By that point, it was difficult for me to remember the name Yin Qie Zi.
Why did I impulsively choose Yin Qie Zi as a fake name?
Why did I decide to use silver-purple hair as disguise?
Perhaps, I was still ignorantly following behind the line, on the same path from the very beginning.
The next few days passed calmly. Maybe it was because Mila still wasn’t sure whether Yin Qie Zi was planning to save the Leaves, but she kept following him around and asking him to accompany her.
Despite that, Yin Qie Zi still felt free to do whatever he wanted, especially since many of his interests coincided with Mila’s. The two of them were particularly interested in spirit elixirs. It was just that Mila had never found a spirit binder to be her teacher, so she knewonly theories, and no practical methods.
“Are you fine with not being my teacher?” Mila asked worriedly. “Spirit binders can only pass on their knowledge to their students, right?”
Yin Qie Zi immediately clarified in a serious tone, “I don’t need students, and I’m not actually teaching you, either. I’m just giving you a birthday present.”
Mila broke out in laughter and did not mention the subject again.
The most common thing the two of them did together was to silently read in the personal library. They researched on the Leaf Tribe and tried to find out the reason Yin Qie Zi lost his powers.
There was one hobby of Mila’s that Yin Qie Zi was not fond of – floral arrangement. She realized this really soon, and decided to change the hobby and have Yin Qie Zi push her to the garden so they could look at and appreciate the flowers instead. Sometimes, Yin Qie Zi would even perform swordplay for her to watch.
Everything proceeded smoothly, other than the fact that Fenny was constantly with them. Yin Qie Zi was not worried about that, though. He still had time to gain Mila’s trust… First he had to wait for Owen to drink the red potion before he can start on his plan.
He must finish them both off at the same time. If anything happened to one of them, the other would be immediately strictly hidden and protected.
“Yin Qie Zi? Yin Qie Zi, are you listening to me?”
Yin Qie Zi snapped back to his senses and saw Mila’s doubtful expression. He hurriedly asked, “What is it? Are you tired?”
Mila smiled, “That’s not it! What are you thinking?”
“Sorry.” Yin Qie Zi answered vaguely. “I was just thinking of a recipe for some spirit medicine.”
“As expected of a spirit binder.”
Hearing Mila say that, Yin QieZi nodded. “Spirit binding is really fun.”
As opposed to Spiritmancers, he was honestly interested in this occupation. It wasn’t just a lie to bait Owen that he had started making spirit medicine.
“Too bad I’m not suited for spirit binding.”Mila faintly smiled. “My spirit vision isn’t very good.”
Yin QieZi nodded, and said directly, “Your spirit-linking ability is strong. You’d be a good fit to become a spirit charmer.”
“Sadly, I…” Mila looked down at her legs. Although the accident happened when she was a young child. She had already accepted the fact that she couldn’t be on the road. Still, sometimes she felt regretful.
“Spirit charmers don’t have to join into battle. There are many areas were spirit charmers can help out.”
Mila smiled, “But none of them need my help.”
Yin Qie Zi was speechless. That’s right. They couldn’t have the daughter of a member of nobility transport things around or build houses, could they?
“Learning spirit-binding in itself is very enjoyable. There’s no need to put it to use!” Mila was fairly optimistic. “Being able to learn the things I want to learn. That’s already many times better than other girls in noble families! Dad really spoils me… Even though it’s mainly because of my legs, he always thinks he didn’t protect me well. He keeps spoiling me, protecting me…”
Reaching that point, Mila complained a bit daughterly, “But he’s honestly too strict. There’s always a pile of soldiers and bodyguards wherever I go. It’s the same even at home. It’s really tiring to have someone watching over you at every moment! I have to keep holding this noble lady façade.”
You should thank him for his strictness. If it wasn’t for his tight protection, both you and Owen would have died by my hands already!
Yin Qie Zi grinned lightly, “There’s no helping it. You’re his only daughter!”
“Owen is also Dad’s only son! Then again, Dad is very strict on Owen as well.” Mila forced a smile, then spoke suddenly as having remembered something. “Oh, right. Thank you for the costly gift you gave Owen. He was really happy.”
Yin Qie Zi responded plainly, “It’s not all that precious. Owen must have received even more costly gifts.”
Mila shook her head, explaining, “Someone gave an elaborate gift to Owen once, but Dad yelled at him and returned the gift on the spot. From then on, not many people dared to give him any gifts. On the other hand, mine became more and more costly and expensive.”
Probably because Warlord Paladin’s love for his daughter had been ringing louder and louder, Yin QieZi thought to himself.
