Ultimately, It Was a Lie
In addition to the whip marks, burns, pinch marks, and hickeys, the word 'skinny' had been carved over Hu Le's heart with a knife in rampantly sharp handwriting, and the knife marks were a finger's width; the blade had to be repeatedly run over the skin to produce such an effect.
The wound has scabbed over, but it is enough to imagine the pain he endured while undergoing this.
The most unbearable part was the one where Hu Le had been severed, it was raw, and the fracture seemed to have been burned with a fire poker, making it a miserable sight...
He was so young, but he would never be able to be humane again.
Xuan Long used all the wound medicine given to him by the Healing Sage on Hu Le, bandaged his wounds, and changed him into clean clothes.
Hu Le slept restlessly, mumbling nonsense in his sleep.
Perhaps because a small part of his tongue was missing, he could not hear the contents.
Xuan Long did not feel comfortable leaving him alone in the palace and watched over him quietly by his bedside.
Hu Le slept for the whole day and when he woke up, it was already dark.
He regained his sanity, but he no longer had his former arrogance and untouchability.
His ice-blue eyes were covered with trepidation, and he looked around and asked Xuan Long in a whisper, clutching the covers, “A'Po...
where is this"
"The palace." Xuan Long felt like there was a lump in his throat.
Hu Le propped himself up and gently rested his head on Xuan Long's legs, his hands gripping his clothing and tears silently welling up at the corners of his eyes as he whispered, "Do even you not want me anymore..."
Xuan Long's heart clenched, and he knew that Hu Le was talking about the day he had left without saying goodbye.
At that time, he had a hunch that Yan Yuan was in danger and the situation was urgent, so he left before he could tell Hu Le.
Later, he took Yan Yuan back to the Dragon Clan to seek medical treatment and dispersed his ten thousand years of Taoism, so he had even less energy to look for Hu Le.
He did not want Hu Le to know that he was going to die, so he thought that it would be better if he left.
Hu Le is talented and gifted in Taoism.
If he follows the right path, he may be able to ascend to immortality within ten thousand years with few worries, so he should be free of distractions.
He did not expect that the cheerful and jumpy little fox would look like this when they met again after only two months of absence.
Xuan Long's heart was so uncomfortable that it was hard to even say the words that were stuck in his throat, and they seemed like excuses no matter how he said them.
“That’s not it.
you could live well enough alone and didn't need me ......."
Hu Le knew that in Xuan Long's heart, he was no match for that human, so he didn't make a fuss, he just fell on Xuan Long's knee and cried quietly.
Xuan Long, who was not used to comforting people, helplessly pressed his palm against his trembling back, “Hu Le… I'm sorry.
It's my fault."
Hu Le cried for a long time, as if he was trying to let out all the pain he had experienced.
After he finished crying, he changed back to his silent form, hugged Xuan Long's waist, and whispered, "You are not sorry for me...
we met each other in passing...
It's me who wants to rely on you."
Xuan Long stroked his head, not saying anything.
Hu Le lifted his head to look at him, his bloodshot eyes filled with caution, “A'Po...
can I still like you in the future..."
What" Xuan Long froze slightly.
Hu Le spoke with a thick nasal tone, "I like you."
"I never thought of you as a brother...
because I like you, the same way that human likes you."
Xuan Long was completely stunned, not expecting the other man to have such thoughts about him, “Hu Le..."
And regardless of whether he could respond, and even if he could, he had less than three years to live and an unborn child in his womb, which was inappropriate in every way.
"It's okay if you don't like me, and it's okay if you think of me as a brother.” Hu Le spoke first, as if afraid he would say no, and there was a smile on his pale face.
nowadays I am no longer qualified to like you."
"I can't even protect you anymore..."
Xuan Long lifted his hand, wiped the tears from Hu Le's face with his thumb, and said in a warm voice, "You've already treated me well.
I've always treated you like a brother."
Hu Le propped himself up with difficulty and pressed his hand against Xuan Long's slightly bulging belly beneath his robe, forcing a smile, "The little thing is so big already, have you named it yet"
"No." Xuan Long knew he was changing the subject and tacitly stopped mentioning it.
Hu Le raised his eyes, "Have you told the man"
Xuan Long shook his head and whispered, "Not yet."
Hu Le loved Xuan Long and loved the child in his womb, even if it had nothing to do with him.
"Then I will give the baby a nickname, and you will choose the main name yourselves, okay..."
When Xuan Long saw how happy he was, he nodded, “Okay."
Hu Le was in a bad state, he was so badly injured that every word he said was consuming what little vital energy he had left, and after being awake for so long, he couldn't hold on any longer.
He rested on Xuan Long's knee, with tears in his eyes and a scattered smile on his lips.
"Then it's called...
Shui Shui, okay..."
"Because we met on a rainy day...
I saw you that day and my heart rejoiced."
"I thought to myself...
how could a dragon be following me, was it charmed by me..."
Xuan Long's voice was muffled when he spoke again, "Okay.
It will be called Shui Shui, as you wish."
Hu Le hugged Xuan Long and closed his eyes contentedly, tears sliding out of the corners of his eyes as he murmured:
"If he treats you well, I'll be relieved."
"But he obviously treats you badly...
why do you have to stay with him"
Didn't you say...
you were going to leave the thousand-year-old pond with me and stay away from him, so he wouldn't bully you again"
"How come I've only been gone for a moment and you've gone back on your word..."
