It was cold after the snow and the damp, cold wind seemed to drill into the bones.
As Mu Sheng walked through the night, ignoring the west wind that was sharp as a knife, all the heat was blown away from his body.
When he returned, he warmed himself in front of the charcoal fire before lifting the canopy to see the person who was inside, just like a child carefully opening a box containing treasure.
The bell at the top corner of the canopy rang softly with his movements.
Ling Miaomiao slept flat on her back, the two rows of eyelashes were quietly curled. As a result of the high fever, her cheeks were constantly red, the same way she looked when she was too warm while sleeping, which made him want to hold her in his arms and kiss her.
Under this veil of color, her life was slipping away little by little.
He scooped up Ling Miaomiao and touched her cheek with his cold lips. She was gently leaning in his arms, her eyes tightly closed, with no sign of awakening.
“Miaomiao.” He whispered in her ear, like a lover’s murmur. He tipped the small bowl, but she was unable to open her mouth.
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His expression didn’t change as he squeezed his wrist hard, hard enough that the blood gushed out even quicker.
His blood could not be poured out onto the inkstone as it would dry up and he needed it to be fresh.
He drew one, then placed it aside, and soon there was a large pile gathered beside him. The candle flame swaying through the glazed flower petals, reflected on his concentrated face, with a bright glare.
A quarter of an hour ago, he sent Mu Yao back and handed her over to Liu Fuyi.
He could see that Mu Yao was thinking the same thing as he was.
But if he was still a man, he couldn’t just watch her do it.
The fact that she had already planned to do so meant that time was reminding him to hurry.
He raised his eyes to look out of the window, the moisture in his eyes softening them. The raised tips at the outer corners of his eyes were like the carefree yet controlled strokes of a famed artist’s brush, leaving a bit of empty space at the end, but also leaving a longing to say more.
The night was like spilled ink as the trees in the distance were enshrouded completely, leaving only a black outline. The curved hook-like moon was out of reach, acting its role as an experienced observer of the human world. The outside was so quiet that even the chirping of crickets could no longer be heard.
It turned out that when Ling Miaomiao was not talking, his world was this dead and silent.
He drew them one by one, calculating the time in his mind. The pile of drawn talismans grew higher and higher until the morning light rose from the sky, covering the entire canopy little by little.
From the bottom to the top, the whole sky was dyed with a faint white and light yellow, and the branches of the trees were lit by a dark greenish-orange color.
The birds in the distance emitted crisp chirps that echoed between the earth and sky. He heard their chirps with his ears, but with no echo to be found.
He tilted his head as the cage hanging in front of the desk swayed from side to side. Shengsheng chirped while flapping its wings and jumping up and down, still retaining the habit of wild birds: Doing morning exercises.
He stopped writing, lowered his eyes, gathered the pile of talismans together, knocked them into alignment once, then took out a new white sachet from the drawer, untied the thin autumn themed ribbon, took out all the dried flowers, rolled up the thick mass of talisman papers, stuffed it in, and sealed the sachet.
His face was pale, making the eyes set in his face appear even darker. They had almost turned cold enough to become numb, but the moment he lifted the tent and saw her face, he managed to feel the sound of his own heartbeat.
Like unwrapping a long-awaited gift and like a groom lifting the bride’s head.
Ling Miaomiao is like a sleeping fairy, her cheeks were full like apples.
He put his hand on her forehead, slowly moving down, stroked her face, and landed on her soft neck.
The redness in the corners of his eyes was tinged with redness. His hand lovingly caressed the soft skin on her neck and slowly tightened.
This was the kind of softness and fragility that, if he squeezed a little harder, she would always and forever be his, not smiling lovely at others, not spending her life with others in his absence.
He felt her pulse.
As soon as it was pressed, the blood vessels trembled suddenly. This feeling was as if his hands were closing in on the tips of a wild bird’s wings, its extremely fragile wings were just like a perpetually beating heart.
The first half of his life was wild and arrogant, ruthlessness became second nature, and he never showed any mercy. However, he succumbed to such an obviously fragile life and was willingly tamed.
Yearning yet dreading, he desperately wanted to consume it cruelly, but was afraid of hurting even a single finger of hers.
He released his hold and gazed at her for a long time. Finally, he just touched her face very gently. Then he bent down and tied the sachet around her waist.
