Song Ci was at a loss.
Rong Bai hugged him so tightly he pulled his wounds, but Song Ci did not dare to struggle. He slowly raised his hands to pat him on the back and asked softly, “I merely went out for a walk. What’s wrong?”
“You said you would stay here…” Rong Bai murmured. “I thought you left.”
Song Ci was a little moved. He smiled and said, “If I want to leave, I’ll definitely inform you in advance. Don’t worry.”
He could not understand why Rong Bai valued him so much. From what he could remember, he was merely a minor demon that had appeared on Sihuang Mountain.
But Rong Bai’s dependence on him was too obvious.
He had only disappeared for a moment, and Rong Bai lost his composure to such an extent. This was hard for Song Ci to fathom.
Rong Bai’s breaths fell upon his ear. The unbearable heat made Song Ci turn his head to the side. Following his movement, Rong Bai’s hands slid down to grasp his shoulders, prompting Song Ci to let out a soft cry.
“Are you hurt?” Rong Bai released him from his arms and lowered his eyes to look at him. Then he pulled him by the wrist and led him inside.
“They are all minor injuries. It’s no big deal.” Song Ci felt that the wounds on his body were healing pretty fast. Perhaps he would be fully recovered after a sleep.
But Rong Bai did not think so. He led Song Ci to Tianqiong Spring and said to him, “Tianqiong Spring is conducive for healing wounds. Go in for a dip.”
There was no reason for Song Ci to turn him down, so he nodded and began to disrobe. After undoing two clasps, he realized that Rong Bai was still staring at him with no intention of leaving. So Song Ci stayed his hands.
“Are you going to stand here and watch?” He asked.
Rong Bai’s eyebrows gave an imperceptible twitch before he turned his head and said, “I’ll come for you later.”
With that, he raised his foot to leave, but after taking two steps, he added, “Don’t run about again.”
Song Ci felt like laughing. He inexplicably found Rong Bai a little childish. After watching him leave, he began to undress. It was only after he stripped that a thought came to his mind.
Why would he mind Rong Bai watching? They were both clearly men…
Song Ci did not come up with the answer to the question. He used his foot to test the spring water. When he found the temperature just right, he stepped into the spring amidst the steaming white mist to immerse his entire body in its waters.
The healing effect of Tianqiong Spring was quite potent. He soaked in it for merely a while, and his entire body had gone soft. He sensed those circulating spiritual energy thread their way into every part of his body. They swathed around his injured muscles and bones, gently soothing him.
Song Ci was indeed tired. He had fought with Tu Shan Yue, and he had lain on hard stone slabs. He returned, hurting all over. Now that he was soaking in the comfortable spring water, his overburdened body began to cry out in exhaustion.
He leaned back in a relaxed pose against the jade support on the bank. Then he closed his eyes and maneuvered the spiritual energy in his body to cultivate.
But he was simply too exhausted, and he had only just closed his eyes for a while when his consciousness began to dim. He fell into a slumber, no longer able to tell where he was.
In his grogginess, he sensed someone fishing him out of the spring gently. A familiar scent wafted into his nose. Even though he was in a daze, Song Ci seemed to have an idea of who the person was. He wanted to open his eyes, but his eyelids felt heavy. So he simply shifted in the man’s arms without struggling.
As he drifted in and out of consciousness, he could feel someone wiping him down and covering him with his robe. The person put him gently on the soft couch and covered him with a brocade quilt. He even patted him twice on the chest.
His actions were so light and gentle that Song Ci managed to hold on to a thread of consciousness amidst his dreaming. With some effort, he squinted his eyes open for a look.
He was just in time to connect with a pair of blue eyes that brimmed with tenderness. The owner of those eyes was leaning very close to Song Ci as he propped his head to look at him. When he met Song Ci’s bleary gaze, he smiled. Stars sparkled in those eyes. He said in a low voice, “Go sleep…”
Song Ci closed his eyes again and fell into a sound sleep.
He did not know how long he had been sleeping when he suddenly felt an iciness crept up his ankles. The piercing cold instantly reeled his consciousness in and jolted him awake. He abruptly opened his eyes.
It was the same place as the last time. A lake. An old tree.
Once bitten, twice shy. Song Ci lamented in his heart. He’s back here again.
He could explain the first time away as a dream. But it was still this same scene the second time. This showed that his presence here was not a coincidence.
Song Ci stood where he was for a while, but this time, Rong Bai did not appear. So, dripping with the icy lake water, he walked towards the bank and stood by the huge tree.
The tree canopy was lush. It rustled when the wind blew past, producing the only sound and movement in this quiet environment.
He walked half a circle around the tree and suddenly saw Rong Bai sitting on the ground leaning against the tree.
He was dressed in an emerald green robe. Some of his long and soft snow-white hair was draped over his body, while some was hanging down on the ground. His head was slightly raised. Golden sunlight shone through the leaves and cast specks of light over his body, embellishing his beautiful silhouette further.
Song Ci supported himself against the tree and stood beside Rong Bai, but the latter showed no reaction. His eyes were shut, and his face was expressionless. Song Ci could not tell if he was asleep.
He was about to open his mouth to call out to Rong Bai when he suddenly caught a glimpse of a pair of feet hanging beside the latter. Song Ci’s eyelids twitched as he abruptly raised his eyes for a look. A terrible scene filled his sight.
