Staring at the empty cave, Nie MingJue felt a growing sense of unease. When he arrived here at Burial Mounds, he thought Wei WuXian had merely gone out to either eat in one of the restaurants or take a walk around Yiling because he was bored. However, after waiting for him for an overly long time, he was starting to feel anxious. He realized he should not be standing here, and doing nothing besides waiting for the man to return. He should get out to find him, but he had no idea where he was.
Would he be at Gusu?
Most probably no. He did not think Wei WuXian would ever want to visit those two places again.
Well, he could not think of any other places. Perhaps he should search around Yiling first. Just when he was about to do so, he saw a man dressed in black robes with a flute hanging at his waist walking into Burial Mounds. He recognized the flute as the infamous Chenqing. The man was drenched, looking exactly like he had been walking in the rain.
Nie MingJue walked toward him and scrutinized his face, trying to get a hint of his expression but saw none. Water was dripping from his hair, face, and robes. He was looking rather pale and when he started swaying, Nie MingJue caught him in his arms, immediately feeling how cold the man was.
Seeing that he was unusually not alone here in his own home, Wei WuXian looked up and finally noticed the Qinghe Nie sect leader had come to visit him.
“Sect Leader Nie is here?” Wei WuXian questioned weakly, his voice hoarse, sounding as though he had either screamed or cried for a long time.
Ignoring the man’s question, Nie Mingjue stated, “Let’s get in first.”
Wei WuXian was brought into the Demon Slaughtering Cave and Nie MingJue had helped him to take a seat on the ground before he placed his palm on the paler man’s forehead, checking his temperature and immediately noticing it was burning up.
“I am going to bring you back to Unclean Realm now,” said Nie MingJue.
Wei WuXian caught Nie MingJue’s arm as he shook his head, “No. I am fine here.”
Nie MingJue was frustrated with this man’s stubbornness. He looked out to see it was still raining outside, so it would not do him any good if he forcefully brought the sick man out now. They could stay here for a while and when the rain stopped, Nie MingJue decided he would bring him back to Unclean Realm immediately even if he might have to deal with an angry Wei WuXian later.
With Wei WuXian’s hand still wrapping weakly around Nie MingJue’s arm, Nie MingJue could feel that Wei WuXian was shivering. Nie MingJue gently pushed Wei WuXian’s hand away so he could completely remove his outer robe and placed it on Wei WuXian. Knowing that it was not enough, he left the younger man’s side and went out of the cave to search for branches.
When he returned to the cave, he placed the branches together near Wei WuXian and threw a fire talisman on it. When he was satisfied with how warm the cave was, he took a closer look at Wei WuXian and noticed the man was already asleep, but he seemed to be shivering even fiercer than before. Nie MingJue pulled him closer and embraced him, hoping that it could warm the younger man up further. He was definitely not taking advantage of a sick man. He was merely trying to keep him warm.
With the cave being filled with silence, Nie MingJue found himself staring down at the man in his arms. The first thing he took notice of was that the man was so much thinner now. As he was embracing him, he could feel his bones clearly.
And all of these were his fault.
It was because he let him left Unclean Realm.
It was because he believed Lan WangJi could give him the happiness that he deserved.
Lan WangJi was the younger brother of Lan XiChen, and the Lan brothers always had a perfect reputation, so he never once thought that Lan WangJi would betray Wei WuXian in such a way. He thought Lan WangJi would treasure Wei WuXian a lot from how Lan XiChen told him that Lan WangJi had been in love with Wei WuXian for a very long time, and that was why he decided to support Wei WuXian to get married to Lan WangJi.
He was wrong.
Therefore, he would not make the same mistake again. He was here to bring him back to Unclean Realm and there would be no one who would be allowed to hurt Wei WuXian as long as he was still alive.
“I will protect you from now on,” he whispered and pulled the man closer to him.
He sat there embracing the man in his arms tightly until he noticed the rain had stopped completely outside, but the man was still sleeping with a rising temperature. Nie MingJue carefully lifted him up and ascended onto Baxia, heading toward Qinghe.
The next time when Wei WuXian opened up his eyes, he felt absolutely comfortable, nothing like sleeping on the hard and dirty ground of Burial Mounds. He looked around and noticed that he was indeed not at Burial Mounds. He was at Unclean Realm again. He was bewildered as to how he had ended up here again, but he was a little tired so he thought he could sleep for a few more minutes and that was when he felt himself sleeping on something – more like on someone and that someone had a strong arm wrapped around him, embracing him through the night. When he turned to take a look, he was taken aback at the realization of who he was sleeping on.
He jerked up and as he did that, Nie MingJue felt the sudden weight being lifted up of him and opened his eyes to see Wei WuXian staring at him in shock.
“Sect Leader Nie, I am sorry!”
