There was not that much dust on the chest. Obviously, it had not been placed there for long. It did not take Song Ci that much effort to lift the chest from beneath the bed planks.
Lowering his head to look at the chest, Song Ci reorganized his thoughts.
Wen Changchu said that the object of the promise Feng Zhuojun had fulfilled was hidden in the chamber.
Jiang Liang said that Feng Zhuojun had once promised to make him a wedding robe made of blood silk.
Song Ci did not know what blood silk was, but he could tell from the name that it should be silk the color of blood. This thing was clearly precious, otherwise, Eldest Young Master Feng would not have made a promise with this.
With these threads strung together, Song Ci recalled the second scene he had seen from Mirror Old Man. In the mirror, he was wearing a blood-red wedding outfit. That pretty color was something he had never seen before. Perhaps, that was the wedding outfit made out of blood silk.
The existence of a blood silk wedding robe meant that Feng Zhuojun had honored his promise. If that was the case, then the object in this big chest was very likely—
Song Ci lifted the lid of the chest, and a red wedding attire glimmering with golden light appeared in his sight.
“This is…” Jiang Liang blurted out in shock.
Song Ci leaned over to touch the wedding robe. The outfit was cool to the touch as if it had remained untouched for a very long time. It felt as smooth as quality precious jade, but it was softer and lighter than cotton. Like passing through the passage of time, he slowly picked up the attire. His eyes dimmed as he whispered, “Jiang Liang, look. It’s a wedding dress.”
Jiang Liang suddenly fell silent. He was so quiet that Song Ci felt uneasy.
“Jiang Liang…” He called out tentatively.
“It’s truly beautiful.” Jiang Liang uttered a low voice, as if he was praising it with a smile. He said, “Little Young Master, can you do me a favor?”
Song Ci said, “Tell me.”
“I have long been burned to death in the fire. All that remains of me now is my soul. There’s no way I can wear this blood silk wedding dress. Could you put it on and let me experience it?” Jiang Liang’s voice was neutral without any emotional inflections. However, that still could not put Song Ci at ease.
Song Ci nodded and agreed. “Alright.”
Then he swiftly stripped off all of his soaked clothes and found the inner garment1 Feng Zhuojun had placed in the wardrobe. After wearing them, he rubbed his hands, then carefully began to put on the wedding outfit that was as beautiful as a fairy’s dress.
Perhaps in consideration of the fact that the person wearing it was to be Jiang Liang, this attire was not as complex and intricate as the usual gown for a lady. On the contrary, it was more like a man’s attire.
Song Ci patiently put on the outfit layer by layer. After securing the waist sash, he finally draped the sheer outer robe over himself. There were indistinct golden threads embroidered in the blood-red fabric. That was why he could see the outfit glittering in gold under the dim light earlier.
Leaving aside the silk, just the workmanship of the embroidery alone was rare in the world. Even saying that this attire was unrivaled in the world would not be an overstatement.
It took Song Ci a lot of effort to dress himself. After he was done donning it, he waved those light sleeves. It was as if that beautiful color had lit up the entire dimmed room. Its beauty was simply peerless set against Song Ci’s exquisite appearance.
He walked over to the bronze mirror in the room and looked at himself in the mirror. Then, he lowered his head to look at the clothes on his body. As he stroked it, he said, “See this? What a pretty attire. This is the legendary blood silk, isn’t it? I have never seen such silk before. It should be very precious. Feng Zhuojun actually made a whole set of wedding attire for you with this silk. It must have taken him a tremendous amount of effort…”
As he spoke, a drop of scalding tear rolled down. Song Ci looked up in astonishment and saw his face wet with tears. He was at a loss. “Jiang Liang…”
“Why? Why do this to me?” Jiang Liang mumbled in despondency.
“He might as well kill me and sever my longing completely. This nightmare has been haunting me for decades.”
Song Ci realized that black aura was emerging from his chest. Following right after, Jiang Liang’s soul floated out of his body. That thick aura enveloped Jiang Liang’s soul. Upon a closer look, it was coming from his heart.
He inwardly uttered an oh shit! to himself. This was the prelude to Jiang Liang turning evil!
