The Road to Collecting Souls, The Deepest Obsession
"If you know you are wrong, you should have died earlier!!!" The woman kicked Xiao Long away from her and he flew out of control, hitting his back hard against a thick tree trunk and falling into the mud, unable to move for a long time.
He struggled to lift his head and saw the woman's red boots approaching.
He tried to speak, but when he opened his mouth, a lot of blood came up from the back of his throat, making his weak voice even more muffled.
Even if the woman treated him badly, she was still his mother, the one person in this world that he had a strong connection with, his family.
He longed for his family to be soft on him.
They didn't have to be too nice, just not treat him so badly and allow him to stay in a corner where he could reach them.
Yet they would not satisfy even this small desire...
they were so stingy.
Suddenly, an unbearable sharp pain came from the top of his head, a harsh sword light flashed, and his undeveloped little dragon horn fell into the mud.
Blood dripped down from his forehead and into his eyes...
"Today, with the broken horn as proof, I sever the ties between mother and son, from now on you are no longer a child of my Dragon Realm."
The one he called his mother stood before him with her longsword, pouring all her coldness on him, blood sliding along the silver blade to the tip, drop by drop, falling into the mud...
Xiao Long saw his mother turn, her figure getting farther and farther away, blurred almost beyond recognition in the rain and mist.
He panicked completely and struggled through the pain to crawl forward, yet how could the one who had deliberately left him behind allow him to catch up
Soon he ran out of strength, his tiny body curled up on the ground, and his eyes closed wearily as he murmured.
don't leave me..."
"I'll do as I'm told… A'Long will do as he's told."
He should have cried, but the rain was so heavy that it washed his tears away.
He knew he was probably going to die.
Before he did, he thought, in a daze, of many thoughts, of his mother's fair and beautiful skin, of those gentle hands that would serve food to his brothers and sisters, that would sew their spiritual robes, but would treat him harshly, would beat him, whip him, and would use those hands to hold the sword and cut off his dragon's horn.
His mother had clearly told her children that dragon horns were as important to dragons as having a handsome face, and that if they had a pair of beautiful horns, they would be respected by the people and could find a good spouse, so they had to take good care of their horns...
He took this to heart, and when he was bullied, he protected them well, leaving not even half a scratch.
How come his mother had to chop off his horn...
Why, it was his mother...
The rain that fell on him suddenly disappeared as his consciousness grew drowsy and he was about to fall into a deep sleep.
Thinking it had stopped raining, Xiao Long opened his eyes with difficulty to see that the storm was still raging outside, and that a boundary had been cast around him.
A beautiful looking human man knelt down in front of him and said to him, "Don't be afraid...
I'll take you away."
The man wore an elegant white robe, his long hair was half tied, and he looked like an exiled immortal.
Xiao Long looked at him in a daze, not understanding why his eyes were so red, not understanding where the sadness under his eyes came from.
Is he sad...
Was he sad for him...
was someone actually sad for him
Why, take me away"
Even his mother didn't want him.
"Because I like you." The man smiled, and looked like he was about to cry.
"Like me..." The young dragon murmured and repeated, weakly.
"No one has ever liked me..."
Yan Yuan tenderly stroked the hideous burn mark on the little dragon's pale face, and, trying his best to hold back the desire to shed tears, smiled, "Then there is now."
"Will you come with me"
"I will treat you well and not bully you."
Strangely, Xiao Long did not reject the approach of this man, he even had a great desire to be close to him.
No one had ever said such a thing to him before, so he wanted to believe even the words of a stranger.
Take him away, no matter who it was.
leave me behind...
as Mother did" Xiao Long asked breathlessly.
Yan Yuan gazed into his disorganised turquoise eyes, raised three fingers to the sky, and said solemnly and hoarsely, "I will not, I swear."
Xiao Long's blood-stained hand slowly explored the hem of Yan Yuan's shirt and gently grabbed it, "Then you...
can take me away."
do everything for you."
Yan Yuan picked Xiao Long up from the ground with the gentlest of touches and stood up.
Often empty and hungry, for a long time, the body of the young dragon in his arms was so light that it was almost weightless.
He was clearly childlike, but his icy turquoise pupils did not have the innocence that a child should have, instead looking like a pair of dead wooden beads.
Because no one will allow him to act spoiled, no one will be soft on him, Xiao Long was only four or five years old and was already trying to learn to be an adult.
Although A’Zhi was sensible and obedient, he often pestered Yan Yuan to pamper him and asked for new and exotic pastries from outside the palace.
Unlike his A'Po, who had suffered so much from a young age.
"I don't want you to do everything, I just want you by my side."
"From now on..
I'll do everything for you" As if he had made up his mind, Yan Yuan looked steadily at the mud-stained face of Xiao Long in his arms and promised hoarsely.
Then, he carried the young Xuan Long deeper into the jungle, his back disappearing into the rain.