It was strange that the knot which only took him a few seconds to tie could not be fastened this time.
He took it off and tied it again. His fingers trembled, and after, he felt something cold slide down his face.
Two spots of crimson splashed on the sachet, like diagonal raindrops, marking a slender exclamation point.
He stared at the blood on his fingertips, his thick eyelashes drooping.
So this was how the tears of parting felt.
He smeared the blood on his fingertips on her pale lips, painting a beautiful bride, and kissed the girl on the forehead. His lips stayed on her forehead for a long time, until his lips lost their warmth.
He took the Demon Restraining Circlet off his wrist and put it on her right wrist.
He looked at her appearance from the corner of his eyes, faintly smiling with satisfaction, his smile like the budding of fresh green buds on the tips of a willow branch, the branches welcoming the beginnings of spring.
One on the left and one on the right, both were hers.
A freezing talisman was gently affixed to her body, the canopy lowered little by little to cover the person inside, leaving only a narrow slit from which he could still see her face, like a reluctant, heavy/cherished closing curtain.
The sky was already bright, his silhouette was against the light, as if gilded with an edge of white bright. He reached out to bring down the birdcage.
The cage swiveled, he opened the door, facing it to the window, and tapped the cage gently.
“Chi chi——” The bird flew out the door, out the window, leapt freely onto the wall, then flapped its wings and flew further into the treetops.
The sky was vast and the morning sun was beginning to shine.
The young man stood in its glow, looking at the black dot that roamed between heaven and earth. The cold wind brought in the cold of the remaining snow, sending it all through the window, rolled up his black hair and sleeves.
The weather was warming up with the beginning of spring, but he would not be able to see it arrive this time.
“Ding—— System Notification: Order Invalidation Talisman has taken effect, the host is free to move around, and the use of the item is finished.”
Miaomiao was awakened by this sound, opened her eyes, and a gust of cold wind entered the tent, so cold it made her shiver.
The tent was half raised, revealing a corner of the table.
There was the sweet, greasy taste of blood between her lips.
Ling Miaomiao sat up and lifted the canopy.
There was no one in the room, the window had been pushed open by the wind, and a few dried leaves were caught on the lattices, rustling. The table was neatly packed with ink and pens, almost like a brand new desk that had never been used.
There was an empty birdcage on the table.
There was no one in the room, the window had been pushed open by the wind, and a few dried leaves were caught on the window lattice, rustling. The ink and brush on the table were neatly arranged, almost as if it were a brand new desk that had never been used.
Ling Miaomiao suddenly lifted the quilt and got out of bed; a yellow paper floated down from her body, she picked it up and examined it, a freezing talisman.
Like the ringing pair of silver bracelets set on her wrists, the Demon Restraining Circlets, and the sachet which had suddenly appeared at her waist.
She saw that the sachet seemed to have traces of blood. Her entire body seemed to freeze. She reached out a hand to tug at it, but the sachet seemed to be stuck to her body and could not be removed.
He had told her before, he would tie one for her that would never fall off.
She opened the tie at her waist, pulled open a small opening in the sachet, and pulled out a talisman paper from it with great difficulty.
A reverse talisman.
She pulled out another one, it was another reverse talisman.
The whole sachet was filled with reverse talismans, enough for her to use for the rest of her life.
The cold wind was like a knife, nearly slicing open her cheek. The tears which fell one after another on her face were so cold they stung.
She walked quickly, calmly wiping her face, ending up with a handful of water which promptly froze into ice shards.
The resentful banshee tampered with the Seven Killing Formation, the formation changed and the center of the formation shifted with it. They could not easily find the center of the formation, but she knew the conclusion, her steps did not stop, and went straight there.
She hadn’t eaten much for several days and had very little energy. Even though it was cold, her thin inner clothes were soon soaked with cold sweat.
Ling Miaomiao’s cheeks were burning, burning even more, as if her whole person was going to turn into a fire, bursting apart in the freezing snow, until it burned to ashes.
Her tears flowed silently, like a meandering stream crossing her face, gathering on her chin, and then falling drop by drop. Since arriving in this world, aside from pretending to be sad, she had seldom cried so uncontrollably.
What was there to cry about?
Worst case, she’d just return home. She wasn’t scared in the least. She wouldn’t mess around and she wouldn’t destroy anything. As long as the world didn’t collapse and was still intact, what would it have to do with her?
