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Published at 16th of August 2020 10:35:23 AM
Chapter 286


"Surprise, surprise!" Li Yundong said, finding a great deal of amusement in Chan'er's gobsmacked expression, in particular, the adorable O-shape of her mouth . His heart still ached from witnessing Chan'er's meltdown earlier, so it was refreshing to see an emotion other than sorrow and guilt on her face . He had noticed, ever since their reunion under the bridge, that Chan'er had lost some her carefree and cheery disposition . They weren't gone, just buried under layers of guilt and apprehension . And he also knew that until they could successfully rescue Wushuang-qiánbèi from Yan Fang's clutches, those parts of Chan'er would remain buried .

"Princess?" Li Yundong prompted when Chan'er didn't react for about a minute or so .

" Are you serious?" Chan'er's round eyes settled on his face . "Y- You're not just pulling my leg are you, beloved?"

"I'm serious, Chan'er," Li Yundong spoke with sobriety . He wouldn't joke about this, not when an old man had all but entrusted his entire legacy to him, had beseeched him with his dying eyes to take care of a school that he himself was no longer capable of protecting .   

"But… But how?" Chan'er's face scrunched up in confusion . "How did that even happen?"

Beats the hell out of me too, princess…  

"Grandmaster Liu Ye was already dying when I arrived," Li Yundong explained . "My job was to hold off the Great Six's army while Cao Yi"—Chan'er's eyes darted to his face at the mention of her shībó's name—"tried to save the grandmaster's life . " Li Yundong sighed, remembering the tough battle . There were multiples times when he really thought he was screwed . The lull ended when Li Yundong shook his head and picked up where he had left off . "The grandmaster didn't make it . Before he died, I begged him to tell me where you were . " He met Chan'er's eyes briefly and found that she was listening to him with rapt attention . "Zi Yuan said he has the power to find you . " He exhaled slowly through his nose . "In the end, he agreed to tell me where you are . But in return, I have to fulfill his dying request . "

Understanding shone in Chan'er's eyes . "By becoming the new head of the Fox Zen School . "

Li Yundong nodded . Grandmaster Liu's declaration had come out of nowhere, but the other fox spirits were quick to acknowledge him as the new leader, no doubt out of necessity .

"Wow . "

"The grandmaster… he… well…" Li Yundong cleared his throat and shot Chan'er a wary glance . "He told me you'd be happy if I take over the Fox Zen School . "

Chan'er was still staring at him in awe, seemingly unaware of his insecurities .

"Are you?" Li Yundong prompted when Chan'er didn't react for quite a while .

Chan'er's eyes cleared a little . "Hmm?"

"Are you okay with this? With me leading the Fox Zen School, I mean . " Truth be told, he thought Ao Wushuang was better suited to lead the school . Powerful . Strong . Knew a lot of spells . And most importantly, she was a fox spirit, someone who actually knew about the ways of fox spirits .

Maybe he should resign and give the position to Wushuang-qiánbèi after they got her back . He was the head, right? He had to power to name the next head of the Fox Zen School . He could take a page out of Grandmaster Liu's book and do that same thing the old man did .

Soft arms wrapped around his neck, and Li Yundong resisted the urge to bury his face in that familiar warmth .  

"Are you kidding?" Chan'er squealed lightly . "Of course I'm okay with it! More than okay, actually! I'm happy!"

Li Yundong looped his arms around Chan'er's waist and sighed in relief . "I'm glad to hear that . "

Chan'er ended the hug and stared down at him with a puzzled expression, the sight of which eased the tight knot inside Li Yundong's chest . He was glad to see that some of Chan'er's inquisitiveness had returned . He missed Chan'er's silly questions and her seemingly boundless capacity for curiosity . He missed her carefree attitude and her capacity to find joy in pretty much everything . He missed her funny terminologies for daily objects . He wondered if she still called TVs talking boxes, if she missed her favorite soap shows .    

