Translated by liyou ft. 1 paragraph by seal. Edited by seal.
Because, the one who created this array wasn’t even you, it was me!
The lowly cultivator outside the Luomei Garden Villa was sweeping the fallen dragontree leaves on the white limestone.
All of a sudden, a pair of black military boots appeared in his line of sight. The cultivator paused the movement of his hands, smiling as he raised his head to turn him away politely, “Sir, it is not yet dark. Our villa opens its doors at xushi1[戌时 – around 7-9pm], would you like to return slightly later–”
Before he even finished speaking, his eyes widened when he could finally make out the person’s features, shocked into dropping his broom.
That cultivator was tongue-tied. “Xi, Xihe-Jun?!??”
Mo Xi stood out, tall and imposing, in his military uniform; the front of his robes were tightly crossed and layered, his decorated collar not one bit out of place. He looked as respectable as any gentleman could be. He said, “I’m looking for someone.”
“??!” The lowly cultivator’s jaw nearly dropped in astonishment.
This was Luomei Garden Villa, and Xihe-Jun was renowned for his abstinence. Coming to a brothel of his own accord to look for someone? Was the sun going to rise from the west?!!
Mo Xi’s expression was frosty as ice, his glare terrifying. “What are you looking at. I can’t enter?”
“Nonono,” The cultivator led him in hastily. “This way, this way.” Then he asked, stammering, “Who is Xihe-Jun looking for?”
Mo Xi was silent for a while, turned his face to the side, and said expressionlessly, “Gu Mang.”
“Oh, oh! So you’re looking for him…” The lowly cultivator regained his bearings, and heaved a sigh of relief.
Though Xihe-Jun visiting a brothel was extraordinarily odd for him, Xihe-Jun looking for Gu Mang was reasonable. After all, the two of them harboured such deep hatred for each other; it was perfectly normal for Xihe-Jun to look for Gu Mang to take his anger out on him, when he was in a bad mood.
Mo Xi followed the lowly cultivator and successfully entered the Luomei Garden Villa. As they walked, the lowly cultivator told Mo Xi, “Xihe-Jun, Gu Mang’s in the run-down, filthy house in the backyard. When you enter, in a while, be more mindful of your clothes, take care not to dirty them.”
Mo Xi frowned. “Why would he be there?”
“En, it’s a long story. Didn’t Wangshu-Jun assign him punishment previously? So we set him to hard labour in the yard, chopping firewood and the like. But, a few days ago, he was probably starving, and went as far to sneak into the kitchen in the middle of the night to steal meat buns.”
“What happened afterwards.”
“It’ll have been fine if he had stolen one or two, he wouldn’t have been discovered, but he simply had to be like the reincarnation of a hungry ghost and eat four entire steamers of buns in one go. When the cook went to check, he was still inside, hugging the buns to himself and munching away. Of course the cook wasn’t happy, and charged up to him to settle the issue. In the end…”
Mo Xi swept his gaze across his suddenly fearful expression, and said, “Was it that the cook used his fists on him, and triggered the sword array on him?”
“Ai! Yes, has Xihe-Jun seen that array too?”
Mo Xi didn’t reply, but an inscrutable light rippled in his eyes. His eyelashes fluttered, and he lowered them.
“That cook went overboard in beating and scolding him. Gu Mang resisted really strongly, after the sword array was activated, the cook couldn’t retreat in time and was cut until he was bloody all over.” The cultivator rubbed at the goosebumps on the back of his hands. “Aiyo, it’s a few hundred gashes, it’s scary.”
Mo Xi was silent for a beat, then asked, “Is he fine?”
“He’s fine, he’s fine, that sword array wasn’t overpowering. Even though there are a lot of wounds, they’re all superficial ones.” He paused, then said, “Actually, Xihe-Jun doesn’t have to worry, that cook is also a damned traitor captured from the Liao kingdom. Him fighting with Gu Mang is like a dog biting another dog.”
