Please update your browser: Your browser is obsolete, you need to update or switch! Missing var() support! Missing grid support! Missing (flex-) gap support! Missing aspect-ratio support! Missing container query support! Missing clamp() support! Missing -webkit-line-clamp support!
    Header Background Image

    Asianovel

    The world's first crowdsourcing-driven asian bl novel translation community

    Chapter 91 [VIP] Shadow Guard Saga (5)

    Once Nanyan finally let go, Seventeen almost fled the scene in disarray.

    He said he was going to re-check the corner for any subtle signs left by the Shadow Guard Tower, hoping to possibly make contact with them.

    Of course, this was just an excuse.

    The real reason was that Seventeen felt increasingly unwell. It was as if he had a fever, his body burning up. Any slight touch from Nanyan triggered inexplicable impulses in him – the desire to lean in and inhale the warm breath from her lips, to feel her nuzzle against him, to pin her beneath him, to passionately kiss the delicate softness of her neck, and more.

    These thoughts genuinely frightened him.

    Seventeen’s face was flushed red.

    The only thought in his mind was to escape from there! To get as far away as possible, lest he do something foolish.

    But before leaving, Seventeen thoughtfully settled Nanyan in a secluded, unoccupied temple, covering the entrance with dense grass to prevent detection.

    After ensuring her safety, Seventeen hastily left the temple and hid in a deep part of a nearby stream, staying well hidden where no one could find him.

    There, he clutched at his chest, gasping for air, and tugged at his collar, pulling it open slightly to reveal the wound she had bandaged.

    Seventeen gazed at the bandaged wound, remembering its lingering fragrance. Compelled, he lowered his head and cautiously brought his nose closer, stealthily inhaling the scent like a thief.

    The scent had already faded, but Seventeen could still detect it – the fragrance that lingered from his master when she had lunged at him.

    Inhaling it, Seventeen felt an inexplicable heat and agitation. The unnamed urge in his chest didn't subside but grew stronger, like a fire suddenly kindled within him, burning uncomfortably, with no way to release it.

    This discomfort was coupled with a strange itchiness, a sensation he had never experienced before, completely foreign to him.

    It inexplicably reminded him of a certain early morning when he woke up feeling hot and stuffy. He had discovered his bedding in disarray and thought it was due to his own actions… (incomplete thought). Embarrassed, he never told anyone about it. Since then, he avoided drinking water before bed, fearing a repeat of that incident.

    The sensation now was eerily similar, so much that even his naive self felt embarrassed. His cheeks flushed, fingers clenched, but he didn't know what to do.

    Subconsciously, he looked down, seeing… (incomplete thought) and then just stared blankly at a slightly raised part of his body, completely frozen.

    Meanwhile, Nanyan was temporarily hiding alone in the decrepit temple. Apart from some cobwebs and dust, it was relatively safe. They were on the run after all, and it was best not to draw attention or risk being chased again.

    Not knowing how long she waited, when Nanyan heard noises at the door, she thought he had finally returned. Without a second thought, she pushed open the door, rushing to meet him, and flung herself into the arms of the newcomer, complaining,

    "Seventeen, why did you take so long to come back? I've been waiting for ages. Why did you leave me here alone and sneak off somewhere?"

    "Seventeen?"

    Ye Qiuchen instinctively echoed the name.

    Caught off guard by Nanyan's sudden embrace, he couldn’t avoid her in time. But upon hearing her words, he realized he had found the right place, “Miss, you've mistaken me for someone else. I am not Shadow Seventeen. I am Ye Qiuchen, a shadow guard newly assigned from the Shadow Guard Tower, sent specifically to escort you back.”

    "Ye Qiuchen?"

    Hearing the voice, Nanyan realized something was amiss.

    She instinctively looked up and saw that the person she was embracing was not Seventeen, but Ye Qiuchen, a shadow guard dressed similarly to Seventeen, showing a trace of surprise in her eyes, “Why is it you? Where’s Seventeen? Where did he go?”

    Nanyan naturally recognized Ye Qiuchen.

    He was also an assassin from the Shadow Guard Tower.

