Xiao Du couldn’t answer Xiao Yuan’s question. He didn’t know why he came back. He just… wanted to come back. But even though he didn’t know, Xiao Yuan could give an answer with such certainty. He understood what a bad brother he was in Xiao Yuan’s mind.
There was nothing to refute; anyways, no matter what he said, Xiao Yuan would not believe it.
"A docile and clingy younger brother, and a younger brother who confronted me every step and almost killed me," Xiao Du said slowly, "Who does Ah Yu think I should choose."
Xiao Yuan said calmly: "The Venerable Lord is still the same."
"The same…" There was a long-forgotten tingling sensation in his chest. Xiao Du breathed heavily and the illusion of peace was shattered, "Ah Yu, if I were really the same as before, why didn’t I go back to Xingtian Sect to find you and hide you to be the only one you could look at – but stayed away from you and didn’t bother you?!"
Xiao Yuan’s eyes flashed slightly, "Why?"
"You said you wanted freedom. I gave you freedom and I even gave you Xingtian Sect." Xiao Du approached Xiao Yuan step by step, his expression sad and angry, "Am I still the same? Haha, Ah Yu, can’t you really see anything?"
Xiao Yuan stood still and said softly, "I can see. But if you are really willing to let go, what are you doing now?"
Xiao Du was slightly startled.
"I am very grateful that you took my soul from Lu Yueyao and saved it from destruction. But after you got the soul, you didn’t go to me, nor did you find someone to inform me, but let him stay by your side and asked him to be the younger brother you wanted." Xiao Yuan couldn’t help laughing, "Xiao Du, you haven’t changed, you just… you just don’t bully me openly."
Xiao Du couldn’t refute it. Perhaps, Xiao Yuan was correct. Even though he was almost killed, he still felt that he had to fight for the man he loved in spite of everything. Even if it meant kidnapping, lying, or using a chain to lock him up, he had to keep him by his side. His thoughts had never changed, but he didn’t want to lose Xiao Yuan, so he could only suppress his instincts and stay away from the man he wanted to possess.
He corrected his mistake, he admitted his mistake, but he didn’t know what he did wrong.
"The previous grievances between you and I have been settled after the heart-protecting spell was fulfilled. I don’t want to conflict with you again." Xiao Yuan said calmly, "As long as you let me get my soul back, I will stay in Xingtian Sect and overturn Yunjian Pavilion with you to avenge your father and my mother."
"Settled." Xiao Du stared into Xiao Yuan’s eyes and said, "How can you settle the love and hate between you and I? Ah Yu, you can settle with anyone in this world but not with me. At the moment your mother took you and married into the Xiao family, we were tied together. Even if you don’t want to admit it, I am still your brother and your only family member in the world."
Xiao Yuan nodded, "Okay, I recognize you as my brother."
Xiao Du paused suddenly, grabbed Xiao Yuan’s wrist and asked quickly, "What are you talking about?"
Xiao Yuan repeated indifferently: "I said I recognize you as my brother."
After Xiao Du was stunned for a few moments, he laughed out loud. He waited so long and finally got Xiao Yuan’s words but he didn’t feel happy at all.
"What does this mean," Xiao Du’s eyes were full of bitterness, "is it to make me leave?"
Xiao Yuan frowned, "I said I recognize you, what else do you want?"
Something was stuck in Xiao Du’s throat. He slowly let go of his hand and said in a hoarse voice: "Ah Yu, has anyone told you that you are the best at dealing with people’s hearts in the most irritating way?"
This was Xiao Yuan, the real Xiao Yuan. The docile and well-behaved Xiao Yuan was just an illusion created by his self-deception.
Xiao Yuan thought that Gu Louyin had really said something similar. Gu Louyin said that he was a genius at hurting him. He was extremely puzzled. Obviously, he had been the worst off before, so why did those two say that he broke their hearts? How could he do that?
Xiao Du probably thought that he was perfunctory when he said that he recognized him as his brother, but he was not. After knowing his origin, after witnessing what Yunjian Pavilion and Gu Hang did, he couldn’t live a carefree life as before without a grudge, at least not before Yunjian Pavilion was destroyed. He and Xiao Du had a common goal of revenge and if they continued to be hostile to each other, Yunjian Pavilion would be the only one to benefit. If he could get his soul back by recognizing his brother, he would just recognize him. Also, that fan from in the hall of Xingtian Sect had cancelled out most of the grudge, and he didn’t want to go on fighting with Xiao Du in the battle where both sides would suffer loses.
Xiao Yuan called in a low voice: "Ge."
Xiao Du’s heart jolted; his eyes were firmly locked on Xiao Yuan. It was hard to say whether there was joy or sadness in his gaze.
Xiao Yuan took advantage of his confusion and turned around suddenly. Bihai Chaosheng exuded a pale blue light, pointing directly at ‘Xiao Yuan’s’ throat.
Xiao Du reacted extremely quickly, flashed to the bedside, grabbed Xiao Yuan’s hand holding Bihai Chaosheng, gritted his teeth and said, "You call me gege – for this?"
Bihai Chaosheng froze, almost touching ‘Xiao Yuan’s’ throat, unable to move forward. Xiao Yuan was thinking about the situation on Gu Louyin’s side and didn’t want to keep talking nonsense with Xiao Du. "I need to get my soul back. If you must protect him, then we can only fight."
Xiao Du narrowed his eyes and said, "You are not my opponent."
Xiao Yuan smiled: "I know, but I can’t help it. If I don’t get my soul back, I will die sooner or later, so I can only fight you to death, ge."
Hearing the word "death", Xiao Du’s eyes darkened, "I’m not dead, yet you dare to die?"