“After this incident happened, the madam was furious, and locked Gu Mang in the woodshed. At first, we gave him a steamed cornbread every day, but the madam said, we have to be more unforgiving, and give him only a bowl of porridge every day, in order to let him suffer.” The cultivator paused. “Xihe-Jun, why not let me get some men to tie him up for you? That array of his is too dangerous. The injured cook is still lying in his room, completely wrapped up like a dumpling, he probably won’t be able to leave his bed for a month or two.”
“No need.” Mo Xi’s expression was indecipherable. After a pause, he said, “I’ll go look for him alone.”
Since he didn’t need to entertain customers, Gu Mang stayed in the most desolate shed in the Luomei Garden Villa.
It was said that a lone wolf could hardly survive on his own, and Gu Mang’s body had been forged with great similarity to that of a wolf in the wild. He feared loneliness, and frequently muttered to himself; terrified, the people in the Luomei Garden Villa procured him a black dog to be his companion.
That black dog was currently sitting at the entrance of that run-down shed. Once it saw a stranger approach, it immediately started barking madly. Mo Xi’s gaze was sharp as a knife; with one look at it, the dog froze, and drooped at once.
“Xihe-Jun, this dog is afraid of you, eh.”
…Bullshit. He had killed so many people, and this was only a dog, how could he be unable to deal with it? Mo Xi’s black military boots climbed the few stone steps, then, he pulled aside the heavy curtain in the doorway, his gaze sweeping across the dark, small and narrow room.
Different from the extravagant furnishings of other places in the Luomei Garden Villa, the four walls of this small shed were bare and simple. Other than a pile of hay, firewood, and a few jars, there was nothing else.
Like a wild beast, Gu Mang was curled up in a dim corner. Upon hearing that someone had arrived, he twitched his ears, and silently raised his head to glance over.
The accompanying cultivator hurriedly said, “Xihe-Jun, be careful, he’s harbouring enmity to anyone right now, and will retaliate very strongly.”
Yet Mo Xi seemed like he didn’t care, only gave a shallow nod of his head. “You may leave.”
The lowly cultivator was a little hesitant–even though Wangshu-Jun always said that it was alright if they caused Gu Mang’s death, everyone knew not to take it seriously. If Gu Mang really died, all of them wouldn’t be able to escape the consequences.
Looking at how much General Mo hated Gu Mang, it wasn’t likely that he’d wait for a discreet, opportune moment to quarter him…
Mo Xi said, “I’d like to be alone with him for a while.”
The lowly cultivator saw the somber look in his eyes and didn’t dare to say anything else, only lowered his head and said, “Yes.”
After the cultivator had left them, Mo Xi uncurled the hand that was holding the curtain. The heavy and dirty curtain cascaded down behind him. In an instant, the house descended into darkness–there was not even a single candle or lamp here.
In the darkness, only Gu Mang’s bright pair of eyes shone.
Mo Xi frowned, suddenly feeling something amiss–
What had happened to his eyes?
A ball of fire ignited in his palm as soon as he raised his hand. Carrying that ball of fire, Mo Xi walked towards those two points of light.
Having been locked up for five days, Gu Mang’s mind was somewhat muddled, in addition, he had gone too long without seeing this sort of glaring light. He first emitted a low, threatening sound from his throat; upon discovering that the other didn’t intend to halt his steps, he tried to escape, like a wounded animal. But he was truly too weak, stumbling and falling to the floor again after two steps.
Mo Xi stood firm in front of him. The firelight finally spilled onto Gu Mang’s appallingly disheveled form. Seeing that there was no hope of escape, Gu Mang turned his head around to glare at him–
It was indeed awry.
During their previous two meetings, due to the hazy candlelight and the great turbulence of his emotions, Mo Xi had not actually looked too closely at Gu Mang’s face. Until this moment, in which he discovered that Gu Mang’s eyes were, in fact, different from before.
The dark eyes of his memories that always contained laughter in them were gone. In their place, was a pair of deep blue eyes, glittering in the dimness.
They were undoubtedly the eyes of a snow wolf.
Even though he knew that the Liao kingdom carried out reforging of a bestial nature on Gu Mang, upon personally witnessing the features of a wolf replace what he was once familiar with, Mo Xi’s hand trembled anyway.
