After a pause, Wei Wuxian said, “Even if it’s hibernation, it doesn’t need to sleep for four hundred years, right? This Slaughterous Xuanwu beast, which feasts on human flesh, how many has it eaten?”

Lan Wangji replied, “According to records, every time it appeared, it devoured as few as two or three hundred people and as many as entire cities and villages. Over a few rampages, it consumed at least five thousand people.”

Wei Wuxian said, “Oh. It must be full by now.”

This monster seemed to enjoy swallowing people whole into its turtle shell, perhaps as a way of storing them for later consumption. Maybe it had accumulated too much food in its shell four hundred years ago and still hadn’t finished digesting.

Ignoring Wei Wuxian’s comment, Lan Wangji continued, “Speaking of food, have you ever practiced fasting? People like us, if we don’t eat or drink, can probably last for three or four days. But if, after three or four days, no one comes to rescue us and our physical strength, energy, and spiritual power start to decline…”

If Wen Chao and his men were to flee and leave them to their own devices, waiting for another three or four days might bring reinforcements from other sects. But Wei Wuxian feared that instead of extending a helping hand, the Wen sect would add insult to injury. The term “other sects” only included the Lan and Jiang sects of Gusu. If the Wen sect obstructed their efforts, the estimated time of “three or four days” might need to be extended.

Wei Wuxian put down the tree branch, roughly drew a map on the ground, connecting a few lines, and said, “From Muxi Mountain to Gusu, it’s a bit closer than from Muxi Mountain to Yunmeng. Your people should come first. Let’s wait patiently. Even if they don’t come, we’ll only have to wait for another day or two at most before Jiang Cheng arrives at Lotus Pier. Jiang Cheng is resourceful, and the Wen sect won’t be able to stop him. There’s nothing to worry about.”

Lan Wangji lowered his gaze, sounding tired as he said softly, “We won’t be able to wait.”

Wei Wuxian asked, “Huh?”

Lan Wangji replied, “Yunmeng is no more. It has already been burned.”

Wei Wuxian tried to probe, “Are the people still alive? Your uncle and your brother?”

He had heard that the Lan sect leader, Lan Wangji’s father, was seriously injured when they went up the mountain. However, he didn’t expect the situation to be so dire that his father was “close to death.” Perhaps Lan Wangji had just received the latest news in the past two days, informing him that his father’s condition was deteriorating.

Although the Lan sect leader often secluded himself and paid no attention to outside affairs, a father was still a father. Coupled with the disappearance of Lan Xichen, it was no wonder Lan Wangji had been exceptionally gloomy and irritable today. Wei Wuxian felt somewhat awkward and didn’t know what to say.

Unexpectedly, when he turned around absentmindedly, his whole body froze.

The firelight illuminated Lan Wangji’s face like warm jade, making the tear streak on his cheek clearly visible.

Wei Wuxian was stunned and thought, “Damn it!”

Lan Wangji was the type of person who would probably shed tears only a few times in his lifetime, and he happened to witness one of those few times. He couldn’t stand seeing other people cry. He couldn’t stand seeing a woman’s tears. If he did, he would want to go up and comfort them, make them laugh through their tears. But seeing a man’s tears was even worse. He always believed that stumbling upon the tears of a usually dominant man was more terrifying than accidentally seeing a modest girl bathing. But unfortunately, he couldn’t go and console him.

Under the multiple blows of their ancestral home being destroyed, their clan being oppressed, his father in danger, his brother missing, and his own injuries, any attempt at comfort would be feeble and powerless.

Wei Wuxian didn’t know where to put his hands and feet. He turned his head away, and after a while, he said, “Um, Lan Zhan.”

Lan Wangji coldly interrupted him, “Shut up.”

Wei Wuxian fell silent.

The firewood crackled.

Lan Wangji spoke softly, “Wei Ying, you are really annoying.”

Wei Wuxian replied, “Oh…”

He thought, “So many things have happened, and Lan Zhan is already troubled enough. It’s no wonder he’s so angry and can’t do anything since his leg is injured and he doesn’t have the strength to hit me, so he can only bite me… I guess I’ll give him some peace and quiet.”

