Xuan Long knelt dumbly on the ground, not moving for a long time.
When a demon dies, the three souls and seven spirits will disperse with the demise of the physical body, leaving only a wisp of the living soul to wander the land of the dead.
With two souls and seven spirits missing, the memories of the living are no longer complete.
The cool breeze rushed in through a gap in the window pane, and the hall was silent.
Hu Le saw the man kneeling on the ground and felt an unspeakable sadness when he saw his back.
He floated over with his mind, bent down, and carefully reached out to touch the man’s face, trying to wipe the tears from his face, but his fingertips passed through his skin, barely making contact.
Just as he was wondering where this was coming from, a gentle voice came from behind him.
Hu Le froze and turned around, "Brother..."
The person who came was dressed in elegant white robes and had a face identical to Hu Le’s.
His absolutely charming fox eyes were upturned and his eyebrows were slightly raised, but he was not as cold and open as Hu Le had been in life.
His whole being was wrapped in a gentle aura and his icy blue eyes were full of laughter.
Looking at Hu Le with a long sigh, he said, "Let's go, Brother will take you home."
"Going home..." Hu Le looked around blankly, knowing in his heart that this was not his home.
Between lightning and fire, a blurred fragment suddenly appeared in his mind.
His brother was bullied and killed by the human race for falling in love with them, and his eyes suddenly reddened with a trembling accusation, "You are so cruel hearted...
just leaving me alone, leaving me, a fox, to live alone in the world..."
When a person dies and becomes a spirit, they do not have tears.
The same is true for demons, but Hu Le could feel the ultimate sadness.
Hu Qi looked gloomy as he remembered his past in life: “A'Le...
Hu Le rushed over to hug him as he had done when he was a young boy, circling his arms around his waist and resting his head on his shoulder, saying hoarsely, "After this, if you don't leave me, I will forgive you."
Hu Qi lifted his hand to rub his back and smiled, "...
As the two brothers left the hall, Hu Le strangely touched the five silver feathers adorning the front of the long vertical white hat on Hu Qi's head, which was exquisitely crafted and embroidered with silver silk cloud patterns, "Brother, why are you wearing such a strange hat."
"And, what is this” Hu Le looked at the silver hook and chain in his hand.
Hu Qi lifted the silver hook and chain in his hand and smiled, "This is a soul hook, and the one on my head is an impermanent hat."
Hu Qi: "Well, after I died, I didn't go to reincarnate, but worked as a ghostly agent in the underworld."
The events in his life were so tragic that he had no more attachment to the mortal world, and when the King of Hell saw that he, being a fox demon, had not done any evil and had done many good deeds, he was granted permission to stay in the Underworld as an impermanent, transcending the six realms and exempting him from reincarnation.
"Oh..." said Hu Le, who seemed to understand.
As he was about to exit the inner hall, Hu Le could not help but stop and turn back to look at the person in the hall, "Brother..."
"That man, he looks so sad...
is it because I'm dead"
Hu Le stopped walking and refused to look back for a long time.
Although the memories of his former life were gone, the reluctance in his heart was unmistakably real.
Hu Qi gently tugged on his brother's sleeve: "It's getting late, let's go."
“Your mortal life is over, it is time to forget all the things that happened in the past."
Hu Le reluctantly withdrew his gaze and disappeared into the hall with Hu Qi.
Li Lianhuai seemed to feel something and looked towards the exit in a daze.
The candles in the hall had burned out and he was standing in complete darkness, easily overlooked, but Xuan Long could clearly sense Li Lianhuai's breathing and knew he had not left.
"You killed him."
Xuan Long's voice was low and hoarse, as if he was so powerless that he couldn't even pronounce it properly.
Li Lianhuai's body was stiff, his mind all at a loss and not understanding the scene that had just taken place.
Shouldn't this unforgivable fox demon be heartless...
He couldn't even tame him after using such a cruel method.
However, he was so sincere in his love for a dragon that he was even willing to give his life for this dragon...
How could this be...