A lady dressed in red and white muslin was nailed to the tree with an iron pestle1 through her chest. The blood had dried up, and the splatter on her chest was all but a smear. It flowed down her pretty dress all the way to her shoes, soaking them all in blood.
This was a lady whose appearance could be described as devastatingly captivating, but her blue eyes were wide open in a glare at some unknown person before her. She looked so savage and terrifying that it shocked Song Ci into taking a step back.
What’s more, Rong Bai’s head was leaning against the lady’s feet.
“Rong Bai…” Noticing that his voice was shaking from the fear, Song Ci coughed before he called out, “Rong Bai?”
Rong Bai suddenly opened his eyes when he heard this voice and raised his head for a look. The instant his gaze locked onto Song Ci’s face, he reached out a hand to pull Song Ci towards him.
Song Ci was caught off guard and fell on Rong Bai’s legs. Rong Bai took the chance to wrap his arms around him. Without giving him the chance to speak, he bore down his lips onto Song Ci’s lips for a kiss.
As their lips and tongues intertwined, Song Ci realized that Rong Bai was not as calm as he looked on the surface. The latter’s created havoc in Song Ci’s mouth with such force that it seemed as if he wanted to leave his own scent in every single corner.
Despite having experienced this kind of matter once, Song Ci did not know how he should react. Even as their breaths interweaved, all he could think about was how his own head was, at this moment, right under the lady’s feet.
He struggled for a moment. Although he did not use that much strength, it triggered an intense reaction from Rong Bai. He suddenly lifted Song Ci, and their lips and tongues temporarily parted as he back-handedly pinned Song Ci against the trunk of the tree. Lowering his head, he bit down Song Ci’s earlobe and used that canine tooth to nibble gently at it. His heavy breaths fell upon Song Ci’s ear and sent Song Ci’s temperature soaring until it was unbearable.
He could clearly hear Rong Bai’s breathing grow disordered as if there was an urgency to it. Yet it also felt as if he would not take no for an answer.
All of a sudden, Rong Bai’s canine tooth bit down hard on him, causing Song Ci to exclaim out in alarm. In actuality, it was not really that painful, and Rong Bai did not tear through his skin. It just happened too suddenly.
But when Rong Bai heard his cry, he stopped what he was doing and buried his head in Song Ci’s shoulder. He said in a muffled voice, “Who told you to leave without saying a word?”
This abrupt statement stumped Song Ci. Then it hit him that Rong Bai was talking about what happened today. So he explained, “Didn’t I tell you? I just went out for a walk. “
“That’s not allowed too.” Rong Bai was still clinging on to him and refused to get up. He said stubbornly, “You can’t go out for a walk. You have to be with me.”
“What’s wrong with you?” Song Ci asked in puzzlement. “You weren’t like this when I returned earlier today.”
Rong Bai slowly lifted his body and gazed at him intently. Then he sat down opposite him and lowered his eyes, looking somewhat downcast. “I have been alone ever since I was born. It has not been easy for me to have you. You mustn’t leave me.”
Song Ci suddenly realized what was odd about this Rong Bai——He was frank.
His actions and words were all candid and to the point. He never beat around the bush. It was as if he simply did whatever he wanted to do and said whatever he wanted to say.
“What is this place?” Song Ci turned to look at the lady nailed to the tree. “Who is she?”
“This is the realm of my dream.” Rong Bai looked up at the lady and said in a calm voice, “She is…”
“Who is she?” Song Ci saw Rong Bai’s mouth moving, but he could not hear the last half of his words clearly. Just as he was about to probe further, he suddenly opened his eyes and saw the grayish-blue curtain above Rong Bai’s bed.
He blinked and instantly felt sober, all traces of his sleepiness gone. The sky was already bright by now, and the sun shone through the window with glaring rays of sunlight.
He moved his head slightly, only to feel a heaviness on his waist and a ticklish sensation on his shoulders. Looking out of the corners of his eyes, he saw Rong Bai sleeping soundly with a peaceful expression.
Song Ci was more or less getting used to seeing Rong Bai when he woke up from his sleep. Instead, it was the scene in the dream earlier that bothered him.
He never thought he would muddle his way into Rong Bai’s dream. But for him to appear in the lake twice in a row, it couldn’t be that Rong Bai had been making the same dream all this while, could it?
Had he been dreaming of the lady nailed to the tree?
But what did that lady have to do with Rong Bai?
The more Song Ci thought about it, the more curious he became. He simply turned over to his side and stared at Rong Bai, but he did not expect Rong Bai to be merely in a light sleep at this point in time. His movement woke Rong Bai up. It was only after seeing Song Ci that Rong Bai’s blue, bleary eyes began to clear up.
His smile materialized before his eyes were fully opened. He drew back the arms around Song Ci’s waist and took him into an embrace. His voice was hoarse. “Let me hug you for a moment.”
Song Ci discovered that a sober Rong Bai was much more restrained than the Rong Bai in the dream. He would not hold him down and kiss him without a word, nor would he grope him brazenly. Other than hugging him while sleeping, he had never done anything that exceeded boundaries.
Song Ci smiled at him. “You’re awake. You slept so soundly. Did you have a dream?”
Rong Bai nodded and replied without a trace of wariness, “I dreamed of you.”
“What did you dream I was doing?” Song Ci asked again.
But Rong Bai paused for a moment, then replied with a straight face. “I dreamed that you and I got down to business.”
Song Ci probed, “What business?”
Rong Bai thought about it and answered, “Punishing the wicked to uphold justice in support of the righteous way.”