This night, Xiaodong didn’t have a pleasant sleep. Though, it couldn’t be said to be unpleasant either. The same dream kept recurring in this one night.
In the dream, he was standing in a pitch-black place surrounded by four steep walls. Ice-cold water slowly rose from beneath his feet, all the way to the top of his head.
He couldn’t breathe and thus would drown to death…
Of course, since he was in a dream, he couldn’t actually drown.
However, it was as if he was trapped here, unable to walk out no matter how hard he tried. The water rose again and again, and every time, he would slowly feel the despair of being about to drown.
It was unknown just how many times this process repeated before the dreamscape finally changed.
Probably because his wish to escape was too intense, this time, he was finally able to climb up the stone walls before the water reached the height of his head.
There were no obvious footholds on the smooth stone walls, so he wasn’t able to climb as fast as the rising water. He looked up above his head, and all he could see was blurry light. It was as if this source of light signified how far and uncertain his hope of escaping was.
When he woke up, Xiaodong was drenched in sweat, while his four limbs were flimsy and powerless. These were minor problems. The most important thing was, he was actually tightly holding on Eldest Senior Brother’s arm. His grip was incredibly tight, as if a drowning person was holding onto a life-saving twig for dear life.
Xiaodong was a little confused.
He and Eldest Senior Brother was clearly sleeping in their own respective beddings, so how could he possibly grab onto Eldest Senior Brother?
Xiaodong turned his head about to find out.
Somehow, sometime in the night, he crossed the boundary. His own bedding was scattered to the side, while his entire body had already snuck into Eldest Senior Brother’s bedding. Not only was he cuddled inside, he was firmly hugging onto Eldest Senior Brother’s arm like a monkey climbing a tree. His arms were tightly wrapped around Eldest Senior Brother’s arm, unwilling to let go.
When he looked further upwards, Eldest Senior Brother seemed to have woken up sometime ago. However, with how tightly Xiaodong was hugging him, it wouldn’t have been good to move. He simply looked at Xiaodong expressionlessly, his eyes looked gentle yet filled with helplessness.
“Aaaah! H-how did I get over here?” Xiaodong hurriedly released his arms. With the intention of covering up, he explained, “I didn’t mean to do it, Eldest Senior Brother, really. I usually sleep properly and have never kicked nor moved about. Ever since I was young, uncle was fine with me sleeping alone…”
However, even if that was the truth, he had indeed crossed the boundary. It wasn’t by a small margin either. Measuring the distance he moved, his words clearly lacked persuasiveness.
“I don’t know how it happened either… Most likely I felt cold in the middle of my sleep…” That couldn’t be right. He clearly had the warm wood that Eldest Senior Brother gave him under his blanket, and he was sleeping so well the past few days too. If he were to say that he was cold now, wouldn’t that mean that the warm wood that Eldest Senior Brother gave was useless? Xiaodong hurriedly corrected, “Most likely it’s because I had a nightmare. That’s right. It’s definitely because I had a nightmare last night.”
The moment he said this excuse, even he began to believe it.
It had to be because of that nightmare, right?
He was drowning in cold water for an entire night. After that, he managed to struggle out of the water, grab hold of the stone walls, and climb up… and up…
What stone walls? He clearly grabbed hold of Eldest Senior Brother. As for climbing… Seeing the posture he woke up in, it had validated his suspicions. He had treated Eldest Senior Brother as a life-saving twig and wanted to climb up.
Fortunately, Eldest Senior Brother was not angry at him.
“Enough, let’s get up.”
Xiaodong got up and changed into his clothes a little embarrassingly.
Eldest Senior Brother wore a pure-white inner clothes. Even after a night sleep, they still looked rather proper and neat, without the slightest bit of crease… Though, his sleeve was an exception. The sleeve that Xiaodong clutched on was now unbearably creased, looking like a pile of pickled rotten vegetables.
“Eldest Senior Brother, your clothes… Why don’t you change it and let me wash it for you?”
Eldest Senior Brother got up after changing his clothes as well. Fortunately the crease was on his inner clothes, and it couldn’t be seen with his outer garments covering it.
Actually, he had realized Xiaodong was sneaking over in the middle of the night. If he didn’t want to be disturbed, Xiaodong couldn’t have moved over so much. However, for some reason, he had merely hesitated for a moment, and ended up not stopping him.
His soft-heartedness had probably got to him. After all, Little Junior Brother was still young and he was all alone on this mountain.
However, he did not expect that Xiaodong would be so greedy and monkey his way up his body. He climbed and hugged, and with a stretch of his legs, he quickly wrapped around Mo Chen’s body.
Mo Chen really didn’t know if he should laugh or cry.
However, since Xiaodong had already found his way here, tearing him off and stuffing him back to his bedding would definitely wake him up.
Though Mo Chen wasn’t used to having such a monkey-like Little Junior Brother on his body, this sort of feeling… didn’t feel bad.
Since they were so close, Mo Chen could clearly feel Little Junior Brother’s warmth and could even hear his heartbeat. He wondered just what was Little Junior Brother dreaming about, as he seemed to be a little anxious. He constantly made groaning sounds with his throat, and he even tightened the grip of his arms and legs on Mo Chen’s arm.
Even while being hugged like this, Mo Chen was actually still able to sleep, and soundly as well. When he woke up, he didn’t feel the slightest bit of discomfort, but instead felt refreshed. Compared to the previous times he woke up, he felt even more comfortable than usual.
When he got up to wear his shoes, he was suddenly reminded and asked, “What kind of nightmare did you have last night?”
‘I dreamt of being drowned. It felt especially cold and dark. No matter what I did, I couldn’t escape. Eventually, I managed to grab hold of a wall and wanted to climb up…”
He felt really embarrassed.
Mo Chen understood now.
He was the ‘wall’ that Xiaodong climbed.
However, from listening to the description of Little Junior Brother’s nightmare, he was actually afraid of the cold, dark, and even water?
Hmm. Once the weather gets warmer, he could teach the junior brothers how to swim. It would be bad if they were to really fall into the water in the future.
If he hadn’t stayed last night, Little Junior Brother might not have even been able to find a wall to grab on. Wouldn’t that make him even more terrified?
Mo Chen contemplated if he should stay by Little Junior Brother’s side more in these few days as it continued to snow. Otherwise, if he were to grow cold from kicking his blanket off, he might become ill again.
The snow had yet to stop and the winds were still as strong. In such weather, it was naturally not advisable to have sword practice. Mo Chen gathered his junior brothers and junior sister and recited to them the path to cultivating the heart. There were a few outer sect disciples who came to listen in as well. They all knew that Eldest Senior Brother was kind, and so were thick-skinned enough to listen in. Of course, Eldest Senior Brother didn’t chase them away. However, a large half of the outer sect disciples had yet to learn about heart cultivation mantras and movement techniques. Even if they listened in, how much they could learn from this knowledge was all up to their own luck.
Xiaodong listened very diligently. Eldest Senior Brother recited in a very understandable and plain manner. There were some parts that he didn’t understand, and when he listened to Eldest Senior Brother’s explanation, the doubts in his heart instantly cleared away. The parts that once felt unnatural to him slowly made sense. The itch in his heart felt like a mouse was scratching it without end, and he really felt like standing up and practicing the moves on his own right away.
He wondered if it was just his imagination, but as Eldest Senior Brother continued his recitation, his eyes moved to Xiaodong’s face and then moved away a few seconds later. It looked like a casual glance, but Xiaodong felt as if Eldest Senior Brother had clearly seen through the thoughts hidden in his heart. Furthermore, these explanations seemed to be recited especially for him.