If Owen had never found me, if Nightclaw hadn’t passed by,
If Owen hadn’t lied to Mila about the poison…
No! The things we believe to be coincidental are usually meant to be. Going back and changing choices would only lead to a worse outcome.
If Owen had never found me, then Nightclaw would have probably killed them and turned them into feed for the monsters.
If Nightclaw hadn’t passed by, I would still be forced to show my powers sooner or later.
If they hadn’t poisoned me, I would still be sentenced to death in court.
Mila said anxiously, “Hurry. Use your powers to block everyone. We’ll leave. We’ll leave together!”
Gong Hua quietly questioned back, “Together?”
“Together!” Mila embraced him, vowing never to let go.
Unable to understand her, Gong Hua asked, “Mila, you gave me the soup. Was it not to kill me?”
Mila was stunned, her expression changing immediately. She cried, “You knew there was poison in it?”
Gong Hua nodded.
Then why did he still drink it? Because I told himto? Mila’s heart ached so much she wanted to slap herself.
“Mila!” Owen ran to her while shouting, “Stop your madness. Come back!”
Seeing this, Mila screeched, “Don’t come over here! Gong Hua, don’t let anyone come near us!”
Two large vines pushed through the ground and blocked Owen, but this caused Gong Hua to cough again, dyeing his chest withblood.
Seeing Gong Hua coughing up blood so unceasingly, Mila screamed, “Owen, I was wrong about you!”
Owen had to stop in his steps. Hearing her accusation, he couldn’t hold it any longer and shouted back, “I don’t want to kill Gong Hua either! But he killed a whole town’s worth of people. He’ll end up dying even if he was brought to court! They will lock him up in a cage and let everyone throw rocks at him before hanging him in public! If that’s how it will be, I’d rather want that he die a less painful death now.”
Mila knew what Owen said was true, but she still couldn’t accept it. Even though she couldn’t think of a solution herself, she couldn’t accept Gong Hua being poisoned to death!
“No matter what it is, you shouldn’t have poisoned Gong Hua!”
“Then you’re just going to let the murderer of a whole town run free?” Cedric hollered in rage.“He killed my parents, my sister’s family, and everyone else in town. Did those people deserve to die?”
Remembering the lost lives, Mila felt helpless. She could only plead, “Can’t you just let Gong Hua go? He didn’t mean it, I’m sure of it… He saved us!”
“As long as I’m alive, I won’t let him go!”
When Cedric finished, he spread his arms into a horizontal line, and a light between his hands formed a long blade-like shape.
Seeing this, Mila panicked and held Gong Hua up, trying to bring him away from here. “Hurry, we’ll leave!”
Gong Hua looked at the spirits in Cedric’s hands and made a gesture. A vine about an arm’s thickness sprang from the earth and wrapped around the two of them, taking them away from the crowd.
“You’re not allowed to leave!” bellowed Cedric while his blade-like chain spirits shot out. With a tilt, the vine dodged the attack.
Cas? Gong Hua looked back and saw Cas running toward him shouting, “Gong Hua! Wait!”
Gong Hua stopped. He watched Cas while slightly hoping that he would be like Mila and leave with him.
Mila suddenly exclaimed and covered Gong Hua with her entire body. While Gong Hua had been wondering what was happening, his vision was abruptly filled with red… The spirit blade Cedric shot out had hit Mila’s back.
Mila lifted her head and panted, “Gong, Gong Hua, listen to me. Hurry and leave. I beg you, hurry…”
At that point, Mila couldn’t support herself anymore. Her legs gave out and she fainted.
Gong Hua held Mila up, vines bursting from the earth behind him. They intertwined to form a dense net, blocking everyone following them.
The vines took the two away very quickly. Behind them were many voices: Owen’s shouting, Cedric’s enraged bellows, Cas’s crying… but Gong Hua didn’t look back again.
He didn’t know how long it had been. It didn’t feel like very long to Gong Hua, but he knew that it was a long time for humans, so he stopped and asked the person in his arms, “Mila, should we keep going? Mila?”
Mila didn’t reply right away, but Gong Hua was very patient. He asked her again and again until he finally heard Mila speak. She whispered with a raspy voice, “Water…”
Gong Hua understood. It wasn’t a difficult matter for him to find water, especially in a forest. He quickly found a lake and placed Mila near it. He cupped his hands to collect water and carried it over to Mila. She hastily turned her head and drank the water greedily.
