Book 6 Chapter 49: A single question

Instead of looking back at Ah Bai, Si Ma Nan slowly walked to the tower doors. He subconsciously still wanted to keep some distance from her while also wanting to attack Ruan Zhan from closer ranger.

“Hand over the stone!” Si Ma Nan growled. “I’ll end your suffering.”

“I enjoy suffering.” Ruan Zhan’s voice had no strength behind it, but he still didn’t lower his head. There wasn’t any hint of fear or panic in his eyes. “Come and get it if you can!”

Si Ma Nan was furious. He not only wanted the stone and to defeat Ruan Zhan, but also wanted to see his opponent despair the moment before death and beg for mercy. This kid was extremely tough. Having such an opponent fall to him made him feel exceptionally accomplished. However, Ruan Zhan stubbornly refused to give up, greatly diminishing his joy of victory!

With a swish, he pulled a white band from his waist. The band seemed to be made of the same material as his clothing, but it came to life as it left his body, twisting and dancing without any wind. The front of the band was raised high, seeming more like a silvery-white fiendish snake!

Si Ma Nan didn’t speak. He just stared threateningly into Ruan Zhan’s eyes. He didn’t want to be too vicious in front of Ah Bai, but he had to obtain that stone!

After facing off for several seconds and seeing Ruan Zhan show no signs of weakness, Si Ma Nan gritted his teeth and stepped beside the door. He stretched his hand out and “released” the band, holding one end while the other shot towards Ruan Zhan. Before he could react, the white silk wrapped around his neck and dragged him to the door!

The feeling of suffocation made him gasp for air and instinctively claw at the band, trying to pull it off.  However, it seemed to be stuck to his skin as it grew tighter and tighter, forcing all the air from his lungs!

“Give me the stone!” Si Ma Nan said once more.

“No!” ”Ruan Zhan answered without hesitation.

He didn’t have the stone, but if he said so Si Ma Nan would definitely pressure Ah Bai. If Ah Bai refused to hand it over, who knew what methods he would use. If Ah bai did hand it over and fulfill his wishes, it might end up bringing even greater harm to people, including Xiao Xia and Wan Li!

Furthermore, Si Ma Nan had definitely scanned him all over already without managing to find any trace of the stone. Therefore, if he remained silent, Si Ma Nan wouldn’t kill him so easily. He would only torture him and slowly wear him down. He planned to take advantage of Si Ma Nan’s uncertainty and come up with a plan. He wouldn’t give up until the moment he had to kill himself!

“You’re seeking death!” Si Ma Nan gritted his teeth but was also helpless.

About to pass out and without any means of resistance, Ruan Zhan actually laughed. “Since I’m about to die, what does it matter whether I seek it or not?”

Si Ma Nan really wanted to kill Ruan Zhan immediately, but he just couldn’t do so. If Ruan Zhan died, the stone would be gone. Even if Ah Bai could find it, his skin wasn’t thick enough to ask her for it. He didn’t even dare exchange a single word with her.

He reached out. With a twist of his wrist, the snakelike band seemed to have grown barbs. With every move, they cut into Ruan Zhan’s flesh. Although it didn’t threaten his life, it continuously injured him, making his blood flow freely!

Si Ma Nan stood in front of the doors. The others couldn’t see what was going on inside. Ruan Zhan also endured silently. Therefore, only he knew that despite being separated by a single doorway, the situation inside was far from that on the outside.

The one outside didn’t have his powers restricted and could act as he pleased. On the inside, Ruan Zhan not only had his powers sucked away, his stamina was also an issue. Along with the accumulated injuries, he was a piece of meat on the cutting board!

Yet this kid just had such a stiff neck. Even now he still didn’t lower his head. It actually felt like he couldn’t be subdued. Si Ma Nan knew he couldn’t drag things out too long, or it wouldn’t be advantageous for him. He couldn’t help but feel anxious.

While keeping Ruan Zhan restrained, he used the other hand to inflict various punishments upon his body. He wanted Ruan Zhan to give in from the pain, but after trying everything, the result was the same: useless!

“That stone is of no use to you, why not give it to me?” His face was twisted from anger.

“Won’t…give!” Ruan Zhan stubbornly spat two words from his throat.

He wasn’t being foolish. He wanted Si Ma Nan angry because he couldn’t come up with any ideas. He could only kill himself, so he had to gather some strength. It wasn’t possible to do so inside the tower, but since he was close to the doors, the suppression wasn’t as strong. Furthermore, what he was gathering this time was psychic power.

