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    Chapter 107: Anger

    It happened abruptly, but fortunately, Wang Pan reacted swiftly, reaching out to hook onto the bed frame, preventing himself from falling.

    If he had really landed on Shen Yuan and awakened him, he wouldn't have known how to explain himself...

    Everything ended safely without any mishaps. Wang Pan secretly let out a sigh of relief.

    In the next second, a creak came from the wooden window frame, and he muttered inwardly that things were not looking good.

    After all, he was a robust man with bulging muscles, and the door frame was merely a thin plank of wood adorned with intricate, hollow-carved magpies, making it even more fragile.

    Before anyone could react, the entire bed frame collapsed.

    Dust billowed up.

    The fallen wooden planks were considerate enough not to disturb the person on the bed, as Wang Pan had taken the brunt of the impact.

    He supported himself above Shen Yuan, his face dangerously close. So close that Shen Yuan's breaths, hot and moist, brushed against the man's neck.

    "Cough, cough…" Shen Yuan scratched the back of his neck and slowly rolled onto his side, hugging his knees into a small ball.

    Wang Pan was stunned, unsure of his surroundings, with a jumbled mind.

    "I was only gone for a moment. How did you manage to collapse the bed?"

    He Mengfang chose the most inconvenient time to appear!

    Wang Pan flicked his wrist, sending a gust of palm wind that caused a loud crash as the wooden plank on his back flew off, shattering against the wall.

    "Strange…" He Mengfang stepped over the fragments and entered the room. "After leaving Ang Liu's tavern, I noticed your split lip. Now the bed is collapsed. Could it be that…"

    Wang Pan breathed silently, slightly agitated but maintaining composure. He landed on the ground and brushed off the dust from his clothes.

    He Mengfang was straightforward. "Are you two so displeased with each other that you've resorted to secretly fighting behind my back?!"

    Wang Pan firmly denied it. "That's impossible."

    "Well, how do you explain the cut on your lip and the broken bed frame?"

    Wang Pan raised his voice slightly and retorted, "Then explain to me first, why didn't you help Shen Yuan that night during the Tenth Birthday Feast?"

    "He already told you..." He Mengfang attempted to evade, rapidly blinking as he threw out an unrelated comment.

    Maintaining eye contact with He Mengfang, Wang Pan continued, "You knew the reason for his fear of centipedes, yet you still spoke coldly to him and distanced yourself from the situation?" He steered the conversation back on track.

    "I had my own secrets..."

    "What secrets?"

    "Mother forbade it."

    "Surely you had your own judgment and understanding?"

    "It was the first time I'd seen such a huge centipede; I was terrified... I was only ten years old then..."

    Wang Pan merely chuckled in response.

    In an instant, He Mengfang swallowed his words, his ears turning red.

    "Cough! —— Cough, cough, cough!! ——"

    The room fell silent for a moment until it was disrupted by Shen Yuan's intense coughing fit.

    Shen Yuan stirred awake, his vision still blurry, and was immediately overwhelmed by a splitting headache. "Ah—" Clutching his head, he curled up on the bedding, kneeling in pain.

    Wang Pan and He Mengfang hurried over at the sound.

    He Mengfang gently patted Shen Yuan's back. "Let me see where it hurts."

    "I can't... It hurts too much—" As he spoke, Shen Yuan's body started to tremble violently. "—Ugh—"

    "Huh?! You can't even move from the pain? You were fine just now!" He Mengfang exclaimed anxiously.

    Wang Pan frowned, turning to pour a glass of hot water.

    "Ugh... I can't... Ah...," Shen Yuan suddenly sat up on his knees, covering his stomach with a laugh. "Hahaha... Got you there, didn't I? I don't have any sense of pain, so how could I feel it? Hahahaha..."

    He spoke casually, laughing uproariously, leaving He Mengfang speechless. He smacked Shen Yuan's head with a thud, asking, "When did you wake up?"

    Upon hearing this, Wang Pan recalled his actions on the bed, causing his face to flush red. He lowered his head to hide his expression, hoping that Shen Yuan hadn't woken up then.

    Unaware of Wang Pan's unusual demeanor, Shen Yuan touched the spot where He Mengfang had slapped, pouting as he mimicked He Mengfang's tone, swaying his head and saying, "I was terrified... I'm only ten years old..."

    "Heh—why are you being so whiny?" He Mengfang crossed his arms. "Wang Pan, don't hold me back. I want to teach him a lesson."

    Despite his words, seeing that He Mengfang didn't seem intent on taking action, Wang Pan ignored him and instead focused on Shen Yuan.

    His almond-shaped eyes narrowed into a smile, yet tears shimmered in their depths, hovering precariously as his laughter shook his body.

    Wang Pan sighed inwardly. Were these tears from laughter?

    Shen Yuan – a bottomless abyss that drew him in uncontrollably. He surrendered but still carried an air of arrogance.

    Suddenly, Wang Pan seized Shen Yuan's arm, twisting it behind his back. With his other hand, he held Shen Yuan's head firmly against the mattress, exclaiming, "In Xun Wu Street, I truly believed you were dead!"

