When Dai Yanxing woke up after a night of inebriation, it was already late in the morning.
He moved his body and found himself lying on the bed. Sitting up, he lifted the quilt. His clothes had been changed, and the blood smears on his body had been wiped clean. Even the wound on his right hand had been bandaged.
He went blank for a moment. Those words that Fu Chi had said last night flashed through his mind. As he thought back to Fu Chi’s expression, his heart swelled with an unexplainable feeling.
Not daring to delve deeper into that emotion, Dai Yanxing instinctively cut off his thoughts and got out of bed to dress himself.
For the entire day, he did not catch sight of Fu Chi. It was not until the evening that he heard that Qingyuan shishu had sent Fu Chi to the back mountain to self-reflect. No one knew the reason for the punishment.
At that time, Dai Yanxing had gloated a little over it. After laughing about it, he went on with his usual activities. However, on his way back at night, he subconsciously thought about the lone figure of Fu Chi reflecting on his mistakes.
Disciples who were sent to reflect on the ways of their errors at the back mountain were not allowed to eat and drink. Although Fu Chi had cultivated to the point where he could abstain from food, Dai Yanxing knew that Fu Chi loved to eat and was particularly gluttonous.
But to Fu Chi, eating a few meals less was not that big of a deal.
Dai Yanxing was ruminating over it when he raised his head and realized that he was already at the entrance of the kitchen. He froze.
The people in the kitchen cast a puzzled look at him. Dai Yanxing felt his ears burned. Turning around, he left and hurried back to his room.
Fu Chi won’t let himself suffer. He thought to himself.
But that night, Dai Yanxing did not sleep well. He spent half the night trying to fall asleep. His mind kept thinking back to the scene where he had found Fu Chi standing by the door looking at him, with untold words concealed in those deep eyes as the latter gazed fixedly at him.
Dai Yanxing tossed and turned and woke up the next day with an extra layer of black circles under his eyes.
This went on for three consecutive days. Fu Chi was still reflecting on his mistakes at the back of the mountain. Dai Yanxing heard that Qingyuan shishu had sent someone to let him out, but Fu Chi had refused, claiming that he had erred and deserved to be punished.
Fu Chi has always been the darling of Mo Yao Sect. He was typically a lively person, but he hardly created trouble, so he had never been disciplined before, let alone punished by Qingyuan.
Dai Yanxing could not help wondering exactly what was it that Fu Chi had done wrong. Why was he unwilling to leave the back mountain? What was he doing alone there?
On the fifth day of Fu Chi’s self-reflection, Dai Yanxing caved in to the torment of his curiosity and decided to take a look at the back mountain. Curiously enough, he even took a basket of food along; They were all food that Fu Chi loved to eat.
Both of them had been together for such a long time that Dai Yanxing had subconsciously remembered all of Fu Chi’s little habits.
The back of the mountain was a forbidden area. Dai Yanxing could only sneak in at night. With a black cloak and a big hat covering his head, he walked soundlessly through the forest.
The place for self-reflection was not that far away from the dungeon. Dai Yanxing had been to the back of the mountain before, so he was more or less familiar with the location. It did not take him that much effort to find Fu Chi. With the help of the moonlight, he saw Fu Chi reclining against a sturdy tree from a distance away.
Dai Yanxing slowed his pace and walked over. Fu Chi’s head was slightly lowered, and his arms were resting on his knees as he held a bottle of wine. Dai Yanxing could not tell if he was meditating with his eyes closed or if he had fallen asleep.
He’s really something to be hiding at the back mountain to drink.
Dai Yanxing watched him for a moment, but when he saw no movements from Fu Chi, he stepped forward. He had yet to get near him when an invisible barrier obstructed him. Dai Yanxing touched it. It was only when he saw the sparks of light glowing at the spot where his fingertips had come into contact with that he realized that this was the barrier Fu Chi had set up to protect himself.
At least he’s smart enough to set up a barrier for himself.
