Gu Louyin’s pupils shrank suddenly; his shock was so extreme that he didn’t look cold anymore. "You said… what?"
"I said I want you to marry me." Xiao Yuan said unhurriedly, "Did you hear me clearly? I want to be your Dao companion."
According to [All Have], becoming Gu Louyin’s Dao companion was his last task. And after that, he would be free. Since he had to donate his blood to Lin Wulian, why not take this opportunity to force Gu Louyin into marriage. He was sure that Gu Louyin would agree. After all, he cared so much about Lin Wulian that he was ready to sacrifice his own life when he was in the north territory. What’s to say about such a little thing as becoming Dao companions then.
Gu Louyin’s whole body was frozen stiff, as if he had solidified into a fossil. Xiao Yuan didn’t rush him either and waited patiently for him to come back to life.
After a long time, Gu Louyin said one word very lightly: "Why?"
What Xiao Yuan said was half-true and half-false: "You want my blood, can’t I get something back? Unfortunately, there is nothing at Yunjian Pavilion that I fancy. Thinking about it, I think it’s more cost-effective for me to have you."
Gu Louyin clenched his hands tightly. When Xian Yuan said the words ‘marry me’, he was already in a mess. A thought that was hidden deep in his heart caught him off guard. At that moment, he even forgot his dying Shixiong; Xiao Yuan was the only one in his mind. But he was Gu Louyin, after all, so he quickly came round. "You want Qingyan."
Xiao Yuan did not deny it, "I will give you a day to think about it. If you agree, I will obediently let you take my blood; if you refuse… Anyway, I won’t be able to live long after losing so much blood, so I can just hang myself in Biluozhai and spare myself from trouble."
Blood surged away from Gu Louyin’s face; he seemed to be particularly afraid of hearing the word ‘death’. He looked at Xiao Yuan, his clear eyes became frenzied, and he repeated the same words again: "You can’t die."
Xiao Yuan didn’t want to talk about it anymore, "I will give you my blood today. As for whether there will be any tomorrow, it depends on the result of Young Pavilion Master’s consideration."
Gathering a cup of blood through a needle piercing would take forever. Xiao Yuan looked around and his gaze fell on Gu Louyin’s sword. "Lend me your sword."
Xiao Yuan took Shuang Leng, prepared mentally and slit his wrist gently. Warm blood flowed out immediately, dripping down his slender white wrist into the bowl.
Xiao Yuan smiled at Gu Louyin, "Are you satisfied?"
Gu Louyin only felt that Xiao Yuan’s blood was so red that it stung his eyes and his heart, so much so that he could not speak. It took him all his strength to ask, "Does it hurt?"
Xiao Yuan turned his wrist and said with a quiet smile, "It hurts."
The word ‘stop’ was stuck in Gu Louyin’s throat but he didn’t say anything.
After giving Lin Wulian three cups of blood, Xiao Yuan did not feel any discomfort for the time being. But he knew very well that if he had to give three cups every day, in less than half a month his blood would be drained.
The next day, Gu Louyin came to Biluozhai again. He returned to his usual alienated and restrained image, dressed in white, holding his sword, silent and cold as usual.
Xiao Yuan asked, "Has Young Pavilion Master considered it carefully?"
Gu Louyin didn’t answer the question: "You come with me."
Xiao Yuan followed Gu Louyin out of Biluozhai. The guards kept staring at them, but did not step forward to stop them. Xiao Yuan was suspicious and said, "Where are you taking me?"
Gu Louyin said, "You will know when you get there."
Gu Louyin flew on his sword with Xiao Yuan, left the main peak of Yunjian Pavilion, and reached a mountain that was farther than Juedi Peak. Unlike the sheer slope of Juedi Peak that was thousands of meters high, this mountain was green and lush with vegetation. Xiao Yuan suddenly realized that spring was coming.
He followed Gu Louyin, walking through the wet grass, wondering whether it was dew or rain that wetted their clothes. After walking for a while, Gu Louyin said, "We are here."
Xiao Yuan stopped and looked. There was actually a… tomb in front of him?
The tomb was built solemn and atmospheric, but because it was the only one there it looked desolate and lonely. Xiao Yuan walked forward and saw the words "The tomb of Yuan-shi from Gu family" written on the tombstone. (-shi indicates a maiden family name of a married woman)
Xiao Yuan was taken aback, "This is…"
Gu Louyin said calmly: "My mother."
Xiao Yuan was a little confused – what did Gu Louyin want to do bringing him to his mother’s tomb?
Gu Louyin knelt down in front of the stele and said, "You come too."
