Gu Qingyu opened her eyes and found herself lying on a bed. The room looked like a well-lit palace. She squinted against the bright lights, everything was still spinning. It took her a long time to get used to the light. Gu Qingyu tried to stretch her strained joints but the rattling chime of manacles entered her ears. She looked up, her hands were chained to the head of the bed.
"You're awake?" There was a soft voice, but it was icy against her ears.
Gu Qingyu turned to look at the person seated at the edge of her bed. "Mo Bai ..."
"Yu'er, I've underestimated you." Mo Bai smiled as he clapped once. The door opened and someone covered in blood was dragged in.
Gu Qingyu was shocked to recognise that person. "Xiao Qin!"
Xiao Qin laid on the ground, blood pooled around her, and stained the carpet. In an instant, the metallic smell of blood filled the air. She raised her head slightly and looked at Gu Qingyu. Her face was badly bruised, but there was a faint smile on her face.
"I will ask one last time, did you let her go?" Mo Bai looked at Xiao Qin tenderly.
Xiao Qin's voice was strained. "No..."
Before she could finish, Mo Bai held out his hand. A strange force moved through the air and Xiao Qin flew towards him. In an instant, Mo Bai had grabbed Xiao Qin by her neck.
"Emperor... please... you cannot keep falling deeper and deeper into...." Xiao Qin's face contorted in pain as she struggled to breathe.
"Don't..." Gu Qingyu stared at Mo Bai with horror. "Don't kill her!"
"Yu'er, the more you plead for her, the more I want to kill her.” Mo Bai's tone was gentle, and suddenly Xiao Qin lowered her head. Her eyes were glassy, she seemed to be watching Gu Qingyu, but not anymore. She was dead. Gu Qingyu stared at her glassy eyes and limp form, her own blood had run cold.
"Xiao Qin..." A whisper escaped her lips as Mo Bai tossed Xiao Qin onto the carpet.
"Take it away." His words did not bring any emotion, but it sounded gentle, and people could not help feeling chill. "And change the carpet, I don't want to see a speck of blood."
"Yes!" Two people came up and quickly pulled Xiao Qin away, and several others took the carpet away.
Gu Qingyu screamed and cried as she tried to stop those people from taking Xiao Qin away. Xiao Qin grew further and further out of her reach, but there was nothing she could do. Mo Bai sighed, waved his sleeve and the door closed with a deafening thud. Gu Qingyu eventually stopped, she flopped back against the bed and stared blankly at the ceiling. Mo Bai watched her, his gaze stayed at Gu Qingyu's wrist. They were still bound by the manacles, but due to her tugging and pulling against the manacles, her wrists had been cut open. Blood trickled from the cuts and dripped on the metal. The crimson liquid glistened under the candle light. His gaze steeled and he immediately reached out, his hand gently touching Gu Qingyu's wrist. Gu Qingyu didn't avoid him, she just continued to stare at the ceiling.
"Yu'er." He called her name with some distress, and his hands glowed with pale green light. The wounds on her wrists were slowly healing, but the blood did not return to her. Just like some things, even if it recovers, the damage it causes cannot be erased. The wound has healed, but the pain is still there, but it hurts the heart even more.
"Yu'er..." Mo Bai's fingers lightly touched the chain, hesitating a bit, but he did not undo the manacles.
She cast him a cold glare. "Don't call me that."
He replied with a bitter laugh. "Yu'er, do you hate me?"
Hate? No, it's not like that. He killed Xiao Qin, so I should hate him. But I can't, because he's Mo Bai...
"Yu'er, you know? Everyone who betrayed me died even worse than her." His slender fingers gently crossed her cheek. "So, it's normal for you to hate me, I am cruel after all."
She did not speak and no longer struggled. His gentleness was just an exterior, as he drove a knife into her heart with a smile.
"Yu'er, say something." His words were gentle but chilling. Her lips moved, but there was no sound.
"Yu'er, do you detest me so much?" Mo Bai gazed at her and gently stroked her face.
Gu Qingyu shifted her gaze and looked at him. "I always thought we were friends."
"Friends? Ha, ha..." Mo Bai laughed like he heard something funny. "Yu'er, I'm glad you can treat me as a friend, but I don't need it." He suddenly shifted from the edge of the bed and pinned her down against the sheets.
"Go away!" She pulled against her manacles, her wrists were sliced open again. Blood flowed yet again.
"Yu'er." A black aura emanated from him as his eyes turned white. The black aura enveloped them, it kept Gu Qingyu frozen in place. He stared at her unflinching, his white eyes stood against the black aura. "You can only be mine, Yu'er."
She returned his gaze and murmured. "Mo Bai, you're insane..."
"Insane?" He let out a bark of laughter. "I've never had sanity in the first place!"
"Mo Bai..." There was sympathy in her eyes. "Don't do this."
