinking over things. The carp yao said, “Hongjun, the words you said today made me really sad.”
Hongjun didn’t respond to that. Instead, he asked lightly, “Zhao Zilong, do you think… Chong Ming hated my mother?”
The carp yao jolted at that scare and said, “Hongjun! What are you thinking?!”
“He must hate my mother,” Hongjun said to himself. “He also hates me. If it weren’t for me and my mother, my dad wouldn’t have left Yaojin Palace, never to return. I know that even at the end, he was merely bottling up his anger at my father. But since my dad had already died and he couldn’t go back anymore, he adopted me because of that.”
“You’re insane!” The carp yao hopped out of the wooden basin, running towards Hongjun, its tail waving as it said, “Hongjun, Chong Ming cares for you so much, that’s not a lie! What’s the matter with you?”
Hongjun replied, “Otherwise, why would they seek help from Yaojin Palace? Because Chong Ming never wished to help them…”
The carp yao stared bug-eyed at him.
After Hongjun had that dream, he seemed to have worked through many of his tangled thoughts. He had also clearly seen through many false pretenses that he had taken at face value before, back when he was carefree and unburdened.
“Was it black-robed Lu Xu who forcibly created this nightmare for me?” he asked himself, before he shook his head. “It wasn’t. I began having these kinds of dreams a long time ago.”
The first time he had recalled the past was when he had smelled the Lihun Pollen in the courtyard of the Exorcism Department. He didn’t know why, but he had seen the scene of his father and mother right before their deaths. That scene matched almost exactly with what he had experienced and felt in the dreamscape. The only thing that was different was Li Jinglong.
If all of that had been an illusion, then why would he have known that Li Jinglong had lived in Fuxing Ward before, and that his family had a pomegranate tree on their estate? He said that the memories of the year when he was nine had all disappeared, and what he himself lacked was also exactly those memories regarding all of this.
What had happened in this period of time? In that instant, Hongjun felt as if he had been abandoned by the entire world. Once, Chong Ming had left him, but then, he still had Li Jinglong. But after recalling everything from the dream, Li Jinglong was the enemy who had killed his father, the murderer who had caused his mother’s death, so how was he supposed to deal with this?
“Did you know?” Hongjun asked the carp yao. “Today, when Uncle told me not to be an exorcist and stay by his side, I felt that perhaps this instead was my place to call home.”
The carp yao had never expected that in the span of this one day, while Hongjun hadn’t made a single sound and stared off into the distance all this time, he had actually thought about so many things! Just as it was about to speak a few words of comfort, footsteps sounded from the outside again.
Mo Rigen carried in a bowl of stewed herbal medicine. At that, Hongjun turned over and sat up, and after thinking for a moment, he asked, “Are we going to find Lu Xu? When are we heading out?”
“Drink the medicine,” Mo Rigen said.
He handed over the bowl, but Hongjun grabbed his wrist instead.
Mo Rigen raised an eyebrow at that, and looked curiously at Hongjun. Hongjun, however, asked, “That day in the snowy plains, what did you guys see?”
His breaths quickening, he continued, “In my body, was there a wave of black qi?”
Mo Rigen observed Hongjun, pondered deeply for a moment, and turned and put down the bowl. He said to him, “Hongjun, what did you dream of? Since you don’t want to tell Zhangshi, can you tell me? Us geges have never had any ulterior motives…”
Hongjun fixed his gaze on Mo Rigen, who extended his hand, palm up, spreading it open in front of Hongjun, turning Hongjun’s hand so that the back of his hand pointed up.
“Shake,” Mo Rigen suddenly said.
Hongjun sensed that this was the ceremony of a pet dog shaking hands with its master. Every time that he saw Mo Rigen turn into the large, imperious Grey Wolf, he could never resist thinking about wanting to shake that paw. At that gesture, he began to chuckle.
He placed his hand in Mo Rigen’s, and Mo Rigen gently clenched his five fingers, lightly holding his hand.
“Tell me.” Mo Rigen studied Hongjun’s eyes.
“I dreamt,” Hongjun said quietly, “that in my body, there is a seed of Mara.”
Mo Rigen replied, “And so?”
Hongjun’s voice trembled. “It caused my mother and father to die. What is the seed of Mara?”
“Shh.” Mo Rigen wrapped his other arm around Hongjun’s nape, pulling him gently into his embrace. He said in a quiet voice, near his ear, “That wasn’t real, it was only a nightmare. It was a nightmare that the Lu Xu who had fallen under the control of Mara planted in your heart.”
When Hongjun heard these words, it was as if he had been granted a total pardon, and he stared at Mo Rigen disbelievingly.
“Listen, Hongjun, I’m going to ask you just one question. Even Zhangshi doesn’t know, I’ve never brought it up in front of him… Let’s suppose that you do have the devil seed in your body.” Mo Rigen turned his head and glanced towards the door, as if he was checking if the neighboring walls had ears. He then continued, in an even quieter voice, “Then you’ll become the vessel for Mara to be reborn into, right?”
“What’s Mara?” Hongjun asked, his brows furrowed.
“One cycle every one thousand years, is how Mara is reborn,” Mo Rigen explained. “And devil qi is the resentment and pain that cannot be purified in the Divine Veins of the Heavens and Earth. This resentment gathers in the human realm, and if it is unable to be dispelled for long periods of time, that is what becomes ‘Mara’.”
Hongjun recalled that book that he was flipping through in the dream. On the last page was actually the entry for ‘Mara’! In that instant, all of his memories became clear.
“Yes,” Hongjun replied.
