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    Chapter 150: Station 24: Scar

    The man's gaze sank into the darkness like a moon shimmering on the water's surface or a shadow plunging beneath it.

    He asked,

    "To what extent do you want to know me?"

    It was an unexpected question, catching Ming Yiyang off guard. After a brief moment of stunned silence, he replied firmly,

    "Completely."

    "No one can truly know another person completely."

    The man's tone was soft. The snowlight from outside the vestibule illuminated him, making him appear like a fragmented mirror, reflecting sharp edges.

    "Even I, at times, don't understand myself."

    Ming Yiyang propped his arm on the pillow and then rested his head on it, gazing up at the man who was half-sitting before him.

    "Then, tell me about yourself, everything you are. I want to know it all."

    The man did not yield easily:

    "What if there's something you can't accept? If you know, then what?"

    "You don't need to ask 'then' when it comes to anything about you."

    With an unusually resolute tone, the young man spoke with unwavering confidence:

    "Knowing, understanding, and grasping a part of you is more than enough for me."

    He curled his index finger, tracing the outline of the man's figure against the snowy night through the air, savoring an indescribable sense of tranquility:

    "We don't need to judge each other. Because no matter what, I won't leave you, and you can't leave me."

    These words brought an unprecedented sense of security, one that was exceedingly rare even in Yan Qiling's long century of existence.

    The silver-haired youth before him seemed to possess a kind of enchantment.

    As long as he said it.

    Yan Qiling would be willing to believe in the magic of his words.

    Thus, he slowly untied the sash of his bathrobe in front of Kong Tingmuxue.

    Ming Yiyang's expression shifted from calm to astonishment, his pupils involuntarily constricting.

    The man wasn't facing him, so he missed the change in Ming's emotions and continued with his actions.

    Untying the sash, he shrugged off the bathrobe, but before it could fall, the young man grabbed it with one hand and pulled it back on!

    Yan Qiling: ?

    The youth's face flushed madly for some unknown reason, nearly glowing like a cloud on fire:

    "I want to understand you, but not through this method! You... what do you take me for?!"

    The man looked at his unexpectedly innocent expression and the surprise on his face transformed into a smile tinged with mischievous amusement.

    This smile often appeared when he felt like provoking something.

    But as he thought about what he wanted this person to understand, the smile dissipated like mist from clouds.

    He extended his cold hand and took the youth's burning wrist, whispering gently:

    "There's nothing to worry about, relax."

    Slowly, he drew the hand down, causing the clingy bathrobe to fall instantly, pooling at his elbow, revealing his evenly toned porcelain-white body.

    Ming Yiyang's expression transformed from a forced, bashful gaze to one of startled surprise, his pupils constricting.

    This body, with its snow-capped mountain-like back, now bore a myriad of intricate, searing scars that he had never seen before, as if it had been relentlessly carved and torn into.

    This scar stretched down from the spine, reaching below the waistline. It resembled an enormous eight-legged spider, grotesquely clinging to its beautiful, incompatible host, seemingly irreparably etched upon the skin.

    Ming Yiyang yearned to reach out and touch.

    Yet, even in the darkness, he could discern the blood trickling down from what seemed like freshly healed scars.

    They swiftly converged into rivulets, tracing the scars of diverse peaks as they trickled into the yukata, swiftly dyeing it crimson.

    Thus, not only did he become unable to touch him, but even his breath seemed to be entangled by the threads of blood, leaving him on the verge of suffocation.

    Yan Qiling's expression was serene, as if he had grown accustomed to the pain inflicted by the scar. It might also be due to the nature of being an Unholy Lord, for since his death, he found it difficult to perceive pain. The wound only left him with a numbing sensation from the cut.

    The young man dared not touch him, yet he reached behind his back, allowing the flowing blood to stain his fingertips.

    "This is my connection to this world."

    Ming Yiyang gazed at the scar riddled with holes, initially failing to grasp its significance.

    As the man's fingertips traced the pattern, Ming Yiyang gradually discerned the original shape of the "spider."

    "The needle that pierced my back was the 'Nineteenth Lotus Tower.' Every successor chosen by the Yan family's bloodline bears this symbol on their back. When the previous heir dies, the one with this mark on their flesh can unlock the Lotus Tower."

    "The Lotus Tower is the source of power for Spirit Nurturers. In truth, any object capable of housing spirits serves as a power source for us. However, the Lotus Tower has an exceptionally vast capacity. At its peak, I could summon the very first spirit from within it to engage in battle."

    "This is the head of the lotus, the first generation of the lotus. According to our family lineage, our ancestor was born towards the end of the Tang dynasty and founded the school of Spirit Nurturers."

    His hand gradually descended, and by the end, his tone had turned deep:

    "I am the last generation of the Lotus. Once upon a time, this place was home to a pair of conjoined lotus flowers. After that, the Spirit Nurturers vanished entirely, their bloodline severed."

    Ming Yiyang's heart trembled, as all the information he had gathered until now converged in his mind.

    The deal between the Underworld and Yan Qiling...

    The Heaven Rank Wujian Lord's fear of Yan Qiling...