The deceased deserved respect, so it was okay to kneel down. Xiao Yuan lifted up the hem of his clothes and knelt down beside Gu Louyin. Gu Louyin didn’t say much, kowtowed three times, and Xiao Yuan also kowtowed thrice. After that, Gu Louyin stood up and stretched out his hand towards Xiao Yuan.
Xiao Yuan pretended not to see it and stood up by himself, but suddenly felt dizzy. Gu Louyin immediately reached to help and the moment he held Xiao Yuan, his heart trembled violently, "You…"
Xiao Yuan pushed Gu Louyin away and stood still, "Where are we going now?"
Gu Louyin said, "Dongguan Mountain." (East View Mountain)
Xiao Yuan: "…where?"
Dongguan Mountain was not in the boundary of Yunjian Pavilion but was located not far from it. It took half an hour of sword flight to get there. There was a village of ordinary people at the foot of Dongguan Mountain. The villagers relied on the mountain to feed themselves. Their life was simple and free from discord.
Xiao Yuan was taken into the depth of Dongguan Mountain’s forest and looked at the spacious and clean farmhouse in front of him. His slightly intoxicated eyes were full of confusion and bewilderment. "Gu Louyin, why did you bring me to this deep forest?"
Gu Louyin said, "To get married."
Xiao Yuan: "???"
Gu Louyin looked at him and said lightly: "Didn’t you want me to marry you – I will marry."
Xiao Yuan suddenly realized and smiled: "It turned out to be an elopement." Of course, if you think about it, Yunjian Pavilion would never allow a casual cultivator of unknown origin to become the wife of their Young Pavilion Master, let alone the casual cultivator who was suspected of poisoning the beloved disciple of the Pavilion Master.
Gu Louyin paused and said, "I will give you whatever you want."
"As long as I donate blood obediently? Got it."
Gu Louyin corrected him: "As long as you live well."
Xiao Yuan sneered and asked, "How are you marrying me, Gu Louyin? You can’t just go to bed without any ceremony, right?"
Gu Louyin’s jade-like face flushed slightly and he opened his mouth without saying a word, making Xiao Yuan want to laugh.
When cultivators became Dao companions, all the previous rituals were negligible, the most important thing was the last step. The two of them engaged in dual cultivation, blend their spirit and blood and would be connected for the rest of their lives. After that, if you wanted to cut off that connection, you had to pay a great price and your cultivation base of half a lifetime would be gone if you were not careful. Although Xiao Yuan had expected that Gu Louyin would agree to become his Dao companion, he still couldn’t help but sigh at the thought that Gu Louyin was willing to do this for Lin Wulian – if this was not love, then what was.
Seeing that Gu Louyin didn’t answer, Xiao Yuan said, "You really wanted to do dual cultivation directly?"
Gu Louyin denied it flatly: "No."
Xiao Yuan said leisurely: "In fact, it is not impossible to do dual cultivation directly. You and I are both men and our reputation doesn’t matter. I just want your Gu family blood anyway."
Gu Louyin’s eyes darkened slightly and he said, "Give me some time and I will prepare everything."
Xiao Yuan said "oh" indifferently.
Xiao Yuan thought that he and Gu Louyin were the only two people here, but he found that Luo Lan was actually there when he entered the house. Gu Louyin said, "When I am away, Luo Lan will take care of you."
Luo Lan smiled and said, "Master Xiao, we have met again."
Xiao Yuan raised his eyebrows. Luo Lan was cautious and fearful of him last time they saw each other but now he behaved as if nothing happened.
"I have prepared the food, Master Xiao, come and eat." Luo Lan said, "After eating, you can give us today’s medicine."
Xiao Yuan: "Medicine?"
Luo Lan whispered, "It’s Master Xiao’s blood."
Gu Louyin turned his back and couldn’t bear to look at Xiao Yuan’s expression. He smiled softly when he heard Xiao Yuan say, "Okay."
Xiao Yuan lived a semi-reclusive life on Dongguan Mountain. Gu Louyin would come to see him every day and he would come at the time when he was drawing blood.
This kind of bloodletting was a new thing at first but one got accustomed to it soon enough. By the third time, Xiao Yuan felt numb and could even drink soup while bleeding. On the contrary, the usually calm and cold Gu Louyin who was sitting next to him had an extremely unsightly expression. Those who didn’t know might have thought it was his blood flowing.
"Why don’t you go out," Xiao Yuan couldn’t help but say, "Otherwise, every time I see your face, I feel that I won’t live long."
Gu Louyin’s eyes clouded with mist and he whispered softly, "Don’t say such things anymore."
Xiao Yuan coughed lightly and said, "I want to say it, what do you care?"
