There were only five days left before the 19th of the third month.
Waiting for that day to come, Xiao Yuan had imagined countless times how he would feel. He thought he would be ecstatic and couldn’t wait to roast a chicken to celebrate that day. But his mood was surprisingly calm now, so calm that he was amazed.
For ten days, he watched his blood taken away cup by cup in exchange for the life of someone who had nothing to do with him. He could clearly feel that it was not only his blood that was taken away, but also his cultivation base, his spiritual power and the foundation he had built little by little for more than ten years. How could he not feel distressed; but in the face of freedom, he could give up everything else.
He had longed for freedom for too long indeed. He was also so tired that he didn’t have the strength to think about anything. He wanted it to be the same as in his fantasy, delicious and celebratory, with him happily welcoming the day of rebirth. But with this dilapidated body, he couldn’t do anything but sleep. He could only comfort himself: it was good to sleep, and another day passed as soon as his eyes were opened and closed. Sometimes he could even sleep for two days, maybe the next time he woke up, it would be the 19th of the third month.
Dazed, Xiao Yuan fell asleep. Gu Louyin sat by the bed and watched him for a long time, then walked out with his sword.
Luo Lan was decocting Xiao Yuan’s medicine in the yard when he saw Gu Louyin coming out and asked, "Is Young Pavilion Master going out?"
"En." Gu Louyin said, "Where does he usually put the clothes he wears?"
"It’s all in the closet. Why is young master asking this?"
Gu Louyin said, "I want to make a new outfit for him."
Luo Lan understood what Gu Louyin meant and said, "If the young master wants to tailor clothes according to the size of Master Xiao’s previous clothes, I’m afraid it won’t do. Master Xiao has really lost too much weight during this period of time, and his previous clothes… are all too big."
Gu Louyin was startled slightly and murmured softly: "It was my negligence."
Seeing Gu Louyin’s depressed face, Luo Lan comforted: "Fortunately, the serpentine beauty has been found. In the future, Master Xiao will definitely get better without having to give his blood."
Gu Louyin closed his eyes, "I hope so."
He went down the mountain alone and came to the largest town on the boundary of Yunjian Pavilion, Huaizhou. Huaizhou was a rich place with many people and all kinds of shops. The disciples of Yunjian Pavilion often went to Huaizhou to buy whatever they wanted.
Gu Louyin walked into the largest tailor shop on the main street. When the owner of the tailor shop saw him, she thought it was an immortal master who walked straight out of a book. Seeing him holding a sword and dressed in white, she knew that he was from Yunjian Pavilion. She hurriedly greeted him, leaned forward slightly, and said, "Master Immortal is here. What can this little one do to help Master Immortal?"
Gu Louyin looked around the shop and said, "I want to buy a wedding dress."
"Wedding dress?" The shop owner was stunned, "Dare to ask who Master Immortal is buying this wedding dress for?"
Gu Louyin thought for a while and said, "I’m buying it for my… my fiancée."
The shop owner said, "To tell the truth, Master Immortal, I have been making wedding dresses here for decades. The price is a bit higher, but you get what you pay for, and there is no customer who is not satisfied with the finished garment."
Gu Louyin said, "Price is not a problem."
The shop owner said happily: "Then this little one invites Master Immortal inside to choose slowly."
She put out the best materials one by one, "Look, Master Immortal, this is a brocade that Huaizhou only produces ten bolts a year. The mandarin ducks on it are made by the best embroideress in Huaizhou. It took months to embroider them one stitch at a time…"
The brocade was soft and smooth, as gorgeous as rouge, more magnificent and eye-catching than the crimson that Xiao Yuan usually liked to wear.
Gu Louyin said, "As long as this brocade is used, there is no need for embroidery."
The shop owner had been making wedding dresses for many years and it was the first time that she had heard this kind of request. She couldn’t help but ask, "Why, why is that?"
Gu Louyin couldn’t tell the exact reason. He just felt that compared to the golden beautiful dragons, phoenixes, and mandarin ducks playing in the water, Xiao Yuan was more suitable for pure brilliant red, like a burning flame, vigorous and radiant.
After writing down the order for the wedding dress, the shop owner said, "Master Immortal is only ordering this wedding dress? Don’t you need your own wedding dress?"