Xuan Long tilted his head, tears silently welling up from his icy turquoise eyes and sliding down his cheeks, “Hu Le spoke to me about what happened between you, and he said...
he had not harmed your people."
Li Lianhuai's fists hanging at his side clenched, unable to accept that what he had done might have been an error in judgement: "This poor monk saw it with his own eyes back then."
Fifteen years ago, on that quiet night, a huge fire ravaged the peaceful village in the valley where their people had lived for generations, living a self-sufficient and happy life.
Then the fox demon appeared and became a nightmare for the whole clan.
He watched through the tiny hole in the rice jar as his parents and his three-year-old sister were tragically killed by the fox demon's claws slicing their throats, while he escaped death by hiding in the jar because of his playfulness.
He was the only survivor of a clan of several hundred people.
When the fox demon left, he left a piece of shredded fabric hanging on the wooden fence at the entrance.
He shuddered and took the piece of fabric, which was shaking in the wind, and put it to his nose, sniffing it fiercely, and vowed that one day he would find the killer and avenge the death of his clan.
After all these years, the killer's face had become blurred, and the only thing he could be sure of was that the fox demon had a beautiful, charming face.
The first time he saw Hu Le in Chang'an, the two faces blended together without a hitch.
In addition, the special fragrance of his body was almost identical to the smell of the fox demon's clothes, so he was sure that Hu Le was the killer.
"Fifteen years ago, you were a child, how can you be sure that Hu Le was the one who killed your clan With just a single piece of fabric..."
"......" Li Lianhuai's mind was in turmoil and he did not speak.
Xuan Long thought he was funny.
What was the point of talking about this with Hu Le's murderer, would he feel guilty knowing the truth
No, he would not.
For the human race, demons had never been any different from birds of prey that could be slaughtered at will.
This was true of Yan Yuan, and it was also true of this man who called himself a poor monk.
"You humans all say that demons are evil spirits and that you should try to get rid of them by all means...
In fact, most of you are even more terrible than demons, wearing human skin and doing all kinds of ghostly things."
"It was my fault..."
He should have listened to Hu Le and stayed away from the human race, if he had taken Hu Le into seclusion earlier, he would not have been caught and tortured by this monk, he would not have died because of him.
"It was my fault..."
Xuan Long suddenly laughed lowly, his every word weeping blood.
With his thin shoulders trembling uncontrollably, he crouched down and rested his forehead against the cold ground, allowing despair and sorrow to consume him.
Li Lianhuai had been practising Taoism since he was a child in order to one day make the fox demon pay in blood.
However, now that he had finally achieved his goal, he was not as happy as he thought he would be.
Having killed countless demons and evil spirits, he had never seen such a scene.
Could he really have been wrong...
Li Lianhuai withdrew his eyes and quietly left the cold palace, his pitch-black eyes silent and determined.
He must go and find the truth...
The palace staff outside the hall beat a gong and hollered, and soon after, Xiao Zhanzi knocked lightly on the door of the hall.
“Master Han, midnight has come..."
"......" The man in the hall did not answer.
Xiao Zhanzi called out several times.
Xuan Long staggered up from the floor and went over to open the door to the hall.
The moonlight cast a shadow over the man's body, unapologetically reflecting his erect pupils, gold and turquoise, demonic and indifferent.
This was the first Xiao Zhanzi had seen Xuan Long's eyes in such a straightforward manner, and he winced in fear and took a step back.
Xiao Zhanzi reacted and hurriedly hung his head, "Master Han...
please forgive this servant..."
Xuan Long lowered his eyes to hide his pupils and turned his back, "It's nothing.”
“Your things, are they all packed"
Xiao Zhanzi's fists clenched nervously, and he half bowed: “This servant… this servant has nothing to pack.
This servant just made a trip to the residence, everything important, it's all on this servant."
Xuan Long did not notice anything unusual.
Then let's go.
As soon as I've changed my clothes...
Xuan Long raised his feet and walked inside.
Xiao Zhanzi looked up and called to him.
Xuan Long paused in his steps.
