Written by Tinalynge & Blue Jay
Edited by ONI_Ghost
Beta read by OEE
Halfway into the night, Luo Xiao woke up. He was incredibly pale, and his entire body was shaking. His eyes were unfocused but wide open as sweat beaded on his forehead.
Jiang Yao jolted up the moment Luo Xiao opened his eyes. His face displayed worry and uncertainty. Although he knew that this Astral Soul was very important to him, he could not understand why he was feeling so many emotions. He was acting uncharacteristically kind, something he hadn’t ever done before.
Jiang Yao frowned as he looked at Luo Xiao. His eyes suddenly turned solemn but also soft. Though he wasn’t his usual self, he didn’t hate this feeling. This was what Jiang Yao thought as he gently rubbed Luo Xiao’s head.
“It’s okay now,” he said gently. He could not figure out why he was being so tender towards this child, but he felt good; therefore, he decided to keep doing it.
“Is he gone?” Luo Xiao asked with a trembling voice as he closed his eyes, clearly fearful of what happened earlier.
“I killed him,” Jiang Yao said with the same, gentle voice as he sat down next to Luo Xiao on the bed. But, unexpectedly, his words caused Luo Xiao to shiver even more uncontrollably as he was reminded of the scene that occurred before he collapsed.
Just thinking about that scene made Luo Xiao nauseous. Seeing someone die in front of him reminded him of all the things he had seen back in Jinwei village.
It was also the reason for his first collapse. He had not been able to handle seeing someone die in front of him as it reminded him of the bloody scene of the corpse puppet eating his fellow villagers and friends.
Jiang Yao was unaware of the real reason for Luo Xiao’s collapse. He thought it was caused by his loss of blood from the wound on his arm, not because he was traumatized by the sight of his entire village being slaughtered in front of him.
Luo Xiao opened his eyes once more and looked at the worried face of Jiang Yao. He was relieved that this strong expert was by his side, but at the same time, he also continued to tell himself that Jiang Yao only saw him as an Astral Soul that he could use. This thought made him feel slightly depressed for no apparent reason.
Shaking his head, Luo Xiao looked at Jiang Yao, feeling complicated. He wanted to say something, but he didn’t know what to say. He opened his mouth a few times, but no words came out.
Jiang Yao was worried. Was there something wrong with Luo Xiao? Had he gained some sort of serious after-effect from the assassin?
Thinking of this, Jiang Yao’s eyes turned sharp, and a dense killing intent permeated out from his body, shocking Luo Xiao and causing the younger boy to retreat.
Seeing the fearful and frightened expression on Luo Xiao’s face, his killing intent was quickly extinguished. He reached out and grabbed Luo Xiao’s healthy arm and dragged him into a tight embrace, stroking his back gently and apologizing.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you,” he said gently, but the more gentle he was, the more scared Luo Xiao became. This man was no different from the corpse puppet! Although he didn’t eat humans, he could kill them with but a flick of his wrist!
This realization made Luo Xiao’s body tremble within Jiang Yao’s embrace. He tried to pull away, but Jiang Yao’s arms held him tightly, not allowing him to move an inch.
Luo Xiao was puzzled. Why was he treating him so nicely all of a sudden? Was he truly frightened about losing his Astral Soul he had just met to the point that he would go to such lengths to soothe him?
Strangely, Luo Xiao soon found that he felt better. He stopped shaking, and his erratic heartbeat slowly calmed down as well.
He heaved a heavy sigh and leaned his head against Jiang Yao’s chest. He was not sure why he felt so at peace in another man’s arms, but he accepted the gesture.
Jiang Yao felt his heartbeat quicken. He felt the weight of Luo Xiao’s head against his chest, and it felt as if lightning had struck him. He’d never felt anything like this before.
He started to wonder why he felt like this. It clearly brought him joy and amusement, much more than he had ever felt before, but as for the reason he had no idea.
While Luo Xiao leaned against Jiang Yao, Jiang Yao felt his heart grow restless. He was reminded of the sight that met him when he rushed up the stairs and found another man trying to take the life of his Astral Soul. Once more, anger was aroused in his chest. His eyes glistened dangerously as he thought about the only person who could be behind this.
“I will be more careful in the future,” Jiang Yao muttered, but his voice was so low that Luo Xiao did not hear him. At the current time, Jiang Yao even regretted that he had used Luo Xiao as a fake lover to chase away Ling Mo.
Still, when one was riding a tiger, it was hard to get off. If Jiang Yao started treating Luo Xiao as a servant now, Ling Mo would not believe him.
If he did such a thing, then Ling Mo would be sure that Jiang Yao knew he had tried to kill Luo Xiao and that now he was trying his hardest to hide his infatuation by pretending it was all a farce.
So Jiang Yao could only continue to treat Luo Xiao as his lover. Jiang Yao looked down at the young man in his arms. He had stopped trembling and was now fast asleep.
Seeing that he had been able to fall asleep in his arms once again, Jiang Yao smiled gently. He laid down on the bed, not releasing the young man in his arms.
He wanted to sleep, but as soon as he laid down, he found that because Luo Xiao was laying in his arms, his scent was there whenever he breathed in.
