Gu Qingyu moved her lips, but even speaking felt like a chore. Xuan Wu’s powers were still actively suppressing and countering her powers, damaging her in the process.
"To die together?" Qi Wan looked at him and remained in place. "You don't have to work so hard."
He was right, Cloud didn’t need to put in that much effort and die with them. Qi Wan was heavily injured while Gu Qingyu could not move at all.
“But... I need you to feel the same, no, a thousand more times than what she went through!” Fire danced in his pale green eyes. “I’m going to kill all of you!”
"Then give it a try." Qi Wan waggled his brows and taunted.
"Heh, Qi Wan, if I guessed correctly, you should not be able to get up now." Cloud smiled.
"Then just kill me already. Why claim that I can’t stand?” Qi Wan tilted his head and actually stood up slowly, but his movements were very stiff. "Or, are you afraid of something, Cloud?”
Cloud snorted in response, a ball of light formed in his hand and shot Qi Wan, who fell down to the ground with a grunt and a splatter of blood.
“Qi Wan!” Gu Qingyu screamed as he collapsed in front of her, her voice cracked from dryness.
"I... It’s okay..." Qi Wan pushed against the floor with his only arm and tried to get up again, but Cloud strode over and stepped on his head, pressing Qi Wan’s face into the cold floor.
Qi Wan fell to the ground again as his eyes met with Gu Qingyu’s eyes.
"Don't... don't hurt him..." She whimpered and begged.
"Shush.” Qi Wan smiled at her, "Don't beg anyone for me..."
“Oh, you’re still so arrogant after this?” Cloud kept his foot on Qi Wan’s head as he bent down to look at him and laughed. “What, aren’t you super impressive? Come on! Get up then!” He ground his heel at every line. Qi Wan did not respond and kept his eyes closed.
“Let him go... Don’t do this...” Gu Qingyu was choking up. It might have been better if he just killed Qi Wan, instead of trampling on him.
"Boss..." Feeling Gu Qingyu's gaze, Qi Wan opened his eyes and looked at her with a weak voice. "Don't... don't look..."
He did not want her to see him in such a state. It was simply too humiliating for him. Gu Qingyu closed her eyes immediately at his request. Cloud snorted at them and walked towards her.
“I have to admit, you really look a lot like Rain.” He crouched down to look at her, brushing his hand against her cheek.
"What do you want?" Qi Wan croaked hoarsely. "Come after me, just don't touch her."
"Okay, since this is your wish..." Cloud took Gu Qingyu's hand and lifted her to her feet while holding her by her chin, forcing her to look directly at Qi Wan. Her eyes widened in horror as she tried to free herself, but she could not move a muscle. Not only was Xuan Wu's counter still active, but Cloud's powers were also keeping her in place as well.
Qi Wan gritted his teeth and forced himself to stand up. "You... let her go..."
"Qi Wan! No!" Gu Qingyu wailed. "Don't kneel! No!"
"Hahaha, I'll let her go if you beg me on your knees. How's that?" Cloud chortled. A dagger appeared in his hand and he pressed it against her neck. "Qi Wan, I will destroy every sliver of your pride!"
Tears streaked down Gu Qingyu's face. She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to move into the blade, but Cloud yanked her away.
"Don't die in such a hurry, I haven't played enough yet..." His hand shifted to cover her mouth as he whispered to her with a note of cruelty in his voice. He returned his attention to Qi Wan. "So, what is your decision?"
"Boss, close your eyes." Qi Wan said softly.
Gu Qingyu's eyes widened and protested, but her screams were muffled.
"Stop wasting time then," Cloud said coolly as he pressed the dagger firmly against her neck and a thin red line appeared on her skin.
"No!" Qi Wan closed his eyes and lowered his head. He bent his legs slightly, then dropped to his knees. "Please, let her go."
Gu Qingyu closed her eyes and dared not look at him. Her screams dwindled as tears poured down her face in silence.
Cloud flinched, then laughed in disbelief. "You... actually would kneel for her? Hahahahaha..."
"Let her go," Qi Wan repeated and lowered his head even further.
"The Azure Dragon, one of the Divine Beasts. That arrogant bastard would kneel and beg me! Ahahaha..." Cloud murmured with a maniacal glint in his eyes.
In that moment when he let his guard down, Gu Qingyu bit onto his hand with a loud chomp, she bit so hard that she tasted blood. Cloud furrowed his brows and threw her into a wall in retaliation.
The ribbon in Qi Wan's hand sprang into action and wrapped around Gu Qingyu. It pulled her away from the wall at the last second and towards Qi Wan. He steadied her, then wiped away her tears as he gazed into her eyes. "Don't cry. Everything would be alright. It would all be over soon."
It's ridiculous, he was comforting her, even though he was the one who was injured.
"This is getting boring." A murderous glint replaced the light in Cloud's eyes and he waved his sleeve. Let's end this!"
A blue orb popped up from the palm of his hand. Gu Qingyu squinted and looked closely, it was a ball of blue flame, a will-o'-the-wisp!