After holding it in for a while, he continued, “Actually, I don’t want to bother you… I just wanted to ask if you feel cold. The inner garment is dry, you can wear it, and I’ll keep the outer one.”

The inner garment was his personal clothing and wasn’t originally suitable for Lan Wangji to wear, but his own outer garment was too dirty to be presentable. Giving such a garment to Lan Wangji seemed somewhat offensive to the fastidious Lan sect. Lan Wangji didn’t say anything or look at him. Wei Wuxian threw the dried white inner garment beside him, draped the outer robe over himself, and silently rolled out.

The two of them waited, one day after another.

There was no day or night in the cave. The only way to keep track of time was through the maddeningly regular routine of the Lan family. They would automatically sleep and wake at specific hours. Therefore, Wei Wuxian could determine the passage of time by counting how many times Lan Wangji had slept.

With these three days of rest and recuperation, Lan Wangji’s leg injury had not worsened and was slowly healing. Soon, he resumed his meditation and cultivation.

During these days, Wei Wuxian didn’t hover around Lan Wangji. When Lan Wangji regained his composure, adjusted his emotions, and returned to being the calm and expressionless Lan Zhan, Wei Wuxian pretended as if he hadn’t seen or heard anything that night. He also restrained himself from teasing him for fun. The two of them interacted in a lukewarm manner, maintaining a sense of tranquility.

During this period, they had made several attempts to explore the vicinity of the Black Pool. The Slaughterous Xuanwu had dragged all the corpses into its turtle shell. The massive black shell floated on the water’s surface, resembling an unstoppable giant warship. In the beginning, they could hear the heavy sounds of chewing emanating from inside the shell. But later, they could only hear a snoring-like sound, as if the beast had fallen asleep, resembling distant thunder.

They had initially hoped to take advantage of the creature’s slumber and secretly dive into the water to search for an escape route. However, after wandering underwater for only a short time, the beast would sense their movements. Despite searching multiple times, they still hadn’t found the opening that Jiang Cheng had mentioned. Wei Wuxian suspected that some part of the creature’s body was blocking it. He thought about luring it out again, but it seemed that the beast had grown tired after causing such havoc and was less active.

They had collected scattered feathers, longbows, and iron brands from the shore. When they counted them, there were over a hundred feathers, more than thirty longbows, and over a dozen iron brands.

By this time, it was already the fourth day.

Lan Wangji picked up a longbow with his left hand and carefully examined its material. With his right hand, he plucked the bowstring, producing a resounding metallic sound.

This was a bow and arrow used by the cultivation sects for hunting demons and monsters at night. The materials used to make the bow and arrows were extraordinary. Lan Wangji dismantled all the bowstrings from the bows and skillfully connected them together, forming a single long string. He stretched the string taut with both hands, then swiftly released it. The bowstring flew out like lightning, leaving a trail of white light, and shattered a rock three zhang away.

Lan Wangji retracted his hand, and the bowstring emitted a sharp whistling sound in the air.

Wei Wuxian asked, “String Kill Technique?”

The String Kill Technique was one of the secret techniques of the Lan sect of Gusu. It was created and passed down by Lan Yi, the granddaughter of the founding ancestor Lan An. Lan Yi was the only female sect leader in the history of the Lan sect. She excelled in playing the qin, an instrument with seven strings that could be disassembled and reassembled. The seven strings, gradually thinning from thick to thin, could produce beautiful melodies at her white and tender fingertips in one moment and become a deadly weapon in the next, capable of slicing bones and cutting flesh.

Lan Yi created the String Kill Technique for covert assassinations, which drew some criticism. Even the Gusu Lan sect had mixed opinions about their former sect master. However, it couldn’t be denied that the String Kill Technique was one of the most powerful and versatile combat techniques in the Lan sect’s arsenal.

Lan Wangji said, “Penetrating from the inside.”

The turtle shell was as strong as a fortress, with a tough and hard outer surface that seemed impenetrable. However, the more impregnable the shell, the more fragile the body hidden within it might be. Wei Wuxian had considered this over the past few days and was well aware of it.

What they were even more aware of was the current situation. After three days of rest, they were now at their peak condition. If they continued to wait and deplete their strength, they would gradually decline. The fourth day had already passed, and there was still no sign of rescue.