    The suddenness of the situation left Shen Yuan and He Mengfang stunned.

    Fortunately, Shen Yuan, being the one involved, quickly regained his composure and retorted, "Aren't you always annoyed by me? Why should my life or death concern you?! You're crazy!!" Buried in the thick quilt, his face was cushioned by cotton, and even his angry words echoed mutedly within its folds.

    Wang Pan gritted his teeth and nodded, "You're not close to me – fine – but you must be familiar with He Mengfang. From now on, discuss things with him first before taking any actions. Don't act without permission!"

    "Let go of me!! Cough, cough, cough, cough, COUGH!!!" Shen Yuan struggled, only to trigger a fit of coughing, preventing him from escaping.

    He Mengfang, who had just woken up, heard Shen Yuan's lungs seemingly being coughed out. He promptly advised, "If you want to fight, do it outside. I won't stop you."

    "Cough, cough, cough, COUGH!! Cough, cough, cough..." Shen Yuan's coughing grew more severe.

    Unable to bear it, Wang Pan summoned the Spirit Binding Rope to tie Shen Yuan's hands and lifted his collar by the back of his neck, pulling him upright.

    Compared to being suave and debonair, Shen Yuan was more mischievous. Even with his face flushed red from being smothered in the bedding, he panted and forced a smile, "Wang Pan, are you trying to send me to my death sooner so that I can ascend faster? – Cough, cough..."

    "Still in the mood for jokes? You're utterly unreasonable!" With that, Wang Pan forcefully pulled open Shen Yuan's clothes and pointed at the back of his neck, addressing He Mengfang, "Take a look at this –"

    Upon hearing this, He Mengfang leaned over for a closer inspection.

    Two or three dark spots had suddenly appeared on Shen Yuan's fair neck, alongside a mess of purple-red scratches.

    It suddenly dawned on him that when they were discussing the red-clothed woman earlier, Shen Yuan would occasionally scratch the back of his neck. Additionally, when Shen Yuan had just awakened, he had rushed to leave the inn.

    Realization dawned on He Mengfang, her anger flaring. "Shen Yuan, you deserved to be tied up by Wang Pan! You don't take your life seriously at all!!"

    Shen Yuan chuckled. "How else would I have the chance to deepen my relationship with Miss Jiang Yue?"

    He Mengfang huffed. "You're still thinking about Miss River Moon and Miss Sea Moon... Do you even know what's wrong with you?!"

    Shen Yuan shook his head.

    "Sigh... We don't know either. But we do know why your neck is so itchy – because of those spots! Do you know what kind of spots they are? They're livid spots! Xun Wu and the others infected are covered in them from head to toe! In no more than half a month, they'll take your life!!"

    He Mengfang tapped Shen Yuan's forehead increasingly harder as she spoke.

    Shen Yuan's head swayed back and forth, dizzy and uncomfortable. He leaned back to avoid the taps, eventually resting against an unfamiliar shoulder.

    Just as he thought he had nowhere left to retreat, Wang Pan's voice echoed down from above. "He Mengfang, that's enough. You should get some sleep now. We need to return to Penglai tomorrow morning to summon our master."

    He Mengfang's hands froze mid-action. "I can't wait until tomorrow, I think we should go back today..."

    Feeling awkward leaning on Wang Pan's shoulder, Shen Yuan immediately straightened up. He politely addressed He Mengfang, "That would cause too much trouble..."

    He Mengfang glanced at Wang Pan before addressing Shen Yuan, "Just consider it a debt I owe you."

    "I don't think you owe me anything," Shen Yuan replied solemnly, unexpectedly.

    "I'll feel better if you accept it..." He Mengfang started to leave, his mind preoccupied with the plague in Xun Wu and the upcoming Spring Festival in Jiu Li, where he hoped to check on his father's health and inquire about that fateful night of his tenth birthday feast – why was he sent to find Shen Yuan but forbidden from assisting him in clearing his name?

    After He Mengfang left, Shen Yuan turned to Wang Pan and spoke with an unusually grave and composed demeanor, "I hope you didn't take advantage of the situation."

    Did Shen Yuan know about the bed frame collapse?! Wang Pan felt a flutter of anxiety.

    Shen Yuan turned to face Wang Pan, asking, "Why did you discuss the events surrounding the Tenth Birthday Feast with He Mengfang when you could have just listened?"

    Wang Pan found himself unable to explain.

    He could maintain his composure, but he couldn't bear to see Shen Yuan unjustly blamed?

    How to put it? How could he express it?

    After a moment of silence, he said, "Why can't I talk to He Mengfang about it?"

    Shen Yuan didn't expect Wang Pan to throw the question back at him. He answered honestly, "I want friends. Can there still be a friendship with barriers?" As he spoke, his expression turned somewhat despondent. "I don't know why... Before I came to Penglai, I got along well with others. But once his parents found out I was Shen Yuan, they kept their distance and pulled him away from me... I don't have many friends... When I was young, I had many servants who would smile at me, play with me, and revolve around me anytime, anywhere. But they weren't friends."