By this time, Fu Chi had already cultivated for himself half an immortal bone. Even the two elders might not necessarily get an advantage over him if they were to have a trial of strength with him, let alone the other disciples of Mo Yao. What’s more for Dai Yanxing, an ignorant and incompetent good-for-nothing.
With his hand on the barrier, he stared at Fu Chi and thought, all these foods probably won’t make their way to him today.
Just as Dai Yanxing was about to leave, his hand turned up empty, and half of his body leaned over into the barrier. Raising his eyebrows in surprise, he walked into the barrier. When he looked back, the glow which would appear upon contact was still there.
Could it be that Fu Chi had woken up and detected his presence?
Doubtful, Dai Yanxing walked towards Fu Chi’s side. The latter was still motionless. Dai Yanxing squatted and placed the food basket on the ground, then tilted his head to look at Fu Chi. Reeking strongly of alcohol, Fu Chi’s face was serene, as if he was sleeping soundly.
There were many empty bottles of wine scattered behind him. If would be a miracle if Fu Chi was not drunk after drinking like this.
Dai Yanxing thought, this fellow is so much more likable when he’s sleeping. At least, he felt so much more comfortable looking at him at that moment, unlike in the past where he always felt irritated.
After watching for a while, he felt that it was time to leave, so he put on his cape and hat and turned around. Just as he was about to stand up, someone grabbed hold of his wrist. It felt so cold to the touch that Dai Yanxing shivered. When he turned his head, Fu Chi was looking at him fixedly with his head raised and eyes open.
It was then Dai Yanxing got a clear look. Since the day they separated, Fu Chi had thinned down a lot. His eyes were bloodshot, and he looked gaunt. His unshaven face looked tired and downright unkempt.
“Shixiong…” His eyes were still misty from intoxication, and his gaze was full of doubts and grievances.
Dai Yanxing knew that he was drunk. It was typical for Fu Chi to forget everything he had said or done while in a state of intoxication. Many times, he would forget what had happened when he woke up the next day. So, Dai Yanxing squatted down again and lectured him. “What’s wrong with you? Are you reflecting on your errors or making merry with wine?”
“Shixiong.” Fu Chi called out to him again. The hand that had been grabbing Dai Yanxing’s wrist slipped down and took Dai Yanxing’s hand into his own. “I’m reflecting on it. But I can’t understand. My head hurts…”
Dai Yanxing’s heart softened as he looked at Fu Chi’s pitiful appearance. He did not even know how gentle his gaze was. With one hand, he took away Fu Chi’s wine bottle and opened the food basket. “Eat some meat. I brought you hot stew.”
He pulled his hand out of Fu Chi’s hand and handed a pair of chopsticks and rice to the latter. Fu Chi did not take them and simply looked at Dai Yanxing.
Dai Yanxing had no choice but to pick up some vegetables and rice and moved them to Fu Chi’s mouth. As he fed Fu Chi, he asked. “What’s so good about this back mountain? How long has it been since you last showered and changed your clothes? Look at how dirty you are…”
Fu Chi was obedient. He said nothing and simply ate in silence as Dai Yanxing fed him.
A drunk Fu Chi and a sober Fu Chi were like two different people. Dai Yanxing knew that when Fu Chi was drunk, he spoke very little. He was always sleepy. Occasionally, he would listen to others speak with his eyes wide open. He could hear them clearly, but he seldom responded. He looked dazed and silly.
After feeding him an entire bowl of rice, Dai Yanxing asked, “Do you still want to eat?”
Fu Chi’s gaze had never left him once. He shook his head slowly and swallowed the last mouthful of rice in his mouth. “I’m full.”
Dai Yanxing placed the utensils back into the basket and said, “As long as you’re full. Why did you drink so much? You might as well leave earlier. What’s the point of being alone in the back mountain…”
“Shixiong.” Fu Chi cut him off.
Dai Yanxing looked up doubtfully, “Hmm?”
Fu Chi moved his lips. After a long silence, he asked, “If time could turn back, would you still save me?”