“Owen never said anything about this…, but I know he still cares about it a little.” Mila clasped her hands and begged, “So would you please, give him a birthday present every year from now on?”
Next year… Yin Qin Zie simply replied with, “Mm.”
“That’s great!” Mila happily said, and then turned to ask Fenny, “Fenny, is it time for dinner?”
Fenny quickly replied, “The servants haven’t called us yet, so I’m afraid it’ll be little longer. Miss, how about having Mr. Yin Qie Zi take you for a walk around the gardens to while away the time?”
Without waiting for Mila’s reply, Yin Qie Zi nodded, “Let’s go then.”
The two quietly walked through the gardens, though only one of them was actually walking. Fenny followed after them, but she was considerate to keep three steps behind.
So they trust me enough to stay three steps away? Inwardly, Yin Qie Zi couldn’t help but give a faint smile.
When Yin Qie Zi pushed Mila’s wheelchair under a tree, he suddenly stopped. He stood quietly in the tree’s shade and enjoyed the coolness of the air.
Mila didn’t find this strange; she knew Yin Qie Zi liked to read while sitting under a tree. It had to do with the fact that he was a Flower, for Flowers were the children of trees. She understandingly suggested, “Let’s take a rest here!”
Yin Qie Zi nodded. After making sure Mila’s wheelchair was properly parked, he took his usual spot on the ground. When he raised his head, he saw Mila looking him, eyes filled with expectation. Yin Qie Zi hesitated and asked, “What is it?”
“Can I sit together with you on the ground?” Mila asked with longing in her voice.
Yin Qie Zi paused and looked towards Fenny, but the latter merely blinked at him innocently. Fenny then said, “Mr. Yin Qie Zi, you can’t possibly be expecting a weak and delicate girl like myself to lift Miss out of the wheelchair, right?”
A weak and delicate girl…?
Yin Qie Zi fixed Fenny with a suspicious stare. But the latter continued acting weak, pretending that it had been someone else who had deflected the assassin’s knife with a sword last time.
Although girls belonging to the nobility couldn’t easily be touched, if it was Mila’s own request, then there shouldn’t be any problems, right? Yin Qie Zi didn’t dwell too much on the topic. He stood up, lifted Mila from the wheelchair, and placed her onto the ground. He even thoughtfully chose a comfortable place, allowing her to rest against the tree’s trunk and roots.
Mila smiled faintly, “Even though you can use a sword, you look so very thin and weak. You don’t have the appearance of someone with great strength.”
Yin Qie Zi sat down. When he heard those words he smiled, “I’m not human, remember?”
Mila deliberately exaggerated her sudden realization, making the two of them laugh.
“Is it strange? I’m a Flower; I’m…” Yin Qie Zi paused, and then said, “I’m a physical spirit.”
Hearing this, Mila turned to look at him. She appeared somewhat hesitant, but still opened her mouth to speak. “Yin Qie Zi, I couldn’t find the reason as to why you lost your powers in our library. However, I’ve asked Edward to search for books on it in the royal library… Don’t worry! I didn’t tell him anything about you. Besides, I’ve always been interested in the Leaf Tribe. He won’t suspect a thing!”
Upon hearing those words, Yin Qie Zi finally regained his calm. He had thought he would be forced to take action right then and there.
Seeing that Yin Qie Zi had calmed down, Mila let out a breath, and continued speaking.
“Edward couldn’t find any more information about the Leaf Tribe’s guardian Flower. There was a book, however, that talked about the existence of physical spirits. The book described physical spirits to be mighty in power. If one were to rampage about recklessly, they would definitely cause devastating destruction. But fortunately, that sort of destruction has never happened before. This is because there’salways a purpose to the existence of physical spirits. It could even be said that they exist purely because of that purpose. Due to this, they would not easily stray away from the path of their purpose. But when they do…”
Mila saw the sudden change in Yin Qie Zi’s expression. She paused in her words and chewed on her bottom lip. She knew that the words she was about to say would hurt Yin Qie Zi, so she was afraid to speak them. But since Yin Qie Zi already had an idea of what she was going to say, there would be no point if she didn’t finish her words. So Mila opened her mouth and finished her sentence.
Faced with Mila’s worried expression, Yin Qie Zi only gave a faint smile.
From the outset, there was no purpose for an abandoned Flower.
Looking at Yin Qie Zi’s composed face; Mila finally gathered the courage and carefully went on. “As far as I know, the purpose of a Flower is to protect the members of the Leaf Tribe… Yin Qie Zi, when you lost your powers, did you try to use it for something other than protection? So much that it could be considered the complete opposite of protecting?”