This shocked Gong Hua in the beginning. He didn’t know Mila liked water so much. He continued to watch her but he suddenly noticed that something is different about Mila!
Mila’s complexion used to be the color of honey, but now it’s pale… like his hands.
Gong Hua didn’t know what to do. He asked, “Mila… are you okay?”
Mila didn’t hear him and continued to devour the water.
Seeing this, Gong Hua didn’t ask any further. He was hungry too, but as he saw Mila clutching his hands for the water, he thought he wasn’t that hungry. He could wait until Mila was done.
Mila choked halfway and started coughing nonstop.
Gong Hua hurriedly patted her back to help. Mila is doing the same thing he did when he had thrown up after eating food before.
Mila coughed for a long time before stopping, but she still didn’t look very comfortable. Gong Hua placed her head on his lap and lowered his head to watch her.
Settling into the position, Mila saw Gong Hua looking down at her. Gong Hua wore a worried expression. Although it was still a bit blank for a distressing time like this, this worried expression was already much better than Gong Hua’s utter lack of expression before.
Mila was pleased. “Good child.” Saying this, she smiled herself.
Yet, he truly is a good child.
Anyone who’s known Gong Hua for more than three days would know that he’s a good child. Mila believed this wholeheartedly. She doesn’t understand how the town’s tragedy came to be, but she knew that it wasn’t Gong Hua’s intention. This child wouldn’t hurt anyone! He wouldn’t!
Once Mila became excited, her eyesight turned dark. Shocked, she waved her arms in an attempt to find her vision.
Gong Hua hurried to pat Mila’s backasking, “Mila, you, do you want more water?”
Mila gasped in pain from being patted. Her back had been struck by Cedric’s spirit blade and hadlong been defaced by it.
However, the intense pain made her vision slightly clearer. Mila was a bit faint but also a bit more aware.
“Stop patting… Gong Hua, listen to me well. You must follow what I will tell you to do. Promise me.”
Gong Hua nodded without hesitation.
Mila grinned. She held out her hand. Although a little lacking in strength, she made every effort to raise her hand and touched Gong Hua’s face. She caressed it while speaking, “Gong Hua… leave this place! As far as possible… Go to another country. Anywhere.”
“Okay.” Gong nodded. He doesn’t know where the other countries are, but Mila will tell him, so it is going to be fine.
“Remember to change your name. Don’t use Gong Hua.”
Gong Hua was taken aback after hearing this instruction, but he still nodded obediently. “Okay.”
“Don’t let Cedric catch up to you.”
“Okay.” This time, Gong Hua replied very quickly. He didn’t want to see Cedric either, or more precisely, Cedric’s horrific expression.
“Don’t go looking for Owen and Cas…”
Gong Hua is truly shocked this time. Don’t look for Owen and Cas? But he only knows Owen and Cas… It’s alright, he still had Mila.
Thinking this, Gong Hua was relieved. Although he really liked Owen and Cas, they didn’t seem to like him. More importantly, the one beside him now is Mila. Mila didn’t abandon him.
Gong Hua nodded and assented again, “Okay.”
After he replied, Gong Hua remembered another promise… He had promised Mila that he would protect Cas before. If he wasn’t by Cas’ side, how will he protect Cas?
“But Mila, I have to protect Cas. If I’m not with him, I can’t protect him… Mila?”
Halfway into his question, Gong Hua realized Mila had closed her eyes, seeming to be asleep.
He shoved her shoulders gently, murmuring, “Mila, are you asleep?”
Mila showed no reaction.
Gong Hua panicked but soon calmed down. He said in an understanding tone, “It’s alright. Mila can sleep first. Once she wakes up, we’ll leave this place, to somewhere far away. To another country.”
Gong Hua lifted his head to see the sky at some times and lowered his head to watch Mila at the other times. He occasionally drank some water from the lake as well. Gong Hua had nothing to complain about with his life right now. His only worry was that he didn’t follow Mila’s orders to go somewhere far and leave this country.
He stroked Mila’s sunflower-colored hair.
“I have to leave this country, but Mila keeps sleeping… It’s okay, the vines are very fast. Mila can sleep for a while longer. Once Mila wakes up, I’ll have the vines take us away from here, very, very quickly.”