Gu Louyin: "…I forgot."
The shop owner pursed her lips and said with a smile: "Getting married is a big deal. In addition to wedding clothes, there are many things to prepare. If you are free, I will show you?"
Gu Louyin didn’t come out of the tailor’s shop until an hour later. The shop owner bowed to him at the door and said, "In five days, this little one will deliver the things on time."
It was late, and he was about to go to the most prestigious restaurant in Huaizhou to pack some fresh seafood and go back. Unexpectedly, he met Lu Yueyao who went down the mountain to buy rouge on the way.
When Lu Yueyao saw him, she was overwhelmed with joy and resentment and said, "Gu Shixiong, where have you been during this time, everyone is looking for you!"
Gu Louyin said, "Busy."
"No matter how busy you are, you have to go back and see Lin Shixiong. You left the serpentine beauty that day and then we heard nothing from you. Do you know how worried Lin Shixiong and I were about you? Especially Lin Shixiong, he finally got his life back and he has to worry about you all day…"
Gu Louyin asked, "How is he recovering?"
Lu Yueyao’s expression was full of joy, "Han Shishu said he will recuperate for another half a month and he will be almost healed."
Gu Louyin nodded, "That’s fine. I still have something to do. I will leave first."
"Shixiong!" Lu Yueyao grabbed his sleeve and said anxiously, "Where are you going, Shixiong, I will go with you."
Gu Louyin’s voice was slightly cold: "Shimei, let go."
Lu Yueyao winced a little, "But…"
"When things are done, I will return to the Shimen myself."
Lu Yueyao couldn’t stop Gu Louyin and watched him leave, so angry that she wanted to cry.
When Xiao Yuan woke up, the sky was dark and the bitter smell of decoction came from outside the house. He opened his eyes blankly, for a while unable to tell whether it was sunrise or sunset.
Luo Lan walked in with the decoction, saw Xiao Yuan awake and said, "Master Xiao is awake, it’s time to drink the medicine."
The so-called medicine was the precious herbs that Gu Louyin brought from Yunjian Pavilion. If it weren’t for these herbs, Xiao Yuan would not have survived those ten days.
Xiao Yuan was in a daze for a while and then said, "Drink medicine… Yes, I want to drink medicine." He needed to take good medicine and recover as soon as possible. If he continued to be so weak, how could he enjoy his life wantonly?
Xiao Yuan couldn’t wait to drink the medicine, as if he was drinking some fine wine, and he didn’t feel that the medicine was bitter at all.
Luo Lan said: "The young master has gone down the mountain to buy something and he should be back before dark."
Xiao Yuan didn’t care about this and asked, "Today is the 15th of the third month?"
"Huh? Today is the 14th."
Xiao Yuan was a little disappointed; it turned out that he hadn’t slept for long.
Not feeling drowsy, Xiao Yuan slowly got out of bed and said, "I’ll go out for a walk."
Luo Lan said, "I’ll help you."
"I can do it myself." Xiao Yuan said, "You can cook, I want to eat more."
Even though he couldn’t eat anything anymore.
There was a stream not far from the farmhouse. Xiao Yuan had exhausted his strength by the time he walked to the stream. Looking back, he could see the smoke rising from Luo Lan’s cooking.
Xiao Yuan felt the fluctuation of spiritual power on his chest, took out the nine-tone snail and injected the little remaining spiritual power into it.
In the old forest deep in the mountains Xiao Du’s voice sounded: "Ah Yu?"
Xiao Yuan said softly: "Your… cough, Your Lordship."
Xiao Du heard the strangeness of Xiao Yuan’s voice and asked, "What’s wrong with you?"
Xiao Yuan couldn’t answer the question: "What is the Lord’s order?"
Xiao Du said, "Tomorrow is the 15th."
Xiao Yuan smiled, "It turns out that the Venerable Lord is here to remind me of this matter again. It just so happens that I also have something to tell my Lord."
Xiao Du seemed to have a hunch, "Speak."
"I am about to complete the heavy task entrusted to me by the Lord." Xiao Yuan said slowly, "On the 19th of the third month is the big day for me and Gu Louyin. Don’t you want to come and drink some wedding wine?"