    "Friends?" Wang Pan found it hard to understand. "Divinities in the Divine Capital usually go about alone. It's only humans who need to band together."

    "Another saying from Lord Island Master?"

    "Mm..."

    Shen Yuan scoffed. He wanted to wave his hand, but then remembered that his wrists were still bound, so he gave up and said directly, "We're not on the same wavelength. Skipping this question would just be a waste of breath."

    Wang Pan's heart ached. "Why not?"

    "You isolate yourself from worldly affairs in Penglai, living as an immortal beyond the world. I'm different. We human-divinities need to immerse ourselves in the mortal world for a long time. It's not surprising for us to develop some human sentiments, right? However, Lord Island Master often scolds me as a 'thing,' so I guess he doesn't hold human-divinities in high regard."

    "Lord Island Master doesn't look down on the human-divinity clan," Wang Pan said softly.

    "Does the Island Lord simply have no regard for me?"

    "..." Wang Pan remained silent.

    Shen Yuan's brows lifted, and he understood. He said, "That seems to be the case."

    "Well... not really. As long as you slightly alter your idle and wayward nature."

    "Idle? Where am I idle? Is it because I'm too lazy to attend his classes, or am I exceptionally stupid?"

    Wang Pan thought for a moment and replied, "Neither. You're actually exceptionally good at both."

    "Then why treat me like this?"

    "You're too unpredictable. You walk the line between right and wrong. The Island Lord once said, 'A knife that saves can also become a knife that kills.' So..."

    "So he strictly demands more from me alone?" Shen Yuan interrupted.

    "It's out of caution," Wang Pan admitted.

    After a moment of silence, Shen Yuan chuckled softly and muttered, "What do I have to fear?"

    "He Mengfang's voice suddenly echoed, "Shen Yuan! Your Qiankun Bag is still with me!"

    Suddenly, the Qiankun Bag was thrown in through the window. Wang Pan reached out and caught it just in time.

    "Hmm? You flew for a bit and then came back the same way... Hey, Shen Yuan, why are you still tied up?" He Mengfang peered into the room by leaning on the window.

    "Ask him," Shen Yuan said, lifting his chin and pointing at Wang Pan.

    "Again and again..." Wang Pan got up and walked to the window, preparing to close it and urge He Mengfang to leave. "Thank you. You can go now."

    He Mengfang hurriedly spoke up to stop him, "I'm not done yet..."

    Wang Pan paused in his action.

    He Mengfang continued, "There's a temple of Yi Shujun by the shore where the Scarlet Water River meets the East Sea. When we have time, let's visit it together and pray for good luck in love..."

    "No need."

    "I'm busy."

    Wang Pan and Shen Yuan both declined in unison.

    "Alright then, let me tell you. That skeleton was the abbot of that temple. Would you go investigate?"

    "Wen to Xun Wu's plague?" Wang Pan asked.

    He Mengfang replied, "I'm not entirely sure if it's related. I followed the skeleton into the temple and found Yi Shujun's statue to be quite extravagant, made entirely of gold. It seems like the people of Xun Wu hold him in high regard, but his temple was littered with paper money, potato chunks, and eggshells, as if he had been rejected. It felt rather odd."

    Wang Pan agreed. "Alright, once this matter is settled, we'll head there."

    The inn had two floors, and their room was on the second. Knowing that He Mengfang could fly on his sword without worry of falling, Wang Pan casually agreed and reached for the window to close it.

    With a loud thud, He Mengfang hastily retracted his hand. It was fortunate that he was standing on his sword, or he would have tumbled down from the sudden closure!

    But since he hadn't finished his sentence, he couldn't exactly break through the window, so he grumpily shouted, "There's a well in the temple with a persimmon tree beside it, and two 'decapitated' stone lions in front of the temple. Don't get it wrong! Don't end up worshiping any ghosts or demons, or come crying to me!" With a cold snort, he soared away towards the moon on his sword.

    The moment He Mengfang left, Shen Yuan got out of bed and stood in front of Wang Pan. He turned around and waved his hands at Wang Pan, chiding, "Untie the Spirit Shackles—"

    Wang Pan didn't intend to tie Shen Yuan up for long. He merely feared that Shen Yuan would "adamantly deny taking risks with his life." Thus, it would be more convenient to keep him bound while making him admit his mistake. Worried that Shen Yuan might repeat his actions, he added, "Are you still planning to take such risks?"

    "No, no more—"

    "Alright, I'll believe you for now." With a wave of Wang Pan's hand, the Spirit Binding Rope retracted completely.

    With his hands freed, Shen Yuan rubbed them together and grinned at Wang Pan. "Can you lend me the Spirit Binding Rope to play with?"

    "The Spirit Binding Rope isn't a toy," Wang Pan replied.

    Shen Yuan pondered for a moment and said, "Then... you give me the Qiankun Bag."

    "Alright." This time, Wang Pan agreed without hesitation.

    Surprised by this, Shen Yuan found it hard to believe. Doubts stirred in his mind as he wondered if Wang Pan had laid a trap for him to fall into.

    --------------------

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