Xiao Yuan was about to speak, when the lantern under the eaves seemed to have been blown out by the wind. The only light was lost, and the already gloomy room was pitch black. Xiao Yuan couldn’t see anything and could only judge that Xiao Du was still by his side by the sound of his breathing.
For a while, neither of them spoke. After a short time, the lantern lit up again and the light it emitted seemed to have changed slightly, becoming dimmer.
Xiao Yuan heard Xiao Du say "Not good", but before he could ask, Xiao Du’s arms wrapped around his waist. At the same time, the sleeping boy on the bed suddenly opened his eyes and sat up.
Xiao Yuan said in surprise: "I clearly used a hypnotic spell on him, how could he…"
Xiao Du said solemnly: "The soul-attracting lamp."
Xiao Yuan suddenly realised that no wonder there were lanterns hung under the eaves of every house in the Soul City. It turned out that it was to facilitate the control over these remnant souls.
‘Xiao Yuan’ completely lost consciousness; there were no ripples in his eyes. It was as quiet as pools of backwater. He stood up like a puppet, and the moment he saw Xiao Yuan, a strange light flashed in his eyes. Then he quickly attacked him.
"Ah Yu!" Xiao Du stood in front of Xiao Yuan and delivered a blow without any hesitation. ‘Xiao Yuan’ was overturned to the ground, his pupils were out of focus, and he struggled and twisted uncontrollably. There were the cracks that looked like a broken mirror on his body and face, and soon under the gazes of Xiao Yuan and Xiao Du, he disintegrated and turned into nothingness.
Xiao Du’s blow used at least eighty percent of his strength. How could ‘Xiao Yuan’, a single remnant soul, withstand it?
The mirror body was destroyed, and the soul that had lost its carrier found its destination again since its owner was right next to it.
Xiao Yuan didn’t feel anything at all, but he knew that his earth soul had returned.
Xiao Du lowered his eyes and looked at his hand, as if he didn’t know what he had done just now. He slowly closed his palm and murmured, "Ah Yu…"
With ‘Xiao Yuan’ gone, it was time for him to wake up from his short-lived dream as well.
Xiao Yuan was silent for a long time and then asked, "You didn’t want him to go, why…"
Xiao Du said lightly: "Because he wanted to hurt you."
"But you didn’t have to use eighty percent of your strength…"
"Eighty? No, I used one hundred." Xiao Du laughed at himself, "I didn’t even think about it, I used one hundred percent just because he might have hurt you."
Xiao Yuan was very aware of Xiao Du’s domineering and cruel nature, but now looking at the other party’s vague expression, he suddenly felt that this man also had a weak side.
Xiao Du leaned down and stroked the bed where ‘Xiao Yuan’ had slept, as if the body heat of the boy still remained there. "Unexpectedly, it was me who sent him on his way."
Xiao Yuan couldn’t help but say, "He didn’t leave, he’s still here."
Xiao Du looked up at him and asked, "Will you continue to call me gege in the future?"
"No," Xiao Yuan said, "but if you stop forcing me to do things I don’t want to do against my will, I can call you xiongzhang (elder brother)."
Xiao Du was silent for a long time, "Okay."
A sigh of relief, a compromise. This seemed to be the best answer Xiao Yuan could give him. If he wanted to stay with Xiao Yuan, he could only accept it.
The black clouds dissipated and the rain that had rained in the middle of the night finally stopped.
Xiao Yuan looked out the window and asked, "By the way, do you know that Lu Yueyao is going to marry Gu Louyin’s remnant soul?"
Xiao Du raised his eyes slightly, "Ah Yu cares about this matter very much?"
Xiao Yuan thought for a while and said, "I care a little bit."
Xiao Du choked and said with a smile: "Lu Yueyao is infatuated with Gu Louyin. They are fellow disciples who grew up together since they were children, so they are a good match."
Xiao Yuan gave Xiao Du a cold look and said, "Is it a good match if you grew up together since you were a child? Isn’t my shidi the best match for me then?"
Xiao Du: "…"
"Forget it. If you don’t want to help, I’ll find him by myself." Xiao Yuan said, "Farewell."
As soon as Xiao Yuan walked out the door, he was picked up by Xiao Du from behind; he couldn’t help but say angrily, "Xiao Du, what do you want to do again?! Do you know how to write the word ‘respect’!"
Xiao Du took Xiao Yuan and flew into the air, landed on the eaves of the house and said, "Ah Yu, don’t be angry, look."
Xiao Yuan looked into the distance and saw all the lanterns in the city were lit up. The souls of the city, controlled by the soul-attracting lamps, poured out from all directions, converging to one place.
One by one, they walked, expressionless, their limbs stiff; most of them were still wearing their sleeping clothes, as if sleepwalking. This weird scene made Xiao Yuan feel creeped out. "Where are they going… Lu Yueyao?"
Xiao Du said: "Lu Yueyao is far from being Gu Louyin’s opponent, so naturally she has to find help. In order to be able to marry Gu Louyin, she was really willing to pay a lot. Stupid woman."
Xiao Yuan’s heart thumped, "So these souls are all going to deal with Gu Louyin?"
Gu Louyin was going to fight the whole city?
Xiao Du observed Xiao Yuan’s expression and said, "Gu Louyin shouldn’t have come here."
Xiao Yuan was sure that Xiao Du knew something and asked, "What do you mean?"
"Gu Louyin’s remnant soul is like Ah… like yours, he has his own consciousness. He didn’t want to marry Lu Yueyao and Lu Yueyao couldn’t force him. So, I found Lu Yueyao and told her that I could help her get married with Gu Louyin’s remnant soul, provided that she gave me your soul and let me take a look at Qingyan after getting married."