He grabbed Gu Mang’s chin roughly, gaze boring into those ocean-blue eyes.
Who was this?
Who was this?!!
The flames in his other hand flickered even more dangerously with their owner’s rage, their light nearly turning white, illuminating Gu Mang’s face. While his gaze, like a dagger, scoured savagely across Gu Mang’s body.
Perhaps his gaze was too scorching, that Gu Mang summoned energy out of nowhere to shake his hand off, and struggled another few steps forward.
Mo Xi commanded sharply, “Stay where you are!”
The fireball hung in the air. One of his hands had already closed tightly around Gu Mang’s elbow.
He came on too ferociously, and truly provoked Gu Mang this time round. All he saw was few blinding rays of blue light flashing past as the sword array was triggered once more, countless of indistinct light swords exploding outwards from Gu Mang’s body. As one, all the blades of light turned and hurtled towards Mo Xi–about to splatter blood everywhere!
But in this electrifying instant, a strange thing happened.
Once those light swords touched Mo Xi, they melted into crystalline-looking feathers, slowly floating to the ground……
Gu Mang froze where he was, numb. Yet, Mo Xi seemed like he had known that the sword array would be useless against him. He expended force, and brought the still-dazed person to him.
“……” Gu Mang was stunned for a moment more, before he suddenly realised that he was being restrained in a solid embrace, and started kicking and writhing.
Mo Xi seethed, “Don’t move!”
Hearing his voice close at hand, Gu Mang abruptly raised his head, his panic unexpectedly doubling. It was obvious that he knew that the sword array was his last line of defense, and that if the sword array failed, it was equal to a lone wolf losing all his remaining claws and teeth, and left for the slaughter–in front of this man holding his fury at bay, he had no strength to resist whatsoever.
“Don’t…” He finally spoke, trembling minutely.
Mo Xi’s chest heaved as he lowered his head to look at the man in his embrace, grinding out between his teeth hatefully, “Don’t what?”
“Don’t……” He had previously lost his ability to speak, and at this moment, having suffered a shock, his enunciation reverted to its slow awkwardness. “Kill me…….”
Mo Xi: “……”
Those deep blue eyes shone with the pleading light of a beast’s eyes. He pleaded with so much effort, so clumsily, “I…”
His lips parted and closed slowly. “I…want to live…”
Mo Xi’s heart quivered.
Mo Xi met Gu Mang’s look of desperation, cornered with nowhere to run, and the scar on his chest seemed to throb agonisingly again.
–”I want to live! What’s so bad about wanting to live with my heart at ease! Mo Xi, do you understand me? Huh?! I can’t keep living, when things are like this! I’m not at peace!! In my dreams, in my sleep, are the faces of all those who have died! I can’t live on in wakefulness at all!! Do you know the agony of wanting to die every day, and every night! You don’t understand it at all!!!”
There had been that one time before Gu Mang truly passed the point of no return, where he had howled at Mo Xi that madly and with such loss of decorum, his eyes bulging out of his skull, the cups smashed, fresh blood spilling.
Mo Xi understood his pain.
But what other way had there been……back then, he could only let Gu Mang roar and yell when drunk like so, accompanying him, waiting for him to slowly recover, for the wounds to gradually heal.
Gu Mang, indeed, never shouted again once he was sober. However, inexplicably, Mo Xi always sensed that after that incident, even though he was always smiling, there was a veneer underneath his smile, obscuring what Mo Xi could see.
Afterwards, Mo Xi was sent out of the capital on the order of the Emperor. Before he left, Gu Mang treated him to a drink again, cheerily saying that he was going to go be a villain. He did not believe it then.
But when he returned, Gu Mang had already fallen, lost himself to a haze of vice, and became unrecognisable.
Not long after that, Gu Mang betrayed his country.
In truth, his wound had never healed; gash by gash, they had been added to his heart, new wounds layered on top of old ones.
He wanted to live. Yet, he wished every day and every night to die.
And it was like this, day after day, never recovering.