Yin Qie Zi stayed quiet for a moment, but reluctantly spoke afterwards, “I don’t think that’s the reason… Long before I lost my powers, I had already been using it for ‘non-protecting’ purposes.”
Mila gave a blank stare, but quickly replied, “Oh! So that’s how it is. Then you couldn’t have lost your powers because of that. We’ll keep searching then!”
“Yin Qie Zi…” Mila hesitated, but went on. “The Danya People who’re here for the peace offering have already arrived. In two days, they will return to the Continent of Xiasha together with the offering. Those Leaves… Do you want to see them once before they are taken away? Perhaps Owen and Edward can take you there.”
“No, if I go, they might expose my identity. If that happened, it would be a great problem for me.” Yin Qie Zi evenly replied. “I’ve lived amongst humans for a long time now. I enjoy these peaceful days.”
“Yes, passing your days peacefully truly is great!”
After Mila finished speaking, the two of them stopped conversing. But the atmosphere wasn’t filled with awkward silence; instead, it was extremely comfortable and relaxing. Although the day was stifling hot, a cool breeze continuously blew under the tree. While it wasn’t yet time for the garden to be filled with flowers, there were still many of them swaying amid the abundant green leaves.
The color of sunflowers suddenly blew past Yin Qie Zi’s vision. He puzzledly turned his head to look. It turned out to be strands of Mila’s hair that had been blown loose by the wind. Yin Qie Zi unconsciously reached out a hand and caught wisps of hair in his fingers. He then tucked the loose strands neatly behind Mila’s ear, completely forgetting how inappropriate an act it was.
However, Mila didn’t say anything. She merely reached out a hand to touch Yin Qie Zi’s braid. “Your hair color truly is unique,” She praised.
When Yin Qie Zi felt the fingers on his braid, he reacted. “Don’t touch it!” He cried out in alarm.
“Huh?” Mila quickly withdrew her hand. She then exclaimed, “Ah! Sorry, I heard from Owen that you disliked people touching your hair. But I forgot in the moment…”
Yin Qie Zi blushed and said quietly, “Don’t worry about it.”
Mila was a little bewildered at Yin Qie Zi’s abnormal reaction. On the other hand, Yin Qie Zi felt a little awkward. Since Mila already knew he was a Flower, there was no harm in telling her about the peculiarities of his hair. But just then, she had touched his braid. If he suddenly told her that his hair was capable of having sensations… It probably wouldn’t be good.
At that moment, Mila let out a surprised cry. “Who’s that?”
Yin Qie Zi raised his head. The person he saw had his entire body hidden underneath a cloak. His face was even covered with a veil. “That’s my servant, Litelli.”
Litelli walked all the way in front of them and stood still.
Seeing this, Mila understandingly said, “I think dinner’s almost ready. I’ll go in first. Fenny.”
The “weak and delicate” Fenny came over and effortlessly lifted Mila, placed her down in the wheelchair, and pushed her out of the garden.
Yin Qie Zi wordlessly watched mistress and servant leave. He then turned around and asked Litelli, “Did you find him?”
“No, I wasn’t able to.” Litelli curled his lip, and reluctantly said. “He’s probably lying low in some special hiding place of his. There is no one I cannot find in this city! Give me a little bit more time. Even if he’s hiding in the royal palace, I’ll definitely drag him out!”
Yin Qie Zi pondered for a moment, and said, “You can search for him again tomorrow.”
“You have another task for me?” Litelli asked knowingly.
“No, I don’t want you to do anything.” Yin Qie Zi pulled out a jar of spirit medicine from his clothes. “Just drink this jar of hair dye medicine, and obediently go sleep on the bed.”
“You want me to pretend to be you? Then where are you going?” Litelli knew he was in trouble the moment he asked that question. Yin Qie Zi wasn’t someone who liked to answer questions.
As expected, Yin Qie Zi did not reply. He merely tossed the jar of medicine to Litelli and left the garden.
The moon was bright that night. The light was cast down upon the grey imperial palace of the Country of Zhan Yan, making it appear like a luminous silver castle.
It was already late into the night. The inside of the castle was quiet and solemn. There were only guards patrolling the castle grounds, loyally doing their duty and preventing evildoers from entering and harming the royal family.
Two soldiers dressed in armor patrolled the castle’s inner walls. When they passed the sewer mouth, one of them, out of the corner of his eye, spied a shadow moving beneath the water. He stopped in his steps and said suspiciously to his companion, “There’s something in the water!”