Jiang Liang’s soul huddled into a ball and floated in mid-air with his head in his hands. He wailed, “If I had known that I would pay such a price for falling in love with him, I’d rather not meet him in this life…”
His wretched cries wafted into Song Ci’s ears wave after wave. Like a faint cry for help while on the verge of death, it was clearly tinged with despair, and yet there was also a pleading tone to it. “It hurts so much. Who can save me and free me from this agony…”
Never had Song Ci expect the promise Feng Zhuojun had taken pains to fulfill to fail in making Jiang Liang happy. On the contrary, it took an unexpected turn in the other direction.
“Jiang Liang!” Song Ci raised his voice to call out to him.
However, he could hear nothing. The black fog was getting thicker and thicker. Song Ci hurriedly tried to brush it away with his hands, but he could not touch it at all. He watched helplessly as the black fog engulfed Jiang Liang whole until he finally disappeared from Song Ci’s sight.
Song Ci hastily wiped away the tears from his face and rushed out of the door. By this time, the downpour outside had stopped, and the air, though still wet, felt fresh. Someone bumped into Song Ci and shouted for the guards.
Song Ci did not have time to change out of the wedding attire, but he could not bear to let the outfit get stained with filthy water. Thus, he lifted the skirt high, sprang nimbly onto the rooftop, and broke into a run with his heels raised.
Like a flower in full bloom, the outfit became the most conspicuous color under the overcast sky to everyone in the perimeter.
Song Ci had no idea where to find Jiang Liang, so he dashed back to San Chi Tai. It was only when he was inside that he realized that it was empty. Song Ci ran up the stairs. But he was only halfway there when the scene before him faded away.
He came to an abrupt stop and glanced to the side. Fuzziness overtook the scenery around him and slowly surrounded him.
The scene was about to vanish, but he did not know where Jiang Liang had gone to. What was he going to do if Jiang Liang went on a killing spree because his sense of right and wrong had been blinded after he turned evil?
Song Ci was at his wits’ end when the stairs beneath his feet disappeared. Lifting the hem of his skirt, he landed gracefully onto the ground. It was then he realized that he had returned to the place earlier. Only that there was no longer any trace of Jiang Liang who had been originally beside him.
Before he could raise his head, someone grabbed him by his collar. An anxious and alarmed Mirror Old Man stared at him and asked, “You… Why are you wearing this outfit? Where is Ah Liang? What have you done?”
Song Ci turned his head to look at him. After exchanging glances for a moment, he raised his hand and threw a heavy punch at Mirror Old Man without warning!
The strength in that punch was so great that Mirror Old Man swerved around and almost losing his footing. When he turned his head back, half of his face was swollen.
“Whoa, what a temper your little fox has.” A sarcastic remark rang out.
Song Ci could tell the voice was Zhu Yishu’s. He hurriedly turned his head and saw several people standing orderly side-by-side a short distance away.
The one who caught most of Song Ci’s attention was Rong Bai, who was standing among them. There was no expression on his face, but his eyes were looking at Song Ci with a gaze so serious it was searing. It was only after he met Song Ci’s eyes that a trace of a smile crept into his eyes.
Zhu Yishu was standing beside Rong Bai. He watched the commotion coolly and asked, “How could you just strike out at someone without saying a word?”
A meekly-looking Wen Changchu stood beside Zhu Yishu.
Zhu Yun stood on the far right, with the still unconscious Qinyu at his feet.
Mirror Old Man was caught off guard by the punch. He yelled in disbelief. “Why did you hit me?!”
On hearing this, Song Ci withdrew his gaze and looked at Mirror Old Man again. He said with all seriousness, “Jiang Liang has descended into evil.”
Mirror Old Man’s eyes bulged. “What did you say?!”
“On the day Feng Zhuojun got married, Jiang Liang stubbornly left San Chi Tai in order to see him, but they broke his legs. After making his way to the Feng Residence, he got slapped by the bride.” Song Ci’s tone was near cold-blooded as he recounted the scenes he had seen earlier to Mirror Old Man. “He questioned Feng Zhuojun why the latter had abandoned him, but the Feng Residence’s servants gave him a beating and threw him out…”
Mirror Old Man’s expression worsened as he listened to Song Ci. His cloudy eyes were brimming with tears as he clenched his teeth and said, “Don’t say anymore.”
