“What?” Xiao Xia hurriedly asked after seeing Wan Li’s strange expression.
“Nothing!” Wan Li brushed it aside.
He was probably being paranoid, or perhaps it was his trauma of mountains and forests. Even if there really had been something, there was no need to let Xiao Xia know. He only had three days to live. Technically, since he was struck by the Gu last night, he only had two more days. In the time he had left, he wanted to see Xiao Xia smile unconcernedly!
“Was it really nothing?” Xiao Xia didn’t really believe it and looked outside.
She and Wan Li were side by side on the bed, which was against the window. However, Wan Li was taller by twenty centimeters and he was on the inside, so her sight was obstructed.
When she looked, everything outside was dark. Apart from the layers of shadows cast by the swaying trees, there wasn’t anything abnormal. However, the tranquility seemed to contain something uncertain.
She was jumpy due to Wan Li’s matter. The slightest breeze would make her feel something evil was about to harm them. She hadn’t felt anything while listening to Wan Li’s long story, but now that it was silent, she started worrying again.
Her intuition had always been very accurate, and she currently had a very bad feeling.
“There really isn’t anything. My vision has always been better than yours!” Wan Li pulled her back to her seat. “What are you looking out the window for? Listen to my tales of valor!”
“Isn’t your mouth dry yet? You still want to tell stories?! Let me get you a glass of water!” Xiao Xia turned on the lights. She felt Wan Li’s voice was a little frail and was very worried.
The light wasn’t strong but it was enough to be glaring since they had been sitting in the dark for a while. It took some times for their eyes to adjust.
“I’m not an invalid. I’m not used to you acting this way. Huh, it does make me sound weird when I put it like that. To think I’m more used to you hitting me or yelling at me. Sit still, will you? Listen to me brag a little.”
“Aren’t you done with the story? You said there were two and a half stories. You’ve told me two of them already, and I don’t feel like listening to the half story now. Tell me when we get back home.” Xiao Xia stopped Wan Li.
She felt that if he didn’t finish that half story, he wouldn’t die. Therefore, she refused to listen!
“That’s not it. I didn’t get to the most exciting part. It was the only harvest from our tragic trip.”
Xiao Xia didn’t speak. She knew it was about Ruan Zhan’s college girlfriend’s change of heart. She had overheard it, but she couldn’t say anything. Otherwise, Wan Li would realize she knew everything about his situation.
“After the event, I managed to snatch Ah Zhan’s girlfriend.” Wan Li said obliviously. “Well, it’s not really snatching. I can only say Nana reevaluated her choice. Perhaps Ah Zhan had been too busy helping everyone that night and didn’t have time to take special care of her, making her feel he didn’t care about her. Instead, I was by her side the whole time and made her feel safe. However, I always felt Ah Zhan didn’t care for Nana that much. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have let it rest after just fighting me once. He was already famous for being an iceberg in college. Nana didn’t manage to melt the slightest layer, unlike….” Wan Li suddenly stopped speaking and glanced at Xiao Xia, swallowing the rest of his words.
However, Xiao Xia didn’t notice the implicit meaning. She had been paying close attention to Wan Li’s complexion instead, and felt it seemed to be getting worse. She didn’t know if it was just in her mind.
“How’s she now? I mean Nana.” Xiao Xia asked casually.
“She, oh…she died!” Wan Li’s voice became gloomy.
“Ah, sorry, sorry. I didn’t know. I shouldn’t have asked.”
“No, it’s fine.” Wan Li smiled. “This is where you and my wife…no, my ex-wife, are different. She would never stop asking about it, and we ended up divorcing because of it. She blamed me for being unable to forget Nana. She wanted to be the only one in my heart. Actually, she never understood that I couldn’t forget. That was my youth, and Nana was just part of it.”
“As if you’re that much older now!” Xiao Xia rebuked. “You…still miss her?”
“No need to miss her. They’ll be reuniting very soon.” A sharp, androgynous voice suddenly interrupted them. It was coming from the door!
There was a cat crouching there. Its body was completely black, as if it melded into the night. It had an unusually large head with two unusually large eyes that glowed coldly green. It seemed vicious, cold and sinister!
The two on the bed were startled. Xiao Xia jumped up, holding the bloodwood sword Ruan Zhan had left her so tightly her knuckles turned white.
Ever since they turned on the lights, there hadn’t been anything by the door. Furthermore, the door had been shut this whole time! Unless something had leapt in silently while their eyes were still adjusting to the light, and remained hidden in the corner until now.