Dai Yanxing froze. His memory returned to ten years ago when the sect leader had taken Mo Yao disciples, including Fu Chi and him, down the mountain for some experience. It was the norm to deal with minor demons the first time they descend the mountain. Although it would be a little hard on them, there was no danger to their lives.
It was an unlucky coincidence that there was a formidable demon hiding to recuperate in the place they went to. Lying low in a deep pond, it would drag people into the water without making a sound. The locals had all thought that those people had slipped and fallen into the water; No one suspected the existence of the demon.
Fu Chi excelled at swimming. That time, he had picked a handful of fruits and wanted to wash them for Dai Yanxing to eat, so he went to the river. The demon originally did not dare to do anything in broad daylight. But Fu Chi was a natural-born talent for cultivating immortality. He was too much of a temptation to the demon. Thus, the demon had thrown caution to the wind and extended its super long tongue from the river to latch on firmly to Fu Chi’s leg and dragged him towards the water.
On the way down the mountain, Fu Chi had broken away from the squad so many times that the others were used to it. This time, he had left the squad for a period to pick fruits and washed them by the river. During that lapse of time, the sect leader had already led the disciples far away. Only Dai Yanxing felt uneasy and came back to look for him even as he fumed. As a result, he happened to see Fu Chi being dragged into the river.
Dai Yanxing was only fifteen years old at that time. The instant he saw this scene, he jumped into the river without any hesitation. He embraced the sinking Fu Chi, dragged him upriver, and stuck a hand in the mud on the riverbank.
The demon at the bottom of the river flew into a rage when it saw someone obstructing him. It had wanted to drag Dai Yanxing along into the river as well, but it did not expect Dai Yanxing to possess such amazing strength. He maintained a firm grip on the riverbank and refused to let go. Fortunately, the sect leader discovered their absence in time and hurried over to slay the monster and save them both.
Because of this, all five of Yanxing’s fingers were dislocated. Later, the sect leader twisted them back into position one at a time. It was so painful he cried for a long time, and Fu Chi secretly wiped away his own tears when he saw this.
Time had passed in a flash. Dai Yanxing realized that both of them had actually been together for so many years. From the time they were accepted as disciples of the sect leader and assigned to the same room when they first entered Mo Yao, to the time when they both lived in separate rooms after they came of age. In over ten years, Fu Chi had grown from a crying child into a handsome and outstanding young master.
He returned to his senses and saw Fu Chi still looking at him with clear eyes. The latter was patiently waiting for his answer, with a hint of uneasiness in his expression.
Dai Yanxing smiled and opened his mouth…
“Shifu—” Zhu Yishu’s voice rang out from the door.
Dai Yanxing was startled awake from his nap. Lifting his head up from the crook of his arm, he rubbed his face and shouted, “Come in.”
Zhu Yishu pushed the door open and placed the books in his hands on the table. “Elder Qingyi asked me to pass these to shifu.”
Dai Yanxing nodded and smiled at Zhu Yishu. “Alright. It’s late now. Hurry back and go to bed. Don’t let him catch you again to run errands.”
Zhu Yishu nodded his head and withdrew from the room, leaving Dai Yanxing alone in the simple and spacious room. Dai Yanxing rose, moved a chair beside the lantern and took it into his hands before sitting back down. He slowly closed his eyes and thought back to the scene at the back of the mountain that year.
The moonlight was pure and soft. Fu Chi’s drunken eyes followed him closely. He was afraid and anxious that Dai Yanxing would say “no”.
However, Dai Yanxing only gave him a slight smile as he replied in a soft voice, “Yes.”
He caressed the surface of the lantern with his fingertips and said so slowly it was as if he was sighing, “Silly lad, you have repaid all that you’ve owed me. It’s what I owed you that can never be repaid.”
According to the author’s note, this chapter is an extra for Mo Yao shixiong and shidi.
We’ll move into a new arc in the next chapter! o(>w<)o