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The Dragon

The Dragon By Dec 09, 2023 4 Comments
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Extra Chapter 3

After spending over a month confined to her bed, Zhong Michu’s spirit had noticeably faded, and she had grown significantly thinner. Healing physical wounds was one thing, but mending the deeper, emotional scars proved to be a much more challenging task.

Winter had enveloped Penglai Island, blanketing everything under a thick, pristine layer of snow. As the doors and windows swung open, they unveiled a picturesque courtyard, transformed into a serene landscape of snow.

Zhong Michu sat quietly on her bed, her pale and slender figure making her clothes appear oversized. A lock of her dark hair gently fell over her shoulder, gracefully sliding to rest in front of her.

Outside the main door, Dongli and Liuguizhen watched with heavy hearts.

Liu Guizhen said, “This can’t continue. Only you can persuade her.”

Dongli replied, her eyes downcast, “Guizhen, I’ve tried so many times. She’s the sect leader, she can’t stay like this forever.”

Dongli, clearly exhausted, glanced at Liu Guizhen. Liu Guizhen gripped her shoulder and whispered, “Let’s go in together.”

Liu Guizhen’s voice echoed from outside the room, “Sect Leader.” Receiving no response, they decided to step inside. Experience had taught them that calling out to Zhong Michu from the doorway seldom elicited a reply; they needed to enter themselves. Quietly, they made their way to the bed, where Zhong Michu remained, her gaze fixed intently on the snowy scene outside.

As they approached the bed, Zhong Michu was still gazing out at the snow. Dongli began, “Michu, the Dragon Clan has found Master Shou Yi’s whereabouts…”

Liu Guizhen accidentally stepped on something. It was the Sect Leader’s token. Shocked, he stepped back and knelt down, apologizing, “Forgive me, Sect Leader.”

Zhong Michu softly said, “Dongli, I’m passing the sect leader’s token to you. From today, you are the leader of Xuan Miao Sect.”

Dongli was taken aback. A surge of anger bubbled up as she exclaimed, “Michu, do you realize what you’re saying?”

“The Sect Leader doesn’t have the right to appoint the next leader?” Zhong Michu asked.

Dongli replied, “That’s not what I meant. You know who the Sect Leader chose you to be…”

Liu Guizhen placed his hand on Dongli’s shoulder. As she snapped back to reality, Dongli realized she was being harsh, and softened her tone: “I know you need time to heal. Don’t worry, Liu Guizhen and I will handle the sect affairs. Whenever you’re ready, you can take over.”

Zhong Michu turned to face them, her eyes lighter, lacking the intense golden hue from when she transformed into a dragon. She spoke softly, as if speaking was a strain, “Dongli, I don’t want to be the Sect Leader. I’m not suited for it.”

Angrily, Dongli shot back, “Then what do you want to do? Spend your life in despair, or end it all? Abandon everything and everyone, and join our past masters and our teacher in the afterlife? How would you face them even in death?”

“Michu, think about it. How long has it been since you last left this room?”

“What do I want to do?” Zhong Michu let out a melancholy smile and whispered, “How would I know what I want to do?”

Zhong Michu looked down at her hands. There were no dragon scales in the palm of her hand, but dark red scabs formed from the corrosive poison. “Ever since I was young, my master told me what to do and what not to. Teachers laid out plans for me: swordsmanship, spells, cultivation, ascension to immortality.”

“I don’t know if this is what I truly wanted, but it always seemed right. Everyone in the sect lives like this, cultivating towards immortality. It can’t be wrong. Maybe I had some desires too, thinking that obeying my elders was always right. If I ever met their expectations, perhaps my mother would see me differently.”

“Now that they’re gone, why am I doing all of this?”

Dongli responded, “For yourself.”

Zhong Michu said, “But these aren’t the things I want to do.”

Tears gathered in Zhong Michu’s increasingly blurry eyes. The scars on her hand looked hazy, “Gu Fuyou said I was a canary in a cage. Now, even if I’m out of the cage, I can’t fly.”

Dongli picked up the token, puzzled, “Michu, you’ve never spoken like this before.”

Zhong Michu replied, “Because of Gu Fuyou. She called me out from the mountain.”

Dongli, sensing Zhong Michu’s growing delirium, said, “Michu, you need to rest.”

“Dongli, I am very much awake. I realized then that achieving immortality wasn’t what I sought. Being with her, I felt like I was close to finding what I wanted to do, just a step away. But the Zuo family destroyed it all!”

“They destroyed everything.”

Zhong Michu’s chest heaved, and the tears that had gathered in her eyes finally fell, her gaze mingling gold and red, resembling the last light of a sunset, but there was no warmth in those eyes, only the cold harshness of impending twilight.

