Meng Fuyao placed her hands on her chest. After struggling for a long time, she finally spoke.
"You... why do you like me?"
Yuan Zhaoxu fell into silence, and after a long while he grabbed hold of a falling leaf and said, "I met a girl, who is just like a part of me. I had planned to get close to her to understand myself better, but in the process, I've lost sight of my initial goal. Throughout my whole life, I've never felt what it was like to treasure and fight for something. Because of her, things changed. It's to the point where I've completely forgotten about the shadow and simply want to continue seeing her."
It was Yuan Zhaoxu's first time unfolding his deepest thoughts, as the misty moonlight shone down onto the lotus flower on his wrist.
"I hope... she can be like this flower, weaved into my flesh, and stay by my side forever and beyond, until the end of time."
Meng Fuyao stood, shocked, amid the hot water, her features rigid. A long time later, she plopped onto her bum and started wailing.
"Can you not be so stirring, Yuan Zhaoxu?"
"Yuan Zhaoxu, I'm not as selfish as you think. In fact, I'm too selfless!"
Waves of emotions surged within her chest like the hot water around her. It was as if her organs were exploding amid the tension within her blood and flesh. Her consciousness seemed to have erupted at the same time, transforming into the millions of stars that twinkled in the vast dome of heaven.
Earth-shattering pain surged as if her mind and thoughts were being grounded by black bands of a jagged sawtooth. She clenched her teeth, swallowing the pain and emerging wound. Yet, the sensations had aroused indignation and anger from deep within her.
She bawled, unrestrained, clapping on the water with all the might and creating giant waves that splashed back at herself.
Her voice was like a steel knife, screechy and cutting through the silence in the mountain.
"I'm not afraid of the torture of loving someone and the anxiety of being loved. I'm afraid of the fleeting moments and forever goodbye."
"My time here is borrowed, do you understand? What if I were to disappear one day, Yuan Zhaoxu? Are you going to scold me for giving up without reason and treating your heart as worthless?"
"Love shouldn't be a part of this equation. I push you away so as not to hurt you. Why don't you understand..." Meng Fuyao spoke unclearly between sobs. Suddenly she sprung up and out of the water and grabbed Yuan Zhaoxu by his collar.
Shocked by her sudden outburst and taken aback, he was pulled into the water, instantly becoming soaked. Ignoring it all, Meng Fuyao continued dragging him in, while crying out loud.
"Get lost! Get lost now! Get the f*ck away! I no longer fear you. My teeth were hurting earlier, so I wasn't able to speak. Let me make things clear now. I don't want you. I don't want you, so do as you've mentioned and disappear before my eyes..."
"I changed my mind."
Yuan Zhaoxu stated calmly and almost warmly, the coldness in his voice no longer present.
He stood up and grabbed Meng Fuyao's flailing arms tightly, and she was temporarily unable to move. They faced each other, completely wet, as Yuan Zhaoxu looked into her eyes. "It's too late. Doesn't count."
"F*ck, and what you say counts... Huu..."
A pair of cold but soft lips pressed gently onto her own. And she lost all rationality.
She stood sluggishly in the water, her hands held stiffly in a strangling position, and watched as Yuan Zhaoxu stepped closer to taste her lips. A brief moment later, his tongue started to swirl within her mouth. Butterflies flitted in her stomach as she tasted the sweetness of his mouth. It was a cooling and comfortable feeling, and she felt as though she was having a sweet dream.
The dreamy scene felt distant yet dense, as though fog was surrounding her. The breaths of the man before her carried a faint fragrance, but she was drowning in it.
She let out a soft sigh before raising her head dizzily, no longer possessing the strength to push this warmth away.
The moon had its face reflected on the ripples as a man and woman, both thoroughly wet, hugged in the springwater, creating a lovely painting of a pair of a twin lotus flower.
A poem was being written with every brush of the wind, its every line warm and moving.
Fragrance filled the air as the jade-colored, intertwined vines hung down from the trees, fluttering right above the waters.
Meng Fuyao, buried in Yuan Zhaoxu's chest, heard him say in a low voice, "We'll seal your troubles with a kiss."
Seal trouble with a kiss...
How beautiful, but, could they really seal this moment of tranquility and preserve it through time and space?