Mo Rigen continued. “No matter if it’s the Grey Wolf and White Deer, the power of the Dragon-Subduing Saint passed down through Yongsi’s family, A-Tai who was born as the savior of the Tocharian people, or even Di Renjie, who wielded the Sword of Wisdom and monitored the devil qi in the world in the name of Acala, their end goal is to stand guard over the human realm and eliminate and purify devil qi, isn’t that right?”
Hongjun nodded, his eyes filled with doubt.
“I can confirm,” Mo Rigen said, “that there is no devil seed in your body, because Liu Fei can also confirm that Mara has already appeared ahead of time. Think about black-robed Lu Xu’s words and actions.”
Hongjun suddenly grew clear-headed. That black wave of dark energy had appeared before, when they were outside of Xingqing Palace, burning those fox yao that had been piled up into a mountain. Their resentment and suffering had rushed towards the heavens with that black fog.
The black flames that had shot out of the Nine-Tailed Fox’s eyes, the roars of the Sons of the Dragon, and that black miasma that had been dispelled when Mo Rigen was awakening Liu Fei.
“Those were ‘devils’?” Hongjun asked, frowning.
Mo Rigen’s expression was grim, and he nodded, saying, “Since Mara has already appeared and is hiding in who knows what corner of the world, then you can’t have the devil seed, nor are you Mara, isn’t that right?” Saying this, he used his index finger to poke gently at the area over Hongjun’s heart.
This seemed to make sense, and Hongjun suddenly felt a lot better.
“But then, how do you explain my dream?” Hongjun asked, his brows furrowed.
Mo Rigen watched Hongjun silently, before answering, “The White Deer has the power to travel through dreams. Not only did he spy on your dream, he also spied on the dreams of many people, and the dreams of the yao tribe and all living beings. Since Lu Xu has fallen under their control, he has become the source of the nightmares.”
This seemed to be a reasonable explanation, and Hongjun nodded his head vigorously.
“It’s like that… en,” Hongjun said, after pondering for a bit.
The carp yao also visibly let out a breath of relief, and it said, “Hongjun, don’t let your imagination run wild.”
“The most urgent matter now,” Mo Rigen said, “is to find him, and rescue him from the grasp of the yao tribe.”
Hongjun replied, “Then let’s set out as soon as possible.”
“If I’m not confident that you’re better,” Mo Rigen said, lifting that bowl of medicine and handing it to Hongjun, all while shaking his head, “then no matter how worried I am about Lu Xu, I won’t budge.”
When Hongjun heard these words, he could feel Mo Rigen’s warmth. He took the medicine and drank it.
“Sleep ba,” Mo Rigen said. “You’ll slowly get better. Remember, don’t go about thinking wild things again.”
Hongjun nodded, and Mo Rigen pressed his hand to Hongjun’s forehead, gently lowering him onto the bed. He recited a few sentences under his breath, and Hongjun’s heart slowly calmed. Under the influence of the medicine, his eyelids gradually grew heavy, and he fell asleep.
Mo Rigen took the medicine bowl, returning to Li Jinglong’s room.
“How is he?” Li Jinglong asked.
“He believed it,” Mo Rigen replied, tired and guilty.
Li Jinglong’s brows had been furrowed this entire time, not relaxing at all. Mo Rigen continued, “He himself admitted that he dreamt that in his body, there was a ‘devil seed’.”
Upon hearing these words, Li Jinglong was greatly taken aback, and they held each other’s gaze for a long time.
Li Jinglong asked, “What will he become?”
A lost look appeared in Mo Rigen’s eyes, and he shook his head slowly, replying, “You must find his adoptive father, Zhangshi. I don’t believe that they don’t know that Hongjun has this thing in his body. This matter has long since exceeded what you or I are capable of handling.”
Li Jinglong’s breathing grew heavy, and the world spun around him. He pressed one hand against the wall, barely managing to stay upright, and he said, “What happened last time shouldn’t happen again for a short period of time.”
“That’s hard to say,” Mo Rigen replied. “It’s very clear that the corrupted White Deer induced a reaction from that seed in Hongjun’s body, which is what caused him to lose control in the snow. The yao tribe must know by now that this has happened… I don’t dare to guarantee that the White Deer won’t induce a reaction from the devil seed for a second time.”
Li Jinglong was uneasy and anxious. “Then you tell me, if the thing in Hongjun’s body is the devil seed, then he’s that whatever Mara. In that case, who corrupted the White Deer?”
“How can I know?!” Mo Rigen was equally uneasy and irritated. “We have too little information! Perhaps there are two of these devil seeds? Three? Or perhaps, the one in Hongjun’s body isn’t actually what we think it is…”
Li Jinglong turned and headed out. Mo Rigen then asked, “Where are you going? He just went to sleep.”
“To feel the breeze,” Li Jinglong said. “I need to calm down for a bit.”
He stood in the courtyard for a moment, before turning and slowly pushing open the door to Hongjun’s room. Clad in his white robe, his feet bare, he walked in to where Hongjun was lying on his side, relaxed and sleeping soundly. Li Jinglong then sat down on the bed, watching him unblinkingly.
In his sleep, Hongjun’s face looked like that of a lighthearted, carefree child. One of his feet poked out of the blankets, the hem of his trouser leg had ridden up, revealing a fair ankle.
Li Jinglong said quietly, “Hongjun.”
Hongjun couldn’t hear that, so Li Jinglong laid down at his side, his hands folded over each other on his stomach. He closed his eyes, an anxious look still present within them, as he slowly sank into sleep.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), moon.