Chapter 117: Masks

"Are you okay?" Qi Wan turned back from time to time and looked at Gu Qingyu worriedly.

Gu Qingyu always reached out and pushed his face away. "Calm down. Am I really as weak as I look?"

"Boss, the thing is, it's almost impossible to find girls as gentle, sweet, petite, and adorable like you." Qi Wan said as according to his conscience. 

"Oh, really?" Gu Qingyu looked at him in surprise.

"Yes, we have other witnesses as well!" Qi Wan nodded.

The remaining members of the squad immediately reacted.

"Yes, the lady-in-chief is so kind!"

"Yes, so petite and cute!" 

"Yes, yes!"

"Awww, Qi Wan, it turns out that your men are as honest as you are!" Gu Qingyu said, her hands covered her slightly flushed face as she stomped her foot. Qi Wan was speechless. The squad were rendered speechless as well. 


"We're here." Qi Wan turned a corner and came to a door. It was a solid steel door. The smell of blood escaped the room through the edges, and it overwhelmed Gu Qingyu's senses. The leader of the squad had been waiting for them, and when they arrived, he gently opened the door.

There was a water pit in the center of the room, this room was a water cell. Tsing Yi was chained to the heart of the water pit. Her blood had dyed the water crimson, and her skin was badly bloated and rotten. Gu Qingyu almost did not recognise her. The sight made her skin crawl. 

"Boss..." Qi Wan walked to her side and gently extended his hand, blocking her eyes, "Are you afraid?"

"I'm fine." Gu Qingyu shook her head, "I'm not afraid."

"No, I mean... I..." Qi Wan lowered his head. "Boss, I am not standing in front of you right now. I am actually a ruthless, bloodthirsty, sadistic, mass murderer. Are you still not afraid?"

Gu Qingyu laughed. "Oh! Yeah, I'm scared."

Qi Wan was surprised for a while, but Gu Qingyu continued, "I am definitely scared of that person you just described. Whoever that is, gives me the creeps. But Qi Wan, I will never be afraid of you. You will always be my Qi Wan, no matter what happens." 

"Yeah!" The corners of his lips lifted. "Thank you!"

"Don't thank me." Gu Qingyu turned to look at Tsing Yi. "Can you still talk?"

Tsing Yi's fingers moved slightly, then slowly raised her head.

"You can even move..." Gu Qingyu mumbled to herself.

Her calm reaction scared Qi Wan instead. "Boss, I figured you would want to talk to her, so I kept her alive, somewhat."

"Alright, anything to say?" Gu Qingyu nodded with satisfaction, looking at Tsing Yi.

She could not even see her lips move, but she heard Tsing Yi say, "Go to hell."

Gu Qingyu flinched, Tsing Yi was much more obsessed and resentful than she expected. Even Qi Wan's eyes turned cold at Tsing Yi's response. 


"Why do you hate me so much?" Gu Qingyu watched her curiously. 

"You... do you know... how much you've hurt Mo Bai... Tsing Yi coughed. "You are blind to everything... Every decision you make is a mistake..."

"What?" Gu Qingyu could not believe her ears, even though logic reminded her that Tsing Yi must have served Mo Bai for a long time. She must have spent much more time with him than Gu Qingyu had. 

"You... cough, did you not even realise that your weapons are missing?" Tsing Yi's voice had a mocking tone.

Gu Qingyu's eyes widened immediately.

She knew right from the beginning, and she had always assumed Mo Bai had taken it. 

"Yes, it was taken away by Mo Bai." Tsing Yi seemed to haev read her mind. "Every night, in order to stop himself from going to see you, from going to hurt you, he would drive the Soul Nails into himself. Every night!"

Gu Qingyu paled. She knew that the Soul Nails were powerful, but she had no idea what powers it actually had. Regardless, driving the Soul Nails meant hurting the soul directly. She couldn't even begin to imagine the sheer agony. 

"Do you know?... He loves you so much. So much that it drove him insane. But he kept his head, just so he could be with you. Everything he did was to try to have you, but he could never have your heart...He was an emperor! And he fell from grace, all of one woman. It's so tragic that it's hilarious."


Qi Wan's eyes sank. He was about to lash out but Gu Qingyu grabbed his arm and stopped him. 

"Keep going." Her voice trembled slightly.

"Did you really think that you bluffed him? That he would not find out that you've recovered your memories? Oh he knew, he just didn't tell you. He knew that going to war meant destruction for Nanyou, but he went ahead, for you. He could have held you as hostage and used you to bargain with the other kingdoms, but he didn't. He could have had you, kept you, all for himself, but he didn't want to force you..."

The tremble in Gu Qingyu's voice had spread to her hands. "I..."

"Anything to say? Are you going to defend yourself? Try to absolve yourself from your sins? You're not even out there! You ran away, and now you're hiding here, afraid and scared to own up to what you did." Tsing Yi's eyes burned with contempt. "I've wanted to kill you for a long time, ever since you killed Fen Yi...It's a shame you survived..."