"Does that mean I have to call you Li zhǎngmén from now on?" Chan'er's nose wrinkled adorably .

A laugh tore past Li Yundong's lips . "Of course not . " Chan'er squealed when he suddenly pinched her backside . "Just call me like usual . "

Chan'er's eyes went round, and they stared at each other for a few seconds until Chan'er frowned . Li Yundong felt a sudden urge to smooth out the creases on her brows .

"But that's so disrespectful," Chan'er argued . "You're the head of a sect now . "

"Exactly . I'm the head of your sect . Which means you have to listen to my orders . " Li Yundong smirked . "And let this be my first order to you . Don't use any strange honorifics when you're addressing me . "

Chan'er gaped at him .

Li Yundong chuckled . "How about it? That's a direct order from the Head of the Fox Zen School . " Li Yundong raised a brow challengingly . "Will you obey it?"

Chan'er's cheeks puffed out as a huge pout formed on her lips . "Fine," she mumbled .

Chan'er sputtered when her cheeks deflated after he poked them with his finger . "Good girl . "

Chan'er slid forward in his lap, which she had been straddling for the past ten minutes, much to his delight (or agony, depending on how you look at it) .

"So the late Grandmaster Liu told you to look for me at the bridge?" Chan'er mumbled against his chest .

Li Yundong reached up to stroke her hair . "Not exactly . "


Li Yundong chuckled wryly . "If only his instructions were that specific . "

Neither of them spoke while Li Yundong's chuckles petered out . Li Yundong let out a weary sigh . "I actually made a mess of things while I was looking for you . "

Chan'er tensed up .

For a moment, Li Yundong was unable to speak, remembering how hopeless he felt when was facing those invincible arhats .


Their gazes met again .

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"I thought you were dead, Chan'er . "

Chan'er's mouth curved into that adorable O-shape again . He would've kissed it right off her pretty lips if he wasn't still so shaken by the thought of Chan'er being the one lying half-dead inside that pagoda .

Li Yundong lowered his head until his chin touched his clavicle . "It was a misunderstanding . " He shook his head a few times . "But at that moment, you have no idea how scared I was . "

His head was lifted again by the soft touch of Chan'er's fingers on his jawline .

"But I'm fine, Yundong! See!" Chan'er beamed . "Hehehe…"

Chan'er's attempt at reassurance drew a chuckle out of him, but his laugh fell flat as soon as it left his lips . "Grandmaster Liu Ye told me I'd find you near some pond in Mount Qili . I took a cab here as soon as I arrived in Dongwu City, but the place is huge . I tried calling your phone, but you didn't pick up . So I ended up looking all over the place for you . At one point I thought you were captured by a bunch of lamas so I barged into a temple to rescue you . "

"Temple?" Chan'er's eyes went round . "Oh, you mean Xiyuan Temple . "

Li Yundong nodded . "Yes . "

Chan'er looked adorably confused . "What gave you the idea that I was captured?"

Li Yundong thought she sounded a little offended at the idea, but he decided not to comment on it .

"I was…" Li Yundong sighed . "I was looking for you at a place with all these food establishments . "

"Ooh! The famous noodle shop?" Chan'er piped in .

At least the mention of food could get Chan'er excited now . She didn't seem excited at all during supper .

Li Yundong nodded . "Yeah . " He chuckled . "I thought I'd be able to find you there . " He gave her a sly glance, then pinched her butt . "Coz you're always hungry . "

Chan'er blushed .

"I thought you'd be out for supper or something . " Li Yundong rubbed the side of her arms a few times, then let his hands drop . "Anyway . I entered the noodle shop and overheard a bunch of lamas talking about burning a"—He did air quotes—"demon witch alive . I listened to them for a while until they began to describe the physical appearance of this girl that they had captured . " Li Yundong stared deep into Chan'er's eyes . "The description matched yours . "

"Oh . "

Li Yundong nodded . "I knew there was a chance that they weren't talking about you at all, but I didn't want to risk it . " He sighed . "So I decided to check it out . I followed the lamas to Xiyuan Temple . And then at the temple, I learned that they were actually conducting a ritual to exterminate two animal spirits . "

Li Yundong held Chan'er's gaze for a second or two . His princess seemed rather taken aback as well .