The other solider replied, “It’s probably fish. The sewer is filled to the brim with water. Plus, it’s so dark inside that you wouldn’t be able to tell which direction you’re going. If someone went in, they would only drown. It’s impossible for them to swim in from the outside. There’s no way anyone could come in that way.”
“I see,” the other solider said in realization.
“Let’s go and check somewhere else.”
The soldier’s voices grew farther and farther away. At that moment, a shadow rose from the depth of the water. Without raising a splash, the shadow quickly clambered onto the ground.
The shadow looked helplessly at the moon that hung high in the sky. The sky was cloudless and bright with moonlight. There was no hope that it would weaken. He could only hide himself by carefully utilizing all sorts of shadows. In addition, he had to avoid important places, such as the building where the royal family stayed. It was the most heavily guarded structure within the castle.
Nevertheless, the shadow’s target wasn’t the high-classed royalty. Instead, he was focused on the bunch locked up in the prison.
The prison was also probably heavily guarded, but he didn’t intend on saving anyone. He only wanted to take a look inside. The difficulty of this act was significantly lower than any attempt to save the prisoners.
The shadow spent a long time circling the prison walls searching for a window, almost bumping into guards several times. His heart trembled with fear, so much that he wanted to turn around and leave. But just then, he finally found what he was looking for.
There was only one window on any of the walls; a tiny window that even children couldn’t crawl out of.
The light inside the prison was dim. Fortunately, the moonlight was more than sufficient for him to see. He could make out several people inside… No, several Leaves.
Unconsciously, the shadow leaned closer toward the window. Even though it was extremely dangerous, he wanted to get a clearer look at the Leaves inside.
There were both men and women inside, with a great variety of hair color—blue, gold, purple. But none of them had a head of silvery-purple hair.
The shadow gave a self-deprecating smile. How could the grand Leaf Lord be caught and end up as a slave?
It was time for him to leave… The shadow wrinkled his brow. He couldn’t resist the urge to peer into the small window one last time.
The Leaves sat or lay quietly inside the prison cell. Most of them were asleep; the few that were awake stared blankly into space. They looked helpless and utterly lifeless.
It was a very strange scene. In the shadow’s memory, it was very rare for Leaves to display such vacant expressions.
Seeing the emptiness on the Leaves’ faces made him uncomfortable. He didn’t want to look at them anymore and turned to leave. When he had just taken a few steps, however, a voice suddenly came from the side.
“I wasn’t sure you would come, since I thought that you might be scared of entering the palace. Although you lost your powers to manipulate plants, you still count as a fairly strong spiritmancer. But even then, isn’t it insensible for you to infiltrate the royal palace?”
The shadow’s heart skipped a beat. This voice belonged to the assassin who injured his left shoulder!
He turned around to look, but couldn’t find the other’s figure. In the darkness, however, there was a pair of glowing eyes.
He had lost the ability to manipulate plants… No, it was more accurate to say that he had lost the power to link spirits. He was still passable at breaking chains. Besides that, he still had his exceptionally good spirit vision. The occupation that suited him the most right now would be that of a spirit binder.
But a spirit binder had almost no fighting ability. To achieve his revenge, he needed fighting power. So in the end, he chose to be a spiritmancer. However, his body type wasn’t suited to practicing martial arts. To make up for this, he had spent 20 years before finally reaching where he was today.
But it simply was not enough. When faced with the power and authority of the Warlord Paladin, he was still insignificant.
Right now, with his injury, he couldn’t even beat one human!
The shadow turned, even if he had to deal with flying daggers, he had to escape. He couldn’t die here.
“Don’t run away!” The assassin coldly yelled out. “I know you are living at the Warlord’s residence. And I bet you don’t want him to know you are a Flower, am I right?”
Hearing this, the shadow stopped in his steps. If he were to lose the chance to take his revenge, then he preferred to be killed by the hands of the man standing behind him. With that thought in mind, the shadow turned around.
The man also stepped out of the darkness. He had changed after all this time. The corners of his lips were lifted in a frivolous smile, but the look in his eyes was the complete opposite. There was a deep hatred in his eyes; the left eye that carried the scar looked especially cold.
The man lightly smiled, and playfully said, “Don’t worry; I’m the only one here right now. We can have a nice long chat, without disturbing anyone. After all, we haven’t met in such a long time. Why don’t you take off your mask; I’m not used to talking to faceless people.”
Without any complaints, the shadow took off the mask that covered his whole head; silvery-purple hair flowed out like a torrent of water.
“That hair color really doesn’t suit you. Black and blood red are colors that fit you most.” The man lazily commented.