"Do you know, Yu'er, I can hear it." His head was buried in the crook of her neck. "I can hear them, those people, they whispered behind my back. I can hear everything. They all said that I'm crazy."
"Don't listen to them." She felt that the manacles on her hands unlock, so she reached our and gently embraced him. "Mo Bai, don't listen to them. You have always been a gentle person. "
He suddenly pinned down her arms, leaned down, and kissed her. In that gentleness was aggression, and in that aggression was despair. The black aura overflowed, devouring his heart and eroding his tenderness. Tears rolled down the corners of her eyes.
I'm not afraid, I just... it pains me to see you like this. I never knew that you wanted love so much. You had always camouflaged yourself with that mellow gentleness because you were afraid of disagreement, afraid of conflict, afraid that people would leave you. I see your pain, that despair that you hide so deeply in yourself. I saw your tightly clenched hand when you killed all those people, I felt your deep fear when you tied me up. Mo Bai, you're afraid that I would leave you too, right?
Mo Bai raised his head suddenly, his eyes were confused. And when he saw her tears, he immediately panicked. He released her, and gently wiped away the tears streaks at the corner of her eyes. "Don't cry, Yu'er... I'm sorry, I'll stop...It's all my fault, don't cry..." The more he tried to appease her, the more she cried. Her eyes were stinging, but at that moment, she saw into the depths of his heart.
How can I save you, the person I used to think as infallible?
How do I save you, a child full of darkness but longing for light?
How do I save you from falling into the abyss and struggling in the darkest abyss?
I have not witnessed the moment when you fell into darkness, but I want to pull you out of there.
Thorny black vines surrounded you, choked you. You forced your arms through the thorns and tried to reach out for help, ignoring the pain and the blood that covered your arms.
You screamed and shouted, but no one grabbed your hand.
Until it was completely swallowed by thorns. Until you were swallowed by those thorns.
The thorns pierced through you as it took root in your soft heart. It sucked on your blood and stole the very essence of your life.
In order to survive, you have to become violent and cold, and still keep up a farce of kindness. The pure light in your eyes had vanished, your tenderness became flowers that encased those thorns. If you are not careful, the thorns will pierce these soft petals.
You are afraid to change yourself. No, you cannot change yourself. You have to keep up the act, put on the show, or all of them would leave you.
“Just be kind.” You repeated those words like a mantra as you licked your wounds in the dark.
How do I pull you out from those thorny vines? I want to cover you and shield you from the pain, but I'm scared that I would damage the flowers on those vines.
How do I stop you from sinking further into darkness? I want to grab your hand and drag you out, but I’m worried that the darkness has already eroded your heart. I’m afraid that I would cause you more pain instead.
I'm really sorry, I see it. I see you, but there’s nothing I can do!
"Yu'er, stop." Mo Bai wiped away her never-ending tears, he had noticed that she was looking into his heart. Gu Qingyu looked at Mo Bai, but saw tears swirling in his eyes as well.
You must be heartbroken when they left you.
You must be in agony when the thorns pierced your heart.
You want to keep your tenderness, right? Then keep it well.
You don’t have to force yourself, because the very fact that you are trying right now is proof of your kindness.
"Mo Bai," Gu Qingyu's hand gently rubbed his cheek as her fingertips dabbed the corners of his eyes. "I'm sorry I'm late, it took me too long to get here."
I am truly very late.
"You arrived just in time.” Mo Bai smiled softly. "Just, don't leave me ever again. Just stay with me, here."
"Don't do this," Gu Qingyu frowned, her head was spinning again. She tried to keep her eyes open. "Mo Bai, come with me. We'll get out of here, and we could go see the world together..."
"No, I just want your world." He reached up and covered her eyes. "Close your eyes. When you open them again, I will be the only one in your eyes."
"What ..." There was a confused look in her eyes as she tried to look at him. Her lids grew heavier by the second, she did not even have the strength to brush his hand away.
"You really thought I didn't know Xiao Qin added the antidote to the porridge? Then why didn't I say nothing?" Mo Bai's voice was so soft that it made her heart tremble. "Yu'er, sleep. The only person in your eyes can be me."
You will forget everything, you will only remember this gentle person.
You will only remember the fragrant scent of herbs.
I am the only person that can be allowed in your eyes.
You can only watch me quietly.
Until time passes us by, where everything has changed.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
And we are back! Gosh, it’s good to be back. I’m sorry to return on such a rough and angsty note though, but strap in, because this part is gonna continue for a while.
I have tried to capture Gu Qingyu’s poem as much as I can, though the changing metaphors still distract me. Poems are not my field of expertise, but I would love to learn more about them. So if you have any recommendations, do drop them below. And because there are monologues from two different perspectives, I have decided to play with the layout a bit, let me know if it works.