Dongli said, “In life, we aren’t born without attachments and don’t leave without them either. Beyond ideals, there’s also responsibility. Michu, even if you don’t know what you want, you always know what you should do. What you need to do now is to pull yourself together. Even if you don’t want to be the Sect Leader, as a disciple, you should avenge the wrongs and hatreds of Xuan Miao Sect.”

“You need to think about this yourself.” Dongli signaled Liu Guizhen, and both got up, “We won’t disturb your rest anymore. Michu, you need a good sleep.”

They both left. After a long time, Zhong Michu stood up.

Her right leg, still recovering from the injuries of the Thunder Tribulation, hadn’t completely healed. Barefooted and with a noticeable limp, she made her way to the door. Relying on the doorframe for support, she carefully stepped into the corridor, where the ground was adorned with scattered shards of jade and quartz, shimmering all around.

“Now you are free, with no one to bind you.” She leaned against a pillar, slowly sliding down to her knees, and chuckled bitterly, “It’s all about coming and going as one pleases.”

After that day, Dongli hadn’t visited her for a long time. Zhong Michu thought she had probably disappointed her.

Kunling was the one tasked with attending to her needs. Given that humans, like Kunling, are often perceived as more meticulous than Dragons, and considering her previous interactions with Zhong Michu, she was the natural choice to be appointed as her attendant.

Zhong Michu inquired, “What has Dongli been up to these days?”

It was rare for her to initiate such a question.

After her initial surprise, Kunling replied, “Miss Dongli and Master Liu are planning to return to Xuan Miao Sect. His Majesty plans to build a tomb for your parents. Since Master Yunran’s physical body disappeared, His Majesty intends to use some of Xuanzun’s clothing to construct a symbolic tomb and have it placed alongside Master Wujiang’s

Zhong Michu’s face changed dramatically, “He wants them buried together?!” Di Wujiang, after all, was her father. She had told Di Jun where his body lay, so it was inevitable that Di Jun would retrieve it, and he would guess who killed Di Wujiang.

What she didn’t expect was that, knowing this, Di Jun still planned to bury them together.

Zhong Michu abruptly stood up, dragging her injured leg as she hurried out. “Princess?!” called Kunling in surprise.

Zhong Michu went to the administrative hall but didn’t find Di Jun. She asked the guards and learned he was at the Dragon Clan’s ancestral tomb. When she arrived, Di Jun was instructing artisans to engrave a stele, introducing the life of a member of the Dragon royal family laid to rest there. Upon seeing her, Di Jun remarked cheerfully, “Decided to come out and get some sun?” His tone was light and seemingly happy.

Zhong Michu, her face set in a cold expression, noticed that the artisans had completed engraving Di Wujiang’s life story and were just about to inscribe Yunran’s name, title, and cultivation level, identifying her as Di Wujiang’s wife. In a swift movement, fueled by a surge of spiritual energy, she rushed forward and shattered the inscription with a powerful strike of her palm.

Di Jun stared wide-eyed, took a deep breath, his beard trembling with anger, and shouted,  “You impudent Dragon! What are you doing?!”

Zhong Michu was also restraining her anger, and she faced Di Jun’s fury, saying, “She was not my father’s wife, nor did she ever wish to be. Do not bury them together. It would tarnish her path of reincarnation.”

Di Jun retorted, “You insolent creature! What nonsense are you spouting? This woman killed Wujiang! If she hadn’t died, I would have ground her bones to dust. Now, out of consideration for you, I allowed her into the tomb. It’s an honor for her! How dare you smash your father’s stele!”

“As long as I’m alive, I won’t let her be entombed here.”

“You, you…” Di Jun was so angry he spun around. He grabbed a whip from a nearby subordinate, pointed it at Zhong Michu, and yelled, “You rebellious and unfilial child! Always opposing me in small matters like changing your surname, but today you dare to smash your father’s stele! Are you planning to kill your own grandfather next? o you think I let you get away with things just because you’re my only descendant and that I wouldn’t dare to whip you?”

Zhong Michu knelt down without uttering a word.

Di Jun laughed in anger, “Ah, showing some backbone, are we? Tough and unyielding!”

He tossed the whip to the ground with a snort. “Since you’re so tough and don’t ask for help, don’t ever beg your grandfather for anything. Avenge your sect on your own, and don’t come to me for help when you feel weak!”

Despite re-engraving the stele, Di Jun ultimately decided not to bury Yunran and Di Wujiang together.