In the end, Xuan Long couldn't tell him the real reason: "...
Because Hu Le had lost all his Taoism, he was unable to notice that his inner elixir was gone, and Xuan Long was only able to perceive Hu Le's condition because he had taken the Ling Xuan pill.
"So, are you really going to stay with him from now on...” Hu Le held on to his last bit of strength and opened his dull blue eyes to look at the man shrouded in candlelight.
The rain outside the window had not yet stopped, and drops of rain rolled down from the eaves in bunches.
Xuan Long’s expression was not really visible in the dim light of the hall.
He had always been so silent.
Hu Le: "...
He has an empress."
Xuan Long pursed his lips, "I know."
"In the demon clan, having three wives and four concubines is not allowed...
We love one living soul for life.” Hu Le's voice grew softer and softer, knowing that Xuan Long was simple and easily coaxed, he held on to his last bit of breath to finish.
After a long time, silence returned to the hall, Hu Le was asleep and Xuan Long looked at his pale face and whispered:
"The dragon clan too."
It’s just that he couldn't help himself now, he had to stay by the man's side.
Sitting quietly on the side of the bed for a moment, Xuan Long rose and wordlessly left Qiankun Palace.
He had to complete the mission Yan Yuan had given him while the effects of the Ling Xuan pill had not yet worn off.
The original plan was to ambush him outside the city, but since he had already missed this, the best way was to wait outside the Hall of Peace and wait until the birthday banquet was over, then blend in with the crowd and take advantage of the chaos.
Xuan Long was not familiar with the routes of the palace, so he followed Yan Yuan's scent and found the Hall of Peace.
At that moment, the doors were wide open and Yan Yuan was sitting on the dragon chair, laughing and chatting with the courtiers below.
Yan Yuan was dressed in a black dragon robe, with the emperor's crown with flowing pearls on his head, making his face as beautiful as the gods of Heaven.
Xuan Long stood stealthily outside the door, slightly lost in thought.
Next to Yan Yuan sat Ning Zhiyu.
Ning Zhiyu was dressed in a phoenix robe, the brilliant red colour of which did not look vulgar on him, but rather had a stunning beauty that was quite different from his usual plain white robe and elegant appearance.
The two of them sitting together really matched each other.
Xuan Long withdrew his gaze and subconsciously stopped looking at them, and quietly walked into the hall to look for Yan Huo Heng.
Yesterday, Yan Yuan had shown him a portrait of Yan Huo Heng, so if he saw him in daylight, he would be able to identify him easily.
It was already dark at the moment, and although the hall was lit up with night pearls, he would not be able to see him once he left the hall, so he had to confirm his identity in advance.
The Hall of Peace is a special place in the palace where banquets are held, with a capacity of a thousand people.
At this moment, there were two long rows of tables from the beginning to the end of the hall, with at least a few hundred people sitting there, so it was not easy to recognise an unfamiliar person.
Xuan Long walked from the entrance to the bottom of the dragon's chair and looked to his left and right, but was unsuccessful in finding his target.
Instead, he was attracted by Yan Yuan's gentle words to Ning Zhiyu.
Although the emperor and the empress had always sat in the same place, their tables were somewhat separated from each other.
But Yan Yuan and Ning Zhiyu were sitting at the same table, as if they could not part for a moment.
Yan Yuan poured a dish of crystal shrimp into Ning Zhiyu's bowl, his expression soft.
"Are you tired"
"If you are tired, go back and rest, I will look for you later."
Ning Zhiyu's face really did not look too good, but his spirit was good.
The corners of his mouth turned up in a smile, and his head almost came together with Yan Yuan's: "Today is your birthday, and as the empress, it is unreasonable for me to step back midway."
"What does it matter" Yan Yuan's eyes were full of heartache, and he shook Ning Zhiyu's hand on the table in front of the public, "You've been very ill these past few days, and you're still holding on to attend my birthday banquet, it's really hard for you."
"It's no trouble, I wanted to be with you." Ning Zhiyu said softly.
Xuan Long looked away in disbelief, his hand hanging at his side clenched slightly, and the thought of leaving this place suddenly came to his mind.
He thought he could really not care about anything, but in fact, he had never been that open-minded.
As the two of them were getting cozy, an eunuch suddenly came in from outside the hall to inform them that the King of Zhennan had arrived.
Immediately afterwards, a tall, upright man came in from outside the hall.
He was dressed in a black robe and was clearly a general who had fought in the sands, but his complexion was surprisingly fair, with long eyebrows that went to his temples, and he didn't smile.
His aura was that of a man who had crawled out of the pile of the dead, with an indescribable coldness.
If you look closely, there is a vague resemblance between his eyebrows and Yan Yuan’s.
This is Yan Huo Heng.
No wonder Xuan Long couldn't find him, he hadn't arrived yet.
After saluting, Yan Huo Heng took his seat.
The first seat on the banquet table to the left under the dragon chair was vacant, and it was Yan Huo Heng's place.
Xuan Long memorised his face and left the hall.
The rain was pouring down heavily, but it did not affect the pleasure of the people in the hall.
Xuan Long leaned outside the door with his sword in his arms, staring at the darkening sky in a daze.
He couldn't help but think of the days shortly after he and Yan Yuan first met at the ancient pond, when Yan Yuan treated him best and said he would be with him forever...
until he grew old.
Ultimately, it was a lie
Xuan Long's hands tightened around the sword in his arms and he closed his eyes.