Yet Ruan Zhan had laid a formation down. How could it enter without any harm? This meant that the cat wasn’t something from the underworld. It was a true physical form, a monster that was being controlled by “someone”.
It looked extremely familiar. It was the same cat Xiao Xia had seen at the office building! The question was…could it speak?
“What nonsense are you saying?” Xiao Xia refuted probingly.
“It’s not nonsense, it’s a eulogy. He’s going to die soon!” The black cat once again spoke, startling Xiao Xia into retreating and sitting back onto the bed. However, she noticed that the cat’s mouth hadn’t moved. It seemed to be a ventriloquist act, or perhaps someone was controlling it behind the scenes.
“No, he won’t die!” Xiao Xia yelled angrily. She leapt up, intending to drive the cat away but it avoided her agilely like a gust of black wind.
“Black cats are ill omens! Watch if you don’t believe me!” It leapt onto the closet by the door, its eyes staring towards the bamboo bed.
Xiao Xia turned to look. Wan Li had started looking off at some point. He stood rigidly by the bed, his teeth gritted and his fists clenched. Sweat trickled down his forehead and he seemed to be enduring tremendous suffering. Dark clouds hung over his face like flowing shadows!
“What’s wrong?” Xiao Xia was terrified.
She was scared of that speaking cat, yet that fear paled compared to the terror she felt at Wan Li’s impending death!
“Don’t come over!” Wan Li raised his hand and prevented her from coming to support him.
Yet before he touched Xiao Xia, he hurriedly withdrew his hand. Furthermore, he clasped his hands together tightly! He forced himself not to groan in pain, yet his rough breathing showed how much he was suffering!
“Wan Li!” Xiao Xia didn’t know what to do and took a step forward.
“I said don’t come closer!” He roared at her in a tone he had never used before, and forced himself to move towards the window, further from Xiao Xia.
“What’s going on?” Xiao Xia involuntarily walked forward again. She saw him draw blood from biting his lips, and his clothes were soon completely soaked in sweat.
“The Gu poison is acting up, and he’s resisting it!” That black cat spoke again. “The Gu is compelling him to tear your clothes off for me to admire, yet he’s not willing to do it!”
“What?” The answer shocked Xiao Xia, and she immediately felt humiliated. She, Yue Xiao Xia, was being sexually harassed by a cat?!
“You perverted cat!” She was both angry and worried for Wan Li. Therefore, she raised the bloodwood sword and went after the cat. After many attempts, several things had been knocked over and she was panting in exhaustion. However, she hadn’t been able to harm the black cat in the slightest. It wasn’t a spirit since it cast a shadow under the light. Along with Xiao Xia’s lack of abilities, there was nothing she could do to it!
“If you have time to waste killing me, you might as well try and prevent him from dying in pain!” That black cat giggled.
Xiao Xia grew flustered. She felt that laughing, talking cat wasn’t lying so she turned to look at Wan Li. Seeing him endure the enormous pain, a thought came to her mind. After a brief struggle, she said ruthlessly, “Fine. No need for him to do it. I’ll take them off myself as long as you let him go!” As she spoke, she undid her top button with gritted teeth.
“Meow…” The black cat cried out in satisfaction.
“Don’t!” Wan Li shouted. “Can’t you…tell?” The pain made his words come in bursts. “It isn’t the one who wants to see. The person looking through the cat’s eyes is trying to humiliate you. You can’t…I’d rather die…than see you get disgraced! Ah….” Wan Li finally cried out in pain. A formless force sent him toppling backwards, making him crash against the window.
Sweat trickled into his eyes, blurring his vision for a moment. However, he suddenly saw someone standing within the trees across from their wooden building. The person was impeccably dressed and refined, and was looking in their direction!
Wan Li shook his head fiercely, wiped away the sweat, and was able to discern the person’s face!
So it was him!
That person was laughing smugly and Wan Li recognized the face. “Xiao Xia, the mastermind…the mastermind is…is…” Before he could speak the name out loud, an indescribable pain struck him. It was as if his organs were shattered into pieces, making him unable to breathe. Then, he collapsed to the floor!
“Wan Li!” Xiao Xia screamed and went to support him. She saw his entire face covered in darkness. It was no longer flowing, covering his face like a shroud.
She tried to wipe it away with her hand but it was no use. Wan Li lay unmoving as if he were dead. His breathing was also sporadic, as if he would pass away at any time.