Dongli and Liu Guizhen returned to the Xuan Miao Sect as they had originally planned. As expected, Ji Xiyan assumed the role of the sect leader, fulfilling his ambition. Fortunately, their actions hadn’t led to a complete massacre; some of the surviving elders were taken prisoner, confined within the dark recesses of the sect’s dungeons.

The situation was quite strange; not long ago, they had been locked in a fierce, life-or-death struggle, yet when Dongli and Liu Guizhen encountered Ji Xiyan, there were no signs of intense anger or unbridled emotions. On the surface, the master-disciple relationship appeared harmonious. However, all three were acutely aware that when the opportune moment arrived, old grievances would resurface, with no regard for their past ties.

Jingdu Mountain had suffered greatly; its main peak lay in ruins, and the other peaks bore scars of varying degrees of damage. But Gushen Peak, the solitary home of Zhong Michu, had been left unscathed. Dongli and Liu Guizhen, seizing the opportunity, gathered some of their personal belongings. They also thoughtfully collected several of Zhong Michu’s items, intending to bring them back to the Eastern Sea.

Zhong Michu placed these items in her study. The interior of this room was arranged similarly to the study on Gushen Peak.

Amidst the lingering winter snow, wisps of incense smoke gently spiraled upwards. In this tranquil setting, Zhong Michu, looking pale and thin, was seated on her bed. Her attire hung loosely on her frame, and a strand of black hair tumbled over her shoulder. Her fingers absentmindedly caressed the zither strings, creating a sporadic, haunting melody.

Everything around her had quieted down, and the harsh reality that those who had left would not return was slowly settling in. Despite this, her mind wandered aimlessly, like numerous threads unraveling from a single red string. A sense of restlessness enveloped her, the root of her anxiety elusive and undefined.

As the wind rustled through the branches, it dislodged the accumulated snow, sending it cascading to the ground where it joined the existing snow pile with a gentle, rustling whisper. Almost without thinking, Zhong Michu’s eyes lit up with a spark of interest. She rose and made her way to the corridor, where the fresh wind swept in, making her clothes dance and flutter around her.

She gazed intently at the courtyard. There was no white wall, and no one scaling it.

She stood silently for a while before slowly returning to her room.

On the desk, a stack of books stood haphazardly, with a brocade box nestled beneath them. The box, left open, cradled the Dragon egg. As Zhong Michu approached the desk, the wind playfully flipped open the pages of the top book, revealing familiar handwriting. A wave of melancholy washed over her at the sight. Gently, she lifted the book, cradling it in her hands as memories and emotions stirred within.

This was the book titled “New Interpretations of Array Formations” annotated by Gu Fuyou. As she flipped through the pages, her fingers abruptly stopped at a section.

She touched the words at the top of the page that read— “Gu Fuyou was here.”

This line wasn’t there when she received the book. When did it appear? She felt her heart pounding in agitation as she repeatedly traced the line. Flipping through more pages, she found more notes, each one like Gu Fuyou speaking directly to her.

“Senior Sister is a river clam.”

— “Returning safely from the Xian Luo, Senior Sister hasn’t yet noticed the words I secretly wrote. Haha, today I took Senior Sister to Yinxue Pavilion, a bit out of the norm. I hope that when Senior Sister wakes up, she won’t be angry. Don’t be angry. Don’t be angry.”

Zhong Michu couldn’t help but laugh, though her nose felt incredibly sore. She vividly imagined Gu Fuyou sneakily writing these words, and the apologetic, endearing look she would have when realizing she made a mistake. These words made her feel as though Gu Fuyou were standing right in front of her, speaking to her.

— “I snuck away from Xiaoyao City. Haven’t you noticed the message I left? I’ve never felt this free and happy before. Of all the places, Gushen Peak was the first that came to mind.”

— “Isn’t the lullaby from our Xiaoyao City the best?”

— “Tomorrow, I will be heading to Xuji Mountain. I love being with you. It would be best if it could stay this way forever.”

— “I wonder if you’ll take this book with you. When will you finally discover these words? Please don’t wait until I’m an old lady for you to find them; it’d be so embarrassing.”

Before she knew it, she reached the last page.

— “Gu Fuyou’s wish, while life is fleeting, may my name endure for eternity. May the mysterious formation techniques rise to prominence once more.”

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Shakthivel
Shakthivel
7 months ago

Thanks for the chapter

dadin
dadin
7 months ago

that book .. those words will be her reasons to continue living

Khriss
Khriss
6 months ago

Sobbing that’s so cute but so sad, all Michu had for 700 long years is this 😭😭😭

Hatimo
Hatimo
26 days ago

Gu Fuyou…I miss her old self so much 😭😭😭