Instead of sitting idly and waiting for their demise, it was better to make a desperate attempt. If the two of them could work together to slay the Slaughterous Xuanwu, they could escape through the underwater cave beneath the Black Pool.

Wei Wuxian said, “I agree with penetrating from the inside. But I have heard of your family’s String Kill Technique. Being confined within the turtle shell might limit its effectiveness. Moreover, your leg injury hasn’t fully healed, so it may hinder your performance, right?”

This was the truth, and Lan Wangji understood. They both understood that insisting on fighting when they were incapable of doing so would only hinder their progress.

Wei Wuxian said, “Listen to me.”

Half of the Slaughterous Xuanwu’s turtle shell was still floating on the surface of the Black Pool.

Its four beast claws and head had retreated into the shell, leaving a large opening in the front, and five smaller openings arranged on the left, right, and back. It resembled a lonely island, a small mountain, with an uneven and dark surface covered in moss and long algae that glistened green and black.

Silently, Wei Wuxian carried a bundle of feathers and iron brands on his back and approached the front opening of the Slaughterous Xuanwu’s head, moving like a slender silver fish.

A large portion of the cave was submerged in the waters of the Black Pool, and Wei Wuxian swam in effortlessly. After passing through the head opening, he entered the interior of the turtle shell. Wei Wuxian’s feet sank into what felt like a thick layer of rotting mud. The mud was soaked with water, emitting a pervasive stench that almost made him curse aloud.

The putrid smell was a mixture of decay and a sickeningly sweet bloodiness, reminiscent of a fat and bloated dead rat he had once seen by a lake in Yunmeng. He pinched his nose and thought, “This cursed place… Fortunately, I didn’t let Lan Zhan come in. With his aversion to anything unsanitary, he would have vomited at the first whiff. Even if he didn’t, he would have been overwhelmed by the stench.”

The Slaughterous Xuanwu emitted a gentle snoring sound. Wei Wuxian moved quietly, holding his breath as he stepped deeper into the waterlogged mud. After three steps, the sludge had risen above his knees. In the mixture of mud and pool water, there seemed to be some hard lumps. Wei Wuxian crouched down, feeling around, and suddenly touched something furry.

It felt like human hair.

Wei Wuxian withdrew his hand, knowing that it belonged to a person dragged in by the Slaughterous Xuanwu. As he continued to search, he also came across a boot with a half-rotted leg inside, partly flesh and partly bone.

It seemed that this beast had little regard for cleanliness. The remnants it hadn’t finished eating or hadn’t had a chance to eat had leaked out from between its teeth and accumulated into a thick layer within the shell over the course of a hundred years. And at this moment, Wei Wuxian stood in the sludge composed of dismembered bodies.

After days of climbing, crawling, and fighting, Wei Wuxian was already filthy beyond recognition, so he didn’t mind getting even dirtier. He casually wiped his hands on his trousers and continued forward.

The snoring of the beast grew louder, and the airwaves heavier, while the sludge beneath his feet became thicker. Finally, his hand lightly touched the uneven skin of the beast. He continued to feel along the skin, and indeed, the head and neck were covered in scales, while the surface below was a bumpy and hardened exterior, becoming thinner and more fragile as he went down.

By this time, the sludge had crept up to Wei Wuxian’s waist. Most of the bodies here hadn’t been completely consumed, and the remaining corpses were large pieces, more like a mound of corpses than sludge. Wei Wuxian reached behind him, preparing to take off the arrows and the iron brand, but he found that the iron brand was stuck on something and couldn’t be pulled out.

He gripped the long handle of the iron brand and exerted force to pull it out. It finally came free, and at the same time, something was brought out from the mound of corpses, emitting a faint “clank” sound.

Wei Wuxian immediately froze.

After a while, there was no movement around him, and the beast didn’t attack. Only then did he let out a silent sigh of relief, thinking, “The iron brand seemed to be stuck on something, and judging from the sound, it was made of iron? It’s also quite long. Let’s see if it’s useful. I’m in desperate need of a good weapon!.”

As he reached out and touched that something, he realized it was a long, blunt object covered in rust.

In the instant he held it, a scream resounded in Wei Wuxian’s ears.