"This is Soul Fire." Cloud smiled, "It's really neat. It uses your lifeforce and converts it into an immensely powerful weapon. Sure, it would hurt a lot to burn yourself alive, but it is said that whoever that got hit by this thing would suffer eternal agony and burn in hell for all of time without any chance of reincarnation."
"Hahaha! Die, all of you! This is the end!" He cackled as he pushed the flame into his chest. His laughter soon turned into an excruciating scream.
Gu Qingyu watched as the Soul Fire burned Cloud from inside out as fear gripped her heart.
"It's okay." Qi Wan continued to comfort her, "It's okay, everything will be fine."
"Will we... die here together?" Gu Qingyu asked softly, looking at Qi Wan. There was no trace of fear in her eyes, she sounded as if she was asking what's for dinner.
"No." Qi Wan answered with certainty. "You will not die."
Gu Qingyu lowered her eyes, and seemed to say nonchalantly. "Honestly, it's fine if we died. Maybe we'll just go back to where we came from..."
Her words suddenly stuck in her throat, and her eyes widened at the sudden contact against her lips. Qi Wan had bent down and kissed her. It was sudden, but brief.
He pulled away in a second and stared at her. Then he turned away and stood up with strengthened resolve.
"Qi Wan..." Her throat still felt as dry as a desert and she hurts all over, but for some reason, she felt better than before.
"Boss, live on." Qi Wan looked ahead and kept his eyes on Cloud "I know you like it here, that you really like this word. You don't have to force yourself to go back, just stay here. And be happy. Live to your fullest."
His words sent a sinking feeling to her stomach. "What are you doing?"
Green light burst from him as all of his ribbons flew out and surrounded her, each glowing in unison with their owner.
"Qi Wan?” She watched as the ribbons turned and twisted her, forming into a giant ball and encasing her. "You..."
"Boss..." Qi Wan took a deep breath, "Remember I once asked you to marry me? You said that I'm a million years late. Now, we're a million years into the past. Will you... marry me?"
She did not speak.
Qi Wan laughed. "I know. You've already given this life to Ye Jin. Then, let me have your next life, let me protect you then. Can I do that?"
The ribbons continued to wind and wrap around her, they grew denser and denser and was about to block out her vision.
"Okay, I'll give you my next life!" Gu Qingyu yelled, they were running out of time. "What are you still standing there for? Get in here!"
An invisible load seemed to have slipped off his shoulders when she said that. He slowly turned back. "Thank you, Boss."
Thank you for giving me such a beautiful dream.
She saw that behind Qi Wan, Cloud's body was splitting apart into blades. Each blade then doubled and multiplied infinitely. Right as the last ribbon covered her line of sight, she saw all of those blades flew towards Qi Wan.
"Thank you, Boss."
It was pitch dark inside the ball of ribbons, she could hear the flying blades zipping past and soft thumps when they hit the ball. Qi Wan had wrapped her up to protect her, but he was still out there... She began shrieking as loudly as she could, her hands pounding against the shield of ribbons in front of her. "Qi Wan! Qi Wan!"
His voice was faint. "Boss...remember what you said...you must give me your next life..."
"Don't die! I'll give you this life, right now!" She would say anything to convince him to stay alive with her.
"Heh..." Qi Wan's faint laughter came, "I'm sorry, I don't think I can do that, even though I really want to... I'll just wait for you in the next life..."
His voice was suddenly cut off, replaced by the squelching of impaled flesh and the splattering of blood.
The floodgates had opened yet again as Cloud's words echoed in her ears. The Soul Fire uses one's lifeforce and converts it into an immensely powerful weapon. It would burn its user alive in the process, but it is said that whoever that got hit by this thing would suffer eternal agony and burn in hell for all of time without any chance of reincarnation.
"Qi Wan..." She continued to wail and scream, her hands were bruising, but she kept going. "Xiao Zhezhe! Mo Bai! Qi Yichen! Xie Zang! Master!"
Anyone, please! Help him! Qi Wan can’t just... just... Ye Jin, where are you? I'm so scared... please, come quick...
His voice has long faded, but she could still hear the squelching and splattering. She pressed her hands against her ears and curled up on the floor. Her body still hurts, but she could move now.
I'm sorry, Qi Wan... I'm sorry, Qi Wan... I'm sorry, I'm too weak to save you. I'm so powerless that all I can do is to watch you leave me...
Suddenly, a faint green light surrounded her. Her tearful eyes widened at a chilling realisation, it was from the ribbons. Yan Zun’s teachings came to mind. "If the owner of a weapon dies, the weapon would disappear with its owner by fading away as light." The ribbons were fading away, tiny green orbs glowed then disappeared. They looked just like fireflies, and for a moment she saw Qi Wan, standing under the moonlight, beaming at her in a sea of fireflies.
His voice echoed in her ears as he said, "Thank you, Boss."
And what he did not finish saying, "I love you."Previous Chapter Next Chapter