"So you can imagine how scared I was . " Li Yundong paused to look at Chan'er . "I mean, an animal spirit with physical descriptions that fit yours to a tee? What are the chances, right?" He sighed . "I tried to get more information out of the lamas, but they told me they had no idea what kind of animal spirit they were dealing with . I even tried to show your photo to a lama, but the guy wouldn't even look at it . The whole thing didn't sit right with me . " He shook his head . "I couldn't let it go . I wanted to confirm for myself that you weren't there, so I crashed the ritual . " Li Yundong gave Chan'er a wry smile . "There was a fight . "

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"A fight?"

Li Yundong waved his hand a few times . "There were these arhats flying around . "

Chan'er gasped . " Arhats?"

Li Yundong nodded . "Those things were goddamned tough . And they were indestructible . "

"Oh my God, Yundong!" Chan'er gaped at him . "That's the infamous Great Arhat Formation!"

Li Yundong chuckled . "So I've been told . "

"And you got past it!" Chan'er's voice sounded high-pitched . He wasn't sure if it was due to fear or excitement .

"Barely . " Li Yundong smiled wryly . "Well, obviously neither of those animal spirits were you . The ritual must have already taken effect by the time I barged into the place . Coz those two transformed into a pair of giant snakes and escaped . "

"What color?"

"Gold . "

"Golden snakes," Chan'er whispered to herself .

"Yeah . " He sighed . "I made a mess . "

Silence reigned .

"I'm sorry," Chan'er said after a moment .

Li Yundong patted her head gently . "It's not your fault . "

"How did you know I was under that bridge?"

Li Yundong smiled . "The head lama of Xiyuan Temple gave me a riddle when we parted ways . "

"A riddle?" Chan'er looked so puzzled right now that she might as well have been told a riddle herself .

Li Yundong's smile widened into a grin . "He told me to go back where I came from . "

The look puzzlement remained on Chan'er's face .

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Li Yundong laughed . "Still vague, I know . " He stopped laughing and held Chan'er's gaze . "Anyway . I retraced my steps and found you under the bridge . "

"Mm . " Chan'er smiled . "I missed you, beloved . "

Li Yundong pulled her forward until her face was buried in his chest . "I'm so glad I found you, Chan'er," he whispered into her hair . "So glad . "

They stayed like that for a while until Chan'er pulled back .

"So . What's the plan now, Li"—Chan'er poked at his cheek repeatedly—"zhǎngmén?"

Li Yundong narrowed his eyes at her .

Chan'er kept poking his cheek . "Li zhǎngmén… Li zhǎngmén," she said in a singsong voice .

"Why you little…"

Li Yundong tickled her sides .

"Kya!!! Hahaha…" Chan'er's voice turned into a series of wheezes . "Stop! Stop! Please! Please!"

Li Yundong kept tickling her . "What did I say about disobeying my orders, hmm?" he growled into her ear playfully .

"Alright! Alright! Beloved! Beloved! Beloved!"

Li Yundong took mercy on her and stopped tickling her .

Then, he waited until Chan'er's giggles had subsided before he began speaking again . "We need to find Yan Fang . " Li Yundong glanced at Chan'er, who was drying her tears with her sleeves .

Chan'er nodded .

"We'll regroup with Zi Yuan and the others in Tiannan City . " He paused in thought . "After that we'll come up with a plan together to look for Yan Fang . "

Chan'er raised her palm in a salute . "Yes! Li zhang…" She gave him a sly look .

Li Yundong wiggled his hands playfully .

"Beloved! Beloved!" Chan'er grinned . "Hehehe…"

Li Yundong chuckled and kissed her forehead . "It's going to okay, Chan'er . It's going to be okay . "

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