A person with strong willpower who knew how to wield it could gather a very powerful force.

It was almost dawn and Si Ma Nan was unable to endure much longer. He would definitely use a killing blow soon before slowly searching his corpse for the stone. His opportunity had come!

Having gathered his mental strength, he just needed to abandon his own life and become a spirit body. While Si Ma Nan was distracted by the unexpected move, he would toss him into the lake and allow those hungry ghosts to keep him tied up.

That would give him enough time to rescue Xiao Xia and Ah Bai, before coming up with other plans!

His chance was fleeting, and he had to seize it!

He raised his blood-covered eyes and saw Si Ma Nan drawing a seal, about to cast the killing blow. He also secretly stretched out his finger and reached between his brows as if to wipe away the blood. In reality, he was about to abandon his life and allow his soul to escape. If there was only one chance at survival, he would let Xiao Xia have it!

For a moment, Si Ma Nan looked at Ruan Zhan with pity and Ruan Zhan looked back without any weakness. The two stretched their fingers out at the same time!

It was at this moment a thrum sounded from the awnings. It sounded like the snapping of an instrument’s string.

The scene was too quiet. The people beneath the awnings, both Xiao Xia and Hong Hao Hao, had been anxiously watching the proceedings by the tower. Ah Bai had been like a block of wood the entire time, completely silent. Therefore, everyone heard the snapping sound despite how soft it was. For some reason, the sound seemed to have come from each of their hearts, turning their scalps numb from the vibration.

When the sound rang out, Si Ma Nan shivered all over and turned around instinctively.

Ah Bai stirred and slowly walked towards Si Ma Nan under everyone’s astonished gazes. Si Ma Nan, on the other hand, watched Ah Bai draw closer. He actually couldn’t move his feet, staring blankly as she walked over!

“I…I don’t know how she got free!” Hong Hao Hao was the first to snap out of it and tried to defend herself.

However, no one paid attention to her. They were all drawn to Ah Bai’s actions. Hong Hao Hao wanted to saw something else, or perhaps add another seal, when she noticed with shock that there was a long trail of blood behind Ah Bai.

She was a ghost, one who had been dead for many years. There shouldn’t be any blood. That was something only humans had. However, Ah Bai truly had a startling, vivid and wet trail of red behind her. Each step left a thread behind, as if part of her body was crumbling and turning to blood!

Standing higher up, Si Ma Nan not only saw the trail of blood, but he also saw her face as he stood across from her. Two streaks of blood ran from her eyes, like bloody tears!

Si Ma Nan was startled. He understood what she had done.

She had used the last of her spirit power to sever one part of her soul. This allowed her to escape the restrictions of the seal! However, this would cause enormous harm to herself. Missing part of a soul would lead to suffering in the other world. It would even cause a ton of problems if she were to reincarnate. Besides, he had done something similar before. He knew how unbearable it was!

Why would she do that? Was it because she wanted him to face her, or was it to help Ruan Zhan? What made her do something so vicious to herself. For whose sake was she so reckless?!

“Don’t force him.” Ah Bai spoke softly and looked at the panting Ruan Zhan. “If he hadn’t promised not to kill you before I could see you, he might not necessarily be on the losing end at this moment.”

“Ah Bai, don’t get involved in matters between men!” Si Ma Nan stammered in a hoarse voice. Being forced to face her, he still felt uneasy. There was a numbing pain, an inexplicable feeling.

“But, don’t kill him! Xiao Xia will be sad.” Ah Bai’s voice contained a hint of pleading.

Si Ma Nan felt the urge to comply for a moment, but seeing Ruan Zhan’s stubborn expression, malice rose in his heart again. He couldn’t let Ruan Zhan off. He was already unable to subdue him now. With a little more time, Ruan Zhan would definitely become a calamity for him. Their thoughts and goals differed, and there were many grudges and connections between them. There was absolutely no chance of them resolving their enmity. If he didn’t kill him today, he would never be at peace!

“Ah Bai, you are after all my wife. Why would you help him?” He furrowed his brow, raising the issue he was most hung up about.

Ruan Zhan snorted behind him, “Wife? To think you’d be able to say that!”

Si Ma Nan didn’t look back, but he understood Ruan Zhan was referring to him trapping Ah Bai’s soul in the dried well. He was in the wrong. He had let her down. He wasn’t able to refute it.

“Yes, you must have had your reasons for doing so.” Ah Bai saw Si Ma Nan’s lips move soundlessly and gave a miserable smile. “Every time you want to do something, I become unimportant. However, I don’t begrudge you!”