Wei WuXian apologized immediately, feeling his face being covered with cold sweat. He must have been overly mad to even dare to sleep on Nie MingJue. He should be glad that Nie MingJue did not kill him for even daring to touch him, but that did not mean he would not be killing him now!
“Awake? Are you feeling any better?” questioned Nie MingJue.
Wei WuXian was stunned for a moment, surprised with the gentleness within the man’s voice.
“Yes, yes. Thank you for the hospitality again, Sect Leader Nie.”
Wei WuXian was about to apologize for troubling him again when Nie MingJue suddenly stood up.
“Wait for me,” said Nie MingJue before he left the room. Not long later, he returned with a bowl of medicine. With a hand holding the bowl, he used another hand to scoop a spoonful of the medicine, and blew on it gently before approaching the spoon to Wei WuXian’s lips.
Wei WuXian stared at him in shock.
“Drink,” ordered Nie MingJue.
“I… I can drink this myself,” said Wei WuXian as he hurriedly raised his hands to take the bowl from Nie MingJue.
“Don’t move. Just open your mouth,” demanded Nie MingJue. His tone was stern like he would not let him try to move even if he attempted to do so.
Wei WuXian obediently drank the medicine spoon by spoon being fed by Nie MingJue. When he was done drinking the medicine, Nie MingJue put away the bowl and sat near him, his palm reaching up to his forehead to check for his temperature. The gesture was surprisingly gentle, especially given that the man in front of him was actually Nie MingJue, and Wei WuXian suddenly found himself blushing.
“It has lower down a little,” said Nie MingJue after he removed his hand from Wei WuXian’s forehead.
While Wei WuXian still had no idea what he meant by stating that something had lowered down a little, Nie MingJue spoke up again, “I know you don’t have much of an appetite, but you have to eat a little. I will go and get you something to eat.”
When Nie MingJue left, that was only when Wei WuXian realized he was referring to his temperature. He lifted his hand to touch his forehead and noticed his temperature was really higher than usual. It must be from walking in the rain. He heaved a sigh. He got sick so easily now. If it was like before, he would not fall sick even if he stayed in the rain for three days.
Before Wei WuXian could think of anything else, Nie MingJue returned with a bowl of congee in his hand. Nie MingJue advanced to the bed and was about to start feeding Wei WuXian again but Wei WuXian was faster this time. He immediately took the bowl and started eating. He would not dare to allow Nie MingJue to feed him again. The sudden gentleness of the elder man was way too scary and his heart was not very good at taking surprises.
In just a few seconds, Wei WuXian had finished up the bowl of congee and handed the empty bowl to Nie MingJue.
“Get some rest now,” said Nie MingJue as he pushed Wei WuXian down onto the bed and covered him up with a blanket.
Wei WuXian wanted to open his mouth to complain because he just woke up after all. However, after taking the medicine, he suddenly felt a little sleepy again. He obediently closed his eyes and fell asleep. It had been a while since he had a bed to sleep on, so it was making him felt extremely comfortable.
After making sure that the man was finally asleep, Nie MingJue soundlessly walked out and closed the door behind him. Standing outside of the room were Nie HuaiSang and Qing Liang who seemed to be waiting for him to come out.
“How is Wei-xiong?” asked Nie HuaiSang.
“He took medicine and is sleeping now. HuaiSang, help me take care of him for now,” said Nie MingJue before he turned to Qing Liang, “Let’s go.”
Qing Liang and Nie MingJue walked in silence and headed to a place that was suitable for them to start their discussion. Although Wei WuXian was safe now in Unclean Realm, it was no doubt that the other sects were out there, the Jin sect especially, waiting for the perfect chance to kill him. Nie MingJue would certainly not allow that to happen. If there were anyone who wished to harm Wei WuXian, they would have to pass through him first. He was not going to stand here without doing anything as he watched people planning to hurt the man he loved.
“What have you investigated regarding Jin ZiXun?” questioned Nie MingJue.
“About this… Sect Leader Nie, we can’t find a possible man who might put the curse on him. Jin ZiXun has really too many enemies. In Lanling Jin sect itself, besides Jin GuangShan, Madame Jin, Young Master Jin and Young Madame Jin, Jin ZiXun seemed to have offended everyone there. Apart from the Lanling Jin sect, it seemed he had also offended many cultivators from other sects like our sect, Gusu Lan sect, Yunmeng Jiang sect and some other smaller sects.”
Nie MingJue felt a headache coming to him again. This would be troublesome. With the number of enemies Jin ZiXun had, it was really difficult to find out who was the man who had placed the curse on him.
Well, not that it really mattered. Even if they helped Jin ZiXun to find the man who had placed the curse on him, some other cultivators would still find some ways to target Wei WuXian. All he had to do now was protect Wei WuXian from anyone who dared to harm him.