Meng Fuyao only felt a sudden ache somewhere. She shivered. Yuan Zhaoxu had let her go, his eyes producing an even more beautiful reflection on the ripples.
Meng Fuyao's face was slightly flushed as she turned away, her eyes subconsciously sweeping her gaze toward Yuan Zhaoxu's wet body. His robe was half undone, and water beads could be seen rolling down his bare chest, whose muscles were even more eye-catching than the brightest of pearls. The soft moonlight accentuated his collarbones, which extended into his collar, feeding one's desire to explore the glory within.
Meng Fuyao stared blankly, suddenly feeling her nose heating up. She lowered her head and saw that the water surface was red. 'Oh no, oh god, oh no, a nosebleed? How am I to face him...'
Before she could process her thoughts, she tasted something sweet, and the next thing she knew, she had spat something out from her mouth.
She raised her head and was greeted by a sudden downpour of cold, blood rain. The moon was dyed a bright red as the rain streamed down their faces. Meng Fuyao could see the shock in Yuan Zhaoxu's eyes, and in it, she could also bizarrely see herself collapsing.
'Oh.. nosebleed... not lust...' An irrelevant thought popped in her head before she collapsed.
A light beam leaped within her narrowing vision as the fragrance of food blended in with the warmth of the light.
When Meng Fuyao opened her eyes again, she saw the domed roof of a cave. There was a fire and by it sat Yuan Zhaoxu, almost awkwardly drying his clothes.
Meng Fuyao jolted up and looked down at herself. 'Phew...' She had her undergarments on.
She grabbed the blanket, which was Yuan Zhaoxu's outer robe. She caressed it, vaguely recalling the events that had happened and blushing uncontrollably.
Meng Fuyao scanned her surroundings and caught sight of Lord Yuan Bao drawing circles in a corner. He was dry, and Meng Fuyao guessed that he hadn't been in Yuan Zhaoxu's robe when the latter went into the water. Why was he acting so gloomily, then?
Yuan Zhaoxu turned around, his eyelashes and pupil appearing darker under the firelight. He looked at her and spoke after some time, "Zong Yue did not tell me about Emotion Lock."
Meng Fuyao drew the corner of her mouth back and leaned back a little from the lack of strength. "Now you understand?"
"Wrong." Yuan Zhaoxu shook his head. "There is a way of undoing any poison. It is the heart that is the hardest to unlock. Stop finding excuses, Fuyao."
After a short silence, Meng Fuyao responded, "Alright, I'm wrong, but I think I'm rightly wrong."
Yuan Zhaoxu had actually understood her words. He fixed his eyes on her and reached out to stroke her hair. "You stubborn little thing..."
Meng Fuyao waited for him to erupt. 'Hit me. Hit me then. I'm unhappy too.'
Yuan Zhaoxu supported her up, her wet and already tousled hair stuck on her back, before sitting behind her and tidying it carefully with his slender fingers. He let them dry by the fire while saying, "Your hair is wet, and you're unable to protect yourself from the poison at this point. Be careful not to fall ill."
Meng Fuyao rubbed her hands together, not speaking a word. She took in the man's charming scent as he nimbly sorted out her stray hair strands. His movements tickled her, sending waves of electricity throughout her body. She felt as though she had been brought high up to the clouds, but a bead of tear gradually formed in her eyes.
She would rather be thrown out, scolded or beaten than to experience such irresistible warmth.
Yuan Zhaoxu remained silent throughout the process, appearing to be in deep thought as he started braiding her hair.
Meng Fuyao couldn't help but let out a smile. "Don't tell me you can even braid a girl's hair?"
Not answering, he focused on his task while seemingly recalling something. "Unable to comb her hair the night before, the girl has messy strands draping over her shoulders as she rested her head on the lap of a sir, who tenderly looks down at her..."
His low yet graceful voice hovered around her ears as waves of warmth swept over her. She shuddered, just as a strand of hair had accidentally been pulled out, and she hurriedly smiled to conceal it.
Yuan Zhaoxu paused for a slight while before releasing her braid. "I think I still can't do it."
Meng Fuyao reached her hand to touch it, feeling a half-rolled bun. As she burst into laughter and was about to mock him, she heard him say, "You stubborn little thing... I'll wait."