“Ah Bai…”

“I know you want me to choose, but I’ve already told Ruan Zhan I won’t help either side.” Ah Bai sighed. Although she looked distressed with two streaks of blood down her face, she instead seemed extremely beautiful. “If I said that I knew you were doing something wrong, but because I kept thinking about you, always, always thinking about you, so I didn’t want to betray you, would you believe it?”

He believed it! How could he not?! He knew better than anyone that Ah Bai definitely wouldn’t lie to him. He just couldn’t respond. The moment Ah Bai appeared, his heart was completely in turmoil. Although he still didn’t want to let Ruan Zhan off, he was a little uncertain how to proceed.

“Then…go elsewhere for now.” Si Ma Nan said in a hoarse voice. “Once everything is over, I’ll go find you. I promise you. As long as Ruan Zhan remains obedient, I won’t touch a single hair on Yue Xiao Xia’s head!”

Ah Bai stood still, merely shaking her beautiful head.

“What, you don’t believe me?” Si Ma Nan asked, but immediately realized she really didn’t have any reason to trust him. After all, he was the one who had lied to her and trapped her.

“I believe you. As long as it’s you saying it, I’ll believe anything.” Ah Bai’s abnormally firm voice even made Si Ma Nan feel unworthy of her feelings. He involuntarily felt guilty.

“Then why don’t you leave? Listen to me and leave. There will come a day when you’ll understand what I’m doing this for.”

“I’m not leaving, but I’m not here to cling onto you either. Since you left back then, it means I might not be that important to you. In that case, I won’t come make things difficult for you either. I’m here to ask you a question before giving you this.” Ah Bai stretched out her hand. In her delicate palm, in front of Si Ma Nan’s eyes, was the mysterious red stone.

Si Ma Nan was taken aback. He instinctively looked at Ruan Zhan, whose expression was calm, as if he hadn’t heard anything. There was no smugness at having tricked him successfully.

“Why is it with you? The one in his hands is a counterfeit?”

“There are no counterfeits. Ruan Zhan interjected, “It was just bait to lure you into the tower. You were too greedy for the stone, not even checking whether it was real.”

Si Ma Nan fell silent. However, he didn’t spare any attention for Ruan Zhan’s words. Instead, he was completely focused on that small red stone. It was something he dreamt about obtaining, and something he failed to find with all his efforts. Now, Ah Bai was holding it in front of him. Should he snatch it? No, that’s not right. Ah Bai said she wanted to give it to him. But why?

When he accidentally learned about this mysterious stone, he had also found out about its miraculous effects. It was able to help him achieve his dreams, so he had always wanted to obtain it. He figured the stone must be a treasure of witchcraft. No matter how much Ah Bai loved him, she wouldn’t give it to him. Therefore, he never dared let Ah Bai know about his desire, afraid she would become guarded against him. Then it would be even harder to obtain. After Ah Bai’s death, he searched everywhere but still couldn’t find it.

However, from the current situation, it seemed she was going to give it to him?

“You want to give it to me?” He asked with a bit of disbelief.

“Yes, I do.” Ah Bai smiled gently, as if reminiscing. “Actually, I always knew you wanted it. I was also waiting for you to ask, but you never did. And I didn’t take the initiative to hand it over, because I wanted to keep you by my side. Please forgive me.”

“You’re going to give it to me now?”

Ah Bai nodded, “Yes. I’ve decided to forget everything in this world and reincarnate into the next life. Therefore…”

“You’re leaving me?” The news left a void in Si Ma Nan’s heart. He blurted out the question.

Ah Bai didn’t speak for a moment, merely reaching out and lightly touching Si Ma Nan’s face. Her gaze was filled with sorrow and affection. “The Chinese have an appropriate saying: Even with a canopy thousands of miles long, every banquet must eventually come to an end. No matter how much I love you, I must still let go in the end.”

Ah Bai’s words were so sad, filling Si Ma Nan’s heart with both warmth and coldness. It wasn’t clear if the discomfort was from being about to obtain the stone, or being about to lose Ah Bai. He involuntarily spoke the words he had suppressed all this time.

“No, Ah Bai. Time has no end. There is no finality to worldly matters.” Si Ma Nan spoke loudly. “Listen to me. As long as you are willing to give me the stone, I’ll have a way.”

“You are free to take anything of mine. Yet before giving you this stone, you must answer a single question.” Ah Bai raised the stone in front of Si Ma Nan as she spoke.

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