    In the original story, Ye Qiuchen was assigned to protect Nanyan's third brother. However, in this segment of the plot, Ye Qiuchen's life was far from pleasant, even tragically difficult.

    In the original storyline, Nanyan's third brother was cruel and ostentatious, seeking pleasure relentlessly. He was merciless towards his half-siblings and even more so towards the servants, treating them less than human, especially the shadow guards, whom he treated like animals, often for his own amusement.

    He even built a menagerie in the shadow tower, where he kept various ferocious beasts. He liked to throw his servants into the pit to fight the beasts, with only the survivors qualifying to become his shadow guards.

    Ye Qiuchen suffered many serious injuries and endured much abuse in this process. This is why he harbored deep-seated hatred towards the Shadow Guard Tower, Qixia Villa, and all associated with them.

    Later, during a trip, Nanyan's third brother was grievously injured in a revenge attack. In the ensuing escape, his guards were killed one by one. Ye Qiuchen managed to save him, but instead of gratitude, the third brother pushed Ye Qiuchen into harm's way.

    By sheer luck, Ye Qiuchen survived multiple stabbings and a fall down a slope, while the third brother broke his leg and was eventually caught and brutally killed by assassins. Ye Qiuchen witnessed this, feeling a strange sense of satisfaction as he watched his former master die in terror, begging for mercy.

    The once mighty master was reduced to a crying and begging figure at the brink of death, igniting an endless malice in Ye Qiuchen's heart. The pathetic sight of his master was laughably pitiful!

    Ye Qiuchen returned to the Shadow Guard Tower and reported the incident, omitting the part where he failed to help. He was punished with two hundred lashes for failing to protect his master. The punishment left his back lacerated, his body drenched in blood, barely able to stand, and pale as a ghost, nearly costing him his life.

    But he endured, knowing survival meant keeping silent. And now, he was alive.

    His current mission was to atone for his past failure by bringing Nanyan back safely.

    However, Ye Qiuchen's perspective towards the members of Qixia Villa had subtly shifted. He harbored a quiet resentment towards them, believing his life had been ruined by them. He didn't see them as superior, nor did he feel obliged to serve them anymore.

    Given the chance, he was confident he could do better and go further than they ever did.

    ……

    Nanyan could understand his vengeful mindset and his ambition to rise above his station.

    Especially when he, in collaboration with the male lead, eventually destroyed Qixia Villa, she didn't feel much resentment. She even thought the destruction of such a corrupt place was justified.

    After all, everyone craves freedom, and the original owner of her body was also a prisoner of circumstances.

    However, when Ye Qiuchen became the next head of the Shadow Guard Tower and tasted the power that came with it, his mentality completely changed.

    Wielding power against the weaker did not satisfy his vengeance; it was merely an act of cruelty.

    Ye Qiuchen's final act of vengeance against the innocent women of the Ye family was something she found hard to accept.

    In the original story, Ye Nanyan was merely a pawn. The biggest difference between them lay in their status. Ye Nanyan had never harmed anyone; she even had a doctor summoned for him when he was injured. Her only mistake was being born in Qixia Villa, the daughter of the villa master.

    Yet, this status brought her no benefits, only a lifetime of imprisonment. Her life was traded for the villa's interests. Had the Gao family not been annihilated, she would have been forced to marry a dying old man as his concubine. After finally escaping with the man she loved, she was captured and brought back. Though she too was a victim, her ending was the most tragic.

    ……

    Surprised, Nanyan let go of the tightly clutched lapel, glancing behind him several times to ensure no one followed. Satisfied, she looked up at him,

    "Why is it you? Where’s Seventeen?"

    Ye Qiuchen calmly replied, “I did not see Seventeen on my way here. I followed the marks he left on the wall to find this place.”

    “Then why are you here?” Nanyan asked.

    Ye Qiuchen finally looked at her and continued, “I have been sent to escort Miss back. The master learned of the Gao family’s annihilation and Miss’s disappearance on the eve of her marriage, so he commanded me to investigate and bring Miss back if she was alive.”