"Fen Yi? She was also one of you?" Gu Qingyu frowned. That's the lady in pink from the Fragrance Hall. Their names were close enough, so I did have a hunch that they were related in some way. So, whoever that finished Fen Yi that day...should be Mo Bai. She went peacefully because she saw her majesty, and she was glad to offer her life up to someone that she served. In that regard, Tsing Yi is less fortunate...No, she almost killed me, whichever side she ended up in would not have let her go easily. 

"Yeah, are you surprised?" Tsing Yi cackled. Her cackling pulled the muscles on her face, and her face twisted and contorted. "Oh, all those previous assassinations? Those attacks in the mountains? Even the Spider Queen, all of them were done by us..."

Qi Wan sleeve robe waved, and in a flash, the water swelled up and encased Tsing Yi. 

Tsing Yi was trapped in that ball of water, her face contorted in pain. But even though her voice was stifled by the water, Gu Qingyu could still read her lips. Tsing Yi was still laughing. 

Her lips opened lightly. Go to hell. 

Then the light in her eyes vanished. She's finally free, free from this world that had caused her so much suffering. 


Gu Qingyu closed her eyes gently and took a deep breath, there was a soft fragrance. And when she opened her eyes, she was wrapped up in a warm embrace. 

"Boss, you don't have to feel guilty over this..." Qi Wan hugged her, his worry evident in his voice. "I mean, you're a huge softie. I really don't want you to have to deal with all this. Just leave things to me, I can take care of it. You don't force yourself to get back out there. We'll face it together. This place? It's your home now. I'll take you outside once you've decided that you're ready. Okay?" 

"...Okay." Gu Qingyu said softly.

Alright, Qi Wan, I will prepare for that day. I will not force myself, I will train myself to be strong enough to handle everything when the time comes. Before that, and after that, I know that you will always be by my side, to the edge of the world, and until the end of time. The bond between us has transcended death, time and everything else. It's something that I can't describe with words, nor put ink to paper. Hundreds of years into the future, you would be with me, cracking up jokes, and I would be there, laughing at every single one of them. It would be just like right now. You would still be you, that humorous person that is filled with joy. And I would be me, the girl that would be protected by you. 


Gu Qingyu followed Qi Wan and exited the dungeon, The moment fresh air surrounded her, she took in deep breaths, as if she was trying to clean out her lungs. She glanced at Qi Wan, he was staring at her with half-moon eyes. He did not seem fazed by the smells in the dungeon. Ah, so he was already used to it.

Gu Qingyu rolled her eyes. "Say, since you're so amazing, why don't you invent a mask for me? Or is it because you can't invent something?"

"Of course I can!" Qi Wan glared. "Just you wait, boss, I'll give you a finished product tomorrow!" 

"Okay, okay, I'm just messing with you. I don't have any use for it either way, it's not like I would be going back to the dungeons." Gu Qingyu sighed, shook her head and walked forward. "So, where shall we go next, Qi Wan?"

"Are you really treating this place like an amusement park?" Qi Wan was shocked.

"Huh?" Gu Qingyu turned back slightly and gave Qi Wan a standard, beautiful smile, showing only 8 teeth from the top row. "Did I misunderstand something? Am I not allowed to relax and have fun here?"

"No, no, no, how could you be wrong? Let's go, my dear boss! Your tour will resume right this moment, this place is bigger than any amusement park you have ever seen!" Qi Wan immediately bowed, then trotted forward and led the way. 

The squad of five behind them was speechless at their interaction. Lord Qi, whatever happened to your cool image? After witnessing so much, would we be in trouble? Would the Lord visit us later at night and silence us? In  that case, should we butter up to the lady-in-chief and secure a chance of survival? 

Gu Qingyu followed Qi Wan with satisfaction, but she could feel the squad behind her, watching them. She turned around. "Do you guys have anything urgent?" 

"No, no." The leader was stunned, then replied.

"Oh, you're just here to hit soy sauce?" Gu Qing nodded understandingly. 

The squad leader was confused. What in the world does hit soy sauce mean? And that was number 2's old name, why would...?

The second-in-command was gobsmacked. Why would the lady-in-chief want to stir me? Should I hit myself first? I don't know what did I do wrong, but surely pleading for mercy would help? Oh no, I think Lord Qi's attitude is rubbing off on me!

Gu Qingyu noticed that the squad leader did not respond. Instead, he looked to be lost in thought, and the second-in-command was horrified, so she asked, "What's wrong?"

"Ahem." Qi Wan clarified. "Boss, actually the second-in-command, his name used to be Soy Sauce."

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iris.knight's Thoughts

Wait, if Mo Bai is the big bad, then does that mean that he had been after Gu Qingyu since they first met in the Mountain of Illusions? Does that mean he staged every single attack since then? Also, masks? LOL