Chapter 55: Body Contact
In Cangshan country.
A young man was carrying his beloved woman on his back, running across the mountain and through the forest.
“We’re almost there… Tong-er, hang in there.”
Nightfall had arrived, and their surroundings became eerily silent. Not even the sound of a lone bird could be heard.
A night breeze was blowing from all directions; the woman on his back was dying. The man’s forehead was covered in sweat; he was forcefully suppressing the uneasy premonition he had—he hoped the rumors were wrong.
A wide area of bamboo forest suddenly appeared before him. The sight of it raised hope in the man’s eyes.
The man quickened his pace as he reached the end of the bamboo forest. A small wooden house was hidden near the mountain spring.
“Tong-er, we’ve arrived! Wake up, look…”
Her eyes fluttered open as she smiled weakly at the man.
PONGPONGPONG. He desperately knocked on the door. He sensed that someone was inside the house, and that made him even more elated.
That person must still be here!
Indeed, footsteps could be heard from inside. A man dressed in white clothing opened the door. He was graceful and good-looking, but visibly frail.
“What’s the matter?” he asked.
“Are you Qian Lü?”
The white-dressed man frowned, but did not deny it.
The arriver immediately fell on one knee and begged, “Qian Lü! I am an alchemist from the Yan tribe. My name is Liu Yuanxi. Please, you must save my…”
Qian Lü interrupted Liu Yuanxi’s request. “Haven’t you heard the rumor from outside? I no longer save people with my zither,” he said.
Liu Yuanxi raised his head as he looked at Qian Lü’s cold gaze, stunned, “But, it’s different… I…”
“It’s all the same for me—your woman’s life is worth it, but the others are not?” Qian Lü took a glance at the dying woman in Liu Yuanxi’s embrace. From the looks of it, she probably had at least three different types of poison in her body.
Qian Lü turned to return into the house. “Go back. It doesn’t matter who comes. I’m no longer saving anyone.”
“How could you do that?” Liu Yuanxi questioned, seeing the door closing. He desperately got up and shouted, “I’m a descendant of the man who made the Yue Xuan zither!”
Yan tribe resided in the area of the Purgatory Valley. Their population was scarce, and nobody would dare go near their area. The Yan tribe was talented at using poison, but a few thousand years ago, they had one famous master of medicine.
That person was the alchemist who created the Yue Xuan zither. Additionally, he was also Liu Yuanxi’s grandfather.
Qian Lü suddenly felt his heart sink.
Liu Yuanxi continued, “Back then, he took the Yue Xuan zither along when he roamed the world. Regardless of where he went, he would selflessly help the people who were burdened with illnesses. But now, the zither is in your hands. If you can play it, why are you leaving us to die?”
Qian Lü looked at the woman’s pale face as he remained silent.
“Qian Lü, don’t you have someone you love? Can you understand how it feels to see the person you love dying in front of you?!”
Qian Lü looked up and replied sternly, “Leave. Don’t waste your time with me.”
“Xi…” the woman suddenly felt cold, “Bring me back to the valley, alright… I wish to die there…”
“No!!” Liu Yuanxi rejected the fact that the woman was dying as he glared at Qian Lü with his eyes full of tears, “Please, I beg you, there’s nothing in this world that could save her except the Yue Xuan zither…”
Qian Lü quietly looked back at Liu Yuanxi. He paused and shook his head.
“Good… very well…” Liu Yuanxi laughed three times, embracing the woman in frustration and desperation. Before he left, he cursed viciously, “A selfish person like you who refuses to save someone in need… just go to hell with your zither!”
The woman probably would not last through the night. Qian Lü did not look at their disappearing shadows as he closed his door.
It was dark and damp inside the house. Qian Lü leaned against the door and he shut his eyes tightly.
At the blink of an eye, a thousand years had passed.
Qian Lü hid in the palaces of the twelve sacred beasts. Since then, the Yue Xuan zither had never been played anymore.
At this point, Qian Lü turned around to look at Gu Ting Yu, who was stunned.
Gu Ting Yu raised his hand slowly and slapped Qian Lü’s face.
Qian Lü laughed lightly as he lowered his gaze.
Gu Ting Yu did not hit hard, so it was not painful at all, but the little glow of hope in Qian Lü’s heart was extinguished.
“See, I’m such a selfish and narrow-minded person. But what can you do?”
“You said that…” Gu Ting Yu’s voice seemed to be trembling, “When you place your hand on the zither, the melody would start playing by itself… then, why is there no sound at all, even though you’re touching it right now?”
Qian Lü, who was holding the Yue Xuan zither, froze.
“Qian Lü!” Gu Ting Yu shouted, “It’s not that you’re unwilling to save them—you can’t make the zither play anymore!”
Under the moonlight, the secret that was buried for a thousand years was finally revealed.
Qian Lü helplessly pulled his knees close to his body as he curled up under the pavilion… after a long silence—
“The zither is damaged,” he said, “because I can’t withstand the expectations; I started to reject it. Gradually, the melody got messier, and one day, no matter how I played it, no sound would come out of it anymore.”
Gu Ting Yu squatted down and held Qian Lü’s shoulder, “But if you don’t say it, how would people understand?”