    Upon hearing this, Nanyan immediately understood, her face revealing a knowing expression, “So you came here following the marks left by Seventeen.”

    She sighed with relief, stepping back and continuing, “But I can’t go back with you now. Seventeen hasn’t returned yet. I need to wait here for him.”

    Ye Qiuchen frowned involuntarily, feeling impatient. As someone seeking redemption, he wanted to complete the task quickly. Delaying could result in punishment.

    He thought for a moment and then said, “Miss, rest assured, I will leave a mark for the Shadow Guard Tower here. When Seventeen returns and sees it, he will know where you went and can follow immediately. This way, there will be no delay.”

    Nanyan shook her head, clearly unwilling, “No, I promised Seventeen I wouldn’t leave this place at random. I won’t go with you.”

    Ye Qiuchen had never seen such a stubborn master. Suppressing his impatience, he exhaled and continued to persuade, “But on my way here, I saw many beggars inquiring about Miss’s whereabouts in the crowd. It’s possible the assassins from the Gao family are on to us. It’s dangerous to stay here.”

    “Then I definitely can’t leave Seventeen behind. He doesn’t know about this, and he’s injured. What if they find him? Could he be in danger?”

    As she spoke, her tone became anxious. She turned and hid in the temple, her gaze cautiously searching for any unfamiliar figures.

    Ye Qiuchen gave her a strange look, outwardly respectful but inwardly scornful, “But how can Seventeen’s status be compared to that of the Miss?”

    “Surely the master’s safety is more important!”

    Nanyan didn't even glance at him as she continued to object, "No, I will not go with you. No matter what you say, Seventeen is just as important to me as I am to myself."

    Ye Qiuchen fell silent for a moment upon hearing her words.

    His gaze rested on Nanyan, observing her dirty appearance. He felt nothing special, but her words gave him a different impression of her.

    He wondered if her words were sincere or just pretense. Regardless, it was irrelevant to him, as he was not her shadow guard.

    Thinking this, Ye Qiuchen chuckled softly, his motives unclear. He stepped forward, maintaining a respectful demeanor, "It’s not for Miss to decide."

    "I am under orders to escort Miss back. I cannot leave you here alone. As for Seventeen, he will come looking when he returns."

    As he approached, Nanyan instinctively stepped back, irritation flashing in her eyes, "What are you trying to do? I’ve already said I won’t go. You wouldn’t dare lay a hand on me, would you?"

    "I dare not, Miss. My only intention is to escort you back."

    "Still claiming you dare not, yet you touched me. I told you, I’m not going. Let go!"

    "I truly mean no harm, Miss. I am simply following orders. Please don’t make this difficult for me."

    Saying this, Ye Qiuchen reached out and grabbed Nanyan's wrist. She couldn’t dodge in time and, due to the momentum, crashed into his arms. Ye Qiuchen was caught off guard; his original plan was to knock her out and carry her back...

    But Nanyan struggled fiercely, her fingers flailing, hitting his eyes several times, making it difficult for Ye Qiuchen to subdue her. He decided to just hold her tightly in his arms, unable to really hurt her since she was his master.

    Nanyan continued to struggle, her face flushed with anger and eyes filled with annoyance and grievance, "Scoundrel! You’re clearly making things difficult for me. I said I won’t go. Why must you take me? Seventeen, Seventeen, come save me, there’s a bad person bullying me, Seventeen..."

    As she spoke, Nanyan began to call out for Seventeen, her voice growing increasingly filled with distress. Seventeen was already on his way back to the temple, remaining calm until he heard the cries coming from inside. His expression instantly changed. He didn't even clearly see who was holding Nanyan, and immediately struck out with his sword.

    Fortunately, Ye Qiuchen reacted in time, pushing Nanyan away and leaping aside to avoid the attack. But when he saw who the attacker was, his expression turned icy,

    "Shadow Seventeen, what are you doing?"

    Ye Qiuchen turned to Seventeen, demanding an explanation.

    If he hadn't dodged quickly, he might have lost his life to that strike. Since when had Seventeen become so ruthless, even towards his comrades?

