However, Ruan Zhan was unable to calm down. He was both worried and had lingering fears.
He was worried because the reason he left his stable life of two years was to realign his emotions which were gradually going off-track. He wanted to return to his previous calm. However, despite travelling all over and seeing all sorts of wonders, Xiao Xia’s figure would always accidentally make its way into his mind, stirring him up. Because of this, he had started believing in fate. Perhaps he had owed her in his past life, and was fated to settle his debt in this one.
He had lingering fears because it was lucky he had been thinking of her, forging a strong link between their minds. Otherwise, if he had arrived just a little later, he would have lost her forever.
What person would use such an insidious move? If he hadn’t sensed Xiao Xia’s plight and arrived in the nick of time, she would have died within that world. There wouldn’t be any marks on her body and her soul would forever be unable to reincarnate. This was because someone without powers would be trapped by the spell unless it was ended or unless they received outside help.
This was a taboo technique and it was rather high-end. It needed very strong magic power. It wouldn’t be used without an extremely good reason. Even he had only heard his father speak about it. Today was his first time seeing it. According to his father, the person casting the spell would also be at risk in the dream realm. If someone forced their way in from the outside, they could learn the caster’s secrets, or give the caster the greatest blow if so desired.
The dream realm was a person’s innermost desires and truths. No one could disguise themselves in the dream realm. Therefore, their weaknesses would also be exposed. Furthermore, the caster was also part of the dreamkill spell. Even as the creator of the dream realm, they couldn’t remain uninvolved.
Then, based on the previous situation, how should he determine who the caster was? What was his goal?
Tomorrow. Tomorrow he will return to his previous life which was no longer quite the same, and figure this secret out.
Tomorrow, he will see Xiao Xia once again. The person who disturbed his peace yet filled his heart, making it palpitate yet also forcing him to keep his distance.
The next day, Xiao Xia was unable to sit still the entire time. When dinner time came and the person she was waiting for had yet to arrive, she seemed about to despair.
Dinner for the two who were equally bad at cooking meant delivered fast food along with a randomly stir-fried vegetable dish.
“If only Ruan Zhan were here.” Wan Li grumbled, frowning at the murky plate of vegetables he had stir-fried.
Hearing him bring up Ruan Zhan’s name, Xiao Xia’s heart leapt and she subconsciously looked outside the door.
“When we were in college, the cafeteria food was completely inedible. Our pockets were too empty to go eat out at restaurants. At that time, Ruan Zhan would sometimes cook in the dorm’s kitchen. We would always follow the fragrant smell and freeload off him. He wasn’t able to hide no matter how he tried. Then, I decided to move into his dorm. Hehe….” Recalling the past, Wan Li smiled delightedly. “That damn fellow’s cold and aloof act was already attracting a bunch of girls. After they found out about his cooking skills, he became publicly known as the school’s number one guy. Even someone as handsome and talented as me was outranked by him. Whenever there were any school activities, the guys would always check if he was going. If he was, they would prepare themselves to be ignored by the girls. Hey, what are you looking around for? Aren’t you going to eat my dish?”
“Will I get food poisoning?” Xiao Xia absentmindedly stirred the weirdly-colored dish.
“I suggested ordering takeout but you weren’t willing.” Wan Li noticed Xiao Xia was off. “You wouldn’t be waiting for someone, would you?”
Xiao Xia hesitated for a moment. She just really wanted to keep Ruan Zhan’s return a secret. Something for her to look forward to sweetly, her chest filled with indescribable emotions. Could she tell Wan Li this? He was her good friend, but not a close female friend.
“Actually, someone plotted against me again last night.” Xiao Xia no longer concealed the matter. “Furthermore…Ruan Zhan called and said he would come back today.”
“What happened? Why didn’t I notice anything? Why didn’t you wake me?” Wan Li was startled.
“I wanted to, but I was trapped in an illusion and couldn’t escape. After waking up, I wasn’t sure whether or not it was a dream. I was afraid you would assume it was my mind playing tricks and force me into one of those straitjackets.” She joked, trying to calm her unsettled heart. However, she was also telling the truth. Last night’s events truly didn’t feel real, unless that person returned.
“Don’t worry, I would never treat you that way.” Wan Li looked at Xiao Xia’s wandering eyes and suddenly felt her pensive appearance was very beautiful. “Ruan Zhan will also be back. If he said so, then he will definitely do it.”
“Then let’s wait for him to eat dinner, ok?”
“It’s better if I took you guys out. Who wants to eat Wan Li’s crappy cooking?” A familiar voice sounded from the door.
Xiao Xia and Wan Li looked over at the voice and saw Ruan Zhan standing there looking travel worn. He had gotten a little darker. When he stepped into the bar, the space immediately felt warmer.
“Where did you run off to you scoundrel?” Wan Li stood without moving, his tone unwelcoming. However, his body language revealed his joy. “I thought you got abducted by some Indian lady to be her cheap groom. So, was the bride beautiful?”
“Sounds like something you’d be interested in.” Ruan Zhan walked in as he spoke. “Looks like you’re also doing pretty well. Still alive, at least.”
“Would you be able to see me if I wasn’t?”
“Right, I forgot you were the high priest who can communicate with yin and yang.” Wan Li went and snatched Ruan Zhan’s simple luggage. “I’ll help you take it upstairs. Since you said you’re treating us, you just need to prepare a large amount of cash for our meal. I want to eat a huge meal this time, to the point of bursting.”
“If you don’t end up bursting, I’ll use a silencing talisman so you won’t be able to mouth off ever again.”
“See, he’s threatening me.” Wan Li turned to the silent Xiao Xia. “He clearly knows I love to talk, and insists on using this to scare me. You know what that’s called? Abusing his powers. Help me argue with him, I’ll leave it to you.” He finished speaking and ran up the stairs.
The moment he left, the atmosphere in the room immediately became ambiguous. Ruan Zhan slowly walked to Xiao Xia’s side.
“Are you alright?” He spoke politely without thinking, giving her a glance. He saw her lonely appearance in front of the bar and the empty space made her seem especially delicate in contrast. His heart slightly twisted.
He subconsciously stretched out his hand to cup her slightly haggard face, but stopped halfway and grabbed the chopsticks from her hand instead. “You’re really brave, daring to eat his cooking.”
“I came back late today and he had already finished cooking. Almost burned down your kitchen.”
“It’s fine, I’ll have him pay for it.”
The two looked at each other and smiled. Their eyes met, but no more words came out.
It shouldn’t be this way, Xiao Xia thought.
She thought she would have welcomed him delightedly, and even exchange a hug between friends who haven’t seen each other for a while. She didn’t expect to be so nervous. Not only was she unable to find anything to say, her heart was also pounding wildly. She had never acted polite with him, treating him the same as anyone else and bugging him shamelessly. How did her feelings towards him completely change just because he left for a bit? No, she had to get back to normal. How were they supposed to work together in the future if things were so awkward?
She leapt off the stool, wanting to dispel the awkward atmosphere. She didn’t expect that her jumping off would end up bringing her closer to him, almost bumping into his chest. Her face immediately heated up and she hurriedly turned away.
Luckily Wan Li was quick in coming back down, rescuing Xiao Xia from her predicament. They then all went to eat a sumptuous meal, but Xiao Xia didn’t really speak much the entire night. She watched as Ruan Zhan and Wan Li bickered endlessly. Although they exchanged barbs, it overlaid their friendship.