“Didn’t you ask me earlier which is the most painful? Loving someone who would never be yours, and loving someone but falling out with him in the end?” Song Ci said, “I’ll tell you now. The answer is loving someone who would never be yours.”
Mirror Old Man’s gaze was complicated as he fixed his eyes on Song Ci. There was a faint pleading look in his expression. It was as if he was imploring Song Ci to shut up and not say a word more.
But Song Ci did not acquiesce to his wish. He said, “Being deceived, and being kept in the dark, are far more painful than being betrayed. Do you know what Jiang Liang said when he saw this blood silk wedding attire?”
Mirror Old Man kept silent and unresponsive.
Song Ci yanked Mirror Old Man by the collar towards himself and said in a harsh tone. “He said he was in agony. He was pleading for someone to save him and set him free. You are the one who created this prison and imprisoned Jiang Liang within for decades. Even until now, you are still tormenting him.”
Mirror Old Man trembled all over.
“Tell him the truth.” Song Ci said.
Mirror Old Man did not respond.
Song Ci gnashed his teeth. Each of his words was like a stab to the heart. “Tell him the truth, Feng Zhuojun!”
Mirror Old Man’s pupils suddenly shrank, and two trails of tears instantly gushed out of his eyes. “You… How did you know?”
Song Ci shook off his collar. “You think I’m a fool? When you asked me that question, I had already suspected you. If you are really playing the role of a silent guardian in this story, then you should have gone to great lengths to let Jiang Liang know the truth a long time ago. Why keep him in the dark and let this eat away at him for decades? “
In that downpour earlier, when Jiang Liang had controlled his body to barge into the Feng Residence, Song Ci had already got an inkling. The man in the wedding robe was not the earlier Feng Zhuojun at all. Because their scents were different.
For all it was worth, he had the nose of a fox, so he could distinguish them by their scents even if both Feng Zhuojun looked exactly the same.
“I just didn’t want him to feel sad when he finds out the truth.” Mirror Old Man was still reluctant to admit it.
Song Ci turned his head away and fell silent.
The fact that Mirror Old Man was Feng Zhuojun was merely a bold guess he had made. In truth, he had no proof to back up his claim. So there was nothing he could use to refute Mirror Old Man now.
Song Ci thought to himself. Earlier on, he had put on enough of a show of fierceness. And that blow had indeed landed solidly on his face. If it was not for Mirror Old Man having a guilty conscience, he would be stamping his feet in anger now. This only goes to show that his guess was right.
He cast a glance at Mirror Old Man. Just as he was pondering over how to make his old fellow show his true self, he heard a lady’s voice.
“I’ve long told you that you won’t be able to hide the truth.” Having woken up, Qinyu rose to her feet. She was injured all over, but even that could not overshadow those black, shining eyes of hers.
Song Ci looked at her doubtfully. Qinyu walked over to Song Ci’s side. “Did you just say that Ah Liang has turned evil?”
Qinyu frowned and said in a grave expression. “The fault lies with me. I’m willing to take responsibility for it. But I’ll need your help.”
“What are you going to do?” Song Ci asked.
“You still have the aura of Ah Liang’s soul on your body. If I’m not wrong, Ah Liang had possessed you earlier. Right now, we don’t know where he is within the chessboard array. If you are willing to let him possess you again, I’ll send both of you back to that time and let him see the truth with his own eyes.” Qinyu said.
“Qinyu!” Mirror Old Man grew anxious.
“We no longer have a choice.” Qinyu said, “Feng Zhuojun, if you don’t want to lose Ah Liang here, then you must tell him what happened back then!”
Song Ci glared at him, “You still want to hinder us?”
Mirror Old Man looked as if he still wanted to put up a struggle, but he had also come to realize the gravity of this matter. Thus, even if he was still unwilling, he did not attempt to dissuade them again.
After settling this pain in the ass, Song Ci said to Qinyu. “Do you have a way to find Jiang Liang?”
“Yes.” Qinyu said. “I only hope that his conscience has not been completely destroyed yet.”
Just as Song Ci was about to urge her into action, someone grabbed hold of his wrist.
“Hold on.” Rong Bai appeared beside him. In an instant, he became the second thorn in the flesh after Mirror Old Man. Rong Bai glanced coldly at Qinyu. “I do not agree to this.”