Xiao Zhanzi looked at the thin back, hesitant: "Do you really want to go..."
Xuan Long: “En."
He wanted to go.
Hu Le had guarded him with his life, he could not let him down, he could not let him die in vain.
He had to live.
To live with the child.
"......” Xiao Zhanzi bowed his head and said no more.
Hu Le had already prepared a set of eunuch's clothes to fit Xuan Long's body shape and had hidden them in the cabinet.
Xuan Long opened the cabinet and brushed his palm over the blue and silky material, which still seemed to have the warmth of Hu Le's hands on it.
He had always been so thoughtful.
In addition to the eunuch's uniform, he had also prepared a soft belly band.
The eunuch's uniform would make him less conspicuous when he walked around the palace, and the belly band would temporarily bind his stomach and make his body shape look normal.
Xuan Long took out the belly band, lifted up his profane clothes, and wrapped the white band around his round stomach, carefully tightening it.
Even if the material was soft, it was always uncomfortable to be bound like this.
The child in his belly began to toss and turn restlessly, causing Xuan Long's face to turn white and his lips to lose all blood.
The tips of his fingers touched his stomach through the belly band, stroking it soothingly as he spoke in a low, mute voice, "Shui Shui...
Daddy will take you away from here.
Soon, you won't be uncomfortable..."
The child in his belly seemed to understand, and bumped his palm aggressively before shrinking into a ball and not moving.
Xuan Long smiled shyly and caressed him twice before he wrapped the belly band around him, tied it in a not so delicate knot, and put on his eunuch's uniform.
He could not tie his hair, so Xiao Zhanzi came in and tied his hair back.
Xuan Long's hair was long and voluminous, and it took some effort.
As Xiao Zhanzi put the plain black eunuch's cap on him, Xuan Long looked across the young, tender face in the bronze mirror and lowered his eyes.
I caused this."
He should have been able to continue to work peacefully in the palace as an attendant, but because of him, it was likely that his life would be bumpy in the future.
Xiao Zhanzi froze, “...
Master Han, don't say that."
Xuan Long whispered, "As long as I am alive, I will not let you go hungry or freeze."
Xiao Zhanzi's eyes were red, and his hands shook for a long time without saying a word.
When he left, Xuan Long only took two things with him.
One was the red brocade bag that Hu Le had given him, which had been trampled on by Yan Yuan that day.
After washing the dirt off the bag, he sewed it back together again.
The stitching was crooked and not as delicate as before, but it was something he treasured.
The other thing was the iris jade pendant.
He had long since stopped expecting anything from Yan Yuan, but after all, Yan Yuan was the biological father of the child in his womb, and that was an undeniable fact.
If the child ever asked about his biological father, he could take out this jade pendant and tell him, under false pretences, that his biological father loved him.
If he died, he could also leave this jade pendant as a relic to the child in his womb.
At least for a while, Yan Yuan really wanted him to be born safely and did not want to kill him.
In contrast to the bright lights of the Hall of Peace, the city was as quiet as a sleeping lion.
Xuan Long and Xiao Zhanzi were walking side by side along the palace wall, heading for the Cold Palace.
The oil lamp in Xiao Zhanzi's hand swayed as they walked, and the flame in the cover flickered on and off.
Xuan Long was more than six months pregnant, his stomach was heavy and dropping, so it was not possible for him to walk too fast.
Cold sweat broke out on his forehead, his abdomen, which was tightened by the belly band, ached vaguely, and his breathing was low as he panted.
Xiao Zhanzi sensed that something was wrong and supported his arm, whispering, "Master Han, are you all right..."
Xuan Long dared not slow down his steps and returned in a dumb voice, "It's nothing.
Let's hurry up."
This palace was too big.
They walked for an hour, turned down a deserted path and finally arrived at the alleyway Yan Huo Heng had mentioned.
When they looked up, they saw a group of guards standing there in the darkness.
The leader, who was wearing a black dragon robe and had a gloomy face, was not Yan Yuan, but someone else.