Gong Hua is stunned. He turned around to see Owen and Cedric nearby, the two of them tired and covered in dust.
Owen looked as if his whole person was in a trance. The person who called out to Gong Hua is Cedric.
Gong Hua thought he is saved upon seeing Owen. He completely forgot Mila’s instructions to avoid them and hurriedly called out, “Owen! Mila slept for a long time. She keeps sleeping. Why does Mila keeps on sleeping?”
Owen only stared blankly at the person in Gong Hua’s arms.
Cedric walked up and said coldly, “She’s dead. Can’t you tell? The corpse has already started to smell… It’s not like this is your first time killing someone. Stop pretending!”
Dazed, Gong Hua looked down at Mila. She is shockingly pale. Even her lips had turned purple.
Her appearance wasn’t important to him then. Gong Hua had killed the residents of a whole town, but he had never really paid attention to what a dead body looked like… Truthfully, he didn’t know what dying meant back then.
About the town’s destruction, Gong Hua’s only impression of it was a sky filled with red… but the smell. He didn’t know what a dead person’s body looks like, but he can recognize the smell.
Mila was emitting the smell of the dead, a corpse’s smell.
“You killed Mila…”
Gong Hua was surprised and turned to look at Owen but discovered that he was talking to Cedric.
“I didn’t!” Cedric screamed in agitation. “The one I wanted to kill was him, this murderer! Mila only died because she rushed up to protect him!”
Owen’s expression turned livid after hearing this. Cedric also stopped talking and explained worriedly, “That’s not what I meant, I just…”
Owen scoffed coldly and walked over to Gong Hua, saying, “Gong Hua. Put Mila down.”
“Don’t go over there. It’s dangerous!” Cedric warned.
Owen paused and then continued again. He said to Gong Hua, “Give Mila to me.”
“No.” Gong Hua hugged Mila and stood up, repeating the instructions Mila had left him: “Mila told me to leave this country. She told me not to let Cedric catch up. She told me not to see Owen and Cas. She told me not to use the name Gong Hua…”
He mumbled this again and again as the vines wrapped around him. He turned to leave.
Owen hastily shouted, “Gong Hua, don’t go!”
Gong Hua heard him. He knew Mila had told him not to see Owen, but he can’t help but turn his head. To be honest, he didn’t want to leave. At a loss he asked, “But Mila said not to go find you. She told me to go to another country.”
“Is that what Mila said? She did that for you.” Owen gazed gently at Mila. His woman. Although she had never given birth, she died protecting a child.
“Mila, this is all my fault. As a man, I wasn’t as strong as you. The things I’ve promised, I didn’t do. You promised you’ll never abandon Gong Hua and you did it…”
While Owen spoke, he helplessly saw a spirit blade strike Gong Hua, causing a large amount of blood to gush out. Gong Hua was blown over and tumbled to the ground. Mila’s body also fell out of Gong Hua’s arms.
Stunned for a moment, Owen immediately knew who was responsible for this good work. He hollered furiously, “Cedric! What are you doing?”
“What am I doing?” Cedric snickered and shouted back, “This boy killed my parents, my sister’s family, the whole town. Tell me what I should do other than kill him!”
As usual, Owen could not answer.
Cedric bothered with him no longer and just watched the fallen Gong Hua. He hooked his ten fingers again, trying to collect more energy.
Owen saw Cedric create more spirit blades with his hands, so many it was enough to shred Gong Hua into a thousand pieces. Owen didn’t care what was right or wrong anymore, what was revenge or not. He yelled, “Gong Hua! Hurry and leave!”
Gong Hua hobbled back up. The spirit blade gave him a direct hit earlier, creating a wound stretching from his left shoulder to his right leg. But because he was holding onto Mila’s carcass, the attack didn’t injure the vital areas around his chest. He didn’t feel relieved from this and instead crawled to Mila’s body in horror, uttering worriedly, “Mila, Mila…”
But after a short while, he remembered. Mila was dead. She’d never reply to him again.
Gong Hua stopped calling out to her. He endured the pain and held Mila up, but as he did so, her corpse split into two.