Xiao Yuan’s coughing made Gu Louyin’s heart clench, "En, I care about you."
Gu Louyin seemed to be very busy and left as soon as he got Xiao Yuan’s blood. Most of the time there were only Xiao Yuan and Luo Lan on the mountain.
March, the grass was growing and the warblers flew everywhere, spring flowers started blooming and Dongguan Mountain was full of spring atmosphere.
Xiao Yuan gradually grew weaker and became more and more dispirited. His already slender body seemed to be so thin that it could be blown down by a gust of wind. Fortunately, Gu Louyin brought him a lot of blood-nourishing supplements and pills. Luo Lan changed his method and gave him pig blood, duck blood and various other kinds of blood, so that he could continue to live.
Today, Xiao Yuan slept until noon before waking up. In the past few days, he seemed to be unable to wake up and he could sleep for half a day. He closed his eyes, felt the warm sun shining on his body and asked [All Have]: "How many days are left, big brother, I really can’t stand it anymore."
Before [All Have] answered, Xiao Yuan’s breath hitched and he coughed again and again. Luo Lan, who heard him coughing, walked in and said, "Master Xiao is awake?"
Xiao Yuan raised his hand to cover his chest, and the wide sleeve slipped down, revealing a scarred, skinny arm that shocked Luo Lan.
In just ten days, he had watched a magnificent beauty turn into a sickly, bony and pitiful figure. Xiao Yuan’s lips were not red anymore but dull and gray, his cheeks sunken and the scars on his wrists were even more shocking. Only those slightly intoxicated eyes were as beautiful as ever, capturing one’s soul at a glance.
Xiao Yuan raised his eyes and said in a barely audible voice, "If you have seen enough, pour me a glass of water."
Luo Lan woke up from his daze, poured a glass of water and handed it to Xiao Yuan. He watched Xiao Yuan drink small sips of water and couldn’t help but say, "Master Xiao is more beautiful than before."
Xiao Yuan wanted to roll his eyes at Luo Lan but he didn’t have the strength to do it. "Then do I have to thank Gu Louyin for taking my blood and making me more beautiful?"
Luo Lan hurriedly said, "I, I didn’t mean that."
Xiao Yuan chuckled: "You are just like everyone else. You think that beauties should be shy and timid, gentle like water; or like Gu Louyin, cold like the moon and unattainable. They can’t be like me, eating meat and drinking wine, and roasting a fish if I wish so, right?"
Luo Lan was indeed thinking so and did not dare to refute it.
Xiao Yuan shook his head and said, "Yunjian Pavilion prides itself on being free and otherworldly, but it is no less prejudiced than ordinary people."
Luo Lan muttered in a low voice: "I didn’t mean to say that…"
Xiao Yuan looked at the handsome young man in front of him and remembered something by chance, asking, "Weren’t you afraid of me in Yunjian Pavilion before? Why are you not afraid anymore?"
Luo Lan said honestly: "At that time, I thought it was you who attacked Lin Shixiong."
"Don’t you think so now?"
"En." Luo Lan said seriously, "The young master said it was not you, I believe him."
Xiao Yuan was taken aback for a moment but was not moved by Gu Louyin’s trust. Instead, anger rose in his heart, "He knows it’s not me and he is still so happy to take my blood. Wouldn’t his conscience bother him?!"
"Young Pavilion Master cannot do anything. He can’t just watch Lin Shixiong die of poisoning. That’s his dear… dear Shixiong!"
Xiao Yuan coughed twice again and closed his eyes. Forget it, he didn’t have much strength and it was not worth it to spend on Gu Louyin.
Luo Lan looked at Xiao Yuan’s expression and said, "The young master is feeling very guilty because of you."
"That’s right, after all, he eloped with me."
"Not only that, in order to find serpentine beauty for you, he hasn’t closed his eyes for five days and even personally went to the extremely desolate place. You also know that places like the extremely desolate land are very dangerous. Out of a hundred people who go in, only one person will…"
Xiao Yuan laughed and said, "Are you stupid? Serpentine beauty, he is looking for it for Lin Wulian."
Luo Lan hesitated for a moment and said, "He is looking for it for you. As long as he finds serpentine beauty, Lin Shixiong’s residual poison can be removed and you won’t need to give blood to him."
Xiao Yuan didn’t want to talk about it anymore. Before Gu Louyin raised the matter of taking his blood, he could still call Gu Louyin "Gu-xiong" sincerely and blamed himself for having to deceive and use him. But now, for him, Gu Louyin, like Lord Xiao Du, was just a part of [All Have] tasks. It didn’t matter if Gu Louyin believed him or not. He really didn’t care whether Gu Louyin felt guilty about him.