    Yan Qiling's absolute control over the Wujian Realm...

    Suddenly, he realized that everything connected into an incredible answer:

    "So, the Prison Train has always been running within the 'Nineteenth Layer Lotus Pagoda'? This place is both the domain of the Wujian Lord and the world of the Nineteenth Layer Lotus Pagoda?"

    The man's gaze, sharp as frost in the snowlight, was clear and resolute:

    "Yes."

    "I've come here for the purpose of sealing the Lotus Tower of Nineteen Floors. There are only two individuals who can unlock it – one is me, and the other is my cousin, Yan Hesheng."

    "He is the slumbering Unbound Master, the owner of the Prison Train."

    He withdrew his arm, allowing the blood on his fingertips to clot:

    "When the Yan family underwent a great calamity, he tore off the 'Lotus Tower of Nineteen Floors' from my back, attempting to inherit the lineage of Spirit Nurturers. As we were 'Twin Souls Born Together,' although the diagram was imprinted on my body, he held a certain degree of control over it."

    "Especially after it was removed from my body, the Lotus Tower became completely obedient to him."

    "I have no idea how he transformed the 'Lotus Tower of Nineteen Levels.' When I retrieved it, the Prison Train already existed, and at that time, I chose to seal it away."

    "Both my flesh and spirit were left within the tower, intending for time to eventually consume us both. But he awoke once more, and while I was still in slumber, he lured the Lotus Tower... After that, it's as you saw."

    "The Prison Train emerged, dragging the innocent into an endless abyss."

    "And I was roused from the underworld by a judge, returning to the living world as a 'human' to reseal the Lotus Tower."

    A vast emptiness, tinged with helplessness, expanded rapidly with this narrative.

    Ming Yiyang didn't dare to exert too much strength, but he couldn't resist gripping the man's shoulder, forcing eye contact.

    "Can you... return to the mortal world after being sealed?"

    Yan Qiling's gaze shifted from the scab on his fingertip, a hint of confusion in his response to the young man's question.

    Yet, as always, he revealed an impeccable, tender smile.

    He spoke with an air of certainty, as if making a vow.

    "I can. Don't worry."

    Ming Yiyang didn't appear reassured.

    His eyes shimmered with a mix of panic and skepticism, radiant even without their purple tinge, exuding vivid life.

    He tried earnestly to find any flaw in this person, but the man's posture was flawless, leaning slightly forward to allow for a closer inspection.

    Too close, leaving Ming Yiyang unable to make any judgments under such circumstances.

    Yet Yan Qiling didn't stop there.

    His icy lips, tinged with the scent of lemon, brushed against Ming Yiyang's, mingling with the faint medicinal aroma.

    This proactive gesture was a dream that Ming Yiyang had yearned for day and night, a fantasy he wished to embrace and intertwine with in an instant.

    But he was acutely aware of the other's battered body, bleeding profusely.

    He dared not hold him tightly.

    Yet, the lips pressed against his own moved slightly, uttering a sigh in a hoarse whisper:

    "Hold me."

    His unyielding arm was guided by the man to caress the slick, moistened back, his sleeve and arm now stained like a crimson camellia. From afar, it appeared as if he held a hillside of blooming red camellias in his embrace.

    How could Ming Yiyang describe this kiss?

    Cruel, cold, gentle, and scorching hot.

    Strangely, yet harmoniously unrelated.

    -

    This night passed rather peacefully.

    No one was harmed during this time, and no other unforeseen incidents occurred.

    But this tranquility did not relax everyone; instead, it infused the atmosphere with an indescribable tension and peculiarity.

    It was like watching a horror movie where the anticipated scare doesn't happen – it doesn't bring relief but intensifies the suspense.

    You know that moment is bound to come, but its absence from its "expected" appearance only adds to the unpredictability.

    Unpredictability breeds fear, the fear of an uncontrollable future.

    Following their "frank exchange" the previous night, Yan Qiling and Ming Yiyang's interactions became subtly different.

    They remained close, but this closeness was no longer veiled by anything; instead, it evolved into more intimate and unguarded exchanges.

    Perhaps they didn't realize it, but when they entered the Xitulanaya Restaurant on the second floor, their actions easily caught the attention of the two women present.

    Ming Yiyang pulled out a chair for Yan Qiling and then sat down himself, a gesture that effortlessly drew the interest of the females around them.

    However, Ming Yiyang seemed oblivious to any potential issue. After asking Yan Qiling what he wanted to eat, he casually went to the buffet area to serve himself, performing these tasks with an air of utmost naturalness.

    This triggered whispers among the two women.

    In the world of Wujian, survival was the paramount concern over gossip.

    Upon seeing Ming Yiyang return to his seat with a brimming plate, Guan Zhiyi, confident that he wouldn't be getting up anytime soon, swiftly moved his small table closer to theirs.

    Yan Qiling, Ming Yiyang: ...?

    Their intimate twosome suddenly became a triangular breakfast, and Ming Yiyang's displeasure was evident.

    Guan Zhiyi deliberately ignored his expression and spoke in Mandarin, addressing them both:

    "I assume you both can understand me, right?"

    This was a most obvious hint.

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