Gong Hua didn’t expect this to happen. Before he could react, the two parts of her body fell to the ground. He stood there, stupefied, and could only look up blankly. “Owen, Mila broke…”
What Gong Hua saw wasn’t Owen but Cedric’s raised hands. Three large spirit blades hovered above those hands. Cedric looked down on Gong Hua and callously sentenced, “Then you can snap in two like she did!”
The spirit blades fell down.
Gong Hua’s eyes widened as he saw a silver sword pierce through the heart of the man in front of him. The spirit blades that were about to strike dissipated. The sword also started to shorten from the body until it was completely pulled out. Cedric suddenly fell to the ground. Behind him was Owen, now holding onto a blood-stained sword.
Owen glared at the person on the ground, his face ashen. “Cedric, you shouldn’t have touched Mila.”
He then watched as the light left Cedric’s eyes. The convulsing body gradually stopped moving…
Gong Hua looked at the blood-stained sword and couldn’t help but ask, “Owen, are you going to kill me too?”
Startled, Owen bellowed, “What dumb thing are you saying…”
Halfway into his words, he noticed Gong Hua watching his sword. He looked down to see blood dripping from the blade. Only then did he realize why Gong Huahad asked such a question and hastily threw the sword away.
After doing so, he turned to see Gong Hua staring straight at him. Gong Hua explained, “Cedric cut Mila into two; that’s why Owen killed Cedric. But Cedric said Mila only died to protect me, so is Owen going to kill me too?”
Owen was taken aback. He couldn’t answer Gong Hua’s question. If Gong Hua were to ask for the reason, it wasn’t exactly Cedric’s fault that Mila died… but Owen couldn’t forgive Cedric’s actions. Even if she had died, Cedric shouldn’t have maimed her body like that!
Owen stiffened. He saw two soldiers and Cas walking out from the forest, their eyes focused first on the people on the ground, then vacuously on Owen and Gong Hua.
“Gege?” Cas recognized that the fallen person was Cedric. He was completely in a daze.
The soldiers looked terrified as they faced their captain. One of them asked in panic, “Cap, Captain Owen. What happened here?”
While the soldiers inquired, Cas had already run up to Cedric’s side. He laboriously flipped over the body. The next second, he was so shocked he fell down. He looked at Owen completely horrified. Owen’s eyes were wide open… wide open, but unfocused.
Anyone can tell who had killed Cedric.
“Captain, isn’t that sword yours?” The soldiers looked scared but voiced in disbelief, “Could it be that you, you killed…”
Although they’d asked a question, their expressions and retreating footsteps indicated that they had long since known who the murderer was.
The panic slowly left their faces as the noise of other soldiers neared. The two looked at one another and began to call out loudly, wanting to attract the others here.
Seeing how the situation was in a state of disrepair, Owen clutched Gong Hua’s hands and began to pull him toward him. However, Gong Hua yelped from the pain and plunged to the ground.
Owen simply carried him altogether and started dashing into the forest.
Cas’s voice! Gong Hua immediately turned his head. Cas was looking straight at him, his expression helpless and perplexed. Gong Hua suddenly recalled how Mila told him to protect Cas.
If Gong Hua wasn’t there, how could he protect Cas?
At this point, Owen had already left the lake and was in the forest. In the midst of the situation, Gong Hua finally thought of something.
If he left the mark of a Flower on Cas’s body, then at least anything inside the forest won’t hurt him.
Gong Hua waved his hands, and a vine, the size of a finger, popped out. It moved toward Cas. His intention was to mark Cas’s arm and leave a Flower’s mark there.
However, Owen noticed this and grabbed Gong Hua’s hands, shouting in panic, “What are you doing? Don’t attack Cas!”
With Gong Hua’s hands restricted, the vine also lost direction. It didn’t touch Cas’s arm but instead scratched his left eye.
Cas covered his face and wailed as large amounts of blood seeped through his fingers.
“Cas!” Gong Hua cried out in shock and struggled to get down and go see him.
People were closing in on them now. Owen had no time to stop and worry about Cas anymore. The only thing he could do is to take Gong Hua away from here as fast as possible. So, he held Gong Hua tightly and rushed into the forest without even looking back.
Gong Hua watched Cas covering his face with his head drooped low. Blood continuously dribbled through the cracks between his fingers and onto Cedric’s corpse… That was the final scene of their parting.
Proofreaders: Atroquinine Blue, Sherry