The screams were like the desperate wailing of thousands of people, tearing at his heart and causing a chill to crawl up his arm, spreading throughout his body. Wei Wuxian shuddered and quickly withdrew his hand, thinking, “What was that? Such a strong resentment!”

At that moment, the surroundings suddenly lit up, and a faint reddish-yellow light cast Wei Wuxian’s shadow, illuminating a pitch-black iron sword ahead. The sword was inserted diagonally, its shadow piercing through the heart region of his own shadow.

But how could there be light inside the Slaughterous Xuanwu’s shell?

Wei Wuxian abruptly turned his head and, as expected, a pair of golden eyes were right in front of him.

Only then did he notice that the thunderous snoring had ceased. And the reddish-yellow light was emanating from within the eyes of the Slaughterous Xuanwu!

The Slaughterous Xuanwu bared its black and yellow fangs, roaring with its mouth wide open.

Wei Wuxian stood right in front of its fangs and was struck head-on by the sonic waves of the roar, causing his ears to almost burst and his whole body to ache. Seeing it lunging toward him, he quickly stuffed the bundle of iron brands into its mouth. The timing and position of the insertion were perfect, wedging the upper and lower jaws of the beast shut!

Taking advantage of the Slaughterous Xuanwu’s inability to close its mouth, Wei Wuxian forcefully thrust a bundle of feather arrows into its weakest patch of skin. Although the arrows were thin, Wei Wuxian bundled them in groups of five, piercing deep into the beast’s flesh until the feathers disappeared, much like injecting it with poison. In excruciating pain, the Slaughterous Xuanwu exerted enough force to bend the iron brands that were keeping its jaws pried open. The seven or eight straight iron brands were instantly deformed into hooks. Wei Wuxian shot several more bundles of arrows into its soft skin. This beast had never suffered such a great loss since its birth, and the pain drove it insane. Its snake-like body thrashed within the turtle shell, violently slamming into the surroundings, causing the pile of corpses to tumble and scatter like a collapsing mountain. Wei Wuxian was nearly submerged in the putrid remains. The Slaughterous Xuanwu opened its eyes wide, its yellow gaze menacing, its jaws gaping wide as if it wanted to swallow the world in one gulp. The pile of corpses flowed into its mouth like a torrent, but Wei Wuxian struggled, fighting against the current, and suddenly grasped a black iron sword. His heart sank, and the piercing screams and wails echoed in his ears once again.

Wei Wuxian’s body was being sucked into the Slaughterous Xuanwu’s mouth, and he could see it closing in on him. Gripping the iron sword tightly, he repeated his earlier action, wedging it between the beast’s upper and lower jaws.

Most of the Slaughterous Xuanwu’s internal organs were corrosive, and if a person were swallowed, they would instantly be dissolved into a wisp of blue smoke!

Wei Wuxian firmly held onto the iron sword, like a thorn stuck in its mouth, preventing it from closing or swallowing. The Slaughterous Xuanwu thrashed its head but couldn’t swallow the sword that prevented it from closing its mouth. However, it also refused to let go. Finally, it charged out!

Frightened by Wei Wuxian’s attacks inside its shell, the Slaughterous Xuanwu seemed determined to escape from its shell entirely. It forcefully squeezed its body out, revealing the tender flesh that had been protected by the outer shell. Lan Wangji had already set up a line at the head opening, waiting patiently. As the Slaughterous Xuanwu burst out, Lan Wangji retracted the line and plucked it like a string. The bowstring quivered as it sliced through the flesh!

The two of them forced the beast back and forth, neither allowing it to escape nor letting it retreat. It was an abnormal creature, not a true divine beast, and its mental faculties were already lacking. Driven into madness by pain and stimulation, it thrashed and swirled in the dark pool, causing immense waves. But no matter how it thrashed, one person kept it from closing its mouth, while another used the bowstring to sever its vulnerable flesh inch by inch. The more they cut, the deeper the wounds, and the more blood flowed!

Lan Wangji held the bowstring firmly, never loosening his grip, persisting for three hours.

After three hours, the Slaughterous Xuanwu gradually ceased its movements.

Lan Wangji had severed its vital parts almost completely from its body using the bowstring. He had exerted too much force, and his palm was covered in blood and injuries. The enormous turtle shell floated on the water’s surface, and the previously black pool had turned a visibly purplish-red color, reeking of a pungent, hellish stench.