He soon felt restless and unable to sleep, but he dared not move either. He feared any movement would wake the young man in his arms. Luo Xiao slept completely still. He didn’t move at all, and to Jiang Yao’s relief, he didn’t seem to be having a nightmare.
The following morning, Luo Xiao awoke from a dreamless sleep. He had slept much calmer than he had since the corpse puppet incident. This night he did not have any nightmares; instead, he experienced a deep sleep. It was for this reason that he felt so energized as he opened his eyes, yet as soon as his eyes fluttered open, he tried to scream.
Jiang Yao reacted faster than the eye could see and placed his hand on Luo Xiao’s mouth, muffling the scream before it could come out.
“This… This… Why am I in your arms?!” Luo Xiao asked. He had never had much skinship with anyone before, let alone a man as handsome and alluring as this immortal, so to be held in someone’s arms when he woke up was clearly not something he had ever expected.
Thinking back, he remembered what had happened last night, and his face quickly flushed red from embarrassment. He had let Jiang Yao pamper him again, something that made him both frightened and embarrassed.
Luo Xiao saw himself as a man through and through. He was a young man who once had the same wishes as any other man: to be strong, have a loving wife, and live an ordinary life.
Now he was being treated like a child, perhaps even like a girl, and he felt extremely uncomfortable about it.
“Uh, please release me,” Luo Xiao muttered under his breath, and Jiang Yao only now realized that his arms were hooked around the younger male’s waist, holding him against his chest that was used as a pillow all night.
Jiang Yao let go of Luo Xiao as if he were a hot stone, and Luo Xiao jumped backward as if he feared that the intimate contact would in some way corrupt him. He hated the fact that he didn’t dislike the feeling of being held in Jiang Yao’s strong arms.
Luo Xiao’s face was so red that it seemed as if blood would drip from it, and Jiang Yao was unsure of what he should say. After an awkward silence, Jiang Yao gestured at his wounded arm. “Are you okay?” he asked, his voice filled with worry.
Luo Xiao was surprised as he looked at his arm. It was neatly wrapped with a white gauze bandage, but he hadn’t sensed any pain from the wound. In fact, he hadn’t even realized that he was hurt.
During the assault, he had been too frightened to notice, and afterward, he had been traumatized after seeing the death of his assassin.
Seeing the surprised expression on Luo Xiao’s face, Jiang Yao was equally surprised as well. “I’m fine, I can’t even feel it,” Luo Xiao said as a smile bloomed on his face. The smile made Jiang Yao’s heartbeat increase, and he couldn’t help but turn his head and look away. Truthfully he could feel the pain. Now that he no longer diverted his focus away from it, he felt a stabbing pain, but he wasn’t willing to worry the older male.
Another awkward silence filled the room before suddenly a loud series of knocks startled both Jiang Yao and Luo Xiao.
Luo Xiao rushed to open the door only to see Ling Mo standing outside. The atmosphere suddenly turned chilly when he looked into the room and saw Jiang Yao laying on the bed, and Luo Xiao standing in front of the door with a burning red face.
“We should get going,” Ling Mo said with a sneer. His voice was filled with annoyance, and his eyes burned with anger when they looked at Luo Xiao who quickly ducked under his penetrating gaze.
Jiang Yao lazily stood up from the bed and calmly walked towards the door. He straightened his clothes and then placed an arm on Luo Xiao’s shoulder. “Let’s go then,” he said as he protectively pulled Luo Xiao closer to him.
When they checked out of the inn, Jiang Yao bought a few steamed buns for Luo Xiao’s breakfast. He also took the time to go to a clothing shop and pick out a few sets of clothes for Luo Xiao.
These clothes were all ordinary linen clothes, but they were better than wearing the same thing every day.
Ling Mo grit his teeth when he saw how Jiang Yao was wasting time on such trivial things for Luo Xiao, and even more so when he saw that the clothes were placed in Jiang Yao’s embroidered bag.
When Jiang Yao felt that he had purchased all that needed to be bought, the trio walked out of the village. As soon as they reached the outskirts, a grin spread on his handsome face, and he swept Luo Xiao up into his arms.
Soon the two strong cultivators once more flew, at the highest speed that Luo Xiao could tolerate towards their destination.
During that day of travel, nothing much happened. They ran through forests, plains, and deserts; their speed was so fast that mortals only saw a blur flash by before they were gone again.
Luo Xiao hid his face in Jiang Yao’s chest again, playing the role of a weak lover, but his heart fumed with indignation and embarrassment.
Luo Xiao was not dumb. He knew that he had only insulted one person, Ling Mo, so the one behind the attack on him the previous day was also likely to be due to this strong soul cultivator.
He knew that the closer he appeared to be to Jiang Yao, the more likely he was to be in danger.
“Well nothing will change now,” he muttered to himself so low that no one heard it, “Ling Mo already hates me, so I might as well piss him off for good.”
Luo Xiao wasn’t a petty person, but he wasn’t a saint either. Seeing that Ling Mo had tried to kill him, he knew that as long as he stayed close to Jiang Yao, he would be safe. Therefore, he was going to use this unwanted skinship to get his revenge on Ling Mo.