“Harry…” I reached out to touch the symbiotic flower. It bent its slender neck and rubbed itself against my palm. Its feathers became fiery red and swept past me.
In a cascade of starry light, the phoenix and Ice Dragon gradually turned into Harry and Raffles. They pulled me into a gentle embrace that made me want to remain in its warmth. A tear fell from my eye.
“Drip.” The brilliant colors faded and the scenery gradually vanished. I floated in the warm water, and the light on the back of my hand disappeared.
Thank you. Thank you for showing me Harry and Raffles again. You brought me warmth.
I happily waved at Xing Chuan who was on the shore, asking, “Is it on my body now?”
He nodded happily, displaying a young man’s smile.
I looked at the place where the stamen had been, but I only saw remnants dissolving in the water.
“After it plants its seed, the parent dies,” Xing Chuan said sadly. He was truly a kind person. “It gave you its child.”
I was sad too, but I didn’t think that this was its child. The scene it had showed me felt more like a merging of souls.
“No, this isn’t it’s child; this is the flower’s soul,” I replied as I looked at Xing Chuan, to his surprise.
I swam towards him and he extended his hand to pull me up. He held my left arm up and looked at the back of my hand, saying softly, “It’s actually a soul…” He was lost in thought as he stared at my hand.
“Have your arms recovered?” I asked as he held my hand. He came back to reality and nodded with a smile.
“That’s great. Go ahead and try then.” I shoved him.
He was immediately embarrassed, answering, “I failed...”
“Why are you so stubborn? That was an accident.”
“If you hadn’t given me that breath of oxygen, I would have died in there!” He stared at me with an unusually solemn expression, but his expression gradually turned into an awkward blush. “Thank- thank you for saving me. I wasn’t able to say it earlier…” He blinked and looked away, his chest heaving up and down vigorously.
I never thought that he would be a man of such principle and strict discipline.
“You are similar to the other Xing Chuan when it comes to discipline, at least.” I smiled at him. He blinked and turned to look at me, blushing. I continued, “Only those who follow strict discipline can command others. You will also become a great king.”
It seemed that he had received my recognition, and he revealed a smile of relief before speaking. “Oh yeah, I heard that when the symbiotic flower attaches itself, its host sees an image. Some call it a sight from another world. Others call it God’s will. Others claim it’s a secret hidden in one’s soul. What did you see?”
I smiled, replying, “Why not see for yourself?”
He was stunned.
Taking advantage of his confusion, I pushed him forcefully and he immediately fell backward with an “Ah!”
“Splash!” He fell into the water, reflexively paddling to stay afloat. I bent down to look at him, reminding him, “Remember to keep calm.”
He smiled and nodded. He began to relax his body and lay flat on the surface of the water. The entire world seemed to return to silence.
“You said that the symbiotic flower would die if it were plucked by force. How are you going to give one to Elena?”
“It can only live for a while…” He floated on the surface of the water with a calm expression, continuing, “If it’s done this way, the parent won’t die. It’s more like plucking an ordinary flower."
I understood then. That method was just like plucking a flower from a tree. He could keep it for a while, but it would only serve as a decoration.
“I heard that this was popular in the past?”
“I think so… but those flowers were cultivated and manually planted. There were hardly any wild ones. The wild ones are the spiritual ones that choose their hosts. Oh, the dinner banquet should be starting soon…”
“Forget about the dinner banquet. Keep calm,” I reminded him.
He took a deep breath and began to close his eyes.
I stared at him from atop the rock, watching the surreal scene unfolding before me.
I saw a faint purple stamen extending toward Xing Chuan from above, resembling a Chinese wisteria. I looked on in surprise; it looked almost like a woman’s hair landing gently on his chest.
Xing Chuan opened his eyes when he felt its touch. The same way he had reminded me earlier, I immediately said, “Don’t move!”
He stayed completely still and his eyes began to lose focus. What was he seeing? The stamen began to wither, dissolving into pieces. Faint traces of purple began to rain from above, and it was a beautiful sight.
I stood up in the purple rain and took in the scene, astonished. Even in death, the flowers preserved their beauty.
“Splash!” I heard the sounds of water. When I looked down, I could only see Xing Chuan's soaking wet chest before me.
He looked down at me, and warm water dripped onto his cheeks from the ends of his black hair. Then they condensed on his sharp chin before falling. Steam rose from his heaving chest and his nipples shimmered with moisture.
“I have to be frank with you about something,” he said solemnly, blushing.
I looked at him, replying, “What? Why are you so serious all of a sudden?”
He pursed his lips and kept quiet for a while. His gaze fixed upon my face as he answered, “I saw… the other Xing Chuan just now…”
“It seems like you are very stubborn about him. In that respect, you two are very similar,” I said as I smiled at him. But what does it have to do with him being frank with me?
His pupils suddenly dilated. “Then, I saw you…”
I was stunned.
He paused and his eyes quivered. “I think it was telling me that I have to be honest with my heart. It's time to be honest with you.”
“Lub-dub.” My heart clenched as he gazed into my eyes deeply. The intense feeling made me feel as though his image was overlapping with the other Xing Chuan again.
“In the year since you landed on Hagrid Island, I’ve begun to develop stronger feelings towards you than Elena. Luo Bing, I fell in love…”
My head buzzed and I punched out without thinking twice.
I hit him and he fell onto the rock. He covered his face and creased his eyebrows, in such pain that he couldn’t make a sound.
I came back to reality and rushed to him, saying, “I’m sorry.”
“Heh, you’re rejecting me... I understand. It’s okay. I always knew that I wouldn’t stand much of a chance…” He smiled bitterly.
“No, no, no. I’m used to it…” I looked at him, embarrassed.
He was dumbfounded. “Used to it?”
“Yes…” I clenched my fists. “This is the difference between you and the other Xing Chuan. He… wouldn’t be as polite as you. He would directly-” I creased my eyebrows and looked away in anger. Why are they ‘the same person’? Sigh…
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