    Seventeen, ignoring him, swept Nanyan into his arms, embracing her tightly. He gently nuzzled her forehead, offering a sense of comfort, as if holding a precious treasure regained, so tightly that even Nanyan felt a bit sore in her waist.

    He wasn't skilled at comforting, but the moment he heard her call for help, he had been so anxious that his heart almost leaped out of his chest.

    His hand instinctively patted her back gently.

    "Don't be afraid, don't be afraid..."

    Nanyan, recognizing the voice, buried her head in Seventeen's chest, rubbing her cheek against his neck, and started to sob and complain,

    "Seventeen, it was him, he bullied me..."

    Only then did Seventeen take a good look at her current state – a picture of utter distress, her eyes red from crying, her hair disheveled, and her clothes torn, revealing a glimpse of her fair skin underneath...

    Seeing this, Seventeen's expression turned extremely grim.

    His lips pressed together even more tightly.

    The thought of his master being seen in such a state by the man opposite him brought a surge of murderous intent to Seventeen's heart.

    Almost instinctively, he drew his weapon, his gaze shooting towards Ye Qiuchen like sharp arrows. Without a word, he launched another attack, expressionless.

    "You bullied her!"

    Seventeen was truly angry this time, a rage he had never felt before. He didn't even understand his own reaction, especially seeing Nanyan in such a pitiable state, which made him want to slaughter the man in front of him.

    Ye Qiuchen knew trouble was brewing just by looking at his face!

    He instinctively retorted, "I did not."

    But his denial was clearly not believed, as the sword was already slashing towards him – utterly disregarding martial ethics!

    He had come to escort Ye Nanyan back to the villa, yet here he was fighting. If this delayed the mission, both of them would be in serious trouble.

    Ye Qiuchen, though angered by the unprovoked attack, was outmatched and had to dodge while trying to explain, "Shadow Seventeen, don't forget I'm also from the Shadow Guard Tower. What are you doing? I came to take Miss back. I assure you, I did not bully her!"

    Nanyan, adding to the chaos, continued to fan the flames, tears in her eyes, her voice filled with grievance, "Nonsense! Seventeen, don’t believe him, he bullied me, he really did! He even touched me, touched my waist..."

    Her words made Seventeen's attacks even more fierce, his gaze growing colder. If not for his injuries, he would have broken the man’s arms today!

    He wouldn't dare touch the Miss's waist,

    How dare this scoundrel offend her?!

    Seventeen felt his anger escalating.

    Meanwhile, Ye Qiuchen couldn’t understand why Seventeen had become so irrational. Even in their fiercest battles at the Shadow Guard Tower, he had never been this ruthless.

    Even as the fourth Miss's shadow guard, there was no need to be so unreasonable. He had come solely to protect the fourth Miss, yet now he was being aggressively attacked. What was going on?

    "Shadow Seventeen, have you lost your mind?"

    "I've already said it's a misunderstanding. I never intended to offend the fourth Miss, she lunged at me on her own..."

    Honestly, Ye Qiuchen's explanation only made things worse, leaving no room for Seventeen to spare him any sympathy.

    "Say that one more time?" Seventeen's knuckles whitened as he gripped tighter.

    Annoyed, Ye Qiuchen retorted, "I'll say it as many times as needed! I told you, I haven't offended her."

    "Then why didn't you push her away?"

    "Why should I have pushed her away? I came here to escort the fourth Miss back. Shadow Seventeen, have you forgotten your place? The fourth Miss is our master. Are you so concerned about her because you have some ulterior motive?"

    The last sentence hit Seventeen hard.

    Clenching his weapon, Seventeen's moves became more aggressive, his attacks faster. Ye Qiuchen was cut several times on his arms, and the fight moved from inside the temple to the outside, nearly toppling the dilapidated structure.

    Both of them were heavily injured by the end, stopping only because they were exhausted. Yet, they still glared fiercely at each other.

    0 Comments

    Enter your details or log in with:
    Heads up! Your comment will be invisible to other guests and subscribers (except for replies), including you after a grace period. But if you submit an email address and toggle the bell icon, you will be sent replies until you cancel.