Both Nie MingJue and Qing Liang started discussing the best way to protect Wei WuXian at the moment, and they had both agreed that as long as the man stayed here, even Jin GuangShan would not have the guts to charge into Unclean Realm. However, just in case anyone suddenly grew the courage to do so, they would have to prepare themselves for war. Apart from that, Nie MingJue also decided to order Qing Liang to send a few disciples to Lanling and Burial Mounds, just in case if the Jin sect was really planning on anything, Nie MingJue would be the first to know.
When the discussion was over, Nie MingJue went back to Wei WuXian’s room. He was not going to let him out of his sight again.
He thought the man would be asleep, so he was just planning to check on his temperature before he left him to rest for the night. However, when he was standing outside of the room, he heard two voices speaking and laughing inside. It turned out Nie HuaiSang and Wei WuXian were chattering.
“I envy you so much, Nie-xiong,” Wei WuXian said, “You have such an amazing elder brother who will take care of you whenever you are sick. He is already so nice to me when I am merely an outsider, I am sure he is so much gentler and nicer to you since you are his precious younger brother.”
“Takes care of me when I am sick?” questioned Nie HuaiSang as he tilted his head, remembering just what had happened during the previous time he was sick.
He was resting in his room, feeling too weak to even walk around. Nie MingJue who had heard of his younger brother fallen sick back then rushed to Nie HuaiSang’s room.
Nie MingJue sat by the side of the bed and touched Nie HuaiSang’s forehead, checking his temperature. Nie HuaiSang closed his eyes and felt a little happy that his elder brother was checking on him gently. He saw his elder brother frowned, and for a moment, he was quite sure that his elder brother must be worried about him.
Nie MingJue had opened his mouth to speak. Nie HuaiSang thought his elder brother was going to tell him to rest more, but imagination always differed from reality.
“Do you know why you are sick? Because you are too weak! Now, get up and run 10 laps around the training field,” stated Nie MingJue.
Nie HuaiSang was stupefied.
“Brother, I am a patient?” he questioned. Surely, his elder brother knew that, right?
“That is why you need to get up and sweat. You will feel better after that,” stated Nie MingJue.
Nie HuaiSang wanted to protest, and being his elder brother, Nie MingJue obviously knew his intention.
“If you do not finish 10 laps of running today, from tomorrow onward, you will have to run 20 laps every day.”
Nie HuaiSang did not even know that he still had so much strength in himself, but when he heard his elder brother threatening him, he got up immediately and finished the 10 laps of running around the training field with a speed that he could not even reach when he was not sick. From then on, he dared not fall sick, or at least even if he was sick, he would make sure his elder brother would not know.
Nie HuaiSang heaved a sigh at the torturing memory.
“What is wrong, Nie-xiong?” Wei WuXian questioned, bemused.
“Actually, Wei-xiong,” Nie HuaiSang started, planning to tell Wei WuXian that his elder brother was only gentle and nice to his future husband, but he was interrupted by Nie MingJue walking in, clearing his throat to capture their attention. Nie HuaiSang turned and met his elder brother glaring at him dangerously, hinting for him not to speak nonsense.
Nie HuaiSang stood up immediately and said, “I will be leaving first. Wei-xiong, I will visit you again tomorrow.”
Wei WuXian nodded and watched Nie HuaiSang left.
“It is late. You are sick, rest more,” said Nie MingJue.
“But I already slept a lot,” whined Wei WuXian, “And I am not sleepy anymore.”
“Then, do you want to eat something?” asked Nie MingJue.
Wei WuXian shook his head. He had no appetite for food, but…
“I want wine,” stated Wei WuXian.
“You are sick. No wine,” said Nie MingJue.
Wei WuXian pouted.
The two were silent for a while. Wei WuXian felt bored with nothing else to do. Nie MingJue was thinking hard about what he could do to make Wei WuXian happy at a time like this.
“Oh, right,” Wei WuXian started, “Sect Leader Nie, since I am here, I can perform Cleansing to you.”
Wei WuXian grabbed Chenqing and Nie MingJue stopped him.
“You need to rest. You should not use resentful energy in your current condition,” said Nie MingJue.
Nie MingJue still remembered how surprised he was when Wei WuXian told him he would perform Cleansing for him. He should not be able to do it because he no longer had any spiritual energy in him. However, Wei WuXian had said he could use resentful energy and he would make sure he could perform Cleansing to him just as good as Lan XiChen and Jin GuangYao did.
Wei WuXian managed to do it in the end, and Nie MingJue was amazed.
“I am feeling much better now, don’t worry,” said Wei WuXian as he started to perform Cleansing.
Nie MingJue wanted to stop him, but at the same time, he missed the sound of Chenqing a lot. Hence, he closed his eyes, enjoying the peaceful moment and allowed the sound of Chenqing to fill the room.