After collecting the two wisps of soul consciousness from the Dragon Realm into the soul gathering box, the jewel in the centre of the box suddenly flashed a not-so-strong green aura.
Yan Yuan's heart suddenly throbbed, thinking that all of the wisps of Xuan Long's soul had been collected, however, the green aura passed in a flash and was extinguished in the blink of an eye...
Ye Ling Shenjun used a voice transmission paper crane to tell him that when the collection of the soul was complete, the green aura that appeared on the soul gathering box would stay on for a long time, and if it went out in a flash, it meant that the collection of the soul was about to be completed, but there was still an important wisp or two of soul consciousness left that he needed to find.
It would be more difficult to find this remaining one than the previous one.
At first, Yan Yuan did not feel anxious.
With the soul gathering box guiding him, he could find Xuan Long at the end of the earth, but soon, he found that the box was no longer responsive.
Over the next few days, Yan Yuan searched everywhere Xuan Long could have gone, even looking again at the realms he had already travelled before, but found nothing...
Yan Yuan did not understand why this was the case.
Could it be that Xuan Long knew that his soul was being gathered and did not want to live again, so he was resisting him and avoiding him...
Once the deadline has passed, the divine power in the soul gathering box will collapse, and without the divine power to bind Xuan Long's soul, it will be scattered, and then everything will be lost.
And it would take ten thousand years to make another soul gathering box.
Yan Yuan was so anxious that he could only turn to Ye Ling Shenjun again, who replied with a voice transmission paper crane, telling him to think carefully about what other long-cherished wishes Xuan Long had not been able to fulfil in his life, what his deepest obsessions were, and where he was most likely to stay.
This was the same as saying nothing.
Yan Yuan had searched all the places he could think of that were important to Xuan Long, what else could there be
Could it be...
During that last period where Xuan Long was in pain and delirious, he used to talk about going to find a deserted valley with Hu Le and the child, and living together.
That must have been the life he longed for most...
Is that his deepest obsession
When Yan Yuan thought about it, he felt a pain in his heart, but when he thought about it more carefully, he felt that it was not right.
In the realm of Xuan Long's soul consciousness, the figure of Hu Le had appeared a few times, but it was far less frequent than his own.
It should not be Hu Le.
Then what could it be...
The lotus leaf porridge on the table was already cold, and the stack of buns in his hand hadn't moved.
The congee that he once loved the most now tasted like chewing wax, and he put the spoon down after a few bites.
A golden light fell on Yan Yuan through the open window as he sat in the elegant hall on the first floor of Jing Yu Lou, his eyes drawn to the bustle of people downstairs.
An old man with a straw stand filled with sweet and sour candied hawthorns, both large and small, kept shouting as he passed by.
Yan Yuan forbade A'Zhi from eating too many sweet things, as they were bad for his teeth.
He once took A’Zhi out of the palace to the temple to pray for blessings.
When A'Zhi saw the candied hawthorns, he couldn't take his eyes off them.
When he saw that his father was in a bad mood, he didn't say anything even if he wanted to eat them.
He lifted the curtain of the carriage and looked out for a while, and when he couldn't see them anymore, he lowered the curtain and obediently sat still.
When they returned, Yan Yuan specially asked the palace staff to buy two bunches, and A'Zhi was overjoyed.
It was the first time he had ever eaten candied hawthorns, and children are always excited to find something new and exciting.
A'Zhi knew that his father didn't like him to eat too many sweet things.
Later, when he saw that Yan Yuan was always drunk, he hugged Yan Yuan's neck and said that he would never eat candied hawthorns again, so could his father stop drinking too A'Zhi was worried about his father.
When Yan Yuan thought of that little boy, the corners of his lips curled up.
When he brought A'Zhi back, he would buy him some candied hawthorns to coax him, so that he would not be angry with his father for leaving him behind for too long.
In a blink of an eye, Yan Yuan suddenly felt blessed and his smile froze at the corners of his mouth.
When Xuan Long left, the person he was most worried about was the child he had given birth to… In the end, he even gave up his dignity just to beg him to let the child live.
A'Zhi is Xuan Long's deepest obsession.
Xuan Long's previous obsessions and nightmares were all scenes that he had experienced before, and when A'Zhi was born, Xuan Long did not even hold the child properly, so he did not think about it.
How could it not have occurred to him
The child that Xuan Long had given up his life to protect, how could he be willing to leave him like that
Yan Yuan sprang up from his seat, the legs of his stool scraping against the floor with an ear-splitting sound, startling the guests in the room and causing them to look over.
He laughed so hard that the corners of his mouth almost reached his ears, and leapt out of the window.
A white light flashed in mid-air and he was gone in an instant, leaving the crowd dumbfounded.
He had not seen his A'Zhi for more than a month, and had lost his A'Po for five whole years, and he was already missing them to the bone...
Soon, they would be reunited.