“Your master was the one who cast the Gu, right?” Xiao Xia grew wild with rage. “It’s definitely your master! Take me to him!” She put Wan Li down, picked up the bloodwood sword and rushed at the black cat.
“Meow…” The cat cried out disdainfully and easily avoided Xiao Xia. Then, it looked at her, as if to say, “Come if you dare!”
She knew the others must have been put under a spell so there would be no help forthcoming. Wan Li’s life hung like a mountain upon her heart, making her almost lose her reason. She followed the black cat out without regard for her own life or safety.
She had to save Wan Li. She couldn’t let him die!
The dark before the dawn was a murky darkness that was too dense to penetrate. Anything that entered it would become part of the darkness.
Xiao Xia ran wildly into the woods, one step at a time. She couldn’t see the black cat clearly and relied on the sound of its leaping about, as well as those glowing green eyes.
If the black cat wanted to escape, Xiao Xia definitely wouldn’t be able to catch up. However, it seemed to be luring her somewhere, and would stop every now and then to check if she was keeping up. When she got close, it would turn and start running. She couldn’t catch up but she also wouldn’t lose it. She ran the entire way, without any time to catch her breath.
Xiao Xia could only see the cat’s eyes in the darkness. Although her legs were growing heavy, she gritted her teeth and refused to give up.
Wan Li, hold on. I’m going to save you! She cried out silently in her mind.
She didn’t know where it was taking her. It was very likely a trap, but with the bloodwood sword in hand and since she was Wan Li’s only lifeline, her courage multiplied and she disregarded everything. She followed the cat deeper and deeper in to the woods. However, she didn’t know that this path lead to the back of the mountains. That was where the villagers buried their dead…it was a graveyard!
There was suddenly an object on the uneven path, making Xiao Xia crash to the floor. The rocks and twigs on the ground dug into her and scraped her skin. However, she couldn’t worry about it. Afraid she would lose the cat, she immediately got up. However, perhaps she was too exhausted so she crashed back down heavily. Since she was holding onto the bloodwood sword, she wasn’t able to brace herself. The thing that tripped her earlier dug into her ribs sharply!
“Meow…” The cat’s voice sounded out, filled with ridicule. Xiao Xia’s anger flared up.
After forcing herself to get up, she grabbed at the thing that tripped her and flung it at the cat. However, as her hand shot out, she forced it back.
In her hand was an embroidered shoe! There were various flowers embroidered on the shoe, making it rather beautiful. However, it was extremely worn!
It was that weirdo’s shoe. She heard Ruan Zhan mention this person before! He said this person was the key to solving the riddle!
Was the weirdo close by? Could she have stumbled across the person Ruan Zhan had been trying in vain to find?!
She swiftly got up and looked around at the trees. However, the only things she saw were the trees and the weeds.
“Hey, are you there? Please, come out!” She called out lightly, timidly. Although her voice wasn’t loud, it echoed throughout the woods and spread very far. Unfortunately, no one responded.
She cleared her throat and wanted to call out again. However, she felt a gust of cold wind rushing at her. She instinctively dodged and narrowly avoided the black cat’s attack!
“Meow…” It cried out. Those green eyes were glaring, as though reproaching Xiao Xia for not continuing to follow it.
Then, as if realizing Xiao Xia was no longer on the hook, and was instead searching for someone else in the woods, it arched its back to attack once again.
Xiao Xia subconsciously raised the bloodwood sword. Seeing this, the black cat was forced to leap elsewhere. Clearly, despite not being afraid of the sword, it was still cautious.
However, it was too agile. Although Xiao Xia had the treasure in hand, she wasn’t able to unleash its true powers and she was too slow. Therefore, after a few rounds her arms and neck had been scratched by the cat in several places. The cat seemed to be saying that unless she followed it, it wouldn’t rest until she was clawed to death.
“Follow me!” It spoke once again.
Xiao Xia didn’t speak. She watched it vigilantly, holding the embroidered shoe tightly. Her body language indicated that she would no longer take that risk to save Wan Li. She had found a different opportunity!
It called out once again, this time sounding as if it were crying. Then, it pounced towards Xiao Xia, targeting her eyes.
Xiao Xia cried out and ducked, narrowly avoiding her eyes being dug out. Right as she was defenseless and afraid of another attack, a voice sounded by her ear.
That voice chanted something she couldn’t understand in a level tone, as though chanting a hymn. Then, Xiao Xia saw another pair of glowing green eyes at the edge of the trees!
The black cat let out a tragic cry and ran off!