Yin Qie Zi was silent, then lightly said, “You… Are you he?”
“He? Which he are you referring to?” The man said with a cynical smile, even though he already knew the answer.
Yin Qie Zi stayed quiet. Finally, he opened his mouth and softly called out the name he hadn’t said in years.
“Cas… Are you Cas?”
The man smiled and idly replied, “Yes, that is my name, Zhan ·Cas· Tershiziel. Once, you even disliked it because it was too long.”
It really was Cas.
Although he had already guessed it, Yin Qie Zi couldn’t help but feel surprised. He had never thought he would meet Cas again. So many years had passed… He had carried the fear that Cas had long died under his own hands.
After thinking a bit, Yin Qie Zi spoke, “Cas, wait for me for a while. After I take my revenge, I’ll come and find you… You can settle your score with me then.”
“Settle my score with you? You think I want to kill you? Why would that be? You’re all that I have left. My Gong Hua… My enemy!”
Cas turned his face upwards and laughed, a crazy and violent laugh. Suddenly, he stopped, stepped forward, and grabbed a fistful of the other’s collar. He pulled Yin Qie Zi toward him, and stared at the latter with his chilling eyes.
“My cute, baby Gong Hua, killing you would be letting you off easy! You killed my whole family. You couldn’t even spare the one brother I had left. You even raised your hand to hurt me, and then just turned around and left… I spent 20 years looking for you!”
I didn’t mean to hurt you. I wanted to protect you!
Yin Qie Zi’s mouth moved, but he refrained from speaking. Even if there was one less crime to his head, the situation wouldn’t change.
“Everything about you is a lie! Do you remember when you agreed to marry me? Hahaha! Even your gender is a lie!”
“I didn’t understand anything at the time!” Yin Qie Zi couldn’t help explaining. “I didn’t mean to lie to you… No, I never lied to you!”
Cas growled, “You don’t even need to lie! Your whole existence is a lie! Pretending to be an innocent girl and deceiving everyone so much that they were wrapped around your finger. In the end, all of them died because of you! Mila died, my brother died, and what about Owen who left with you? I bet he’s dead too, am I right?”
Yin Qie Zi couldn’t even finish his explanation, but there was no way for him to explain. A tear fell silently onto his cheek.
“You are a lie, but I won’t break my promise.”
Seeing the other’s tears, Cas smiled. He reached out a hand and wiped the tear off of Yin Qie Zi’s face. Then lovingly, as if whispering to a lover, he uttered the most malicious words.
“Do you remember? I once promised you that I would never leave you. I have no plans to go back on that promise. So I’m going to stay with you for the rest of your life. I’m going to make your life a living hell. As repayment for your sins, I will make you experience suffering of the greatest kind every second of your days.”
Yin Qie Zi was silent upon hearing those words.
Cas snorted when he saw that the other did not plan on replying. He then brusquely commanded, “Now, tell me everything! After you and Owen left that year, exactly what happened?”
“That doesn’t concern you.” Yin Qie Zi didn’t want to talk about that time. He didn’t even want to remember it.
“Of course it concerns me; only after understanding you completely will I know what makes you suffer the most. Talk! Perhaps after you do, I’ll consider letting you take revenge.”
Seeing Cas act like a master, Yin Qie Zi couldn’t help but give a bitter laugh. He now understood how Litelli felt whenever he harshly ordered the latter about. The difference was that Litelli voluntarily became his servant and could leave any time he wished. In contrast, Yin Qie Zi wasn’t given any other choice but to submit.
Since the beginning, he had never been given any choices.
“Back then, Owen took me and we escaped, but wanted posters of us quickly went up. I wanted to do as Mila said and leave the country, but Owen didn’t want to leave Zhan Yan. Instead, he brought me to his cousin West’s place to ask for his help.”
Cas let loose an excited laugh, “West the Warlord Paladin? You went to him for help, but then he turned into your object of revenge? Don’t tell me he wanted to kill his own cousin Owen?
“No, the person he wants to kill is me.”
“Everybody wants to kill you.”
Cas gave a cruel smile when he saw Yin Qie Zi’s stricken expression. “How could this be, baby Gong Hua? Just by looking at you, I can tell you are very lovable. What did you do to provoke West?”
Yin Qie Zi was taciturn, but then he lifted his head to look at Cas, a hint of a smile was on his face.
“I helped him kill over ten thousand people from the Danya tribe.”
Since long ago, I’ve already been living in hell.
Previous: Chapter 9: Returning to One’s Original Identity–Flower
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Translator: Nannyn, Nuddle
Proofreaders: Natas, PiKairi, Syrra