With a splash, Lan Wangji jumped into the water and swam to the vicinity of the snake head. The Slaughterous Xuanwu’s eyes remained wide open, its pupils dilated, while its fangs remained tightly clenched.

Lan Wangji called out, “Wei Ying!”

No sound came from the beast’s mouth.

Lan Wangji suddenly reached out, gripping the upper and lower fangs and forcefully prying them apart. Submerged in the water, he had no leverage, and it took a considerable effort to pry them open. There, lodged in the Slaughterous Xuanwu’s mouth, was a pitch-black iron sword. The hilt and tip of the sword had deeply pierced its oral cavity, and the blade had bent into an arc.

Wei Wuxian’s entire body was curled up, his head lowered, and his hands tightly gripping the non-sharp blade of the sword, nearly slipping into the Slaughterous Xuanwu’s throat. Lan Wangji immediately grabbed his collar and pulled him out. As the Slaughterous Xuanwu’s jaws opened, the sword slid into the water and sank to the bottom of the pool.

Wei Wuxian’s eyes remained shut, slumped against Lan Wangji’s body, one arm draped over his shoulder. Lan Wangji held him around the waist, both floating in the bloody water, and said, “Wei Ying!”

His hand trembled slightly, about to reach out and touch Wei Wuxian’s face, but Wei Wuxian abruptly jolted awake, saying, “What happened? Is it dead? Is it dead?!”

He struggled, causing both of them to sink further into the water. Lan Wangji tightened his grip around Wei Wuxian’s waist and said, “Yes, it’s dead!”

Wei Wuxian’s gaze seemed dazed, as if having difficulty processing, and after a moment, he said, “Dead? Dead… good! It’s dead. It was screaming and thrashing, and it nearly stunned me. Oh, right, the cave! The underwater cave. Let’s go quickly. Get out through the water hole.”

Lan Wangji sensed his unusual reaction and asked, “What’s wrong with you?”

Wei Wuxian snapped back to his senses and said, “Nothing! Let’s get out quickly. There’s no time to waste.”

Indeed, there was no time to waste. Lan Wangji nodded and said, “I’ll take you.”

Wei Wuxian said, “No need…” Lan Wangji’s right hand still held onto his waist tightly, unyieldingly stating, “Take a deep breath.”

Entering the water in such a mentally confused state could lead to accidents. Wei Wuxian didn’t want to be reckless either, so he nodded, disregarding the blood staining their bodies. They both took a deep breath and submerged into the water.

After a while, two splashes broke the surface of the purplish-red water, and they emerged from it.

Wei Wuxian spat out a mouthful of bloody water and wiped his face, smearing it with the purplish-red color, looking even more disheveled. He said, “What’s going on?! Why isn’t there an opening?!”

Jiang Cheng had indeed mentioned that there was an underwater passage beneath the dark pool that could accommodate five or six people at once, and other disciples from prominent families had indeed escaped through that passage. Wei Wuxian had initially thought that they couldn’t find it because it was blocked by the Slaughterous Xuanwu’s body. However, now that the Slaughterous Xuanwu’s corpse had been moved and its original position showed no sign of any water passage.

Lan Wangji’s wet hair dripped with water, and he remained silent. They exchanged a glance, both considering a dreadful possibility.

Perhaps… in the agony, the Slaughterous Xuanwu’s claws frantically lashed out, causing the rocks underwater to collapse, or it accidentally kicked a certain spot, precisely blocking the only escape route.

Wei Wuxian broke free from Lan Wangji’s arm and dove into the water, with Lan Wangji following suit. They searched for a long time, but still couldn’t find any opening, not even one that could accommodate a single person.

Wei Wuxian said, “What should we do?”

After a moment of silence, Lan Wangji said, “Let’s go up first.”

Wei Wuxian waved his hand, saying, “…Let’s go up.”

Both of them were utterly exhausted. They swam to the shore slowly, covered in bloody purplish-red color. Wei Wuxian took off his clothes, wrung them dry, and shook them forcefully. Unable to hold back, he cursed, “Is this some kind of joke? We came here hoping to find no one to save us, so we could kill it without any strength left. But once we finally managed to kill it, this damn creature stomped on the tunnel. Damn it!”