“I mustn’t let anyone know.” Qian Lü bit his lips stubbornly. “The Yue Xuan zither… to many people, it means hope.”
Even if he were to hold a blackened name for all eternity, Qian Lü did not wish to see the legend of the Yue Xuan zither be shattered.
“That is why I had hoped to use the powers of Ming Lei to restore this zither.” Qian Lü let out a long sigh.
Gu Ting Yu sat down beside Qian Lü; they were in the pavilion surrounded by the dark night. The night breeze lifted Qian Lü’s silver hair as though it was caressing the strands. All of a sudden, it was as if there were only the two of them in the whole world.
After a short while, Qian Lü heard Gu Ting Yu’s deep voice, “… is there anything else I could learn? All of it, teach me all of it.”
Three days later.
“Don’t be impatient…” Qian Lü looked at Gu Ting Yu, who was lying on the floor lifelessly after overusing his powers.
Gu Ting Yu could only pant heavily… he almost got it. But no matter what he did, he still could not control the intensity of the powers in his body. He would either use too much power and cause destruction or use too little powers and fail to attain any results.
“You are doing great for the level you’ve achieved so far.” Qian Lü pulled Gu Ting Yu up to his feet as he continued, “Go wash up at the spring, I’ll make something to eat.”
Gu Ting Yu frowned, “I don’t want the green plums. My teeth are aching from the sourness.”
“I don’t want to eat grass, either!” Gu Ting Yu shouted as he turned away.
Qian Lü smiled, finding himself unable to look away. His eyes traced Gu Ting Yu’s back, following the top of his spine, then his gaze shifted downwards…
The sunset painted a honey-colored glow on Gu Ting Yu’s bare skin, as his sweat glistened in the light. Below his slender waist, there was that slightly perky bottom that seemed as though it would feel really good to touch it. If he spread those cheeks apart, he would…
Qian Lü swallowed hard as he suddenly felt thirsty.
A sound of splashing water could be heard as Gu Ting Yu slipped into the spring.
The cooling spring water pricked against Gu Ting Yu’s skin, making the two pointy tips on his chest harden as he shivered.
Upon hearing a strange noise, Gu Ting Yu turned around and was shocked to find Qian Lü behind him.
“Hey,” he said, “aren’t you going to make something to eat?”
However, it was as if Qian Lü had been bewitched; he stood there staring at Gu Ting Yu, not moving an inch.
“What’s wrong?” Noticing the unusual gaze in Qian Lü’s eyes, Gu Ting Yu swam towards the shore as he continued to ask worriedly.
Then, he noticed the transparent liquid that was dripping out from Qian Lü’s mouth… Gu Ting Yu gasped in shock as he immediately climbed onto the shore to check on Qian Lü’s condition.
Who would have expected that the image of a bare naked, fresh-out-of-water body would strike Qian Lü like a bolt of lightning.
“WAHHHH!!!” Qian Lü screamed as he stepped back. He had one hand covering his blushing face and his other hand stretched out to stop Gu Ting Yu from getting close. “S-stop, don’t come near me!”
“You…” Gu Ting Yu just took a step out of the spring and Qian Lü had already taken ten steps backwards.
Then, Qian Lü covered the bulge between his legs as he ran away quickly.
The man who was the cause of his suffering, yet was completely unaware of it, was left behind by the spring.
At the dining table, Qian Lü was feeling distraught.
He forced himself to focus on his meal, but when he sensed Gu Ting Yu’s gaze, he instantly felt as though his face was aflame.
“I think I’m almost there,” Gu Ting Yu said as he sat down across the table.
“Although I’m not exactly sure about the details on how to utilize the power, I think I shouldn’t have problems with transferring Ming Lei’s power out of my body.”
“Oh…” Qian Lü seemed to be busy with his food, but the Jie Xian grass that he picked up with his chopsticks was falling all over the table. Qian Lü was merely repeating the action of grasping thin air.
“How should I transfer the power to you?” Gu Ting Yu asked.
Qian Lü coughed as he choked on his saliva. A moment later, he muttered softly, “Using body contact as a medium, you can transfer the power into my body.”
“Oh,” Gu Ting Yu frowned. “Body contact? For example?”
E–Example… Qian Lü looked at Gu Ting Yu in silence.
Gu Ting Yu laughed dryly, “You want to try? Would you like to kiss me?”
Qian Lü’s heartbeat quickened, but he pretended to be calm, “O–Of course, you’ll be the one to initiate it.”
Gu Ting Yu only wanted to transfer Ming Lei’s power to Qian Lü. He did not notice Qian Lü’s slightly trembling fingertips. Placing his chopsticks on the table, he walked over to Qian Lü’s side.
Just before Gu Ting Yu’s lips were going to touch his, Qian Lü turned pale from the nervousness and spoke, “Wait… I’m not read—umm…”
The slightly cold touch was very gentle.
Qian Lü’s heart was beating like crazy and he felt as though all of his pores had opened up.
Gu Ting Yu’s taste lingered on his lips, and Qian Lü felt as though he was going to black out. Just when he was about to suffocate, Gu Ting Yu moved away.
“Seems like… it’s doesn’t work…” Gu Ting Yu saw that neither of them had any changes. He muttered, “What should we do next?”
Qian Lü lowered his head speechlessly, looking at the familiar bulge between his legs.