She was never a savior, just an ordinary person.
Ling Miaomiao wiped her tears with her sleeve, but more tears came out, and she walked among the snow and ice while sobbing.
It was all his fault for releasing her bird.
It was such a cold day, he wouldn’t even wait for a warmer day.
She finally saw the yellow light in the courtyard, wiped her tears and headed in.
The sky and earth suddenly changed, the air waves transformed into wisps, like the delicate petals of a chrysanthemum, sensing the tiny insects that had thrown themselves into the net, the petals folded over each other and surrounded her in the center.
In the squared space, only the light above her head was left. In the dark cage, she was trapped alone.
Ling Miaomiao looked around for a while and her tears turned into laughter.
She hurried over without rest, but she came a step earlier than the others.
She breathed a sigh of relief and sat down on the ground without a care for how she looked.
“Warning: Mission has not been completed, may the mission character leave the high-risk area!”
“Warning: Reminder repeated. May the mission character leave the high-risk area!”
“Warning: If the mission character dies, the mission will be incomplete and considered a failure . The mission character will be considered a failure and the host will be sent to the Punishment World. Please consider carefully!”
The warning alert sounded like a tidal wave, but Ling Miaomiao looked at the light above her head, biting her lip and turning a deaf ear to it.
Whether it was digging for coal in Africa, panning for gold in the Americas, or being blown up in a world of war countless times, she would still return home after finishing up in the punishment world.
When that time came, she would put the Black Lotus, who she failed to capture, on her black list, forever tied to her life’s pillar of shame. When mentioning his name, she’d only remember the hate, but certainly not the sorrow.
She thought so at least as tears welled up again.
She wiped her face.
The wave-like petals moved, revealing a bit of light, and a curvaceous figure was slowly projected in front of her eyes, as if someone was standing behind a barrier.
A numbing voice rang out, the whole space was trembling with the buzzing of sound waves: “How unexpected, the one to end up here is my son’s wife.
Ling Miaomiao took her fingers and hastily straightened her hair: “Don’t be so polite. You are not the succubus, and Mu Sheng is not your son, we are just strangers at best.
“Hmph.” The resentful banshee sneered, and her voice contained a hint of coldness, “Seems you’re quite aware of this.”
“When the pill refinement occurs, the person in the heart of the formation will have to endure attacks a thousand times stronger than those outside of it. What will happen to a person, do you want to know?”
Her voice was soft and contained a smile: “I really want to know if you can survive the time of a snap of a finger before you turn into ashes.”
Ling Miaomiao’s indifferent silence riled her up a bit: “An ordinary person, how dare you sacrifice yourself to the formation, how utterly stupid……”
“Mu Rong’er,” Ling Miaomiao suddenly interrupted, “the world is much bigger than you think. Here you are the one who set the game and took the lead, but elsewhere, how do you know you are not a pawn in someone else’s hand? The world is so vast and volatile, but elsewhere, it may only look as big as a book.
The resentful banshee let out a short huff, as if she was extremely unhappy, The faint glimmer of light disappeared abruptly, a frightening darkness wrapped around her, and suddenly there was dead silence.
“Warning: The mission character is asked to leave the high-risk……”
“High-risk red alert has been activated, may the mission character……”
“Warning: Unknown attack has exceeded the red alert defense range and is likely to cause……”
“Warning: Unknown attack has exceeded the red alert defense range and may cause the host’s death, may……”
The overlapping warnings came overwhelmingly. Each time, a new warning would rush in halfway through the last warning, covering the first half of the last warning.
Ling Miaomiao felt that the system was a bit too busy.
What followed was a head-on attack which fell on her. Ling Miaomiao ducked her head to avoid it, blue and red light burst out of her body, forming a huge protective shield, but even so, the hair she had just combed up was still scattered. As if she had been electrocuted in the solar plexus, she completely lost consciousness for a moment.
She gripped the sachet at her waist and felt half of all the talismans inside turn into soft ashes.
Another one came down.
“Warning: Unknown attack has exceeded the red alert defense range, and may cause the host’s death. Please prepare yourself psychologically……”
“Warning: Character [Ling Yu]’s database is damaged, data is being lost, may the host……”
Ling Miaomiao shook her dizzy head and looked up at the blinding light above her head.