Hearing the curse, Lan Wangji’s eyebrows twitched. He wanted to say something but refrained.

As Wei Wuxian vigorously shook his clothes while cursing, suddenly his legs gave way. Lan Wangji rushed forward to support him. Wei Wuxian leaned on his hand and said, “It’s okay, it’s okay. I’m just out of strength. By the way, Lan Zhan, when I was inside its mouth, I was holding a sword. Did you see it? Where is it?”

Lan Wangji said, “It sank to the bottom. Why?”

Wei Wuxian said, “Sank? Forget it then.”

When he tightly gripped the sword, he kept hearing the piercing screams, feeling a chill throughout his body, and experiencing dizziness. That iron sword must be something extraordinary. This Slaughterous Xuanwu had consumed at least five thousand people, and when it dragged them into its shell intact, many of them were still alive. This heavy sword might be a relic of a swallowed cultivator. It had been hidden within the pile of corpses in the shell for at least four hundred years, absorbing the deep resentment and agony of countless living and dead beings, echoing their screams.

Wei Wuxian originally wanted to keep the sword and examine the iron closely, but now that it had sunk and they were trapped here unable to leave, it was better to let it go for the time being. If he brought it up too often, Lan Wangji might become suspicious again, and that would only lead to further conflict. Wei Wuxian waved his hand, thinking, “There’s never anything good!”

Dragging his feet, Wei Wuxian continued to move forward, with Lan Wangji silently following behind. They hadn’t walked far when Wei Wuxian felt weak again.

Lan Wangji held him once more, this time placing a hand on his forehead. After a moment of contemplation, he said, “Wei Ying, you… have a high fever.”

Wei Wuxian put his hand on Lan Wangji’s forehead and said, “You’re also running a fever.”

Lan Wangji removed his hand from Wei Wuxian’s and calmly said, “That’s because your hand is cold.”

Wei Wuxian said, “It seems like I’m feeling dizzy.”

Four or five days ago, he had thrown the crushed herbs from the sachet onto Lan Wangji’s legs, only wiping his own chest burn and not taking enough rest these past few days. And now, he had been tumbling in the water among the pile of corpses, which had worsened his condition.

Wei Wuxian had developed a fever.

Trying to hold on, Wei Wuxian walked for a while, but he became increasingly dizzy and couldn’t move any further. He simply sat down where he was, bewildered, and said, “Why is it so easy for me to have a fever? I haven’t had a fever in years.”

Lan Wangji didn’t comment on his use of “so easy” and said, “Lie down.”

Wei Wuxian complied and lay down. Lan Wangji held his hand and transferred spiritual energy to him.

After lying down for a while, Wei Wuxian sat up again. Lan Wangji said, “Stay lying down.”

Wei Wuxian withdrew his hand and said, “You don’t need to give me your energy. You don’t have much left either.”

Lan Wangji grabbed his hand again and repeated, “Stay lying down.”

A few days ago, Lan Wangji had been too weak to resist Wei Wuxian’s scare tactics and antics. Today, it was finally Wei Wuxian’s turn to be powerless and let Lan Wangji do as he pleased.

Ke Wei Wuxian couldn’t stand being idle even while lying down. After a while, he complained, “It’s uncomfortable. Uncomfortable.”

Lan Wangji said, “What do you want?”

Wei Wuxian said, “Let’s change places.”

Lan Wangji replied, “Where do you want to lie down at this time?”

Wei Wuxian said, “Just lend me your leg to lie on.”

Lan Wangji remained expressionless and said, “Stop being troublesome.”

Wei Wuxian said, “I’m serious. I feel dizzy, and you’re not a young lady. What’s there to worry about lending your leg?”

Lan Wangji said, “Not being a young lady doesn’t mean I can lend it casually.”

Seeing Lan Wangji frown, Wei Wuxian said, “I’m not being troublesome. You’re the one causing trouble. I refuse to accept it, Lan Zhan. Tell me, why? Why is it that everyone else says they hate me but secretly likes me? But when it comes to you, you never show any kindness towards me? After all we’ve been through, you’re unwilling to lend me your leg and want to scold me instead. Are you in your seventies or eighties?”

Lan Wangji calmly said, “You have a high fever.”