The two of them were silent for a while, each submerged in his own thoughts, and then Luo Lan said, "It’s time to eat."
Eat first, take blood after meals and drink some supplements afterwards, it was the same every day. Xiao Yuan felt that he was a lamb to be slaughtered, and he would be butchered when he was fattened enough. He really didn’t have much appetite, so he said, "Bring the cup, just take it."
Luo Lan didn’t dare to move, "This is not good, let’s eat first before…"
Xiao Yuan directly picked up the dagger by the bed and was about to slit his wrist when a blue light struck, and the dagger fell to the ground with a crisp sound.
Luo Lan was overjoyed: "Young Master!"
Xiao Yuan looked up slowly.
Gu Louyin was holding his sword, standing outside the door, killing aura all over his body. His long hair was messy, his eyes bloodshot, and his plain white clothes were covered with blood. His eyes, which were as quiet as ancient wells, rippled when he saw Xiao Yuan.
Xiao Yuan had never seen Gu Louyin in such a sorry state, as if the cold moon had fallen into a mud puddle; even on the snowy mountain in the northern territory that day he hadn’t looked like this.
Luo Lan thought that the blood on Gu Louyin’s body belonged to Gu Louyin himself and was shocked: "Young Master, are you injured? You’ve shed so much blood!"
Gu Louyin recovered, his voice was low as if he hadn’t spoken for several days: "It’s not my blood."
Gu Louyin looked at Xiao Yuan intently and said, "Serpentine beauty, I found it."
Xiao Yuan’s voice was expressionless: "Congratulations."
Gu Louyin’s gaze fell on Xiao Yuan’s scarred wrist, and he whispered softly, "You won’t be hurt anymore." After speaking, Gu Louyin closed his eyes and fell down in front of Xiao Yuan.
Xiao Yuan remained motionless, Luo Lan quickly supported him and said in a panic: "Master Xiao, the young master has fainted!"
Xiao Yuan felt a little tired and said, "Don’t worry, Gu Louyin won’t die."
"Then what should I do now?"
"You can take him back to Yunjian Pavilion."
Luo Lan said embarrassedly: "Me, how can I take him?"
"By carrying him on your shoulders, flying the sword."
"But my sword flying skills are unsteady. If I take the young master with me, I am afraid that the two of us will fall off the sword together."
Xiao Yuan rubbed his brows, "Then you can just put him somewhere, and he will wake up when he has enough sleep."
Luo Lan nodded and trudged forward carrying Gu Louyin on his shoulders.
Xiao Yuan: "Don’t put him on my bed."
After serpentine beauty was found, Lin Wulian no longer needed Xiao Youn’s blood. However, Xiao Yuan had been giving blood for ten consecutive days and his vitality was greatly impaired, his foundation damaged. When he picked up Wuguan Fengyue again, he unsurprisingly found that he couldn’t even set up a simple mind-clearing formation, and he couldn’t help but feel frustrated.
"Mind-clearing formation?" Gu Louyin’s voice sounded behind him, "I will, I will help you."
Xiao Yuan coughed a little and said indifferently: "No need."
Gu Louyin slept for a day and a night before waking up. After waking up, he did not go back to Yunjian Pavilion, nor did he go anywhere else. He stayed in Dongguan Mountain to accompany Xiao Yuan, even though Xiao Yuan did not want it and even felt somewhat repelled by his company.
Xiao Yuan turned and entered the house. After taking two steps, he felt a little faint. He supported himself on the table and was about to continue walking. Gu Louyin picked him up into his arms and said, "I will carry you to bed."
Xiao Yuan didn’t bother to struggle, nor did he have the strength to struggle.
He was too light, so light that Gu Louyin almost couldn’t feel any weight holding him. Gu Louyin’s throat rolled as he walked to the bed and gently placed him down.
Xiao Yuan felt sleepy as soon as his head touched the pillow, and he closed his eyes solemnly. Gu Louyin looked at him for a long time and said, "I’m going down the mountain."
Xiao Yuan said "en" in a daze.
"Do you have anything you want, I will buy it for you."
Gu Louyin waited for a while but didn’t get Xiao Yuan’s answer, and then asked, "What kind of wedding dress do you like?"
Xiao Yuan: "…"
"The 19th of the third month – that is, in five days – is an auspicious day for marriage." Gu Louyin paused, "Let’s get married."
Xiao Yuan’s long, feather-like eyelashes trembled slightly – the 19th of the third month was the day he had been waiting for for many years.
On the 19th of the third month, he will be rid of the control of [All Have] and will be reborn in Nirvana.