The blue-eyed Gu Mang spoke softly, distressed. It was a basic animalistic instinct to survive. “I want to live……”
“…….” Mo Xi closed his eyes. “I won’t raise a hand against you.”
The person in his embrace was still trembling minutely.
He had been starved to a pitiful state, starved till his cheeks had sunken in. His slightly long, black fringe hung by his face.
He kept staring at Mo Xi’s face, and Mo Xi let him keep looking. Gu Mang looked for a long while, his shivering only ceasing gradually then.
But once Mo Xi’s arm moved, Gu Mang’s eyes widened instantly again, his pupils darting left and right restlessly, as if he desired to escape, but also knew that escape was futile.
He had clearly been so disappointed, so conflicted, and despised him so much before. It had been so difficult to his emotions get under control.
But upon actually seeing his panic, the turbulence in Mo Xi’s heart quietened like a brief pause in a thunderstorm. He didn’t do as he had predicted, which was to grab Gu Mang and interrogate him viciously, to torment and degrade him.
“Do you still remember me?”
He paused, then as if he was holding himself back from something, he added, “……If you don’t, forget it.”
Gu Mang kept quiet. Just as Mo Xi’s agitation was surfacing once more from his silence, Gu Mang suddenly said, “You’ve come to whore me before.”
“Listen.” Anger flared in his heart, and Mo Xi said from between clenched teeth, “Never say this word in front of me in the future. That day, I was looking for you to discuss matters. And not…not…” No matter what, he could not bring himself to utter the word ‘whore’. Mo Xi turned his face away, his expression dark, and said stiffly at last, “Remember this, it was to discuss matters.”
“Discuss matters……” Gu Mang mumbled, and finally relaxed slightly. But his eyes were still capturing the minute emotions flashing across Mo Xi’s face.
At last, he slowly asked, “……But, why?”
“Why did my…” Gu Mang’s emotions had not yet calmed. He was not yet like that night of reunion where he could speak calmly and smoothly; he had grown fearful from being starved, from getting beaten, and so could only throw out word by word in the current moment, “My swords… disappeared. I hit you, but they don’t hit?”
Mo Xi didn’t reply immediately, but his expression slowly grew cold and dark.
That day at Murong Lian’s banquet, someone had exclaimed that though Gu Mang’s sword array was wondrous, there was no one else in this world who knew the secret behind it. In truth, he was wrong.
That day, at the banquet itself, there already had been one. Not only did he know the secret of the sword array intimately, but he too knew what this array had been created for.
That person was Mo Xi, who had not spoken a single word then.
Mo Xi fixed his gaze on Gu Mang’s face, still restraining Gu Mang with one hand to prevent him from squirming around, but his other hand let go of Gu Mang’s jaw, sliding downwards along the side of his neck.
At last, the rough pads of his fingers stopped on the lotus sigil of the sword array.
Caressing his neck, Mo Xi regarded him from above silently. His eyes were unexpectedly red, as if he would bend and lay a bite on that lotus sigil in the next moment, gnaw through Gu Mang’s skin, flesh, and blood vessels, and let him die in his embrace. Almost like if he did so, this person could never lie to him again, could never betray him again, and would never disappoint him again.
He would finally be obedient.
It was probably because his gaze was too fanatical, and the emotion suppressed in them too obsessive, that Gu Mang felt something amiss. His gaze drifted, lips quivering slightly, like he was muttering something under his breath.
Mo Xi finally opened his mouth slowly.
“Stop reciting it.”
“No matter how you try to summon it, it won’t manifest.”
Gu Mang was shocked. “You……know?”
“I know.” Mo Xi’s gaze moved away from the lotus, slowly, deeply, boring into Gu Mang’s blue eyes.
“Other than it triggering on its own, if you really want this sword array to appear, you can summon it temporarily as long as you ask it sincerely.”
Gu Mang’s face turned even paler all of a sudden, his eyes widening.
Mo Xi’s expression was very complicated, like his intense hatred had sunken into intense conflict, consuming him entirely. He did not know which one to heed.