Xiao Du was quiet for a while, then suddenly chuckled and said contemptuously: "Ah Yu is really capable. Acacia Gu managed to coax the young master of Yunjian Pavilion to marry you as his wife. This venerable was really right."
"The Lord is wrong."
"I didn’t rely on Acacia Gu, but if it weren’t for Elder Meng’s use of serpentine beauty to raise Gu, which caused me to have a large amount of serpentine beauty in my body, Gu Louyin would have never married me."
Xiao Du’s voice suddenly sank, "What do you mean?"
"What do I mean…" Xiao Yuan smiled, "I will tell Your Lordship what I mean. Lin Wulian was badly poisoned, and only serpentine beauty could help him. Yunjian Pavilion couldn’t find serpentine beauty in a short time, so they had their eyes set on me – so, does the Lord understand?"
There was silence on Xiao Du’s side. For a while, Xiao Yuan could only hear the murmur of flowing water and the heavy breathing coming from the nine-tone snail.
After an unknown period of time, Xiao Du’s voice rang out again, but without the usual playful and leisurely manner. It was as cold as a stream in winter: "You gave him your blood."
Xiao Yuan clapped his hands and smiled: "The Lord is wise."
"One cup at a time, three times a day, for ten days."
There was a loud bang from Xiao Du’s end, as if something had been shattered. Through the nine-tone snail, Xiao Yuan could feel his hostility flow over.
"Xiao Yuan, are you looking for death?"
"No," Xiao Yuanyun said lightly, "I’m just doing what the Lord said."
"One cup at a time, three times a day, for ten days…" Every time Xiao Du said a word, his killing intent grew heavier, "Did you give it to him?"
There was another loud noise, and Xiao Du said, "I asked you to seduce Gu Louyin but I didn’t let you give him your life. Even I couldn’t bear to hurt you, you–"
Xiao Yuan laughed so much there were tears in his eyes, "You couldn’t bear to hurt me?"
Xiao Du was already extremely angry, so he said coldly: "Did you suffer any injuries when you were in Xingtian Sect? Even after Ah Rong came, I never touched you. If I knew you would find your own death, it would be better for me to kill you with my own palm!"
"Didn’t you ask me to do this?" Xiao Yuan was panting slightly, "You gave me Acacia Gu and used Flame poison, isn’t it just to make me and Gu Louyin get married? I have done it, what else do you want, what else do you want from me?!"
Xiao Du gritted his teeth and said, "I want you to come back to me unscathed after everything is done."
Xiao Yuan suddenly felt there was no point. What was he doing arguing with Xiao Du about this? He was so fragile, how could he stand being nauseated.
At this moment, Meng Chi’s voice came from the nine-tone snail: "What ‘kill you with my own palm’, why bother to say words you don’t mean. It is imperative to find Master Xiao as soon as possible – these are thirty cups of blood. It is already a miracle that Master Xiao can still speak. He must be very, very weak. The Lord must stop yelling at him."
Another voice sounded, a crisp young man’s voice: "Gege, don’t be angry, have a cup of tea first –"
Accompanied by the sound of a broken tea cup, Xiao Du’s end went dead quiet.
Xiao Du was silent for a long time, took a deep breath and said, "Where are you now, I will pick you up."
Xiao Du exhaled and his tone softened a little: "Ah Yu, stop making trouble, tell me where you are."
Xiao Yuan said softly: "Do you know, in fact, from the beginning, I didn’t want to go to Xingtian Sect, nor did I want to be your younger brother. I called you gege so many times because ‘it’ was forcing me."
Xiao Du whispered: "Now is not the time to talk about this. When you come back, I will let you talk as long as you want. Ah Yu, where the h*ll are you."
The corners of Xiao Yuan’s lips curved, "Fortunately, ‘it’ is about to leave."
For the first time, Xiao Yuan heard Xiao Du’s uneasy voice: "What are you going to do –"
"And I don’t have to listen to you anymore."
After Xiao Yuan finished speaking, he gently let go of his hand.
With a thump, the nine-tone snail fell into the stream, followed the stream all the way down and finally disappeared.
Xiao Yuan felt so relaxed that he couldn’t help laughing. Suddenly, he saw the reflection of one more person in the clear water and his eyes widened suddenly.