Perhaps he really had a high fever because Wei Wuxian soon fell asleep.

While he slept, he felt like he was lying on someone’s leg, with a cool hand gently placed on his forehead, which felt comfortable. He felt happy, rolling around and not receiving any scolding. He rolled onto the ground and someone gently patted his head before lifting him up, allowing him to continue resting on the leg.

However, when he woke up, he was still lying on the ground, at best with a pile of leaves cushioning the back of his head, making it slightly more comfortable. Lan Wangji sat far away from him, starting a fire that illuminated his face like beautiful jade, warm and graceful.

Wei Wuxian thought, “It was just a dream after all.”

Their self-rescue route had been cut off, and they were trapped in the underground cave, waiting for Yunmeng Jiang’s rescue. Two more days passed. During these days, Wei Wuxian had been running a low-grade fever, drifting in and out of sleep. It was only thanks to Lan Wangji intermittently supplying him with spiritual energy that they managed to maintain their current state without worsening.

Wei Wuxian said, “Ah, so boring.”

Wei Wuxian: “It’s really boring.”

Wei Wuxian: “It’s too quiet.”

Wei Wuxian: “Ah—”

Wei Wuxian: “I’m hungry. Lan Zhan, get up and find something to eat. Get some turtle meat.”

Wei Wuxian: “Forget it, don’t eat. The meat of this kind of cannibalistic monster must be foul. You better not touch it.”

Wei Wuxian: “What’s wrong with you, Lan Zhan? It’s so dull. Mouth closed, eyes closed, not talking to me or even looking at me. Are you practicing Zen? Are you a monk? Yes, your ancestors were monks. I forgot.”

Lan Wangji said, “Quiet. You’re still running a fever. Don’t talk. Preserve your energy.”

Wei Wuxian said, “Finally, you responded. How long have we been waiting? Why hasn’t anyone come to rescue us?”

Lan Wangji said, “It hasn’t been a day yet.”

Wei Wuxian covered his face and said, “Why is it so difficult? It must be because I’m with you. If it were Jiang Cheng who stayed with me, even arguing with him would be more interesting than being with you like this. Jiang Cheng! Where did you go? It’s been almost seven days!!!”

Lan Wangji poked a stick into the fire, which unexpectedly stirred up a burst of sword intent. Sparks flew in all directions. He coldly said, “Rest.”

Wei Wuxian curled up like a shrimp, facing him, and said, “Have you made a mistake? I just woke up, and you want me to rest again. Don’t you want to see me awake?”

Lan Wangji put away the stick and said calmly, “You’re overthinking.”

Wei Wuxian thought, “Impervious to oil and salt, impervious to swords and spears. It would be more interesting to have the Lan Zhan from a few days ago, with a face as dark as an aged pot bottom, a tone of voice, and the tendency to bite when agitated. But that kind of Lan Zhan is hard to come by, and I’m afraid I won’t have the chance to see him again in the future.”

He said, “I’m so bored, Lan Zhan. Let’s chat. You start.”

Lan Wangji said, “When do you usually rest?”

Wei Wuxian said, “Your opening is so boring, dry and uninteresting. But for the sake of giving you face, I’ll respond. Let me tell you, in Lotus Pier, I never sleep until after I look ugly. I often stay up all night.”

Lan Wangji said, “Indiscreet. Bad habit.”

Wei Wuxian said, “Do you think everyone is like people from your family?”

Lan Wangji said, “You should change.”

Wei Wuxian covered his ears and said, “I’m sick. I have a fever, Lan Er-gege. Can’t you say something comforting? To comfort poor me?”

Lan Wangji remained silent, and Wei Wuxian said, “Can’t speak? Well, I knew it. Then can you sing? Sing a song, okay?”

He originally just made a casual remark to pass the time while bantering with Lan Wangji. He didn’t expect him to agree. However, after a brief silence, a soft and gentle singing voice echoed through the empty underground cave.

Lan Wangji was actually singing.

Wei Wuxian closed his eyes, rolled over, and stretched out his limbs, saying, “It sounds beautiful.”

He asked, “What is the name of this song?”

Lan Wangji seemed to say something softly, and Wei Wuxian opened his eyes, saying, “What’s the name?”