“But, if I don’t allow it. It will not appear.” Mo Xi paused, the light in his eyes darkening, his pale lips separating and meeting as he explained slowly.
“Because it doesn’t only listen to you, it listens to me too.”
“You are not its only owner.”
With every sentence Mo Xi said, Gu Mang’s face turned a fraction paler, until he was eventually as pale as a sheet of thin paper, staring numbly at Mo Xi’s face only inches away from him.
Mo Xi dipped his head to look at him, his breathing low and deep. Even though he was not willing to show much emotion, he could no longer hide the pain in his eyes at this moment. His eyelashes trembled, his Adam’s apple bobbing.
“Gu Mang.” He paused briefly, closed his eyes. “Have you really forgotten all of it.”
Gu Mang’s eyes widened, his ocean-blue eyes reflecting Mo Xi’s handsome face.
“You……it couldn’t block……you.” He muttered, his expression one of bestial wariness. “Why……would it listen to you?”
It was difficult to tell whether Mo Xi’s expression was one of aloofness or one of pain. His lips parted and closed, each word frosty, “Of course it listens to me.”
Mo Xi closed his eyes.
And like long-buried lava finally erupting, his eyes flew open, already burnt a crimson!
All of a sudden, like he couldn’t control it, he raged, “Of course it would listen to me–because your sigil uses my blood, because I was the one who marked you, because…because the one who created this array wasn’t even you, it was me!”
Gu Mang evidently did not understand the words he heard.
But he could see, and understand the anger and heartbreak on the face in front of him. His eyes widened as he stared dumbly at this unfamiliar man.
The man’s expression was too complicated, like it held the accumulation of more than a decade’s worth of love and hatred, the repression of more than a decade’s worth of bitter suffering, and at last, erupted with more than a decade’s worth of desolation.
He suddenly raised his hand, tearing at his own severely-closed collar almost violently, baring his slender neck. Mo Xi’s eyes were glittering with a cold light, soaked in an icy fire, as he ground his teeth and said,
“Do you see this?” Even though the cold light in his eyes were sharp, it was damp. “This sigil, one exactly the same as yours …..Your blood! You did this!”
“Marked for you…”
As he spoke, he suddenly shoved Gu Mang away, as if he was suddenly no longer willing to touch him, no longer willing to acknowledge him.
Mo Xi covered his forehead with a hand.
He choked on the ends of his words.
The author has something to say:
《The Many Ways of Referencing the Title》
Xi-xi: I didn’t think that the sigil would still be here after all this time, did the Liao kingdom not wash it off you?
Mang-mang: They did, but there are still stains of filth.
A-Lian: I think that Mo Xi and Gu Mang are having an affair, guards! Go steal Mo Xi’s bedsheets for me!
Subordinate: Master, Xihe-Jun is a germaphobe, he has definitely washed his sheets…
A-Lian: I don’t believe it. Search thoroughly–there must be some mysterious stains of filth remaining!
Yue Chenqing: Oh no! I dirtied my clothes while having too much fun! What should I do!
Jiang Yexue: What else can you do, come to Big Brother’s house, I’ll help you wash them, sigh.
Mysterious Fourth Uncle: You’re not good at washing clothes, they still come out dirty with stains of filth after you wash them.
Princess Mengze: …I have a headache. When I return to the capital, I don’t have to bring any other souvenirs, I’ll just bring these people some stain remover.
In the upcoming VIP chapters:
1. Gu Mang Mang fails to beat Mo Xi up in the first raid, gets overpowered by Mo Xi instead.2[反被摁在地上摩擦: A gaming term that means losing very badly against an OP player, but literally translates to “getting pinned onto the ground and rubbed against it” (rub against Mo Xi ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)]
2. Yue Chenqing’s sexy Fourth Uncle cosplays a certain acquaintance online, as for how they’re specifically related, let’s wait for those fated persons who’ve read 2ha to uncover the truth themselves lolololol.
3. Mo Xi hauls Gu Mang back to his manor, and they start cohabiting~
4. ……I can’t list any more, otherwise I’ll be fucking spoiling everything!!!!